Tame Bear on May 10th, 2018

We put our dear cat Whidbey down last week, after a long drawn out illness. Now I have this tube of ashes and a few tufts of fur to bury later.

She was my favorite of all the cats, and has been with us for 17 years. Born in our backyard. Sister to Gretel who died three years ago. When Whidbey died, I felt that a bit of beauty had gone out of the world.

Heaven as it is often portrayed is not a concept that appeals to me, but I do think there is something to Multiverse theory… And I sometimes believe I will see Whibs again after I die, which is a happy thought.

It would not surprise me if, when we meet again, we will both remember that we’ve been the best of friends for thousands of years!

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tame Bear on August 9th, 2017

You are two. The one on the outside who everyone sees. And the one on the inside who interprets and narrates the world you experience.

Many of us focus on the ME everyone sees, training and grooming it and conforming it to the culture that surrrounds us.

The true art in life happens when we focus on cultivating the ME within, developing character, courage, kindness, empathy, and patience.

The ME on the outside is always and only a vague reflection of the ME on the inside. That’s because the inside is what creates the outside. The ME inside creates the ME outside as it constantly interprets and narrates and displays it’s own version of what’s outside.

Control the ME inside, and you control the ME outside. Then in fact, the two are one in the same. We have a word for this. Authentic.

Tame Bear on July 14th, 2017

SAD NEWS — ClixSense PTC is permanently closing on Monday, July 17th, 2017. ClixSense made the announcement about a week ago in their login message. The company plans to continue its surveys, tasks, and offers business.

NOTE: This article is part of a series titled The Amazing Tale of 4 PTCscomparing the ClixSense Paid-To-Click advertising service with three others — LeadsLeap, NeoBux and ScarletClicks. Join them all and follow along.

Here is how they describe the imminent closure…

Members, more than 10 years ago we came online strictly as a PTC. As all things go, the ClixSense business model has changed over the years and with the addition of Crowdflower tasks, offers and surveys our core business has shifted. No longer are we just a PTC, but instead ClixSense has grown to be one of the top performing survey networks in the world.

While our survey, task and offer business has grown significantly, the PTC side of our business has been on a downward slide for some time now and more so since the loss of Paypal back in February.

Being in the PTC industry has it’s positives and negatives. The positive side of things is that we can provide you with an easy way to earn a little money and for advertisers we can send a large amount of traffic to their websites for a very reasonable price. The negative side of things is a bit more extreme. This caused us to lose our Paypal account (or so they claim), it places us into a high risk category any time we apply for a merchant account or new payment processor. It gives companies a negative feeling about us because this industry is loaded with fraud. What I mean by that is companies who we’ve approached to partner with us refuse to do so because of our affiliation with PTC. And lastly, from a revenue standpoint, it’s not profitable at all.

From this announcement we learn that ClixSense will still be in operation, but no longer with a PTC (Paid-To-Click) option and no ClixGrid (which is closely related to the PTC business.) ClixSense will continue to offer earning opportunities with surveys, tasks, and offers.

Goodbye ClixSense PTC - only surveys, tasks, and offers.

No more PTC at ClixSense!

THE MODEL OF A WELL-RUN PTC

What else can we learn from this announcement? ClixSense has been in the PTC business for a decade. It pays well in comparison to other PTCs in the industry, and has built an actual business with execs, offices, and employees, so it’s reasonable to view ClixSense as the model of a well-run PTC.

Given all this, it was surprising to read that “…it’s not profitable at all.” Possibly the multi-level payment structure gave away too much?

HATERS, CHEATERS, AND WHINERS

It also seems likely the haters, cheaters, and whiners may have consumed too much time and attention, eating into profits. It’s a shame the way these bad apples have smeared the reputation of the entire PTC industry. ClixSense wants to grow, and they can’t do so when whiners are causing them to lose favor with merchant account providers, payment processors (PayPal being among the most important), and other business opportunities like Crowdflower.

  • It’s hard to make a profit in Paid-To-Click.
  • The PTC industry has a BAD reputation.
  • There are more respectable ways to make money online.

WHAT IS YOUR CLIXSENSE STRATEGY NOW?

How do you plan to respond to this PTC closure? Have you used ClixSense to make money with surveys, tasks, and offers? Has the ClixSense Daily Checklist Bonus been part of your strategy? Will you be getting  money back from current advertising or an upgrade? What do you think will become of ClixSense? Post your thoughts in comments below.

I am still mulling over these questions myself and not sure whether I will be continuing to work with ClixSense. My current upgrade expires next month, and I currently have an existing balance of only $7.50. So I will need to stick with ClixSense a while longer to earn enough for my next (last?) cashout.

For the past 3 1/2 years I have been focused on earning only with Paid-To-Click. The demise of the best player in the business is disheartening. Other than a few trials here and there, I have never participated in earning from surveys, tasks, and offers.

For those of you who do surveys, tasks, and offers, can you give us some pointers on how to make the most of these alternative ways to earn online? Does it flood your email? What’s the upside, and downside? Do you do all the surveys, tasks, and offers, or do you pick and choose? How do you decide which ones are worth participating in?

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tame Bear on March 2nd, 2017

This post was originally guest published on “Anne’s Therapeutic Massage” in March 2015, recounting a conversation with my CMT following a regular weekly massage session.  It is all about the experience of giving and receiving…

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Tame Bear on January 27th, 2017

The year 2016 was a rough one for the Traffic Exchanges, with a big slap down delivered by PayPal. When PayPal banned the TEs from using their payment processing service, everyone — owners, advertisers, publishers, and affiliate marketers — felt the impact. A whole lot of ongoing subscriptions and cashflow instantly vaporized. How to handle a downturn? When earnings drop all of a sudden, what are we to do?

In addition, those of us focusing on the Paid-to-Clicks got our own special slap down. You know what I’m talking about? Two top Paid-to-Click sites lost their biggest advertiser. All of a sudden there are a whole lot less ads to click on.

NOTE: This article is part of a series titled The Amazing Tale of 4 PTCscomparing the ClixSense Paid-To-Click advertising service with three others — LeadsLeap, NeoBux and ScarletClicks. Join them all and follow along.

At the close of 2016 the ever-flowing fountain of ads at ClixSense and NeoBux turned to a trickle. It was good while it lasted. Really good, actually. It was drawing in more participants in the earnings, lots more advertisers, and affiliate program owners. It was a lively marketplace. Until it ended. Again, a big blow to everybody’s cashflow.

:( ClixSense Running on Empty

:( ClixSense Running on Empty

WEATHERING THE DOWNTURN

How to handle a downturn? For some, this is the time to quit. For others it’s a window on opportunity. As I heard recently on Robert Kiysaki’s Rich Dad Radio Show, The only people who will make money are entrepreneurs and investors.

Entrepreneurs are people searching for problems that need solving, that they can build a business around. Investors want to put their money to work for entrepreneurs. That’s how bigger businesses are grown. While everyone is off their guard, figuring what to do next and how to fix their revenue funnels, some smart marketers are taking the opportunity to push out new advertising. Or to launch new affiliate programs.

Have you taken advantage of this downturn and started a new ad campaign? I have. I’ve done more paid advertising in these first few weeks of 2017 than all of last year. Take my money please! I want everyone to see my advertising. And I’m not the only one.

TEXT ADVERTISING

I am also venturing into SMS (texting) advertising to grow my email list. Yeah, those ads that say “text AFFILIATE to 12345 for your copy.” First I’m studying the market, doing my research. Then with some initial tests (and tracking, and A/B testing.) I’m also doing keyword research and optimizing some of my previous blog posts to make them more easily discoverable. This will help me identify keywords and phrases that attract, and that I could potentially build a paid Google Adwords campaign around in the future.

Pay attention: there are a lot of new advertisments showing up on these two PTCs, ClixSense and NeoBux. And it has a ripple effect because those new ads are also appearing on other subsidiary PTCs that were not hit by the downturn.

An abrupt change like this is often, often the instigator of significant change. Markets go down. They also go up. How to handle a downturn? A downturn is a catalyst for clever minds to find and fix problems. Solutions that solve nagging problems are the innovations that fuel an upturn after a downturn happens.

One more thing that a downturn can trigger… Deals! Watch for some really good upgrade deals and ad packages. I just purchased a really great one at StartXchange. So keep your eyes open.

AS CONDITIONS CHANGE

A strong downturn can as quickly bounce back. Be ready for it. I’m sure Payza has seen a really swift upturn in new customers in the wake of the PayPal slap down.  And it’s possible the big advertiser I wrote about (several months ago) has just concluded some year-long contracts with their clients and is renegotiating and renewing them. There are actually some indications  a slow trickle of these video magazine ad pages are starting to be released into the flow again, though still at a very slow drip.

If that one advertiser turns on the spiggot again like what happened all last year, then the window for anything but the most expensive ad buys closes again for the smaller businesses. Don’t waste your money on the fixed ads, hardly anyone was clicking them last year because the 1/2 penny ads were non-stop.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE A DOWNTURN?

What is your strategy for weathering this downturn, or any downturn? Summarizing my advice:

  • Do more of your own advertising during the lull.
  • Find a nagging problem and build a business around it.
  • Watch for some great deals!

Anything else you’re doing during the downturn? What’s the opportunity in this downturn that gets you excited? Comment below.

STARTUP WEBSITES

I’ve begun advertising my Oakley Studio managed website hosting services for home-based business startups; now with a brand new affiliate program so my clients can turn their hosting cost into a new revenue stream by referring others. If you don’t yet have an established WordPress site for your online marketing business, this is your opportunity.

Tags: , , , ,

Tame Bear on January 2nd, 2017

How did you find your way into affiliate marketing? Like many people, I stumbled upon it by accident.

I use affiliate marketing to promote my ebook - Oceans of Light: A Users Guide to the MultiverseIn the summer of 2010 I was looking for some insights about how to market my first ebook which I had just published at Smashwords.com. Smashwords was responsible for distributing the new book to online stores, in all the popular formats for iPad, Nook, Kindle and the other ebook readers — at iTunes, Amazon, Kobo Books, WHSmith, etc. But it was my job to promote it. How was I going to do that? Someone I met on Twitter suggested using TrafficAdBar to promote my new ebook, and that’s how I came to be using my very first Traffic Exchange.

NOTE: This article is part of a series titled The Amazing Tale of 4 PTCscomparing the ClixSense Paid-To-Click advertising service with three others — LeadsLeap, NeoBux and ScarletClicks. Join them all and follow along.

TOOLS FOR AFFILIATE MARKETING

I quickly learned about TEs, PTCs, and Safelists (see The Three-Legged Stool for details) and began using them all to promote my new ebook. These are good tools for advertising just about anything! Along the way I became fascinated with affiliate marketing, because all these marketing tools offered commissions for referring other users. (I have to say, I have made more money from these tools than I have from selling my ebook!)

Affiliate marketing is essentially that — selling something and earning a commission.

There is definitely a skill set and an art to selling anything online. So I got good training and put everything into practice. I built a marketing system with these tools that has served me well over the years.

You see my ebook was an interesting side project, but ultimately it led to a marketing system that I integrated into my main occupation as a small business webmaster.

In my primary business I am a consulting webmaster at Oakley Studio, LLC — providing managed WordPress web site hosting for a few dozen clients. My specialty is ecommerce. After building my marketing system, it was natural to begin sharing bits of my new-found expertise with my clients. By far the most essential component of my system has been list-building — building an email list.

BUILDING YOUR LIST

Here’s the important part. To build an email list, you need a web site, preferably WordPress. (WordPress is the Gutenberg Publishing Engine for the new millenium.) On your web site you need a Subscribe form so anyone can “opt-in” to be contacted whenever you publish new content on your web site. And you need to have an Autoresponder to schedule your email messages to be sent in a series over a period of days or weeks to each new subscriber.

Typically you start your series of messages with a welcome and introduction explaining the focus of your web site. Each email is very brief, just a few sentences and a link to a new post on your web site. The link makes it easy for your subscribers to click directly to your site and read the latest post. They don’t need to be checking your site to see what’s new because they have subscribed to receive these notifications.

See how this works? This is a sketch for one of my clients.

First you write and publish a BLOG POST. Then you SEND EMAIL. Whenever you write about something new on your web site, you finish up by composing a brief email message and scheduling it to send to all your subscribers. The email brings your subscribers back to your site. List-building is the key component in any worthwhile marketing system. And ideally it’s built right into your WordPress Dashboard so it’s really easy to use.

SEND TRAFFIC TO YOUR LIST

Use the TEs, Safelists, and Paid-to-Clicks to bring more people to your web site. These tools generate lots of traffic to your site! Use lots of them and you can funnel a whole lot of new visitors to your site who would not have otherwise known you exist. Once they arrive, all your new visitors decide if they are interested in your site or not. Some will subscribe to get your email series. Now they are on your list.

The real value of list-building is once they’ve subscribed you can email them again and again. They don’t have to go looking for your web site, you can deliver it to them, whenever you have something new to say. That’s list-building in a nutshell, and it’s the most essential component in your marketing system.

QUIT DABBLING AND GET SERIOUS ABOUT AFFILIATE MARKETING

If you’ve been dabbling in affiliate marking with these traffic tools and resources, perhaps you’re beginning to glimpse the power they have to help you sell anything online. I encourage you to roll up your sleeves and get serious about affiliate marketing. If you want to earn money online you need to build your own marketing system and it’s got to have list-building at it’s core.

If you don’t already have your own web site, Oakley Studio Web Sites is the place to be. It’s real easy to begin. You’ll be able to sign up and log in to your new WordPress site in about 10 minutes from now, isn’t that cool? And as your consulting webmaster, I’ll be showing you all the parts and pieces to my marketing system, so you can build your own system and sell anything. Get an Oakley Studio web site and begin building your traffic and your email list today. Oakley Studio has a list-builder that works right in WordPress, so it’s really easy to complete the circle and bring your subscribers back to your web site again and again.

Did you notice that my own business web site has an affiliate program?  That means any of my web hosting clients can earn commissions by recommending my business to others. By offering something that people need and that solves a problem, happy customers tell others and the business grows.

You can build any kind of business with an affiliate marketing system. So dream big, get serious about your own affiliate marketing, and build an affiliate marketing business!

 

 

Tags: , , ,

Tame Bear on December 29th, 2016

The cat lays on my hand
in my lap and stretches.
When I look for my hand,
the boundary between cat and hand
is dissolved and in its place
there is a sweet oneness or
unity that binds me
to the life of all animals.

Tags: , , , ,

Tame Bear on November 13th, 2016

I keep hearing the same simple narrative about why a Trump president is good for the economy. It goes like this.

Trump will open up oil exploration by cutting regulations. He will let us to drill, frack, and dig where we please to get the economy going again. He will approve the Keystone pipeline, yada yada. Wrong answer.

DRILL BABY DRILL

The Most Obvious Wrong Answer - Drill Baby DrillIt harkens back to 2008 when Sarah Palin was on the campaign trail chanting “Drill baby drill!” But it neglects what’s happened over the last eight years.

In eight years we’ve built up a huge worldwide inventory of oil.  It’s a global glut! Oversupply hahas caused the price of oil to plunge. Oil is barely profitable to extract any more. We don’t need more oil –we can’t even use what we’ve got on hand. It sits waiting in tanks and tankers in harbors and portside all around the world.

What about natural gas? Fracking has been so successful at extracting abundant natural gas from the ground we now have an enormous oversupply.

Over the last eight years we’ve converted a substantial portion of our electricity production from coal-burning to gas-burning generators. We have so much natural gas on hand that it’s price has plunged and it is barely profitable to extract any more. And we have dramatically reduced the need to extract coal from the ground. With more natural gas generators coming on line, the supply of coal far exceeds the demand.

WRONG ANSWER

We are seeing the early signs of a permanent decline in the use of fossil fuels — coal, oil, and gas. Cleaner energy sources — solar and wind — are shouldering a growing portion of our global energy production. If we do end up building that Keystone pipeline to pump oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico? I’ll bet within 20 years it’ll be used for pumping water, not oil.

We are moving into a new energy era, and there’s no turning back.


Related: HOW TRUMP CAN MAKE THE US ENERGY-INDEPENDENT
“The U.S. can realize President-elect Donald Trump’s dream of independence from foreign oil ‘foes’ and ‘cartels’ — but he likely won’t live to see it unless he embraces the kinds of policies he’s campaigned against, according to a new study out Wednesday.”


It’s happened before. Remember whale oil? It was the dominant fuel used back in the dawn of the industrial age, to light oil lamps and make soap and margarine. Sperm whale hunting was a big industry up until the discovery of fossil fuel oil in Pennsylvania in 1859. That kicked off a boom in oil drilling that continued for nearly 150 years. There were still plenty of Sperm whales in the sea, but the whaling industry was superseded by the fossil fuel extraction industry.

There will still be plenty of oil and coal in the ground by the time we complete the transition to cleaner renewable energy. But the writing is on the wall: the fossil fuel industry is dying out. We are in a new era.

There may be some reason to believe a Trump president will help the economy. Extracting more fossil fuels from the ground is the wrong answer.

Tags: , , , , ,

Tame Bear on October 26th, 2016

My take, more often than not, is a philosophical one that takes the long view. I’m thinking decades, maybe several generations. This year we have an unusual opportunity to vote our conscience up and down the ticket and see it make a dramatic change for the common good.

FAILURE OF THE NORMAL FUNCTIONING OF GOVERNMENT

livingofftaxpayermoneyThis election is obviously about Trump vs Clinton, but it’s also about gridlock in government. The checks and balances that work so well in the hands of civil people have broken down because our elected representatives in government are not able to carry out the customary give and take that is characteristic of a civil society. A majority in congress (from both parties) are determined to block anything our President wishes to do; and in the absence of civil discourse he has pressed the limits of executive power in order to attain more of the objectives he was elected to accomplish. Congress can appeal to the Supreme Court — and has, in some instances — to roll back executive over-reach. But now a justice has died, and the Court has no tie-breaker.

Now we have established gridlock in all three branches of government.

And because the incivility continues, and our elected representatives are unable to find a way forward, the normal functioning of government has ceased. Our government is broken. How do we solve this?

A NATION-DEFINING ELECTION

In the midst of this we have a nation-defining election at hand, one that is as much about quality of character as it is about policies and plans.

Who we choose to represent us on the world stage says a lot about our own character as a people. This election may turn a harsh light on incivility in the heart of our country, an incivility that we’re already witnessing in our current crop of elected representatives, that has caused the dysfunction of our government.

 

votethemoutWe may see something many of us do not wish to acknowledge, but which may in fact be true — that we are a meaner, more selfish, more fearful, and less kind, less empathetic, less generous nation than we may have imagined. We may in fact not be the people of high moral and ethical character that we imagine or wish we might be. We may not be capable, in this present era, of viewing all our brother and sister Americans as equally worthy of the rights and privileges we believe we’re entitled to.

If so, then we’ll be relegated to the bench for a few seasons, possibly for a few generations, while other more noble and capable world leaders fill the vacuum left by our national failure and govern on our behalf from their places of power.

Character matters, and so we should observe, judge for ourselves, and vote for those people — in all the seats that are open for change — who we believe have the qualities of character that best represent our nation at this time in history, to bear the burden of aspirations and dreams we have as a people.

FITNESS FOR THE JOB

Character matters, but this election more than most in recent history is also about competence.

You wouldn’t hire a carpenter to fix your plumbing, you don’t hire a webmaster to build your dream home, and we shouldn’t be hiring a TV entertainer or real estate mogul to lead our government out of the greatest systemic dysfunction we’ve ever faced as a nation. Like it or not, politicians are professionals, and we need astute, experienced competent professional public servants to take the helm at this time and do their un-self-centered civic duty to get our government working again.

Politicians are a particular breed of people. Love them or hate them, they know how laws and regulations work to govern a people, not just in business but in every aspect of our lives. We have laws in order to maintain a civil society, in order to ensure every citizen has adequate protections and can have some assurance of personal security, for themselves, their families, their communities and their nation as a whole. We have laws to protect our shared environment and natural resources for our mutual benefit and for generations to come. And we have laws, agreements, and treaties with other countries so that we can enjoy the advanced benefits of global trade and global relations so that every person on the planet can dream of attaining a more peaceful and harmonious world.

True public servants are lawmakers with a certain relevant expertise, a fitness for the job.

Ultimately this is what civilization calls for if we hope to progress as a species. Good governance is an evolutionary process that demands an enlightened sense of the greater good. When we achieve our dreams, we create new dreams to aspire to. We cannot do this if our own people are so at odds with one another that we are not able to carry on civil dialog, help each other see beyond our own parochial self interest, and find common ground.

VOTE CONSCIENCE UP AND DOWN THE TICKET

I won’t tell you who to vote for, but I will say this election matters more than some seem to be aware; not just at the very top of the ballot but all up and down the ticket. There is a great opportunity at hand to change our government for the better, if we vote our conscience up and down the ticket. winningbackcongressThere is a stark contrast between the uncivil, oppositional, obstructionist do-nothing congress in power now and the true public servants who are vying to fill their seats. It’s high time we break the logjam, give that do-nothing congress the boot and send them packing!

We don’t have just one vote for President, we have many votes against the incompetent uncivil self-serving incumbents that have caused gridlock in our constitutional system of government. Do we understand the power we have when we exercise our right to vote?

Character and competence have always mattered, and they matter more this year because the stakes are so high. The normal functioning of our government may fail if we cannot join together as a people and work to fix it.

We have a great nation, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I hope we can heal our dysfunctional governance long before it becomes entirely unhinged, and I hope the people we elect will be respectable leaders that the world looks to for insight and hope as we all seek to make our world a better place for everyone.

Tame Bear on October 8th, 2016

This is where I think U.S. Senator Tim Kaine walked away with a WIN in this week’s Vice-Presidential debate. And it took just 34 seconds.

JUST 34 SECONDS

How we view women in our society has become a pivotal campaign issue. An oft-chanted “RESPECT!” was heard throughout the Republican convention this past summer, and in an unbelievable let-down, the Republican nominee for President has just blown it big time. In yesterday’s open-mike conversation, Republican candidate Donald Trump let us know how he really thinks about women.

And it took just 34 seconds.

(Were you expecting a link to the video here? Nope, it’s just too gross for the pages of Tame Bear Weblog. You can find it at many news outlets today if it hasn’t appeared in your regular news feeds already.)