Roy Tribble of Scam Watchdog: The #1 Most UNtrusted Binary Options Review Site

Question: What’s the easiest way you can make your latest binary options get-rich-quick scheme seem legit, especially when there are websites like RealScam exposing it for the scam that it is?

Answer: You generate the persona of a trusted retiree who now tests binary options trading platforms and can tell the scams from the legitimate ones. Furthermore, this “expert” is so outraged by other online scammers that he calls them out by name and attempts to debunk their “scams.”

Case in point: “Roy Tribble” of Scam Watchdog. Here’s Roy decrying how affiliate marketers (you know, scammers) push their wares on unsuspecting online consumers and use nefarious means to capture emails. By the way, please note the photo placed next to the name of Roy Tribble- you’ll see this same photo later on in my review.  tribble4

This character claims that he is testing binary options trading platforms and setting aside the ones that pay out at least 51% of the time. Furthermore, this financial expert not only reviews the platforms for you, he also integrates the “winners” with his own free trading software, so that the chances of you making money on your binary options are even better.

Roy claims that he is making no money whatsoever from promoting the decent binary options platforms. He also wags his finger at sites like One More Cup of Coffee for posting affiliate links and trying to capture reader emails. However, if you click on one of the binary options platforms that Roy recommends (where the text says ‘Click here to sign up’), such as the Artificial Intelligence App, you’ll see something intriguing about that link:


The entire link, when clicked, appears as follows: id= 102d4d2404177637faffba77ff8963 &offer_id=138&affiliate_id=1&affiliate_sub=490227940 &affiliate_sub2=cubd1& affiliate_sub3=&affiliate_sub4=&affiliate_sub5=

Gee, this looks like an affiliate link to me!

On the above page, Roy claims that he is making good money using the AI App. I’ve Tried That recently published an AI App review and found it to be a complete scam full of fake testimonials and an imaginary Dr. John Clark, PhD.

Here’s another link that Roy posted to his other recommendation, Binary Matrix Pro:

Yet another affiliate link. Just like with AI App, I’ve Tried That also published a Binary Matrix Pro review and found it to be a scam.

As for not capturing emails, Roy’s site eventually asks you to sign up for his newsletter through several different means, including this pop-up.


What really drives Scam Watchdog?

If you listen to Roy’s Welcome Message to New Visitors, you’ll hear a supposedly 62-year old retiree tell you how he created his amazing binary options software after talking to a binary options expert. Of course, Roy “can’t name who he is yet” but “I may do that in the future.” This trading expert told Roy a big secret about binary options trading that then led Roy to create his own super signal software.

That’s the flowery introduction to Scam Watchdog. But what really drives the site is this: Roy reviews and recommends binary options trading platforms to his readers. The recommended trading platforms are all affiliate linked to Roy. He also recommends that his readers accumulate and open a minimum of 20 (or even 40) of his “Master List” of recommended platforms.

After his readers have opened up all these platforms, Roy promises to give them his free Super Signals software to link to those 20 or even 40 platforms. Supposedly, this free software will improve the readers’ odds of making the correct call on a binary option, resulting in them “winning” their yes/no calls more than 51% of the time.

Naturally, no binary options platform is going to operate without a cash infusion. Typical binary options platforms require at least a $250 minimum investment. Thus, a person who opens and funds even 20 of Roy’s recommended platforms needs to invest at least 20 x $250 = $5,000.

What Roy never states is that, when people open and fund those recommended trading platforms listed on his Master List, good ol’ Roy gets a big fat commission from every new account. Many binary options platforms pay as much as a 50% commission per subscriber. Thus, even if a person provides his trading software for free, he still earns money.

Then there is the matter of the recommended trading platforms. One such platform that Roy recommends is CTOption. This platform pays out only 50% of your initially placed sum if your option expires in the money (i.e., you make the correct call on an option). If your option expires out of the money (i.e., you make an incorrect call on an option), you lose your entire payout or 100%.  So, on average, your calls will result in a net loss for you.

Of course, Roy’s software is intended to improve your odds of having your options expire in the money. However, he doesn’t talk much about the software or how much it improves your odds. Roy mostly talks about the other binary options platforms you need to download and fund.

Who is Roy really?

Even if you’re willing to take the risk and use the binary options trading platforms that Roy recommends, consider the following troubling indicators about the individual who goes by the name of Roy Tribble. Here is a picture of the guy you are supposedly getting trading advice from:


Roy looks fairly trustworthy, at least according to his photo (which also appears on his LinkedIn and Google+ accounts). However, a simple Google image search reveals the following truth about Roy:


It looks like Roy is available for the low resolution price of $50.

Another troubling indicator with Roy is, when you go to his Google+ account, the following URL is displayed:


Scam Watchdog also uses the URL of after you click on any of its internal links.

Who is this Dr. Bill H. Weld? Luckily, the WayBack Machine provides a possible answer. If you use WaybackMachine and go to June 25, 2014, you find the following information displayed on the website:


Who is Justin Tribble?

If you search on his name via Google, you will eventually find several websites and YouTube videos that link Justin to a “Nano Domestic Quell” hoax involving a man named Dr. Bill H. Weld. The story behind Nano Domestic Quell is that the U.S. government is conspiring to infect all citizens with a deadly flu virus that can be triggered at a moment’s notice through cell phone towers.

On the Scam Watchdog website, there is a page where Roy Tribble explains the entire conspiracy that his “nephew,” Justin Tribble, had become involved in. Roy emphatically denies that Dr. Bill H. Weld is not a real person or a hoax. There’s just one problem with Roy’s denial- there is a YouTube video in which Justin is documented as confessing to the Bill H. Weld hoax. How is this explained away?

On Roy’s page, it’s noted that the U.S. government forced Justin to confess that the Dr. Bill H. Weld flu virus conspiracy was a hoax:

So, to recap, I had “admitted” the “hoax”.

However, just a year prior, that same Justin Tribble was the perpetrator of an actual hoax, which he did admit to on ABC news. This earlier hoax involved Justin tweeting that a well-known pastor (Joel Osteen) was going to resign from his ministry. The minister graciously chose to turn the other cheek (i.e., not sue Justin) regarding this prank.

The ABC news segment showed Justin’s Nevada driver’s license at one point. On that screen shot, the license shows the name of Justin Roy Tribble.


So, according to these data, it appears that Roy is Justin. And if Roy is Justin, and Justin has pulled off at least one officially documented prank, then how believable is the entire Scam Watchdog site anyway?

The Bottom Line with Scam Watchdog

Would you entrust your investment decisions to someone who generates online hoaxes and posts stock photos of himself? I know I wouldn’t. Likewise, would you use software that is created by someone who can’t even name his secret source/expert and who provides no evidence of how this software looks or functions?

If you want to start engaging in binary options trading, there are plenty of registered platforms out there that have been examined by the SEC. Otherwise, you stand to lose your invested funds very easily.

Self-Employed? Forget About Getting a Mortgage

Imagine having an 800+ credit rating and no debt (including no mortgage loan), making a decent yearly income from freelance work and stock investments….and yet still being declined for a mortgage. Yep, that’s what happened to me- even after I was pre-approved for my mortgage loan based on my last two years’ AGIs (adjusted gross incomes). What gives?

If you are a freelancer, and especially if you have recently become a freelancer, be aware that you will probably NOT qualify for a mortgage loan, home equity loan, or even a personal loan.


Self-employed = unemployed

Banks and other lending agencies are hard set to trust traditional employment as an assured source of future income- even if you get fired or laid off tomorrow. Self-employed individuals have taken a risk by starting their own businesses and finding their own clients, and this is often reflected in their wildly fluctuating income statements. As a whole, self-employed folks are more likely to fail and then become unemployed altogether.

Finally, although never openly stated, many bankers and loan officers associate the term “self-employed” as code for “I can’t find a job.”

Self-employed = low income

Another reason why self-employed individuals are denied for loans is because they don’t make enough money- at least on paper. Yet, according to data published by Zillow, self-employed individuals actually make a lot more money than employed individuals. Furthermore, self-employed individuals have seen a substantial increase in their earnings since 2012, while employed individuals have seen a decrease.

However, in an effort to save money on taxes, most self-employed people also write off their business expenses. This saves a bundle on income tax- but it also lowers net income.

Net income is critical because loan officers use it to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, or your monthly housing costs and other debts compared to your net income. A loan applicant’s DTI ratio can be no higher than 43%.

Self-employed = always self-employed

Some freelancers transition gradually into self-employment, working with clients and for employers at the same time. They do this for several reasons, including insufficient client work, employer-based training/education, etc. Also, many employers nowadays will offer employees and independent contractors the option of working from home and/or setting their own work hours, making employment seem very much like self-employment.

You may not care whether your final earnings are reported on a W-2 or a 1099, but your loan officer will. In fact, once you declare yourself to be self-employed on your loan application, your employed earnings will not count towards your net income (unless you’re still employed with that employer).

In my case, because I was employed over a large portion of one of the years I reported to my loan officer, I was told that I made only $286/month for that year. If only the IRS believed that I made such a low figure!

Self-employed = no mortgage?

If you just started your own freelance business or have resigned from your employed job, it may seem like you’re doomed to not qualify for a loan until you earn mountains of cash each year (at which point, why would you even need a loan?). Luckily, it’s not impossible to get a mortgage loan- but it will be harder.

Understand that your ability to secure a mortgage loan, or any loan for that matter, depends on three factors:

Ability to repay + credit score + collateral

Ability to repay.

This is mostly based on your DTI ratio. For employed persons, DTI is calculated using the gross earnings from their last two years of pay stubs. Freelancers and the self-employed don’t receive pay stubs, so their last two years of tax returns are used to calculate the DTI ratio instead.

The problem with using tax returns is that net income after business deductions is calculated, not gross earnings. This is where freelance income is unfairly penalized compared with that of employed persons.

Credit score.

Most lending agencies are not going to approve your loan if you have a credit score below 680 as a self-employed freelancer. Call it discrimination, but that’s just how it works. As an employee, you stand a far better chance of securing a loan despite your low credit score, even if you do end up paying a higher APR.


This can consist of liquid assets, a pension or other regularly distributed income, and/or your home.

Given the variables used above to calculate your ability to secure a loan, here are the steps you should take at least six months to one year in advance of asking for money from a lending institution:

1. Improve your credit score.

While you have the time, ask for a copy of your credit report and find out how you can improve it. Try to achieve a credit score of at least 740, which will significantly improve your approval odds, as well as lower your loan APR.

2. Amend your taxes.

If you took significant deductions in one year on business expenses, consider amending your returns and spreading those costs out over several years- or even not reporting your expenses at all. This could cost you in extra tax, though.

3. Choose your tax years.

You can also, to some extent, choose which tax years your loan officer sees. Typically, you are required to show your last two years of tax returns. However, if you are applying for a loan early in the year, before you have filed your April taxes, you could go back two years before the current tax year. Then, if you find your net income from those years is too low, you could quickly do this year’s taxes and take the two more recent years into account.

Basically, applying for a loan early in the year means you can pick your two best earning years out of three.

4. Pony up a big down payment.

Even if your loan officer tells you to apply for 10% down payment loan, don’t. Save up enough cash so that you are putting down at least 30% on your mortgage loan. If you’re applying for any other type of loan, reduce how much you need to borrow as much as possible.

5. Work with an accountant now.

Get an accountant involved early on and have her calculate what your DTI ratio would be given your current and past net earnings. Discuss ways you can raise your net income or lower your current debts.

6. Obtain contract verification from all your clients.

Request contract verification from all your clients now, before you even set foot into a bank or apply for a loan online. Make sure your verification letters state how much you are earning with each client and how long you’ve been contracted with them. Having such letters ready to go and to supply to your loan officers will save you weeks of time (and aggravation) during the approval process.

7. Find a contractor-friendly lending institution.

With more and more individuals becoming self-employed or performing at least some freelance work, certain institutions are taking notice. Type “self-employed mortgage” into Google and you will locate online banks and other lenders that work with self-employed persons. Some cases in point are Vancity, a Vancouver-based credit union, and Freelancer Financials, based in the U.K.

8. Find a broker who specializes in self-employed loans.

A broker can go submit your income and other information to several lenders at a time. This saves you the hassle of constantly applying for loans and having multiple hard inquiries show up on your credit report- which ultimately lowers your credit score (I lost 0.9 points/hard inquiry). A broker can also provide you with advice on how to best submit your income and other variables.

However, you need to find a broker who regularly works with freelancers and the self-employed. Otherwise, you will be wasting your time with someone who knows about W-2’s….and not much else.

9. Apply at state banks and/or credit unions.

Traditional and national (i.e., “too big to fail”) banks typically work within Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac loan regulations, which are skewed in favor of W-2 applicants. State banks and credit unions are more independent and needn’t comply with such government-imposed restrictions.

10. Consider creating an annuity.

Annuities have long been touted as something for retirees who need a fixed income. However, if you have some liquid assets, you may wish to create an annuity with your bank and have it pay you on a monthly basis. This guaranteed monthly payout raises your net income. It does cost money to create an annuity account, however.

In summary

Being a self-employed freelancer is great in many respects, namely, choosing my own hours and clients and never getting bored with my work. But there are certain aspects to being self-employed that aren’t that great. It’s tough to secure a loan as a freelancer, and the mountain of documents you must supply is maddening. I now realize that I will need to track my income and expenses more closely. I will also need to invest much more time and effort into obtaining a loan in the future.

Still, what doesn’t kill me as a freelancer only makes me stronger. And then I get to write a blog post about it.

How to Start Your Own Local Affiliate Marketing Program

Are you frustrated by Amazon’s low affiliate commissions or the fact that everyone and their uncle is selling what you are trying to sell? Affiliate marketing can be a tough field to make serious money in simply because lots of people are already doing it.

But what if you could knock out most of the competition, both in terms of similar products and even SEO? And what if you really could get a bigger piece of the affiliate marketing pie?

Enter local affiliate marketing.

What is local affiliate marketing?

Somewhat self-explanatory, local affiliate marketing is the marketing of local products and businesses in your neighborhood, city or (maybe) state. Basically, rather than scouring Clickbank or Amazon for would-be products and services to market on your website or blog, you go after area merchants and advertise their specific (and unique) merchandise, promotions, advantages, etc.

It’s a shame that many affiliate marketers overlook the money available right in their own backyard, assuming that local accounting firms, lawyers, restaurants, mechanic shops, etc. won’t want to deal with them. However, local merchants often need the most help of all when it comes to attracting customers and placing their wares online. Likewise, without a middle entity (i.e., affiliate network) taking a cut of the earnings, you could easily score a 25% or higher commission for every potential client/lead you refer to your select business.

Local affiliate marketing: Easier than you think

You might be thinking “I don’t want to be going door-to-door” or “I am not standing on a street corner holding up a billboard.” Here’s the thing: You don’t have to. Much or even all of your marketing can be remote and performed exclusively at home.

Also, given what you would typically expect with affiliate marketing, such as content optimization, backlink generation, guest posting, etc., there’s significantly less of it involved. Here’s why:

SEO is fairly easy.

Local SEO, especially in a small to medium town/city, is going to be much easier to do well than if you are trying to sell a world-famous brand. Simply put, the SEO will be easy because, aside from other local businesses that are in the same industry/field,  you won’t have much competition to worry about. Also, because your website is probably going to mirror your client’s to a good extent, it won’t look like the typical affiliate marketing website that is often overlooked by search engines.

AdWords is easy too.

Google Places loves local businesses and its AdWords ad program won’t knock out your keywords or charge you exorbitant fees for referring “real” local businesses. You’ll also be able to track your leads fairly easily because most of them will be local, so outliers in other states or countries will probably be false positives.

How do you find clients?

Depending on your personal style, there are several different ways to do local affiliate marketing.

If you build it, they may come.

If you know the field already, you could launch a website on the topic of personal finance, accounting, etc. Once you have sufficient traffic coming in, you could then approach prospective clients and ask them if they’d consider placing an ad on your website for a monthly/yearly fee. This approach works well if you want to work with several clients in the same profession. However, it also demands that you make a large investment of time and effort before you see any payoff.

Use AdWords only.

You could also contact individual businesses and offer to run AdWords ad campaigns for them. You could launch the ads and direct inquiries to a sales page, which would then provide those leads with additional sales material in exchange for their contact information. You would keep tabs on those ad clicks and collect an appropriate commission for each lead.

Alternately, you could also work with a third party call center and collect AdWords-based calls as your leads. Input the term “call centers” into Google and you’ll find lots of places- including local ones- that you can work with.

Do lead nurturing.

This requires a bit more trust from your clients, but if you know the industry fairly well, and they simply don’t have the time/patience to deal with inquiries, you could offer lead nurturing as part of your affiliate marketing deal. With lead nurturing, you’d be in charge of calling leads that had already clicked on your AdWords ads or sent an inquiry via your website. You’d then gauge how likely they’d be to try or buy your client’s products or services.

In time, your client could even give you entire lists of leads that she had collected over the years. By converting them, you’d be able to command a much high commission because they would be generating actual revenue for the business.

How do you track your leads?

It’s challenging to track leads when you aren’t relying strictly on Google Analytics or sales page conversions to provide you with definitive numbers. You’re also relying on the integrity of your clients to report their business dealings truthfully and not stiff you on (especially) converted leads.

However, most local businesses aren’t looking to rip you off, especially if you’re working hard to promote them. Of course, there will always be that one bad apple in the bunch, but you shouldn’t let the fear of untruthful reporting scare you away. If the hesitation is still there, stick to just generating and reporting your own sales leads via AdWords, for example, or through direct sales calls to your call center.

What kinds of businesses should you target?

It’s far better, and far less work for you, if you target local businesses that make high revenues on each converted lead. For example, consider how much a lawyer makes on every one of his clients. Or think about how much an event venue makes for each conference, wedding, etc. held there.

High revenue businesses are preferable because you’ll do less work for more money/lead. You also won’t need lots of leads, which can be especially difficult if you’re marketing in a small town.

Finally, it’s best if you can work with businesses that have recurring income from their clients, enabling you to re-market to these clients or charge a constant monthly or yearly commission. Also, you should not consider cyclic businesses like tax preparation because these industries will leave you with no leads for a good part of the year.

A Review of AmaSuite for Amazon Affiliates and Sellers

Last May, I reviewed Amazing Selling Machine (ASM) and noted that its nearly $3500 price tag was a bit steep for some would-be Amazon sellers and affiliates. Luckily, some members of ASM have created their own Amazon training courses and mini-communities, and often with much lower entry costs. One such example is AmaSuite, which is offered through Chris Guthrie and Dave Guindon.

The AmaSuite software, which is now available in its fifth version, trains members to not only become successful Amazon affiliates, but Amazon sellers too. How? The name of the game is sourcing and selling private label, not brand name, products. In this way, you can say goodbye to two of the biggest obstacles with making a decent profit via Amazon:

  • Low affiliate commissions. Amazon offers its affiliates either a 4% or 6% commission on sales, which means you need to move hundreds of thousands of dollars of product each month to make a viable income as an Amazon affiliate.
  • High product license fees. If you purchase your own brand name products to sell on Amazon (or through your own website), you typically have razor-thin profit margins because of high manufacturer license fees.

Chris Guthrie is a well-noted Internet marketer and Amazon affiliate, and he has promoted the Fullfillment by Amazon (FBA) selling platform for some time now. He also referenced that he recently signed up for ASM. From there, his involvement with Amazon selling has deepened, from hosting a mastermind group to selling his own Amazon products, to now offering a bulked-up AmaSuite 5 that incorporates many of the principles of ASM.

Currently, the program is discounted to just $197. However, even at its regular price of $297, the software is still a bargain compared with the ~$3,500 charged for ASM.

What do you get with AmaSuite 5?

Lots of software:

  • Amazon research tools, including an Amazon keyword suggestion tool that helps you locate the best keywords for your product niche. Keep in mind that Amazon provides very little in the way of Analytics (like Google does), so this is valuable and saves you lots of time.
  • A Top 100 analyzer that provides you with data on the hottest Amazon products based on sales, reviews, etc., enabling you to obtain competitor information quickly.
  • A product inspector that helps you select low competition products that you can quickly rank well for and generate sales from. It’s essentially a niche marketing tool fitted for Amazon.
  • An AmaSync WordPress plugin and tutorials that help you quickly set up your product websites, generate content, and integrate your Amazon products into them. You also get free WordPress themes.
  • An Amazon reviewer finder for your product category. This software tool locates top reviewers on Amazon that you can contact and ask for help from, which is an absolute must if you are trying to sell private label products.
  • Social media tools and plugins that enable you to quickly post across numerous platforms, encourage Facebook Likes, implement pop-ups, show different ads, etc.
  • Educational courses on online/content marketing, SEO and website creation.

Amazon seller training:

  • Private label products are explained as well as how to pick one or several by using the software tools outlined above.
  • How find and contact candidate product suppliers using Google search or Alibaba (which Amazon is now also affiliated with).
  • How to generate sales of your Amazon products and reviews using the provided AmaSuite software tools.

What do you not get with AmaSuite 5?

  • Promotion tools and guidelines. Unless you already know how to generate website traffic and promote niche products, AmaSuite 5 won’t help you become a successful Amazon affiliate and/or seller. This software suite assumes that you already have an action plan for promoting your products on social media platforms, through your website(s), etc. Having said this, AmaSuite does offer a Video Traffic Guru, which instructs you on “how to drive traffic to your videos.”
  • Lots of hand-holding. ASM’s offerings include a yearly conference and community support, plus one-on-one support with Amazon veterans. With AmaSuite, you don’t get a lot of support and it is assumed you are somewhat adept at selling on Amazon. Even after emailing Chris or Dave, you might be waiting several days for a reply. To be fair, AmaSuite does offer a members area that you can log into and take advantage of.

Our Review: Is AmaSuite 5 worth it?

Success as an Amazon affiliate and/or seller depends on three key factors:

Sales + Reviews + Outside traffic

With AmaSuite 5, you can improve your chances of generating product sales because the keyword and niche product research tools will help you select products that have low competition and thus are more likely to be suggested to buyers by Amazon. Likewise, the software will help you find reviewers, and product reviews help improve product rankings on Amazon.

Regarding traffic generation, you’ll be spread out pretty thin. Even if you already know how to generate traffic to your websites and Amazon products, you won’t get much help if you encounter a problem with your methods. Additional help or tools may be necessary, especially if you don’t have the time to generate AdWords ads, grow social media audiences, involve other affiliates, guest post on outside blogs and websites, etc.

In summary, for its $200 or even $300 price tag, AmaSuite 5 offers a lot of bang for the buck. However, if you are a complete newbie to Amazon selling/promoting, you may still be better off with ASM.

Work at Home Paycheck Review- Fictional Characters, Fictional Earnings

What do Jessica Marshall, Kelly Frazier, Alex Cooper and Mark Wilson all have in common?

Work at Home Paycheck: A production with many actors

Jessica, Kelly, Alex and Mark are all promoting a work-at-home system called Work at Home Paycheck, which also goes by WAH Paycheck. Each one of the aforementioned characters plays a unique role:

-Jessica Marshall is the down-on-her-luck single mom who creates a system for making money from home.

-Kelly Frazier is also a down-on-her-luck single mom who tries Jessica Marshall’s system and now makes money from home.

-Alex Cooper is the reporter who interviews Kelly for a big online news organization.

-Mark Wilson is the originator of this money-making system.

Jessica Marshall weaves a wonderful story about how she was freshly divorced, trying to raise her young daughter, and on the verge of a nervous breakdown thanks to a layoff. Here’s Jessica as she weaves her hard luck story:


Luckily, a mysterious (but friendly) guy named Mark Wilson saves the day. Jessica runs into Mark at a coffee shop and he tells Jessica exactly how she can make boatloads of money right at home.


Next, we are shown her wealth growing in real-time in her Paypal account.


How do you make money with Work at Home Paycheck? The details are a bit murky, but Jessica states that, by posting links to products sold by large and well-known companies, you can earn referral commissions.

So, it’s really just affiliate marketing.

How much can you expect to pay to learn about affiliate marketing? The site initially prices the information at $397. However, if you hit your browser’s back button a few times, the system becomes available for the ultra-low price of just $47.


Is Work at Home Paycheck worth its $47 price tag? To answer this question, the system offers a third party testimonial from Kelly Frazier, another single mom who now also makes mountains of cash by working only 10-13 hours/week from home. Her interview is conducted by Alex Cooper and is posted on the news site Consumer Finance Guide.


So far, everything looks legit- and who can argue with making over $7K/month for part-time work, right?

There’s just one problem…

There’s just one small wrinkle in this entire operation. When you scroll down every one of these “news” pages and read their terms of service and privacy statements posted below, you find the following disclaimer:

We are not affiliated in any way with any news organization. This is a advertisement for Work at Home Paycheck.

It is important to note that this site and the stories depicted above is to be used as an illustrative example of what some individuals have achieved with this/these products. This website, and any page on the website, is based loosely off a true story, but have been modified in multiple ways including, but not limited to: the story, the photos, and the comments. Thus, this blog, and any page on this website, are not to be taken literally or as a non-fiction story…I UNDERSTAND THIS WEBSITE IS ONLY ILLUSTRATIVE OF WHAT MIGHT BE ACHIEVABLE FROM USING THIS/THESE PRODUCTS, AND THAT THE STORY DEPICTED ABOVE IS NOT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY…All photos images on this site are stock photography [my bolded emphasis added].

So, not only are these news pages not actually news pages, but the story, photos and even the comments themselves aren’t completely true. The website itself is “based loosely off a true story.” And all those news photos are stock photography.

In fact, all the “news” about this program is actually published on or through Consumers Finance Guide, a notorious fake news site that is well-known for promoting work-at-home scams.

OK, but what about Jessica Marshall herself? She’s got to be real, right?

Again, the privacy statement tells all. In brief, it runs as follows:

For purposes of privacy, the creator of Work At Home Paycheck is using the pen name Jessica Marshall. This story is based upon the real life adaptation of the parties involved. The Company reserves the rights to the name and any uses of it as affiliated with the product. Any improper uses by unauthorized parties is strictly prohibited.

So, nervous breakdown Jessica Marshall is also fictional. What else about Work at Home Paycheck is make-believe?

Fictional certification courses

When you try to sign up for Work at Home Paycheck, you are presented with the following program guarantees and trainings.


The program promises to make you an instant search engine agent, for starters. What does that even mean- that you know how to use Google?

Next, you are enrolled in a link posting certification program, for which you pay a fee. As far as I’m aware, there is no such certification program in existence.

Additional charges may apply

The next worrisome detail is (again) noted in the terms of service area. Specifically, we have the following statement:

Please Note: Additional Charges May Apply. As with any Internet Business you may need to pay for additional products or services. For example: Hosting costs, domain name costs, advertising costs, internet and broadband costs.

What this tells me is that the $47 enrollment fee into Work at Home Paycheck is just the tip of the iceberg as far as costs are concerned. You’ll end up paying more money down the line for “required” upsell and cross-sell products provided within the system.

In fact, one of the common tactics used by such programs is to reel you in by offering a super low introductory rate. Then, when you find out that the purchased material is insufficient to make you a decent income from home, you’ll call the site asking for a refund. Just before you are issued your refund, however, sales agents experienced in using  boiler room tactics will tell you how you just need to purchase additional coaching programs or software in order to start earning lots of cash. This is the standard practice for many work-at-home scams, and it can end up costing you thousands of dollars.

In brief, don’t get sucked into this program, even at its low rate of just $47.

Mobile Apps that Pay You To Submit Your Photos

You may heard of Flickr and Dreamstime, photo websites that sell your photos and then pay you a commission from them. These sites pride themselves on offering professionally taken photos, and that typically means that you, the photographer, need to own an expensive DSLR-type camera. If you don’t, you’re going to be limited in selling your photos.

Luckily, a new wave of mobile apps have popped up that pay you for your mobile photography. These sites accept and sell mobile photography, for the most part, and share the proceeds with the respective mobile photographers. This is great if the only thing you can call your camera is your iPhone or Android-based smartphone.

Who’s buying these mobile photos? The customers vary, but they might include bloggers who are tired of using obvious stock photography on their posts and want to go with more “real-time” and original photos. Company execs and newspaper columnists are another bunch who might purchase your mobile pictures, especially if those pictures include cool visual effects (more on that later).

So, which mobile apps sell your photos? Here is a good starter list for you to peruse:


This mobile stock photo site sells open source photos for $10, with the photographer earning $5 per sale. You can sell the same photo as many times as you like, thus earning money on the same photo again and again.

When you sign up with Foap, you are first asked to review and rate five photos on a scale of one to five stars. Then, you are allowed to upload your own photos. Other “foapers” rate your photos, also on a scale of one to five stars. If the average rating of your photo is at least 2.5 stars, that photo gets included in the Foap marketplace.

If you’re not sure which photos to upload, Foap offers Missions and Contests sections that ask for photos of a given theme. The Contests section can be especially lucrative, paying $100 or more to the winning photo.

You can also promote your photos via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, email and other broadcast platforms.


This site does NOT pay you (at least not directly) for your photos. Yes, you read that correctly. Instagram is actually a social media platform for sharing photos, not a commercial app. However, there are three reasons why I’m still listing the Instagram app as a place to make money from your photos.

  • Sponsorships– You can make money from your mobile photos if you’re already on Instagram and have a lot of comments, likes or followers there. Companies (which also often have Instagram accounts) are likely to notice your social popularity and sponsor you to take photos of their products/services. This “discovery’ process is not guaranteed, however.
  • Instaprints– This website links to Instagram and enables you to sell your photos as physical prints (e.g., posters, greeting cards, mouse pads). You set your own rate for your photo, then Instaprints adds a flat fee for the physical product (which includes the Instaprints base fee). Upon purchase, Instaprints completes the printing and shipping of the physical image to the buyer. You are paid once a month via Paypal.
  • Twenty20– This site, previously called Instacanvas, also links to Instagram and maintains a gallery of your images, which buyers can peruse and purchase from for online download or for physical printing. Much like Instaprints, Twenty20 also handles the printing and shipping portions of the purchase. Unlike Instaprints, however, you cannot set your own rate. Twenty20 prices your images (a starting range is $2-$7/image) and gives you a 20% cut of each sale. Payments to your Paypal account are made once a month.


This app is a fusion between Foap and Twenty20 in terms of look-and-feel. Unlike the two aforementioned apps, however, Snapwire emphasizes the photographers, not their photos. As such, photographers get center stage here and their portfolios house their images. Snapwire also sets the image pay rate from $5 to $100, with photographers keeping 70% of the sale price.

Buyers can search by photographer and purchase their photos from the portfolios. However, Snapwire focuses more on contests (called Challenges) as a way to pay and reward photographers for their good work. Prize purses typically range from $25-$150, with the winning photos getting heavily promoted and thus having a good chance at making even more money.

This app also assigns point-based levels to photographers, with the scale ranging from Explorer>Shooter>Advanced>Expert>Elite>Pro. As you win Challenges or add more and better photos, you are assigned more points, which helps advance your status (and pay rate).


This app is offered by the biggest stock photo agency in the world, Alamy, and it was also one of the first paying apps to be offered for mobile photos. With Stockimo, you upload your photos and have the content “curated (i.e., rejected or accepted)” to fit the standards of the agency. Then, your content is priced according to the buyer’s usage intent. Example use rates include the following:

Advertisement: $500
Book use: $150
General/online use: $20

If you were an Alamy contributor prior to April 2014, you get 40% of all photo sales. After April 2014, new subscribers receive a 20% share of sales. Also, depending on the type of usage license you pick, your photos can be sold repeatedly.

Make even more money from your mobile photos

Learn to point and shoot.

Selling your mobile photos involves more than just snapping pictures of your dinner and uploading them. To make the really big bucks, you should first learn how to use all of the features on your smartphone camera, including its ISO, cropping/editing features, and (optional) effects. Also, take a basic photography course (such as through Coursera or Udacity) and learn how to compose your shots. While mobile apps don’t require that you have the latest and greatest DSLR on hand, they do require that you know a thing or two about taking pictures.

Tagging your photos is not an option.

If you wish for your mobile photos to be found by customers and companies, make sure you tag them. Excessively. In fact, there are even apps out there, such as TagsforLikes, that will help you create and store tags for social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Akin to SEO, the easier you make it for people to find your photo content, the more likely it’ll be that your photos get viewed and purchased.

Special effects can help you.

Most professional stock photo sites turn away photos that are enhanced with special effects (e.g., stickers). However, mobile photos fit a wide variety of client needs including humor, real-time reporting, personal blogging, etc. Thus, investing a few bucks in a cool filter or photo effect tool like Aviary may actually open you up to new business opportunities.

If you do start enhancing your photos, create a special area for these images and keep them separate from the “normal” ones. This way, your customers won’t be bogged down by crazy purple landscapes or odd thought balloons while looking for basic stock photography. Meanwhile, those customers who are looking for such imagery will know where to go.

Follow (and duplicate) the trends.

Going back to SEO, you should follow what images are trending on your apps and add to that content as much as possible. For example, Foap frequently showcases and sells holiday and seasonal images. Thus, you could start shooting holiday/seasonal photos a few months ahead of time and have this content ready to go for the next upcoming holiday/season.

Likewise, news media networks often need stock photos to go along with a trending story, so keep your eye on the national news and tag your photos with keywords that would fall in line with a reporter’s topic search. In short, don’t keep your photos in a vacuum.

Free Tools and Data Sources that Help You Create Amazing Infographics

People get tired of reading words all the time, and your website’s or blog’s readers are no different. Luckily, you can reignite reader interest in your content by presenting it in different formats, including those that are visual in nature. Currently, one of the most popular methods for doing so is through the infographic.

The ideal infographic contains just the right mix of appealing visuals and significant data, plus a smattering of humor or wit to break up all the statistics and reporting.

Finally, the infographic should be equipped with a tracking code that credits the source, such as a website or the blogger (i.e., you).

However, unless you are well-versed in Photoshop, it is challenging to quickly and easily represent information in a graphic manner. As a result, many webmasters and bloggers have shied away from generating infographics. Likewise, many webmasters have the needed skills, but they don’t have the time to be sifting through esoteric information sources for statistical data sets.

Luckily, there are many free or free trial tools out there that enable anyone to become a master of infographic design. Likewise, there are many data aggregator sites that present information on one handy platform.

As a result, you can now create all kinds of eye-catching infographics that will amaze your readers and bring traffic to your website or blog. Here are some of the best design tools that will quickly move you towards professional-looking infographics.

7 free online tools that help you create amazing infographics

1. Google Charts

To create pie charts, graphs and tree maps, look no further than Google Charts, a free tool offered in the Google Developers area. This tool also enables you to display your data in real-time and with animations.

google charts

2. Venngage

This site offers a free version of its infographics-generating software that includes several themes, templates, charts, icons and even ready-to-go infographics.



This tool provides you with templates that you can customize with your own data, images, etc. If you need extra images or items like arrows, shapes, etc., they are available too.


4. Piktochart

Here, you get three free themes that you can customize with your own color palette, fonts, shapes, graphics and images. You can also add your own images. Infographics generated with Piktochart can integrate with Slideshare and Evernote.



This tool provides lots of great graphs, info maps and charts for free that you can customize via the site’s custom Excel spreadsheet. You can also add your own photos and videos. Infographics generated through this site can also be made mobile-responsive.



Here, you not only get to create infographics for free, but you can also earn money. connects prospective brands and clients with talented infographics designers looking for work. So, if you want to earn money for your infographic-making skills, be sure to post your current work on this site once you’ve completed it, thus creating your own work portfolio.


7. Dipity

With this tool, you can generate infographics that include video and/or audio, provide location or time info, and which integrate with social media platforms to boot. Dipity’s paid version even offers infographic analytics and iPhone apps.


Finding reliable data sources

Infographics are only as good as the data they showcase. To find the best data without spending endless hours online or in the library, you should visit the following sites:

AIP– The American Institute of Physics publishes studies on employment, pay rates, undergraduate enrollment, etc. in physics and several applied science fields.– The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services publishes information on its policies, medical and psychiatric health outcomes, insurance providers, and the like.– From agriculture to finance to science and technology, there is all kinds of good, U.S.-based information at this site.

Data Market– This is a good place for finding information on the national economy and healthcare, agriculture and the automotive industry.

FactBrowser– Looking for marketing stats or consumer behavior information? Then look no further than FactBrowser, a site that compiles all manner of data on the latest online technologies and e-commerce trends. Some of this information is even provided as infographics, case studies or forecasts.

Google Public Data– This site publishes some rather large data sets derived from sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, World Bank, World Health Organization, U.S. Census Bureau, etc.

Google Scholar– Use this specialized tool to search on academic information including journal publications, dissertations and theses, as well as research reports published by government agencies and national laboratories.

UNICEF and WHO– World health statistics such as infant mortality rates and HIV infection stats are reported here. Social work and justice statistics are also big foci.

WorldBank– This site provides financial data from all over the world, including national GNPs, debt ratios, etc.

Wunderground– This site provides historical weather information segmented by city or zip code.


An infographic must not only be useful, but also pretty. In other words, don’t go stuffing your graphic with endless reams of information, thus making it bore the viewer. Also, viewers do want to see verifiable information, so list your sources at the bottom of the infographic and attribute all direct quotes.

If you don’t find the information you are looking for, consider doing your own research study using a tool like SurveyMonkey and reporting the collected data. You can also survey your email subscribers using a survey tool like MailChimp.

Do you have a data reporting tool or infographics generator that you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.

Why You Should Become a Wikipedia Contributor

In 2012, Wikipedia came up on the first page for 99% of Google searches, according to the UK-based firm Intelligent Positioning. In over half of those searches, Wikipedia came up as the first search result.

These are some amazing findings, considering that Wikipedia content pages are often Spartan in their provided information, references are iffy or lead to dead links, and much of the information is not verified by primary sources. Web researchers (and high schoolers) are advised to not use Wikipedia as a reference.

And yet, if Wikipedia is so derided, why did Google spend a lot of time and energy creating its Knowledge Graph, which greatly imitates Wikipedia in terms of features and internal links? And why does Google still give search prominence to Wikipedia even today, in 2015, when so many other authoritative and better-referenced sites exist?

5 Reasons why Google still loves Wikipedia

1. Unique, authoritative and in-depth content.

When Wikipedia entries get it right, they really get it right. Much of the content on Wiki is long, in-depth and comes with exemplary references. Furthermore, when links go dead or aren’t correct, a batch of faithful Wiki editors make sure to correct the issue. Both Wiki editors and contributors are encouraged to add references from authoritative sites, not YouTube or private blogs. Wikipedia’s constant harping on what constitutes a good reference versus a so-so one is finally paying off, and much of Wiki’s material is well-researched and referenced.

2. It’s all user-generated.

Search engines love ranking user-generated content above corporate or other types of content. This is why social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have done so well in the SERPs (search engine results pages). A community of contributors is looked upon as more relevant to a topic than a single blogger or marketer.

3. User-generated content isn’t spammy or promotional.

Wiki users that sign up to contribute to the site cannot post content that is full of spam/affiliate links, promotes a particular product or blog, or otherwise functions to openly act as linkbait for the contributor. Anyone who keeps violating this cardinal Wiki rule is eventually blocked from contributing. Thus, the content actually has value- something that Google loves.

4. Entries are keyword-focused.

Wiki entries are usually centered on one keyword, which results in a strong page and domain. This results in Google and other search engines favoring the Wiki page over a comparable website that might just use the same keyword as a meta tag or only in the page content.

5. There are bucketloads of internal links.

Wiki entries link to other Wiki entries, blanketing the entire site with their page and domain authority. Conversely, links on Wiki that lead to outside pages are nofollow, meaning that the referenced site gets no link love from being listed on Wikipedia (although it does get traffic). As a result, Wikipedia does not “leak” its superior Page Rank to outside sites.

With all these reasons why search engines like Google still favor Wikipedia, you are well advised to contribute to the Wiki. In fact, certain businesses exist solely to create Wikpedia pages for their clients.

Obviously, you can’t use Wikipedia to openly promote your affiliate website or blog, but if you generate a neutral Wiki entry around a particular product or topic, you could list your own website as a handy reference. That reference will not give you any link “juice,” so to speak, but it will result in increased traffic. You could replicate your efforts by eventually creating more Wiki pages related to your initial one and internally linking them. Keep in mind that every new Wiki page must have notability or it won’t be included.

Generating entries on Wikipedia also helps establish you as an authority in your chosen subject matter.

How to become a Wikipedia contributor

Becoming a Wiki contributor is very easy and only requires that you fill out a short form to create your account.

Wiki pic

Your user account, once created, is your community identifier. It will display alongside any Wiki entries and/or edits you make. While you can make changes anonymously, you are better off working within your account, as this helps build your reputation on the site. Any and all Wiki activity you generate is listed on your own Contributions area. You can also practice using the site by going to an area called a sandbox.

Wikipedia recommends that you first start out as an editor before creating and publishing entire pages to the site. That seems reasonable and allows you to gain some practice with the site and how it functions. Likewise, editing other pages successfully helps increase your authority to perform restricted functions like adding images or moving pages to the public sphere.

To a large extent, Wikipedia’s content management system has a WordPress-like feel to it and includes markup language akin to html. When making edits, you should provide a brief explanation of your reason for doing so (e.g., typo). You can then click on the bottom button labeled “Show preview” to view your edit to see if it’s correct. If you are satisfied with your work, just click on the “Save page” button and you’re done.

For example, here is what the edit window of the Wiki entry on Cholesterol looks like:


When you’re ready to create a completely new Wiki entry, the Article Wizard gives you a good tutorial and helps you get started. In a nutshell, though, you need to first search on the topic you want to write about. Assuming that you find no identical or related topic, Wikipedia will invite you create an article for the topic you searched on within its search results page. At that point, you can click on the hyperlinked topic idea and get to work.

For example, here’s a search for the topic ‘Cholesterol is yummy.’ Because there’s no such topic on Wikipedia, an invitation to create one was extended through Wikipedia.


You may wish to paste in the article content from a separate document you’ve already generated or work on your article within Wikipedia. When you’re done, save your work. Afterwards, whenever you wish to return to your article and work on it some more, you’ll find it in an area marked as Creating User:YourUserAccountName/YourWikiTopic.

Be aware that your referenced sources must be reliable and unbiased. That means you can’t link to a blog or a YouTube video and call it a source. Likewise, primary sources such as research publications and direct quotes are preferred over secondary and less neutral sources such as press releases.

Once you have finished creating your article, you will need to submit it to Wikipedia for review. That process can take a few days or even weeks. Once that process is finished, your page will be moved to the public space. In some cases, Wiki editors may make some changes to your content or topic title. Or your article may be nominated for deletion. This can happen if you have included any promotional links or used images that were copyrighted to someone else.

What have been your own experiences using Wikipedia to create entries? Have you had issues with Wiki editors? Did you find the submission process to be difficult or easy? Please leave your comments below.

Should You Start Text Marketing in 2015?

I’m a loyal customer of Starbucks, not so much because of the superior coffee served there, but because the company regularly texts me offers that I just can’t resist. These offers are part of My Starbucks Rewards, a loyalty program that rewards repeat customers with freebies and product discounts.

Such text marketing is common for brick-and-mortar merchants like Starbucks; however, affiliate and online marketers don’t typically engage in this type of marketing. That’s a shame because texts, unlike emails, are not yet crowded out by excessive spam. In other words, text messages still have a good chance of being opened and read.

What is text marketing?

Text marketing, which also goes by the names of mobile marketing, or short or multimedia message service (SMS or MMS) marketing, involves marketers sending short text messages to their mobile subscribers and asking them to take a specified action. That specified action might involve downloading a web page or coupon, signing up for a deal, or just subscribing to the mobile list.

With text marketing, marketers typically use a short code number that is five digits to identify themselves. They also pay for unique keywords that mobile device users must input when sending a text message to the marketers. For example, Starbucks might put up a sign in its store with the following announcement:

Want valuable coupons from us? Text COFFEE to 23198.

In this case, COFFEE is the keyword and 23198 is the short code number. A mobile customer who wants to access those coupons would create a text containing the word COFFEE and then send that text to 23198. This would result in the customer receiving a second text with a link to a coupon page. It would also place that customer on the mobile marketing list for future promotions.

Other keywords might also be used by text marketers. For example, you have probably received the following text message at one time or another, and usually included with a text message that advertised a given deal or offer:

To Opt-Out, text STOP to 22155.

Much like with email marketing, marketers pay for text marketing by the number of text messages sent. They also pay per number of keywords used. Marketers favor using several keywords over one or two because separate keywords allow them to segment their audience and/or offers and perform analytics on who opens and acts upon which texts.

How can you use text marketing?

As an affiliate or online marketer, you can also use text marketing to alert your readers about new blog posts, new product reviews or sales, or even send out a coupon or discount notification. Just because you don’t have a physical store or a cash register scanner doesn’t mean you can’t create coupon codes and have your readers use them on your website.

The real challenge with text marketing is how to get your website readers and/or email subscribers to agree to receive mobile messages. Much like with email marketing, you may wish to entice potential subscribers by offering them a special discount or other incentive.  Be sure to notify them of how they may opt-out of your messages too; while the CAN-SPAM Act does not technically apply to text messages, the FCC has covered unwanted text messages under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991.

Also, while in the past SMS messaging was pricey, text messaging platforms have multiplied over the last few years. These days, you can even do SMS marketing for free if you limit the number of messages sent or if you have a small contact list. Here are a few platforms you may wish to investigate and try out in 2015:


This mobile marketing platform enables you to get one keyword (called a textword) and send up to 50 texts/month for free to unlimited contacts. With SlickText, you can schedule your text messages, create auto-replies, and also integrate your text messaging with a social media platform like Facebook or your own website. The platform also allows you to track who clicked on your provided link and which texts performed better than others.

slick text


This budget text marketing service currently offers you 500 free texts/month along with one keyword. Incoming messages from your subscribers are not charged. With ezTexting, you can perform a lot of different texting campaigns including Text2Vote, Polls and MMS. You can also post your texts to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter or your personal website (via widget). Basic reporting and analytics are offered, allowing you to track message delivery and open rates as well as signups.



At 3 cents/text and $24.99/first keyword, Mozeo offers a decent deal on text marketing without requiring you to sign a contract. Within this platform, you can access a lot of Mozeo’s features such as Text-2-Win and mobile coupons. The service also includes a handy website plugin that you can install and have your website visitors immediately opt-in for your texts. You can also build and maintain your mobile contact list on Mozeo.


Opt It

This service runs $20/month/keyword and 2 cents/text, or $50/month/keyword and unlimited texts. With Opt It, you can easily create mobile contests, coupons and redemption codes, and with or without expiration dates. Text campaigns and contacts are managed from a dedicated Web-based software program, which comes complete with real-time reporting and activity snapshots.


Will you be text marketing in 2015?

With the start of the new year, you may wish to try out text marketing and see if this important yet often overlooked marketing channel can help you grow your contact list. If you do try text marketing in 2015, let us know how it works out for you in the comments below.

Want Extra Sales? 10 Daily Deals Sites for Affiliate Marketers

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching, and this reality may be causing you to panic as you search in vain for some online deal to display on your affiliate marketing websites. Luckily, there is no shortage of great online deals for affiliate marketers- if you know where to look. The answer to your troubles lies in daily deals sites. Such sites not only offer great deals and deeply discounted items, but they often also work with affiliates.

What are daily deals sites? They are sites that scour the Internet on a daily basis for the best online deals and discounted merchandise and then post these deals on a website and/or app. One example is DealTrunk, which offers heavily discounted brand name merchandise on a daily basis.

So, if you are still looking for that great online deal, here are 10 daily deal sites that will work with you- and give you a nice commission too:


Each day, this site lists one product that is discounted by up to 90% off at midnight. The items can include electronics, perfume, jewelry, etc. There are also deals for hotel stays and vacation packages. Affiliates earn 3%-7% and get a 14-day referral period.



Affiliates of Gilt are paid a 4% commission on every sale. While this may not seem like much, consider that the designer clothing sold through this site can easily cost $1,000 or more. We’re not talking about a $25 pair of shoes here.

Gilt group


Through the Groupon Partner Network, you can become an affiliate and make 10% on Groupon and Ideel purchases. Because Groupon offers many different items, you can pick and choose which deals best integrate with your affiliate sites in terms of product theme.

groupon partner network

Living Social

This site offers a hefty 30% affiliate commission on purchases made by new and existing customers, plus $2.50 for every new email subscriber. Affiliates sign up through Commission Junction.

living social



If you’re not familiar with nCrowd, it’s a daily deals site that includes U.S.-based Dealfind and Tippr and the Canadian site Through this company’s affiliate program, you can earn up to 15% from consumer purchases. There are also tiered incentives for volume purchases. Affiliates obtain a 30-day referral period.




This site offers daily deals typically in the form of coupon codes to all kinds of online retailers. Users of the site can also get rewarded for submitting coupon codes they locate online (and elsewhere). Affiliates receive 50% of net revenue.




This site posts one new T-shirt every 24 hours for $11. T shirt designs are often one-of-a-kind and may not be resold by the site ever again- although the designer could go to another website and sell the design elsewhere. Affiliates of Teefury sign up through Commission Junction. Although referral information is not listed on the site itself, affiliate forums report that affiliates earn $1 per each T-shirt sold.



This daily deals site features all kinds of home furnishing deals that are delivered to subscribers once each day by email newsletter. Affiliates with Wayfair can earn 5% commissions and get a generous 45-day referral period. You sign up to the program through ShareASale.




Woot was one of the first daily deals sites to hit the Internet, and even today it is still going strong and has offshoots like Kids.Woot, Wine.Woot, Shirt.Woot and Deals.Woot. Affiliates- or minions, as Woot likes to call them- earn 2% on computers and electronics sales, and 4% on everything else (except wine).



This site offers upscale childrens’ clothing and accessories at discounted prices. Affiliates earn up to a 10% commission on all sales and receive a 7-day referral period. Sign-up to the program occurs through the ShareASale platform.


Are daily deals sites good for affiliate marketers?

Some of the criticism surrounding daily deals ads and text links being posted on affiliate websites is that they distract visitors and redirect them to third party sites. Also, most customers will typically only go through the affiliate link once. After they have signed up with the daily deals site, they will go to that site directly, eschewing the affiliate site and depriving it of any further profits.

Another criticism about daily deals ads is that their profit margin is too low for the amount of disruption they cause to an affiliate site. In the case of Groupon, for example, the site’s profits are divided up between Groupon and the actual retailer providing the deal. So, the affiliate doesn’t really receive the full percentage of the deal.

However, there are some good reasons to include daily deals ads, at least for a limited time. If you coordinate the theme of the daily deal site to match items you are already selling on your site, the additional traffic to the deal could spill over to your own products. Also, because you must typically add in media and text that describes your daily deal ad, you could end up improving your site’s SEO for a particular product.

How to Start Rewards and Loyalty Programs on Your Website

According to BusinessWeek, nearly 90% of Americans participate in some kind of rewards program. The average household belongs to 22 loyalty programs- even if participation in all these programs is not always active (Colloquy). Furthermore, in a survey conducted by Maritz, 57% of respondents stated that they modify when and where they buy their items in order to maximize the points received from purchases; 46% stated that they modify which brands they purchase in order to maximize points.

Clearly, rewards and loyalty programs work. Indeed, customers who belong to a loyalty program are twice as likely to visit the same merchant and end up spending four times as much money as non-loyalty program customers.

With data such as these, you cannot ignore the potential that loyalty and rewards programs have in terms of growing your business and its revenues. However, if you own just an affiliate or other marketing site, how can you implement loyalty marketing into your online sales?

Install an E-commerce Plugin

To sell online, you will first need to download and install an e-commerce platform plugin to your website or blog. Luckily, there are many e-commerce plugins out there that are not only easy to install but are free.  Four plugins in this category include WooCommerce, WP e-Commerce, iThemes Exchange, MarketPress, Jigoshop and Cart66 Lite.

An e-commerce plugin such as WP e-Commerce enables your site to accomplish several merchandising functions, including using Paypal Payments (standard, Pro or Express) and integrating various payment gateways such as Google Wallet, BluePay, Sagepay, Paystation, and You also gain access to selling options such as coupons, quantity discounts, catalogs and drag-and-drop shopping.

Integration with Google Analytics and Sitemaps, as well as SSL certificates for shopping security, are other advantages of most e-commerce plugins.

Install a rewards plugin

There are many rewards plugins out there that award points, purchase percentages or other incentives to site visitors who subscribe to the rewards program, like your FB page, follow you on Twitter, refer you to a friend or make a purchase. Here is a list of some of the most popular:


Although technically in its beta stage, the rather popular Beans plugin works with WooCommerce and enables shoppers to get rewarded for subscribing to the rewards program, taking social actions (e.g., liking your Facebook page), referring fellow shoppers, or making a purchase.


One of the nice features about Beans is that your rewards program can be promoted on the Beans Platform, which means it gets indexed by search engines.

Loyalty Rewards

This plugin costs $89 for one site and operates through WooCommerce. It enables your customers to earn points through purchases and redeem the points later on for coupons or credit. You can set the amount of awarded points per product or purchase total. You can also create reward tiers and manually edit rewards points for any of your customers. The Loyalty Rewards plugin also integrates with Gift Certifictes Pro, so your customers can either be rewarded with gift certificates or buy them for others.

Finally, existing customers can have their past purchases grandfathered into their rewards accounts so that they are not left out of your loyalty marketing plan.

Shopper Rewards

This plugin works with WP e-Commerce and is free to install; the basic version of the plugin, which offers additional features, costs $20.

Shopper Rewards enables customers to take charge of their rewards program and earn points based on the amount purchased, to convert points to coupons, discounts, free products or percentages off, and to view points history. The plugin also integrates with the WP e-Commerce Coupon System.

You can reward current customers by importing their past purchases and assigning them rewards based on those purchases.

The Shopper Rewards Premium plugin, which is on the horizon (though with some delays) is expected to enable shoppers to earn points by completing social actions such as liking your Facebook page or following you on Twitter.

Rewarding Your Affiliates

You can create loyalty programs for your affiliates too- or nudge customers to become your affiliates. The Ambassador plugin, for example, not only tracks shoppers who come to your website via an affiliate’s link, but it also enables those customers to socially share their purchase information with their social network. This optional sharing feature advertises your online store to other potential shoppers.

Ambassador operates through WooCommerce and is available for $49 (for one site).

Affiliate WP is another $49 WooCommerce-based plugin that enables you to track your affiliates and their activities. Furthermore, you can integrate Affiliate WP with other loyalty rewards plugins and provide your affiliates with coupons or discount codes. Such leveraging enables you to increase not only your own sales, but the sales and referrals of your affiliates. 

affiliate wp

Creating Your Own Rewards and Loyalty Programs

You may also consider creating your own loyalty program and tracking subscribers individually. This can be completed by segmenting your email newsletter subscribers into those that have purchased from you and those that have not. From there, you might consider sending unique emails to your current customers with a bonus or bulk purchase offer and inserting specially discounted products into your email. For audience members who are not yet customers, you might consider offering them a freebie or discount if they make a purchase by a given deadline.

While it is more time intensive, email segmentation offers a greater possibility of rewards customization. Doing so also gives your loyalty program less of a cookie-cutter feel to it and directly tunes into shopper sentiment and needs.

How to Get Your Food Product into Grocery Stores and Markets

In this past Monday’s post, we talked about how to start a work at home catering business. That’s great you if you like to cook and cater events. However, what if you just prefer to cook or bake? In that case, making a food product, and then selling it to area markets and grocery stores, is a better bet. How do you get started?

1. Check your neighborhood zoning laws.

As noted in Monday’s post, many towns and cities are very specific about where commercial activity will be conducted- or not. If you find out that your house or apartment cannot be the site of any commercial activity, don’t fret. You may have a friend or family member who lives in a more permissive neighborhood and can help you out with the cooking or baking of your food product.

Alternately, you may need to rent out a commercial kitchen for your food manufacturing activities. While doing so adds to your start-up costs, keep in mind that using a commercial kitchen is an inevitability for you, at least if you become successful in this line of work.

2. Obtain a food vendor’s license and insurance.

You should get a food vendor’s license from your local or state health authority; doing so enables you to sell your food product at fairs, farmers’ markets and food trucks. Doing so allows you to proceed directly to step #2 without having to worry about renting space in a commercial kitchen or obtaining a food processor license.

You should also enroll in what’s popularly known as a food liability insurance program, or FLIP. This protects you from the financial repercussions of lawsuits should a consumer get sick or otherwise injure himself while eating or dealing with your food product.

3. Test your product on the small market scale.

State-specific cottage food laws allow food product manufacturers to sell certain goods at small market venues like farmers markets without having to go through expensive and time-consuming licensing and kitchen inspections.

This is great news for you because it enables you to test out different food recipes, pricing options, packing colors and sizes, etc., without having to shell out a lot of investment money. You also get to hone your selling skills for the bigger markets down the road.

4. Rent out space in a commercial kitchen.

Once you’ve determined that customers like your food product(s) and that there is enough of a profit to be made from food manufacturing, it’s time to step up your game plan and rent out space in a commercial kitchen. There are probably several commercial kitchens in your area, even if you live in a small town. Consider that churches and community centers often make and serve refreshments or hold food festivals. To do so, they must have commercial kitchens.

Restaurants and bars naturally have commercial kitchens- but these establishments are not always open and thus serving food. You may wish to contact such places to find out if they would rent their kitchens to you.

5. Obtain a food processor license.

A food processor license enables you to sell your food product(s) at grocery stores and large commercial marketplace chains (e.g., Wal-Mart). You can usually obtain such a license from your state agriculture or health department.

To obtain a food processor license, you will need to show that you are generating a food product in a safe and clean manner- thus the reason for first renting out space in a commercial kitchen.

6. Label your product in a USDA/FDA-friendly manner.

You will need to procure packaging for your food product that is functional as well as tamper-proof. Your food will also need to include a label containing a complete list of food ingredients and (optional) nutritional information. Otherwise, no grocery store will be able to accept and sell it. Finally, if you plan to sell any food products that contain meat or dairy, you will also need to follow certain FDA regulations.

You may be able to short circuit your search for appropriate packaging by buying leftover boxes, bags and wrapping directly from restaurant suppliers.

7. File for an LLC and obtain business insurance.

Operating your food manufacturing business as a DBA or sole proprietorship exposes you to a lot of personal financial risk in case there is a food issue that results in a recall or lawsuit. You should highly consider incorporating your business as an LLC, which limits your liability to just your business (as opposed to your total net worth). Alternately, if you have many partners or shareholders, you may consider filing as an S- or C-corporation.

8. Don’t forget about sales tax.

Apply for and obtain a sales tax license from your state department of revenue. You will need to charge a given percentage above the price of your product, then return that money to the state, on a quarterly basis.

9. Study the bigger markets- and then market to them.

Analyze which stores in your neighborhood might have the space and be inclined to sell your food product. Some stores focus heavily on supporting local food vendors, Other stores, like Whole Foods, even help food vendors by offering loans (up to $100,000).

You can approach store managers directly, if the grocer is small enough, but for bigger grocery stores or chains, you will need to locate the corporate buyer. To this end, it’s best if you contract out and work with a food broker who can help you with finding the right contacts and knowing the issues that consumer marketplaces face.

Also, stores will be more likely to try out your product if you offer a marketing deal with them; Whole Foods is well-known for working with vendors who offer coupons or samples to customers. It also doesn’t hurt to create and hand out a food product sell sheet to entice your area store owner.

Should you make and sell your own food product(s)?

Making and selling your own food product through area farmers markets and grocers is a great work-at-home business opportunity. As with all food-related ventures, it is best if you start small and test your product on a small audience before investing a lot of capital and labor. By starting small and working your way into larger and more lucrative markets, you are more likely to be successful.