Archives for May 2007

Insane Day for Daily Fuel Economy Tip

Wow. Who knew something so mundane could cause such a stir?!?
Yesterday evening I wrote an article for Daily Fuel Economy Tip which was about the ways people waste gas when they think that they’re actually saving it; nothing super controversial or over the top. In essence, the post was pretty much the same as every other article I have on Daily Fuel Economy Tip.

Except, it wasn’t. Let me explain…

After finishing the article last night I submitted it to, which actually ended up putting the article on its homepage at some point in the middle of the night. On top of that, because of the increased Fark traffic, the same article ended up getting on the homepage of Digg.

Unfortunately, for the first hour the story was on the homepage of Digg, I was having sporadic server problems due to the extremely substantial jump in traffic. Thankfully though, I had just refreshed my bandwidth for the month, so once the initial shock wore off, the site’s server was fully functional.

And if that wasn’t enough, later in the afternoon, I received an email from a radio station in Bloomington, Illinois (which is about two hours southwest of Chicago) asking me to be on their afternoon program. I obliged and actually have a link to share, so if you’d like to listen to the program, click here.

Needless to say, after all of the hoopla, Daily Fuel Economy Tip had about 75,000 hits today, and while I had a dramatic decrease in my click-through ratio, today has certainly been the most profitable day in the brief history of Carr Online Media, LLC!

Big-Seed Viral Marketing

One of the most efficient and inexpensive ways for you to market your site or business is through “viral marketing” which is really just a fancy term for word-of-mouth advertising. Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder to pull off than what many unsuspecting entrepreneurs believe.

Today I came across an absolutely fantastic article in the Harvard Business Review which delved into some theories regarding viral marketing and how you might be able to increase your chances of success with it – and hopefully increase your traffic and revenue.  Any school offering an online marketing degree would be wise to include these threories in the syllabus.

While many of the points brought up in the article were noteworthy and, at the very least, made me nod my head in approval, the following paragraph was probably the most important item I’ve read regarding viral marketing:

“The standard viral-marketing model is based on an analogy with the spread of infectious disease. It assumes that one starts with a seed of individuals who spread a message by infecting their friends, where the expected number of new infectious people generated by each existing one is called the “reproduction rate,” or R. When R is greater than 1, each person who gets the message will, on average, spread it to more than one additional person, who then does the same thing, and so on, leading to exponential growth in the number of people who receive it—an epidemic. By contrast, viral messages with an R of less than 1 are generally considered failures. That’s because purely viral campaigns, like disease outbreaks, typically start with a small number of seed cases and quickly burn themselves out unless their R exceeds the epidemic threshold, or tipping point, of 1.”

While this seems fairly obvious, I don’t think many of us actually think about how we want to implement a viral campaign before we attempt to put one in motion. Most of us just assume that all we have to do is simply get the word out to a lot of people at once and we’ll have ourselves a kick-ass viral campaign. Unfortunately, this appears to only be half true.

Based on the referenced paragraph, it might not be the quantity of people we reach as much as it is the “quality” of people we initially use to get our viral campaigns started. For example, if we get 100 people to participate in a viral campaign for a new site that we want to launch, but only 1 out of 2 people passes on the word (and the trend continues down the line), we should expect less than 200 people to come to our site because of word-of-mouth.

However, if we carefully select people that we know will pass on our site or business, we could easily expect an explosion in traffic. For example, if we carefully selected 10 people to help with a viral campaign, and each of them passed on our site to just three people (and the trend were to continue down the line), we should expect to see over 1,200 visitors in the same amount of time as the other campaign took to fizzle out at 200.

Anyway, if you get a chance, I definitely recommend that you print out the Harvard Business Review’s article and use it as the basis for any viral campaign that you launch.

My First Radio Interview

Apparently my “Stop Sending Those ‘Don’t Buy Gas’ Emails” article on Daily Fuel Economy Tip caused quite a stir; not only did it get nearly 2,500 Diggs, but it also caught the attention of a news radio station in Tulsa, Oklahoma – who has asked me to be on their morning program tomorrow to discuss the May 15 gas boycott.

Needless to say, this is really exciting news for me and is the most publicity that any of my sites have ever received.

When I was first contacted by the morning host, I almost told him no, simply because I figured I would be too nervous to talk on air. I mean, who am I?!? Thankfully I came to my senses and told them that I would be glad to be interviewed on their show.

For the better part of this afternoon I have rehearsed my answers even though I don’t know the questions, and have tried to do my best to figure out ways to make sure that my voice doesn’t crack (I’m 25 and just hitting puberty). Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure everything will be fine, it’s just that I’ve never done anything like this before.

Anyway, if you live in near Tulsa, do me a favor and listen to KRMG around 7:45 tomorrow morning. And in the meantime, wish me luck.

The Art of Advertising Bartering

First off, I apologize for the abnormally long time between posts. I recently tried to restain my deck, which was something that I thought would take just a couple of days to do. Unfortunately, it took over a week, and has been occupying most of my time.

Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to get back to writing!

Anyway, today’s post is about business bartering, specifically how to trade advertising among websites.

Typically when you think of advertising on someone’s website (or having someone advertise on your site) you think of having to shell out (or receive) a certain amount of money for an ad space in the hopes that your traffic will increase. Sometimes this ends up being a pretty good deal and you get a nice bang for your buck; other times it’s the equivalent to you flushing your business’ money down the toilet.

In other words, you’re taking a somewhat educated gamble that you’ll be able to turn your advertising money into more hits or sales.

Lately, I have been approached by several webmasters that wanted to “trade” advertising – meaning neither site would receive monetary compensation for having the other’s ad run on their site, but both sites would receive the same benefits of a regular advertising campaign.

At first glance, this seems like nothing more than a simple link exchange, but it’s definitely a lot more than that. By trading advertising, you’re giving the other site more than just a link, you’re actually using banner ads and images in oder to drive traffic from your site to their’s (and vice versa).

Due to my love of money, at first I wasn’t too keen on this idea because I wanted to get paid for having the other business’ advertising on my sites. However, I’m starting to get over it as I begin to research the traffic stats of the other sites and realize that even though I’m not getting directly paid for swapping advertising, I’ll probably make that up with extra traffic and Adsense revenue.

So, if you are ever approached to do this type of advertising, please give it a thought before you automatically dismiss it. Even though it’s nice to receive that monthly check for your standard advertising fee, in the end you may come out ahead by simply swapping ads.