Don’t Be Penny Wise and Pound Foolish with YOUR Money!

With the fiasco that was epass and the millions they stole from countless webmasters, it is understandable that people are hesitant to work with another online payment solution but the truth of the matter is, that can be very short sighted of you.  Of course you always want to be careful and you always want to work to protect yourself but don’t just turn away from what could be saving you a lot of money.

Today we are going to take a look at the newest solution which is called Red Pass.  Red Pass is directed associated with the billing company Zombaio who over the last two years has gained popularity for their ease of use, easier methods of setup (compared to say ccbill and epoch), NATs compatibility and competitive process pricing.  When I setup my Zombaio account I didn’t have to pay the $750 fees that CCBILL and Epoch wanted me to pay and my processing fees are 1% cheaper.  1% may not seem like much but it really can add up over time and the more money I make with them, the less they charge me.  If I was really making major bucks in processing a ton of transactions, my fees could be as low as 4.9%.

Red Pass first came to my attention when they were a major sponsor of the XBIZ 2012 awards show last January.

Their sales pitch for it was rather interesting and did catch my attention.

RedPass offers an easy, convenient, secure and inexpensive way to pay your affiliates, models, contractors or employees. With a RedPass Business account you are able to open RedPass accounts for your payees and instantly send payments. The transfers are made in real time and the funds are available on the payee account immediately.  RedPass is owned by the same financial institution as Zombaio and the integration and transaction flow between the parties is seamless.

The when I went to their website the first thing I noticed was that to get a Mastercard to use with my Red Pass account would cost me $44.95 a year and for that reason alone I honestly just stopped looking into them.  My thought was, I’m not paying some company $45 a year to let me have access to MY money.

But that was very short sighted of me and I didn’t realize it until my sister began bitching one day about how much banks charge you for an incoming wire.

When I make money with my Zombaio billing account they charge me $3.50 to process that payment (send me my money via US Domestic ACH Transfer).  My bank charges me an additional $10 for this.  I chose to get paid once per month from Zombaio so that means that in a year I spent $162 to get MY money and that’s only if I get paid just once per month.  If I increase the number of times I get paid (say weekly) then that $162 suddenly skyrockets to about $700 a year!

 Yes I just said that it cost me over $700 a year just to get paid!

Now keep in mind *MY* bank charges me $10 per transaction, your bank may charge a different amount.  My sisters bank only charges her $5 per transaction so in her case it would only cost her about $350 a year if she wanted to get paid weekly.  I’ve heard some banks charging fees of $11 all the way up to $25.  You’ll need to check with your bank to find out what those automated incoming payments are costing you.

So moving on …. now that you know how much it cost you just get collect YOUR money, that $44.95 a year didn’t suddenly look so bad so I decided to look into this whole Red Pass thing a little more closely.

Since I’ve used Zombaio, (their billing company) for the past two years without any trouble, I figured the trust issue was a non issue, at least in the big sense.  Obviously I would still keep a close eye on things so that I too won’t fall victim to another scam like so many did before me with companies like ePass and iBill of years ago.  I actually was taken by those pieces of shit years ago. -sigh-  But that’s a story for another day.

Basic math tells me that it’s cheaper to pay a $44.95 a year to Mastercard for use of their Red Pass pre-paid MasterCard than to pay my $162 a year in bank related fees to get my money sent directly to me.  The only problem was that would be the only way I would have access to my money is on a MasterCard debit card.  Then I started thinking … while I could ATM out up to $300 a day (for a fee of $3 per transaction) if I had a cash emergency, I didn’t really need to do that.  The money I currently get from Zombaio I use to pay bills like NATs and Elevated X and my Internet bill – a companies who accept MasterCard as a payment method and there is no fees involved in those kind of transactions.

Suddenly I realized, it made way more sense for me to make the switch to Red Pass and now every time I make as little as $100 Zombaio transfers that money to my Red Pass account and that costs me only 25 cents to load that money to my MasterCard.  So now when I need to pay a bill I just use that MasterCard and I save all that money in bank fees.  I also get paid more often which is also nice.

NOW A VERY VERY VERY IMPORTANT WORD OF WARNING.  Where all those people from ePass got screwed was they kept thousands of dollars in their “ewallet”.  These kinds of accounts are typically without of the realm of government control and protection.  So my advice is, no matter how great your working relationship may be with your biller, it’s always better to be safe than sorry so if you get a big batch of money coming in that you don’t want to risk losing forever, load it on your mastercard account and let it sit there instead of in your ewallet.

 

 

 

No scanner? No problem!

Awhile ago I needed to send a copy of my ID to a company I was setting up a banking relationship with.   My scanner hadn’t exactly worked in awhile and I wasn’t sure what to do so I remembered my mom had one.  It had come free with her new computer.  So I trotter over to my parents house and scanned my ID.  Well turns out scanners suck.  The ID wasn’t all that clear and although I tried to send it to them, my representative was concerned that MasterCard might reject it.

So instead he had a really brilliant idea that I wanted to share with all of you in case you too are in my position.    “If you don’t have access to a scanner, take a picture with your iPhone.”

It was so simple yet so brilliant.  Sure enough I tried it and it worked.  The quality was amazing too.  So much better than any scanner I’ve ever used on really anything.

I put my ID on my desk, turned on all the lights in the room to make sure the picture would be clear enough and snapped my photo and perfecto.  An amazingly perfect scan of my ID to send them.

Well the next week I had to sign a contract with a company I was going to do some consulting with.  So I printed the contract, signed it and then instead of scanning it and emailing it back, I tried the phone trick again.  It worked perfectly!  I took a photo of the page with my signature and cropped the image into the rest of the pages.

So guys if you don’t have a scanner, no problem.  Just use your iphone.  It will come out better quality anyway!

 

 

Will you work for me full time, for free?

How many people do you think would LOL at you if you went up to them and asked them if they would come work for you for free?  Most of you will no doubt respond to that question with, “all of them”!  I mean seriously, who would ask such a question in the first place?  Well surprisingly I get this question all of the time (only worded a little different).

I got an email the other day asking me if I would come work for this person.  Now what made this particular situation unique is that this guy insisted on arguing with me and for some dumb reason I replied back.  I don’t know why I wasted my time going back and forth with the guy but I figured mind as well let something good come out of the exchange, so I am turning it into a blog post so that maybe others can learn from the experience. 🙂

So as I said before, this particular person contacted me wanting to hire me.  I do freelance consulting jobs all of the time so the request wasn’t anything new to me.  The first thing I do is ask the potential new client about their product or service.  In this guys case he runs a membership website with his newly launched affiliate program.  His website wasn’t to bad.  It wasn’t anything spectacular but at the same time it didn’t make my run away screaming and crying either.  That actually happens more than you might think.

So after the guy writes me back and tells me all about his website and how great it is, he doesn’t exactly make a firm offer, he just sort of implies that he wants me to head up his new affiliate program.  He had launched it he said a few weeks back and hasn’t had even one person sign up yet.  I replied letting him know that launching and then running an affiliate program is a full time job, not exactly in line with my normal freelance consulting gigs but that he seemed nice enough so I would consider it for $X per month plus 10% performance based bonuses, meaning he would pay me 10% of everything his affiliates made on top of the monthly salary.  In other words if the affiliates make $20,000 a month in sales, I would make a bonus of $2,000 a month.

He was quick to respond to inform me that he didn’t have any money and couldn’t really pay me right now but that when his affiliate program started doing well he could maybe pay me then.  I kid you not, he actually said “maybe”.

So I wrote back for some reason and asked him what made him think that he could convince someone with my skills and expertise to come and work for him for free?  What would possess him to ever waste my time?  He wrote me back probably 20 emails after that going on and on about how his website was so great that if I would just take over his affiliate program then he would make way more money and then he could afford to pay people.

Here is how the rest of our conversation went …….

  • ME:  You seem like a very nice guy but I just can’t help you out.  Might I suggest you find someone with less experience who might be willing to work on commissions alone.
  • GUY:  I don’t want to waste my time with some noob that doesn’t know what they were doing.
  • ME:  So you really expect me to come work for you, for free?  Build up your program and then as you put it, “maybe” you can afford to pay me?  I didn’t get to where I am today because I’m a dumb ass.
  • GUY:  Someone told me you were nice and you helped people out.  I guess not.
  • ME:  There is a difference between helping someone and being taken advantage of.  And yes I help people out all the time but what you want is me to develop and launch your entire affiliate program, make it successful and then hope to get paid?   Things just don’t work that way.
  • GUY:  Well what if I promised you 10% once the affiliate program was a success?
  • ME:  I wouldn’t work for anything less than (my requested base salary) a year plus 10% period.   You can stop even asking.  There are no exceptions, ever.  I’ve worked for enough jack asses over the years that have made me a lot of empty promises.  I’m sorry to be so harsh but you really need to move on.  I’m not going to come work for you without cold hard cash, period.
  • GUY:  I don’t see why you won’t.  My site is awesome.  I have over 700 videos and 2300 photos.  You don’t find that stuff anywhere.

At this point I couldn’t even force myself to reply to him.  Obviously he wasn’t going to listen.  But there is a lesson to be learned here.  People aren’t going to work for free.  If you want good employees then you need to pay them, period.  Offering someone a revshare may be fine for an affiliate program, but not when it comes to valuable employees.  NOBODY IS GOING TO WORK FOR FREE.

Nobody who has been in the adult industry longer than a few years and seen all the fly by night, shady people in our business would be stupid enough to even consider such a thing.  So if you really need help then you need to consider PAYING THEM.

What’s amazing to me is how many people really think people will work for them for free.

Junk Traffic

I knew a guy once who paid $6,000 to a website. In return they guaranteed they would send him 30,000 unique visitors a day. Sounds like a great deal, right? On the surface perhaps it does but in reality it’s far from a good deal.

This guy was so proud of this “great” traffic deal he had just worked out I felt almost sorry for him. But since he was paying me for my advice I had to tell him the truth. Sadly not everyone takes the advice they pay me for and in this case it was one very costly lesson.

Good traffic converts at 1:500 or better. If the traffic isn’t converting at that then something is seriously wrong with your website or that traffic. If this guys traffic was good he would be getting 60 joins a day out of that.

At a rate of $15 profit per join * 60, means he would be making $900 a day or $27,000 for the month. That’s a $21,000 return on his original investment of $6,000.

But we all know things didn’t work out that way or I wouldn’t be writing about it.

When I tried to explain quality traffic conversions to my client he didn’t want to hear it. He had gold fever. His argument was that even if it wasn’t the best traffic and didn’t convert at the norm, and only converted at double that he would still make 30 joins a day or $13,500 for the month which is still a $7500 return on his investment.

In the end he got 4 joins out of that. Not 4 joins per day, 4 joins total.  That means the traffic ended up converting at a rate of 1:225,000.  The guys site normally converts at about 1:350.

But why? How did I know this deal would go bad?

The answer is very simple. My grandmother always said to me growing up that I want every one of you to memorize right here and now ….

If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!

If this guy had this much traffic, where is it coming from?  In this case it turned out it was from a tube site.  Tube site traffic is notoriously low quality.  People go to tube sites for free porn and they are not known to be interested in paying for porn.  They don’t care that if you buy a website membership you get higher quality.  They are interested in fast and free and at a tube site, that is what they get.

Next you have to ask yourself, how is this tube site sending you all these visitors?  Are the ads deceptive or misleading?  If so then of course that would account for the horrible conversion ratios.  If a person doesn’t know they are clicking an ad then that person is worthless to you.

And the last reason I knew it wouldn’t work out is the price.  If a person really had all that traffic, why would they sell it off so cheap?  Traffic is extremely valuable.  So why would you just give it away?   Common sense tells us that you wouldn’t.  If a person had traffic that wasn’t total and complete poo poo they would make the most money they could from it and that means they wouldn’t be selling it at rock bottom prices.

So next time you go buying traffic, especially from those traffic networks, consider what you just learned here carefully.  If you do it will save you a lot of time and money.

 

WTH is Googlebot?

I tell my clients to always invest in a good stats programs and since you can typically get a program like awstats for free, you just need to have your web hosting company install it on your server, there is never an excuse not to have a real server side stats program.

Stats programs are awesome because they tell you all sorts of fun things like how many actual visitors a day are at your website and where in the world they came to you from.  You’ll see that sometimes another site may send them over or sometimes they came to you from search engines.  A good stats program like awstats (or the like) will even tell you what common keywords people use to search when they find your website.

Another fun thing it can tell you is what web browsers people are using to visit your website.  If you know what people are using to see your site then you know what it will look like when you check your own pages in those various browsers.  46% of the people who visit this site use Firefox, 29% use Safari, 15.9% use IE.  I would have thought Chrome numbers would have been much higher by now but apparently I was wrong.

One of the clients I had get a stats program came back to me with a question and while I thought it was pretty common knowledge these days after speaking with him and a few others, I realized maybe I was wrong.  Maybe people don’t know as much about search engine technology as I had thought they did.

His question was, WTH is Googlebot?  Is it something to do with Google.com?  I noticed it has been at my blog every day.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

The answer is yes, Googlebot is Google’s web crawling bot or spider. It has everything to do with Google and is it a good thing that Googlebot is visiting you daily?  Yes it is.  Googlebot will visit your site and sort of crawl through your pages to see what new things you have added or what has been updated since it last visited you.  The more often you add new content, the more Googlebot will visit your site and and that should equal better search results for you which means the more people Google’s search engine can send your site.

 

 

 

Trust me, your boyfriend doesn’t know everything

After being in this industry for like 16 years you can quite honestly say you’ve seen a lot. Some things however you tend to see time and again.  One of those “things” you see time and again is the trust a porn star will put in her boyfriend.  They seem to really think they know everything and employ them as their driver, bodyguard, part time manager, publicist and webmaster.  No this isn’t some suitcase pimp story about how when they break up he is going to move on to the next porno chick or land himself a job working for some agent like LA Direct Models with the connections he made when he was with you.

No this is actually a cautionary tale about porn stars who hire their boyfriends as webmasters.  We can rant about how hiring your boyfriend as your PR guy can hurt your career later on.  So moving forward ……..

I frequent a few industry professional boards and as such from time to time I get messages from different people asking for my advice or help.   Today I got one of those messages.  I won’t stay who it is.  I’m not a total bitch and I’m not out to embarrass anybody.  So the message to me today was that this person has a website that wasn’t doing so well.  She hardly ever got anyone joining and her webmaster, who surprise surprise was also her fiance, said it was because they needed to hire an SEO expert.  She wanted to know if I would take a look at her site and tell me what I thought.

Before I even clicked the link I knew what I would find … a amateur looking design, a lot of outgoing links to fake awards and review sites, and it would all be associated with her ccbill affiliate program.  This site did not disappoint.  It was a disaster.

The graphics were not even funny.  They were so atrocious.   I was going to stop right there and write his this long response about how when we ask a person to join our website, we are asking them to trust us with their credit card information and to gain that trust, to get them to join we have to have a website that is done far more professionally.  But instead I decided to continue on and write my reply to her all at one time.

Next I made my way to her join page.  She was charging $29.99 a month.  Yet her site was offering less than 50 video clips, each less than 20 minutes, some as few as 7 minutes.    All the videos but four were solo.  Two of them were girl/girl and two were boy/girl but one of the boy/girl videos which was a short blow job scene was less than two minutes long!  She did have a good selection of photos but damn, $30 a month worth?  I think not!

The more I went through the site the more I realized how little of this girl was actually there.  This is HER official website.  So where is the connection to her?  Fans want to communicate and interact with their favorite starlet, especially at a rate of $30 a month, that is why they join her official site.   This site didn’t offer really anything in the way of a personal touch to the star in question.

In her original email to me the porn star in question made mention of her affiliate program and how everyone told her she had to start one for her website and she did but much to her surprise it’s not really going that well.  She’s had no success with it at all.

This is not a fact that surprised me at all.  There was a very good reason for her lack of success in the affiliate world and that was because she made an all to common newbie mistake and this is why hiring your boyfriend or fiance to run your website is always a bad idea.  If he was a professional he would have known to not do this.

When they seen the site wasn’t really making much money they started to put up ads for other things like phone sex and text sex ads.  She has 4 ads for alternative services on her front page alone.  She’s so busy promoting her other services to make money, of which the affiliate gets none of, her website isn’t doing its job of promoting membership sales and that is where the affiliate makes money.  So why in the world would an affiliate send that site money with all those traffic leaks in there?

An affiliate isn’t your friend, they are your business partner and they want to send you their traffic to make money by getting people to join your website.  If you are so busy promoting other things like sex toys and text messages, then that affiliate is losing out on potential revenue.

That and well, when your fiance created the header graphic for the YOURNAME Affiliate Program, he spelled affiliate wrong. Just guessing here but that’s probably a major turn off to any of the more serious webmasters who might have considered doing business with you.

So my advice to her was of course don’t hire an SEO export.  Spent that money on a professional design for your website.  Ditch all the extra ads.  If you must have them, limit them to your members area only.  Next consider working with a more established network of real porn stars like Vicky Vette and Nina Mercedez.  Both of these are actual porn stars who run their own networks and their vast experience can greatly help your website be a better success.  There are a lot of companies out there who will make a lot of claims but in the end, these two are girls who have been there, done that.  They are porn stars just like you.  They know first hand what you go through as they go through it as well.  But more than that, we’ve see more than our fair share of porn star networks rip girls off over the years and since these girls are porn stars themselves, I truly believe it’s the only way to go.

I don’t care how big or well known the company is, there is never -ever- a situation that I would refer one of the girls who come to me for advice to go with one of those kind of companies, ever.  I know how things work behind the scenes.  I know some of the bullshit they pull.  I could rant on for hours about it but I think you get the point. 🙂

Of course this is the same advice I’ve given to 50 other girls over the years so today I thought I would post it so maybe some of the girls can benefit from this advice as well.

Let Me TITLE Your SEO

I frequent a few industry message boards.  Often times I’ll see posts looking for SEO help.  Yet when take a look at their website almost every time I notice one thing and that is that they these so called industry “professionals” don’t even bother to get the most basic feature of their site right which is the title tag.  Now they are off looking to pay who knows how much money to someone claiming to be a search engine guru to fix all their problems.

It really makes me sad to see it happen time and again.

So today I’ve decided to share some information with you and I hope that each and every website owner takes this information to heart and if they do nothing else for their websites this month, they will at the very least update their websites with the proper title tag.

Long ago search engines used to use something called META DESCRIPTION TAGS and META KEYWORDS but those days are long gone.  Search engines learned that webmasters just stuffed them with keywords, often irrelevant to the actual content on the site.  So now search engines have improved their technology and gotten smarter.  Now they now to actually scan your page to find out what it is about.  They also use the TITLE tag on your page and this is an area that can actually get you a penalty and hurt your search engine rankings if you don’t use the title tag properly.

So let’s say you have a website called sex.com.  In your website you have 15 pages.  That means that you need to have 14 unique title tags, period.  If every single page on your website doesn’t have a unique, accurately descriptive title tag than you are making a huge mistake.

So the first page of your website would be “SEX”.  Now what about the other 14 pages?  Let’s say the first page is dedicated to Lisa Ann, your title would be something like Sex – Lisa Ann.  If page two is about blondes with big tits then the title should be Sex – Blondes with Big Tits.  If the next page features a clip from the movie Love Love Lela then the title tag of the page could be Sex – Love Love Lela.

I think by now you get the point, right? So continue on and make sure that every single page on your website has a title that is not like any other title on any of the other pages on your websites.  You also want to make sure that the title is descriptive but not to long  …. and again to be clear, every single page must have their own unique title.  You should include the name of your website (your main keywords) and then what the page is about.