As many of you know, Keyword Scout was one of my first successful ventures years ago. Then, I was 16 years old, and even though I was new to the software business, I was able to pack in over 1000 paying customers within the first 6 months.
For those of you who read my book, you already know the rest of the story. PayPal closed my account, with no reason. This means all of my liquid cash was frozen and unaccessible. All of my customers’ subscriptions were cancelled. I had no monthly recurring revenue.
I tried to follow up, but no one at PayPal would talk to me. Every time I called or emailed, I was told I had to speak with the employee who limited my account. The problem? He didn’t have an email and he never returned voice mails.
So, I started trying to get customers to sign up again with a new payment process and some did, but many did not answer their emails. This is expected with cancellation of subscriptions – most will not resubscribe until they need it again.
The company had a slow and painful death. If you’re interested in the full story, you can find it in my book.
I own a company called Slide. It’s functionality doesn’t matter, so I’ll save you the time and won’t explain it.
I’m sitting here on a Friday night, watching HotJar recordings of my users, to see where I can improve.
This particular user filled out his/her information, and like many other users, is too lazy to read the labels on the buttons. So instead of clicking “Save” like they should, the user clicks the “Delete” button.
But it doesn’t stop there. I figured this would happen, so I threw in a confirmation box before people did this.
Guess what – the user clicks confirm, immediately! Boom, account is gone. They are redirected to the homepage, so not knowing what they just did (because they refuse to slow down and read) they go to login again. For the next 3 minutes, I watch the user attempt to login again, and sit there, puzzled when they receive an error.
As a web developer, it’s not just my job to write good code, but to build a good UX (user experience) by having a detailed UI. More on this in my book.
However, the changes I have to make are:
- Make the save button blue
- Make the delete button red
- Make the save button the same size as the delete button or bigger
- On the confirm dialog:
- make the confirm button grey
- the cancel button blue (this will encourage clicking cancel subliminally)
- change the confirm button label to “Delete” – in hopes by chance they may finally start reading labels
- After account deletion, have a page that explains why the account was deleted
Most people who make money, generally choose to keep quiet about it because it brings unnecessary complications into their lives – one being beggars.
I get hit up on Twitter and Instagram daily by people looking for handouts. Sometimes they want free consulting, or sometimes they want money.
The world owes you nothing
Contrary to what you may think, nobody owes you anything. No one owes you health, love, respect, loyalty, friendship, happiness or money. For some reason people think they’re entitled to my help and get upset when I don’t offer it. If you can’t respect that, then I probably won’t respond.
I already helped
The reason I wrote a book is not to make money. In fact, it costed more to write it, edit it, promote it and launch it, than it generated in royalties. The book was my way of telling my 60,000 word story to as many people as possible, as I was getting tired of repeating the same story to everyone in my life. So when someone hits me up for help and they haven’t even read my book (not even a pirated version), I lose interest in helping immediately.
Okay so $8.00 is too much to spend on an ebook that I sunk thousands of hours into. You could ask your library to stock it. Every library has a form you can fill out and they’ll buy and stock a book for you – just go request it. Or, have you read my blog, or any of the content I put out across the web? I’m chatty and I’m always writing or giving out free knowledge somewhere. Google me and scroll through the first 10 pages. You’ll find lots of material to keep you busy for the evening.
People pay for my time
I charge for my time. You don’t work for free and neither do I. My consulting starts around $300 per hour and companies are happy to pay for it when they think I can help them with something.
As always, if you’re an enjoyable and pleasant person to be around or to talk to, sure I don’t mind helping with the odd question, and neither do most entrepreneurs.
Most creative people have tons of ideas. Regardless of what you or others may think, most of your ideas could probably be profitable. Lately I’ve been looking at new ideas in a different way. I’ve been sorting them by time – in two ways.
First, time to market. How long is this idea going to take to get users, and eventually sales? I am getting bored of doing software companies that are 6-18 months in development before I start seeing money and that is on the quick side of things in the startup world. I am starting to turn to my ideas that show signs of potential revenue within 30 or 60 days.
Second, is the idea reliant on time? Is there an advantage to launching the idea now vs waiting 6 months? If it can wait 6 months, you should always wait and look at something that needs to be done now. There’s very little benefit in rushing to market if the idea isn’t time sensitive.
When I get a new idea, I like to sit on the idea for a few weeks, sometimes months or even a year. You can only do this if the idea isn’t time sensitive – something evergreen. What happens with most people is they get a new idea and execute based on spur-of-the-moment emotion, then few weeks later, they’re either burned out due to overworking on something they had no interest in, or it wasn’t as good of an idea as they initially thought. Usually bad ideas can still be executed into profitable businesses, but if you truly can’t stay interest after the honeymoon phase has passed, you’ll have a tough time bringing your venture to profit.
This is an informal response and my initial raw thoughts on The Follower Factory. Excuse any typos.
Saturday, The New York Times published The Follower Factory, which explains the age-old story of celebrities purchasing fake followers. The article exposes Devumi, a company that manages 3.5 million fake social media accounts so they can offer social-boosting services to high profile people. I was first surprised when I heard the company was based in America, as it’s quite common for companies based in India and other countries to take advantage of the offshore benefit by offering social media services and software. FollowLiker is one off-shore software that can be blamed for millions of spam likes, comments, follows and DMs sent to Instagram and Twitter users every month. If any social network knew who was responsible for it’s creation, a lawsuit would commence as they regularly have in the past against its competitors.
The NYT concluded the company has likely provided over 200 million followers, which I don’t think is that many in the big scheme of things. FollowLiker generates more than that on a monthly basis. Kim Kardashian has 106 million followers, which I’d bet more than 50 million of those are fake. Some may argue she runs engagement rate that averages a solid 2%. While 2% is an impressive engagement rate at that level of fame, the likes, to a degree would also be purchased. There’s too much money at stake for her to not keep that rate above 1%.
The problem with a lot of Devumi’s competitors, is the purchased followers look fake. The names look fake – the biographies, the profile picture, the location – it usually just doesn’t make sense and the profiles can be spotted easily. They are one of the most unique services on the market, since they’re able to offer American names, with realistic profile photos and the whole bit.
What writers Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris and Mark Hansen don’t understand is that these services aren’t just used to benefit others, but also to harm others. Allow me to explain.
Being someone of moderate success at a young age (for those who don’t know me), I’ve gathered a few people who are jealous of that and look for ways to harm that or disrupt my wellbeing. Yesterday I woke up to the notification of hundreds of followers being added to my Instagram account every few minutes. For one thing, that’s sure to annoy me for the duration of the campaign, but also put a real cap on my future engagement rate and not to mention the embarrassment of someone calling me out for buying followers when I really didn’t.
I can block the followers. I can report them, too. However, I don’t have the time to do it for thousands of accounts that can be added at the click of a button. I can turn my profile to private, but that just leads to thousands of follow requests that I don’t have time to individually deny. Instagram does not have the methods in place to handle such an incident, and frankly, they don’t care.
The NYT also drew some far-fetched conclusions on the customers of Devumi. They say there were court records on this but I didn’t see any links to sources, so I’m going to conclude that because NYT discovered that Devumi has accounts that follow celebrities, they believe those celebrities purchased followers from Devumi.
First, understand that companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram understand exactly how normal users act when signing up for a social network for the first time. There are specific actions and mistakes that a real person makes when signing up. They click in certain places. They pause on certain pages for certain amounts of time. As soon as someone doesn’t correlate with the data of real users, an account is locked, the IP address is flagged and it causes a lot of issues for companies trying to create fake accounts at scale. It gets complicated quickly.
There’s a page in the Twitter signup process where Twitter asks you if you’d like to follow any famous accounts and it suggests about 20. I dare you to click the little “skip” button and see if your account gets locked. I’m sure it will. So, to properly scale out a mass account registration campaign, you’d need to follow celebrities. Either when you’re prompted at registration, or later on, you mix in your followings with celebrities so it seems natural. Most people follow celebrities, so fake accounts should too.
Another reason why fake accounts would follow celebrities is so that Devumi’s clients cannot get discovered. What if their arsenal of accounts only followed people who paid for it? Well Twitter could wipe all of Devumi’s clients by looking at the followings of 1 fake account, which is what happened to one of my Twitter accounts upon testing this.
So just because an arsenal of fake accounts follows a celebrity, it doesn’t mean that celebrity volunteered to be involved. A company like Devumi would just be using that celebrity, to fool the social networks – and apparently The New York Times reporters too. I’d expect Michael Dell’s name to be removed before he realizes what they’re accusing him of.
What’s amazing is that if they actually control 3.5 million accounts, they’d need 3.5 million unique, low-risk, residential IP addresses to manage those and the only company on Earth known to provide that is of course, Luminati, but that’s a story for another day.
Questions? Comments? Hit up myself or any of the writers on Twitter. Kudos to the writers, it was a fun read. Good work.
I’d prefer if you buy my book but I’m happy people are interested and can’t hold it against people who are trying to further themselves in life.
If you’d like to buy my book, it’s available at most book stores for an incredibly discounted rate in both print and digital.
If you’d like to download it, it will be available immediately on all devices (Apple mobile devices, Apple computers, Android devices, Windows, etc).
If you’d like to torrent it, and you’re that type of person, well…
All around good-guy, Greg OG is a Toronto native. Take a look at his video:
My Name is Gregory O’Gallagher and I’m 24 years old. I believe in taking care of myself, in maintaining a lean and chiseled body, and striving each day for self improvement.
Even though I have just woken up, I won’t eat for 8 hours, this increases fat mobilization, boosts mental alertness and has profound health benefits.
To blunt my hunger, I’ll drink sparkling water… 2-3 hours later, I’ll enjoy black coffee, a very powerful appetite suppressant.
Intermittent Fasting has been the most powerful health discovery I have ever made, it has made staying lean and building muscle, effortless..
It’s boosted my work productivity and it’s given me the freedom to eat like a king everyday. I simply feel fantastic. If it happens to be a workout day, I’ll hit the gym hard. I only life three times per week. This maximizes muscular and neuro-recovery and provides the fastest rate of strength gain. I believe in honing your training down to the essential movements that create the perfect physique and then becoming really strong at them. For my key movements, I always perform the heaviest set first, followed by two progressively lighter sets with full rest periods. This style of training allows to come into the gym, stronger each and every session. Since I was 6 years old, I wanted to crack the code to build an amazing body that was strong, powerful and awe-inspiring. I’m 24 and I can honestly say without a shred of doubt, that I’ve cracked that code and since sharing it, it has unlocked the potential in thousands of people that are taking it daily.
My name is Gregory O’Gallagher. It’s time for you to unleash your potential.
You guys won’t believe some of the stuff I get told. Today I was talking with an SEO agency from St. Petersburg, FL. He told me:
Sorry Josh. You lost me at backlinks still being a major ranking factor.
That’s right, he does not believe backlinks are a factor. Why? Well I talked to another agency who had another response:
Thank you for reaching out to us, our SEO team does not rely on backlinks as they are not as useful as they use to be.Matt Cutts former head of web explained how backlinks will become irrelevant in 2014 [in another video].
I had a suspicion and I was right. I always found it odd when so many clients left “no feedback” for a freelancer. Take a look, a client and freelancer exchange a review, fully displayed on the client’s profile.