Tag Archives: advertising

Should You Opt Out of Behavioral Advertising Or Profit From It?

There are tons of way to make money online, and some are shady, but here’s one that you all might be uncomfortable with. Let me know how sketchy you think it is.

Working in the online advertising world, I’m always introduced to new ways to make money. Recently, however, I was introduced to a new way of making money online. It’s something you put on your website, but it doesn’t bother users; in fact, users don’t even notice because it’s hidden inside the code.

Advertisers Pay To Track You

Website owners can install a pixel that tracks users even after they leave your site. The tracking pixel records what websites you visit and your patterns. This information is then sold to advertisers. It can be very valuable to advertisers, and if users don’t know it’s there, can it really hurt them?

Check out the National Advertising Institute‘s site. Let the tool find out how many companies are currently customizing ads to you tracking you right now! Can you believe it? My browser shows 78 of their members are tracking me. Seems like a lot.

It seems kind of seedy to me. Why sell user information without being totally upfront? Sure, you might have a privacy statement hidden somewhere on your site, but it’s not apparent from visiting a homepage that a user will be tracked even after they leave the site. I have no problem with advertisers using information from a site that I use. But when I leave your site, leave me alone!

Google Is Always Tracking You

On the other hand, did you know Google does this constantly? They know your shopping preferences and they serve ads to you based on your likes and interests and past search and browsing history. I constantly have financial products being shown to me, no matter what site I visit. They know where I’ve been and will continue showing ads to me for the same products I’ve recently viewed. Like a personalized shopping assistant I never asked for.

Is it really such a bad thing? Personally, I’d rather have ads appear that interest me rather than random ones. Why have products I don’t care about come up when I can have TurboTax and Capital One 360 follow me around the Internet?

Still, I would never do this to my readers because it’s not upfront and honest. Plus the payouts are really small, like a few cents for every 1,000 visitors, so definitely not worth it until you’ve got a LOT of traffic.

As for opting out, there is good news! You can opt out of Behavioral Advertising. This includes over 80 advertising networks that use your browsing history, so simply opt out on the site and you won’t have to worry about any sneaky websites profiting from your online habits.

 Are you ok with advertisers having all this information about you? Are you going to opt out?

I’m Creating A Product For Bloggers To Track Their Advertisements

As part of my goal of creating $10,000 in new income during 2013, I have developed an idea for a business that I think is useful, sustainable, and profitable. I will be documenting the process of creating, launching, and building this new business.

While on my honeymoon in Cancun, I read The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau and absolutely loved it. For all you entrepreneurs out there who just need a little motivation, go pick up his book today and start reading. You don’t need big money to do big things.

Over the past year, I’ve developed a system for keeping track of my advertisers, advertisements, and expenses. I used to use spreadsheets to track all of the data, but things would fall through the cracks and there was no easy way to organize all the information I had. Now, with the click of a button, I am able to generate reports of my sales, fees, expenses, and net income for the month or year. Plus, in an instant, I can see which advertisers should be contacted and what their history is. No lead becomes dead anymore, even if they don’t follow up to my initial response.

To say that my new system has saved me time is an understatement. Instead of calculating all of my sales, fees, and expenses by hand each month or quarter (with the risk of human error), I click one button and the reports generate instantly. I immediately see a breakdown of all the important figures for each of my websites. Also, I don’t have to dig through hundreds of emails to find conversations with advertisers who never closed on a deal.

More importantly, the system has directly led to more sales. My system has led to at least 7 sales that would not otherwise have happened totaling over $2,000. It has also helped me avoid letting expired deals run without being paid for it. I click on my handy “expiring soon” view in the system and it tells me everything that will be expiring in the next month. Just fire off a couple emails and hope that the advertisers are interested in renewing!

There is clearly value in the product, so the next step was ironing out the details. Most of this was done in my head while I was at the beach reading or listening to podcasts while Lauren tanned, and when I got back to the room, I would take notes about my ideas. I needed to build a site that was easy for users to navigate, intuitive, and provided them with all the features a blogger needs to track their advertisers, advertisements, and expenses. I had the idea, so the next step was the technical details.

As soon as I got home, I created a project on Elance, where providers bid on the job I posted. I described everything I wanted and needed for the site as well as the backend databases, and the proposals started to flow in. I got some responses from people who could do the job for $1,000, some for $500, and some for as low as $300. In the end, I picked someone who promised the site would be done within a week for $375. I accepted their proposal and they got to work. However, 3 days later, when I expected the front-end of the site to be complete, I asked for update and didn’t hear back. After a few more days, I cancelled the project. I never released any funds, so there was no harm done. But I had to find someone new.

And I did. The new provider was very responsive, cost $400, and had even build a similar system for someone else in the past, and I liked what they showed me. We started to work together and every 2 days they would send me an update and I would give my feedback on the changes they made. There was a lot of back and forth and I made lots of seemingly small requests to make sure the site looked and functioned the way I wanted.

The site is not perfect, but it has all the essentials and then some. It is a one-stop shop for all bloggers to record their sales and expenses, and once the advertiser data is recorded, there’s no need for reminders until it comes time to follow up as indicated. Once I launch the product and get some feedback, I’ll be adding some other features that I think users will enjoy.

Oh, and if you want to check out the site, here it is: BlogBookkeeper.com. Please let me know what you think! I look forward to sharing more of my story and hopefully I’ll have something nice to report soon! I’m planning on officially launching the site to new users soon!

Why I Didn’t Save $400 on Car Insurance

When I bought my first car, I knew there would be significant costs associated with maintenance and insurance. So I did what any smart shopper does, and I compared the price of insurance by getting quotes from several insurers. I used to work for an auto insurance company, and no company is ALWAYS better. Progressive and GEICO are known for having low rates, and Allstate and State Farm are known for having higher prices. But since rates are based on different models, some drivers will get a better rate with one insurance company and someone else might get a better rate with another.

So I did my due diligence and found that there was a really large range in prices. For a 6 month policy, I found prices as low as about $600 and as high as $1,000. Obviously I decided to go with something at the low end of the scale, and ultimately, I am paying just over $100 per month of car insurance, which I hear is pretty good.

Am I happy with my rate? Yes. Do I tell people that I saved $400 on my car insurance? Absolutely not!

While I am paying $400 less than I could have had I gone with the expensive insurance, I do not consider it savings. All it is is smart comparison shopping. If you go to a supermarket and look at two jars of peanut butter, one for $5 and one for $4, you don’t save a dollar by buying the cheaper one, you simply are spending less and avoiding overpaying for something you can get for a better rate!

It doesn’t make sense to pay more for something you can get at the same quality for a better price. This is how smart shoppers operate. Find the one with the best quality and price, and buy it. Just because there’s a worse price out there doesn’t make this purchase a better deal.

Advertising companies employ a technique called anchoring to trick you into believing you’re getting a better deal than you are.

Here’s an example:

There are two TVs in a store, one for $1,500 and one for $2,000. They have the same specifications, and there are very minor differences. Which one would you buy? You’re likely to go with the cheaper option, pay $1,500 and walk away thinking you got a great deal.

But guess what? Maybe that TV wasn’t worth $1,500? Maybe you just think it’s a great deal because your other option was so much more expensive?

So I pay $100 on my car insurance, but I didn’t save money. It’s just another expense.

Readers, do you think this is the right way to look at the world? Should I be ecstatic about not paying more for the same thing? Do we get duped all the time into paying more because advertisers play games with us?