I know I really need to do a Traffic Exchange Live update, but they take twice as long to prepare as any “normal” blog post, and between having a bit busier than normal week this week and (one day) being just plain sick – I just haven’t done one yet. And as it turns out, Jon is going to be gone most of next week – and won’t host by himself most of the time – so that will give me lots of days to catch up on TE Live posts and not have to make one big huge gigantic post out of it. I have tons of photos saved up.

That said, today’s post actually is sort of a Traffic Exchange Live update anyway because it’s partially about something that occurred during TE Live yesterday, so hey – there ya go.

Before I get to that, though, I want to mention that when I fired up my browser yesterday, the top story on my news page said that Memphis was the second hottest city in the United States this summer, behind Louisville. (Numbers three, four and five were Atlanta, Raleigh NC, and New Orleans, respectively). So for anyone who rolled their eyes every time I’ve whined this summer about living in an oven – it was a valid whine!!!

So, we’ve been talking at TE Live recently about a problem that’s become obvious at Sweeva and trying to figure out the best solution. As most are aware, Sweeva has many useful aspects including just plain old good promotional value for those who aren’t really looking for feedback or aren’t rotating new pages they’re testing – but the primary concept behind Sweeva was as a tool for viewers to review and give feedback in comments on the sites being seen (in real time of course).

One of the problems that’s arisen since Sweeva’s inception is that quite a bit of the feedback is – at best – useless. Comment after comment after comment saying “nice!” or “thumbs up!” or “good” aren’t really a lot of help to a site owner trying to get feedback and reviews on a new splash page or sales page.

The more recent addition of rewarding comments with stars has only seemed to increase the amount of feedback that’s not useful, as many are only commenting hoping to get stars, or copying/pasting the exact same comment over and over again no matter what site they’re looking at. And granted, even before the comments for stars addition was made, there was still a great deal of “nice!” or “cool!” feedback that wasn’t much use, too – but the comments for stars has definitely increased this whole deal.

The other side of the coin in all this is there’s not much negative commenting being done – when sometimes there should be. And sometimes when a viewer states something they feel about a page that’s not praise, other Sweevers come down on them about it – and that shouldn’t be happening either.

The thing is, at Sweeva, if you’re running a page hoping to get feedback on it, what you really should want is to get real feedback – the good, the bad, and the ugly. You want to hear the negative comments as well as the positive, so you can make your page better.

Certainly there is often some taking with a grain of salt in that – some comments, while maybe well meant, just aren’t really useful or applicable. And another thing site owners running pages in Sweeva should remember is the fact that you just can’t please everyone – for every viewer that hates mostly white pages, there will be another that prefers white and clean to color, yada yada… but you can still take all the comments as a whole and do something useful with them to potentially improve what you have to offer and make your pages more appealing to more people.

Anyway, we’ve been mulling over things that might be done at Sweeva to at least lessen the amount of non-useful feedback and get more people to comment honestly, even if it’s negative, without fear of being dogged by the massesĀ  – and so far nothing we’ve come up with has been a good solution, for one reason or another, but that’s what’s been on Jon Olson’s and Tim Linden’s – and our collective TE Live brain’s – minds recently.

But the main reason I bring all this up (you knew there’d be one) is because yesterday, TE Live regular Jerry Iannucci ran a little related experiment on Sweeva – all day, but also while we were all in TE Live – and while it may not have really solved anything, it was HILARIOUS.

You might have seen Jerry’s new video splash page (starring Mr. Iannucci himself) for Safelist Marketing Tactics, which we have all given high praise to ‘cos it’s really great.

Well, yesterday, he ran it in Sweeva with instructions at the top that he was giving stars for negative comments only, and much hilarity ensued – plus he was there live interacting with the page and egging it all on (“Sorry, not negative enough”) and responding to most of the comments (“Ouch!”), so it got even funnier.

It was funny enough when the page ran during TE Live and all of us were in there waiting for it (“Worst page I’ve ever seen, whoever designed that page should be fired,” said Winter Perkins, who I believe designed the template for the page, lol) – several more like comments from people who know and hang out with Jerry were posted (“That color blue is ugly and you should really vacuum your floor” from me, “What garbage with personal branding” from Jon), and it was all in good fun.

I just happened to be back on Sweeva later in the evening and saw that the page was live again, so I hurried and clicked to get in there and leave another zinger (“You don’t dust much, do you? And you should really buy a broom” – to which Jerry, who was there again, replied that hooray, I got a star for being negative).

But the best ones yesterday were coming from the pool of general Sweeva users. In between the ones who were still commenting “nice!”, “nice page”, and “cool” – and thereby not getting any stars – someone commented that Jerry’s hair looked like Our Gang/The Little Rascals, someone else commented last night about Jerry having a bad hair day (Jerry responded “Bad hair life, actually”), and there was a rather inexplicable but hugely funny comment yesterday afternoon about the page being somewhere between a New York City sewer and throw up, and more – all of which had me rolling on the floor laughing every time I saw a refresh of the page yesterday and last night.

Now whether this little experiment taught anyone anything about negative comments at Sweeva being okay or not, and whether anyone who really needed to learn anything from it did so – who knows.

But it was a lot of fun, and while Jerry would probably prefer not to be remembered for his Our Gang hair (lol) – you can bet there are going to be people that remember he was there, he was interacting with people, he was being the funny guy he always is – more importantly, that he’s a real person and he was being himself.

Which is something else we’ve been talking about at TE Live this week – just being yourself and the value in that, especially in social networking but other things too. Things like what Jerry did yesterday are worth their weight in gold when it comes to online marketing. Jerry Reeder tells me he usually only rotates his pages at Sweeva when he can be there to interact with viewers, and many of us do the same – or at least sometimes.

And really it’s not unlike the reason that many of us, including me, make a point of being at TE Live most every day – it’s fun and it’s a good place to network with others, it’s a bit of a traffic exchange think tank, and (bottom line) it’s also my water cooler break of the day from 24/7 working at my computer day in and day out… but it also keeps me out there, people have access to me because they know where I am every weekday, and I chat with – if not at TE Live, somewhere else – a sizable percentage of regular and active traffic exchange users every week, in chat rooms typing and sometimes on voice. I’m not just a name and photo to many – a good many of you out there have talked to me before. Plenty of you, lots and lots.

Of course, there’s new people that come into traffic exchanges every day, and that new person that started surfing for the first time yesterday at Sweeva likely doesn’t know Jerry Iannucci or Jerry Reeder or Lynn M yet – or didn’t.

But if they were surfing Sweeva yesterday afternoon, they probably now know who Jerry Iannucci is – because now Jerry was that funny guy egging people on to give him negative comments on his page and going “Come on, you can do better than that!” to the positive comments. And they’ll remember him.

When the next cool product or e-book comes out, and that person really wants to buy it or rebrand it – who do you think they’re more likely to buy it from? Some nameless, faceless person rotating a generic splash or sales page in a traffic exchange? Somebody that’s only a photo and a name that you see around every now and again? Or the person whose name and photo (or in Jerry’s case, video) they’re familiar with and who was there that day in Sweeva chatting with people and made them laugh? Bingo.

And of course there are hundreds of other potential examples here. Rather than Jerry and his Sweeva video experiment, the person who you seek out to buy something from or upgrade under might be someone that was at Affiliate Funnel conference last week and helped you by answering some of your questions and giving you links to what you needed. Or someone that helped you with something or was just good company to chat with in I Love Hits chat. Or maybe you came to one of the weekly List Building Conferences for Get Referrals Fast and got some of the blunt and honest but great advice Jerry and Mike are so well known for. Or maybe a TE or program owner took the time to e-mail you back when you contacted them or had a problem, perhaps with some extra advice that turned out to be helpful and useful.

Point being – there are just so many opportunities to get out there, be out there, interact, and be of value to others… even if you’re not really trying to be of value to others and are just out there just being yourself. And who else are you gonna be besides yourself, anyway? You might as well just be yourself.

Others will appreciate that more – you just being yourself – and more importantly, will remember that. It might not make you wildly rich, no; but you’ll probably have a lot better chance at being successful in the long term than those who fake it or are insincere, and those who put on the schmoozy salesman face 24/7 and don’t know how to take it off. and be real. People remember those folks too, but not usually in a good way.

I personally am much more likely to buy something from or upgrade under someone like Jerry Iannucci, with his bad hair days and who makes me laugh pretty much daily. Or Jerry Reeder, who will be the first to tell you, and proudly admits to anyone and everyone, that he’s a punk rocker who yells at the TV. Or Jon Olson or Tony Tezak or Winter Perkins or Tim Linden or Mike Paetzold or Ian Bakewell or any of the other many people that I know because I see them and talk to them all the time – nearly every day or at least every week – many of whom have also generously helped me or answered my dizzy blonde questions when I needed help with something. I’d like to think I have helped a few people and been there for a few along the way myself.

We’re all real people. We’re all out there, here and there, and none of us are really very hard to find. Ever.

I’m more likely to buy from/upgrade under/whatever any of the above than some talking head that’s nothing to me but a face and a name on some sales page, someone who I’ve never seen around any of the dozens of opportunities there are in any given month to be seen and become known to people. I might be on their list and I might see their name in my mailbox often, even – but I’m much more likely to buy whatever they’re pitching from someone I know or am at least pretty familiar with.

People I don’t necessarily really know personally, but who are very active and interacting at Sweeva, have often gotten my attention for various things. They may not come to TE Live or Affiliate Funnel or the List Building Conferences or any of the other places I haunt, but I’ve come to “know” them from Sweeva and have frequently signed up for their list or whatever they’re promoting, mainly because they’re just being themselves and doing their thing.

People appreciate that. I know I do.

Just be yourself, and get out there, and be there – whether it’s at one of the many conferences/gatherings there are every single week, whether it’s running some pages at Sweeva and interacting with other viewers, whether it’s making a video splash page or squeeze page, whatever – just take some action to get yourself “out there”, and stay out there, and you’ll likely see your results improving and improving palpably as time goes on.

And just be yourself while doing it. You are your most valuable tool in your IM toolbox – not the program you’re promoting nor the tools those programs give you in your affiliate toolbox – so you might as well just be yourself. Go try it out this week on Sweeva and see.

List Building Conference Tonight @ 8pm EST: Yep, speaking of Jerry Reeder and Mike Paetzold’s famous weekly List Building Conferences, there’s another one tonight and tonight’s topic is Blogging and Social Media (two of my favorite subjects) – you probably don’t want to miss this one if you’re interested in either.

As always, they’re free to attend for all and you don’t have to already be a member of Get Referrals Fast to be there, just show up! Mike and Jerry love to answer questions and review pages so if you’re new to IM and stumped about something, come on by. Or just come and hang out! You might find out about something you didn’t know that could be of benefit to you.

Click the link for more details and join us at the 8pm EST List Building Conferences tonight!