Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Oh Good Grief. When It Rains, It Really Pours.

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

This message is primarily intended for the former members of my VCS community.  I just posted a message there explaining that the site was finally going to have to come down once and for all, and as if to illustrate my point… immediately after publishing the post, WP seems to no longer be able to display ANY blog posts whatsoever.  Unreal.

So… extracted from the WP back-end, here is what I had written:

Howdy all.  I need to let you all know that VCS is going to go away permanently now.  The reason is simple and frankly, kinda pathetic.  The WordPress that it was built on, has been hacked to oblivion.  It’s loaded with malicious files and dangerously outdated plugins that I can’t update because they’ll break other stuff.  The site was my attempt to build a custom WP-based community at a time when many of today’s solutions for such a thing, didn’t really exist yet (or just couldn’t quite do what I had wanted).  Guess I was a little bit ambitious.

The end result is that it’s loaded with old beta plugins, custom code, and products that don’t even exist anymore so will never be updated.  I can’t just repair the damage, as it’s too extensive.  But I can’t leave it up either and risk compromises to the rest of my server and the world (there’s no telling what these nasty bastards are actually doing…).  So, on that unfortunate note… VCS has to come down once and for all.  I’m still pretty unhappy with how it ended up, but not every project works out the way we want it to.

In case anyone actually reads this and is wondering, I’ve just gone back completely “underground” and have never been happier.  I’ve been running traffic on my own and building a system around it (with the help of my team of 4 full time developers) and scaling gradually and steadily.  I miss some things about the whole teaching/coaching/product development space, but I definitely don’t miss a lot of other things.  My workload and stress levels have gone down, my income and happiness have gone up, and in general life is good.

I hope this message finds some of you and that you are also doing great.  I need to pull the site down ASAP but will try to only take down the most critical stuff first (like the forum, which has been badly infected) and not just take everything down in one shot.

Take care!


Now to clarify the title of this post.  Last week my primary computer started behaving strangely.  Crashes where I didn’t normally get them, random weird glitches, etc.  By this weekend, it was clearly in a bad state so I tried to do a little housecleaning (Mac users will be familiar with the “repair permissions” dance).  This made things much, much worse.  My primary Time Machine backup drive for this computer, died.  Then in trying to repair that, my boot drive followed suit.  The one saving grace here is that my data drives all seemed perfectly fine (knock on wood!!!).  But I had no choice but to wipe my backup drive completely (had to do a low-level format too… it wouldn’t do a basic format.  Took all night.) and then had to do the same to my boot drive and completely reinstall everything.  I’m still in the middle of that nightmare… realizing how many apps I had carefully configured over the years to work just how I want them to work.

I didn’t lose everything, as I also use CrashPlan as a cloud backup provider.  But still, it’s an enormous pain to say the least.  Add to that my iPhone 4s (don’t get me started on all the new stupidly-gigantic phones… the 4s is still the best phone Apple has ever made) dying on me a few weeks back which ended up requiring me to wipe it and upgrade to the latest iOS which is horrible on it and runs like frozen molasses… and let’s just say that so far this has not been a good year for me & my personal technology.

Anyway… hopefully the former VCS members who now can’t see anything at VCS, see this post instead.  I have a bunch of support tickets coming in that I will be responding to shortly with a link to this post.

What a day week month year…


Where On Earth Has Jonathan Been???

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Judging from some of the emails I’ve gotten, some folks have obviously taken notice that I’ve kinda dropped off the map.  Well, they’re not wrong… I kinda did!  So here’s a brief overview of what I’ve been doing for the last couple of years…

It started a good 3 or 4 years ago…

An old friend of mine and software developer, asked me some questions about this whole “affiliate thing” that I was doing.  I gave him a technical overview of how it all works (since he’s a tech guy) and he understood the general concept right away.  He then started to ask me about tracking phone calls and the like (which was still very much in its infancy at the time) and we kicked around some ideas for doing pay-per-call with trackable phone numbers.

Some time passed and he would occasionally pop up to ask for my input on this, that, or the other thing.  We talked about WordPress, and PHP, and LPGen, and link tracking, and all the usual stuff.  But then, he stumbled into a company at a tradeshow that was already deeply entrenched in this exact industry.  They got to talking and when the CEO realized the depth of understanding my friend had – as well as his very long background in software development here in Silicon Valley – they asked my friend to consult for them and help guide them in developing new technology to support their business.

The very next thing that happened, was my phone rang.

My friend called me up straight away since he knew this was squarely in my area of expertise, and asked if I would consult alongside him.  To help out a friend, I said yes and we started to examine their existing systems.  We saw a lot of stuff not being done in an elegant fashion, saw that they really couldn’t scale their current business beyond what they were already doing, and overall saw lots of opportunity for improvement.  We felt that call tracking was probably going to become huge in the near future, and these guys had a head start on connections that might otherwise take years to establish.

The long story short is that my friend eventually agreed to become their CTO, and I’ve been consulting pretty much non stop for them ever since.  It’s grown, and grown, and grown and has become quite a monstrous project, but I’m working with a fantastic group of people and am really enjoying the entire process.  I’ve assembled an awesome team of developers under me so that I’m not doing much coding myself at all, but instead I guide and facilitate my team so that they can create an absolutely kick-ass platform and we can all make a ton of money as the company blows up.  😉

That’s the plan anyway.

Unfortunately, this has meant that my personal projects and products have been put completely on hold.  SneakyLinks never saw the light of day, LPGen & WPGen haven’t had an update in way too long, PrepopProfits didn’t get finished, and I haven’t had the bandwidth to do much of anything else for anyone!  Not to mention the several other “top secret skunkworks” ideas I had at various stages of development.

So that’s the downside to being so busy.  But with this has come a gigantic upside.  It has given me personal first-hand visibility into what can be done with SEM traffic and pay-per-call, at a scale I wouldn’t normally be privy to.  I get to watch from the inside, just what’s going on, and even better – I get to design and build the systems to make it happen!

This has been extremely eye-opening on a lot of levels

It’s also gotten me pretty fired up about the potential for large-scale SEM, both through “traditional” channels like Google Adwords, and through media buying channels like SiteScout and others.  The amount of traffic available if you know what you’re doing and have best-of-breed technology behind you, is staggering.  Seriously – I’m seeing $1 clicks turn into $50 phone calls.  And I’m watching the costs plummet as the optimization kicks in, creating a positive feedback loop.  Truly extraordinary.

And so, it’s time to really master Media Buying.

I’ve dabbled in it like so many others have I’m sure.  A few Content Network campaigns here, a little direct banner buy there… but I’ve never really worked it.  Never put in the time to completely wrap my head around all that’s possible today with the new technologies that have come up.  And now that I’m building the “system of my dreams” around automated, scalable SEM… I can’t put it off any more.  The time has come.  And who better to learn about Media Buying from, than the man who really got me started in this whole industry anyway – Gauher Chaudhry?

Media Buying… For Dummies?

I may as well say this right now.  Media Buying ISN’T FOR DUMMIES!  This is NOT for the faint of heart or wallet!  This isn’t a good place (in my opinion of course) for the newbie affiliate marketer.  This is the domain of experienced, seasoned pros who understand ROI and risk assessment and have the funds to commit to testing and optimizing, and ultimately can scale.  This isn’t something where you’re going to spend $10 and make a profit.  Hell, I doubt you’ll spend $1,000 and make a profit.  But this is where the big boys & girls play, and there is monumental money to be had for those who know what they’re doing, and can execute.  And if there’s one thing I’ve watched Gauher do consistently time and time again… it’s execute.

Learn From The Best, Or Go Broke Like The Rest!

If you want to jump in to “the deep end of the pool”, then you better make sure you have a reliable life guard on duty.  And for my money (literally), Gauher is that life guard.  I fully intend to make use of all the techniques in his course and apply them to the new platform I’m building, and cash out as part owner of a massive success story.  Time will of course tell the real story, but regardless… I’m going to learn everything I can about how Media Buying works, and how I can leverage it to the max and scale it to the moon!  If you’d like to do the same, then I strongly encourage you to give Gauher’s Media Buying Sumo course a look.  At least grab the free prelaunch goodies he’s making available, while the links are still live.

So that’s the news from my part of the world.  Beyond this, I still have a little bit of arbitrage traffic that I’m continuously running and experimenting with, but it’s been mostly a bust due to the outrageous inconsistency in traffic quality at the “bottom end” of the traffic universe.  Yet another reason why I want to start playing more in the top end!  I’m also getting back into making music again (for those who didn’t know I was a musician…) and have been posting my latest creations on SoundCloud, and attempting to have something resembling a life outside the computer. Not sure how well I’m doing in that arena though… 😉


LOL I’m In Forbes!

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Not exactly the sort of article I envisioned for my maiden appearance… not like I made the Forbes billionaire list or anything.  🙂