I’ll have to admit, we have made some mistakes during our launch, but I’m the one to blame. Although we are still gaining momentum in our marketing push the initial launch was quite shaky, if we had to do our initial launch into the market place again I’d absolutely do it differently. But what is done is done, and now we must work quadruple hard to improve our situation as much as possible.
It is quite clear that the product we have just introduced into the marketplace is quite controversial due to the required information that our product must store in order for it to work correctly. What has happened, and although we expected their to be some hesitation to use it, I’m not sure we fully grasped the magnitude of the situation to know that prior to launching we should have spent significantly more time in building our credibility.
The basic fundamental question that is being asked about our product is not if the actual product is good, in fact, even some of the negative (but helpful) feedback that some people give mentions that, “they think the product looks absolutely fantastic, but they feel uncomfortable that their PPC information is stored on the Tracking202 servers.” Almost everyone agrees the product looks great, what the question of the day for everyone is if our company has integrity and if they can trust their data with us.
What we did wrong is that we mainly focused on the product, building the features, adding this, adding that, and while all that was great, what was more important, than the product was that we should have invested as much, if not more time, into thinking of ways to make our product more credible. We showed how the product worked, we have videos, we have screenshots, we have hours and hours invested into our product and although we also invested time into explaining the reasons behind Tracking202 being completely free, we should have spent more time explaining it clearly.
My focus has now shifted into seeing how we can make Tracking202 a more credible company, whether its adding HackerSafe Icons, or moving more towards self-hosted scripts, or showing pictures of the world class datacenter we are moving into, or gathering more testimonials from users or networking with other influential people in the industry who can help us gain credibility, this is what I will be focusing on now. Here are some lessons that I have learned, and I will share my lessons with you.
- When you are handling other peoples’ information, especially information related how people make a living, you should focus on making your product feel safe, secure and as trustworthy as you possibly can. You absolutely have to make sure your users data is completely safe on multiple different levels of security. If you manage peoples’ information, the success or failure of your company can be attributed to the effectiveness in which you handle other’s data.
- When you build a company, the marketplace is going to judge you as an individual and your personal integrity and ability to accomplish what it is you say your going to accomplish. This goes on understanding that YOU, branding YOU, becoming AWARE that people are going to watch you and judge YOU everything you do. They are going to ASK if I can trust this person, can this person deliver, is he or she true to their word? Your customers will google your name, look at your blog, look at whom you’ve been interviewed with and they will make a conscious decision on whether or not they like you, which will either make you look good, or it will make you look bad. Be very cautious with your name, and what you say on your blog because people will read it, as many people are now reading mine to see if the CEO of the Tracking202 program has good values, and if they would trust him.
- If you plan on marketing your products through forums, it would be wise to invest some time first to contact the administrator of the forum and bounce your idea off to them prior to launching a promotional thread on their forum.
- Be as personal as you can in your company while it is small, you want people to feel they can contact you directly if they have a problem. They should believe if they have a problem or question, you are there to answer it immediately because you have always been prompt in responding. Customer Service, and replying to questions AS SOON AS POSSIBLE is extremely important. Whether it be a business, or even a blog, respond to your emails.
- When you decide to make a long-term decision, in our case, making our product completely free (which is now going to affect us for several years down the road) it would be wise, when making a long-term decision, to take a very long-time in really thinking everything through, before making a decision. Take a long time, before making a decision that can have a long-term effect; make sure you think it, the last thing you want to do is make a quick decision that ends up begin a negative one for a very long time.
- If there is controversy about you, your company, or your product take a considerable amount of time, and explain your reasons for why it is, you, your company, or product is doing what it is and the way it is. In that specifically I’m addressing the fact that I failed, I failed to explain in-depth why we have decided to launch our product free, and I’m going to spend a considerable amount of time in explaining to everyone why it is we are doing what we have done, and our strong reasons behind it. Be clear about yourself, don’t allow people to second guess, or question you, explain your reasons well, so there are no questions, and that you provide reasons and even examples of why you choose to do what it is you are doing.
I’m now going to being the process of explaining first on my blog why it is we decided to make our product free to the market place, and our reasons behind it. This will be the start of what will most likely become a very in-depth article explaining the main reasons why Tracking202 is free. And let me start out by what tracking202 is not.
- Tracking202 is NOT free because we want to steal peoples’ keyword information and use it to our own benefit.
- Tracking202 is NOT free because we want to shave off peoples’ traffic and use it to our own benefit.
Here is why Tracking202 is free, and here is why even though it is free it can still generate a significant revenue stream without taking advantage of anyone’s data. We are simply following the business model of one of the most successful companies in the internet industry, Google. Google provides a variety of free services that people use, you know many of them, and they have lots of products that I’m sure you use on a daily basis. Google had free a free search engine for several years and for the longest time they did not make any money, but they gained a user base, a dedicated user base, and overtime their user base became so big that they were eventually able to develop additional products and services towards their users which will ultimately made them one of the most profitable companies in the world today.
We are offering a free product like Google once did. The goal of Tracking202 per say isn’t to make a bunch of money to begin with, if it was we would have charged a monthly subscription fee for it, which was the original plan. But instead we decided we would rather build a free application for the Affiliate Marketing industry, we are interested in gaining a large user dedicated user base of people who use our applications. To keep it alive during our time we are going to generate money through advertising, and negotiating referral agreements between affiliate networks for referring affiliates to them.
As all of you know hosting a website isn’t really that expensive, the costs aren’t extremely high. Even though I have invested thousand of dollars into server equipment and our hosting is going to be in the thousands of dollars soon a month, that isn’t anything a couple good advertisement deals couldn’t support. We are just simply trying to stay alive in the next year or two, and eventually come with additional products and services to our user base and generate significantly more income than we would have if we just charged for our tracking services.
That is the real reason that Tracking202 is free, I hope that explains it more clearly in-depth our reason for making a free product for the industry. Our product has had a lot of controversy about it now, and this is my answer to explain our reasons so there is no questions left unanswered to the affiliate marketing community. This is our reason, and it is the real reason why Tracking202 is free for you and anyone else to use.
To be 100% genuine and honest to everyone out there, I’m not a super affiliate and I do not plan on ever being a super affiliate. I’m a web 2.0 developer who invest into real estate, I do affiliate marketing as of now because it is the best way I know of right now that I can generate enough income to live on and program at the same time. I even wrote it on my blog post before I got even to involved much with Tracking202, if I focused and hit a monthly net income of $20,000 a month doing affiliate marketing I would completely stop doing AM and start to program full-time.
And the reason I would stop completely is honestly everyone, I do not want to have to put up campaigns all day, I have been working full-time for the past 3 years almost 10-15 hours a day consistently, day in and day out, I will keep going but I get tired sometimes, I’m human and I honestly do not want to have to work setting up PPC campaigns every single day! That does not excite me, that isn’t what I want to do, that isn’t success to me personally.
We had someone offer over $100,000 for our product before it was even released into the public, I don’t need to be low and steal other peoples’ information to make a living and ruin my personal image, My Name, on the internet over someone’s keywords that I could have just found myself by using a keyword generation tool, or someone else text ads when everyone can see them anyways when you search a keyword, or someone’s landing page where again anyone can simply copy and paste their html and use it themselves.
If we needed money that bad, we could raise a round of investment right now for a percentage of the company and have enough money just from that to live on and continue to develop the application full time. I’ve already had an offer by a family member but I’m not interested in doing that, because we don’t need the money; we are a bootstrapping web 2.0 startup that has expenses, but they are maintainable. At the end of the day, and you might disagree with me on this but if you actually look at my ‘ACTIONS’, because actions speak louder than words, you can take a look at me and see if I’m ultimately telling the truth.
At the end of the day, I will generate more personal net worth, maybe not (cashflow) but I will generate more net worth using my knowledge of (AJAX, PHP, MYSQL and other Web 2.0 technologies) developing internet applications and services that can be used by potentially millions of people, with options of selling out, or doing an IPO than I ever would setting up campaigns all day. That is not to say setting up campaigns is bad, my friends and associates make way more than me right now, but that is not how I build income, my friend said to me once, “to each his own,” in that there is a lot of money in PPC AM, but that isn’t my interested, that’s not what I’m passionate about, that is not what I’m best at. I’m best at developing web 2.0 applications on the Internet that people use and it is what I enjoy doing.
And I think if you were to go back, and look at my previous blog posts, you would see my PASSION about building a world class company, and potentially selling it for several million dollars in the future is all along, what my focus has been. If I don’t need the money from Affiliate Marketing, I’m not going to work on affiliate marketing because my energy is better investing into building a world class company that over one million dollars a year in sales, which is highly scalable, highly systematic, that employs people and has a serious opportunity to be acquired in the future.
And I believe you can see if I’m telling a truth because you do not have to believe what I say, because you can look at what my actions, because my actions speak louder than words. As I grow older I do not look at what another says, I watch what another does. Those were the great words spoken by Andrew Carngie, and I ask you to apply them to me, ultimately you will see my actions will prevail. I have moved to another city, Silicon Valley to build an internet company, I’m bootstrapping and doing everything I need to do to stay afloat.
I spend my time reading PHP and MYSQL books, books about FlickR and how they scaled their website, books on PHP Security, geek stuff about how apache security works, how SSLs work, how MySQL indexes work, how to setup load balancers, memcache servers, mysql replication servers, backup servers. I go to PHP and MYSQL meetups and talk with other developers, I spend all the time I possible can programming and learning how to program, I only do affiliate marketing 2-3 hours a week just because I have to have some sort of income to live off of. Other than that I would personally rather not work on any campaigns.
I have so many features I have to program it’s not even funny. There is so much work to do and the to do list gets bigger by 5-7 items every day, and I can only program so much per day. All my affiliate managers know my personal affiliate leads in volume has gone down significantly because all I do is develop the application, they know that, and they would tell you that if you asked them. I’m not a super affiliate, and I do not plan on being a super affiliate because I do not want to be a super affiliate. I want to be a successfully webpreneur who is known for developing website application that thousands and millions of people use on a daily basis and be immersed in the web 2.0 startup community and really be apart of the innovation of web technologies.
I wrote this out of my heart, I poured a lot out here and I really hope you can get a better glimpse into Tracking202 and my personal philosophies in life. If you are a PPC Affiliate Marketer I hope you would give us, and yourself a chance to really see how the Tracking202 product works and test out its features. And just remember there are bad and good people in the world, some people would return a wallet they have found lost on the ground, I hope that you give us a chance to show you that we are one of those good people who are really trying to help others.