Affiliate Marketing – An Overview

Affiliate marketing on the internet is everywhere. Products being sold range from exercises to help with plantar fasciitis to video game copying software. There are countless ways to market products, so we're just going to take a brief look at a few of the places people can use to get started, some startup tips and you'll be ready to start on a road to recycling, free "money.

One of the best ways to get started in affiliate marketing is to sign up at an affiliate site. Examples of this are ClickBank and Commission Junction. What these sites do is get together people who want to sell products and people who are interested in advertising for them. To refer to the examples above, you can promote pretty much anything from medical help to entertainment and computer software. I'm personally planning on doing solar panels next, as a system to reduce heating and cooling costs as well as general electrical overhead.

Most of these types of sites have a list that's quite extensive, and you can chose any product you like. Then you have the site create what's called a Hoplink for you. This is a personalized link to their product that tells the seller that the patron came from your link. This is what gets you credit for the sale. Sounds simple enough right? But how do you get that link out there?

Of course, it's important to do some research about the product you're selling. Once you can speak about it on a reasonable level, it's time to build a base of operations. Websites like Squidoo are wonderful for this. Squidoo is a ready-formulated lens building site. A lens is a website, but one with a specific purpose. It's called a lens because it focuses specific attention on the keyword chosen to target it at. Basically, you take a keyword people are searching on the internet related to your product, and you make that keyword the base for your lens.

So now you write up a fairly simple site promoting the product in question. There's tons of websites now promoting products and everyone has their own particular way of doing it so we're not going to focus attention on that. Go nuts, make something creative and jazzy, or serious and solemn.

Now you have your site trying to promote that product. How do you get people to look at it? The first thing to do is get your site indexed by search engines. There's products and services out there to do this for you, but you can easily do it yourself by finding and submitting to an RSS feed. Basically these sites link themselves to you so that search engines can just go through them and find new web sites.

Building multiple websites with different keywords and linking them to each other does not hurt, but the best way to get traffic is to get bumped up the actual search results list. The way to do this is to create backlinks. Backlinks are links from other sites directly to your lens site. Search engines see other people linking to you and bump you up result lists. So where can you get links to your site?

Well forums are a place to start. You have to be careful though, most forums do not appreciate people taking up their space with ads, especially if they're not getting a cut. There are some forums out there that are specifically for posts of that nature, however. Finding these and submitting to them is a great way to get started. Some people buy their own web domains and use these both for the "lens" site as well as backlinks. Free domains like Yahoo Geocities can be useful for this.

So to recap, first you pick a product you wish to promote, and find some good keywords that describe it. Push those keywords on a lens site, and use social networking sites, other domains and forums, etc. to get the search engine's "attention" and you're on your way. Of course, it's still a matter of getting the right people to your information, buyers. Google and others offer "readers" and the like to tell you what some good ones might be.

I hope this helps to clarify what affiliate marketing on the internet is and how it works. Good luck on your first dollar!

Power of Branding and Freedom of Poetry

Maya Angelou once said (I'm paraphrasing) '' the purpose of all life is to be able to live like a poet one day. '' She went on to say that since poets already live like poets, their lives were not a postpone project, but the-ultimate-goal-realized by default.

How many times we have heard of those retirement dreams … the narratives that inevitably start with '' one day I'd like to … '' and continues with a description of one idyllic state or another … a beach house in Key West … playing golf eight hours a day in Arizona … buying a summer house in Florida and moving for good … writing (ah, at long last) that great novel, the chapters of which are lying somewhere inside those moldy cardboard boxes in the basement … to take the oath of chastity and join a monastery or a yoga ashram … take that trip to the Far East … or maybe even to throw itself with passion into a cause that is much larger than one's own limited life, like a political party, a crusade, a fund-raising juggernaut perhaps … on and on.

But underneath it all the aim is to arrive at that sublime state of inner peace and gentleness, something ill-defined but real, fuzzy but warm, a feeling that we feel is our birthright. Underneath it all we do not all point the gyroscopes of our lives to that nebulous state of elation and redemption that we sometimes refer to as '' poetic ''?

The rest is mostly a life-long process of branding ourselves as a desirable product in this increasingly globalized and fickle marketplace.

A brand is a total image with a price, a consistent package with defined and perceived borders. We are engineers. Attorneys. Machinists. Singers. Doctors. Teachers. Experts. Go-to guys. Ministers. Project managers. Historians. Curators. Tank drivers. Chefs. Shrinks. Plumbing … and, yes, Poets. Poets come in branded varieties as well. There is even a '' Poet Laurate '' for the whole United States (for the last few years we were extremely fortunate to have Billy Collins and Stanley Kunits and Ted Kooser as the PT Person).

All branding by definition shuns contradiction and ambivalence like a plague.

Fuzzy logic is fine for hi-tech digital cam-recorders but not for the experts that command healthy speaking fees. CEOs and four star generals are not expected to wear their troubling questions on their sleeves. Researchers at NIH do not get grants and doctors for not knowing what to do in the face of a new virus strain.

If things do not make sense outside a certain framework, then a branded professional knows how not to step outside that framework. A brand provides reproducible solutions to carefully-worded questions. Existentential panic does not command a premium price on the capitalist auction block.

Poetry, on the other hand, is a vulnerable exploration into everything that is left out by branding. It has no guarantees. No guidelines.

You can certainly encourage people to write poems. But I'm not sure at all if you can '' teach '' how to write poetry with the kind of money-back-guarantee bravado that is commonplace for a successful brand.

It is the only Odyssey that each person has to take all alone, go out and wander in the world, meet his demons, take them on one by one, beat them and return home victorious … only to do the same all over again the very next day.

Poetry, to use an analogy that Billy Collins has used in an Alaskan Quarterly Review interview, is like finding something curious sticking out from the sand in a desert and removing all that sand to discover the rest of the intriguing object. In that, poetry represents a vast freedom to rediscover all that is hidden from or by power.

Poetry raises all the in-between states and ambiguities censored by branding. So it is subversive by default.

However in that subversion there is also a deep affirmation of the most basic human value of all – freedom. That's despite the only thing branding can not buy and sell in the marketplace. A brand's power depends only on consumption. Poetry, on the other hand, is free the moment it is produced.

Our world needs more poets get into branded power play. Certainly someone like Leopold Sedar Senghor, a poet who became a statesman, will be remembered for his uplifting and dignified approach to international conflict. And conversely, I hope more branded professionals get into poetry as a way to humanize the market place of good and services.

What if the United Nations held a Poetry Workshop for one day of the year, with mandatory participation for all heads of state?

What if everyone in the world voted for the best Power Poet of the year through the Internet and the winner was declared on Valentine's Day?

Or what if Fortune 500 companies had poetry classes for their managers? Would not that be the ultimate out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving bonanza on stereoids?

And what would happen if before one country attacked another, the presidents and top generals from both sides were forced to lock themselves in a room and write at least one poem, expressing why they hate the "other guys" and why they must fight? What if those poems were then distributed to the citizens of both nations and the world? Perhaps they would still go on and fight. And otherwise, just a tiny little shivering perhaps, they would not.

Without poetic abilities, branding easily degrades into a repetition of the past. If you are building a bridge, repetition of the past experience might actually be a beneficial discipline since no one wants to re-discover trigonometry every time there is a river to cross.

But in much more complex affairs of the heart, of which I consider international politics to institute just a small subset, the vulnerable freedom of a poem could be the only thing standing between our endangered humanity and the discovery of our birthright freedom – and even perhaps salvation.

Oh to Own a Designer Dress!

How many women can honestly say, without crossing fingers behind backs, that they have not gone weak-kneed at the sight of that oh so alluring designer dress, which sparkles so suggestively in the shop window? It can be safely assumed, judging by the popularity of such dresses, that those who answer 'no' are in the minority.

Seemingly innocent at first glance, the power a beautifully designed garment can hold over a person, is astonishing. Just go to any designer shop and you will hear the agonised mutterings of 'Oh, I really should not … No, I'm not going to buy it … Well, there's no harm in just trying it on .. Oh God, I love it … No, I can not buy it … Ok, just this once … '

The heart usually prevails and the person in question returns home with the contented feeling they have just bought something special; something that not everyone else has. This is the lure of the designer.

Although clothing's fundamental purpose is to protect the body from nature's elements, its role has radically altered over time. Historians believe the first clothes consist of materials like fur, leather and leaves, which were wrapped around a person's body, thus sheltering them from the weather. In today's society however, clothes are viewed more as a statement about an individual, rather than being necessary for their survival.

Advances in technology, such as central heating, helped to bring about this change, but it is understood that Charles Frederick Worth, born in England in 1825, shaped the world of clothing, and in particular, women's dressmaking; thus giving birth to the term 'fashion' in the way we understand it today.

After moving to France to work for Parisian drappers, Gagelin and Opigez, Mr Worth married one of their models, where he began making dresses for her. Soon after, customers began asking for replicas of the dresses, which prompted him to seek financial backing for his own dressmaking business.

In time, he became named for his designs, which were much simpler and said to be more flattering for the lady's figure than others of the time; he has become popular with an array of rich, distinguished women, including royalty and the famous. He also moved away from letting women design garments themselves, and instead chose to display his own designs at fashion shows, which were held four times a year.

So the rise of the designer dress began, and other fashion designers followed suit to create whole collections of designer clothes.

Fashion designers are now commonplace, designing clothing for individual clients, specialty stores and / or high-fashion department stores. What distinguishes their clothing from the norm is the originality of design, coupled with the limited availability of garment numbers.

This, essentially, is what makes designer clothing so bought after and is why those skilfully crafted designer dresses can make one go weak-kneed in praise – not only at the thought of possessing one, but also in the knowledge that they own something unique.

Why Illustrations Are Important to Everyone

Not everyone is blessed with the gift of speech or writing. At the other end of the line, it is also true that not everyone has the capacity to fully understand what they are listening or reading about. There lies the need to bridge the gap of these two groups of people. The solution is to include illustrations.

Illustrations are basically visual representations of whatever is being said or written. It helps in conveying the message to whoever it is intended to.

There was a time when you had to listen or to read properly in order to get the message. Those relaying the message knew as well that there was no other way, and they had better do something about it. However, starting in the nineteenth century, several technological advances became available to make everything more visual.

This has continued today, and as a result, more people are less acute to reading long paragraphs or hearing winded statements. If a person sees several hours in a computer or television, chances are, he or she is part of a large group who would respond better with illustrations.

Graduate students tag along drawings and figures so that their presentations can be given better-than-average marks. Entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to investors by including sketches and flowcharts for their ideas. Businesspersons expound and arrive to concluding by showing graphs together with their reports.

Reports around the world have become much easier on the eyes today, thanks to presentation software. With programs like Microsoft PowerPoint, it became possible to improve one's message through animation, graphics, and video.

In general, it became apparent that illustrations would become more popular with the advent of computers. Creating flowcharts, plans, and entire designs became quicker to produce and easier on the budget. Today, illustrations appear in different forms together, and all are able to convey a message.

Computers even put to rest some issues. Some might ask, Is a table of values ​​an illustration? In some respects, it is because it provides an easy comparison for the audience. However, one can argue that there's a lot of people who have an aversion to numbers as much as those with little attention span. We now know that it's better to simply convert a table into a graph, so that trends can easily be seen.

Today's challenge is to reduce the number of misleading and outright false message using illustrations. It seems that everyone wants to capitalize the public's need for visuals that they simply hide imperfections behind illustrations or simply put them in fine print. In almost all media, people are bombarded with claims that are supported with illustrations or graphs. The problem is that such illustrations do not represent the actual features of a product. There have been a lot of consumers who are being enticed by things that they see only to find out they are not getting what they expect from it.