Thursday, November 15, 2007

Great New Idea and its Green!

Looking for new ideas to improve the planet? Recycle your unwanted DVDs, CDs and Video Games for cash or charity at

Saturday, October 06, 2007

SquidBids For You!

Squidoo announced today that they have launched a new promotional tool for eBay sellers called SquidBids. eBay sellers can use their eBay userID or eBay Store name to create a profile on their ebay business. It is a cool little tool and something even the big players on eBay should consider for their business.

I would love to see a SquidBid page for GrapevineHill, InflatableMadness, GothamCityOnline among others. Sellers need to reach out and find customers where they hangout and Squidoo gets tons of traffic. Here is an example of a SquidBid page from eBay Seller FreakNoodles.

Seth Godin does a much better job of explaining SquidBids then I would so here is a link to his blog post.

Combining SquidBids with the Red Door Store campaign that some store sellers have started might give eBay sellers some promotional juice.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It Pays to Squidoo!

I started creating lenses (pages) for Squidoo in March of 2007, not real sure what I was doing or how long I would be on the site. I like the idea of having my online content all over the web so it seemed to make sense to add it to Squidoo.

Now, after being on the site for 6 months it is clear to me that Squidoo is exactly how I would envision a successful online content site. I have content on Hubpages, Associated Content, my blogs and online newsletters but none have been as successful as my content on Squidoo.

Sure, my main blog gets lots of activity, with nearly 200 unique visitors a day but the revenue being generated through Google's adWords and Yahoo sponsored ads is minimal. I need to get the activity up to a 1,000 visitors a day before the numbers start to improve. In contrast, my monthly payout from Squidoo for July (paid in Sept.) was more than all of my other online content combined and even more amazing, it was 100% more than the previous month's payout from Squidoo.

Squidoo is both fun and profitable. The actual dollar amounts are small but the trend is fantastic as my payouts have grown exponentially from the $1.57 I earned my first month.

Squidoo is like Wikipedia on steroids. Just compare the Wikipedia profile on one of my favorite TV shows "Scrubs" with the best "Scrubs" profile on Squidoo.

Squidoo management isn't resting on their laurels either. They just recently launched SquidWho, a Who's Who on the net that has really taken off (read my take on SquidWho here).

You are not going to get rich building lenses on Squidoo but you can certainly earn some extra cash as you enjoy the process of building content on the Internet. In fact, I liked SquidWho's format so much I replaced my blogger profile with a SquidWho profile. Squidoo also is one of the top referrers to my blogs.

I think Squidoo and SquidWho are worth a look.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Death by Popcorn!

I was doing my normal websurfing this morning, looking for ideas (good or bad) when I came across this news article from the AP Doctor warns consumers of popcorn fumes. I hadn't even read the article before I brokedown laughing.

"A pulmonary specialist at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center has written to federal agencies to say doctors there believe they have the first case of a consumer who developed lung disease from the fumes of microwaving popcorn several times a day for years."

Okay, after all of these years of Microwaving popcorn this is the first case. Also, he developed lung disease from the fumes of microwaving popcorn several times a day for years."

The doctor went on to say "We cannot be sure that this patient's exposure to butter flavored microwave popcorn from daily heavy preparation has caused his lung disease," cautioned Dr. Cecile Rose. "However, we have no other plausible explanation."

This is laughable, what other dangerous activities has this man been involved with in the past several years? Maybe, he got lung cancer from checking his own breath every morning after he brushed his teeth. I don't want to make light of the fact the man has cancer but for any sane person, let alone a doctor, to publicly proclaim that the fumes from popcorn may cause cancer, is ridiculous. Though it did give me something to post.

Microwave popcorn is now a high risk behavior please use caution and stop smelling the popcorn before you eat it. The Popcorn lobby will be up-in-arms and I'm sure Orvil Redenbacher is rolling around in his grave.

In fairness there has been some data that suggests a problem in the manufacturing of microwavable popcorn.

The July letter, made public Tuesday by a public health policy blog, refers to a potentially fatal disease commonly called popcorn lung that has been the subject of lawsuits by hundreds of workers at food factories exposed to chemicals used for flavoring.

"In response to Rose's finding, the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association issued a statement Tuesday recommending that its members reduce "to the extent possible" the amount of diacetyl in butter flavorings they make. It noted that diacetyl is approved for use in flavors by the federal Food and Drug Administration."

Where is Steven Colbert when you need him. Please Steven get to the truth of this matter

Monday, September 03, 2007

Is SquidWho For You?

The site with a funny name just added a new wrinkle. Seth Godin recently announced it on his blog so I thought I would do him a solid and also mention it here.

Squidoo just announced a new Internet tool called SquidWho a virtual "Who's Who" on the Internet that doesn't limit who can be included like Wikipedia does. Have you ever wanted to see your name in bits and bytes? Do you want to recognize a special person in your life, maybe a teacher, pastor, friend or family member? Now you can with SquidWho. Here's what Seth had to say:

Are you notable enough? I think so.

It occurs to me that the web is redefining what notable means, and so are we. Famous used to mean Gene Kelly and Mae West, or Sandy Weil and Bill Gates. But with the long tail, notable means: you're the #1 player on your tennis team; you're the top of your marketing department; you're a blogger lots of people read and talk about -- you're the best and most" notable" in your niche, however small. That's the kind of famous that SquidWho is about...

This being the web and not the real world, we decided to take matters into our own hands and launch SquidWho. The people-powered open who's who online. If you think someone is notable enough to warrant a bio, then they are. Your call, not ours, not some invisible editor's.

If you don't like the bio you see on someone, build a better one. It's free. Royalties go to charity. Best one wins. (Here's a good one).

The obvious ones (Bono, Mother Theresa and Jaco) are already taken, but that's okay. Build a better one. Not to mention the room for six billion more.

So, take a moment to check it out. It's fun and stress free but watch out it can be addicting. I've already created several:
  • Monty Python - The funniest comedy group of all-time! Don't Argue With Me!
  • Nolan Ryan - My favorite ballplayer growing up.
  • Will Smith - My favorite actor, always makes good choices for roles (except Wild, Wild West)
  • Jessica Alba -Okay, before you start calling me a "dirty old man" this was a test to see how a popular name would do on Squidoo (BTW over 250 unique visitors so far) and I certainly enjoy finding pictures to post.
I know you are all very busy in your everyday life but take a few moments to check it out and create a SquidWho lens about your favorite person or group. Even fictional characters are acceptable.

Okay, one mention about eBay (I've got to stop doing that). If you are a memorabilia seller, why not create SquidWho lens on several of your hottest selling people and drive them to your eBay listings. Check out my lenses to see what I did, each of them links to eBay memorabilia listings as well as Amazon listings.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Monetize your RSS Feeds

When you start writing a blog you may not have any grand plans. Mostly, you want to get stuff off your chest or work on your writing skills, etc. After a little time though you find that you need to make some money at this blogging thing or you won't be doing it for very long.

Buzz Marketing with Blogs For Dummies (For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance))

So, you add Google adSense to your sidebar or a leaderboard, you sign up for Google referrals and add them to the blog and you look around for other ideas that will help you make some cash so, you add affiliate links to your sidebar as well in the hopes of incremental referral revenue. The key is to monetize the site without overwhelming the reader.

These are all great ideas but I wanted to take them one step further. I'm sure you've heard that adding images to your posts make them easier and more enjoyable to read and really help your RSS feeds draw attention to your posts. Many blogs have a high percentage of readers that read their feeds via an RSS reader so your subscribers never get to see your adSense ad's or affiliate links because they are not actually visiting your site.

So, why not wrap your posts around the picture of a great book or product that you recommend (like I've done here). This approach serves two purposes, it adds an image to the post to make it more visually appealing and secondly you can now monetize your RSS feeds because your subscriber can now see the product you are trying to sell in their RSS reader.

Google's blogger is not the best tool for this approach becasue it doesn't allow you to put Java Script inside your posts but it will let you include iframes. Why not use your Amazon affiliate account to add product links to your posts? I've seen a greatly increased clickthru on my affiliate ads when I've included them in my posts. This is a great approach but don't go overboard.

I'm sure there are many additional ways to monetize your RSS feeds but this is a simple and effective approach.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Great new idea from Google - PPA (Pay Per Action) adSense

Konica Minolta Dimage Z3 4MP Digital Camera with Anti Shake 12x Optical Zoom

I know, I'm not supposed to point out the advertisements on my blog as part of Google's TOS, but now that Google has launched the PPA network through adSense, I'll take a chance by pointing them out this one time.

For bloggers (publishers) the ad units are called Google Referrals and on The Digital Napkin you will find them on the right sidebar, just under my subscription links. Feel free to click on them and and look around the advertisers site because they are no longer paying Google (and me) for the click, instead they are paying for a completed transaction (of course if you you do like what you see make sure to purchase something). In effect, they are removing any chance of click fraud.

This helps the advertiser control their ad spend, by tying a dollar amount to an action, (subscriptions, purchases, etc.) and it helps the publisher by paying a higher dollar amount for the referral. In essence, Google has created an affiliate network.

I wouldn't suggest that publishers get rid of their PPC (pay per click) adSense ads completely but this allows them to diversify their advertising inventory and should be a win-win for everyone involved.

This also represents an excellent opportunity for online sellers to manage their Google advertising dollars, by tying the advertising amount to a completed result. For example, let's say an eBay seller is currently paying eBay $2.50 for a completed sale, that amount can vary depending on conversion rates for that item. With Google PPA, a seller can sell that same item on their website and say they will pay $1.75 for a sale of that same item, give the customer a 25 cent discount on the sale and still make 50 cents more for the sale than on eBay. For media sellers, this is a savior because they can now afford to advertise with Google and draw traffic to their own website. Had this program been available in 2005 when Glacier Bay was trying to convert to web sales, I would have chosen to stay in business.

I'm really looking forward to this as a publisher and if I was still a seller I would be all over this.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wow! It has Been Awhile.

I haven't written a post here at The Digital Napkin since May of this year. I apologize for being away so long. I have been busy.

Since I am starting fresh I thought I would change the look a little. I hope you like it. I've been spending a great deal of time over at and I have to tell you I'm having a blast. The site is very easy to use and allows me to create as many lenses (pages) as I want. I'm also earning money every month which is nice.

Check out a few of my lenses:

  • My StumbleUpon Gallery - This is a gallery of images, video clips, music links and links to travel destinations that I've gather from my stumbles. Please take a look and tell me what you think.
  • My Personal Lens - In my opinion this is much better than the MySpace page I have and I get a more traffic to it. (Did I mention I also make money)
  • My Squidoo Lensography - This simply a collection of my main lenses. A lens is simply Squidoo for a page.
Squidoo is addictive and allows you to really exercise your creativity. Any idea, is a good idea at Squidoo.

Monday, May 14, 2007

NBC Announce's New Programs!

Its a good day today as two of my favorite NBC shows will once again be saved from the dreaded cancellation. Scrubs and the Law & Order Triumvirate, have been renewed for next season.

Not that I actually watch these shows in prime time but I'm pleased to know there will be more shows for me to watch on cable. In fact Law & Order CI will actually first run on USA and then repeat on NBC (I'm not sure I get the reasoning behind that move)

Here is the story.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Failure Doesn't Suck!

Sir James Dyson on getting it right after 5,126 tries--and how to move air at 400 mph.

I think this is an excellent example of persistence :-) I thought it was an interesting article and wanted to share it with my Digital Napkin readers. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What the Hell is a Ziki?

I came across in my digital travels and thought I would test it out. It is very similar to other social networking communities but with a twist. Ziki, will actually buy Google, Yahoo and MSN keywords of your name or business and direct them to your Ziki profile where you can collect all of your online content.

Go ahead, type my name -- Randy Smythe -- into Google and you will see a sponsored link directing you to my Ziki website. I will soon be up on Yahoo and MSN as well. In my case natural search pulls up most of my content but it's still nice to see my name up in lights as a sponsored link. Best of all -- its free.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Why is it so Hard to get the Last Dab out of the Toothpaste Tube?

Okay, I’ll take a step away from Web 2.0 and ecommerce ideas today to talk about toothpaste. As I was brushing my teeth this morning I realized that I was close to being out of toothpaste – why I hadn’t noticed the night before is another discussion – while I began desperately trying to get the last dab of toothpaste out of the tube I began to wonder why the toothpaste companies can’t produce a tube that will allow you to get the last bit of toothpaste? Of course the answer is they can but why don’t they? They leave it up to entrepreneurs to develop the little widgets that do the job for them.

From a marketing standpoint I would think “getting the last dab” would resonate with their customers. Each brand now has 5 or more different types of toothpaste – with baking soda, whitening, mouthwash, etc. – why can’t they modify their packaging to get an edge with the consumer. I would think most single guys wait until the absolute last moment before they buy toiletries why not pitch a new man’s brand with last dab gadgetry? I’d buy it – at the last minute.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Self Publishing Using Squidoo!

I've been toying with the idea of using a blog to publish a book while generating revenue through Google's AdSense and affiliate programs. This is not a new idea as “Blooks” and “Blovels” have been available for several years. Obviously if you are an established author this may not be the route for you to take but if you are an author having trouble finding a publisher it is much better than letting your book take up space on your hard drive.

My father is an established author in media related topics with several published non-fiction books under his belt but he has written his first novel that he calls “Speculative Historical Fiction” from a Christian perspective and he’s had a hard time finding a publisher willing to take a chance on the manuscript. The book is entitled “To Kill the Christ” and is the first book in a trilogy called “A Kingdom called Long Reach” So I decided to publish the first book for him using both Squidoo and a blog. This will be a test as to which platform works best. The hope is that there is sufficient interest in the novel that a publisher is willing to publish the entire trilogy. The second book is complete and he has begun work on the final book in the trilogy.

I have launched the first book on Squidoo calling it a “Squidovel” (clever huh?) and will be adding a blog shortly so please check it out. There will be a place for your comments and he welcomes any points or observations you might have.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I Love to Stumble - Searching for the End of the Long Tail

I just launched my new Squidoo Lens and wanted to share it with my Digital Napkin readers. The concept is to search the web every day for new and interesting site, stores, photography, art, videos, cool apps, etc. I believe their's gold at the end of the Long Tail and I'm searching real hard to find it. So please stumble on over to my new site and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Digital Napkin also Celebrates Talent!

I stumbled upon this video clip of a 11 year old girl singing an amazing song on some talent show. What will amaze you is the range of a singer who is only 11. Enjoy!

I Stumbled Upon This!

I just started to use and my first couple of stumbles I actually voted down because they took too long to load but then I stumbled across this great picture.

It is a beautiful cityscape and when you move your mouse around the picture it changes the view. It's a twist on timelapse photography. Check it out here.

I would like to know the city, so if any of you can identify it let me know. It could be Seattle but I can't tell if that is the Space Needle.

Also, you might try using Stumbleupon to promote your blogs, website, webstore, eBay store, Squidoo Lens, etc.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Squidoo a Great Social Networking Tool for Online Sellers!

I normally don't copy and paste posts from my other blogs but since I think Squidoo is a fantastic idea I thought I would break that little rule and post something I wrote for My Blog Utopia. I would live to hear your comments.

I've been playing around with MySpace 2.0. Oh, that's right, it's not called MySpace 2.0 its called

Sure, right now there are fewer than 100,000 profiles on the site (Squidoo calls their profiles Lens') but they have developed an excellent tool for online content creators and especially online sellers (eBay sellers in particular). MySpace is certainly still much more fun then Squidoo and my guess is the average age of a Squidoo member is much higher than on MySpace but Squidoo is geared to helping content creators make some extra cash. You aren’t going to get rich on the site but if you have a blog, website or eBay store it will provide you with the tools to promote those assets. Imagine what would happen if MySpace added that capability.

Check out my “Lens” for an example of what you can do. Since I don’t currently sell any items I have added links to other stores, websites and my blogs. … compare this to my MySpace Profile Traffic is building at and of course the site is the brainchild of uber marketer Seth Godin so check it out and develop a taste for Calamari.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Geico Cavemen are Coming!

The Geico Cavemen are getting their own TV show.

The sitcom is in development at ABC and the copywriter who created the spots for Geico is writing the Pilot. This is a fantastic idea. I'm not sure the concept has legs but it is certainly worth a shot. If "Alf" could have a 4 year run this show has a shot. Supposedly the concept revolves around the lives of three 30-something Cavemen who deal with Caveman bigotry in their daily lives.

At press time there was no word as to whether they would cast real cavemen or use actors with make-up.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ripped From the Headlines!

In one of my recent posts on The Digital Napkin I posted the following comment: "How many times have you had an idea that you thought was unique just to see something similar to it in a store or advertised somewhere? It happens to me frequently and I feel a short moment of pride that I had an idea that would have worked. The reality is, ideas are like oxygen they are just out there floating around."

Well, I was watching TV tonight and I saw the new Law & Order. This weeks episode is called "MURDER BOOK - A HIGH PROFILE PUBLISHER IS FOUND MURDERED - When a publisher is found murdered, after publishing a controversial book, Detectives Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin) and Nina Cassady (Milena Govich) are determined to find out whether this was a random homicide or connected to her work.

If you saw the show on Friday night please read my post from November and see how similar my idea is to the episode that aired. I don't believe anyone associated with the show ever read my post. I just feel proud that my idea was good enough to make it onto the small screen. "The reality is, ideas are like oxygen they are just out there floating around." and that is what The Digital Napkin is all about.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What will MySpace 2.0 Look Like?

I originally posted this at My Blog Utopia but felt it deserved some exposure here on The Digital Napkin.

The Internet may be crossing over into Web 3.0 soon but MySpace is still in version 1.0. So, what do you think MySpace 2.0 will look like?

Here's what I think: (Some of this is wishful thinking)

  • MySpace 2.0 will no longer be considered the Teen Hang-out exclusively! A growing number of older members will begin to use the platform (this is already happening). This may cause the fickle Teen set to flee to another hot site so MySpace will need to find ways to keep them. My suggestion! Let them make some money. They already refer, suggest and reccomend products, bands, songs, etc for free. Why not let them get paid to do that.
    MySpace will become an ecommerce site allowing trading between members. This system will be facilitated by eBay, Google or a system developed by MySpace. My suggestion is the creation of a separate site called MySpace Shops that links to each sellers profile. If FIM ends up working with eBay the solution would be to add a shopping cart to eBay's Stores platform and port that over to a new site. Shazam! You now have MySpace Shops. This of course would benefit eBay Store Sellers greatly. I don't like the idea of expanding eBay's grip on ecommerce and would much prefer that MySpace develop its own platform to compete but I am realistic. If FIM doesn't want to develop its own system I would hope that Google would get serious about developing its own Stores platform.
  • PayPal will most likely become the payment method of choice unless Google checkout can add account functionality.
  • MySpace will start to offer Pro versions of their profiles for members who want to expand their MySpace presence. The pro versions will include multiple pages and allow members to make money through MySpace’s new affiliate, advertising and Shops offerings.

Well, there are a couple of my ideas. What do you think MySpace 2.0 will look like?

Monday, February 19, 2007

How to Avoid the Next Dot-Com Flop

As I was checking my Google Reader for interesting articles today I came across this one from The Street: How to Avoid the Next Dot-Com Flop It is a nice article about a new start-up but what stuck out to me was one section: (I added the bold type)

... one of the first mistakes Simmons and Stoppelman made was to assume their idea was original. Therefore, they were very secretive about it. "If you think you have an idea that's unique, you probably don't," Stoppelman points out.

"If the idea hasn't been built upon yet, there are probably a couple of other people out there that have the same faculties and abilities to try and pursue it that you do."

"We weren't open to much criticism because we weren't telling anyone what the idea was," he continues.

And sure enough, when Yelp launched, there were a number of competitors with very similar ideas.

"My advice there [is] don't worry about people finding out about your idea or spend a lot of time trying to keep it super-secret," Stoppelman says. "Just go out and get the feedback as soon as you can ... and get ready for mass amounts of [fine-] tuning."

Feedback in general is always useful, and certainly the earlier you receive it, the better, Stoppelman believes.

How many times have you had an idea that you thought was unique just to see something similar to it in a store or advertised somewhere? It happens to me frequently and I feel a short moment of pride that I had an idea that would have worked. The reality is, ideas are like oxygen they are just out there floating around (I'm not sure oxygen floats but you get my point). An idea is worthless if it's stuck in your head or left on a paper napkin. The ideas that change the world or possibly a person's bank account are the ones that are pursued, and rarely do they look the same as when they were first envisioned.

That is really the point of this blog. Once my readership grows and I start to get comments on the ideas I've posted here and hopefully readers submit their own ideas, this blog will serve as a feedback incubator for those ideas. Often, the idea originator doesn't have the resources or experience to implement the idea on their own but they certainly do have the vision. As Mr. Stoppleman said "Just go out and get the feedback as soon as you can ... and get ready for mass amounts of [fine-] tuning."

I really want this blog to serve as an open forum for ideas with contributions and feedback from many people, so I am going to be opening up The Digital Napkin to other contributors. If you have an idea that has some protection in the real world (copyright, trademark, patent, etc.) then please contact me so I can post it here and solicit feedback from my readers.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Great Idea for eBay Sellers!

I came across a neat little widget at that is great for eBay sellers. I've placed it at the bottom of this blog. I'm calling it the Seller Showcase. It's a tool to help promote a sellers product from their blog or MySpace profile. I will be featuring a different seller each month. So if you are an eBay veteran check it out, maybe you will see something new and if you are a Newbie, nows the time to start your eBay experience.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How to Monetize Your Blog! - Idea #1

I figured rather than writing a long boring treatise on “How to Monetize Your Blog” I would come up with a series of posts on how to make money from these things. Some of these ideas are new and have not been tested, some have been moderately successful and some have worked well for me.

Today's Idea: (Under the Classification – New and Untested)

I've spent a great deal of time trying to design my blogs to be visually appealing and easy to read, hoping to increase return visits but I’m not doing this more my health – well actually, I do blog to maintain my mental health – I also want to make some money from this effort so I spend additional time placing Google AdSense ads and my Affiliate links in high visibility areas hoping to increase click-thru rates. There is a delicate balance between writing an informative and interesting blog and creating an online ad.

I recently realized there was a hole in my advertising approach. Many of my readers subscribe to my RSS feed and read my posts from their reader application rather than visiting the blog directly. Because of this I wasn’t exposing them to my advertising and affiliate links. I was getting readers to my posts but there was no means to monetize the traffic. I subscribe to roughly 20 blogs and rarely revisit the blog after I have subscribed; my guess is many readers do the same thing. So, I came up with a fairly unobtrusive idea to get my advertisers in front of these RSS subscribers.

I’ve begun to add text links to my affiliates at the bottom of each post. These links show-up in each RSS posts and provide exposure for my affiliates. I try and make the link germane to the topic discussed hopefully increasing the likelihood that a reader will click-thru. Sometimes, I just send them to a specific book or other resource that might be of value.

Okay, now for the test: If you use an RSS reader (like Google Reader) to review recent posts from your favorite blogs make sure and subscribe to The Digital Napkin’s RSS feed to see how this works.

Today’s Link is for bloggers who want to start their own email newsletter:

Send an email newsletter like this one in minutes!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Now For Some Bad Ideas!

When I came up with the concept for this blog I was most interested in celebrating good ideas I found on the web as well as expressing some of my own. A good idea just sitting in your brain or in a notepad on your dresser doesn't accomplish much. As I've fleshed out the concept I've also become aware of a great many ideas out there that, how can I put this nicely, suck! So occasionally I will comment on those ideas, not to celebrate them but to should them down and hopefully make them go away.

Here are a couple to get us started:

Here are some responses to the stories above:

It seems most of the bad ideas come from politicians! If I find a good idea from one of them I'll make sure and point it out.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Music for my Blog!

I like to listen to music while I surf the web and read my favorite blogs and I have found that I really enjoy listening to new and different artists, “not my regular cup of tea” as they say. They say (I’m not sure who they are...) that variety is the spice of life and part of the appeal of blogging, to me, is reading someone else’s perspective on life and issues and that often includes their choices in music and entertainment. One of the best features of MySpace is their audio player where you get to hear a song that the writer of that profile finds interesting. This audio player has had a major impact on the independent music scene by introducing new acts to the MySpace set.

I've been scouring the web to find a player for my blog that will allow me to share some of my favorite tunes with my readers but also provide more flexibility than the MySpace player allowed. Well, I think I found it! I came across (where do they come up with these names). This player allows me to put together play lists for my readers but also gives them the flexibility of searching the web for their favorite tunes, if they don't like what I provide.

My goal is to pick tunes I feel speak to the subject of that particular blog, or are just songs I like and increase the stickiness of the blog. Since I come across very few blogs that have this capability I often load my MySpace profile in the morning and play my tunes while I surf.

I’ve added the Dizzler player to The Digital Napkin. It is at the bottom of the page. To hear my selections just click on the playlist or search the web for your favorite tunes.

Take a look and listen. It might be something you want to add to your blog.

49th Grammy Award Winners

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Using the Amazon aStore to Make Cash!

Amazon has developed a wonderful new application for their Associate program (affiliate program to the rest of the world). They call it the aStore, a fully functioning ecommerce website. I actually used something similar to this in the late 90's called the VStore and it is a great way to generate incremental income.

You need to join the Amazon Associate Program to have access to this great money making tool. Referral fees start at 4% and can go all the way to 8.5%. In my case within 2 days of opening my store I hade earned $6.25 It doesn't sound like much but my AdSense account took nearly a month to generate $8.25

For the blogging community, it is a great way to introduce your readers to products that you think they will be most interested in. I created then Blog Utopia Store. I chose the products I thought would be best suited to my audience. There is no need to overwhelm the reader with the entire product breadth of Amazon, just take a little time to merchandise to your specific crowd.

Remember, in order to generate money on the web you still need to have a sizable audience, so continue your marketing efforts to bring in new readers. If you set your profit expectations at the low end even $6.25 is cause for celebration.

A few tips once you get started:

  • If you currently purchase items from Amazon but don’t have a store for yourself, make sure and buy your next item from one of your friends in the MyBlogLog community. You will still get the great deals offered by Amazon and your friend will make a little cash too.
  • Once you open your aStore make sure and tell your friends and family about it. Why would they start their product search on Amazon directly if they new you could benefit from their purchase?
  • Link your blog to your aStore so that regular readers can make purchases through your store.

I will update you on how my store is doing as I move forward, you might want to make your next Amazon purchase through one of my stores (thanks in advance) to see how it works and then get started on your own store.

Best Selling Games at

Friday, February 02, 2007

Interesting Ideas I've Found as I Search the Web!

Some of the ideas I will add to this regular post are good, some are bad and some are just plain interesting. Why don't you take a look and contribute your 2 cents. Or as they say on eBay "your 5 cents" (Inside joke for eBay store sellers) Today's group are very good in my opinion.

Here's an interesting idea about the new IPhone and Cingular relationship that I found by Joy at This is a great suggestions and Cingular should look at it very carefully

An new way of looking at an old literature staple. The novel for the clip generation. (299 words each. Any more is a waste) One suggestion for David B. Dale the author: Come up with an audio version for this and you have a hit. (Think Mobile, etc.)

And here's one I have implemented The Blidget (You guessed it a combination blog and widget) Just choose the button on the left sidebar once you get to the site. Also check-out how I use it on my MySpace profile

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Don't be Afraid to Make Mistakes!

I came across this quote from Ben Franklin recently "The man who does things makes mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake of all -- doing nothing." Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

It amazes me that something a heavy-set bald guy said over 200 years ago can still be appropriate today. One of the reasons I created this blog was to celebrate ideas; my ideas, my reader’s ideas, other ideas I come across in my travels both on the Internet and in the real world. But, if ideas remain only in a blog discussion and are never created or put in to practice then they are of little use.
Ideas are what keep the world fresh and if implemented without fear of failure can benefit us personally as well as a community. So lets celebrate ideas here but put them into practice in the real world. As old Ben said the biggest mistake of all is doing nothing.

I've put some of my recent ideas into practice. If you get a chance checkout the following sites:

The Single Dad - My new blog on being a single dad
RKSmythe - My MySpace profile (please stop by and I'll add you as a friend)
A-List DVD - A store for your DVD habit

Friday, January 26, 2007

Creative Use of Amazon Affiliate Links

I've recently added an Amazon aStore to The Digital Napkin and as I was surfing the affiliate site I came across a link to a very clever use of Amazon's affiliate links. It reads like a poem or possibly lyrics to a song. Check it out!

I'm not sure it actually sells any product but it is clever.

Best Selling Games at

Bankruptcy: The Opportunity to Fail

I came across a great post today that I figured I would share with you. After my recent business failure with Glacier Bay DVD I've struggled with what direction to take for my career. Should I start another business? Should I just get a job? Well, I still haven't made my decision; mostly because after 400 resumes sent out I've yet to get an interview. I've always said being an entrepreneur my whole life makes me highly unemployable.

This article points out that failure is not a negative but can often be a catalyst to great success, so with my hope renewed I press on looking for the right opportunity. A job certainly would make my family happy though.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Making Money at MySpace!

I’m sure Rupert Murdock has laid down the law by now. “MySpace will start contributing to the bottom line immediately!” I’m sure this mandate has sent the execs at FIM scrambling for a strategy that will pay off quickly but what could that strategy be? They can’t charge members to sign-up; we must remember the members are the ones creating the content. They have faced resistance to the idea of charging a toll on Widgets, so what is left? Is Google advertising the only way to monetize the site? The answer is no.

MySpace has millions of little “viral” entrepreneurs at their disposal. These members love recommending, referring, passing on information about music, movies, and people. Why not put them to work for you? Let members that are 16 years old and up create an AdSense account for their profiles. They would be required to have their parent’s permission until they are 18. FIM could also set up and manage an affiliate program for recommendations and referrals. Let members who are providing content make a little money while FIM manages the program and generates some substantial revenue.

Let’s think outside the box! What would happen if a million idealistic kids saw the opportunity to make some money doing something they would do for free anyway? Sure their would be abuses but a little due diligence can keep that to a minimum. Here is an opportunity for eBay’s PayPal as well; they could become the defacto payment method for the program.

The possibilities are endless! I have more ideas where that came from.

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