AFP 7: The Transparent Business Model

Justin Cooke January 27, 2012

In Episode 7, we lay out some of the differences in the Old Vs. New ways of thinking and how that’s opened the path to success for the Transparent Business Model to bloom.  Only a few years ago, Joe and I were convinced that a more secretive, “don’t feed your competitors” approach to business was THE best way to operate.  In completely changing direction and approach with AdSenseFlippers, we’ve found a model that allows you to quickly expand your horizons and add opportunities to your business that we’d never thought were possible.  We cover our journey from here to there with examples in this episode.

The Transparent Business Model

In particular, we look at the changes in the job or career market, the Closed Vs. Open system approach, and the Paid Vs. Free model as it applies to information.

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Topics Discussed Include:

  • Announcement for new AF Intern
  • Amazing site sales in January
  • Change in the “standard narrative” when it comes to career paths
  • Difference between Closed and Open systems in terms of business strategy
  • How to leverage authority vs. secrecy
  • What used to be feeding your competitors now becomes building brand evangelists
  • Give your customers what they need and, if you don’t have it, send them to those that do
  • You don’t have to trade time for dollars.  The new model allows you to work for alternative currencies.  (loyalty, authority, evangelism, etc.)
Got some ideas?  Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


  • Theonlineanswer says:

    Ok, here’s my comment… I am working on my marathon “catch up” on your podcasts since I just found your site. However, there’s no “next podcast option”. I have to use the back arrow to navigate. Small thing but would be really handy 😀

  • Rob Cubbon says:

    Really excellent podcast. I’m definitely a proponent of the new transparent way of doing business – getting paid in reputation points. It does work. People see you giving away excellent information for free and assume that you run a great business because you can afford to do that.

  • steve says:

    congrats to the intern.

    That should be an amazing experience

  • Stephen Warren says:

    Hi Guys,

    Does the new transparent model include allowing people to come to your office and check out how everything goes down?
    I might make the trip down to Davao in February or March to check out any lessons learned especially on the “Intern” experience.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Stephen,

      Sorry…the transparent model does NOT include such an offer. However, you’ll be glad to know we do accept payment in San Miguel Light beer…several of those and we’ll tell you EVERYTHING you want to know! 🙂

      Can definitely check out the intern situation. He gets here mid-late Feb.

  • Shinu says:

    Hey guys, I was wondering, how do you prevent bogus refunds when using paypal? What if a buyer opens a disputes and paypal, being as buyer-friendly as they are, grant the buyer a bogus refund? How do you prevent this kind of fraud with paypal?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Great question, Shinu.

      This was a larger concern for us at first. I’ve read some real HORROR stories when it comes to Paypal regarding shutdown accounts, non-accessible money, the ease with which buyers can end up with the sites AND their money back, etc. I don’t know if it’s luck or what, but we’ve never had any problems with Paypal so far and we’ve used them for a ton of transactions, both with AdSenseFlippers and TryBPO. The “only” problem we had was one they warned us about and let us know in advance…when we started using them as a merchant account, they put 90-120-180 day holds on certain percentages of the revenue we brought in, whether it was using the merchant services or not. (We’ve since shut that option down…was for a project that didn’t work out…)

      While I would say we keep fantastic records from all of our transactions via Paypal…we’ve never actually had to use them. All of our buyers have (luckily) been fantastic. We’ve had some pretty odd international transactions too…we called Paypal about them beforehand in a few cases…but they all worked out just fine.

      I would add that the recent 20K purchase was done via wire transfer. That was simply too large of a purchase for us to feel comfortable with the risk. (even if it’s extremely slight) The buyer completely understood where we were coming from which was great.

      • Shinu says:

        Thanks Justin, I have one more question btw: What’s the best day to end an auction on Flippa?

        • JustinWCooke says:

          Hey Shinu,

          Based on both our personal experience and from researching those that have blogged about it and are trustworthy, it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. I think FlipFilter looked at the data and found a day or two that might be best, but I think it was inside the margin of error. For the most part, we think it’s best to have the auction for about a week, make sure get through a weekend, and end on a weekday.

          I would also say to NOT have that weekday be Friday in case the auction extends into the weekend…we try to have ours end in the morning PST so that we then have all day for others to see and bid if it keeps extending…

  • Chris says:

    Hey guys,
    Thanks for another awesome podcast.

    I have a couple questions relating to the latest Google algorithm changes. I wanted to know if they had affected any of your sites and if so, what changes were you making to your ad layouts.

    I’ve been using the Clickbump themes and want to try out CTR theme but some of the layouts look pretty aggressive. Especially the one with the two big ad blocks right at the top of the content. Are the other layouts pretty safe and viable in your opinion?


    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Chris,

      We haven’t noticed any changes from the recent algo shift with our sites. With CTR Theme, you can select the ad layouts you want rotated, so you can decline to use those that are the most aggressive. If you setup the appropriate channels in AdSense, you can track the effectiveness of each ad layout and run with the one that’s bringing the most success…cool stuff…

  • Another question for you… 🙂

    What instructions do you give you domain finders for researching domains?

  • Another question for you… 🙂

    What instructions do you give you domain finders for researching domains?

    • Here are the instructions I’m giving to my workers. I’d be interested to see what you think.

      • JustinWCooke says:

        Looks good, Mike…just a couple of points:

        1. Make sure they login rather than using the captcha…you’ll get more KW’s that way.

        2. Starting from 2K and up when it comes to local exact match will miss many of the lower search volume keywords that would be EASY to rank for. I know you’re trying to go for the gold here, though…but we found it useful to mix it up and go for some of the “really easy” stuff too for variance.

        3. The fact that “Phrase To Broad” is not checked with the GKT will leave you with some oddly worded phrases. This should be relatively easy to spot for you, though, from your final list…make sure to double check the KW’s before selecting/purchasing of course!

  • Hey guys,

    I was wondering how many Build My Rank articles you through at a site per day?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Mike,

      Each of our sites gets 5 BMR links each…that’s it. We have 5 articles written and posted for each site and then move on…

      • Thanks for the info.

        I’ll be testing out Build My Rank this month. I’m going to send 3 links per day to five sites for one month. They are all on the first page but I’m hoping that this slow link building will push them up the ranks.

        I’m paying $180 for the BMR service plus 450 150-word articles all together. Good deal?

        • stevewyman says:

          Hi Mike

          Your paying $180 per month and for that you get the BMR subscription PLUS 450 off BMR posts uploaded?

          With BMR being $59 your paying $121 for 450 posts or $0.26 per post?

  • Dan says:

    Really enjoyed the theoretical bit here guys about the escalator and ‘new world order.’ Although a lot of people have been talking about this stuff as journalists etc, it’s still rare to hear first person perspectives on it. Contrats to John he has no idea what he’s in for!!!! MUHAHAHHAHAAHAHHHAHH

    Just kidding.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, Dan.

      I think it was you who tweeted the escalator article or was it another DC member? Anyway, thought it was really interesting…definitely worth the read.

      Some bloggers, IMers, and small businesses are going towards the transparent model…it will be interesting if/when the more medium sized businesses take it on.

      BTW…as part of an interview we did with Mark Thompson for his podcast:

      He gave us access to his private membership forum to answer questions, check it out, etc. In one of the posts he’s recently mentioned he’s considering taking on an Intern a la TropicalMBA style…a bunch of commenters were in favor and mention TropicalWorkforce. Sweet! Word is spreading! hehe

      John’s in for quite a trip, that’s for sure. Aside from the work/business stuff…we’ll make sure we sneak in some kick-ass trips/experiences as well. 🙂

      • Dan says:

        too cool! thanks for that info, that’s really inspiring. Elisa and I are taking a lot of your advice on the TWF stuff and trying to push it in the coming weeks.

    • John DeVries says:

      Thanks Dan! I’m so pumped! And, on a side note, none of this would be happening if you hadn’t taken the leap to start TMBA and TropicalWorkforce. I’m so thrilled to be benefiting from your initiative. 🙂

  • I love the transparency model. It’s such a refreshing approach compared to all the crap sold on the Warrior Forum.

    Thanks for all your help!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Agreed, Mike.

      It will be interesting as more people take on transparency as a business model…how will that look, eh?

  • Johan Woods says:

    Haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but going by previous podcasts, it can only be high-quality!

    But, wanted to stop by quickly and say CONGRATS to the new intern! Enjoy it!

  • John DeVries says:

    Most of my graduating or recently graduated friends are feeling the “escalator” problem. Through your open business model and internships, you guys are giving people the tools to build a life and career outside of the system. So, thanks again! What an amazing opportunity; I can’t wait to get over there.

    Also, I second Joe’s comments about Notepad++ and Gimp. I pretty much live in those applications.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey buddy,

      That’s a great article, eh? We’ve had a ton of discussions about how there will be MANY more businesses, jobs, opportunities, etc. that are “outside the system” in the years to come. With globalization and a better informed young workforce, I think we’re on the bleeding edge here.

      Of course…this is us talking to OTHER people in a similar situation…so maybe we’re outliers and this will never go mainstream…we’ll see!

      Excited to get you out here, man…

    • See I knew there was a reason I liked you. Glad to see we can share some technical aspects. Looking forward to collaborating with you on design and development projects. It’s going to be hard work, but we’ll have fun too!

      • John DeVries says:

        I’m definitely looking forward to it. Should be a good time! (Any Red Bull in the Philippines?!? Coding could get ugly. )


        • There are energy drinks, but no Red Bull. That brings up a good point — you should bring any items you just can’t live without as most brands are not available here. I’m not saying to stuff your suitcase with disposable toiletries, but you might want to bring an extra supply of your essentials until you find a local brands that works for you.

    • dano says:

      Gefeliciteerd John, maak die Fillipijnen gek daar ;P

  • FIRST!

    But seriously, great stuff again guys, you make me want to buy godamn adsenses sites, something I never would have thought of doing a month ago.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      BOOM! Thanks, buddy!

      I know we’ve been talking about the “what if” of you buying some sites, building them out and recouping your investment inside of 12 months. When the Intern gets here we plan on testing this out with our OWN sites to see if we can build some of them out a bit more to increase value, figure out WHICH sites have the BEST opportunity of success there, etc…should be interesting!

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