AFP 18: Quality Questions With Actionable Answers

Justin Cooke

April 17, 2012

Our first webinar last week went extremely well and we had a ton of great questions about our business and process.  We attempted to answer as many of those questions as we could while we were on, but time became a limiting factor and we weren’t able to cover everything.  Due to the fact here were so many great questions we’d like to answer, we thought we’d take the time to respond to the individual questions for the rest of our audience as well and turn it into a podcast.  In episode 18 of the AdSense Flippers Podcast, we break up many of the great questions we received from our listeners and readers and answer them, section by section.

A High Quality Q&A

This episode is a bit different (and longer) than our previous episodes have been.  We answer each question in rapid-fire succession as presented by JohnTheIntern.  Each question was broken up into one of 6 different sectionsBusiness/Marketing, Keyword Research, Content, Linkbuilding, Buying/Selling websites, and Scaling/Automation.

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Podcast Transcript (Click Show to view)

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Justin:
Welcome to Episode 18 of the AdSense Flippers Podcast. I’m your host Justin Cooke and I’m here with my business partner extraordinaire Joe Magnotti. What’s up, Hot Money?

Joe:
Hello everybody. My chin is a little bit sore but I’m going to try to tough it out through this podcast.

Justin:
Yeah. He got smacked in the boxing session today. We got to get that video up on Facebook, man. We’re also here with John the intern. John, what’s up man?

John:
Not much, man.

Justin:
I like your shirt. Running sucks. It definitely does. The heart of this week’s episode is going to be all about quality questions and actionable answers. We had a webinar last week where we got some really interesting questions that we weren’t able to get to and we want to get to those in this podcast. But first, we’ve got some news and updates. First up, we’ve got some new iTunes reviews, buddy.

Joe:
Yes, hit me up.

Justin:
All right. So the first one comes in from Kylish. He says, “Fantastic. Can you do this daily? What a pump-up I get from you guys. You could be the morning coffee. Rock on.” Rock on indeed, sir.

Joe:
I don’t know if we could do it daily though, Justin. That would be quite a lot.

Justin:
Sweet lord. We wouldn’t be building any niche sites. We would be podcasting masters though, right? Second update we’ve got or the second iTunes five-star review we’ve got comes from Brad in Charlotte. He said, “These guys are the real deal. Love your podcast and your site. Your announcer sounds like the guy that used to do the intro to Winamp Kicking the Llama’s Ass. Keep up the good work.”

Joe:
Charlotte is a great town. Love that place.

Justin:
Yes. So we have another five-star iTunes review, man. We’re getting a lot of those. I’m really stoked about it.

Joe:
Keep them coming. Keep them coming.

Justin:
Also want to mention we’re almost up to 200 Facebook fans on our Facebook page. Check that out, Facebook.com/empireflippers. We would love for you to be our 200th fan.

John:
All right. So the next bit of news is the Niche Site Guide is done.

Justin:
Yeah, buddy. Good job on that.

Joe:
I bet you’re happy about getting that thing done.

John:
I am so glad to be finished with that. I mean it was cool and it was fun to make but when these people read that, you’re reading 300 hours of my life right there. So hopefully you enjoy it.

Justin:
Yeah. By the time this podcast is on air, we should have Building a Niche Site Empire ready to rock and roll. We will have a link to it in the show notes as well. Next point. What you got, Joe?

Joe:
Oh, we sold some sites last week. We had a big customer come in, buy 70 sites all at once. We sold about 10 sites on the buyer sites page, so been moving a lot of sites, making some money. I love selling sites, Justin. You know what? I just get a kick out of getting those emails that we sold a site, following up the customer, wholesale support. I just like doing it.

Justin:
It’s cool, man. It’s fun because you hear the email thing coming in from PayPal. Ding! Ding! Every single time, you’re like, “Wow, dude. We’re making money right now. That is sick.”

Joe:
It is.

Justin:
Love it, buddy. So next thing is we’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately both here locally in Davao City and through Virtual Staff Finder remotely and also through oDesk. It looks like we’re getting a lot of successful people now coming in that are potentially content managers for us and they could really help drive our content forward. That’s really important for our business especially since we look to build like different types of sites. We really want to be content-heavy in the future and I see that really being a goal for AdSense Flippers and lots of other businesses that we’re building.

Joe:
Yeah. We got seven or eight interviews lined up this week already and it’s still Monday. So I imagine by the time you guys read this, we will have hired one or two more people. Hopeful to expand the team to a couple more by the end of April and once we get that done and rolling, we have to improve our content process.

Justin:
It’s so funny, man. We hired a second person now or we are hiring a second person right now through Virtual Staff Finder. I really would recommend their services. This is the second time we’ve used it and we’re outsourcers. We interview Filipinos on a regular basis. We’ve interviewed hundreds here locally. So the fact that two times out of two we’re able to get quality people from Virtual Staff Finder is pretty cool.

Joe:
Yeah, it’s just nice to have somebody to go through the resumes and qualify candidates for you before you interview them. Yes, I guess we could train our agents to do that but Virtual Staff Finder does it for us and they get us nice, qualified applicants so it works out well.

Justin:
All right. Enough of the pitch for Virtual Staff Finder. Let’s get right into the heart of this week’s episode which is all about quality questions with actionable answers.

**** The AdSense Flippers Podcast ****

Justin:
I’m really stoked about this week’s episode because I love the Q & A from webinars. We can really like kind of like dig into the meat and potatoes of like real questions from some of our listeners or readers. It’s fantastic.

Joe:
Yeah, it’s more interactive and that’s why this format is going to be a little bit different for this podcast. We’re going to have John ask the questions and we’re going to kind of freeform it. You and I, sometimes we will debate the answers when we don’t agree and sometimes of course we will just get it out there.

Justin:
Yeah, I think it’s really interesting. We’re going to break this up into several different sections because there are quite a few questions. First section is like business marketing. Second section is keyword research. Third would be content. Fourth would be linkbuilding. Then we’ve got buying, selling websites and the last would be scaling. So let’s get right into it. John, what’s the first question?

John:
Alright. Cool. The first one comes from Brandon P from Texas and he wants to know – he said, “Why do this? Why invite the competition? What value do you have to gain by helping us compete with you?”

Justin:
Well, I mean the truth of the matter is, is that we know that there are going to be some people that compete with us, right? We’re inviting that but the truth of the matter is, is that most people aren’t going to act, right? Over 90% of people aren’t going to do a thing. They’re not going to build one site. They’re not going to do anything.

Joe:
They’re going to download the 75-page guide and they’re going to go, “Oh my god. I would rather just buy the sites.”

Justin:
Yeah. Well some people are going to do that, right? Others are going to actually try it and they’re going to do it and they’re going to like it. They’re going to build some sites. Some of them may have success. Some of them may not but they’re going to try the process out.

For the ones that build sites and find success, they’re going to appreciate the fact that we showed them what we’re doing and gave them some ideas or guidelines to follow to get there, right? So if they like it and they like us, they’re going to promote us. They will link to us. We can chitchat back and forth. Hopefully they can come up with improvements in our process that actually make the sites better long term, right? So I think that’s something that really helps us and ultimately will help them and their site building as well.

John:
Alright. Let’s go on to the next question. This one is from Kyle P from the United States and he says, “Great detail on the guide. How can we help to compensate you guys?”

Justin:
Well, you can send us some money. Here’s my PayPal email address. No, just kidding. The guide is free obviously. Of course you can buy some of the tools we personally recommend in the guide. A lot of those are affiliate links so you can purchase those. That would help us out of course only if you think it will help your business but most importantly, I think is I would like to get this spread around.

So I would like you to tweet it. I would like you to pass it on via Facebook. I would like you to email it to other friends who you think are in the industry or that would like to build niche sites. I think that’s the best way to do it because a lot of these people that pay for like junk information or they charge for junk information rather, I mean things like this help put them out of business and I would love to do that.

Joe:
Yeah, I would love to have people pay it forward, right? If they can spread the word about AdSense Flippers and what we’re doing here and we get more visitors to the site, more people communicating with us, then that would just build the whole process and it’s all free and we’re all helping each other. So that benefits everyone.

Justin:
Yeah, and that really helps us too to help expand our brand, right? So we continue to pump out really good stuff for free and we expand our brand, our audience, our reach and that type of thing. So if you want to compensate us, give it away for free.

John:
Alright. Super cool. All right. Next one is from Phil V from London and he wants to know like at what stage is it appropriate to be starting an LLC for example and then he also wants to know about taxes with AdSense income.

Joe:
Yeah, I would say don’t worry about setting up an LLC in the beginning. Don’t worry about setting up a corporation and taxes and all that stuff. Just make sure you have a nice, approved AdSense account even if it’s only a personal AdSense account and get through the process of setting up a few sites. Make sure you can get them earning, ranked and earning and once you understand that, then you can worry about all that business stuff.

Justin:
Yeah. What if you’re building five, six, ten sites and you go, “You know, I hate this. I don’t want to do this. It’s making me a little bit of money but it’s just lame. I want to do something else.” You will do this whole process of setting up an LLC, spending this money and this time plus I think a lot of people will get lost in the business, like the admin aspect of it and not really focus on the revenue-driven aspect. People do that with logos and setting up their corporations. Don’t be that guy, right? Don’t do that.

Joe:
We talk about that all the time and it’s just so true in this case. I want to see you set up a few sites and not worry about the business.

Justin:
Yes, make some money. Until the business can pay for your business license and setting up your corporation and LLC, don’t even worry about it.

Joe:
To address the taxes thing directly, I’m not a tax adviser but yes, you have to pay taxes on AdSense income.

John:
Alright. Phil also wanted to know how many hours you guys work per week and then what you do to unwind.

Justin:
Sweet lord. How many hours per week? I mean I don’t know. It’s pretty broken up. We spend some of our time on the outsourcing business but most of our clients there are kind of running like clockwork. I spend a considerable amount of my time on brand building, creating content, reaching out to other people in the industry so that’s probably the most of my time. I would say I probably work some weeks 40 hours and some weeks 70, 80 hours. Recently, it has been more in the 70, 80 hours probably.

Joe:
Yeah, I was doing a computation in my hours of the day after I saw this question. I work about 50 hours a week but I use a breakup period everyday where I go and workout for two or three hours. It really helps me get through the long days.

Justin:
To unwind, we really use some of the cheap things you can do here in the Philippines. So like I went off and got a foot and hand massage for like $8 for like an hour and a half. Listen to a podcast. Just kind of hang out and chill. There’s a bunch of places to go here in Davao City that we can hang out. Plus in the Philippines, it’s relatively cheap to hop a flight and be on a beach. So when I need to get away, I need to unwind, I will basically tell Joe, “I’m out of here, man. I need a break. I’m taking my girlfriend. We’re going wherever for a week on the beach and I just want to chill the hell out,” and we’re cool like that. I put in really intense hours and then take a break and that’s just the way we roll.

John:
Alright. Next question is from Bill Walsh from Detroit and he wants to know how you stay focused and avoid the shiny object syndrome.

Justin:
It’s a good question. I wrote a post about this not that long ago about staying focused and making sure that you don’t like overanalyze something or like read too much into something. There’s a window of opportunity you have when you’re like researching a new subject or if you research enough to get started, that’s great. But if you continue on, right, you will get past the point at which you will actually take action and I think people that have the shiny object syndrome don’t even get to the point where they know enough to actually take action on it or they get past it, start thinking about the negatives or the potential of it not working and then, oh, here’s the next thing. Oh, here’s the next thing.

Joe:
Yeah. I would staying organized, breaking down your objectives into tasks and then sticking to that schedule at least for the foreseeable future. See things through. Don’t just switch horses all the time. Justin and I talked about this with you, John, remember? Switching your objectives or your business strategy in the middle of the month. Not a good idea.

Justin:
Yeah.

Joe:
We decide on a strategy on April 1st. This is what we’re going to focus on and that’s what we’re going to focus on until May 1st.

Justin:
It’s good not to be pigheaded about it, right? To where you’re like, “Oh, this is the strategy I determined for the year. This is what I’m going to do all year.” No. But like if you have a general strategy, you don’t let like one day or a couple of like speed bumps get in the way of you meeting your objectives. You have to meet your objectives. That’s your entire point, right?

John:
Ok. So if I’m a new business guy, how do I know when to throw in the towel and when to keep plowing forward so I can keep my momentum going and like when do I know that?

Justin:
Well, if I could answer that question, I would be a billionaire, John, right? Like when do you pivot? When is it a good time to turn and change your strategies or continue forward? Seth Godin talks about this in his book, The Dip. Basically it’s a good idea to say no to lots of projects.unless you know Derek Sivers mentioned this too, a “Hell yes!” or a no. Like don’t start a new project unless you feel very confident about it and once you start something, knock it out of the park, right?

So don’t even bother pivoting because you love the idea. Like there are some ideas I’ve taken on that I was so intense about, that I absolutely would not stop but I have to feel that way about it to be able to see it through the dip. You know what I mean?

John:
Yes. AdSense Flippers is kind of a good example of that because you guys definitely would do that in the beginning, right?

Justin:
Yeah. Definitely the first couple of months, we’re pretty miserable and we struggled, right? Our blog didn’t get much traffic. We weren’t making much money. It kind of sucks.

Joe:
But again, I will bring it back to organization. We’ve stayed organized. We stayed on plan and we stuck with it and it has been successful.

John:
Alright. Next question. This one is from John Daniels from Wyoming, Michigan and he wants to know what kind of income would you consider to be like doing well.

Justin:
Yes. Like an average per month per site or whatever? It really depends on your process. So if you’re Spencer from Niche Pursuits, right, you would need probably 50, 60, 70 bucks a month to be doing well and that’s based on his spin, right? So it all comes down to ROI. For us, we consider a site doing well if it’s making more than $10 a month which is about our average. Now our really good sites are making anywhere from $60 to $250 a month and our losers that aren’t that bad are making a couple of bucks a month.

Joe:
Yeah. I think we should distinguish the difference between doing well and being profitable. I mean we could have sites that just make as much as $4, $5 a month and it’s profitable.

Justin:
Yeah, it’s making us money. We’ve could sit on that site until the cows come home and just collect on that revenue.

Joe:
Yeah. It pays for more than the hosting, more than the domain name, more than the – and makes back the money that it cost to set it up therefore it’s profitable, what I consider a big win. Do I want a lot of those sites? No. I want the $10 or more sites because that’s what people are interested in buying.

John:
Cool. Next question is from Brandon P from Texas and he was saying, “For new people, this is kind of a market size question.  Like is there still room out there for new niche site builders to really make a name for themselves and to really grow their businesses?”

Justin:
I think so. There are people like obviously Niche Pursuits and us out there doing the niche sites especially when it comes to AdSense but I think this marketing model can be applied to a host of other things. It doesn’t even have to be niche sites with AdSense. You can do it with Amazon sites. You could do it with blog networks. Well, I don’t think you can do blog networks now but you can do lots of different things, not just niche AdSense sites.

Joe:
Yeah, and it doesn’t have to be internet marketing either. This whole idea of building a brand and then just talking about what you’re doing as you’re doing it and give that information away for free, I think that’s a very interesting way to approach the problem and build an audience for what you’re selling.

John:
Alright. Next one is from Carl from Georgia and he wants to know who did your AdSense Flippers logo with the cool guy with the surfboard.

Justin:
Well to be straight.. take a little bit of grief for that one, man. Someone was beating us up about our cartoony logo but we got it done on 99designs. We love 99designs for this crowdsourcing your creative stuff. I think it’s fantastic. Now like designers hate 99designs. It’s not really their thing but I’m not a designer. I don’t care. I’m a business guy. I just want a design.

Joe:
Yeah, designers hate it because it’s called spec work and basically that means doing things for free until someone likes it and then pays for it and they don’t like that. But as a business owner, especially business owners that are not very good designers, we don’t have much creative skill, Justin and I, we love things like 99designs. We get so many ideas from it.

Justin:
Our first logo was actually done by Fiverr. I paid for three gigs, picked the one I like the best. We ran with it. Put the blog up, straight out of WooThemes, out of the box and just set it up because we want to test the concept first, right? I think that’s the most important. We spent hardly any money, 15 bucks on our logo and then we went back and I think it was like maybe $200 or $300 bucks finally we paid for the logo. So …

Joe:
Yes.

John:
Alright. Cool. Next one, I like this name, is from Crunk from USA. What kind of visa do you have to live and work in the Philippines?

Joe:
Well, you don’t really need much of a visa to live and work in the Philippines. You could be on a tourist visa forever. I mean we know people who have been here for 13 years on a tourist visa and make their money online or they make their money from their wife’s business or something like that. They never worry about it at all.

Justin:
It’s not as strict as like Thailand where like you can’t really talk about the fact that you’re working and it may be problematic if you’re on a tourist visa. It’s not like that in the Philippines at all. It’s kind of like the Wild West out here. You come out here. You make money. People leave you alone.

Joe:
Now I happen to be on what’s called an SVEG, a special visa for employment generation because we have a corporation that employs more than 10 people. Justin and I are both eligible for that.

Justin:
I had one, man. I had my SVEG until I downgraded back to tourist because – I don’t even want to get into it but a whole host of things where they basically said it was no longer available and now it’s available again and I don’t know. I’m pretty disturbed by the whole process honestly but right now, I’m on tourist visa. It’s not an issue at all.

Joe:
Again, yes, I would just say it’s something not to focus on.

John:
Yeah, the tourist visa is pretty painless. You go down there every 60 days and spend your three hours in immigration. Done, right?

Alright. So Brian from Miami. He wanted to know if you guys broker websites for others and what about starting a marketplace if you don’t know.

Justin:
We do not broker websites for others right now. The reason for this is it’s just not really a game we want to get into. We would make a small percentage. Even if we took a larger percentage on the earnings I would rather sell my own sites, right? I mean I’m going to make more money doing that.

Second, it’s really hard to verify whether the site is legitimate, whether the AdSense clicks are real. Maybe they paid for a Fiverr gig to get clicks or who knows what they did with the sites. So it would be a vetting process each and every single time and that’s really not something we want to get into as far as brokering but if you do have broker deals where you do want to sell your site, we do have brokers we can refer you to that we know and trust.

Joe:
Yeah, I mean I think the vetting process is not scalable and we like scalable processes. So the idea of having our agents vet the people, I don’t know. That would be tough so that would mean a lot of our time would be invested in this process of talking to these sellers, these site sellers and making sure they’re legitimate and that would be very tiresome and time-consuming, I think.

Justin:
We seriously consider the marketplace. I still love the idea because I think Flippa is full of like – there’s a lot of junk on Flippa. You really have to dig through to find the good auctions and the good sellers. I think we had one where even like half of them were good. That would be useful but at this time, it’s not on the cards. We have a lot of other projects that are ahead of the marketplace.

So the next section we’re getting into is all about keyword research. What’s the first question, John? Hit us up.

John:
Alright. This is from Chris M from the United States and he wants to know if you use SpyFu to evaluate advertisers.

Joe:
I love SpyFu. I love it when we’re doing keyword research and look up advertisers. You can see how many advertisers there are, what their ads were, how it moved from month to month. I think it’s a great system. Don’t go overboard. You don’t have to look up every single keyword you research in SpyFu but if you ever have a questionable one, one where the advertiser competition – you’re not sure if it’s a three or four. Something looks odd about it. SpyFu is a great resource to look up.

Justin:
Yeah, definitely worth checking out if you haven’t. The free version is good enough and it gives you historical data on how many advertisers there are for the keyword too. So that’s helpful.

John:
Alright. MB from Australia says, “Do you ever see where CPC from Google Keyword Tool and the actual CPC don’t match up?”

Justin:
Absolutely. Sweet lord. All the time. Unfortunately, yeh. So we go after a keyword and based on our – we have a niche site profit calculator that will give you an idea on what the keyword will be worth and how much the site will make and then there are times where the CPC is way lower than we thought it would be. And it’s almost always lower than we thought it would be than higher, right? I mean sometimes the site is up there but that’s rare.

Joe:
Yes. We’ve seen it the other way but yeah, I would have to say most of the time, the CPCs are messed up on the lower end and I don’t really have a good explanation for that but it happens and I would just say at scale, we kind of mix it into the failure rate of our site.

Justin:
I have a pretty good answer for that, I think. Normally you get paid. I think it’s 68% of whatever the actual advertiser is paying. Now when you do the Google Keyword Tool, it will tell you what an advertiser would pay to be on the SERP, on Google SERP but on the ad network, it’s not that high. So it’s going to be some percentage. It’s going to be lower than what they’re paying to be on the Google SERP itself.

Joe:
That’s a good guess.

Justin:
Not a guess, buddy. It’s better than a guess. I mean lots of people talk about this. This is well-researched and documented. I will let you know.

John:
Alright. Andrea T from the United States says, “What does phrase-to-broad match signify?”

Justin:
A crappy keyword. Really, I mean kind of, right? Like phrase to broad, if it is under 10% in general – and this is from Market Samurai. This is their statistics but if it’s under 10%, it’s probably a weirdly-worded exact match phrase.

Joe:
Yes, absolutely. You see this all the time when you have the plural that doesn’t make sense. I’m trying to think of one right now.

Justin:
Blue suedes shoes or something. Like really kind of it’s oddly-worded and most people don’t type in that phrase but a few people do. So when you look at broad, it’s not – there’s a different phrase and exact match phrase they use much more often but that exact match phrase you’re looking at is used less than 10% of the time. It means you get so many searches that there are a few that are an exact match for that but it’s not worth going after because you’re targeting people that can’t spell or you know what I mean.

Joe:
Right.

John:
All right. Andrea also asked, “Do you think .com, .org, .net – are any of those any better than the others and why do you only stick with those domains?”

Joe:
Definitely say .com is going to be the best.

Justin:
For branding for sure, right?

Joe:
Yeah. And I don’t know for sure. I don’t have any data to back this up but I would say that .com is going to be better from an SEO perspective too. I mean I almost guarantee that it’s going to get you better results in rankings than .org or .net.

Justin:
I disagree with that a bit. I don’t think .com or .net or .org really matters all that much. We will take any. I mean the .com I think is definitely better for branding but that’s it. Now why do we only use our com, not our org? Here’s our reasoning, right? We’re finding enough keywords with .com, .net, .org available that we go after them.

Now there are plenty of people that have success with prefixes, suffixes. They use the keyword HQ.com. They will use a .info but it’s just not our process. Honestly, we didn’t start off with that so we decided not to add that later on. It’s not really something we wanted to explore.

Joe:
Yeah. We did a little bit of testing in the .biz, .info and dashes (-) and we just found that over
all, those sites take a little bit longer than normal to come around and we didn’t want to mix in another factor into the process that we could say, “Well, this site is not ranking. Is it because it’s a .biz?” So we like to simplify things especially when you’re doing that scale and that’s why we say stick to the basics.

Justin:
Here’s something interesting. I actually went back and looked at our .infos and .biz URLs and some of them – I think even on average, they performed better. Here’s the weird thing is that I think the – but they didn’t rank as well. The thing I think about it is that we were able to target keywords that are kind of more aggressive or more interesting or that were better when we went after a .info or .biz. But that because there’s more people targeting them, it’s harder to get ranked, right? So it’s not something we add to our process. We may do it with authority sites or something but we just don’t use it now.

John:
Cool. Alright. Next question is from Paul S from Colorado Springs. He wants to know if you actually use brand names in your domains and if you’ve ever had a cease and desist?

Joe:
We definitely had several cease-and-desists but not as many as you would think. I mean with over 1700 sites created, we’ve had less than 1% ever email us as a trademark violation.

Justin:
I think 18 now. I think 18 out of a little over 1700 sites.

Joe:
Yeah. So, it’s not very many and we have a process that we go through which basically complies with what they’re asking for. We ask that you do the same. Make sure to follow up on your email. Stay on top of it because you don’t want them to go after your hosting account or anything like that but sometimes, you can ask for money. You can ask for a moderate amount of money, a couple of hundred dollars and sometimes they will even pay for you to be compensated for the domain.

Justin:
Yeah. I would suggest – I mean if it’s a really potentially profitable keyword, we will take it. We prefer non-branded domains but we do pick them up and I will also state that when we do get contacted, it’s generally very early in the process, normally within the first 30 to 45 days of site creation. Only a few have been outside of that period. So it normally happens really early and you will know right away that that’s not a domain. It’s one that they aggressively target.

John:
OK. Next one is from Cam and he wants to know why you guys stopped using Market Samurai.

Justin:
Well, I love Market Samurai, a huge fan. I still am. I really like kind of their interface. It seems like a really well put together keyword research tool. They spent a ton of money on it. The thing is, it just wasn’t as effective as Long Tail Pro. It’s not as fast. It didn’t get us the information as quickly as we needed it and we do a hell of a lot of keyword research.

Joe:
I thought it was the Adobe AIR platform but Long Tail Pro is on the Adobe AIR platform and that’s not the reason why. Market Samurai is just so slow. It’s unusable at this point and if you’re going to do keyword research at any sort of scale like we are, it’s pretty much impossible.

Justin:
It’s too bad too. I mean if I choose the two same speed, I would choose Market Samurai, no question, but as it stands, Long Tail Pro gets it done for us.

John:
OK. Next question is from Brandon W from New York. He wants to know if you buy sites that you know won’t rank in the number one spot and then also if you factor that into your SEO value calculation.

Joe:
I love this question because we do take an approach of risk versus reward and that’s kind of where we use the SEO value, right? If the SEO value is quite high, over 25 or 30, then usually we can say a more risky proposition, one that will only rank in the bottom of the first page is going to be a good site. But if it’s at $8 or $10 right at that borderline, then the first page evaluation better be a five. It better be able to rank in the top results.

Justin:
Yeah. I better be able to own that keyword. If I’m not able to own it, it’s probably not worth it. It has an SEO value of like $10.30. So we do take that into account when we’re doing our first page evaluation and determining what our chance to rank is. Where we’re able to position based on SEO value is critical.

OK. Let’s get into our third section of questions which is all about content. What you got, John?

John:
Alright. First one is from Brandon W and he wants to know, “Do you push down images on CTR Theme even after the recent Google update?”

Joe:
For those of you that don’t know, CTR Theme has an option that allows you to use images and push the ads and content down on your page so that only the ad show above the fold. We don’t use this approach and we don’t recommend it especially with the new Google algorithm change but I would say in general it’s just a bad idea because your page looks very spammy and when somebody gets into it, they’re just going to hit the back button and bounce off your page.

John:
OK. Javier wants to know where you source your images from for your websites.

Justin:
Well, here’s the thing. We want to use keywords with our images, right? So let’s say that I’m looking for an image that’s about blue suede shoes, right? I may look up blue tennis shoes or other types of shoes on another search term and then pull that image off of Google images and then save that image with the keyword that I’m looking to rank for. So, blue suede shoes isn’t probably the best example but you kind of see what I’m saying. I will do a different search and then change the name of the image to something else that I want to rank for and then upload that.

Joe:
And stay away from sites that are trademarked or if the images are watermarked or anything like that. Stay away from those kinds of sites. You don’t want to use that because you could get contacted later on as a trademark or a copyright violation.

Justin:
Yeah. We won’t use images that are like specific to one site. Generally the images have been used on a bunch of different sites, right? So that’s typical for us.

John:
OK. Ian from Spain wants to know how you determine your secondary keywords for your inner pages.

Joe:
Well, I think we could do like a whole podcast on secondary keyword research and secondary content.

Justin:
So here’s what we do, right? When we do our original keyword research, we find our primary key phrase. We find our URL. After we’ve done that, we will take the primary key phrase, put that back into Long Tail Pro and look for secondary key phrases, right? So whatever secondary key phrases we get that have the right search volume. We don’t look at first page competition so much. We look at their search volume, the exact amount of search and then we will pick out two of those that we think closely matched the primary key phrase and make those secondaries.

We have two more secondaries that we look for. We let the content manager determine what the titles of those articles are going to be. We don’t base it based on exact match search volume. It will be closely tied to whatever the searcher is looking for when they find the site.

Joe:
We look at secondary pages and secondary keywords as more of an assist to the primary and we don’t really focus on it as in terms of traffic or something like that. We know it’s not going to be a big boost.

Justin:
So if I’m looking for blue ski boots for example, we may want a bit of content on it that talks about how to clean ski boots, how to keep them clean in the snow, right? Things like that, that someone that’s looking for ski boots may have an interest in. So it’s more about the interest of the searcher rather than exact match search phrases and numbers and that type of thing. OK. So let’s get right into the fourth section which is questions all about linkbuilding.

John:
Alright. Cool. The first one is from Don and he wants to know how  long after you launch a site do you see it settle in SERPs and then also look at what point do you really start the promotion.

Justin:
Typically some of our sites – and this is the exception, not the norm. Some of our sites will get ranked and start earning money in three weeks, five weeks, six weeks but that’s not typical. Normally we’re looking at somewhere between 75 to 105 days. So about three months for the site to kind of get up there, start getting ranked and start earning some cash.

John:
OK. Next one is from Kyle P from the United States and he wanted to know, “Would you ever go to oDesk for linkbuilding or is the quality too low?”

Justin:
We definitely go to oDesk for linkbuilding. That’s not necessarily a problem. My problem is this. It’s scary to use outsourcers for your linkbuilding. We prefer to use our internal team and the reason for this is because we don’t want to give out all of our sites to some other outsourcer that builds links. I mean these are the same types of people that are building our types of sites, right? So to give them our entire list of sites is not such a great idea.

Joe:
Yes, Justin, but I would say the difference here is you have to distinguish between a virtual assistant and an outsourcer, right? An outsourcer is somebody you just hire to do one particular project. A virtual assistant is someone you have on an ongoing basis as an employee for you and you only that just happens to be virtual and that person is OK to give your niches to and give a little bit of security access, that kind of thing.

Justin:
Yeah, I think someone on oDesk that’s a link builder that I had found or something, not really a problem. If you’re talking about outsourcing to someone like the WarriorForum or something that’s looking to build the same types of sites as you, that’s probably not such a hot idea.

John:
OK. Next question comes from James from New York and he wants your thoughts on automated link building tools like AMR, ScrapeBox, SEnuke X and then he also wants to know if UAW is considered spammy in your opinion.

Justin:
OK. So automated tools SEnuke X, ScrapeBox, UAW, those things are as spammy as you make them out to be, right? So SEnuke X, you can do that fairly manually. Like you can have the four, six windows open and then go and then manually enter some of the stuff rather than just have it like push button link building for you. In general, we’re not fans of automated link building processors.

Joe:
It’s just overkill for niche sites, I think, especially SEnuke X, wouldn’t you agree?

Justin:
Yeah. You can just hammer out the backlinks and honestly our types of sites don’t really need backlinking like that. Also I really think that like spammy or automated link building practices are probably not the best idea moving forward especially with all the problems, with BMR and other types of networks and I just really rather avoid that.

UAW, it is a bit spammy. I mean they do submit you to some of the article directories. Some of them are good article directories and some of them are kind of low-end article directories. They also submit to you a blog network. It’s like a public blog network so a lot of people have added their own blog. It’s not like UAW’s own personal blog network but it’s still a blog network so you have to be a little careful there.

We’re testing out UAW right now and we’ll definitely be getting back the results probably in a couple of months and let you know what our thoughts are there.

John:
Alright. Next one is from Phil V from London. He wants to know if you focus on social signals for better rankings after the recent Panda update.

Justin:
No. Honestly, no. Not for our niche sites. I mean social signals for the niches we’re going after is like outrageous. I mean there’s no way we need to worry about social signals.

Joe:
Whenever I stumble upon a niche site, I’m doing some searches and I stumble upon a site and I see it has like a Twitter and a “Share this by email” and a “Like me on Facebook,” I’m really thinking, “What was that guy thinking?”

Justin:
It’s weird, right? Like blue ski boots. I’m not going to get all fired up and tweet my friends about a blue ski boot site. I mean it’s sort of – now I think social signals are really important for authority sites, for things that could potentially go viral for stuff where it’s really, really aggressive, right? So like if you’re getting a lot of traffic, you run like a video site or something like that, you’ve got some really cool videos, stuff people would like, yes, I think social signals is important because you definitely want something just to go viral, that type of thing. But for our types of sites, really not needed.

So let’s get into the next session which is questions all about buying and selling websites.

John:
OK. This is from Maz Wing from Malaysia and they want to know how much is a website worth if it hasn’t made any money yet and can you still flip it?

Joe:
I would say not much. I mean most sites these days are based on monthly revenue. So if you have a site that doesn’t make anything, it’s going to be very hard to sell it because most people are not going to be interested in that.

Justin:
Well, I don’t know, Joe. I kind of disagree with that. I mean like yes, for our types of niche AdSense sites, it’s going to make a difference on how much they earn. But if you’ve got a really cool tool on your site that you really built, like the engineering behind it and like you put a lot of work into this product or something, it has some value outside of its ad revenue or subscriber base or whatever.

Joe:
Yeah. Then I would find a way to monetize that before I try to sell the site because you’re going to get a lot less for it without making any revenue.

Justin:
I do agree with that but here’s the thing. We found this with Twittart.com, right? If the revenue starts to slide, before it gets any worse, sell it off. You’re going to get a lower dollar amount because the revenue is slipping but if you don’t plan on putting anymore love into the site, that site will fade away to nothing. So at least sell it when you’re kind of hot on it, when you’re working on it and kind of care. If you start to care less about that site, it’s a pretty good time to flip it. Don’t let it just kind of die out. That’s a bad idea.

John:
OK, cool. Next one is from Dean. He wants to know what some of your best website selling tips are.

Justin:
Best tips for selling a website. We really kind of lay into that on the site, AdSenseFlippers.com. You can go to the section where it talks about selling sites. I would say – especially if you’re looking to sell on Flippa which is the biggest marketplace that you’re going to have the most buyers. A couple of things that we use are we look for like the golden trifecta on Flippa which would include being in the most active section. It would include being featured on the first page and it would include being in the “ending soon” or “just started” section.

If you’re in all three of those sections at once, you’re in really good shape. Now the way you do that is to be in the most active section requires the most bids. So a great way to do that is start off with a dollar with no reserve. Now a lot of people have reservations about that, right? I don’t want to sell my site for anything but the fact of the matter is, is that people are going to give it the value it deserves, right? And if you write honest copy and are very clear in your auction copy, you’re going to get what you should get.

So put in a dollar reserve and accept every single bid and let it climb. Once you get above the 14, 15 bids, you will get on the first page of the most active section. You also want to make sure that you’re featuring the auction. Definitely feature you can feature other times throughout the action depending on what the final value is going to be because it is kind of expensive but you can feature and get on the first page within the last 24 hours of your auction and that will put you on the ending soon, the most active and the featured position. That’s a great place to be.

Joe:
Yes. Another good tip for Flippa is have some sort of reputation. Buy and sell some small websites before you go on there and try to do your $10,000 site because if you have just a new username, that’s not going to be very attractive to buyers. I would also say if you can, if you can build a list of some sort of interested buyers, of people that you can email especially if you’re going to be buying and selling sites on a regular basis, that it’s a really good thing to build from a marketing perspective. And then the last tip that I would have for you is have a post-sales process in mind about how you’re going to migrate the site, how you’re going to communicate with the customer, what you’re going to ask them, how to template email. All this kind of stuff really helps you look professional.

Justin:
Yeah. Deliver for your clients, right? If you plan on this being a business and not just a one-off sale, you definitely want to make sure you’re delivering for the people that are buying from you because they’re the best chance for buying from you again, right? These are people who have already paid you money, that liked what you delivered for them. They’re going to come back to you again so make sure that you deliver good service.

John:
Do you guys feel like there’s a day of the week that’s important for like when the sale ends or is that irrelevant?

Justin:
For us we on Flippa, we put auctions up for about a week and we make sure that it goes over a weekend and I would end on a weekday. I like to end early morning US time, like Pacific Standard Time. That way they have like – because the bidding continues at the end, right? If someone bids in the last five minutes, it extends the bid out on Flippa to four hours. So I like to have that whole US period and then when the US day ends, Australia is waking up. So yes, I mean I would enter on a weekday. I would make sure it goes about a week or so and then make sure it goes over a weekend.

You don’t want to make the auction too long, like 30 days or something because the problem is when you just list the Flippa auction, there’s going to be some initial interest, right? Because you’re on the “just listed” section but they have to wait 30 days. They’re going to forget about you. People have lives. They kind of move on from their Flippa auctions they’re watching. Hell, they might not even log in to Flippa again.

But if it’s a week, like they’re probably going to kind of stay interested. They’re going to pay attention to what bids are coming in. You know what I mean?

John:
Yeah.

Justin:
So let’s get into our last section here which is all about scaling and automation.

John:
OK. Kyle P from the United States wants to know, “Will you guys do a webinar that focuses on working with VAs?”

Justin:
Well, here’s the thing, Kyle. We’re actually thinking about starting a podcast and doing a lot more content on outsourcing in general. So you will hear us speaking a lot more about outsourcing in the future. We probably could do a webinar that’s specifically on working with VAs and we will keep it in mind.

Joe:
Yeah, and I also say that we’re thinking about doing some smaller webinars, with small groups of people and this would be a great subject to cover as like a workshop with people and show them, step them through the process of training, hiring, that kind of thing.

Justin:
We could bring in an agent or two and have them speak to some of our VAs and kind of get a feel for how we work too. I think that would be helpful for a lot of people as well.

John:
Alright. Jeff wants to know if you guys use PM software like Basecamp or DeskAway.

Joe:
Yes, we do. We’re using Basecamp. It’s good. We don’t use it for planning out our niche sites. We just use a big spreadsheet for that. We need to move to a CRM, Justin.

Justin:
I know, man, and we’ve been talking about that forever, right?

Joe:
But, yes, Basecamp is great for our larger projects, for tracking that on a task basis, for setting up milestones. For me it usually gets things done and we stay on track with our business objectives but it’s not great for planning out niche sites. It’s just I can’t see using it for that.

Justin:
I talked – OK, I didn’t talk to you actually. I listened to a podcast where a guy was talking about how he uses Basecamp for his niche sites. So it’s doable. It’s just not something we use. Google Docs seems to be much more efficient. It’s the way we would rather do it and to be honest with you, using Basecamp, we’ve kind of slacked off on that over the last few months and our problem was like the work of entering the task and like trying to set it up was taking so much time that it became not worth it.

Remember that was one of our problems when we got started. We talked about that and said, “God, if your project management software is like so miserable that you just don’t want to do anymore, then what the hell is the point?”

Joe:
Yeah, I wish somebody would build a bridge between Google Apps and Basecamp so you have like an automated way to update your tasks and build projects right within the Gmail client. That would be valuable.

Justin:
That’s a sweet idea, man, and these are the types of things – these are real business problems that if someone could help us with or could create, I think they would find a lot of value. Create a lot of value for a lot of people, actually.

John:
Alright. Brian from Miami wants to know what is the cost to hire a team of 45 agents with Try BPO to pump out niche sites?

Justin:
Well, that’s a good question. To be honest with you, we’re not looking to currently take on teams that are building niche sites for people. I mean that’s not our outsourcing business or our outsourcing agents aren’t used for that purpose currently and we’re not really looking to do that.

Joe:
Yeah. Also I would say that Justin and I on the outsourcing site, we always have the win-win philosophy, right? We try to look for projects that are going to be not only good for us but good for the customer too and I don’t think we could provide an ROI. We could make it cheap enough for you that you could hire us and build enough sites for it to be worth it.

Justin:
Yeah, not to get a large enough return. It would be close. It would be close. I mean – and we would be worried to make sure that we’re getting enough margin on every agent to make it profitable and then making sure that you’re getting enough sites, quality sites that you can sell that are making you money. I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to be a part of that. I would rather have people do it on their own.

Joe:
Yeah. I would rather just focus on making our own sites.

Justin:
Yeah. I mean if we’re going to hire the staff, I would rather add them to our process and build out more sites that we know are going to make us money.

John:
OK. Jeff from Miami wants to know, “Can ManageWP manage sites over multiple servers?”

Joe:
Absolutely yes. You can do that, no problem. I love it. It’s a very good program. You should check it out. Yes, I can do from different providers, different servers, no issue whatsoever.

John:
Alright. And last question, James from New York says, “With so many niche sites, do you guys use different host servers?”

Joe:
Yes. That’s just one of the things that we started doing last year, midway through last year. We’ve reduced the number of sites we put on to any one hosting server. At one time, it was like 200 then I moved it down to a hundred. Now we’re down to about 25 per shared hosting account. So it really depends on how much risk you’re willing to – we always talk about siloing here and separating the sites and making sure there’s no way they’re all connected and that’s one of the ways we do it, is by setting up a new shared hosting account every 25 or so sites.

Justin:
I would definitely add to make sure that you’re not linking all of your sites together because now you’re building a web that’s going to look very similar to a blog network, that’s spread across multiple hosting accounts, right? That’s not a good idea so no interlinking of your sites. I really wouldn’t recommend it. That’s an easy way to cause your self lots of grief and look like a blog network. You might get taken down, similar to BMR. So avoid that.

So that’s it for the heart of this week’s episode. Let’s get right into our ninja marketing tips, tricks and our plans for the future.

***** The AdSense Flippers Podcast continues. *****

Justin:
So the first tip for you is Dropbox, Dropbox.com. If you’re not using Dropbox, you absolutely must get on this. They just recently doubled their referral bonus to 500 megabytes for free users and one gig for pro users. So anyone you refer to the program, you can get that. I’m going to be referring all my friends, family. I’m going to have them sign up just so I can get more storage.

Joe:
Yes. Because we push our customers to Dropbox, that’s how we share our site files and DB dumps with them and all that kind of stuff so every time a customer signs up for a Dropbox account, I get a referral. So I’m up to like 70, 80 gigs in my Dropbox.

Justin:
You have a pro account then.

Joe:
I do have a pro account but yes, I mean I’ve got so many referral bonuses, it’s amazing.

John:
I hate you for that. I have like 6 gigs and it took me like two years to get that.

Justin:
What do you think though about Dropbox? I mean it’s one of those things where it’s storage, right? I mean it’s going to get cheaper, right? They’re going to be able to give out more and more for free. Is it going to go to free?

Joe:
I think it has to. I mean this is one of the premises of Chris Anderson’s book, right? This is one of the things he talks about that it gets more and more bigger and bigger and then five years from now, you’re like, “Oh, remember, they were just giving out two gigabytes. Now they’re giving out 200.”

Justin:
Yeah. Gmail has some of that too where they added just a ton of storage, right? I think that would be interesting. That’s pretty disruptive, be it Dropbox. I mean you have to have a really smooth, slick UI though. I mean it has to be smooth. But if you could do that and make it really cheap for people, I mean why wouldn’t people switch over? I’m not stuck with Dropbox. I like them now but I mean I would switch, right?

So our next upcoming bit of news is we’re going to be interviewed on a couple of podcasts here in the near future. We’re specifically looking at Niche Pursuits. So Spencer from Niche Pursuits is probably going to have us on his podcast.

Additionally, we’re looking for other opportunities. So if you know of any podcasts you think you would like to hear us on or you think would be a really good conversation, please let us know. We’re also looking at Joseph Archibald and having him on the program. I know we were emailing a little bit back and forth. I would really like us to talk to him about our link building for our niche sites. I think he can provide a ton of value for us and for our readers and listeners. So I really like to hear what he has to say.

I mean our problem is we need a really like white hat, non-spammy, link building approach that’s cheap across a ton of sites, right?

Joe:
We need an SEO expert to help us with these link-building strategies, someone that has some real knowledge, has done some testing and has the data to back up any decision or advice that he gives.

Justin:
Last thing, we are heading to Cebu May 11th through 13th and we are bringing an entourage, right?

Joe:
Yeah, baby. It’s going to be a killer.

Justin:
We’re bringing a whole bunch of people from Davao City so it would be really cool. It’s going to be me, you, John, a girlfriend and we’re bringing a maid, right? We’re bringing a bunch of friends here, other business owners and there’s going to be a whole bunch of fun going on, going down in Cebu, May 11th through 13th.

Joe:
Chris Tucker, we’re coming your way, baby.

Justin:
Yeah. So that would be really fun. I think it would be really interesting to be able to see like some of the technical talent and be able to hopefully recruit some guys there and just kind of hang out with some other expats and business owners that are hanging out in Cebu City. So if you happen to be around, if you’re in the Philippines, we would love to meet up with you when we’re in Cebu.

Well that’s it for this week’s Episode of the AdSense Flippers Podcast. We appreciate your being with us. Make sure to check us out at Twitter, @AdSenseFlippers. We would love to hear from you.

Joe:
Bye-bye, everybody.

John:
Adios.

 

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Launching our new niche site guide, “Building A Niche Site Empire”
  • Business/Marketing Q’s: Why do you give all of this away?  Is there still room in this niche?  Will your broker websites sales in the future?
  • Keyword Research Q’s: Do you buy domains you know you can’t rank #1 for?  Do you use brand names and do you receive cease and desists?  What’s better, a .com, .net, or .org?
  • Content Q’s: Where do you get your images from?  How do you select secondary keywords?  What are you thoughts on the recent above-the-fold advertising update from Google?
  • Linkbuilding Q’s: How long do you wait before linkbuilding?  What are your thoughts on automated linkbuilding?  Are social signals important for you? Buying/Selling
  • Website Q’s: Are websites without earnings worth anything?  How much?  What are your best tips for selling websites?
  •  Scaling/Automation Q’s: What project management software do you use?  Do you use different host servers?  How do I build a VA team for niche sites and how much will it cost?

Mentions:

  • Virtual Staff Finder – Your BEST source for qualified Virtual Assistants.
  • 99 Designs – Source for the AdSense Flippers logo and a great place to crowdsource creative work.
  • SpyFu – Great free source for reviewing advertiser competition in a niche.
  • Website Selling Secrets – Our BEST tips for selling websites for a premium on sites like Flippa.com.
  • Dropbox – Great file-sharing service that now offers twice the storage for referrals!
  • StartUp Weekend Cebu – Come hang out with us May 11-13 and build a business over the weekend!

We hope you liked this episode and we’d love to hear from you!  Give us a shout on Twitter or feel free to leave a comment below!


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Discussion
Leave a comment
  1. Chris says:

    Hey guys, would def. love the KW newsletter if you’re still considering it!

  2. Johnmierd says:

    The presentation of your business is very nice, but what do u think about the fact that on flippa for exampleu only show 2 month earnings for a site and u put the buy now for almost 20x month income knowing that the chance someone ever is going to make his money back is really low and maybe there are no chances.

    • Many customers have contacted and said they are still on track to earn back their initial investment in 20 months time. Some have even gone up while a few went down mostly through fault of their own. These are risky investments and are not for everyone.

  3. Guest says:

    Wow, great post.

  4. Meincastrop says:

    Hey keep up the incredible work! i can’t believe you give all of this for free! one question: what about keywords with for example 170 monthly local searches but high cpc like 9 or 10$? should i take this keyword to build a site around it? thank you again for the great gift you are giving away for free!

  5. drme says:

    Hi,

    I love the information, you provide.

    have a question, is there a way in the future and also for the past podcats to provide transcripts for them, for example in pdf ?

    Thanks and keep up the good work

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Great question!

      We’re in the process of getting transcripts completed for all of our episodes. You’ll notice Ep 14-17 or so already have transcripts up as do Episodes 1-3…we’re working on more. You’ll find the transcripts on the blog post for the episode just by clicking the link…

  6. Andre Garde says:

    Great cast again, guys.

    About Dropbox, I love it. You missed that it also integrates directly with ManageWP, so you can do backups automatically to your Dropbox folder and have it sync with your servers/PCs at home. It beats paying for Amazon S3 (although that’s also fairly cheap).

  7. Vin D'Eletto says:

    By the way you guys speak about link building, I get the feeling that you are doing more than just Social Bookmarking, SYA, and light blog commenting. Are you hitting the sites with anything else besides what’s in the guide?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Vin,

      Nothing else. In fact, we’ve fallen behind and have done even LESS for some of our sites, which I think has hurt their average returns a bit. Check out our latest linkbuilding post to find out where we’re at…we just posted this recently:

      http://adsenseflippers.com/niche-websites/niche-site-linkbuilding-strategy-part-2

      I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately. I think we want to do LESS in the future, but have it be higher quality. Considering a light-pillar link strategy to start and possibly a “clean-up” crew that can build a couple more and then backlinks to those pillar links 3-4 months down the road after we see how they’re doing. This is all in my head right now…no real plan or anything laid out…

  8. stevewyman says:

    HI

    So how come Jo Archibald has not signed up for the podcast!

    Steve

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Oh, he’s doing it…we need his help! lol Actually, we spoke to him about it via email and we’re setting something up. Expect something in a couple of weeks!

  9. Justin, how many foot massages do you get? I think I’ve heard you mention it at least 3 or 4 times :-)

    I have gotten a few letters from Lawyers threatening me about brand domains saying that they can sue me for $100,000…I have to be honest that it scares me a bit. However I did have a guy contact me and I got $100 for the domain…which made it profitable.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      LOL, Mike!

      I listened to this back after the edits and thought the same thing, “Damn, I mention foot massage alot!” hehe

      I think it’s not ideal. There’s a bit of risk there, for sure…but the rewards are often worth it. Definitely some caution should be taken here…

  10. Chris says:

    Hi Justin and Joe,

    Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions. You guys are very helpful and I appreciate that. I also downloaded your new niche empire guide. Thanks!

    One question that I want to follow up on is regarding sourcing images. I once read a post by Pat Flynn that summarizes how he gets images to use on his sites, and basically he said to buy stock photos or get them from free image sites like sxc.hu, as getting photos from the web at large violates their copyright. Here is the post in question: http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/how-to-find-images-blog-guide/

    I have been confused about this for a long time and would appreciate if you can shed light on it. Apparently you don’t buy stock photos but just download them from the web and rename them. I wanted to do the same but I refrain from it. Please read the above post by Pat, particularly under the subheading “Google Image Search,” for reference.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Honestly I think Pat is right, that is the BETTER way to do things. Unfortunately, when you are doing things at scale sometimes you need images that are a little hard to find for your niche. Most images on the net are not legally copyrighted (though they may be protested under other rules) and therefore can be used freely. However, should you be contacted, be sure to take them down immediately. It’s not worth putting your hosting account at risk.

      We have been contacted only three times about images on our sites and one time, they copyright holder wanted the images left up, but credit given and a link back to his site. We complied.

      • Chris says:

        If that’s the case, then I guess it’s your duty to make that thing clear to all of us your listeners next time, so as not to encourage others to do the same – since you have mentioned it in more than one occasion as far as I remember.

        That’s the reason stock photos do business in the first place. If people use images from the web freely, what’s the point of photographers and stock photo sites doing their thing?

        Allow me, thus, to point out 3 things:

        1. Using random web images without checking copyright provisions and just relying on copyright owners to contact you later is WRONG. It is no different than randomly taking something and only when you get caught would you acknowledge that you shouldn’t have done what you have done.

        At worse, it’s comparable to stealing something and hoping you don’t get caught.

        Not getting caught is not a justification that what you did is right.

        2. When you do it, you’re doing harm to the stock photography business. When you share what you do to others, you’re multiplying the harm being done.

        3. That you have so many sites and you need to do things the cheap way, and that you can’t find stock photos for some of the niches, and that it would take too much effort and time to check for copyrights and contact the copyright owners — are NOT an excuse at all.

        4. Most of us look up to you because we think you have good work ethics and an effective system, so you have set an example to us.

        There are other ways to source photos for free and legally, and I personally, am willing to take inferior images even if it means not ranking the site well or not having a quality website — just that I know that I don’t take and use what is not mine. I hope you implement change.

        • Good points Chris, perhaps something we should address in upcoming revisions to our process. Thanks for pointing this out!

        • JustinWCooke says:

          Hey Chris,

          While I do feel a bit of an attack here and it seems that you were purposefully setting us up (Asking a question and then, in your response, explaining you already knew the question and using that opportunity to lay into us) I actually agree with your overall point.

          The truth is, I think, that Pat better understands his responsibility to put out his content to his readers/listeners explaining the RIGHT way to do it. We’re fairly new at this…so there may be times we explain how we do something that is probably not the BEST way to go about things…but we’d at least like to be honest with our readers/listeners about exactly what we’re doing.

          The interesting thing is this: By doing that, our readers can, in turn, hold us accountable for the steps we take.

          Appreciate your thoughts, even if I wasn’t happy about being setup…

          • Chris says:

            I’m sorry if my posts seem to look like an attack and a setup. But I want to assure you that you don’t have a hater in me (and probably in 99% of people who know you) for an “attack” to be worthy of being thrown on you. The post was more a call to not use and share the process to others than anything else — especially since Joe’s 1st response did not indicate any implementation of change.

            To say that it was a setup would mean that I lied on the first post by saying I’m confused, etc., and that the 2nd post was already written on my mind or somewhere when I made the first.

            My take on the issue before and after Joe’s response (and after reviewing Pat’s post) were actually different. While listening to your podcast, I stopped at that point where you talk about images because that’s something I long wanted to clarify in my head but constantly forget asking about.

            Judging by the way you confidently shared to us the said process (which I already heard from you before), I for a moment felt confident myself that you had a good reason for doing it. I mean, Justin? Joe? Would err about something as simple as knowing the process of sourcing images? Not a chance!

            When I commented, inserting the url of Pat’s post was originally not part of it but I decided to Google it and include it. I read it a long time ago but only yesterday was I able to review it.

            Honestly, I wasn’t aware that you are, like you said, fairly new at this. And I believe you 100%, otherwise you would not share your process in the podcast. It just proves your honesty. And your responses to the issue, proves your integrity.

            I could almost regret having done this because I just gave you a big problem — I understand what it means to have a lot of sites (I have 68) and it sure will take time and lots of headaches if you transition to Pat’s process. But I certainly stand by my suggestion that others should not hear about and do it.

            I myself have written an ebook and am selling it, and I worry about others stealing it because there’s almost no way I could know – it’s easy to change its title. And what more the images – just change the image’s name and the copyright owner wouldn’t know – unless he happens to chance upon it among the billions of images that exist. The law even states that you don’t have to apply for a copyright for an ebook (not very sure about images); when you publish it, you own the copyright. If this is true in the case of images, which I guess it is, then sourcing images from the web truly isn’t good.

            I apologize for the harshness of my tone in the 2nd post. I think I somehow went overboard, but that certainly came from a realization (reinforced by Joe’s response and reviewing Pat’s post) and not as a setup.

            Wow, did I just write 1000 words? :)

            I wish you all the best.

          • No problem, Chris, we appreciate your honest feedback and will take back as food for thought. We always looking to improve the process and ourselves, so honest feedback like this is helpful.

            Right now we are “under attack” in a few other threads, so we had to turn off automatic comment approval. This wasn’t directed as you, as your comments have bell well thought out and written. However, the all the spam commenting was distracting us from business, so we decided to turn it off for now and simply approve everything.

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