Terms of Service Update

We have updated our Terms of Service, section 8, Price Schedule and Payout. This update is mainly applicable to Advertiser accounts.

This change will also bring future offerings that will benefit both Advertiser and Partner accounts. Look to see something announced within the next month.

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LinkPost Jobs Upgraded

LinkPost Jobs has been well received since the launch. We expected our initial launch would bring many comments and suggestions on what might be needed in order to make it better. The suggestions did pour in and we appreciate everyone who sent them in because it was exactly what we were hoping for.

The two biggest suggestions were the ability to pre-approve blogs for jobs and the option to exclude certain domains. Advertisers felt there needed to be a middle ground between a regular LinkPost and a LinkPost Job. They like the idea of handpicking blogs, but also like the feature of having bloggers come to them. They also wanted the ability to block specific domains if they don’t want a certain blogger type.

Blog Candidates
When creating a new job, you’ll see a new option that says:

  • Bloggers will be automatically approved if they meet my job criteria.
  • I want to review/approve Blog Candidates.

If you select that you want to ‘review/approve’ candidates, then once a blogger accepts your job listing, the system will notify you that there is a blog candidate to approve/decline. Once clicking the blog candidates, you’ll see all candidates interested in writing the review. At this point you’ll have the option of visiting their blog and making the decision of whether or not it fits your needs.

Exclude Domains
The other new option is the ability for advertisers to disallow domains from accepting your jobs. If you wish to not allow blogspot.com, wordpress.com, typepad.com or any other blog service you deem invaluable, this is where you can block them. When creating a job listing, the ‘exclude’ option will now be part of the job listing process.

We are always looking for more suggestions to make our products better. If you have a suggestion, please email support {at} linkworth {dot} com.

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Introducing LinkWorth Jobs

Partners, are you tired of waiting around to be chosen for LinkPost deals?

Advertisers, does sorting through our ever-growing inventory to find suitable LinkPost Partner blogs take too much of your valuable time?

Now there’s an easier way! (Will go live tomorrow 4.29.08)

Allow me to introduce LW Jobs – a new way to buy & sell paid blog posts here at LinkWorth.

In the “old days”, Advertisers had to create an outline, search for Partner blogs individually, make a buy request, wait for approval, then wait for the post be written. On the flip side, Partners had to wait patiently for work to come their way.

Now there is a MUCH more efficient way for both Partners and Advertisers. LW Jobs allow Advertisers to simply create a Job listing using a LinkPost outline and let the bloggers find them.

How does it work?
Advertisers select a LinkPost outline to use, determine a set of minimum requirements that Partner blogs must meet, deposit funds, and then the Job is posted for all of our blog Partners to see and accept the Jobs that best suit them!

Partners
As a blog Partner, viewing the available Jobs is a piece of cake. Simply log in to your control center and view your Alerts to see what Jobs are currently on deck!

You can also access the available Jobs by clicking the “my products” tab >> linkpost >> search linkpost jobs.

At a glance you can see what Jobs you’re eligible to accept. If your blog meets the requirements and there are still available funds, the Job listing will appear green…GO FOR IT!! If your blog does not meet the requirements, the Job listing will be red and you won’t be able to accept it.

Advertisers
Log in to your control center and click the “my products” tab >> linkpost >> create Job (you must first have a LinkPost outline created before a LW Job can be created). Fill in a few fields, set your pricing, and sit back while the buzz about you begins! Check out the screenshot below to see how easy it is.

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Should SEO Agencies Advertise With AdWords

When you come across a SEO agency, their main motto is, “We’ll get you listed naturally in the search engine results.” The goal is to eliminate the need for PPC because you’ll be listed in the natural results. That is even the motto in our niche market. The idea is you get search engines to read your site, then your site will be listed well for your target keywords. Plain and simple, right?

If that is the case, wouldn’t it make sense that the SEO company you find ranks well for their own keywords and do not have to attract people by using AdWords? Should it make more of an impact to the customer if that company doesn’t spend a dime on AdWords and only gets their customers by way of natural search traffic or through non-search related advertising?

I think it is quite humorous when I see SEO or SEM companies that don’t rank well for a single keyword in their own industry, but they tell potential customers that they can do it for them. You could definitely point the finger towards the fact customers aren’t hip enough to do the research on SEO companies before they spend a dime with them, however, I know of situations first hand where people in our industry put certain companies in a high regard even though they are nowhere to be found when it comes to natural search.

I’m definitely not here to point anyone out, this post is more about asking the question regarding this subject. I’ve always wondered how a customer feels when searching for this type of service. I know I’ve read new SEO sites that talk a big game, yet they’re nowhere to be found on simple keywords related to them, which always makes me think they’re a bit full of it and I’ve always wondered how the actual customer feels about it. With that being said, some of the smartest cats out there could not rank for the easiest of words, but it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t get amazing results for their customers.

If you have a second, give me your thoughts. I’d like to hear what everyone else thinks.

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LinkWorth Exhibiting at SXSW Interactive

SXSW InteractiveSunday, March 9th through Tuesday, March 11th, we will be exhibiting at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. This is our first trip to this conference, but not our first trip to Austin. We’ve heard great things about this conference and we’re really excited to have such a big conference so close to home.

For those unfamiliar with our state’s capitol, Austin is rightly named the “Live Music Capital of the World”. It is a great city with the University of Texas parked right in the middle. 6th street is lined with live music venues that will satisfy the musical taste of just about anyone looking. I think it will definitely be a fun conference to attend.

When I first heard of people in our industry going to SXSW for a conference, it was very confusing to me. Anyone that has been involved with music in some shape or form, you probably know of the annual SXSW Music Festival. I know back in my band days it was such a goal to shoot for; get an invite to play at SXSW! The festival showcases hundreds of bands throughout 68 different venues over the course of 5 days. So naturally, when I heard SXSW, I thought people were going to the music festival. Little did I know they have a conference right up our alley that precedes the music festival.

If you’re in Austin while we’re there, please stop by our booth. You can’t miss it. It’s the beautiful blue that jumps out and grabs you!

LinkWorth Booth

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Reputation Management – Network Solutions

Working with clients who need reputation management can really help open your eyes on what and what not to do. There are a lot of things that can fall into this list, but here’s a quick list of a few simple guidelines to keep your reputation in check online:

  • Answer customer support quickly, promptly and friendly. You can have a sub-par product but if you treat your customers with the respect you would expect, it will take you a long way.
  • Don’t piss off customers no matter how strongly you feel about your side. The term “Ass Kissing” should be plugged in here. Punch a hole in the wall after you kiss their ass, but make it your goal to do everything you can to make that customer happy. All it takes is one pissed off customer ripping you on a blog or site and it’s never going away.
  • Don’t engage in discussions about your company and/or product on message forums or blogs if you plan on saying something you’ll regret later. Once you publish it, it’s published and there’s no taking it back.
  • Intended or unintended deception is like digging your own grave. The worst thing a company could possibly do is deceive customers in any possible way. The feeling of “being had” is one that people like to talk about the most. Sometimes this can be an honest mistake, which is where quick and friendly customer support would fly in and handle the situation before it blows up, so keep up with what your customers are saying.

With these things in mind, let’s now take a look at what Network Solutions has been doing that is probably going to bite them in the ass. I’ve always wondered why people are still paying more than triple the price for a domain name at Network Solutions and Register.com when you can buy the same name over at Godaddy for less than $10! Evidently registrars are participating in a tactic called Front Running, which lets registrars snatch up domain names people search for making them only available through their own service and allowing them to charge higher prices.

Network Solutions has forced millions of people to buy Internet domain names from them instead of cheaper competitors through a scheme that’s netted the firm millions of dollars, a federal class action lawsuit filed today by Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP states. ICANN, whose policies facilitate the scheme, is also named in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

 
“Imagine if you asked a car dealer if they had a black convertible and were then forced to buy the car from them. Would you get a good deal? Each time someone asks Network Solutions about a domain name, the firm creates a monopoly for itself, forcing consumers to pay the price they demand,” said Brian Kabateck, lead counsel in the class action and Kabateck Brown Kellner’s Managing Partner.

The lawsuit also targets ICANN due to them allowing it to continue. Granted, ICANN will be fine after this is all over, but Network Solutions is going to need a strong reputation management campaign once this is said and done. This example might put it into perspective; a domain portfolio of 750 names would cost $20,000 MORE using Netsol.com versus Godaddy.com. Same product, same yearly charge, just $20k more each year. Keep them for 10 years and it’ll cost you $200k more.

Let this serve as our official letter to Network Solutions. If you decide you want to start knocking down the bad sites replacing them with the good, we can help you!

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New Spider In Action

Earlier today we put our new ad checking spider into production. The much needed upgrade is using up to date technologies along with verifying code and text of the ad. What this means is, if you publish an ad using the wrong anchor text or the wrong code, the ad is not going to be validated until it is published correctly.

Another advantage to our new spider is the advanced level of communication. Rather than just telling you the ad is not found, we’ll be communicating the reason why our spider was unable to validate the ad. We do expect a period of a few weeks to get the communication feature completely finished.

We do encourage you to let us know if you notice any unusual activity or messages being sent. What I mean by this is if we’re sending incorrect information or something repetitive, or just out of the ordinary, then contact support. This doesn’t relate to messages about ads not being found. If you are receiving an ad not found message, we request that you hold off contacting us until you have received more than one consecutive messages regarding the same ad.

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*Free admission for Entrepreneur Expo*

On Friday, February 8th, LinkWorth will be exhibiting in the Entrepreneur Expo at the Fort Worth Convention Center. It’s one of our first trade shows/expos to be involved in locally. We hope all goes well and are able to introduce LinkWorth to some local businesses around here. For any of you that live in the DFW region,(or if you simply want to fly down here for the expo and grace us with your presence) we have free admission tickets that we can give you so you don’t have to pay at the door. Email one of us or comment on the blog and we will get you taken care of.

Entrepreneur Expo logo

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Several New Updates Planned For This Week

We have several new features ready to go live this week. Mostly we’re improving what we have in place now, with one add-on to an existing product.

Add Products, Tags & Categories:

One of our goals this year is to improve the chances of Partner websites to be found by Advertisers. With 23k plus sites in our inventory to choose from, and growing daily, it’s important for Advertisers to be able to find websites/blogs that are the right audience and content to build effective campaigns. The best way to do this is by searching the inventory by keywords. While the feature is already in place, Partners need the ability to tag their website/blog listings with keywords and to classify their site within specific categories.

We have included a secondary category option called “Category Tags” which allows you to select an additional three (3) categories that can apply to your listing. Directly under category tags is a text box labeled “Tags”. This section is like most tag fields where you list keywords or key phrases that describe your listing. Tags will be checked to ensure they match the content on your website, so please be sure you’re not stuffing your tags full of off topic keywords. These two settings are currently available in your account. To add these to your listings, go to PARTNER > MY SITES >> MANAGE SITES and to the right of your listing(s) look for an actions column. Click on the toolset “EDIT” icon and you will find the two new options.

After adding these new items, you will see that we have included our entire suite of products in the Edit view. This allows you to add products to your website. Previously we required each product to be setup separately, however, our new setup allows one submission for all products chosen. After adding your new items, submit to save your changes.

Nofollow Option:

Many partners have stressed the desire to apply the controversial rel=nofollow tag. Our terms have always stated that text ads must be search engine friendly to ensure advertisers received the full benefit of the advertisement, however, we want to provide an option for those who want to apply the nofollow tag to text ads. For this reason we are adding a new option in your site settings that will allow the nofollow tag to be applied. Once activated, your listing will be illustrated with a nofollow highlight alerting all advertisers of your policy prior to purchase. If you have existing advertisements and wish to switch to a nofollow status, an email will be sent to each advertiser alerting them of your change and they will have the option to cancel their ads with a prorated refund. The nofollow tag is not something we plan to force on anyone since it is not our place to tell you how to code your site. The tag is a preference of each partner and it is up to the advertiser if they wish to pay for these types of text ads. The important step is to ensure both parties are on the same page.

LinkPost Job-Opps:

A new add-on to our LinkPost product is called Job-Opps. This not only gives a new way to build campaigns for advertisers, but it also gives partners a great new way to jump into the paying jobs. Our blog reviews have always run on a marketplace basis which is great for advertisers who want to handpick the blogs, but it’s not so great for bloggers who have a lot to offer and aren’t always selected. With LinkPost Job-Opps, advertisers create an outline for the type of review they’re looking for, minimum qualifications, the price per review and the number of job-opps available. Once listed, partners who have a blog that meets the qualifications and wish to apply, can do so until the job-opps available have been depleted. The approval process is being tweaked a bit while we try to decide if advertisers will be approving or declining submissions or if our staff will do this on their behalf. (Feel free to give your suggestions below) We are definitely excited to launch this new feature and it will be live within the next 10 days.

Spiderbot 2.0 – Out with the bad and in with the awesome:

We have briefly mentioned this in previous posts but the light is at the end of the tunnel. Spiderbot 2.0 is coming close to testing and then launching. With the new version we are greatly cutting down on bandwidth and time spent extracting information. The technology includes super fast processing and more informative communication. Our new bot will be in and out in a flash getting the information needed and not wasting bandwidth or time. This should definitely cut down on the “Link Not Found” emails along with sending informative emails explaining what caused our bot to fail on your site. This should be up and running within the next 30 days.

There are many other features on the deck. We’re always looking for customer feedback to help us create a better environment for our users. If you have a suggestion, please list it below and we’ll be happy to look into it.

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A Friendly 2007 Farewell and a 2008 Outlook

Here we are, the office has skipped out a little early to prepare for their big night to welcome in the New Year, Matt and I are still working and 2007 is about to be gone in the blink of an eye. Something tells me that in my mind, I’ll be making another post just like this in what will seem like a couple months, asking, “what happened to 2008?”

Overall, 2007 was a great year for LinkWorth. Sure there were bumps in the road here and there, but what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. Luckily the business of online marketing is going nowhere, so that means we’ll continue to morph into a better marketplace for our advertisers and for our partners. We definitely want to thank “ALL” of our customers that continue to make LinkWorth one of the biggest and best ad networks in our industry.

To keep this interesting and not so sappy, because that is so not my style, I wanted to send a few 2007 farewell’s in bullet style:

  • Farewell to: All of the conferences we attended: SES, SMX, Pubcon and Affiliate Summit. . .
  • Farewell to: All of the cities that put up with us: Seattle, San Jose, Vegas, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, D.C. . .
  • Farewell to: American Airlines and their HORRIBLE delays, the special emergency landing, decent 1st class and pitiful coach seats. . .
  • Farewell to: Our departed staff: the good, the bad and the greedy. . .
  • Farewell to: The almost $2mm in payouts our partners earned!!. . .
  • A special thanks to: All of our wonderful advertisers who helped LinkWorth continue on. . .
  • Farewell to: Greg “The Hammer” Williams, aka Motorcycle Greggo, aka Sweet Greggo, aka Robot Greggo, aka Common Man. . .
  • Farewell to: The horrible scoring system known as PageRank. . .

As we send 2007 out the door, let us welcome 2008 in along with a few bullets for what to expect here at LinkWorth:

  • 08 Outlook: More blogging with tips, tricks and secrets to making LinkWorth work even better for you. . .
  • 08 Outlook: Create new ways for partners to gain more exposure to Advertisers. . .
  • 08 Outlook: Improve our daily spider check to cut down on “not found” messages (already in progress). . .
  • 08 Outlook: Introduce new advertising products with a focus on vintage methods. . .
  • 08 Outlook: New contests with new prizes. . .
  • 08 Outlook: The purchase of Google and Yahoo with my next few saved paychecks. . .
  • 08 Outlook: Growing the LinkWorth staff with new smart and exciting people. . .
  • 08 Outlook: Spread the LinkWorth brand to new markets attracting new advertisers. . .
  • 08 Outlook: Making 2008 better than 2007 and having a great time doing it. . .

Obviously, both lists can have loads more bullets, but this is what came to me before I walk out the door for the evening. 2007 was such a great and big year for our customers and our company, anything short of what we’ve already experienced isn’t really an option.

Directly from the LinkWorth crew, we wish everyone a very safe and happy new year!

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