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October 19th, 2007

About Dominiche - Is Flipping Website a Good Business Model?

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: General Business, Internet Marketing

There’s a recent launch (or re-launch) in the information marketing industry called the Dominiche. The guy behind it is Ed Dale, who’s a veteran information marketer, and one of the faculty member of Stompernet.

What Dominiche teaches you is essentially how to profit from buying and selling websites (or building & selling, flipping…). Now before we get into what I think about Dominiche, let me talk about whether I think Website Equity is a good business model.

In short, YES.

Here’s why: How much would you have to pay for a investment real estate property in order for it to pay you $1000/month in rent? Its going to be about $100,000. How much do you have to pay to buy a website which pays you $1000/month in profit? Um.. about $15,000.

So in terms of cashflow, this is GREAT.

How about in terms of increase in property value?

Well, let’s see, if you buy a house, no matter WHAT you do to it, renovating it, market it better… it will be almost impossible for you to flip it for more than 100% within 6 months. However, for websites, you can easily promote or monetize a site better and achieve a 100% increase in income - therefore increasing the website’s value by 100%.

Why? Because as of this moment, the value of websites are almost only based on its income.

There’s only one problem. With real estate, you can leverage. You can borrow money to purchase a property you can not otherwise afford, and thus you will gain much more in terms of increase in property value (that is if it increase).

As of now, there aren’t very many mortgages available for buying websites.

The potential I see here is not just with flipping websites itself, but the secondary industries that are going to be generated because of that. How if you become a mortgage company that specializes in provide mortgages for website acquisitions? How if you become a major broker in the area? How about an appraisal firm for website equity?

Does that excite you?

Now I’m not a member of Dominiche or Stompernet, and do not intend to join. But from what I’ve heard, those guys know what they’re doing. And for just $2000 something, its worth a shot at it and I look forward to hearing from your success.

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October 16th, 2007

Another New Site Launch: BabyGiftsUnique.com

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Ecommerce, General Business, Retailing, Yahoo Store

As promised last week, we’re launching a new ecommerce site again today, www.BabyGiftsUnique.com, which will focus on selling baby gifts and maternity related products.

This is our company’s 5th ecommerce site and we’re going to launch at least two more at Febuary 2008. We’re really pumped and excited to see how this new site will do because the pet site we launched last week is already doing great.

So if you are a parent with a baby or soon to have a baby or if you are attending a baby shower soon, go check it out and give me your thoughts; and if you’re not, that’s ok too, just tell your friends about it. If you can even blog about it or link to it from your website, that would be fantastic. Again - anything is welcomed!

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October 12th, 2007

New Site Launch: PetPetSupplies.com

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Ecommerce, General Business, Retailing

I’m glad to announce that we’re launching a new ecommerce site today, www.PetPetSupplies.com, which will focus on selling pet supplies and related products.

This is our company’s 4th ecommerce site and we’re going to launch another one next week and at least two more at Febuary 2008. Needless to say, we’re really pumped and excited to see how well these new sites will do.

So if you are a pet lover, go check it out and give me your thoughts; and if you’re not, that’s ok too, just tell your pet loving friends about it, or you can even blog about it or link to it from your website. Anything is welcomed!

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October 10th, 2007

4 Things Google Checkout Need to Do To Take Paypal

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Ecommerce, Google, Google Adwords, Google Checkout, PPC, Paypal, Yahoo Store, eBay

Google Checkout has launched for over a year and if you look at the marketplace right now, even though they had made a huge effort in promoting it (free processing, gift certificates…), the adoption of Google checkout is still not as prevalent as they (or I) want it to be.

How do I know it is not doing too hot? Just do some random searches on Google and you’ll see that not many advertisers have the Google Checkout badge next to their ad.

Here’re couple suggestions as to what Google checkout needs to do in order to give Paypal a run for their money:

1. Get on eBay

eBay being the biggest auction marketplace website in the world. It is a huge disadvantage to not be able to be used on eBay. Now, this is easier said than done of course, because eBay owns Paypal, which is Checkout’s biggest competitor. But is it possible to assert some pressure on eBay with the Adwords thing?

2. Get on Yahoo Store

Yahoo store is probably the biggest ecommerce platform online. If Checkout can do a join venture with Yahoo store just like what Paypal did, a lot more Yahoo merchants are going to adopt it. I know for a fact that many Yahoo store merchants want to take Google Checkout but don’t know where to get it integrated. (btw, it can be done) The main problem Yahoo store has with Google checkout is the TOS of Google checkout requires the checkout button to occur BEFORE the cart, which then violates the TOS of Yahoo store. Seems like for this to happen, some compromise has to be reached.

3. More benefits for Adwords Advertiser

Instead of giving free processing for the amount merchants advertise on Adwords, how about giving free adwords for the amount merchants process through Google Checkout? If Google checkout does that, I can see merchants pushing Google Checkout REALLY hard.

4. Buy Bill Me Later

Bill Me Later is one of the most widely adopted and fastest growing alternative payment method on the market. Google, you guys have so much money and have invested so much on Checkout already. Why not buy Bill Me Later? If you can buy it and somehow integrate the 2. The potential is unlimited.

I’m really tired of seeing Paypal dominating the online payment processing game, and I do believe Checkout is a superior product to Paypal. So guys at Checkout, please see if these suggestions are feasible for you.

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October 3rd, 2007

WholesaleCollegeTextbooks.com Got a New Look!

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Comparison Shopping Engine, Ecommerce, Retailing

One of our site WholesaleCollegeTextbooks.com just got a new look! It lays out the foundation of the changes we are going to implement on it in the next couple months - changing it from a regular ecommerce site to a shopping comparison engine specifically for college students.

So please go check it out and let me know what you think about the design!

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October 2nd, 2007

Yahoo Launched New Changes to Search & What It Means to Google

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Google, Internet Marketing, PPC, Search Engine Optimization, Yahoo

Yahoo Search Engine has just launched a series of new changes to its search function. The most notable change to it is the addition of Yahoo! Search Assist.

Quoting from Yahoo:

Most of you have already seen the real-time query suggestions we launched on Yahoo.com in July. Yahoo! Search Assist kicks it up a notch, bringing those suggestions to the search results page, along with related concepts that give users a point-and-click query refinement capability that enables them to explore a subject area they may be unfamiliar with.

Search ‘united nations,’ for example, and the new Search Assist knows that the following concepts are related to your query: general assembly, 1945, league of nations, secretary general, etc. Want to refine your query to explore ‘united nations’ + ‘general assembly’? Just click on the ‘general assembly’ suggestion. You now get a new set of results and new concepts related to ‘united nations general assembly.’ Exploring further is now simply a matter of clicking on new concepts.

One thing you’ll find when you use our new search experience is that Search Assist “automagically” drops down from the search box on the results page when it senses that you’re having difficulty formulating a query. But it only shows up when you need it or ask for it. It then offers real-time suggestions and concepts to explore, just like on Yahoo.com. We did this to avoid a common complaint about assistance technologies offered by other search engines — the “persistent assistance” that puts suggestions on the page regardless of whether a user wants or needs them.

Yahoo have been testing Search Assist over the past few months and they have seen significant improvements in user satisfaction from those tests. One metric we found was a 61% increase in successful task completion when users had Search Assist as part of their search experience.

I see these changes as positive for Yahoo and definitely closes the gap in terms of its usability with Google. It seems to me that Yahoo is taking a different route from Google by launching this search assist. What Google is trying to do is to understand searching behavior and come up with the suggestions themselves, where here Yahoo is trying to rely on the user to further refine the search results. This is certainly interesting to see how it pans out as to which model do searchers prefer and see if Google really has the ability to UNDERSTAND completely searching behavior and provide accurate suggestions.

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September 29th, 2007

How To Get Your Limited Paypal Account Restored

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Ecommerce, Internet Marketing, Paypal, eBay

Two of my Paypal accounts recently get limited due to some disputes on the charges. After trying to resolve the problems and restore the account status, I received an email from Paypal which says:

Title: Limited Account Access Appeal Denied

Dear XXX

Every business must balance its exposure to risk with its business goals.
At this time, we are not comfortable with the amount of risk your business
exposes itself to.

We would like to begin the process of ending our relationship in a manner
that is least disruptive to your business.

Please log in to your PayPal account and fill out the Limited Account
Access form to let us know what to do with the funds remaining in your
PayPal account.

- Log in to your PayPal account
- Click “Contact Us” and then “Contact PayPal Customer Service”
- Choose the topic “Limited Account Access,” click “Continue,” and write
your instructions in the message box.

———————————–
Disbursement Options
———————————–

1. Your remaining account balance can be used to provide refunds to your
buyers (if applicable).

If you choose to provide refunds to your buyers, please provide a list of
transaction IDs for the buyers that you would like to refund.

OR

2. Your remaining funds will be held in your PayPal account for 180 days
from the date your account was limited. After 180 days, you will be
notified via email about how to receive your remaining funds.

We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and regret any
inconvenience this may cause.

Sincerely,
PayPal Account Review Department

Now mind you that I did have a substantial amount of money in the Paypal account, so I was worrying that it would take 180 days to get my money back. And also, some part of my business relies heavily on using Paypal to receive payments.

Instead of panicking too much, I called Paypal and politely asked what the reason was (because it wasn’t said in the email), and they told me that it is because of some recent disputes and chargebacks. They then told me if I want to get my account restored, I should email appeal@paypal.com and resolution@paypal.com and tell them why I should have my account restored and how I would change to eliminate previous problems.

I did exactly that and in about 1 week, I got another email saying that my Paypal account is restored.

The moral of this story is, before you give up, try contact the people in charge, ask them what happened and try to resolve the problems. Hope this will help.

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August 21st, 2007

Adwords Consultant - yes or no?

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Google, Google Adwords, Internet Marketing, Outsourcing, PPC, Search Engine Optimization

Besides being an ecommerce entrepreneur, I sometimes provide consultation for business friends for their internet marketing like SEO and Google adwords management.

One of the first questions I get the most is - do I need an Adwords consultant?

The answer is yes.

Many business owners with a new online presence thought Google adwords is simply straight forward bidding on some keywords, writting some ads, and put it on Google. This cannot be farther away from the truth.

The truth is, a successful Google Adwords campaign require detail research of prospects’ search behavior, careful planning of adgroups, thorough copywriting of ads, choosing of landing page and conversion funnel, plus ongoing monitoring and split testing.

I recommend that if you’re serious about expanding your online business or using internet marketing to grow your company - go get an Adwords Consultant and outsource your PPC!

(Am I taking on new client? Not really at the moment, but you can email me to see when I’ll be available.)

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August 10th, 2007

Breaking! Google changes formula for top ad placement

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Google, Google Adwords, Internet Marketing, PPC

Ok here’s a breaking news, I just found out from my adwords account that Google is changing its formula for top a placement on adwords. Here’re the details from Google:

In the coming weeks, we’re improving how high quality ads are selected for top positions above Google search results. This change is designed to improve the quality of our ad results, and to give you more control over achieving top ad placement.

The core components of the top ad placement formula will remain price and quality. However, we are improving the way we factor price into the formula. We’re also adjusting the way your actual cost-per-click (CPC) is determined for ads in top spots. As always, only ads that meet our stringent quality requirements will be eligible to appear in top spots.

What are the details?

In the current top ad placement formula, we consider your Quality Score and your actual CPC, which is determined in part by the bids of advertisers below you. Even if you have a high quality ad, if advertisers below you are not bidding very much, your actual CPC may not be high enough to qualify your ad to appear in a top position.

With this new formula, instead of considering your actual CPC, we’ll consider your maximum CPC bid, which you control. This means that your ad’s eligibility to be promoted is no longer dependent on the bids of advertisers below you. Therefore, if you have a high quality ad, you now have more control to achieve a top position by increasing your maximum CPC.

Your actual CPC will continue to be determined by the auction, but subject to a minimum price for top spots. The minimum price is based on the quality of your ad and is the minimum amount required for your ad to achieve top placement above Google search results. As always, the higher your ad’s quality, the less you will pay. And you will never be charged more than your maximum CPC bid.

How might this affect me?

We anticipate that most of your ads will continue to perform as they have in the past. In some cases, you may see that ads previously shown alongside search results are now shown in top spots, and vice versa. As a result, you may see a change in the average number of clicks and average CPCs for impacted ads.

I think this is a great move by Google and will further ensure higher quality ads to achieve the top placement. The problem, however is, do you REALLY want top placement - which typically attracts tons of low quality click?

Let me know what you think about this new change in the comment section!

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August 8th, 2007

You’ve Got Traffic, Now What?

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Affiliate Marketing, Ecommerce

One of the first thing new online business owners consider is how to get traffic. So they spend all their time reading about SEO, PPC, email marketing, banner ads… spend resource implementing what they learned - and then to find out they’re not making enough money from all the traffic they got.

Now what?

As important as traffic is to an online business, the ability to monetize those traffic is an even more important skill to possess. Monetizing your website traffic is not JUST about increasing your conversion rate by split testing and website redesign. Its about engaging with your visitors, find out what they’re REALLY looking for, and providing it to them.

For example, one of our ecommerce site www.wholesalecollegetextbooks.com recently experienced a 200% increase in net profit overnight just because I thought of a way to monetize lost traffic. Realizing that many visitors exit our website because they cannot find the book they need - instead of showing “no results” when visitors search for a book we do not have, we show them results from Amazon and redirect them so we monetize through Amazon’s affiliate program.

This is just one of MANY possible ways to enhance the monetization of your visitors. Remember, online profit is a formula of traffic*conversion*monetization - while traffic and conversion can be improved through repetitive work such as link building and split testing - monetization requires paying attention to what your customer want and creatively providing them with that.

Be creative.

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