This is the place to introduce yourself. Solo Build It! owners ("SBIers") cover the globe. Let us know a bit about your special corner of the world, about you and your solopreneur plans.

Moderators: Maria from Agness, Diane Marie from

#74049 by Tony from Paint Lick
Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:21 pm
Hello Everyone,

I've been 'lurking' long enough, time to contribute.

This post is a combination of an introduction and a kudo to SiteSell. I realize I should probably split the post up into two: one for each category 'Hi I'm from...' and 'Kudos', but as you'll see, one leads into the other, so I'll put it here.

By day, I am a scientist (specifically, I work in solar physics). Among other things (to what's relevant here), I have been involved in many aspects of producing web content, both large and small, for quite some time (15 years). Most notably, I've designed web sites that serve large quantities of solar data, process user requests for many data products, query databases, provide public education outreach to the community, and serve information to the scientific community. These efforts required that I become proficient in all aspects of web programming, design, user interfaces, and implementation including PERL cgi scripting, SQL database design, yada yada blah blah...

Admittedly, all my experience has been in the scientific and educational categories of the internet (as opposed the commercial uses), but they are rather sophisticated uses and require 'leading edge' technologies to implement. Well, that's enough of my resume, moving on...

I know it sounds like I'm bragging and I really don't mean to, but I wanted to let you know that I'm coming from an 'expert webmaster' point of view to say: that in spite of the fact that I feel I can make websites do whatever I want them to do, I still chose SBI.

When it came time for me to choose a hosting provider for my wife's site, like everybody else, I looked for the best value I could find. All hosting providers offered more or less the same thing: x amount of bandwidth and diskspace for x dollars per month. The only thing that differed was the details of some of the features: number of email addresses, perl modules installed, number of mySQL databases, cpanel interface, etc...

I could get all the website functionality I could ever want for $4.95 per month. I still chose SBI.

In monitoring the websites we maintained, I became proficient in understanding what would 'sit right' with Yahoo, Google and more recently, MSN. Our scientific websites were all well received in the community and scored very high in all search engines. Scientists, students and the general public all visitied us when they were researching the sun or wanted pictures, etc. We have thousands of visitors per day, sometimes tens of thousands. Google lives on our sites.

I feel I understand SEO very well and could score any webpage highly in the search engines. I still chose SBI (for this, I especially chose SBI).

If there's one thing I've learned in my experiences with the internet, is that the web is nothing more than a tool. An amazing tool to be sure, but a tool nonetheless. Like a shovel, it just sits there unless you actively do something with it. Nothing that has come before has allowed so many people to gain a worldwide audience like the web has. Gutenberg would be proud (and envious).

All a person has to do now is have an idea or opinion and upload a document and voila, instant worldwide audience.

Sort of.

It's not really that simple is it? If it were, everybody would be famous just by virtue of having published their opinions on a web page or blog.

A worldwide audience for the average person is still out of reach because you still need a specific skillset to succeed on the internet. A skill set which I possess but my wife does not.

And that's why I chose SBI.

Now, she is on a level playing field with the best programmers and SEO'ers there are. She get's high spots on the SE's because of what she gets here, her pages get read because of what she gets here, her website rises above the noise because of what she gets here. SBI is the Gutenberg press of the internet. The average person can now be heard.

Another reason I chose SBI is that all of my web efforts, while successful, were not designed to make money, it would have been inappropriate. This system is set up from the beginning to allow a person with an idea to not only get noticed on the internet, but to profit from it. All tools provided are geared toward that goal.

Miriam looks at it as if the money she has paid to SiteSell just hired her a team of programmers and SEO'ers who work on stuff she could care less about. She focuses on creative writing and leave the details to the team of professionals she just hired.

Yes, I could have done a lot of this stuff for her, but that would have been a huge commitment, one that I'm was loathe to make. Further, I hate re-inventing the wheel, if someone else already has a proven system in place, why do it again? $299.00 is a bargain, I'm worth WAY more than that.

My main motivation for writing this is that in my lurking on these forums, I have become dismayed by many posts of 'expert' web masters decrying the so-called limitations of SBI. I wanted to offer another voice to those amazing webmasters (like Marc Liron), who are experienced, who can make webpages jump through all kinds of amazing hoops, and yet become customers of SBI, not in spite of those skills, but because of them.

Our skills allow us to see the value in SBI. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to any other expert out there. Even expert mechanics pay other mechanics to do their work for them if it saves them time and money. And for the average person, you won't get anywhere near the exposure you get from SBI anywhere else, at least not for $299.00.

I have purposefully stayed out of these forums for over a year now because I wanted to test the SiteSell system without getting a lot of traffic from the forums. I'll post how that went another time.

I will say now that Miriam's site is making WAY more money than we initally expected. Who would have though that from a creative writing site? Apparently Ken did.

Finally, I would offer that when you read negative posts from experts who claim SBI is limited, your question should always be: relative to what? Sure, there is no 'advanced functionality' (whatever that means) build into the Site Builder, but there is more than state-of-the-art stuff behind the scenes in terms of getting your website above the noise.

If you are out to make money on the internet, there is way more to consider than whether or not you have direct ftp access and php scripting capability. Having those tools doesn't equal making money - in fact, I would argue are almost irrelevant.

SBI provides the relevant tools to making money on the web.

Thanks for reading.


#74063 by Christopher from Atherton
Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:01 pm
What can I say?

Well said Tony! :wink:

I'm far from a techie, so you know I love SBI! :)

#74065 by Daryl from Macedon
Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:11 pm
Great post Tony but you sure are quite liberal with your definition of "expert". :wink:
#74073 by ken-admin
Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:51 pm

I just referenced this post from another.

Absolutely spine-tingling.

I live for posts like this. The time you obviously invested means the world to me.

Thank you.

All the best,

P.S. Don't wait another year, please? ;-)

#74081 by Gary from Loxton
Wed Sep 28, 2005 12:45 am
Tony ... couldn't agree more!!!

I'm in a similar situation ... and many will know, having read some of my previous posts, I spent some 17 years in the IT industry working my way up from a junior programmer ... to senior management .... before moving onto management consultancy .. and then finally "semi-retiring" from the rat race to follow my passion - photography ...

And all of this experience was way before Bill Gates wrote his first version of DOS ... before MS Windows ... and in fact before the acronyms "PC", "Mac" and "WWW" became part of everyday communication ..!!! :wink:

Now I am still a "techie" and I do tend to like all singing all dancing bells and whistles UNTIL I came across Ken's Action Guide and SBI ...

I came to realise that what was really important was what Ken was constantly pushing ... informative content, content, content ... because that is what Internet surfers are usually looking for ..

I (and more importantly my visitors) don't need "flashy" :roll: intro flash screens ... pop-ups, pop-unders, exit stage left, exit stage right windows, revolving banners, FTP etc ... etc ...!!!! :lol:

Just useful content ... all put together with Ken's "Pre-sell" paradigm ... and it works ...

I have seen an ever increase in visitors every week ... and I just keep adding content after content ...

Yes ... I'm hanging out for SSI It!! ... but only because it will save me a few hours of effort ...

Yes I'm looking forward to RSSIt!! because I know "RSS" is becoming an internet "norm" and we might as well be up there with the leaders ...

But more importantly ... I know these new "features" from Ken and his team will be aimed at the "non-techie types" so I expect the "old grey matter" is not going to be taxed too much .... :wink:

I tend to throw in my own "tuppence worth" on the forum whenever I see the "Why can't SBI do x,y,z ..." type posts ... because I think it is important that those posters are given feedback from those of us that do undertstand the techical side and still made a decision to go with SBI ...

In fact I think SBI in its current blend is extremely good .. it does cater for the complete novice using the building block method ... and still allows us "techies" to upload our own .html and still utilise all the ancillary functionality ...

Off the soapbox, Gary ... you're getting tired... :roll:
#74270 by Tony from Paint Lick
Wed Sep 28, 2005 6:11 pm
Thanks for the welcoming responses. Forums actually terrify me, I've seen some real knock-down drag-outs, usually provoked by self-proclaimed experts (not here, but elsewhere - even on innocuous hobby forums), so I only post when I feel I have something to offer - and then with great care. The social cues simply aren't present on the web, so I always strive to be careful not to unintentionally offend someone. Problem is, there's a lot people with hairshirts on roaming the net.

The environment fostered by Ken in this forum actually allows for thoughtful discussion without the juvenile abuse provided by people who are just trying to make themselves feel important. The fact that he won't tolerate it makes this forum, in my opinion, the most worthwhile forum on web entrepreneurialism I've ever seen.

Sure, the net's all about free speech, but that doesn't mean we have to tolerate other people's abuse, nor does it preclude Ken's right to provide a sanctuary from it. People can choose to participate here in a civil manner or not. I was getting real tired of what I was reading and felt compelled to say something.


I was extremely happy to write that endorsement, you are more than welcome. I wish all companies were run this way. Could you imagine what the world would be like? I believe that SiteSell is one of the few companies that actually make the internet a useful place.

I firmly believe you get what you put out in this world, and from what I've seen, you've got a lot of good things coming your way...


Greetings from a fellow code nerd! Thanks for the kind words and it comes as no surprise to me that an experienced programmer like yourself finds himself here.

To all the others:

Rest assured you're on the right track to success, in my opinion, it's the only track.

Thanks again!


#74291 by Claire from
Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:37 pm

Hi Tony,

I loved this:

If there's one thing I've learned in my experiences with the internet, is that the web is nothing more than a tool. An amazing tool to be sure, but a tool nonetheless. Like a shovel, it just sits there unless you actively do something with it.

In a recent post of mine in that long wahm thread I was waxing lyrical and rhetorical about how we can persuade people that something they use every day could be used to earn them money. I then asked this question, which now seems a little pompous, but...:

I don't know if anybody has summed up the essence of the web. What does it mean to us?

Well, I think you have given one answer to that question - Claire, it's like a shovel. A spade is a spade. The web is a tool.

This simple insight has given me a lot to think about, so thank you!

#74518 by Tony from Paint Lick
Thu Sep 29, 2005 5:27 pm

Hi Claire,

Thanks so much for your kind words. I just finished reading the thread you referenced (quite a thread, actually) but since it's locked and you brought up the issue here, I'd like to add my two cents here.

I've already said that I think the web is just a tool, one that has offered an unparalleled access to humanity like never before. I was more intriqued by this aspect of what you said:

Right, I am going to ask a really stupid question. What is there to master? What is the mental hurdle that needs to be jumped to believe that web behaviour or activity such as being able to surf the web, post messages, use Google, fill in an online form, go internet shopping - combined with the hundreds of other skills that people use in everyday life/work - could be used to earn money?

This, to me, is far from a stupid question - it's an amazingly astute question. It cuts right to the heart of not only where SiteSell now sits - on the cusp of a great 'internet awakening' - but also where each current SiteSell customer is in trying to reach new customers for their sites. I firmly believe that anyone who answers this question successfuly on their sites, will become multimillionaires. Your question implies the need to get people who are not comfortable online to get comfortable, and by extension, how do we get people who don't have anything to do with computers and the internet online? That's what I mean by internet awakening, and I think that's where the future of SiteSell and each SS customer who has a website lies.

The internet is a tool that has already reached those who can easily understand what it's good for: communication, gathering information, buying stuff, selling stuff, etc... I've never done any extensive research, but what little I have done suggests that the people currently using the internet are a tiny fraction of those who could eventually benefit from it.

In my opinion, the future financial successes to be derived from the internet reside in those efforts put into getting people who are not online, online. I'll use the SiteSell affiliate program as an example. I believe that it is possible to become a millionaire as a SiteSell affiliate if all a person did was promote the 'Offline Buzz' portion of the program. In fact, I would argue that the Online Buzz part is saturated and ineffective compared to what you could accomplish offline. (When I say ineffective, I mean in comparison to offline efforts. Many people are making plenty of money as online affiliates, but let's face it, there are a finite number of people who routinely use the web, for growth to occur, you need to get more people online. There's still potential there but it becomes more limited as each day passes.)

Problem is, the offline stuff is harder isn't it? The internet allows the clicks to come to you without a face-to-face interaction. That's very appealing - there's this feeling of easy money that comes with putting up a link and counting the dollars, but alas, I feel those glory days are nearing an end. The REAL money is in educating people who are not online to what the benefits are.

I believe all the input from the SAHM, WAHM thread is dead on because to be really successful at appealing to that market, you'll be heading right into the issues addressed by your question. I hope this doesn't sound sexist, but I could imagine a sort of 'Tupperware party' style meeting occuring in houses where housewives, househusbands, etc offer up their experiences online with the sole purpose of helping people understand the internet and what they could get out it. They could be promoted as 'The Internet for Regular Joes' or something like that (I find those xxxx for Dummies books insulting so I would never call it Internet for Dummies). All you do is help people who don't have access to computers understand what it is and what's involved.

This would mean, of course, getting out of your comfort zone. All your friends and family are probably already online, so you'd need to reach a demographic that is probably poorer, lacks education or skills, and perhaps has physical difficulties. Could you imagine having contacts in China right now? India? Vietnam? I think a trip to those countries could easily pay for itself if you've got the guts.

Fortunately for affiliates, these people would benefit from SiteSell more than any other.

I would never presume to speak for Ken, but I think he realizes this potential, that's why he puts so much emphasis on the Offline Buzz stuff and gives extra incentives. If he positions SiteSell as an entry point for those who are just getting online, the future is quite bright.

Many people bemoan the fact that the explosive growth stage of the internet may be over. I couldn't disagree more, I think the easy explosive growth is over, but there's another plateau to be reached. I firmly believe that there'll be an 'Internet Awakening' by people who've never used a computer before

Sorry for the length and thanks for reading...


PS, I feel the need to add that these are only my opinions. I have no crystal ball, I've just given this a lot of thought and this makes sense to me.
#74539 by ken-admin
Thu Sep 29, 2005 6:54 pm
Amazing post. Very stimulating. It pushes my own thinking.

Three for three, Tony. The pressure on you to be consistently brilliant is going to become too much to bear! ;-)

Yes, the offline opportunities are terrific. Hence "The Buzz" program...

... AND the Teleconference program...

But one slight refinement on the online opportunity. An excellent opportunity does indeed lie online, just not quite in the way you're thinking of, Tony. And thus the rationale for "WWW It!"...

... and this fantastic contest that has become a real monster...

I tend to agree with you, PARTLY, when you say that online marketing...

"is saturated and ineffective compared to what you could accomplish offline"

... but only if you are considering a career in "marketing marketing." Breaking into Internet marketing or business marketing, and so forth, is pretty darn tough at this point. We still see some affiliates doing it, but they usually have a truly unique twist or technology, they never have something we can teach others.

And then there are others who use Google Adwords in truly innovative ways. I can't give away what they do because it wouldn't be fair to them. But it's why we opened up special subdomains to NOT popunder our www home page, allowing them to flourish.

So where is the real opportunity ONline?

Just about everyone surfs nowadays. If you don't, well, SBI! is not right for you! Not yet, anyway. After all, you do have to crawl before you can walk. So let's reach the walkers.

If you can "walk," you're searching for "cactus gardening" or "Anguilla" or "57 Chevvy" or whatever. Those people are not looking to start a business online, but we do know that 72% of American households are actively considering starting a work-from-home business (that recent Harris poll we've talked about).

And that brings us back to our contest...

I've been getting writer's cramp every month writing affiliate checks. And what I've noticed is that more and more of them are on the order of $200-$500 per month, to SBIers. It was a hunch at first. When I get a hunch, I ask a geek to go data-mining for me. :-)

And yes... there is tremendous potential online, but not by going into the Internet marketing business. Don't get me wrong -- we pay those top affiliates thousands per month. But don't go there -- you're right, Tony. We are saturated in that sphere of influence.

The opportunities lie in one simple page on your niche site. Find the right approach for your NON-marketing-related niche site, tie it in neatly, cleanly, originally, like others are doing so well...

... and you won't get rich on it. But if every page could earn you $200 to $500 per month, that would be a pretty darn good WIN, I'd say. And it's a nice WIN for SiteSell too -- I've talked about how my first choice is to keep growing without Venture Capitalists (who now constantly call us and who make a strong case for why we need to grow or ultimately be marginalized by the first BigCo who "gets" what we're doing, sort of copies it, and then spends gazillions on advertising). What better way to do it without them? :-)

Now... if you're the type who is able to go beyond your comfort zone and "buzz" offline, and/or build a teleconference, yes, the sky's the limit.

Either way, online or off, word-of-mouth is our future. And you're 100% right, Tony...

Online or off, the bottom line is to reach those folks who are NOT looking for SiteSell in all the usual places.... but who will know they need it when they see it in all the UNusual places.

All the best,
#74583 by Tony from Paint Lick
Thu Sep 29, 2005 9:49 pm

Hi Ken

Thank you. I must say that over the past few years, I've had this love-hate relationship with the internet and where it looked to be headed. Email also really got me down, it was becoming close to being utterly useless and nothing but a time sink. My work however, required that I stay engaged. It was a huge breath of fresh air when I stumbled on what you were doing to the internet and I must say, I like what you've done with the place.

Now, I'd like to respond to your post.

(I'll trust the moderator to decide if this is the right place for this post, but it is easier to respond if I have your post right below me as I write, so I'll leave it here.)

I'll stipulate to everything you just posted above regarding the online opportunities. Perhaps saturate wasn't quite the right word, nor ineffective. I meant only in comparison to the offline opportunities that await. People have been (and still are) earning money online, especially with the formula you've designed, I see this continuing for quite a while.

However, I respectfully question this:

Just about everyone surfs nowadays.

Certainly, everyone who owns a computer surfs the net, but that's a drop in the bucket compared to what I'm talking about. Claire's question about understanding web behaviour or activities on the net, of mastering the skills required to use it as well as overcoming fears potential users might have implies that there are many people who are not on the net, but would be if these fears could be overcome and skills developed. I happen to believe that is the case; that there are hoards of people who are not online because they are afraid or unskilled.

I'd like to try a thought experiment:

By some estimates (, there are some 600 million people online worldwide. Since I have no reason to believe those numbers are wrong, I'll take them at face value. According to the CIA (, there are some 6 billion people in the world (recent intelligence lapses notwithstanding, I'll take that at face value). This means that roughly 10 percent of the world's population is online.

Mind you, literally BILLIONS of dollars have been made on that 10 percent. But who are these people? Well, I imagine them to be educated enough to send email, know how to perform Google searches, understand the results, but most importantly, have the money to buy a computer and understand its value enough to go buy one. Further, they appreciate the value of communicating and researching online enough to subscribe to an ISP. Only recently have they begun buying online.

So, I think that fairly represents 10 percent of the world's population, at least with regard to the internet.

Let's follow what a first time computer user will experience. Regardless of what you think of them, this is where Microsoft (God bless 'em) has come to rule the world.
  1. When a person buys a computer, they will likely by a PC.
  2. Sadly, it will probably not have Linux on it, but rather WindowsXP.
  3. They turn on their computer, connect it to the internet.
  4. They begin to surf the web with Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
  5. The first webpage they see is MSN.

That last part is the kicker. The internet to that person has just become MSN. They start there, they end there, and what they do in between is influenced from there. This is the main reason they have made such a dent in the search engine market so quickly. Google has it's hands full and I'll wager they know it.

So, FOR THE FIRST TIME COMPUTER USER, Microsoft becomes the internet - brilliant. It took MS a while to realize it, but when they did, they were uniquely positioned to take advantage of their operating system market share to influence things.

Once a person understands a computer's value and buys one, their ideas about the internet are influenced in large part, by MSN (and to a lesser extent, AOL).

Now what if that user decided to put up web page? Who are they going to turn to? MSN? Let's hope not, but they might. Remember, we're talking about a potential market of 90% of the world. Will all of these people put up a webpage, certainly not, but what if it's only 10%? That's double the people online now. 5%? Do they want to develop the skillset to learn PERL, PHP, HTML, etc? Some will, but not most. These are people new to computers, many are afraid and don't want to or can't learn the skills.

Maybe I'm thinking too big here, but if billions have been made on 10% of the world's population, just imagine....

The genius of SiteSell (and its customers) is that they are appealing to exactly the sort of person Claire is referring to in her brilliant question. Positioning SiteSell to answer that question is very important, and something you're doing quite well. The emphasis on 'speaking in your own voice', 'presenting your passion', 'providing information and content', all that stuff will put newcomers at ease. What a shame it would be to see MSN mold these people into producing, God forbid, 'fast content' sites.

So now you may be saying, 'These people you're talking about just went from being offline to online, now the online efforts of SiteSell will pay off.' That's true, but not for a while, and SiteSell will likely be missed by many of them. BUT, if the person came online due to the efforts of a SiteSell affilitate...

So Ken, I know you've realized all this. I just wanted to outline the potential I see out there and say that the online efforts of SiteSell are only the tip of a gigantic iceberg.

Any person who makes the effort to reach the people who are offline will, I believe, be greatly rewarded. I would go so far as to say that, in some cases, you could probably make money even if you bought a computer for a future internet user - just GAVE it to them. Then, you're in a position to guide them on their journey, not MSN, and where will you go? SiteSell.

Oh, and to tie it in to the orignal post (with apologies to the moderator), that's another reason I chose SBI.

Thanks again for reading...


#74612 by Don from Tsiigehtchic
Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:08 am
As Tony so correctly observes, "When a person buys a computer, they will likely buy a PC." Why, I believe it's often because they are accustomed to seeing their friends with PCs, and they see PCs in their workplace and prominently featured in advertising; it never occurs to them to consider anything different; it never occurs to them that there might even be something better. They involuntarily follow the herd.

For an operating system they simply use the convenient operating system that came installed on their PC, MicroSoft Windows; it never occurs to them to consider anything different; it never occurs to them that there might even be something better. As before, they involuntarily follow the herd, their perceived norm.

For instance, I have a close friend, a high-school teacher, who no longer surfs the Internet as he is afraid he will contract another virus on his PC. He knows that I use an iMac with my SBI! website and never have to worry about viruses or adware, yet even though he is in the market for a new computer to prepare his lessons on, he will not shift from his PC comfort zone. He chooses to remain with his limitation.

I have another friend who operates a local service business. The expensive website he acquired with his business generates very little traffic, accounts for virtually no sales and requires the hiring of a skilled programmer to make the slightest changes. He knows that I as an Internet novice use SBI!, and he is astounded at the high volume of traffic that my site generates, yet he will not move from his comfort zone to acquire a different system. He too chooses to persist in his limitation.

Apple likes to say, "Think different!"; however, their sales stats show that comparatively few people do. Most consumers prefer to follow the herd and stay with what they perceive as the norm, even if that can be shown to be mediocre. The herd is soothed and influenced through advertising and peer acceptance to take their perceived path of least resistance.

Many who decide to build a website do not consider doing it themselves, they simply follow the herd and hire someone they consider to be a web professional. Those who do decide to build a website themselves also follow the herd and get caught up with HTML, PERL, DreamWeaver and the overabundance of current and costly tools and manuals they perceive to be undoubtedly necessary. "SBI!?... why, it can't be that good or simple or cheap."

Few are adventurous enough or insightful enough to choose to think different... to think SBI!.

Many of those currently online possess that herd mentality; it is most difficult for them to change their learned habits and methods. And some are simply unwilling or unsuited to change. But as Tony so aptly points out, "there are hoards of people who are not online because they are afraid or unskilled." If addressed correctly, their limitations can be our opportunity.

Many of these afraid and unskilled people are now venturing online in increasing numbers as a result of income necessity. They are looking for work opportunities, for hope. That is why it is so important to reach the stay-at-home spouses, the newly unemployed and the recently retired with new and appropriate ad copy. Many of these people are not aware they are looking for an online "business"; they are simply looking for some much-needed income.

Though SBI! is cheaper, easier to use and obtains results in Alexa's top 1%, the hoards will persist in herding towards the path of greater expense, greater difficulty and lesser results. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to determine why this is so and discover a way to circumvent human nature and turn the herd to SBI!.

There truly is a fortune to be made!

#74644 by Claire from
Fri Sep 30, 2005 6:26 am

Thought of this thread when reading this last night on the BBC:

Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Labs, has been outlining designs for a sub-$100 PC.....

Children in Brazil, China, Egypt, Thailand, and South Africa will be among the first to get the under-$100 (£57) computer, said Professor Negroponte at the Emerging Technologies conference at MIT.

The following year, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney plans to start buying them for all 500,000 middle and high school pupils in the state...

Apparently Linux based. Quite fancy one myself.

#74674 by ken-admin
Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:06 am
Hi Tony and Don,

Tony, you are absolutely right in your long-term, BIG picture projections. It's far-looking, big thinking. What I'd be asking affiliates to do though, is what we call a "long sales cycle." Very long. ;-)

Of course, that's where the bigger dollars are. But I can't ask folks to find "those who are not yet surfing" (what I would call the "pre-crawlers"). That's asking them to invest too much time and risk on just one product affiliate opportunity, SiteSell/SBI!.

The optimal risk/reward ratio is find pre-customers when they're "walking" (i.e., have a computer and have started surfing). We have to accept that Microsoft will find them when they are learning to crawl (i.e., buying their first computer and seeing that MSN or AOL logo, as you say).

Our optimal strategy is to intercept them at the point where they are now "walking" and either searching...

a) online in an infinite number of possible niches, finding SBI! sites, or

b) offline where their SBIer-friends tell them about SBI!.

We're on the same page, Tony. It's just that the resources and patience required to reach "pre-crawlers" are pretty major. My advice is always for folks to diversify. Your advice is interesting, but risky in that it would take too much of an individual's time. A strategy such as you outline is better executed by SiteSell itself -- it's very big thinking.

And that brings me to Don's post and the natural "fall" into Microsoft and Windows. Bill Gates' great contribution was moving the PC to the world by following a business model that let the price of clones compete to incredibly low numbers. Apple was FIRST, but they followed a high price strategy -- as Guy Kawasaki said looking back... "It was pretty hard to turn down those huge margins."

We're trying to adapt the best of those strategies. We are the first and still only (I'm amazed at that!) company to present what is essentially the Macintosh for building a profitable business online. SBI! compared to standard Web hosting is like comparing Macintosh to DOS.

Actually, I think of SBI! as an operating system for
business. I'd never PRESENT it that way to pre-customers,
but if you think about it, that's what it has become.

OK, so Apple was first and so are we. But we then veer from Apple's strategy to Microsoft's... keep our prices as low as possible. It would be all but impossible for all but the the largest companies to copy all that we've done AND underprice us. The largest, of course, DO have the budgets. And that brings us to the risk of marginalization I've talked about. The marginalization that happened to Apple (and didn't need to if they had followed Microsoft's strategy from the beginning).

I'd actually be delighted to end up with a 3% market share
such as Apple has today. Unlike Apple, we don't depend on
the Network effect of "software drives hardware which drives
software which drives hardware, etc." We can thrive by finding
3% of the world -- they'd be the smartest, hardest-working
3% (more on this below) and it would be a powerful, wonderful,
succeeding community that is self-sustaining.

But let's get back to Apple, Don. We pattern ourselves and follow closely, the philosophies of two companies... Apple and Google. Apple's "think different" pretty much summarizes what we try to do, and what I try to communicate to SBIers to do. And their older slogan of "computing for the rest of us" when they first launched the Mac likely subconsciously inspired our own "E-commerce for the rest of us" many years later. At times, it's scary how similar the thinking is. And compare Google's way of thinking (which itself is different)...

... to ours. Read the above and tell me if it sounds like we might have written that. And pay special attention to the first line...

""The perfect search engine," says Google co-founder Larry Page, "would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want."

That has far-reaching consequences for why SBI! sites will continue to do better and better, while all those SEO'd and "gamed" sites, "trash sites," and so forth, will fade away.

And #6 is particulary important...

"You can make money without doing evil."

I like their #10, too...

"Great just isn't good enough."

My version of that has always been, "Good enough... isn't." I once fired a contractor for saying "it's good enough" when he was renovating our home. (Of course, I didn't like the guy either, but that's another story. ;-) ). If you ever find yourself saying a Web page is "good enough," it's not.

Don, you closed with an interesting paragraph...

"Though SBI! is cheaper, easier to use and obtains results in Alexa's top 1%, the hoards will persist in herding towards the path of greater expense, greater difficulty and lesser results. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to determine why this is so and discover a way to circumvent human nature and turn the herd to SBI!."

Great close. People, of course, do not DELIBERATELY decide to choose "greater expense, greater difficulty and lesser results." So there must be reasons, and once you know the reasons, you have an approach to overcome them. The reasons are...

1) they don't know about SBI!. That's the biggest one. The "noise" out there is massive. Word-of-mouth addresses that, in whichever way you choose to use it...

2) if they do not know about it, SBI! is a complex concept to present. Word-of-mouth addresses that. You have the time you need and you control the environment, online or off, to get the message across.

3) if they know about it and if they understand it, and if they still won't DO it? Well, we know that people do not DELIBERATELY decide to choose "greater expense, greater difficulty and lesser results." Assuming that word-of-mouth has communicated well enough so that people don't simply "choose BIGCO because it's safe," then we're down to laziness, lack of motivation, an unwillingness to adapt and modify what is not currently working, and so forth.

At that point, assuming that we've given it our best shot, that they know about it, that they UNDERSTAND it, and they still don't want to do it...

They are not, by definition, SBIers.

Which brings me back to these forums. I don't think for a second that the quality of these forums is an accident nor is it because of any individual here, as phenomenal as many of the contributors are.

No, some people are simply tuned to "get" the message on the SiteSell sites, in the Masters courses, or however they first heard about SBI!. And when they "get it," they don't shy away from the fact that it takes work to build a business.

Put those people together into a community, these forums, and miraculous stuff happens every day. OK, we're launching today and I didn't mean for this to go so long, so I'll close with this...

The biggest shame of what's happening online now is not the failure of lazy people, or dumb people without a clue, nor is it the failure of all the types who are outlined in "Why People Fail"...

It's the failure of hard-working, motivated people who know what they want to do but are defeated by all the barriers that don't need to be there (HTML, CGI, database, Search Engine skills, etc., etc.). THOSE are the people we need to reach. THOSE are pre-SBIers.

See you on the other side of the RSS It! launch today! :-)

All the best,
#75363 by ken-admin
Mon Oct 03, 2005 12:41 pm
Hi to all,

I don't know if you know this but I send an e-mail to the "Affiliate of the Day," the affiliate who made the most sales for the day. It puts you into the "President's Club" and earns you $250 and my direct e-mail address. For details...

Well, the other day, while reviewing my daily report, I noticed that the Affiliate of the Day made 8 SBI! orders. That jumps out at me because normally it takes 3-4 to make the club. Understand that 3-4 is really good -- I'd be more than delighted if every affiliate made 1. Heck, I'd love it if 10% made a sale every day!

So 8 kind of hits you. I e-mailed him to let him know and congratulated him on the terrific effort. The reply, I felt, deserved inclusion in this thread (with his permission). Here's his reply...

Wow! I'm really thrilled!

I've been aware of SBI for several years but I was too busy (mostly
doing the wrong things :-) ) to really get into it - until this year.

In the last six months, particularly August and September, I've
pretty much immersed myself in SBI.

I started converting some of my own sites over to SBI and convinced
a client or two to do the same.

In September, while trying to explain SBI, I realized that most
people understood hosting (at least better than most other aspects
of the Internet.)

So I found a way of linking "hosting" to "accessibility" on my
[Domain Private] site and created the following page optimized for
"small business web site hosting," which also happens to be a
powerful search term :-)[Domain Private]

With the page done, I then contacted my long-time clients and
offered to convert their existing pages at no charge if they signed
up for SBI by September 30. Most of the sites are small and there
are enough spin-off benefits for this not to be a burden for me. As
a result, I had nine client sign-ups and I purchased another SBI
for myself!

The promotion worked so well that I plan to do a variation of it in
October. I have opt-in lists of thousands of names of small, small
business owners and wannabes.

Am I enthusiastic about SBI? Let me put it this way. I only wish I
had "really" got into it years earlier.

Thanks again for the recognition!

Donald Coggan
[Domain Private]

When I asked him if it was OK to use his letter, I told him about this thread. His reply...

I get a lot of pleasure helping people become entrepreneurs,
especially on the web, so I have no objection whatsoever to
your using my comments in ways you think others can benefit.

I had not seen the thread you pointed me to. I can relate to
a lot of what was said. No matter how good one is
technically, there is no way of efficiently getting actual
results the way you can with SBI.

One of the things that held me back was I felt I couldn't
get the "look" my clients (and myself too) wanted. With the
"upload your own HTML" feature I've found there's very
little (in terms of look) that cannot be done in SBI.

If I can help promote SBI while never letting it become a
Verisign or Interland :-) , I'll be happy to do so.

Donald Coggan
[Domain Private]

I love it when the "savvy" get it. Of course, they have to be extra-smart to be able to let go of doing it the complicated way. ;-)

And I really enjoyed that last line. Don't worry, Donald. No danger of us becoming as big as Verisign. There just aren't that many people in the world who REALLY want to DO what it takes to build a business... work. THOSE are the folks who should be SBIers. The rest? They're just dreaming.

Thanks for a great letter, Donald, and for letting me share it here. :-) It fits here for two reasons...

1) SBI! is for the savviest of users, too

2) There are ENORMOUS offline opportunities.

All the best,

#75920 by Alf from Rotvollen
Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:17 am
Very good thread.

As a techie, I will just agree with Tony, Marc Liron and others in that realm.

Having 30+ years behind me as a programmer (Assembler, Cobol, PL/SQL), and 18 years as a database analyst, I could perfectly well be a do-it-yoursel'er, but why? : I was considering all sorts of options for doing that (Dreamweaver at 990 USD alone :shock: ).

Just forget it.

I could never have found the time to build a site such as mine without the small investment in SBI. In addition, if you try, you are completely on your own. The AnalyzeIT! alone justifies SBI, not to mention all the rest of the features.

I am managing 6 highly competent Java programmers daily. They just roll their eyes and shake their heads when I show them my rankings, stats, and the rest.

Even though I am a techie, I am concentrating on the what (content) instead of how to do it: I don't want to waste my time (and much more money) on the how's..

As I am closing in on research for my next site (ebook in writing and 25 articles soon ready), I know I can purchase SBI, copy the text into my blocks, optimize it for the SEs, build it and bring it live in one hard day's work, get spidered real quick, and be in business.

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest