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February 3, 2014

Bitcoin - Is A Hard Crash Inevitable?

Category: Internet Marketing — Answers 2000 @ 4:51 pm

There is a lot of media hype about Bitcoin, a type of peer-to-peer virtual currency at the moment.

Most of this hype has been driven by the fact that the market price for Bitcoins has risen from about $10 to about $1,000 in about the last year (or is it the hype which has caused the price rise?). Some people have made a lot of money during this price rise, and although there have been a few serious hiccups during the price rise - some people think there is potential from making more money by speculating Bitcoin will rise further still.

I don’t think that I have nearly enough information to give an opinion about whether Bitcoin’s price will rise further, but I am going to make a prediction about Bitcoin’s future - one that Bitcoin fans aren’t going to like - I believe that a hard-crash is pretty much inevitable. In the past, during its rise in price, Bitcoin’s had some incredible price crashes - down by 30% or 50% in a day - but I’m talking about a price crash back down to virtually zero per coin.

First off though, I can clearly see that there is a significant innovation in the design of Bitcoin - one that many of Bitcoin’s critics fail to recognize. Bitcoin is the first peer-to-peer system for managing relationships of trust between multiple parties - this is the part of Bitcoin’s design that acts as a distributed ledger keeping track of everybody’s Bitcoins, and not allowing any party to cheat. (Previously attempts at digital currencies required one trusted party to act as a banker).

Peer-to-peer systems for managing a relationships of trust could well be economically important - and I think they almost certainly will be economically important to some extent (although I don’t know whether they will be a small niche or a huge) - but that actually has virtually nothing to do with with whether the “coins” used in Bitcoin’s network have any real value.

The fact is Bitcoin has no exclusive ownership of the peer-to-peer network of trust idea, and anybody can use the same idea to setup their own similar network for any purpose - whether it it be a digital currency (known as a “crypto-currency”) or anything else they might want. In fact, dozens, if not hundreds, of other groups already have already set up their own rival crypto currencies based on this same idea - and of course each of these other groups, have their own types of digital coins.

In summary, digital coins aren’t valuable, because there is no real barrier to entry to creating or “finding” as many as you want.

To give an analogy, if somebody in the 70s had said “this silicon chip thing looks like a valuable innovation”, then of course they would have been right. But if they had then gone out and bought as much silicon as they can, expecting it to appreciate in long-term value - they would have fundamentally missed the point. Sand (silicon oxide) didn’t become more valuable as a result of the rise of the computer industry - because we could easily dig more sand up from the ground whenever needed.

Likewise crypto-coins aren’t in my opinion going to get more valuable even if the peer-to-peer networks of trust become a really important industry. The fact is that we can always create more crypto-coins whenever needed (yes the other coins won’t be Bitcoins, but I doubt that matters in the long run, as they are perfectly good substitutes - being able to perform the same function but more cheaply).

Bitcoin’s price rise reminds me of beanie babies. Back then there were people saying “but they are only going to make 10,000 purple pandas*“, just like there are people today saying “they are only going to make 21 million Bitcoins”. The purple pandas went down in value, because everybody apart from beanie baby speculators realised that other brands of cuddly toy were perfectly good and much cheaper substitutes for purple panda beanie babies - and they had a very strong economic incentive to look for substitutes once speculators had driven the beanie baby price up to stupid levels.

Likewise, people who really want to use crypto-currencies (rather than speculate on them), have a strong economic incentive to find a substitute to Bitcoins, now that the price has been driven so high by speculation. And so I predict like beanie babies, and other markets before them, Bitcoin speculators will find out that the prices driven high by pure speculation, can crash to virtually zero at any time.

Of course, none of the above is meant to imply that some people won’t make a lot of money speculating on Bitcoins - I’m sure many will, by entering and leaving the market at the right time….

…This article is just my personal opinion, not intended as investment advice of any form - but if you disagree (or agree and have something interesting to say), please post a comment!



* Sorry if my knowledge of the precise description and numbers of varieties beanie babies is less than encyclopedic, or not even entirely correct, but you get the point.


   

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January 24, 2014

PHP Poll Script Updated - Now Cloud-Safe

Category: Company Announcements, Internet Marketing, Webmasters/Web Design — Answers 2000 @ 9:45 am

We’re pleased to announce an update to our PHP Poll Script. This script allows you to easily adding voting polls (as many different polls as you want) to your websites or blogs, and display the results of users voting as beautiful graphics - bar charts, pie, charts, etc. The new version of the script is now fully-compatible with both traditional web hosts and the increasing popular cloud-based web hosting services that many people are now adopting.

Here’s an example poll voting form (they can be customized):

An Example Poll:
What is your favorite sport?
Baseball
Cricket
Football
Hockey
Rugby
Soccer
Tennis
Other

Here are some examples of how the script can display the results of voting - note: as bar charts, pie charts, or both:


PHP Poll Script - Example Bar and Pie Charts

PHP Poll Script - Example Bar Chart

PHP Poll Script - Example Pie Chart

Here’s a video of demonstrating how easy the script is to use:

PHP Poll Script Video Demo:

To learn more or get your own copy of our PHP script, please click here.


   

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January 22, 2014

Network Solutions Customer? Check Your Email! [Updated]

Category: Webmasters/Web Design — Answers 2000 @ 12:08 pm

Disclosure: Our company is a Domain.com/Dotster affiliate. We also are a Dotster customer and have been for some years. We may earn a commission if you buy a domain name or other/product service from them after following a link from this website

Note: See the Important Update at the bottom of this story

Do you use Network Solutions as a domain registrar? Perhaps you used them in the past, have subsequently switched to another registrar, but still have a couple of domains with Network Solutions? You might want to check your email inbox carefully if you any domains with Network Solutions.

Network Solutions have recently introduced a new program, called “WebLock” which helps protect high-value and premium domain names from unauthorized transfers or modifications. I have to say that is a very good idea - many domain name owners need protection for their premium names, and some will want top of the line security, which is what “WebLock” claims to offer.

However, according to Brent Simmons you might get automatically enrolled in this program - which may not be what you want - especially when you find out the cost - $1,850 for the first year - and $1,350 for each subsequent year!

According to Mr Simmons, Network Solutions sent him email, saying that he had been enrolled, but you could opt-out if he wanted to. He’s chosen to opt-in, and actually move his domains to another registrar. But one has to wander what would have had happened had he missed the email, or had the email gone into his spam folder - I presume that he would have been billed, and only found out a month later when the credit card statement came?

My personal view on this (assuming Simmons’ summary is correct) is that I applaud Network Solutions for offering their customers a high-level security option - but I strongly believe that they should be asking customers to opt-in, not to opt-out, especially given the relatively high price of this option! Auto-enrolling customers into high-priced services to me feels like some inappropriate behavior - and really I would expect better from an established company like Network Solutions.

And the moral of the story: If you have any domains with Network Solutions, check your email carefully! Alternatively you might want to consider switching to another domain registrar - we currently use Dotster.com for most of our domain names.

Important Update:

Web.com, the parent of Network Solutions, have just provided an interview by their CEO, Jason Teichman, to DomainNameWire.com. In the interview, Teichman says that the WebLock program will be opt-in, not opt-out - nobody will be charged unless they agree to add it - and that the wording of the announcement email could have been better.

All I can say then is: Three cheers to Web.com/Network Solutions for acting the right way, and offering what looks like a worthwhile new service (for those who need it).


   

• • •

January 20, 2014

Top Site PHP Script Updated - Now Fully Cloud Hosting Compatible

Category: Company Announcements, Internet Marketing, Webmasters/Web Design — Answers 2000 @ 4:38 pm

We are pleased to announce the release of a new version of our PHP Top Site Script. This is a powerful script that you can install on your web site, and which you can use to get other webmasters to send you free traffic - yes it really works!

The new version, 4.00 of our Top Site script is now fully compatible with both regular web hosting environments (including dedicated servers, shared servers, and virtual servers), and with cloud-hosting web services, which are becoming increasingly. popular.

You can see an example of a customer successfully using our top site at www.topprepperwebsites.com/.

To find out more about starting your own top site - or to get the script - please click here.


   

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December 11, 2013

CoverFactory eBook Cover Software reviewed by FileCluster

Category: Company Announcements, eBook Marketing & Publishing — Answers 2000 @ 3:04 pm

CoverFactory, our for software for making eBook covers has been reviewed by FileCluster. Check out their review of CoverFactory - as you can see, from the screenshots etc., unlike some reviewers, they seem to have done a proper test of the program. Thanks guys!

Read their review for yourself, but to summarize, the program received a 5-star ("Excellent") rating, more than 9 out of 10 in all five categories evaluated.

If you haven’t already tried CoverFactory - there’s a free trial version which you can download and try out for free.

Here some examples of the sorts of images that you can easily produce using CoverFactory:


   

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October 19, 2013

I’m not making this stuff up: More on the “Evaluating Internet Business Opportunities - Infographic”

Category: Internet Marketing — Answers 2000 @ 10:44 am

A while ago, I posted an infographic and a blog post about how to evaluate internet business opportunities… at least the kind of criteria that I would use myself.

I received some negative comments on Facebook and elsewhere suggesting the infographic was biased against MLMs. I’m not biased against MLMs in general - while I have no interest in participating in them - if other people find legitimate MLMs to be a good model (and some apparently do), that is fine with me. My concern however is with illegitimate MLMs - that is MLMs which are disguised pyramid or Ponzi schemes:

  • A pyramid scheme is one which pays participants based on recruiting more participants into the scheme - rather than based on legitimate sales of products to non-participants in the scheme (retail customers).
  • A Ponzi scheme is an fraudulent investment scheme, based on paying returns to earlier investors, using money taken from later investors.

The question is how do you spot these schemes? Here are the criteria that I would use:

  1. Is there a product? If there is not, this is likely indicative of a fraudulent scheme. If there is a product, you should of course do further investigation - having a product by itself is not enough to prove an opportunity is legitimate.
  2. Are the majority of product sales to people outside the business opportunity (retail sales)? If not, this suggests the opportunity may simply be a disguised pyramid scheme.
  3. Are you being offered investments returns (being given a return for simply depositing money, and then taking little or no action of your own)? If yes, the opportunity should be registered with the relevant authorities (like the SEC in the United States) - and if not registered, maybe a unregistered security and/or Ponzi scheme.

I’m not a lawyer, nor an expert on this stuff, but neither am I making this stuff up!

Here’s what the FTC says: "Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It’s a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money."

Here’s what the SEC says: "some MLM programs are actually pyramid schemes — a type of fraud in which participants profit almost exclusively through recruiting other people to participate in the program." … "beware of these hallmarks of a pyramid scheme:" … "No demonstrated revenue from retail sales. Ask to see documents, such as financial statements audited by a certified public accountant (CPA), showing that the MLM company generates revenue from selling its products or services to people outside the program."


   

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August 30, 2013

Free eBook: How To Use Your ClickBank Thank You Page To Boost Your Profits

Category: Company Announcements, eBook Marketing & Publishing, ClickBank — Answers 2000 @ 5:36 pm

Disclosure: Our company is a ClickBank vendor and affiliate. We may earn a commission if you buy one of the products mentioned in this blog post, or if you join ClickBank as a vendor.

Here’s a brand new eBook - and we’re giving it away free of charge: “How To Use Your ClickBank Thank You Page To Boost Your Profits” - And it even comes with resell/distribution rights.

Feel free to read it, and to distribute copies if you like! You can give a copy to your friends, or to your customers. You can give copies away on your squeeze page (to get people to join your opt-in mailing list), as bonus with your main product, or even sell copies. Click Here to Download!


Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

• • •

August 25, 2013

Nearly Thirty Years of ClickBank Experience in one Podcast!

Disclosure: Our company is a ClickBank vendor and affiliate. We may earn a commission if you buy one of the products mentioned in this blog/podcast post, or if you join ClickBank as a vendor.

If you’re looking to start or expand your ClickBank business, whether as a vendor or an affiliate, you will want to check out this new free Podcast, by ClickScoop.com, which features Sunil Tanna (me!) and ClickScoop host Miles Baker. Both of us have been with ClickBank for more than 14 years - in total that’s nearly 30 years of ClickBank experience! In this PodCast, we discuss lots of issues and ideas for powering up a successful ClickBank business. Check out the new free ClickScoop PodCast.


Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

• • •

August 21, 2013

Evaluating Internet Business Opportunities - Infographic

Category: Internet Marketing — Answers 2000 @ 8:41 pm

Disclosure: Our company is a ClickBank vendor and affiliate. We may earn a commission if you buy one of the products mentioned in this blog post, or if you join ClickBank as a vendor.

Being involved in Internet business myself, supplying products that are used by a lot of other businesses (like Activ E-Book Compiler, our ClickBank tools, and our PHP Scripts for Webmasters), and simply participating in online business forums, I tend to receive a lot of questions about what is and isn’t a good Internet business opportunity. Before embarking on a new business venture: you should always do your own research, get professional advice, and take into account that many businesses fail with financial losses - but here are a few thoughts that I thought I would share.

For me, the two preferred ways of making money on the Internet are:

  1. To create my own products and sell them (via ClickBank for example)
  2. Or to participate in free-to-join affiliate programs where money comes from sales commission on products sales (for example sales commissions on products sold by Amazon), or simply from referring traffic/leads to a company.

However, I do realize this is not for everybody. Some people, for example, are looking for something closer to a traditional retail business, where they buy goods from a supplier and then sell them on at a profit. Additionally, a lot of people are looking for a shortcut way to make money - a “done for you system” or a “business in a box”. The problem however is that these types of businesses often require that you spend money to join - and as a result there is a good chance of being scammed by a pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes or other types of fraud.

Here’s a chart I put together which may be of some help. It shows how I would begin to evaluate an opportunity. Simply start at the START, and keep going until you reach a red box or a green box.

  • If you finish on a red box: All I can say is that I personally would NOT participate in any such an “opportunity”. You are of course free to make your own judgement, but I recommend you do extra careful research, asking serious questions, and getting advice before you consider proceeding.
  • If you finish on a green box: The opportunity is not an obvious fraud - but of course you still should do due diligence, take sensible precautions, do research, and get any necessary professional advice. Remember just because an opportunity isn’t an obvious fraud, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t still be a more subtle fraud, or just a poor/unprofitable opportunity.

Please note: (1) I am not a lawyer, financial advisor/professional. This is just my own personal opinion of how to evaluate business opportunities - using my own personal criteria! (2) This chart is not intended as a comment on any particular business, business opportunity, or program.

Here is the chart:

If you wish to put a copy of this chart on your blog or eBook, you are welcome provided the same page contains a clearly visible clickable link to this blog post at URL: http://blog.ans2000.com/2013/08/21/evaluating-internet-business-opportunities-infographic/

If putting the graphic on a website or blog, you could use this HTML code for example:


   

• • •

August 16, 2013

Your First ClickBank Product Has Been Approved - Now What?

Disclosure: Our company is a ClickBank vendor and affiliate. We may earn a commission if you buy one of the products mentioned in this blog post, or if you join ClickBank as a vendor.

If you have written an eBook, or created another product, gone through the process of setting up a ClickBank vendor account, the question soon arises what to do next? Some people expect that they can just sit back and wait for the money to roll-in, but this rarely happens…

Our company has been with ClickBank for over 14 years, and sold all kinds of different products through their system. The fact is that in all that time, our direct sales have always been vastly more than all my affiliates combined - so the first thing that I would say: You’ve got to do your own marketing.

Some people say that affiliates will find and promote your website if your products are any good. My our experience says otherwise. I simply don’t believe it’s true “affiliates will find you if you’re good”. They may, but they don’t always - we’ve sold thousands and thousands of products, to a highly satisfied customer base, but affiliate-driven sales have always been a small part of our total sales.

I suspect that the same applies for other vendors too. Yes there are some poor quality vendors listed with ClickBank, but there are also tons of really good vendors (look beyond the Internet marketing categories), sometimes selling lots directly or through 1 or 2 affiliates, who fly under most affiliates’ radar because they never reach a critical mass of “gravity”, etc.

Let’s be honest though, from a vendor’s point of view, while it would be nice if affiliates drove tons oif sales, you don’t have to make it that important. A vendor’s real goal is to make sales, and there’s lots of ways to do that - it doesn’t have to be from affiliate traffic.

Some here are the things that I would suggest a new vendor do:

1. Promote your website to drive sales

2. Protect your ClickBank product against Thank You Page and Download theft, as much as you reasonably can without annoying legitimate customers.

Yes, there are some hardcore pirates who will never buy - but these aren’t the people you are interested in. There are plenty more people who will pirate if it’s easy to pirate, but will buy otherwise.

And doing this doesn’t have to be hard - it can be easy for - and completely transparent to your customers - if you use, CB Thank You Page Protector to do this for you.

3. Email every new customer after every sale to (a) say thank you, (b) give them your contact details again, (c) remind them what they’ve bought, (d) remind them that you’re a real person, (e) remind them how the charge will show on their billing statement, and (f) to start to build a relationship which eventually allow you to sell other products to them.

(a) to (e) will help reduce charge-backs and refunds, sometimes drastically so.

(f) will add to your bottom line.

And for the record, you can automate these emails using CB Thank You Page Protector.

4. Always work on improving your conversion rate, presentation, etc. Ideally, you should use split-testing, as shown in the video below, to fine tune your pitch pages so as to maximize conversions.

5. Did I say, promote your website to drive sales….


Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank vendor: Here are some other articles that you might like if you are a ClickBank affiliate:
   

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