Whiny Brick And Mortar Retailers Behind Internet Sales Tax

In 1992 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a business without a physical presence in a state should not be required to pay that state’s sales tax. In the last couple of years however, critics of that ruling have begun to make more of a push for most online retailers to pay state sales tax. This is all based on the pretense that nearly 20 years ago online sales were minimal and made little impact on a company’s bottom line. Besides the fact that many states have been chipping away at huge retailer Amazon.com, forcing them to pay taxes in states where affiliate marketers reside (which they promptly fire), there is a consensus forming in Congress to end what some see as a tax loophole.

Unfortunately, this is being brought about by cry baby members of the Retail Industry Leaders Association in the name of fairness. They state that it simply isn’t fair that online retailers don’t have to pay state taxes while customers come into brick and mortar retailers, use up a salesperson’s time inquiring about a product and then, sometimes right in front of the salesperson, order that product online via their mobile device. While it is certainly rude of anyone to be so blatant as to order right in front of the salesperson who just helped them, and it is a bummer for a physical location business to lose a sale such as this, there are really 2 issues going on here.

First, this kind of thing will still go on even if all online retailers are taxed, because exclusively online business will almost always sell at a lower price point than a brick and mortar establishment. Why? They simply have the ability to do business cheaper with much less overhead. Do you ever even think of the tax savings when purchasing online? Isn’t it usually the huge price difference that incites you to make a purchase via the web? Taxing a business to be fair in this instance is absurd because it will do nothing to curb the actions of people looking for a better deal. You might as well make it illegal to use the time of a retail location’s salesperson when you really aren’t intending to buy from them (I probably shouldn’t have given you socialist legislators reading this any ideas).

Secondly, rather than build an online presence or do better marketing to get more online sales, the whiny Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and brick and mortar businesses want the government to step in and “level the playing field.” Below is directly from the RILA website:

“RILA also supports state action seeking to allow states collection authority by establishing nexus for online-only retailers through various means, or through direct state assessments of online-only retailers that have established facilities in a given state, as stop-gap measures until federal action to level the playing field can be enacted.”

Really? We have a completely out of control government in this country and in the name of fairness, you want to give them even more power? You want the federal government to make decisions for the states that are granted to them by the Constitution? Because brick and mortar retailers were not first or better at online marketing than companies like Amazon, they now demand that the playing field be leveled. Is anyone seeing the absurdity in this?

If you have never read Ayn Rand’s, Atlas Shrugged, this kind of leveling the playing field, cry baby stuff from misfit retailers and their industry organizations is a prophetic message right from the pages of Rand’s novel written some 50 years ago. Rand took the absurdities of this mode of thinking to its logical conclusion (which we are not far from these days) and her fictional society eventually destroyed itself. Do we not creep ever closer to that when we demand government action in the name of fairness?

While some see this as a big source of revenue for cash strapped states, it has hardly brought in but a trickle of revenue for states that have implemented an Internet sales tax. And if a national rule were to be implemented via a Congress that is in every aspect of our lives these days, that would impose an unfair burden on small business trying to comply with the multitude of different tax jurisdictions between states, counties and cities. While brick and mortar retailers would only have to be concerned about paying sales taxes in their local municipalities and or states, online retailers would have to be familiar with every tax law in every state, county and city. Mountains of paperwork would be required to comply with the laws of every state thus putting some online retailers out of business.

If there were even a chance of states being responsible with additional tax revenue, the idea of taxing online purchases might fly a little easier, but federal and local governments have proven over and over their complete incompetence when handling money that does not belong to them. States do not need more of our money. The more they take from us, the less we put back into the economy. Let’s keep out of state purchases tax free as they have always been.

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Sell Digital Downloads With DPD Shopping Cart

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My wife and I sell a number of digital download products online and use Paypal as our payment system. While Paypal is the most trusted of the online payment systems, it leaves a lot to be desired in the digital product delivery department. Order fulfillment has been an issue with Paypal from day one of putting our first product online. You can redirect someone to a download page once they complete their transaction, but having your customer actually reach that page and having that page be secure have been ongoing issues with how Paypal works. And you also can’t email anyone from PayPal with their secure download link when they make a purchase.

To make sure everyone gets their products for the last 3 or 4 years I have been emailing every single customer with a prewritten template that explains there is occasionally a problem with getting to the download page and we include a link for their download in the email. Obviously, that is not the most efficient system in the world and being that we will be leaving for a month long vacation out west soon, I needed a solution to our digital product delivery through Paypal. Enter DPD Shopping Cart, the answer to all your digital product delivery needs. Not only can you sell digital downloads with DPD Shopping cart, you can also use DPD to run an affiliate program for any of your products.

After checking out another system that required you to install software on your own server, DPD Shopping Cart turned out to be much better solution mainly because it is nearly brain dead simple to use. With DPD it will automatically send your customer to a secure download page for them to get their product and it will send your customer an email as well, directing them to the secure download page. To make sure no one shares their private link, you can make the links you send customers good for from 1 day all the way up to 1 year. You upload your products to DPD servers and they take care of assigning your specific customer their own specific download link.

Not only can you set up DPD to deliver products you sell via Paypal, you can also set it up to work with Clickbank, 2Checkout, PayDotCom, Google Checkout and AlertPay. It is very comprehensive and allows you to do may things you would have to have developer knowledge to do with all these digital checkout systems. Other nice features of DPD include the ability to create discount coupons for discount sales of your products only to the customers that have the cupon code, the ability to bundle multiple product together into one download, the ability to limit the number of sales of a product (you really can make those limited offers, limited), the ability to set up your own affiliate program and pay people with a mass pay through PayPal and much more.

One of the nicer features DPD has is that it can mark your PDF files with your customer’s name and order number and that can help in keeping then from sharing too many copies of your ebook. When someone’s name is on an ebook in the footer that makes them a little more hesitant to spread around your work for free.

There are several different pricing structures with DPD Shopping Cart from $5 per month for 10 products and 50 meg of space all the way up to 1,000 products with 50 Gig of product storage space. We got the $10 per month plan that allows for 20 products to be sold and up to 1 GB of storage. You have to be careful if you bundle products because when you upload each product that counts as 1 towards your total allowed and then your bundle counts as a another product as well. So you are using 3 products up when you bundle 2 together. Once I figure that out, the solution is to bundle any separate zip files or PDF’s together into a single zip file so, just be aware of how that works.

You can also get a free 30 day trial of DPD Shopping Cart and you don’t even have to put in a credit card so you won’t have to worry about rebills and it really is free for 30 days. And if you don’t like the service, you don’t have to do anything when your 30 day trial runs out.

It is well worth the $10 per month we have to pay to have products delivered securely and an email sent to customers without us having to do anything. If you need a digital product delivery solution, DPD Shopping Cart is the ticket and the easiest to implement that we found. Check out DPD Shopping Cart here.

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The Next Internet Gold Rush

The Next Internet Gold RushMay we be poised for the next internet gold rush? Many of us remember the good old days when you really could put together a quick landing page, just a landing page, and throw tons of cheap Google clicks at it and make a small fortune, or dynamically insert just the right computer error keyword on a direct link and sell a ton of Clickbank registry cleaners. While it will probably look a little different this time around, those days may be upon us in the affiliate marketing world again soon.

I’m referring rumblings of a Facebook Content advertising platform, network, whatever you want to call it, that may in fact be in beta testing as we speak. The information seems to be a little sketchy right at the present time as I can only find a few articles on the subject but, it only seems inevitable that this is what Facebook would want to do with its plans of world domination that may even exceed those of my affiliate manager over at C2M.

Being that Facebook has all kinds of widgets that allow you to Share, Like, comment and even log into certain sites with your Facebook account, it would be easy for developers (if they haven’t already done so) to make an advertising widget  which shows some sort of FB ads. I imagine FB will want to show text as well as image ads. While the standard format of the ads we currently see on FB will probably be available, they have to come out with customizable ad sizes just as Adsense allows its users to utilize its platform fit the content of their sites.

This will be a gold rush both for advertisers and publishers as FB’s reach is some 500 million members and may be the most recognizable presence on the web today, even exceeding that of Google. Hundreds of thousands of its members either are publishers or advertisers or would be if the process were a little easier. With this user base, the process of rolling out the content platform to those interested in making money with their content and those interested in additional advertising opportunities could be accomplished in a matter of months.

Google should be concerned, very concerned, because we could literally have a new and dominating ad platform to take over the net within 3 months when FB decides to hit the start button. Obviously Google is smart and this wouldn’t be a complete surprise to them, but thinking about and preparing for it may be nothing until they actually see it in action and suddenly feel the presence of tens of thousands of Adsense and Adwords users jumping ship or at least spending much more of their advertising dollars with someone else. The days of Google’s $500 to $600+ per share stock price may be coming to an end and they may even beg the 200,000 or so Adwords users they kicked out of their program a year and a half ago to please come back.

To be certain, there are still hurdles for FB to overcome so as to make a new ad platform a dominating force to be a real competition to Google. Facebook hasn’t quite got the ad approval process consistent just yet. It is confusing, biased, maddening, inconsistent and down right absurd in most cases. They have lost thousands of advertisers because of the sheer stupidity of the way they approve ads. To make any inroad into a widely used and competitive force against Google they simply must nail this down to a consistent, unbiased and understandable process for their users. An automated system such as Adcenter or Adwords uses is essential for a smooth flow into giving Google a run for their money. The hit and miss crap shoot for advertisers trying to get their ads approved must end. Their lame excuse that they want to protect their users experience on the Facebook platform won’t translate meaningfully to a content platform.

For publishers there is also plenty of gold to be mined in a new content network, but it will not be an easy thing to get into you can be sure. It will not be like the early days of Adsense where you could throw together a spammy site and slap Adsense on it and boom, you be makin’ teh monies. Facebook will not let that happen. You can bet they will scrutinize every site you put their ads on. Start shining up your content now so it will look appealing and spiffy to those you are seeking to reach and your approval process should be much easier.

When it hits it could be a game changer again for all advertisers and that would include us in the affiliate marketing space. This will definitely be a platform you will want to jump on as soon as you can, figure out how to make it work and not sit back and wonder what just passed you by. Get ready.

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Affiliate Marketing Training – Pimpin The Big Ripoff

Who's Your Bloggin Daddy?Yea, I know, I haven’t written a post in too long to even count, and I’ll probably write a post on why that has been sometime, but for now something has been bugging me about this affiliate marketing industry for the last several months and I just have to get it off my chest. If you haven’t guessed by the title, it has to do with what passes for training in affiliate marketing and some of the most well known bloggers in this industry turning into product launch pimps.

Most of us scraping through this industry have at one time or another purchased some sort of ebook, ecourse sort of thingy that we though was the sure path to internet riches only to find out that most of the info therein was absolutely worthless. Back in the day I was getting my feet wet, most of these ebooks were somewhere between $37 and $67 with a few of the more outrageously priced ones coming in at $167.

There are a plethora of products that offer little more than false hope to wanna be affiliate marketers looking for their first few sales to generate enough revenue to create that initial $100 check. The first one I purchased was James Martell’s Affiliate Marketing Handbook 5 or 6 years ago at the OUTRAGEOUS price of $167. I soon found out that there was about $1.21 worth of useful information in the book, regretted my decision to buy it and went back to reading blogs and forums to try and figure out this business.

As this business has matured (I use that term lightly, meaning aged only) the number of video courses and ebook programs that have been published promising us all vast wealth is truly staggering. As we moved into a new decade it seems as though the publishing pace has only quickened, especially through long time bloggers that I have followed getting into the business of cross promoting every other guru’s product so they can make even more money. It’s called the JV, or joint venture model of internet marketing and honestly, it’s the most annoying thing I have ever experienced in this industry.

The lowly ebook that used to be priced around $47, is now a full blown video course including several ebooks with more information and special bonuses (and very cool promotional graphics, wow) than one could possibly absorb and they now sell in the range of $500 to $2,000 and some cost even more. The disturbing thing is that much of the information contained in these courses is nothing new. It’s just the same old “how to set up your blog” and “10 tips to blogging success” rubbish that can be found repeated ad infinitum on blogs such as Problogger.net.

What prompted this somewhat long winded rant was the launch about a week ago of Product Launch Formula when I received some 40 to 50 emails about this product over the course of 5 or so days. It seems that every guru make money blogger that I have ever read and given my email to sent me multiple emails touting the benefits of said course desperately urging me to separate myself from nearly $2,000 of my hard earned money.

The worst offenders of the email bludgeoning marketing model have to be Steven Clayton and Tim Godfrey of Blueprint-Forum-MMO-thingy-whatever. I’m on Steve’s list, Tim’s list and apparently the Blueprint Forum’s list. Since these guys like to get noticed I would literally get 6 emails (2 from each list) within just a couple of minutes of each other spamming up my inbox. This happened 4 or 5 times and I began to think I had gotten caught up in some sort of auto-responder feedback loop that would never end.

Actually, some of the stuff that Steve and Tim put out is quality material, but you hardly have time to get through it before the next email hits your inbox giving you the urge that you need this latest course more than you need to buy your mom flowers on Mother’s Day.

This nonsense disturbs me for several reasons:

This is spam – call it what you want, but when you send 24 emails to the same people within a few days time, that’s excessive. I didn’t ask for it and I don’t want it. One or two emails is fine, but I’d rather not be hit in the head with a hammer telling me this is the greatest product in the world (at least since the last product we promoted, and yes, the one before that as well).

Most of this stuff is free –  Yea, you’ve heard this one before and sometimes it’s great to have all the info you need consolidated into one nice package, but for $2,000 I can stand to do a lot of the research myself. A $2,000 course in affiliate marketing better wash the dishes and do the laundry for that matter.

You have to be  a big time affiliate for the JV model to work – A lot of money is made in internet marketing by promoting products that teach you how to make money with internet marketing products, and much of this is done through the JV model. The only problem with this is that there are so many gurus promoting this crap that the little guy has about zero chance of making it work. Of course it works for the gurus, they all have lists with 100,000 people on them (and I guess I’m on 90% of them apparently).

If you’ve ever seen a list of the top 10 or 20 affiliates promoting a Michael-Cheney-watch-me-drive-my-Lamborghini-Gallardo-product you’ll know exactly what I mean. The list reads like a who’s who of IM. There is rarely a name gracing the list that you don’t recognize.

You don’t really get the inside info –  Steve Clayton and Tim Godfrey are famous for putting out products where they promise to let you in on everything, I mean everything they are doing. They’re going to sell you the entire shop, that is until the next product comes out just a few months (seems like weeks in some cases) later with even more inside info they happened to locate next to the previously unreleased Beatles recordings.

The bottom line with much of this stuff is that it is old information – I could sell you the greatest technique in the world for making $10,000 a week on Clickbank because I have done that, really. The only issue with that is it only lasted for 1 week and it can’t be done any longer.

Many of the gurus have hit on a few techniques that made them some pretty big bank and may have lasted for weeks to several months, but then as usual the way this happens, someone doesn’t like what you are doing, or Matt Cutts inserts a line of code in the Google algo, or the trend you were riding fizzles out and so do your profits. End of story. But wait, think the gurus, I can write an ebook and sell you on how I did it, never mind the secret technique is now a dead, rotting fish. That’s just the nature of this game, sometimes your sneaky little technique lasts for 18 months, sometimes just a week, you’ll get used to it, but then if you want to make the real big bucks, sell your now worthless technique for $500.

Which brings me to Blog Profit Camp. Do you think you really need to spend $400, $500 or $600 to join yet another, yes, unbelievably, another how to make money blogging course? Apparently Yaro and ProBlogger Mr Rowse haven’t produced enough mastermind, ebooks, courses and endless posts that include tips ranging in count from 5 to 65 ways to be a BETTER FRICKIN’ BLOGGER. Arrgh! x 7!!! I need blogging Prozac already, not another course that will tell me nothing I can’t find on the very blog who’s writer is putting out this latest course and charging you $500 to $600 for information he and 50 other MMO bloggers have already given you for FREE.

Here’s how to make money blogging:

1. Forget about the money, get a passion.

2. Install WordPress.

3. Don’t write about anything John Chow writes about.

4. Find some sneaky blackhat way to get 17 front page Diggs in a month or film your 3 legged dog doing the Evolution of Dance and hope it goes viral.

5. Don’t try to sell your readers anything, let them buy.

6. Sell advertising.

I just saved you $600, now get to work.

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I Confess…I’m A Link Junkie

This is a guest post by Brandon Hopkins.

If you know me, you definitely know one thing. I’m a link building junkie. I love building links, good links, bad links, no follow links, I love them all. My favorite links are the ones that nobody else is getting. However, the easiest links are the ones that everyone is getting.

A few years ago when I started building links, most people cared only about the biggest links like DMOZ. After DMOZ slowed their approval process many companies like Best of the Web Directory (Established 1996) and Ezilon Web Directory (Established 1996) started offering paid directory submission. I was all over those links, and I still am.

Since there are so few quality directories left, I spend a much larger percentage of my time building links that the best link builders are using. Who are the best link builders? You probably first think of the greats that you might know by name. For me, those people are Jim Boykin and Aaron Wall. However, those are the people that you know of because they have a public presence. In my opinion, the world’s best link builders will never be known by name, and here’s why.

World class link builders know what they’re doing. I don’t just mean they know how to build links, they know how to build massive links while staying under the radar. They can build 10,000 links per day and get top rankings for a lot of good keywords, not just long tail stuff.

When I realized that, my first question was, “How do I find these people, and how can I build those links?” The answer is simple, study the best to learn from the best. So where do you find the world’s best link builders? Follow the money.

If you could rank for just about any keyword, what would you focus on? You would most likely focus on the highest paying keyword right? That’s where the best link builders work. They rank for “cheap Viagra”, “Mesothelioma lawyers”, “data recovery”, “secured loans”, etc. If you know where someone is working to build links, you can easily find those links and duplicate them.

That’s the key here. If they are ranking for top terms, their links are obviously working, and you can do the same. Find their links, and you’ll find the secret to making more affiliate sales!


Bio: Brandon Hopkins blogs, tweets and love building links. Brandon is a freelance link builder who would love to work for you!

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