Thursday, November 12, 2009

Internet Marketing: Yanik Silver = Meh

So last week or something like that I blogged about an internet marketing guy who uses shareware and freeware to drive traffic for his affiliate programs, and soon after I blogged a tiny little code library to generate affiliate program blog ads. So I might as well admit it, I'm getting interested in this whole internet marketing thing.

It reminds me of the time right before I left San Francisco. It was before the dot-com crash. I had discovered that the only businesses making money online were porn sites, and I told all my friends that we should be making porn sites. Unfortunately, I wasn't a blogger back then, and I smoked a lot of pot, too, so I didn't really always present my ideas in the most coherent manner possible. For instance, I often left out the part that the only businesses making money online were porn sites, and jumped right to the conclusion, that we should all quit our jobs and make porn instead. The result: my friends were giving me some really weird looks for a while. I also learned a little bit about the importance of explaining every part of your idea, and the dangers of being taken too literally.

The dot-com crash has come and gone. However, the presence of VC money gives high-tech an ever-present "house of cards" feeling, for me at least, and I'm always wondering if our entire industry might just be BS, start to finish. So I like to investigate unusual avenues, and I do have to say, even though I abandoned that whole porn idea, a year after I started babbling about it, all my friends were on unemployment, and I was still working. (The dot-com crash hit hard.)

Anyway, I bring all this up because of a story in TechCrunch about what sounds like the most enjoyable blatant douchery any group of grown men ever indulged themselves in. Since a lot of my readers might also have seen this thing in TechCrunch, they might be thinking, "hey look, this internet marketing thing is something - TechCrunch is talking about it, Giles is talking about it, I mean this guy Yanik Silver is hanging out with Richard Branson!"

So yes, it's true, this guy is hanging out with Richard Branson, and I have to tell you, he also comes endorsed by this guy Dan Kennedy, who wrote a bunch of great books, but I can't endorse him. I bought one of his PDFs and it really just didn't seem to contain anything I couldn't have guessed. Not only that, it took real effort to get my refund, when I decided to do it (and I decided almost instantly). Dan Kennedy, in one of his books, says he lets his employees do everything they do any way they want, except for one thing: refunds are processed first, before anything else. I really wish Yanik Silver took the same approach. For a day or two I wondered if the money was coming back at all.