Lynn M Dot Net

Any idiot can do what I do to make $ online. It's not rocket surgery, it's cake. Also, I like pie.

So I got up this morning and sat down at the computer to discover that yet another big CTP badge hunt is on the way – this time, to celebrate ClickTrackProfit’s third birthday.

First, I sighed, because I knew that meant that, come next week, I’m not getting much sleep until March. The birthday badge hunt starts on Monday, February 10th, and lasts through the end of the month.

Then after sighing about the lack of sleep ahead, I got really excited, because participating as a badge holder in a CTP badge hunt can do wonders for your business or your list – the possibilities are endless. (Keep reading to find out how!)

Like CTP’s Spooktacular badge hunt last year in October, there will be cash prizes. However, this time the top prize to whoever finds the most badges is $500, and there will also be 1000 $0.50 random prizes given out when users claim badges.

I made a good stab at the top prize during Spooktacular – I think I got somewhere between 150 and 160 badges – but I realized before the first week was over that I wasn’t likely to land in the winner’s circle. That was okay, ‘cos the hunt itself is a tremendous amount of fun, even if I didn’t get a whole heck of a lot of sleep in October. I also joined several programs that were new to me, many that I dug a lot and am still using today.

But the REAL value in any CTP badge hunt is taking action and buying a badge (or two or three or four or  however many more). Like I said, the possibilities are endless as far as what you can do for your business, your list, or anything else you want if you become a CTP badge holder during one of these special event badge hunts.

Here are just some of the ways becoming a badge holder during the “CTP is 3” badge hunt can help you:

  • If you’re a program owner, you can put countless new members in your program. You can also spread good will to your current members by making the badge available to the members you already have.
  • Have an unfinished or not-yet-started program or project you have been sitting on a while? Right now is an excellent time to get a badge, then work on getting your project rolling this week and ready by the time the event starts. You’ll be able to put a bunch of new members (or new subscribers or new participants or whatever) into your new project immediately!
  • If you’re a traffic exchange owner already, you can get some folks surfing. Most badge hunters go for the surfing badges and having a badge is a great way to get your activity up. (However, I would be very cautious about how high you set your requirement – see more on that below in the next list of suggestions.)
  • You can add numerous new subscribers to your list. I can tell you from past experience that offering one of these special event badges to new subscribers will likely add at the very least 100 new people to your list, and probably more like 150 or even 200 or more. (It’s also a nice gesture to give the badge to those who are already subscribed, and I would highly recommend doing that and sending the badge out in a broadcast once the badge hunt goes live.)
  • Don’t have a list yet? Start one! You could simply start a new list in your autoresponder just to give out the badge, and then take it from there.
  • Have a blog? You can add new subscribers to your blog as well. Just like with adding new subscribers to your list, give the badge to those who sign up for updates to your blog. (And again, consider giving the badge out in a broadcast mail to those who are already subscribed once the badge hunt goes live. NOTE: You probably don’t want to put it ON your blog, because then people wouldn’t have to subscribe to get the badge.)
  • Brand yourself (or in the case of some folks, brand yourself some more). Offering one of these badges is a great way to brand yourself, and you can offer the badge in numerous ways. You can send the badge code to people who send you new friend requests on CTP in a message (although if you decide to do this, I would recommend also sending the badge code to any of your current CTP friends who request the badge). Or you could just put the badge on a splash page and set it into rotation for folks surfing to find it.

One of my favorite badges during Spooktacular 2013 was done the latter way by Keith Butterworth, who put his badge on a splash page that was in rotation in some traffic exchanges. Now, if you do decide to try that method, I would recommend doing what Keith did in his badge hints, letting people know in which TEs they might find the badge (in the case of his badge, there were three traffic exchanges the badge might have been found).

There are lots of other things one might do with a “CTP is 3” event badge. Use your creativity!

Now, all of the above said – having been both a badge holder and a badge hunter in the last (Spooktacular) hunt, there are a few things I would caution potential badge holders about this time around, when trying to decide how to offer their badge(s). Here are my recommendations:

  • Keep it simple. The harder you make the requirements to get the badge, and the more hoops people have to jump through to get it, the less interested people are going to be in going for your badge. Some of the steps required for some badges during Spooktacular bordered on far too much trouble and way too time consuming. KEEP IT SIMPLE. And along the same lines of keeping it simple…
  • If there’s a surfing requirement, keep it simple. There are going to be dozens (maybe hundreds) of badges, and these hunts are pretty time consuming even for those who don’t try to go for the top prize. Having people surf 25, 50, 100, 250 pages – those are reasonable. Asking people to surf 1000 or 2000 or 5000 pages at your traffic exchange is just going to tick people off (and quite possibly they’ll remember that indefinitely and never surf your TE ever).
  • If there’s a purchase requirement, consider making it very low and inexpensive. It’s perfectly okay to require a purchase for a badge, whether it’s a credits purchase, upgrade, or something else, and many program owners did last fall. Remember, though, that doing so is going to likely mean not too many are going to go for your badge (and if it’s very high at all, probably only a handful will go for it, if anyone). I won’t say don’t do it, but if you want your badge to be popular and to get a lot of activity, keep the cost low (or perhaps offer a “make any purchase” deal).
  • Automate whatever you can as far as giving out the badge. It appeared that some badge holders had some difficulty keeping up with requests during Spooktacular due to the demand and due to the fact that they were having to manually respond to each badge request. It’s going to be a lot easier, and a lot less time-consuming on you, if you do things like put the badge on your site if you have a program (whether you put it in the main member area or hide it somewhere for them to hunt), put the badge code in the welcome e-mail of your autoresponder series, etc. There will be hundreds of CTP members hunting badges, and if you have to manually respond to each and every badge request (and try to do it in a timely manner), you may wish you hadn’t.
  • Make receiving your badge timely once the badge hunter does what they’re supposed to. There were a few badges last round of hunting that weren’t immediately available once the member did what they were supposed to to get the badge – for instance, I missed out on a badge because I was supposed to do something, which I did, but the badge wasn’t going to be sent to me until an e-mail the next day. Unfortunately that e-mail arrived the day AFTER Spooktacular ended. Remember if you set up your requirements as such (or if you didn’t automate your badge and are having to respond to every request manually), members that might come along in the last few days of February might not be able to get it, and you might miss out on some new members/subscribers/etc.
  • Building your downlines with a badge is okay – but consider how many people that will disqualify. Granted, a special CTP badge hunt like this can be a good opportunity to build your downlines in a program (or several programs), but remember that doing so will disqualify anyone that’s already a member of the program from being able to go for that badge. If I was going to go that route as a badge holder, I think I might consider giving the badge to anyone that requests it that could show me they’re already a member of that program with their affiliate link, maybe. I probably wouldn’t go that route anyway, though – like most of the other recommendations in this list, this situation is yet another that would probably make your badge less popular.
  • Don’t buy a badge and not do ANYTHING with it. Every badge hunt, there are some left that never had any hints and requirements added to them. It’s somewhat annoying for the badge hunters who are trying to go for the prize, but even worse, it’s a missed opportunity for the badge holder to do something really great for themselves, and their business and/or activities, with the badge. Don’t miss that opportunity (and waste the money you spent on the badge).

Of course, we already probably know that ALL of the badges won’t be pretty simple to get and/or free, likely, and that’s why there will likely only be one or two or three people who get all, or almost all, of the badges by the end of February.

But probably the most important thing of all of the above is keeping it simple. The most popular badges during Spooktacular were most definitely the ones that were simple to get, didn’t require badge hunters to jump through a dozen hoops (or surf a bazillion pages) to get the badge, were free and didn’t cost anything to get (or at least not very much), and, for the most part, that badge hunters could claim immediately.

If you want a lot of exposure and activity on your badge, then I’d strongly suggest following all or at least most of the above points of caution. The badges that had few people claiming them mostly required hunters to jump through a bunch of hoops, so more than anything else, again, I’d just recommending keeping it all pretty simple.

The more difficult your badge is to get, it’s just going to annoy people… and probably they will remember the experience negatively, too. When folks see your photo or your brand later on, you want them to think positively of you and your brand – not recall how much of a pain in the neck your badge or badges were to get during the last CTP badge hunt. Really, it should all be about spreading good will – not ticking people off.

Anyway – At least I know two people that may be getting less sleep than me during this upcoming badge hunt: Sunny Suggs and Tom Wacker, who will be doing another badge hunt update blog and list of badges this round. There will no doubt be an announcement about where you can find all that good stuff very soon!

Whether you want to be a badge holder or a badge hunter, you’ll have to be a member of ClickTrackProfit to participate in the badge hunt. If you would like to offer a badge and get new members into your program or new subscribers and aren’t a member already, this is a fantastic time to become a member of CTP and build your business or your business efforts some more.

And if you just want to hunt badges and maybe win some money, but aren’t a CTP member yet – here you go!

Happy hunting next week!

It’s the inevitable question (or, The Inevitable Question). Sometimes it’s worded differently, but it’s more or less all the same question:

“So, what do you do?”

I have yet to figure out how to tell people who aren’t involved in the TE community or in somewhat related areas of online business, when they ask, just what it is I do online without sounding like an idiot.

Or if I make an attempt to explain at least a little bit of it, their eyes start glazing over. Then as soon as they can, they change the subject to something like, “So have you seen (so-and-so whoever) lately?“, or some other something or another conversation topic that they can understand and make sense out of.

It’s really difficult if that person doesn’t really do anything or much online at all. But I’ve even seen it happen with friends who DO operate businesses online, or at least a business with a visible and active online presence.

The guy who does computer repair all over a quad-state area regionally, for instance. He probably spends as much time in his online business activities as I do with mine, but he just can’t really comprehend and grasp the concept of traffic exchanges, safelists and viral mailers, surfing, autoresponders, and all that whatnot.

As I mentioned last week, we had a death in the family. So, of course, in all the ensuing funeral home/memorial service stuff that goes on when such an event occurs, I had out-of-town relatives in town for most of the week.

I maybe see two of the cousins about once every ten years, if even that much, at least since I was a teenager. One of them is the closest of the cousins to my age, so we have a childhood history. The other is quite a bit younger, and not too long after she was born came the point where I didn’t see them very much at all.

What one of them does for a living is easily explainable to anyone who asks – he’s a college professor. The other one, I’m a little less sure of what exactly she does for the company, but let’s just say she works for a Very Large Online Behemoth That Is Not Google. But I know enough about the company (and so would pretty much anyone) to have a pretty good idea of what she does, and not have to ask a bunch of questions.

So for all practical purposes, I pretty much know what they do.

Unfortunately, they are now probably more clueless than ever about what it is I do, since when one of them posed The Inevitable Question to me last week, I wound up just making a great big mess of trying to explain anything at all, which likely left them and anyone else within earshot wondering what the heck I was doing with this online whatever thing.

And even more ridiculous, I didn’t even get to the traffic exchange industry part – not that it would have likely helped explain anything anyway. More likely that would have just confused them further.

If I had to guess, I would say they all probably came away from that conversation thinking I was doing something sort of like selling Amway or Avon online, but not really.

And then wondered what the heck “online business” is supposed to mean, like maybe it’s kind of a code word for something else that… well, you know, who even knows what crazy picture I put in their heads with my futile attempt at explanation.

Thinking about the conversation later, I realized that the question that was actually asked this time had been not so much “So, what do you do?”, but instead was more like “So, what are you up to these days?”

In retrospect, I really could have just skipped the whole work/online thing and given some other kind of completely unrelated answer, and saved us all the trouble of them getting terribly confused and me feeling like some babbling idiot.

There was also the cousin who I do see and communicate with a little more often, and who is so much younger than me that I tend to think of him more as a nephew than a cousin. Now, he has a business (or is a franchisee, I’m really not sure) that does operate a little online but I think is mostly an offline business, more or less. I don’t really understand what it is he does either , other than the fact that it all has something to do with guns and ammo (legally – I do know that much).

I think what he does and his business is probably somewhat and about as difficult for most people to comprehend as they do my stuff. Given that, I didn’t expect to, nor did I, get The Inevitable Question from him.

I am fortunate in that within my immediate family (which is pretty much just me, my mother, and my fiance these days), I really don’t have to explain much. My mom probably can’t tell you exactly what I do either, but she knows and hears enough about it all, and is and has always been very supportive of my efforts.

Pretty much the same with Brian, and he hears plenty more on a regular basis – more than he wants to sometimes, probably. Plus he does see some of what I do, how many hours I spend doing it all, and how much I am working, even if he doesn’t really totally understand what it all is and what it does. And he has gotten to know some of the fine folks in our TE community, which helps as well.

Plus they’re both pretty online savvy, computer savvy, and all such stuff, which kinda helps too. My mother is over 70 now, but she’s not one of those older folks who just came online in the last decade and does e-mail and Facebook and that’s it. We had a computer in the house since the late 1970s, and for a lot of years, whatever computer I was using at any given time was her cast-off computer after she bought a newer PC.

So yeah, I am fortunate in that I have a bit of understanding from my immediate family regarding what I do, and they’re very supportive overall (I know a lot of others don’t have that, or far from it, so I’m very grateful and appreciative of that).

They may not fully understand it, but they understand it enough. They sort of get what a traffic exchange is, they do pretty much understand affiliate marketing, and they absolutely understand the word “commissions”. That’s probably the best anyone could ask for, really.

One of my online colleagues who’s not around anymore, he sometimes used to tell confused and questioning family or friends, when they asked The Inevitable Question (or pressed for more information after having asked it), that he made his money online in adult websites, or with spam e-mails.

Online porn and the stuff in their spam mailbox, those things they could understand and comprehend. Traffic exchanges, membership sites, autoresponders, affiliate commissions, etc. – those things, they just couldn’t grasp.

Maybe there’s an easier way to answer The Inevitable Question that wouldn’t be so brain-numbing (for ME, much more so than them!) and frustrating, but I have yet to hit upon a really good one that doesn’t result in the eyes-glazing-over phenomenon yet.

Lately I’m thinking just saying “I’m in advertising”, and leaving it at that (and NOT saying “online advertising”) – and hoping like heck they don’t ask me to explain further – may be the least painful and least brain-twisting of avenues to take.

So what do YOU tell people? I bet there are some great stories out there, I’d love to hear ’em!

P.S. Pssst, speaking of online advertising (everywhere, and all over the place!):


Did the subject line get your attention? I was just having a little fun there today, I hope you don’t mind. Heh.

So here’s the deal… there are a few traffic exchanges around that have captchas while surfing that occasionally include math problems.

I’m sure you’ve seen them – EasyHits4U, the TE I can barely bear to surf but most everyone has to (or buy credits otherwise) because it’s so huge and with so many constant new members, is one of them. There are a couple of others.

Recently I have run across an issue with those math captchas a couple of times that just kinda defies all logic and reason.

What are you supposed to do if the actual answer is not THERE and an option?

An example would be something like “9 – 2”… yet seven isn’t one of the answers available.

Or “2 + 3”, and five isn’t an option.

It’s a theoretical question, mostly. The rare time this has happened, I pretty much just go back to the member area and re-start surfing again, so it’s not really that big a deal, but it just kinda slays me that this issue’s even out there.

I’m not a big fan of math in general (though oddly enough, I did rather well in most of the advanced math classes I took in high school, and took pretty much everything there was except for calculus). But I don’t mind these occasional math captchas too much, really. They’re mostly few and far between.

I just get sort of shocked when the actual answer isn’t an option. I mean, really… what’s the point?

Has this crazy math-with-no-available-answer thing happened to you? I was just curious if I was only one of a few coming across this strange phenomenon occasionally.

(Here’s somewhere you don’t have to worry about math-related captchas… check out Legacyclix if you haven’t yet. It’s supercool!)

Hi, I'm Lynn M & this is my blog.

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