Thursday, January 31, 2008

The (Unofficial) History Of Jelly Belly

The Jelly Belly Candy Company is a prominent maker of gourmet jelly beans and other candy. It was formerly known as The Herman Goelitz Candy Company before being renamed for their most popular product, "Jelly Belly" jelly beans. The company is based in Fairfield, California, off of State Route 12, with warehouse facilities in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

Jelly Belly makes many varieties of naturally flavored jelly beans, including juicy pear, watermelon, root beer, cherry and buttered popcorn. The success of their brand led to a jelly-bean renaissance, particularly in the 1980s, when U.S. President Ronald Reagan began keeping a jar of them on his desk in the White House.

The product is considerably more expensive than most retail candies due to the use of real fruit and other juices, averaging US$16.99 for a 2.2 lb (1 kg) bag (here is your $5 off coupon).

The person responsible for the invention of Jelly Belly jelly beans was David Klein (born in 1946). He created the concept of a new kind of jelly bean that had not only a flavored shell, but a flavored jelly center. He engaged the Goelitz Candy Company to manufacture it, where candy manufacturer Marinus van Dam was employed at the time. Marinus van Dam was born in Ooltgensplaat, a township in Oostflakkee, Netherlands, on October 24, 1929. After obtaining a candy manufacturing degree in the Netherlands, he immigrated to the United States and soon went to work for the Herman Goelitz Candy Company. He rose to the level of vice president before moving on to other companies and finally starting his own business, Marich Confectionery.

When Marinus was asked how he developed the manufacturing of the Jelly Belly, he answered that most jelly beans at the time were cheap candy that had a 56% sugar content and were sold as penny candy. All jelly beans started out with plain, uncolored starch centers that were merely sweetened with sugar. Only the outer candy coating was colored and flavored. He wondered how he could bring this candy to the adult market, and his solution was to enhance the jelly beans so that they would appeal to everyone. The centers for the new jelly bean were colored and flavored with real fruit juices and natural flavors. This flavor enhancing process was also used on the outer candy shell. The finished Jelly Belly contained about half the sugar of the regular jelly bean, was more flavorful, and consequently healthier than the generic jelly beans sold in stores.

David Klein sold the first Jelly Belly jelly beans in a small ice cream parlor, Fosselman's, in Alhambra, California in 1976. The first flavors were Very Cherry, Tangerine, Lemon, Green Apple, Grape, Licorice, Root Beer, and Cream Soda. David Klein's newest creation is a super sour jelly bean called "Spanks."

Official 50 flavors
The 49-flavor assortment of jelly beans features all of the official 50 flavors except for jalapeño.
The 49-flavor assortment of jelly beans features all of the official 50 flavors except for jalapeño.

Jelly Belly officially has 50 flavors that are made all year. Seasonal flavors such as candy cane are only produced at specific times of the year. Additionally, Jelly Belly frequently produces "rookie" flavors that sometimes are added to the jelly beans in the 50 official flavors if they become popular enough. Here is a list of the current official 50 flavors:

* A&W Cream soda
* A&W Root Beer
* Berry blue
* Blueberry
* Bubble gum
* Buttered popcorn
* Café latte
* Cantaloupe
* Cappuccino
* Caramel apple

* Caramel corn
* Chocolate pudding
* Cinnamon
* Coconut
* Cotton candy
* Crushed pineapple
* Dr Pepper
* French vanilla
* Grape jelly
* Green apple

* Island Punch
* Jalapeño
* Juicy pear
* Kiwi
* Lemon
* Lemon drop
* Lemon lime
* Licorice
* Mango
* Margarita

* Orange juice
* Orange sherbet
* Peach
* Peanut butter
* Piña Colada
* Pink grapefruit
* Plum
* Raspberry
* Red apple
* Sizzling cinnamon

* Strawberry cheesecake
* Strawberry daiquiri
* Strawberry jam
* Tangerine
* Toasted marshmallow
* Top banana
* Tutti-Fruitti
* Very cherry
* Watermelon
* Wild blackberry

[edit] Rookie Flavor

Jelly Belly usually produces new prototype flavors that occasionally are added to flavors in the Official 50 group. Previous rookie flavours include:

* Apricot
* Buttered Toast
* Chocolate Cherry Cake
* Honey Biscuit
* TABASCO® Cinnamon
* Baked Bean

The latest rookie is:

* Pomegranate

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

University Guides Written For Parents Who Visit Their Kids

When Sarah Schupp’s parents flew in from Dallas to visit her while she was a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, she wanted a way to determine the best places for them to shop, eat, and stay but was unimpressed with the information available.

That shortcoming led her to approach administrators at her school and propose creating a guide for parents. Even though she had no business background, they agreed, happy to have a way to connect with parents.

Today, Schupp’s business produces institution-specific guides in partnership with universities across the U.S. for parents of college students and expects around $800,000 in revenues in 2007.

Schupp attributes her success in part to a “backwards” publishing model in which her university partners are responsible for content and distribution, while she handles advertising.

So far, University Parent has produced 30 guides and plans 100 for 2008. The company is also making its downloadable guides interactive.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

How I Made Over $3000 From Amazon.Com In Two Days

As you see from the screenshot, I've made over $3,000 from Amazon.Com this month. Actually, I've made 3K in a matter of two days and I'd like to share my 'secret' with you guys. (If you don't know who I am and why I am addicted to affiliate marketing, read this as yet unfinished article about tips and tricks I use to make a very comfortable living online, the only important addition is that Pepperjam's new affiliate network just launched two weeks ago is generating incredible profits, probably due to its innovative new twist on affiliate relationship with vendors, I've made $125 the very first day I signed up, which never happened to me with other affiliate networks)

OK, back to I've noticed that Amazon sells a lot of weird products, like The George W. Bush Voodoo Kit. So I thought - what if I post this the social bookmark sites with my affiliate ID? After a couple of tries, sure enough my story made it to the top of Reddit. That day I made about $500 in Amazon commissions.

After evaluating the result, I realized that I made a mistake. The post links directly to, so while I get commissions, I don't the traffic. So I miss out on an opportunity to send people to my other sites and to monetize that traffic through means other than

So I created a post on called 10 Things You Did Not Know You Could Buy On Amazon.Com (I've posted identical posts on other sited -, Anxus.Com, Sahio.Com to increase my chances of getting to the top of social bookmarking sites.

Sure enough, I've made it to the top of and then really without any effort from my side. That gave me 100K in unique visitors and additional $2500 ($3000 total). Clearly, I could have continued with the experiment, but I did not want to piss anybody off and making three grands in a matter of two days seemed rather generous anyway.

But if you've never had any luck with Amazon's affiliate program, you may use this approach. Basically, it all depends on how creative you are. Come up with an interesting list (some of my examples - The Real Shit: 10 Shitties Books Ever Written and 10 Coolest Book Titles That Have 'Fuck' In Them) and post it to your favorite social bookmark network to share with others.

If you are interested in making affiliate income outside Amazon (which is a tough nut to crack), do read my article I mentioned earlier and check out these affiliate offers that generate most income for me as of January 2008:

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Make Money Naming Domains

PickyDomains.Com is a perfect example of how to turn one’s talent into a profitable business. With ever expanding Internet and tens of millions existing websites, finding an available domain name that’s not already taken by cybersquatters can be a real nightmare.

But one man’s problem is another man’s solution. Rather than to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for a domain name on the aftermarket, an increasing number of web entrepreneurs turn to professional “domain namers�?.

While most naming agencies charge a non-refundable fee that can be as high as $1500 for a corporate domain, one service that unites 17 professional domain namers from countries like United States, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, decided to offer a risk-free service that costs only 50 dollars per domain.

After 50 dollars are deposited, clients start getting a list of available domain names. If they see a domain they like, they register it and notify the service about domain acquired. The individual, who came up with the name, gets $25, the other half going to the service. If no domain is registered, the money is refunded in full.

While the idea is brainlessly simple, it appears that PickyDomains.Com has no competition with its risk-free business model. But that is almost certain to change as more people find out that finding available domain names for other people can be a profitable business.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Custom Made Energy Bars

Customers of You Bar can choose every ingredient that goes into their nutrition bars: the base, protein powders, nuts and seeds, fruits and berries, sweeteners, seasonings, grains and infusions. One consumer might select cashew butter with shredded coconut, organic molasses and nutty rice cereal, for example; another might choose dates, soy protein, walnuts, ground cinnamon and dried banana. Special requests such as for organic ingredients or "extra crunchy" can also be accommodated. Consumers can choose a name for their specially designed bars, and You Bar will print it on each wrapper. For those feeling overwhelmed by the list of choices, on the other hand, You Bar offers three popular bar styles—"Honey Cashew," "Great Date with Chocolate" and "Breakfast Bar"—that are still customizable, but based on set ingredients. All bars are freshly made to order in You Bar's kitchens; pricing is USD 40 plus shipping for 12 fully customized bars, or USD 30 plus shipping for 12 of one of You Bar's popular styles.

Los Angeles-based You Bar was founded about two years ago by a mother-and-son team frustrated with the limited choices on the retail shelves. They're certainly in good company, as consumers have begun to expect having it their way, all the time. Because the bars fall into the realm of snack foods, they also lend themselves particularly naturally to use as gifts—promotional or otherwise. It's hard to imagine a health club, for example, that couldn't delight its members with specially concocted and self-named nutrition bars.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

How To Get Your Own Personal Requiem

Grand funerals and eloquent eulogies are all very well when it comes to marking the demise of the wealthy and well-respected, but as the royalty and nobility of days gone by can attest, there's nothing quite like a requiem to cement one's name in the annals of time. Fortunately for today's moneyed elite, there's Requiem for You, an Austrian firm that can compose a personal requiem on demand.

Just launched last year, Requiem for You offers services on three levels, the most basic of which is the composition of an individually tailored requiem. The firm represents a network of composers, librettists and musicians who will write an individual requiem in advance, capturing the client's unique personality and accommodating preferences for balance among vocal, instrumental and textual components. Styles available include baroque, classical, romantic, jazz or Broadway musical, with text in German, Latin or English. A personal laudatio is also available.

In addition to composing the piece, Requiem for You can also produce an audio recording of it using a team of freelance artists, orchestras and recording studios, once again honouring the client's personal tastes in the CD's cover art. Finally, upon request the company can arrange a performance of the requiem, using anything from an audio presentation of the recorded version to a live performance with orchestra and choir. Prices reportedly range from EUR 20,000 for the requiem's composition to EUR 400,000 for the all-out live performance.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Dating Service Based On ... DNA Match.

'Personal chemistry' has long been a blanket term for all the things that make people compatible (or not), but until recently only science fiction films like Code 46 have taken the notion literally. As of December, however, Boston-based ScientificMatch is using DNA to assess personal chemistry for dating purposes.

ScientificMatch uses three components to match up singles through its dating service: personal chemistry, values and personal preferences. While the latter two are assessed via questionnaire, personal chemistry matching is done via DNA analysis. The immune system is what has been found to affect sexual compatibility, with people tending to prefer those whose immune systems are different from their own. The benefits of well-matched immune systems, according to research cited by ScientificMatch, include a more satisfying sex life, increased faithfulness, higher fertility and healthier children.

Members who sign up for the company's USD 1,995.95 service send a cheek swab to ScientificMatch, which analyses the portion of their DNA that relates to the immune system. Matches are then suggested with other members who have compatible chemistry. The matching process won't work for women on the pill or for people who weren't raised by their natural parents, ScientificMatch cautions. It will, however, work for those seeking same-sex relationships. ScientificMatch currently serves just the Greater Boston area, extending into New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

How To Become A Mystery Shopper

These guys are actively hiring mystery shoppers (must be a US resident over 18). Perhaps 'hiring' is the wrong word, because you don't get paid anything. However, you are given a $500 card and you get to KEEP things that you buy on assignments. I am not sure if this is strictly online mystery shopping assignments that you do from your PC or if there are some offline assignments as well, but either way, it sounds good.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Automattic.Com Success Story

nternet company Automattic Inc., which distributes the popular WordPress blogging software, said it has raised $29 million from investors that include New York Times Co., after spurning an acquisition offer last year.

The San Francisco start-up and its investors declined to name the larger Internet company that made the buyout bid, which came a few months ago. But the offer valued Automattic at between $150 million and $200 million, and helped prompt the new round of financing, said Phil Black, an Automattic board member and partner at True Ventures, which is putting up some of the money.

The offer "crystallized our thinking that it would be nice to have some more capital on the balance sheet for growth, and to build a more exciting platform," he said.

Automattic's move highlights the conundrum many venture capitalists face as they scramble to make money amid a lackluster market for small-company, initial-public-stock offerings. With IPOs out of reach, many companies are instead weighing offers to be bought by larger firms -- even though the prices are often too small to make VCs large profits.

In Automattic's case, the decision to reject an acquisition offer was likely easier, since original investors True Ventures, Radar Ventures and Polaris Venture Partners had invested only about $1 million in the company before the current $29 million financing. That means even a small acquisition offer could have been very profitable for them. Still, Automattic's investors are taking pains to keep the company's founders motivated: Some of the $29 million will be used to help company founders and others cash out some of their holdings in the private company, Mr. Black said. The practice has become more common in Silicon Valley as start-up founders spend longer building their companies without any payday.

Automattic, which has about 18 employees, also will use the new cash to add staff and possibly pursue acquisitions. About 2.2 million blogs have been created using WordPress, says Raanan Bar-Cohen, a company vice president. The company's software is free, but Automattic makes money through selling premium services and advertising, among other revenue streams. Mr. Bar-Cohen said the company is profitable.

The Times, which uses WordPress to publish the blogs on its Web site, hopes to share content with WordPress and possibly publish interesting blog posts that have been composed with its software. The Times also may work with Automattic to help train more of its employees in blogging, said Martin Nisenholtz, the newspaper's senior vice president for digital operations. In addition, "we think it's a good financial investment," he said.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Biz Idea: ‘Barber Stop’

Everette Blaisdell’s invention was born soon after he lost his small barbershop in the Flood of ‘97. Because he didn’t have the money to rebuild right away, he set up a small shop in the women’s restroom of a friend’s auto dealership.

During 25 months there, Blaisdell said, he’d talk up the auto dealership and occasionally make a sale. That’s when he got the idea that a one-seat barbershop can set up inside pretty much any business. The hosting business can be the waiting room and the barber can double as a salesman.

Blaisdell’s shop has been operating inside the Grand Forks Home of Economy for about two-and-a-half years, he said, and he brings enough business into the store that the owners don’t charge him rent.

Three other one-seat barbershops are in operation at hosting businesses using Blaisdell’s design, one of his business partners, Rob Mims said, and they’ve trademarked the “Barber Stop” name.

Mims said he and Blaisdell have ramped up their business and hope to sell 100 units this year.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Paul White developed a surgery system that cuts to the heart of the problem.

What: All-in-one operating system for minimally invasive surgery
Who: Paul White of NuBoom
Where: Beaverton, Oregon
When: Started in 2005
Startup Costs: $1.5 million

The entrepreneurial creed was on Paul White's mind the year he created NuBoom, a user-friendly monitor system that helps doctors during minimally invasive surgery. "Whether I was standing in line waiting to see a movie with my kids or waiting to get on an airplane, as an entrepreneur, I was always thinking, 'How can I do this faster, cheaper, better?'" says White, 47.

As founder of CompView Medical, a company that helps integrate audiovisual systems into hospitals and businesses, White often heard surgeons complaining about sore necks and hazardous working conditions. The system of cameras and monitors used to navigate through small incisions in a patient's body is crucial to the surgical process. But existing surgical booms had doctors looking over their shoulders and tilting their heads to complete simple operations. So in 2005, White decided to do a little surgery of his own.

As part of his research, White surveye nurses, surgeons and hospital administrators to find out exactly why the old systems weren't working. In addition to bad positioning of monitors, he discovered problems with the devices, including costly repair work and inefficient operating systems. In the true entrepreneurial spirit, White set out to solve all the problems by creating NuBoom, a product that has now spun off into its own company.

NuBoom resembles a sort of robotic tree, something that would make Captain Kirk and R2-D2 jealous. Several cameras branch out on a tracking system from a center console, which contains the mechanical materials and wires necessary to operate the surgical cameras it connects to. The system can be installed in two days and costs half the price of most booms. And beyond improving ergonomics, it cuts down on operating time.

"It's a unique product and a unique market," White says of NuBoom, which will earn sales in excess of $5 million this year. "It's something that gets my whole team jumping out of bed every day."

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy Worker Success Story

How did husband and wife Kris Schantz, 31, and Shirley Yee, 32, manage to find a toy market with lots of potential and not much competition? By focusing on toys for adults--specifically, action figures with a twist. Schantz and Yee--who both shared overactive imaginations and were always thinking up new toy and gift ideas--created 6-inch movable dolls that aren't superheroes with other-worldly powers, but rather everyday heroes, like GeekMan, a technology wizard; Super-Mom, who does it all with panache (and is Happy Worker's biggest seller); Money-Man, a "dark hero" in suspenders who leaps balance sheets; and BossMan, a bigwig of the boardroom. They also make custom toys through The Toy Agency, a division of the company that uses a team of marketing, toy and design professionals. Happy Worker earned about $1 million in sales last year.

Schantz says, "Few toy-makers play to the 20-, 30- and 40-year-old market. It's a great subculture that didn't exist 20 years ago and was brought on by the rise of licensed toys. These are buyers who maybe didn't have an allowance to buy toys as kids and now can buy what they want."

Schantz, who dressed up as GeekMan to stir up excitement when he unveiled the toy at the Canadian Toy & Hobby Fair, says, "When we saw friends and colleagues buying toys to play with in their cubicles, we knew we were onto something."

For entrepreneurs planning to tap into this promising market, however, Schantz has a bit of important advice. "Don't call your products 'adult toys,'" he says, laughing. "We made that mistake the first week. Now we say we make 'toys for big kids.'"

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

YoYoNation.Com - How To Become A Yo Yo Entrepreneur

You can become a toy retailer by purchasing products from wholesalers, then reselling them through your own website, through websites like eBay or through a brick-and-mortar store.

That's the route Pat Cuartero, 26, and Weber Hsu, 27, of, an online yo-yo seller, took to become toy tycoons, with projected 2007 sales of $1.1 million. Just two years ago, when the guys were assistant vice presidents on Wall Street, it occurred to Cuartero, who is a world yo-yo champion, that there wasn't a good source for the high-tech yo-yos he uses to impress judges and audiences. Starting their online business part time, the pair soon found themselves getting just one hour of sleep a night to keep up with orders. Within a year, they both quit their six-figure jobs to devote all their time to the New York City business.

Cuartero found product vendors by tapping into industry contacts he made while on the yo-yo competition circuit, but most new toy sellers have to find their products the old-fashioned way: through research and sales calls. Fortunately, toy fairs and the internet have made locating products easier.

What's more, you don't even necessarily have to stash your stock in a warehouse or your home or garage, as Cuartero and Hsu currently do. Depending on the type of toy you are selling, you may be able to enter into a drop-shipping agreement, where you take orders for the product and turn them over to the manufacturer, who in turn ships toys directly to the customers. As a drop-shipper, you will earn a percentage on each toy you sell--and all you need to do is write the order, process the payment and forward it to the manufacturer.

Internet sales portals such as are rapidly becoming the sales channels of choice for new toy sellers, especially since it can be very difficult to catch the eye of big-box retailers. With a minimal investment, it's possible to get a website up and running quickly, and such sales channels are no longer seen as the stepchildren of the retail industry.

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Friday, January 18, 2008 - Skiing Dollars

Now that consumers have gotten used to finding cheap flights and hotel rooms one the web, it’s time for more verticals in the online travel market. Catering to slope-bound travellers, Liftopia lets ski resorts sell discounted lift tickets online. Visitors simply choose dates and regions (such as Lake Tahoe or New Hampshire) where they want to ski, and then scroll through a list of budget-priced lift tickets. Basically, Liftopia encourages price differentiation for lift tickets. Resorts are able to charge lower prices for tickets sold in advance—which can’t be cancelled—and keep prices for on-mountain sales at a higher level.

Avid skiers and boarders have several good reasons to like the San Francisco-based start-up. For starters, ski resorts at popular mountain destinations are normally clustered within a few miles of each other. So enthusiasts looking for day or weekend trips can use the site to choose which resort among the group to visit. To make that quest easier, Liftopia’s search engine lets visitors select resorts that are easy drives from several heavily populated US regions. The site also incorporates up-to-the-minute weather data and trail maps to help skiers make their choice. Besides customers who are willing to commit to a trip in advance, Liftopia’s discount pricing should also attract budget-minded young skiers whose service jobs or college schedules make spur-of-the-moment travel relatively easy.

Liftopia’s ski-travel niche could be replicated in other markets. Country inns, local restaurants and golf courses might all lend themselves to the same approach. All it takes to build a business around any of these niches is the legwork to band together a group of related leisure businesses, plus a healthy dose of web-savvy.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Entrepreneurs are starting to make tidy livings off their blogs (JohnChow.Com Success Story)

It's been a little over a year since John Chow decided to make money by blogging about making money blogging. Since then, the 42-year-old Richmond, British Columbia, entrepreneur has watched his income from John Chow dot Com increase more than 50 fold--from $353 a month to an annual run rate of $300,000. That's $25,000 a month for sitting at home doing what Chow describes as "rambling."

He's not alone. Something has changed in the blogosphere over the past year--something really significant. It starts with the already-huge community doubling to more than 114 million blogs worldwide and spinning off 175,000 new sites daily, according to Technorati, the unofficial chronicler of the blogosphere. The Blog Bang set off an explosion in new moneymaking services just as Chow was exploring the territory beyond Google AdSense. He now uses more than 100 ad networks, like AuctionAds and Kontera ContentLink.

"When I started, the options for monetizing a blog were pretty limited," Chow recalls. "But people keep coming up with new services that can help you make money."

Chow is far from being the blogosphere's biggest lottery winner. David Sifry, who founded Technorati as a family blog in 2002, can probably claim a share of that jackpot. So can gadflies like Perez Hilton, politicos like Arianna Huffington and all those businesses for which blogging has become the marketing innovation du jour. Citizen journalism is turning semipro, explains Derek Gordon, vice president of marketing at Technorati, who feels high-gloss sites like The Huffington Post compare favorably to traditional media. A study by the Society for New Communications Research suggests that in five years, conversational marketing will attract as many ad bucks as traditional channels.

Chow deserves special recognition for demonstrating the pure, unadulterated earning power of the medium. His traffic-generating achievement isn't clouded by product sales, avant-garde content or attractive page design. Until recently, Chow wasn't even selling "himself"--that is, the personal expertise found on financial and analyst blogs. His blog remains a somewhat banal combination of his money count and what he had for lunch--the blogging equivalent of Seinfeld, the show "about nothing." With the free blogenator WordPress and a degree in accounting, Chow monetized nothing into a No. 39 ranking on Technorati's Top 100 List of most-linked blogs. His overhead is about $550 a month; the rest of that monthly 25 grand goes to the bottom line.

Chow wasn't a web novice: He'd had limited success with his reviews-oriented site, The TechZone. But what Chow has learned running John Chow dot Com has helped him monetize The TechZone and his new TZZ Media advertising network. Taken together, Chow's revenue streams are closing in on $1 million annually, making him a web marketing expert by any measure.

Chow has also assembled his income-earning techniques into a 59-page web book downloadable at Make Money Online is free, but it still makes money for Chow, thanks to its active web links that drive traffic to his site. It's not a bad read, either; even if you don't make blogging your career, there's plenty there to help monetize your business blog.

"There are no rules or limits in blogging," explains Chow. "Your earning power is only limited by the traffic you can attract."

Blogging isn't just a pastime or marketing gambit anymore; it's a living.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

GorillaLife.Com - Mompreneur Strikes Gold With Green Drink

Kika Keith is very familiar with adversity and tough times. She prevailed in the face of being homeless with her two children in tow and a burning desire to create a sustainable future. Somehow, she never lost sight of her dream to market Gorilla Life, which is what she named her green drink made from 100 percent organic alfalfa chlorophyll.

We found out about Keith at a phenomenal kitchen incubator program in Los Angeles called Mama’s Hot Tamales Cafe. Keith took a little time out of her hectic schedule to share eight insights she discoverd along the way. My hope is that her story will make your journey a kinder and gentler one.

Gorilla Life has made great strides. It is sold in several trendy Los Angeles health food stores and, recently, a supermarket chain expressed interest in selling Keith’s drink. Kika’s s mom created and named the drink over a decade ago.

What kind of business do you have?
Keith: Gorilla Life is a functional food and beverage company. My inspiration to become an entrepreneur came from several sources. As a 5th grader, I was infused with the principles of business and exchange in school; my parents trudged the road of self-employment; and my grandfather set the example of owning and operating a hotel/club. It’s in my blood!

What is unique about your business that gives it an edge over your competitors?
Keith: In a day and age where children are plagued with obesity and people are dying at earlier years, health/wellness is a major issue. Gorilla Life offers a unique, on-the-go option for the whole family to provide their bodies the necessary nutrients to restore and renew themselves. Gorilla Life’s flagship product is a first-to-market green drink made from 100 percent organic alfalfa chlorophyll. Our competitors offer green drinks that are thick and unappetizing, like wheatgrass. Gorilla Life’s Green Drink is a delicious and refreshing clear green beverage that builds the blood naturally, removes toxins and acts as a nutritional aid for the immune system. It is a food, cleanser, energizer and healer all in one.

Did you need to have a certain mindset to achieve success?
Keith: I had to change my mindset before the door to success could be opened. The number-one thing I had to do was focus. In the past, I would move from one project to the next or think that I was good at multi-tasking because I was good at everything, but I completed nothing! Once I removed all of the good intentions out of my mind and life, the doors opened.

Can other individuals reproduce your business model?
Keith: Absolutely! We met an owner of a beverage company, and he told us it was imperative that we read Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It and From Kitchen to Market: Selling Your Gourmet Food Specialty. We left the meeting and went right to the bookstore. We adopted Gerber’s philosophies and began to structure Gorilla Life ( into a Franchise Prototype model. This was such a simple concept. The business needs to be run in such a way as it would be a model for five thousand other businesses just like it.

What ways have you found to be most effective in marketing your product to get sales?
Keith: Direct contact with the customer has proven to be our most effective means to marketing the drink. From farmer’s markets where we directly interface with hundreds of people and give out 500 samples in a day to in-store demonstrations–once people taste the drink, we get the sale.

What tips can you give others who want to embrace their dream but don’t have the confidence or feel they don’t have what it takes to succeed?
Keith: Feel good! Once you feel good about yourself, you can believe that you have the ability to do anything–that nothing is impossible. Whatever your dream is, believe. All you have to do is be confident enough to know that you have everything to gain and nothing to fear! Just do it. Trust in God and have faith.

What resources were most helpful to you when you were starting your business?
Keith: I joined a wonderful program at SBA Women’s Business Center/PACE Business Development Center that has utilized the fact that I am a woman in business to provide invaluable technical assistance as well as grants.

We have read books, taken classes, been involved in business seminars but the most helpful resource has been the people. We have consulted with other entrepreneurs along the way and have tapped into their experiences in business. It is all the same path; the only difference is the product that we each offer.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sparter.Com - How To Make Real Money From Virtual Currencies.

An August report from Parks Associates states that 34 percent of adult internet users play online games every week. That's more than the percentage of adults who watch videos or use social networking sites. Online gaming and virtual worlds are booming as both casual and hard-core gamers gravitate toward internet offerings. With them come virtual economies with goods and currencies that can be turned into real-world cash--which means opportunity for entrepreneurs.

The trading, buying and selling of virtual currency from popular games like World of Warcraft and EverQuest has been a largely underground market--until now. Sparter built a platform where users can trade, buy and sell virtual currencies from online games and virtual worlds. Co-founders Dan Kelly and Boris Putanec officially launched the website in beta form last February and have already made waves in the online gaming community, with sales expected to exceed $250,000 for their first year.

"We did a lot of research," says Kelly, 40. "People clearly saw value in buying and trading virtual goods. We thought there should be a viable long-term solution not only for gamers, but also for the industry." Sparter costs nothing for buyers; the company makes money by taking a commission from sellers on each completed transaction. Sparter supports currency trade for a variety of online games and handles international transactions as well. Gaming-related startups need to keep the international nature of the industry in mind when building their platforms.

Entrepreneurs who are considering getting into different areas of online gaming have to be prepared to adjust to a rapidly changing marketplace. Says Putanec, "The market is still fragmented. Doing the usual startup thing is good, but build an infrastructure that will be able to scale."

While Sparter chose virtual currency exchange as a hot area, there are plenty of fledgling markets for entrepreneurs. "There are other opportunities for people who can build tools or technology to solve some of the problems we are dealing with," says Kelly, who points to cyber-currency fraud and micropayments. He adds that one of the big opportunities for entrepreneurs is informational services, which provide forums, walk-throughs, guides, tips and more for gamers.

Entrepreneurs need to be prepared to talk with the online game developers who create the virtual worlds that fuel this industry, whether it's to get feedback on products or develop potential partnerships. "The game industry is growing and the online-world space is growing," says Kelly. "There is going to be more need for good information and products that help people enjoy their experiences more."

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Monday, January 14, 2008

How To Sell A $5000 Fish

Penns Grove, N.J. (FSB Magazine) -- I am the CEO of Parkway Corp., a Philadelphia company that operates 100 parking facilities in the U.S. My second business, breeding koi, started as a hobby. I bought about 40, to study what makes these beautiful fish so valuable. What is the best body shape? Is that brilliant red pattern going to disappear in six months, leaving the customer with an inferior fish? Many dealers base a koi's price on what it looks like today. We grade them according to what they'll look like over the years.

I launched this operation in southern New Jersey in 2002. Most U.S. koi breeders sell to the mass market; I saw an opportunity to breed better-quality fish for serious hobbyists. Most U.S. dealers fly to Japan and buy everything but tategoi, the highest-quality koi. They are too expensive. A five-inch fish, which will live about 50 years, costs more than $1,400 wholesale.

At Quality Koi ( we sell that same fish for less than $1,000. We breed 40 types of koi and sell 20,000 to 30,000 fish a year, 90% of which we sell wholesale to dealers. Their customers are hobbyists, who pay $15 to $5,000 a fish. Some have won prizes in fish shows against Japanese competitors. I've invested more in the farm than I ever thought I would. We expect to turn an operating profit at the end of this year, with revenues exceeding $500,000.

We've had many surprises. Four years ago thousands of fish disappeared in one day. We tested the water and found nothing wrong. A Japanese consultant visited and told us, "You have to walk the ponds." With each step, you release methane trapped beneath the clay bottom. Unless you release the gas regularly, it can erupt with such force that it disintegrates the fish. After five years we're still learning how to run the farm.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Bet You Did Not Know Amazon.Com Sells THIS

How One Science Teacher Became A Multimillionaire

Five years ago, Steve Spangler was a science teacher outside Denver. These days, his educational toy company, Steve Spangler Science, employs nearly 30 people and he speaks to groups of science teachers across the country.

Mr. Spangler largely credits his blog for his success. Steve Spangler Science recorded more than $5 million in revenues last year.

"One of the secrets," says Mr. Spangler, "is to make sure you're writing headlines and content that are picked up by [content-sharing site] and other bloggers."

He wasn't always a believer in blogs. It was after a video of Mr. Spangler demonstrating the explosive effects of dropping Mentos into Diet Coke spread across the Internet that he realized their power to help his business.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Mr. Spangler about his blog's impact on his business.

WSJ: When did you realize it was time to update

Mr. Spangler: I took the business online in 2002. Every small-business owner thinks as soon as you push the button, [customers will] come – but they don't. I remember a day in 2002 when we did $200 in sales – I was celebrating. We had some people coming to the site, but we weren't converting [into sales].

WSJ: So what did you do?

Mr. Spangler: I found a couple Web sites [that I liked] and they said "Netconcepts" on the bottom. So I contracted [the company] to redesign the Web site. I wanted to find somebody that wasn't in my industry, to not get the same old stuff. I liked what [the Netconcepts LLC founder Stephan Spencer] was saying about showing people you're the expert in that field by what you write. I found out how important it was to have more content, like our experiment library. People started visiting.

WSJ: What was your reaction when Netconcepts suggested you write a blog?

Mr. Spangler: I said, "I don't think I have anything to say." But I developed the blog. A lesson came when Insta-Snow [a powder that turns to snow when water is added] was featured as one of the month's top stupid products on Good Morning America. I thought I should refute it [in the blog], but [Mr. Spencer] said I should blog this as: "It's great to be stupid." So I said on the blog that in fact it was stupid that someone else hadn't thought of it… I watched sales skyrocket.

People didn't know my blog from anyone else's -- but they happened to pick up the headline: "It's Great to be Stupid."

WSJ: What was your next lesson about headlines?

Mr. Spangler: In Sept. 2005, I went on network television to demonstrate the Mentos Diet Coke experiment [where the candy is dropped into the bottle of soda, triggering a geyser]. I had done it before, but this time by accident the news anchor got soaked. She was wearing this beautiful St. John's outfit, and she was absolutely drenched. [The local NBC station] streamed the video, and the number of views on the site – – hit an all time high. It went viral within a couple of weeks and ended up on VH1.

Lots of people grabbed the post from my blog. The headline was: News Anchor Gets Soaked; Mentos Experiment Sets New Record. It wasn't misleading, just tantalizing. Thank goodness I knew how to blog.

WSJ: How has your blog changed site traffic and sales?

Mr. Spangler: These days, the blog gets 15,000 to 20,000 unique visitors each day. Early on, if I got 200 or 300, I was ecstatic. I attribute 13% of overall sales online to the blog. People come in to us through the blog. They're searching on something, and the blog indexes so well on Google.

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Kideo.Com - How To Place Your Kids In Their Favorite Cartoons

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How To Make Your Child Into A Cartoon Character

Children can now watch themselves interact with their favourite cartoon characters, thanks to Kideo's personalized videos. How it works? Customers either upload a photo of their child to, or go to a Lucidiom retail photo kiosk and scan or upload it there. The photo is cropped down to a head shot, which is then attached to a cartoon body. A few days later, a DVD is mailed to the customer’s house, with an animated movie that shows the child alongside popular cartoon icons like Dora the Explorer, Spiderman and the Care Bears. Besides featuring a child’s image, his or her first name is spoken by the characters throughout the video and also appears on the packaging.

Though the DVD’s static head shots lack a level of realism that would make them appealing to older kids, most small children will be delighted to see themselves on screen and to hear their name spoken by the cartoon characters. Kideo isn’t the only company providing personalized media for children, of course. In December, we told you about Flattenme, which produces lushly illustrated, personalized books. Kideo’s videos, priced around USD 39.95, are currently only available in English. Localized versions to follow?

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Armchair Cruisers

Personal transportation is exactly what you make it – for some the term conjures up pictures of Segways, Toyota I-units and electric bicycles, while for others, no less than a few tons of metal and a V8 motor will do.

Armchair Cruisers has added a new niche to the personal transportation market with its offerings – the company’s magnificently upholstered motorized armchairs range in size from single to three seaters and cost from US$3995 for the single seat electric drive model, to US $7995 for the gas-powered V-twin love seat.

They’re not really for venturing too far beyond the house, but they sure do command some presence.

The Cruisers are the brainchild of Daniel Helton who worked slavishly on his dream from a small shop in Demotte Indiana. From humble beginnings his website now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from 92 countries.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Twist On Recipes Sites

Faced with the daily challenge of deciding what to cook for a meal, many consumers fall back on the same, familiar recipes again and again. Cookthink aims to reinvigorate that process with a site that recommends recipes based on what you crave and what ingredients you have on hand.

The heart of Washington, D.C.-based Cookthink, which just launched in beta this past August, is the Recipe Mapping Project, an ambitious effort to index recipes on dozens of characteristics such as what they taste, smell and feel like, and how it makes you feel to eat them. Users of Cookthink can then search by ingredient (pork chop, zucchini), dish type (salad, burrito), cuisine (Italian, Thai) and mood (exuberant, summery), combining up to eight tags to find the perfect meal. Every recipe on the site has been crafted and tested in Cookthink's own kitchens, and the site offers cooking tips and suggestions as well. The Cookthink blog features recipes and daily posts on seasonal ingredients, kitchen tools, techniques and food news, while its Root Source newsletter focuses on a single ingredient each week, examining the best way to buy it, store it, prep it and cook with it.

Membership on the ad-supported site is free, and it sounds like the benefits will be increasing as the site ramps up its personalization features to reflect individual tastes and preferences. Cookthink's founders explain: "We're building Cookthink to get smarter over time, recognizing recipes you save and recipes you pass over, ingredients you prefer, and cuisine types you're interested in learning more about."

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Children Paintings As A Business

Parents who are running out of space on refrigerators and bulletin boards to showcase their children's artwork, but can't stand the thought of parting with their creations, have a new option for preserving their tots' masterpieces. Artimus Art publishes beautiful custom hardcover portfolios of children's artwork and hosts online galleries to share the images with select family and friends—or the whole world.

Part website, part publishing company, Artimus Art offers packages beginning at USD 155, which includes a 55-page book and 70 webhosted images. Customers receive a return postage-paid portfolio for sending in the artwork. Once pieces are scanned and uploaded, customers can begin organizing their images through a simple click-and-drag process on A template guides them to set details such as the font for the book’s cover. As soon as it's ready, the custom book—suitable for displaying on any coffee table or bookshelf—is delivered to the customer’s home. And online galleries never expire, so users can continue to browse and share images for years to come. There's even a public art gallery where aspiring Rembrandts and Monets can publish their work for the world to see.

Customers can also choose to have images converted to oil masterpieces, using a special canvas treatment, for just USD 99. Of course the potential merchandise that might be adorned with images of the artwork is endless. So, entrepreneurs thinking of duplicating and expanding on this concept should take note. Another obvious enhancement would be to let customers scan the art themselves and send it electronically, avoiding the hassle of shipping and alleviating any worries about precious originals getting lost in the mail. And, last but not least, don’t forget the art book and web portfolio market for artists who have long since put away their crayons and fingerpaints. ;-)

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

America's Richest Grease Monkey

He was written off as a juvenile delinquent by the Long Beach Police Department. He has been derided as a second-rate grease monkey by some of his competitors. And depending on whom you talk to, he has been either revered or ridiculed for the length of his rap sheet and the number of tattoos on his biceps.

Lately, however, the accolades have roared past the criticism. These days Jesse James is being hailed as a master marketer and motorcycle maker with an expanding constellation of celebrity clients, including Shaq, Kid Rock, and Keanu Reeves, to name a few. James, 33, is also forging his own stardom as host of the Discovery Channel's prime-time hit Monster Garage. And, oh, yeah, People magazine recently recognized him as one of the sexiest men alive. "I'm just a glorified welder," says James, shrugging his wide shoulders, cracking a smile, and sliding his imposing muscular frame back into his seat. "I build things."

What he's built is impressive. He started West Coast Choppers in 1993 in the corner of his mom's garage. From there he hand-hammered his own designs and slowly crafted a reputation for making exhaust pipes, fenders, and gas tanks that more closely resemble Brancusi sculptures than motorcycle parts. Without investors or bank loans, his company has grown into a 50-person, 18,000-square-foot shop with an estimated $6 million in annual revenues. Alongside his parts business, there's also now a growing West Coast Choppers clothing line.

In a motorcycle market dominated by heavy-metal heavyweights like Honda, Kawasaki, and Harley-Davidson, how does Jesse James do it? Buzz and attitude. He found a niche--handmade custom bikes--and then used television, print, and word of mouth to build a community of enthusiasts who love everything from his bad-ass biker image to his legendary name (he's a descendant of the famous outlaw). "He's in the tradition of entrepreneurs like Coco Chanel and Martha Stewart," says Nancy Koehn, a professor and historian at Harvard Business School. "He's taking an iconoclastic approach to building his brand that's more than just motorcycles. He's selling a lifestyle that anyone can buy into with his shirts and belt buckles."

But it's his sexy bikes that invoke the most lust. Each one is as custom-tailored to its owner as a Savile Row suit, though there are a few hallmarks of his handiwork. Among them: insanely stretched-out front forks and 140-horsepower engines machined from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum. Then there are the .44- and 9mm-magnum shell casings arranged in six-shooter fashion that adorn his gas-cap covers and riser bars--an ode, he says, to his legendary namesake. Even if you can pony up Jesse's $50,000 to $150,000 asking price, you'll still have to wait to mount up. Average build time is about a year. And if you tick Jesse off by trying to bribe your way to the top of the production schedule, well, then, no bike for you. A case in point: Limp Bizkit's front man, Fred Durst. Despite getting a glowing reference from a previous West Coast Choppers client, supermodel and FOJ Tyson Beckford, Durst was turned down. Seems the rock star tried to buy his way to the top of Jesse's production schedule. Durst was politely told to go away. Says James: "I only build bikes for cool people."

Why would anyone pay that kind of money, wait that kind of wait, and put up with that kind of attitude? To be fair, Jesse James's bikes are flat-out sweet rides. That said, so are the custom bikes built by Ron Simms, Arlen Ness, and Roger Bourget. Who? you might ask. That's kind of the point. All three are bike-building legends, and some have been in the business nearly as long as James has been alive. But despite their impeccable reputation in the motorcycle industry, none of them has achieved the kind of fame, infamy, or mass-market appeal that James has. Whatever he may or may not lack in mechanical skills, he's more than made up for with slick marketing.

What sets him apart is an uncanny ability to turn liabilities into assets. The fact is, West Coast Choppers is equipped to build only about 15 custom bikes a year. So turning away customers is sometimes a necessity. As for the company's strict "You've gotta wait your turn" policy, well, that just adds to West Coast Choppers' aura of exclusivity.

What about the blue-collar, alpha-dog attitude and the unmistakable scent of testosterone and motor oil that trails him? That's just part of his chopper charm, says James. It may not fly in corporate America, but if you're trying to push motorcycle gear, attitude like his is what sells. There's the sense that he'd happily swap his company's Iron Cross logo for a middle finger. Of course, hosting his own prime-time hit certainly hasn't hurt his efforts to break away from his competitors. According to Monster Garage producer Thom Beers, "he's a natural star."

Apparently he can thank genetics for that. It's not that his parents were notable troublemakers. His mother is a florist for a funeral parlor, and his dad is an antiques dealer. "Actually he's more like a white Fred Sanford," says James, whose parents divorced when he was 5. "He sells junk at swap meets." To find any legendary crime in his chromosomes, you have to dig through about four generations of DNA. There, he says, you'll find the original Jesse James: his great-great-grandfather's cousin.

As a kid, James certainly tried to live up to his name. "I sure had a fondness for other people's stuff," he says. It was that fondness that put him on a first-name basis with much of the Long Beach police and made him a regular visitor at the California Youth Authority, the state's juvenile-detention agency. "I was always the kid that little old ladies were afraid of," says James. "I had to learn right and wrong the hard way."

He had a much easier time learning to work on motorcycles. It helped that his dad's business was next door to a major Harley-Davidson parts supplier. "I started hanging out there from the time I was 4 years old," says James. It helped, too, that the Long Beach of James's childhood was the kind of Southern California town where kids rode asphalt, not waves. The ride of choice wasn't a surfboard. It was a tricked-out bike or a lowrider that could just as easily bounce down the street as roll down it. "I can still remember the first time I saw a chopper," recalls James. "It was the '70s, and I was in the front seat of my dad's Impala. We were at the 91 Freeway and 55 Interchange going east, and there was this swarm of bikers that flew by just slow enough so that I could see them. They were all on choppers."

It would be a while before James built a chopper of his own. Still, he managed to get in a little practice at the age of 9. That's when he "tweaked" a Schwinn Straight Bar bicycle that his dad had given him. He decked it out with new chrome and pinstriping and then resold it at an antiques show for $850. "It's not that different from what I do now. Except now I get, like, 125 grand each."

Making a living as a custom-bike builder wasn't always a sure thing. For a while James, who stands 6-foot-2 and can bench-press 400 pounds, thought he might become a professional football player. After high school he briefly played college ball as an outside linebacker at the University of California at Riverside. But a knee injury forced him out of the game and into looking for another career. Once out of college he trained to be a professional bodyguard and toured with bands like Soundgarden, Danzig, and Slayer. During his five-year gig as a "brick wall," he learned something about the nature of celebrity. "It doesn't last," admits James. "But you have to respect it when it's around."

James eventually left bodyguarding much the same way he did football--by accident. During a concert in Detroit, James fell from the stage and dislocated his elbow. While on the mend at home, he decided to return to bike building, something he'd done between bodyguard stints. So he showed up on the doorstep of the industry's leading metalworkers and bike builders, including fabricator Fay Butler, custom-wheel designer Boyd Coddington, and Ron Simms, owner of Simms Custom Cycles. "He came here and said, 'I wanna be just like you guys,'" remembers Simms, happy to show James the ropes and throw a few fender orders his way.

From the start, Jesse James the entrepreneur was eager, ambitious, and very optimistic. Even before he'd set up a real shop, he had a batch of West Coast Choppers T-shirts made and began passing them out. James thought it was a cool marketing idea, but his buddies thought otherwise. "All my friends were like, 'What the f--- is this? You ain't gonna have no shop,' " recalls Jesse. "I didn't think I'd ever have a shop like I have now. But I had dreams."

In the beginning he also had a lot of headaches. While James is an artist with steel and a savvy marketer, he is by his own reckoning a "piss-poor accountant." Unwilling to take out a loan from either an investor or a bank, James operated pretty much from hand-built bike to mouth. "I'd finish a bike and use the money to buy more tools to build more bikes," says James. Since just one of his motorcycles can take anywhere from 500 to 800 man-hours, profits didn't come easy. Complicating the books was the fact that West Coast Choppers constantly owed money, largely because its customers owed it money. "We were running a revolving cash register," says James. "It blew."

It was a period that left an indelible mark. "It seems like money, it controls everything," says James, who has a big fat Benjamin tattooed across the width of his back. "At the time it seemed like there was, like, a half-million dollars floating around out there, but none of it was coming in." When the usual collection letters didn't work, he had the words PAY UP SUCKER! tattooed onto his palm.

Keeping track of the company's red ink was James's first wife, Carla. "That was a big mistake," says James, who shares custody of their young son and daughter. "I'm a gambler, and I'll bet the farm to do new things. She wasn't into it." The couple's breakup was difficult not only personally but also professionally, since Carla largely ran West Coast Choppers' back office until early 2001. (For more on this topic, see "Is Your Business Ruining Your Marriage?" on page 63.) An outside management company was quickly hired to handle the company's growing financials.

It was a smart move, because business was about to amp up. In 2001 the Discovery Channel aired Motorcycle Mania I and II, and both programs centered on James and West Coast Choppers. "He was our top pick," says Beers, who produced those films before casting James as host of Monster Garage, a truly odd automotive show in which select mechanics can transform perfectly fine Porsches into golf-ball retrievers, or Chevys into Zambonis. Beers had considered other bike builders to profile and act as lead Frankenstein for Monster Garage's fraternity of gearheads. But they were history the moment he walked into James's shop. "It was like I'd died and gone to boy heaven," says Beers.

Indeed, the place is a shrine to machines and machismo. There are, of course, the requisite cars and bikes that look fast even while parked. Placed strategically on each is a not-so-customer-friendly message: PLEASE DO NOT SIT ON OR TOUCH, A------. Minding the shop are a pair of pit bulls (Cisco and Noodles) and a couple of pet sharks swimming ceaselessly in the gift shop's 700-gallon tank. "And then there was Jesse. He was handsome and articulate, and already had a small cult following," says Beers.

That following grew by 7 feet and 1 inch after the Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal caught Motorcycle Mania I on TV. Impressed by what he saw, he called James and asked him to build a chopper customized to his somewhat mind-boggling measurements. Fitting and engineering something strong enough and cool enough for a client weighing in at 338 pounds, with an inseam of 49 inches, was a challenge. The result is an 11 1/2-foot-long purple-and-gold aircraft carrier of a bike outfitted with custom footpegs designed to fit Shaq's size-24 feet and brake levers to fit his enormous hands. The bike earned James about $150,000 and priceless publicity.

For those who can ill afford a Jesse James bike, take heart. Buying into his club and into James's elite brand of cool is possible. If you're a biker, you can get a piece of Jesse by ordering a set of his Hell Bent exhaust pipes, his Gunslinger fender, or an Iron Cross-shaped air cleaner. If you're not a biker but just want to look like one, a growing line of West Coast Choppers clothing can help you suit up. While his garage can grind out only a limited number of bikes each year, partnerships with select parts fabricators and apparel distributors are helping create new business. "Teaming up with partners is helping us grow faster than we could normally," says Renay Palome, James's office manager and consigliere. The key is making sure they adhere to her boss's strict standards. If vendors can't hack it, she says, "he'll cut them off, neat and clean."

At the moment West Coast Choppers' clothing line is the company's hottest seller. The sale of T-shirts, belt buckles, sneakers, and kids' clothes now represents 60% of the company's revenues. What's fueling that? In a word, television. Monster Garage, which launched last summer, is the Discovery Channel's top-rated new series. The show, combined with regular re-broadcasts of Motorcycle Mania I and II, is earning James legions of new fans and customers.

Not everyone's an admirer. In the bike-building biz there are as many petty jealousies, cliques, and rivalries as there are in a high school cafeteria. The hottest dish du jour is Jesse James. "Television made him," says Simms, who describes himself as a former friend and mentor. "And it's changed him too." Simms, like a few of the other bike builders and trade experts we spoke to, think James's marketing skills are better than his mechanical aptitude. James's response: Whatever.

For now, he says, there are better things to pay attention to. He's busy growing his business and living his life. He's filming Motorcycle Mania III and shooting new episodes of his TV show. There's also his new marriage to Janine Lindemulder, a former adult-film star with credits like Blonde Justice and Where the Boys Aren't 13.

What happens if the buzz dies down? Or if cameras and TV fans turn away? What then? Says James: "I'll go back to building bikes. Remember, I'm just a glorified welder."

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How To Get 6 Bottles Of Wine For Free

Monday, January 07, 2008

How To Get 6 Bottles Of Wine And A $135 Wine Opener Absolutely Free

4 Seasons specializes in selling mostly exclusive wines produced by small, boutique wineries that offer excellent quality at attractive prices. Our wine buyers’ travels in the past years include extended trips to France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, S. Africa, and, of course, California. Only by going directly to the source, meeting and talking to the people behind the products, are we able to find wines that satisfy our quality demands. This takes a lot of work 14 years of selling wines, our satisfied customers are certainly testimony to the success of this approach.

Today, people are looking for something different… wines that are not offered anywhere else (over 90% of our products are EXCLUSIVE to our programs) and can stand up to the world’s best, often at a fraction of the cost.

At an average of only $10 per bottle, this is the best value in the wine world today! The full retail value of our wines often averages twice that amount. However, if you use this coupon, you can get 6 free bottles of wines along with a free wine opener with a table stand that alone is worth $135! Offer expires with coming week.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Etsy.Com - "We want to help people make a living making things."

It's an overcast December afternoon, but the Pop Up Community Center in downtown Manhattan is buzzing. Spread along a white wooden table, a half-dozen people are ironing plastic bags together to create a fabric made of recycled material. Others are bent over sewing machines, turning the plastic into colorful tote bags, wallets, even pillows. Occasionally they turn for advice to Anda Lewis Corrie, who is leading this workshop on transforming old plastic bags into useful objects.

Just another community service project? Not quite. Corrie works in marketing for Etsy, an online marketplace where people sell their own handmade crafts. And this workshop is all about sharing the do-it-yourself (DIY) experience—an impulse that Etsy and a number of other companies, large and small, have converted into a sizable business. Etsy won't reveal its revenues but expects to turn a profit early next year on what it takes in from a 20 cents-per-item listing fee and the 3.5% commission on goods that merchants sell through the site. In 2007 those merchants sold 1.92 million items worth a total of $26.5 million, according to Etsy. The 2 1/2-year-old startup produces online videos, hosts virtual town halls, and runs workshops with the goal of persuading more folks to teach each other to create and sell crafts on Etsy. Since it's a sort of eBay for handmade crafts, the more people who sign up to sell their handiworks on the site, the better the company does. Says Corrie: "We want to help people make a living making things."

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

How To Make Money From 'Wants'

Along the lines of Million Dollar Homepage in the “that’ll never work… will it?” category, 2007 saw the successful launch of Wants For Sale. The innovative project by New York artist Justin Gignac and his girlfriend Christine might just be my favorite idea of the year.

The premise is simple: Justin and Christine paint pictures of things they want and then sell them for the exact price of the item. The things they’re after range from $12.70 for an order of buffalo wings to $1,056.07 for a single month’s rent check. My favorite: $1 million for “financial security.”

The Wants For Sale project has done surprisingly well since it debuted earlier this year. The couple has so far collected a Nintendo Wii, some Xbox games, a fancy sushi dinner at trendy New York hot spot Nobu, some clothes, a gym membership, and a handful of food items, among other things. They’re still waiting for someone to fund the iPhone they covet.

The idea is innovative, and one that is likely to only work once. But of course it wouldn’t have worked at all if Justin and Christine didn’t have the primo illustration skills that they possess (they also do commissioned paintings of things other people want).

Wants for Sale was so successful that it even gave birth to a spin-off project, Needs for Sale, which is the same basic premise, but with all proceeds going to charity. Between the two sites, the artists have raised over $2800 for various charitable causes this year.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Affiliate Marketing Niches That Pay - Adult Dating

Hi there, boys and girls. If you are struggling with affiliate marketing, you gonna love this series, because in it I honestly tell you which affiliate niches generate most money for me.

Adult dating is hot, hot, hot. You know that sex sells, don't you? Why do people visit dating websites? To get some, naturally. Just for the record, adult dating sites are not pornsites, they are absolutely legal, don't infect users with viruses or malware, don't get involved with credit card scams and have no search engine restrictions.

The best thing about adult dating websites that a great majority of them pay you for free registration - not membership sale. It means that conversions are a lot higher, when compared with sites that actually charge membership fees.

How do you get traffic? I use two techniques. The first one is the "sexfacts method". Do research, find some interesting facts and use them as anchors for your affiliate links. Did you know, for example, that 48% of women admitted to faking an orgasm? Or that Eastern Europeans (Hungarians, Bulgarians, and Russians) are the most sexually active?

You get the picture, right? (Please note that this approach doesn't work well with mobile bases services, like this one)

The second approach is PPC based. A word of warning, while it may sound logical, do not bid on terms "dating", "adult dating", "sexy personals", etc. They are way overpriced and you most likely will lose money. Instead, bid on generic terms that may be of interest to men or women and try to get creative with your ad text. Here are some examples:

I am lonely,
I am very horny, and I live
20 miles away from here.


99% Of Women Would Never
Agree To A One Night Stand.
I Am In The 1% Zone.

This approach works great with Google's context side (AdSense).

If you'd like to know my personal story about how I got into affiliate marketing, please read this article.

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