How to Sell RSS (Or Where the Feed Fanboys Drop the Ball)

I see these lists all the time, and they never cease to amaze me.

Steve Rubel offers us a post entitled “35 Ways You Can Use RSS Today.”

Here’s a few samples:

Get hotel deals from Marriott
Learn a new word every day using RSS
Track the latest sales with Dealcatcher
Subscribe to the Target circular
Subscribe to movie reviews

Go ahead and check out all 35 if you’d like.

Now, tell me — couldn’t you rewrite that headline to read:

“35 Ways People Used Email in 1998 (And Still Do Today)”

[ Continue Reading… ]

What’s Your Blog Really About?

image of Building your fan club logo

I read a great story this morning.

It’s all about this guy who started blogging back in 2002 after he read an article on the subject. He spent all his free time teaching himself the ins-and-outs of blogging back at a time when all the “how to blog” resources we have today didn’t exist.

He continued to start additional blogs on different subjects, and soon discovered that he was making enough income to cut back his employment to part time so he could focus more on blogging. He decided to really give this blogging thing a go and see if he could make a living from it.

From there, he eventually did become a full time blogger, supported mostly by advertising revenue from close to 20 blogs. It seems this fellow had stumbled into a thoroughly modern new profession, and it allowed him to make much more money than he had previously.

Where did I read this story?

[ Continue Reading… ]

The Four Horsemen of the Internet Apocalypse

Just when you thought it was safe to get really excited about the fantastic possibilities of the Internet again, a dark cloud looms. The Internet as you have always known it is facing a serious threat that requires your attention.

The issue is Net Neutrality. If you’re not sure what that means, I’ll try to succinctly sum up its importance to you.

All of your current Internet marketing plans depend on Net Neutrality. And likely, a lot of what you do online outside of the scope of business depends on it too. Net Neutrality allows everyone to compete on a level playing field and is the reason that the Internet is a force for economic innovation, civic participation and free speech.

So who are the Four Horsemen looking to destroy the Internet as we know it?

The reformed AT&T wants the power to allow big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web to muscle out startups and entrepreneurs. The little guy will be left in the “slow lane” with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.

Comcast would just love it if they could favor their own services, so you won’t be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.

Could Big Media partner with companies like Verizon to put bloggers out of business and silence the threat to their content monopolies? It would be simple under such an arrangement to skyrocket the costs to post and share video and audio clips—silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.

Likewise, when Time Warner Cable has the ability to steer the choices of your customers (and you) to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc, your business and your freedom are history.

This is not a conspiracy theory.

The US Congress is pushing a law that would abandon Network Neutrality, the Internet’s First Amendment. Network neutrality currently prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner from deciding which Web sites work best for you — based on which site paid them the most. Without Network Neutrality, the scenarios outlined above are just the beginning. And it will affect people all over the world, not just in the States.

To learn more, and get involved, you can do several things:

  1. Educate yourself about the issues. Read Doc Searls article from last year on the topic (this is what first alerted me to the issue, and allowed me to spread the word a bit, most notably to Liz Strauss, who took the ball and ran with it).
  2. Visit the Save the Internet website and blog to learn more, and to send a quick and easy letter to Congress voicing your opposition.
  3. Spread the word. There’s a huge viral marketing campaign going on right now to spread awareness and galvanize support. Help spread the word with your blog, by email, or come up with a viral video concept. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that if the big telcos and cable companies get their way, grass roots viral marketing will be a thing of the past.

They WILL win if we are apathetic. Do something, or find a way to earn a living that doesn’t involve the Internet.

UPDATE: In a surprise victory, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would require broadband providers to abide by strict Net neutrality principles, meaning that their networks must be operated in a “nondiscriminatory” manner.

Subscribe to Copyblogger today!

Read This Before You Buy Any Copywriting Resource

As you might imagine, I’ve got a bunch of copywriting books and courses.

It’s been said that selling with words is the most financially lucrative skill one can possess. That’s true for me, even when factoring in law school.

You can always make money if you understand good copywriting, and as long as we have the Internet or a postal service, it doesn’t matter where you are, what you look like, how you dress, or where (or if) you went to college.

[ Continue Reading… ]

The Two Most Important Words in Blogging

Imagine… by the end of this post, you will be a more effective blogger, all because you learned two very important words, and the specific reasons why those words are so crucial.

Actually, both words can be found in the preceding sentence, along with hints related to their importance.

Did you catch them?

[ Continue Reading… ]

Available for a Limited Time Only

What made the 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card worth $1.1 million at auction?

Why were people willing to pay to get an invitation for a free email account from Google?

How come Seth Godin’s Whiteboard Seminars always sell out, even at $1,650 a pop?

Scarcity.

[ Continue Reading… ]