Great Ideas: It’s easy to lose them, so don’t.

Grahame Green, the famous English novelist, was in many ways an inspiration for many writers. Dare I say, bloggers, too. For me, he was an inspiration: he was reputed to keep a journal near his bedside so he could write down many of his ideas, some of which would work their way into his novels. I don’t know if this is true or not, a couple of cursory searches indicated that it was not.

Whether or not it is true, it highlights a problem I’ve been having recently: keeping a track of those flashes of insight, ideas for posts, quotes, and other memes that come to me, as the muse does. Whenever I have one of those flashes of optimism, I really try hard to remember it so I can use it in a post later in that day.

The sad thing is: I then sit down to blog about those very topics, only to find that the ideas are evanescent as the warm winds of September in Taiwan. What am I to do?

So I have adopted several means to help record them: I’ll use email to send notes to myself, it’s easy to open, and create, and save. If a computer is not available, then I’ll keep some notes in my little notebook, small enough to fit inside my own wallet. If not, I’ll find scraps of paper to write down whatever I need to remember. Then I’ll collate the notes into titles or first sentences, and save them in my blog.

The result can be quite effective, but if not done properly, it will fill up notebooks/wordpress with numerous headers. These are easily recovered but making sense of them later is often a challenge, especially when the original mood is gone.

For example, I wrote a long half post about frustrations dealing with our photocopy company, then I saved it. A month later, the original mood is gone, facts are half-remembered, and I wonder if I will ever write it. At least I have the basics that I could write or re-write as needed. If I didn’t have these, I wouldn’t have the choice to develop the post or not.

So, if you are stuck for ideas: remember – your best ideas will often come to you at very odd times. Find a way to take some notes so that you will have a list of topics that you can write about when things are a little dry.

Why I quit Izea, Payperpost and SocialSpark

About two and a bit years ago, I started working for a company that was called PayPerPost. In essence, it was a simple concept: get advertisers to pay bloggers for posts about products and services that interest them.

Over the past two years, I blogged on a huge variety of opportunities for PayPerPost (and much less so, SocialSpark). At one point, I even experimented with being an Advertiser and created several opps for InvestorBlogger Dot Com.

But business for PayPerPost has been up and down for me for the past twelve months. Some months I had a good run at the opps, but in the past six months, I have only taken a few opps. Mostly because I have been segmented out of these opps by virtue of being in Asia.

Then in September, I returned to the UK where I updated my address for comparison. I was shocked at all the new opps that were available to me just because I was now in “Europe”. So after returning to Taiwan, I had to consider what my course of action was to be.

At that point, PayPerPost suddenly dropped all the floors on opportunity pricing from $5.00 to 50c or less. While there were a lot of opps now in the system, in what was disingenuously called ‘an experiment’, most were for very little money at all. At that point, I called it quits. I wrote and requested to be removed from Payperpost and SocialSpark.

This post outlines my initial response, Izea’s reply, and my response to them (since I couldn’t login to post the comment to the author of the reply). I’m now posting it here instead.

Post 1: Quitting

Please remove my account. I’m done with SocialSpark and Izea in general. Sorry. I don’t do blog posts for 25c and links for 50c. I would rather find other ways to monetize my blog.

Post 2: Idea’s Reply

Jamie Kite, Official Rep, replied 2 hours ago

Hi Kenneth,

I am sorry to hear that you are leaving the IZEA network. Before you go, there are a few things I wanted to clarify for you. First, the minimum offer amount for a Sponsored Post in SocialSpark is $5.00. You may have noticed other Opportunities out there that pay less, specifically Affiliate programs, Blog Sponsorships and CPC Opportunities. None of these Opportunity types requires you to write a post.

Affiliate Opportunities pay per conversion, so you can earn the offer amount over and over again, as many times as a visitor to your site completes the advertiser’s requirements (this may be filling out a form, purchasing a product, or signing up for a service). The offer amounts on these vary from a little less than a Sponsored Post to many times the average offer amount for a Post, depending on the requirements for conversion. Payment for Affiliate Opportunities happens 30 days after a conversion occurs.

CPC Opportunities provide an even greater opportunity for monetization. You get paid each time a visitor, follower, or friend clicks a link to an advertiser’s site. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook this can be especially lucrative if you have many friends or followers. As always, we require disclosure on these paid links. And what’s better, you get paid within a few days (or less) after each click.

Blog Sponsorships may also have an offer amount that is less than a typical Sponsored Post, but they are payed per day. So if you take a $1.00 sponsored post for 30 days, you end up with a much bigger payout in the end. All you have to do is make sure you have ITK on your blog(s).

We’re sorry to see you go, but I did want to reach out and clarify the difference between the Opportunity types in SocialSpark so that your expectation wasn’t that you would get anything less than $5.00 for a Sponsored Post. If the other Opportunity types with lower offer amounts aren’t your thing, that’s okay…

Post 3: My response to Izea (since I couldn’t post it on their network)

Thanks for contacting me.

I saw the new opportunities on SS, but it’s been such a while that I found anything I could do. Despite having two fairly popular blogs with largely N.American traffic, I repeatedly found myself with the bottom of the barrel opps in both SS and PPP.

Even having a PR3 didn’t make things much better. Being based in Asia, I find that there is almost nothing I can do on PPP/SS these days. So, until things look up for me on Izea, I see little or no point in having the code on my blogs… It’s sad, but there it is. The system that Ted created for bloggers ends up excluding bloggers whose blogs are fairly decent. But then Izea spends undue effort removing all the splogs that can legitimately get into PPP/SS and legitimately take those opps.

I”m afraid I have much more success blogging for another company than Izea now. Each time I login to SS/PPP just reminded me of how I was segmented out of the running for 99% of the opps available. Even when opps are available in SS, I’m unable to take any of them for similar reasons: I’m based in Asia.

So for a trial I switched my PPP account to ‘uk’ region, my home and I was shocked at how different things were. I couldn’t legitimately take any of the opps because of the zoning issue. So I didn’t. That’s when I stopped blogging for Izea.

If you could understand my frustration, I have two good blogs (one pr3, one formerly pr2), both Alexa 1million and under, with over 5000 page views a month between them, and majority N. American traffic, and there is so little I can do, it’s not even worth the time logging in. Eventually, enough is enough.

Wishing you all well,

So that’s it. I already removed all the PPP/SS codes from all of my blogs, converted the links, and removed all traces of Payperpost except the archives. If you’re based in North America, then this may be a valuable way to make some money. You’ll certainly learn a lot. I did. I’m extremely grateful for the experience of blogging for Izea. But all good things must end, and indeed they have. It’s time to move on and find new ways to blog, new readers to read my blogs, new topics to write about, and new methods to monetize. Good luck, Ted and all at Izea. I’ll check back from time to time.

Keeping a track of your expenses: using Google Docs

When we were away on our travels, we really had a good time, and we found that Taiwan is really a place for enjoying yourself. For better or worse, we used our credit cards to pay the hotel fees. It was just so much more convenient and we’ll earn the points.

But I failed to have a great system for recording these expenses. I read about using Google Docs to create an expense list from somewhere. So I decided to see what I could create in a few minutes. Surprisingly it was easy.

Google Docs now allows users to create forms. Sign into Google, click on Google Docs and on the right hand side you’ll see a short menu that allows you to create four types of documents. Click on the ‘New’ tab. You’ll see the first item is called ‘Forms’. When you click on that, you’ll be taken to a simple form that is populated with the first item already.

Try it out for yourself or read my full post. As you approach a major spending time, such as summer travel or Christmas, this can be a great way to monitor your spending. You’ll find the tool quite easy to use. For more, read this post on Google Docs and Forms.

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