Wednesday, April 2, 2014

They swarm like flies around a corpse

One of the problems with running a photography website is that there are a lot of scammers swarming like flies around a corpse. They rely upon the feeling that everybody has that their website should be making money. Thus we all duly scrabble around looking for ways to make money and it never ever works. Perhaps I should correct that - I do get some money from Adsense but it's more like a check for $100 every couple of years. Last month for example, the advertising on my blogs pulled in the princely sum of $1.79 which though nice isn't going to get me $100 anytime soon. At $1.79 a month, it's going to take about 5 years to reach that $100.
Income from adsense has not always been that low. For a long time I had a stalker who was persistently viewing my sites. I was getting an utterly ridiculous 200+ hits a month from a Roadrunner residential IP address located in Irmo, South Carolina. I have a feeling that individual was also clicking on a lot of adverts on my sites. That was dropped away mysteriously starting somewhere around mid February.  I'm wondering whether my stalker has just given up totally. The downside is that because they're not clicking, revenue has fallen.
The single flag at the top of the map used to be 195+ hits a few weeks ago, Now it has dropped to a single hit. I suspect that will vanish in the next few days as there seems to be a 6 week storage of hits with the counter in use. I am very glad that my statistics are no longer biassed by whoever that was that had been stalking all of my blogs over the years from that location.

I've tried various ways of getting income from the internet and it has always appeared to be lack of website traffic that has been the problem. I've written a few sensational articles but while that does get my site a lot of hits, the adverts don't seem to get too many clicks. Yesterday for example, the April 1st gag posted about the filter that could see through clothes. That was fairly well received and generated a vast number of website hits.

Out of interest I placed links on Craigslist and got lots of people clicking on the articles and clicking on adverts. That made money until Craigslist decided to block html links. They'd probably want to charge to allow me to use links and the income from the advert clicks is just insufficient to pay for anything like that. In fact, it'd probably cost more to promote the blog that way.

Another route I tried - urged on by a friend who has success with his blog was using Amazon associates. That was interesting as it allowed me to select specific ranges of items to advertise with Amazon handling the transactions and delivery and paying me a small amount for each transaction. Clearly, that never worked. I'm pretty sure it worked well for Amazon but it didn't seem to work too well for me. It is a pretty scammy way of doing things. Amazon promises to throw a few crumbs at me for doing the hard work of advertising their junk and pushing it to my buddies. It's an example of MLM  multi-level marketing aka pyramid schemes. Ages ago I was offered an insurance salesman job. I read about it a bit more and asked a few people who'd tried that before. The commonality was that people would sell insurance to friends and family then run totally out of clients. It was great for the company as they invested minimal time training staff who then got them a few thousand dollars income and who then left to be replaced by more staff that would repeat the process.
So, is there any way at all to make money out of the internet and out of photography blogs etc? In my experience, yes, but only if you're going to be satisfied with laughably little money. Yesterday for example I had my April 1st video out. The site normally gets 50+ visits a day. Yesterday it received 435 visits by 7pm. That should have meant a lot of adsense income. It made just 40 cents by 7pm.

As I said at the beginning, there are myriads of scammers all flocking around trying to tell you how to make money from your website or blog. Certainly I bought into Google Adsense. It was free and the adverts are not too conspicuous. On the other hand, when I checked the adsense from a friend's computer, it seemed not to be working though it usually seems to. Yes, I'll call adsense a scam - what that's all about is advertising an advert. Google wants people to click on adverts so it can charge advertisers. Thus it wants people to write blogs and provide content for no cost that will attract people to websites carrying adsense and they attempt to provide adverts appropriate for the website topic. It's all a huge milking operation and by paying a fraction of the income Google gets from the adverts, Google gets mugs like you and I to provide content. It's pretty much the same for the Amazon shop - we advertise somebody else's products in order that somebody else can make huge amounts of money and then after all the feasting is done, they flick a few crumbs off the table to the slave quarters where we live. It's all multi-level marketing, similar to the insurance companies.

The amount of money gained from advertising is dropping year on year as more people take advertising and advertising gains ever less revenue. In order to gain the same amount of revenue, companies are forced to expand their revenue base by persuading people to use their skills and talents to gain the company money in exchange for crumbs of no significant value.

A while ago, I used to run an LED sign on the back of my vehicle. I used to sell advertising space on it for $5 a week and on a good week I could have 3 advertisers. Many weeks I had none. While the income was welcome, I was paid only $4 of every $5 as the website took a massive 20% cut. After trying it for 2 years and getting very little money out of it, I killed the project. It just didn't pay well enough to keep bothering with it. Sure - it was income that I would not otherwise have had but like blog income, it's not worthwhile to do it for income.

I am debating whether it's worth bothering with continuing to carry advertising since it pays so very poorly. Wherever you go, there are people wanting maximum work for minimum income. Most of the time these things are just best ignored. 

As an aside, some people live fairly close to me. They live in a two bedroom house and there are 3 adult women, one man and two children. All of the adults earn minimum wage and none can survive on the minimum wage. 

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