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Monday, March 9, 2009

Reader Mail #85

Via Google Analytics, I noticed someone Googling for "F**k the Fed", and found this YouTube video. It's a music video criticizing the Federal Reserve.

If enough amateur/independent artists start criticizing the Federal Reserve, then eventually some mainstream media outlet will have to start carrying that message.



I liked this article on the "Gig economy". A degree from a good college used to be a guarantee of a stable, high-paying job. Now, middle class workers find themselves going from one short-term job to another, or holding multiple part-time jobs.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. It's the "cute cat" theory of the Internet.

Many user-generated content websites allow people to share pictures of cute cats. Those tools also can be used for political activism. The bad guys can't block the political activists without also blocking the cute cats. For example, when the bad guys block YouTube for inappropriate political speech, they're pissing off nearly everyone in the country, and turning nearly everyone into political activists.



This post, via Hacker News, had an interesting bit about "aux.c" and a weird quirk about DOS/Windows filenames. In Windows, certain filenames have a special meaning. I don't know if this still applies in Vista.



I liked this post by Mike Gogulski. He's describing his experiences at a wage slave job. Paraphrasing the article.

Mike (speaking to the CEO): The CTO is an idiot. He's outsourcing all our technical work. A technology company should not outsource its core competency.
CEO: What are you suggesting I do? Fire the CTO and replace him with you?
Mike: If asked, I'd do a decent job. I certainly could do better than that schmuck.
CEO: You have no experience running a big corporation. You're unqualified to be CTO.
Mike: Why is the current CTO qualified?
CEO: He's the CTO and you're not. Therefore, he's qualified and you aren't.

In a wage slave job, saying "X is doing a lousy job!" usually falls on deaf ears, especially if X outranks you. You just seem like a whiner.

The problem is that Mike Gogulski can't say "Fine! **** you! I'll start my own ISP business!" State restriction of the market means that productive workers can't easily start competing businesses.

Current business owners think they're geniuses, when they're merely receiving massive State subsidies.

The CTO had the only business skill that actually matters. He convinced the CEO that he was doing a good job. Whether the CTO does a brilliant job or an incompetent one is irrelevant. The business is shielded by the State from competition, so it's irrelevant if it's run well or poorly.

Mike Gogulski linked to this YouTube video. Jan Helfeld interviewed a terrorist who was saying "The more debt you have, the wealthier you are." Jan Helfeld has some excellent interviews with terrorists. My favorite is the one with Harry Reid over "The income tax is voluntary!"

I wouldn't waste time debating terrorists.

I also like the way that the terrorists demand to confiscate the videotape of the interview after agreeing to give it. That's happened to Jan Helfeld more than once.

I don't understand how Jan Helfeld manages to schedule interviews with terrorists. Usually, they only give interviews to people who ask the "right" questions. I thought that he would get blacklisted very quickly.



I was concerned by this post by Db0 on his WordPress blog getting cracked again.

I'm starting to get worried about having problems with WordPress when I leave Blogger. David Z and Barry B also had problems.

I'm a software engineer, and should be able to handle it. It's worth it to get away from ****ing Blogger.

Theoretically, someone could hack into my gmail account and then I'm SOL.



I liked this post, via Mike Gogulski's shared items. Normally, I don't follow Arthur Silber. He writes a large volume of mediocre material.

Occasionally, some prominent politician or State bureaucrat crosses the line and is too flagrantly corrupt. An example must be made of him.

This is a common evil fnord. "State agent X did something wrong and was caught. Therefore, all State employees are saints. If they did something wrong, they would also have been punished."

There was another interesting bit. When a politician loses an election, he gives a grateful concession speech to his opponent. In 2000 and 2004, Gore and Kerry didn't go around saying "This election is illegitimate!" That would have wrecked their gravy train. If Gore and Kerry went around saying "President Bush's authority is not legitimate!", then people would have started questioning the legitimacy of the State in general.

Normally, members of the parasite class are looking for ways to backstab each other and loot and pillage. However, there's one thing that always unites parasites in cooperation. When confronted with an honest person, parasites will temporarily set aside their differences to eliminate a skilled honest person.



I liked this post on Kung Fu Monkey's blog about "Unbeatable Banzuke".

I heard that show was canceled in Japan, because someone got injured in a stunt. Is that true?

I'd like to see a series like that in the USA. Compare "Ninja Warrior" or "Unbeatable Banzuke" to "American Gladiators". There's no comparison.

I like the sportsmanship of those two shows. You're playing against the obstacle course, and not your fellow competitors. Therefore, eliminated contestants root for everyone else.

I also like the way they make the challenges "almost impossible". If someone wins, they change the course and make it harder.

The US implementation of "Hole in the Wall" sucked. It's like the producers intentionally urinated on a neat show concept.



This article, via Hacker News, had an interesting quote from Warren Buffet.

Berkshire Hathaway has an AAA credit rating. However, it has a higher cost of borrowing than corporations that received Federal bailout money. In effect, Berkshire Hathaway is being penalized because they were prudently managed.

The Federal bailout/stimulus steals from *ALL* productive workers. When the State prints and spends new money, insiders steal from people who have to actually work to earn their money.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. It's an excerpt from "Atlas Shrugged". It's about "Is money evil?" or "Are productive workers evil?"

There's confusion between money and wealth. With fiat money, money is pieces of paper. Wealth is useful stuff. When the parasite class prints more paper, they steal real goods from people who actually produce them.

Money is not evil. State regulation of money is evil.

Seeking profit is not evil. Seeking profit combined with State violence is evil.



This article on the Wall Street Journal, via Hacker News, had an interesting bit.

The lousier your business is, the more likely you are to accept government money. The more attractive your business is, the less likely you are to accept government money.

By definition, the government only invests in businesses that don't otherwise deserve capital.



After a long period of inactivity, the Freedom Symposium is active again. This post was interesting.

Most people plan their lives around avoiding bad people.

For example, an employer had a bad experience with an employee. Now, they're aggressively making sure that they don't hire anyone like them.

Suppose you had a bad experience while dating someone. Now, by default, you assume all potential dating partners are also potential abusers.

Most laws are designed around "worst-case" scenarios. Child pornography laws mean that *ALL* naked pictures of people under the age of consent are illegal. Then, a 16 year old girl who takes a picture of herself and gives it to her boyfriend is a criminal. The law was designed to catch abusive people, but it winds up catching innocent people.

As another example, anti-money-laundering laws are used to catch drug dealers. (Selling drugs isn't a crime, according to natural law.) These anti-money-laundering laws are then used to bust legitimate businesses like E-Gold.

Once you can get a group of "good" humans without *ANY* abusive people, it becomes a positively reinforcing feedback cycles. Due to corrupt State law, nearly any on-the-books business has a certain number of people filling parasite roles. If you want to start a business completely free of abusive people, it should be agorist-style off-the-books.



This YouTube video was amusing. It's about the grammar Nazis.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. Some musicians use a "click track" for their song. Instead of a human drummer, they use a computer-generated drummer. This leads to music sounding sterile. This also is inferior to a skilled human drummer, who can intentionally vary the tempo during the song.

That article did a statistical analysis of songs to determine if a "click track" was used.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. Via cryptography, it's possible to conduct an online election where people can vote anonymously *AND* anyone can verify the election results. I don't understand how that works.

It is amusing to see "It's possible to design tamper-proof electronic voting systems." Of course the bad guys are going to choose a tamper-prone voting system. That's the whole point of an election!

Even if it were possible to conduct a fair anonymous election, elections aren't a valid means for providing the legitimacy of the government. "Voting legitimizes the State!" has an implicit assumption "The majority may steal from the minority."



This article by Zed Shaw had an interesting point.

According to California law, if an employee develops something while not at work, his employer has zero claim to it.

According to NY law, if I have a wage slave job and develop something while at home, my employer can claim it belongs to them. For example, suppose I get a wage slave software engineer job. I write unrelated PHP code and put it on my website. Can my employer later claim it belongs to them?

The problem is "you only get sued if you're successful". If I start a website and it's a flop, nobody cares. If I start a website and it's successful, then I'm open to the risk of a lawsuit. My wage slave employer has a free call option to sue me if my side business is a success.



I liked this article on the NY Times, via Hacker News. In medical school, professors are also on the payroll of drug companies as consultants. One professor was hyping an anti-cholesterol drug as amazing. When students asked about side-effects, the professor reacted with hostility. The professor had a conflict of interest, because he was a consultant for the drug company that manufactured the drug.

Most scientists are "captured regulators", especially in the area of medicine. They are advocates for drug companies, and not true scientists. Due to "peer review", a researcher who challenged "conventional wisdom" would not receive any research grants. For example, suppose a researcher tried seriously investigating "Are anti-psychotic drugs better than placebo, over a 5-10+ year period?" He would be unable to get a research grant and would be forfeiting his career.



This article, via Hacker News, was amusing. Google has a much-hyped "App Engine", which allows people to build applications that run on Google's servers. According to that article, Google ****ed everyone over.

This illustrates the folly of building something that's dependent on someone else's product. I never understood the attraction of writing for iPhone/FaceBook/Android/etc., because the arbitrary decisions of someone else can **** you over.



This article on the Daily Kos pointed out something obvious/interesting. Bank executives are interested in lining their pockets, instead of maximizing the interests of the bank shareholders.

About 20 years ago, most big banks were privately owned or were partnerships. With their own money on the line, they were prudent to not take big risks.

Recently, most/all banks converted to publicly traded corporations. Suppose you have the following trading system. You make $100M 95% of the time, and you lose $1T 5% of the time. When playing with other people's money, that's a good deal!

With the talk of "OMFG! We can't nationalize the banks!", the executives aren't even being punished for their mistakes. They get to keep their jobs. They awarded themselves huge bonuses for 2008, even when they were losing money.

A central bank is the functional equivalent of a nationalized banking system. It's ridiculous to criticize the "failure of the free market banking system". A central bank is a price fixing cartel. Central banks and free markets are opposite ideas.



This post on Debt Prison had a bit about the French Revolution.

I've researched Napoleon somewhat, and discovered that he was a great hero, rather than a fruitcake as generally portrayed.

Napoleon (or one of his advisers) figured out that the bankers had ****ed over the general population. Napoleon explained to people how the bankers had ****ed them. That's the reason people were so eager to join him.

Napoleon kicked the bankers out of France. They had branches elsewhere in Europe. Then, the bankers funded the rest of Europe in a war against Napoleon. Normally, the bankers fund both sides of a war. In Napoleon's case, only one side received funding.

Then, historians portray Napoleon as a nutjob, rather than an advocate for individual freedom.

Fiat money works great with empire-building. Fiat money allows wars to be funded via an increase in the inflation tax, rather than via outright tax hikes.



This article had an interesting interpretation of getting banned by AdSense.

Google: We're cutting you off. Have a nice day!
Me: Wh-- what? Who? Why would you do that?
Google: We don't know. Do you have any relevant information which could explain our unilateral and arbitrary action?
Me: Yeah. I got your relevant information right here!

The problem is not just that Google is being a ****. The problem is that Google has a State-endorsed near-monopoly of online advertising.

This appears to be a PR disaster for Google. There are a *LOT* of disgruntled legitimate AdSense users out there.

I now have a new policy. Whenever I see a page with Google ads on it, I'm clicking on *ALL* of them, just to **** over Google's business model. (I really should write a FireFox extension that does that for me automatically.)

(BTW, this is *NOT* a violation of the non-Aggression principle. Google ****ed me over. I have a valid complaint against them. Due to Google's near-monopoly status of the online ad market, the correct recourse is to do things that ruin Google's monopoly. I really should move from Blogger.)



This page had a good list of AdSense alternatives. There's a complicated list of choices.

BTW, for those of you who have blogs with AdSense, and I'm a regular reader of your blog, I'm now going on an AdSense clicking spree. Either Google will credit you with a lot of earnings, or you will also get kicked out of AdSense.

I'm venting my Google frustration by clicking on every Google ad I see. (Google gets paid based on clickthroughs, so this pollutes their data.) I should write a Firefox extension or PHP script that does that for me automatically.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "February AdSense Summary":

I always get paid within 25 days of the end of the previous month. For example, I went over $100 in January. I got my direct deposit February 22. I think the month and a half is just how ling you have to wait before asking questions about a missing payment.

I never got paid at all, so I'll never know.

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "February AdSense Summary":

FSK,

I too had a slight drop in february, but it's three days shorther than January and that pretty much made the difference.

I had a drop in eCPM, drop in earnings, despite higher traffic. It's hard to be sure.

That's the end of my AdSense experiment. I'm hoping to get at least a page eCPM of $2 from competing networks, which should be doable.

I doubt all my ad clickthroughs were invalid/fraudulent, so Google got to profit at my expense (for 2 months).

It seems wrong that Google is holding me accountable for what my readers do. If one of my readers clicked on a bunch of AdSense ads, that's sufficient to get me banned from AdSense.

I'm eager to move my blog off Blogger and decrease my dependence on Google.



eagledove9 has left a new comment on your post "Aaaaaaaaaaa's Law":

Didn't I tell you to stop trying to rupture my appendix (with laughter)?

You're free to stop reading.

I agree with you on this. But it doesn't just start with AAAAAAAAAA, they go into the numbers or even punctuation sometimes and start their names with 1111111111, or ~~~~~~~~, or whatever characters are allowed. However, Aaaaaaaaaaa's law is much easier to say than ~~~~~~~~~~~`'s law. Aaaaaaaaa gets the point across and people know exactly what you mean.

I knew that "A's law" would come before "Aaaaaaaaaaa's law" in an alphabetical listing, but I decided to ignore that point.

This phenomenon bothers me on web pages where you have to scroll through things in a linear way, and have no other choice for how to find somebody. You always wonder if the ONE WONDERFUL THING THAT YOU'VE BEEN SEARCHING FOR ALL YOUR LIFE starts with the letter Z, and the only way to find it is to click sequentially through 10,000 "next page" links to reach the end.

One rule is that, if I don't find something interesting in the first minute or two, I stop browsing that site. I'm getting good at quickly recognizing "This site is lousy!" just from a brief inspection.

I ALWAYS notice this, so the first priority, every time I'm looking through those types of web pages, is finding a way to hack the URL so that you can jump ahead to results much further on, and avoid clicking 'next, next, next...' But sometimes, you don't know where the end is, and you jump too far, and have to try again to find out where the end of the list is. Or you don't go far enough.

By that time, you are asking yourself if this is really necessary, and if something beginning with Aaaaaaaaaa might be just fine after all for your purposes. And you've wasted so much time just jumping from place to place and hacking URLs that you haven't even discovered yet whether the answer to life, the universe, and everything is written somewhere in the "Z" listings.
A better solution is to avoid poorly-organized websites.

I was just pointing out the obvious flaw in an alphabetical listing. People can "game" it by picking names near the beginning of the alphabet. (or ASCII, if you allow any characters)



fritz has left a new comment on your post "The 27 Ninjas Argument":

The answer is simple to the 27 ninja argument. It actually happened to me last week. Walking alone down a back ally, I was suddenly surrounded by 27 Ninjas...I look around, seeing no alternative, I did what any other red blooded American would have done.
I reached into my pocket and grabbed my supper hero ring, Placed it on my finger, And kicked butt.. Needless to say,,,, They didn't stand a chance.

here is a nice joke I like to play on new people at my work,,its called the hopeless situation.

They find out that I was in the army, They ask if I was in the war. I say of course , They ask what it was like. I say I'm not sure I want to talk about it.. They say Come on please,,And of course I respond , well just this once.

It was when I was in Iraq, with my platoon. We were sent to engage a small force right out side of Faluja . Right before we made contact we were ambushed. The ambush was heavy and our platoon made for cover in a clump of trees. As we ran for cover, men from my platoon were dropping all around me. After making the group of trees there wasn't many of us left. We engaged in a heavy fire fight with the enemy.The small group of remaining defenders was dwindling fast. When I suddenly realized I was the last remaining soldier.

I pause the story, And look concerned. Wait for them to ask me to continue.

Well I say, dead bodies all around me, I'm the last one of my platoon left. I look to the right of me and see 10 rebels behind a wall, All pointing their AK's in my direction. In front is approaching 3 rebel pick up trucks with machine gun mounts. To the left I see 5 rebel snipers on a roof, all trained in my direction. And when I turn to run I discover a whole platoon of rebel forces taking up position behind me.

I pause the story and wait, Looking concerned, I now need someone to ask me..Than what happened.

as soon as someone asks me.. than what happened.

I look at them with a straight face and say,,,,Well I died of course,,,,Than break out in uncontrolled laughter. If delivered correctly it can be a gut buster....

When facing a totally hopeless situation,,Just die..

That's an interesting story.

I disagree with "Fighting the State is hopeless." By yourself, it's hopeless, but not if you can find other people to help.



Chrono has left a new comment on your post "Federal Reserve Thoughts - Why it Should be Abolis...":

FSK,

I would reccomend reviewing and editing this post, when you have the time.

I do not have the time to list the statements in this article that you might not agree with, but there are statements in this post I would expect you to rebutt as 'pro state trolling' if someone else posted them.

Oh, boy! That's an old post. That's back when I was into Ron Paul's campaign and hadn't fully understood agorism yet.

That article was a copy of what I wrote for the Ron Paul wiki, when I realized that site might not last and that my posts were being destroyed by wikivandals.

It's a bit unfair to criticize stuff I wrote two years ago. I was planning to update all my "classic" posts when I got my own domain. Now that I got ****ed over by AdSense, I don't know when that's going to happen.

Looking at that article, the points I disagree with now are:

1. The Federal Reserve is Unconstitutional.

The legal/Consitutional argument against the Federal Reserve is irrelevant. The moral argument is the correct one.

2. It might be possible to reform/fix the financial system.

I've given up on that. Too many people profit from the current corrupt system. Complete collapse is more likely than reform.

There were some other points that I wouldn't bother mentioning if I did a rewrite.

I'll put an "updated" version in my draft queue. I'm more interested in making updated versions, than deleting older posts. It's interesting to see how my thinking and writing have improved over time.



This article was interesting. Google terminated his AdSense account while he had a balance of $721. He sued Google in small claims court and won.

He was able to recover his $721. He wasn't able to get an injunction ordering Google to re-accept him into the AdSene program. It isn't worth my time to sue to recover $85 (the balance in my AdSense account when Google terminated it).

He suggests "Are AdSense and AdWords two sides of the same scam? Is Google scamming AdWords advertisers? Is Google scamming AdSense publishers?" If you're an AdSense publisher, you're 100% reliant on Google to honestly report revenue totals. Even if I track clicks myself by wrapping a script around the AdSense widget (a violation of the TOS), Google still determines how much each click is worth. Nothing prevents Google from crediting me $0.10 while charging the publisher $1.00.

If you're an AdWords advertiser, how do you know that the clicks were genuine? Google could easily simulate fake AdWords clickthroughs as easily as there could be geniune ones. There could be disgruntled ex-AdSense publishers like me who are trying to pollute the network with fake click data.

I'm surprised some lawyer hasn't jumped on "file class action lawsuit against Google for unfairly terminating AdSense users". Most complaints are "Google terminated me as I got close to $100!", which seems fraudulent.

Another site mentioned an interesting loophole for the AdSense ban. If your site is incorporated, your corporation can get an AdSense account even if you've been banned as an individual. The corporation is applying for AdSense and not you individually. That isn't worth the hassle for me.



This page had an interesting comment regarding potential AdSense abuse.

One of the worst parts is that it seems there's a very logical way of fixing the invalid clicks problem without scamming the webmaster -- just only count the first 1 or 2 clicks from any given IP address (assuming that's what they're monitoring to judge invalid clicks). But I guess it'd be against Google's own self interest to fix a system that they're (unfairly) making a good deal of money on.

Google probably could solve 99%+ of their "fraudulent clicks" problem by filtering out multiple clicks from the same IP address, or multiple clicks in a short period of time.

The fact that Google has not implemented this obvious fix shows incompetence or deliberate fraud.

I'm pretty sure that some of my readers' ad clickthroughs were genuine. It would be better for Google to filter out the clickthroughs they claim are invalid, rather than banning people.



Chrono has left a new comment on your post "The Stubborn Clueless Fool Fallacy":

I am glad this is on your 'Best of FSK' list. Absolutely one of your best posts.

At the time, I thought it was an excellent post. I'm surprised it didn't generate more traffic.

David Z is falling victim to this fallacy. He's wasting time debating idiots.

Recapping, the point is that someone is persistently spouting a wrong position, such as "Having a central bank is desirable! Without a powerful State, greedy people would ruin everything!" Someone persistently reciting incoherent gibberish can give the superficial impression that they are in fact correct.

As an intellectual trap, you can waste time debating idiots.

There may be deliberate spies planted to disrupt discussion. A handful of loud activists at a school board meeting can have a disproportionate affect on the outcome, even if the vast majority disagrees with them but can't be bothered to waste the time. This makes it profitable to hire people to be loud activists for your cause. The spies don't need to be directly hired by the State. They can also be hired by PR firms that represent the interests of corporate executives.

Chrono has left a new comment on your post "The Stubborn Clueless Fool Fallacy":

I am glad this is on your 'Best of FSK' list. Absolutely one of your best posts.

(not sure if the 1st submission went through, if so, please delete this second comment)
I published it anyway, to make a point.

I have "comment moderation" enabled. Comments don't appear on my blog until I manually approve them.

This is a defect in Blogger's comment engine. Blogger should send you an E-Mail acknowledging that the comment was queued for moderation. WordPress also has that defect, but I can write my own extension to fix that.

Blogger is such a lousy blogging platform. I should just spend the $20/month and buy a Linode, even if I don't have the advertising revenue to justify it. There's no need to rush into that. Blogger sucks, but it's good enough for now. I'm going to incur a moving cost whenever I move.

I'm also thinking I should run my own mailserver, so I'm not dependent on gmail. The only problem is finding a program with an anti-spam filter as good as Google's.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - .com or .net":

Why not .org? Regardless of if you're making money off of advertising, the goal of your blog at this point is to educate the masses regarding the benefits of agorism and the evils of the state, "taxation is theft", and so on, no?

.org, in my opinion at least, tells me "this site has a higher calling, and their mission drives them more than money does". No problem making money, just that different sites have different goals.

I was thinking ".net" would be more appropriate. If the ".net" version of my proposed domain is taken, then maybe I should take ".org".

I hadn't seriously considered ".org". I guess you're right that ".com" sounds to corporate.

I want to be a for-profit business, just not in the usual wage slave manner.

I just noticed that craigslist is a ".org". That's a good argument. Craigslist owns all the variations (.net, .com). They redirect back to the .org version.

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - .com or .net":

FSK,

get the .com version and then buy up the rest as well like .net .org .tv .biz.

Some company is sitting on the .com version of my site but I've got the next 4 most likely bought and redirected to my page. It really doesn't matter for me because nearly all of my traffic comes from google search engine. com or net it doesn't matter to google. But try and get all of them if you can because if you are successful someone elsee will buy up the .com and make a mirror site. I need to contact the company that owns the .com version but I'd be willing to be they want thousands and they can keeep it. I don't need it anyway with all traffic coming from search engine.

I doubt that someone would make a .com that's an exact mirror.

That's a lot of money to outlay, if I get all the variants of my site. Even more if I try typosquatting.

My regular readers should be smart enough to go to the "correct" version of my site.

I just realized a good way to pick domain names. Do a google search for your proposed site name. Look up the PageRank of the #1 search result. If it's 3 or less, then you know that your site will be the #1 search result for your site name. (My current blog has a PageRank of 4. After 3-6 months, my new site should also achieve a 4.)

I read another interesting tip. If you're planning to put multiple things on the same site, use subfolders instead of subdomains. In other words, instead of having blog.fsknewdomain.com and forum.fsknewdomain.com, I'm better off with fsknewdomain.com/blog and fsknewdomain.com/forum. For the former, PageRank for one does not flow to the others. For the latter, they all rank together.

gilliganscorner has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - .com or .net":

Maybe ".net" would be more appropriate than ".com", considering the nature of my blog?

Heh. For everything you have taught your readers, how about .edu? ;) Oh wait. That is a State owned domain. Oh...the irony.

Maybe there should be a ".brainwashing" domain.

David Z has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - .com or .net":

I agree with barry b. With the proliferation of teh interwebz, a .net domain is no longer viewed as suboptimal by most people, as it might've been back in 2001.

Considering that you can buy the other domains (.biz, .org) for a few dollars a year, you might as well snatch up as many others as you can.

I'd go with your first choice in name, even if you can't get a preferred ".com" top-level domain. As long as you keep putting out good content, it'll speak for itself.

It's not worth it to spend the extra money buying all the variants of my domain. Let the squatters have their giggles.

Would I rather have a hamburger, or the .biz variant of my domain? I'd rather have the hamburger.

My regular readers should be smart enough to go to the "right" version of my site and not be fooled by squatters. Any search traffic is gravy.

In Google Analytics, I noticed something weird. Most of the search queries have "fsk" as one of the keywords. In other words, people use Google as their bookmarking tool. As long as the competing pages for my site name have lousy pagerank, I should be the #1 result for my new site name.

I have a better name in mind than "fskrealityguide.com". I want something that someone who's never read my blog before can remember. I'm not telling until I register it, because I don't want someone squatting it.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - .com or .net":

Many of mine are even domains like .info...but I am not interested at all in branding or type-ins. All organic search. For what I do, I'd rather have a keyword domain with a .net or .info or whatever than have brandable .com. For what you are doing, I would get the best available .com.

Why would you want to buy multiple domains? Wouldn't you be better off having only one domain, so that they share the same PageRank and SERP.

For example, I've considered starting a blog on Contract Bridge, which I used to play but haven't recently. I'd rather have "fsknewdomain.net/bridge" instead of registering a separate domain for it.

I always use Domain Tools to check my domains and I have never had a problem with domain squatting after I check. Some of my ideas get taken, but only when I fail to act fast enough. Since I am finding good names, I can't be surprised if there is some competition for them. Though I am surprised how often I can find a keyword domain for a keyword with huge natural search numbers that has never been registered before.

In my case, the squatting started a few days after I did the check, which is obviously someone looking over my shoulder. My name was too rare for it to be a coincidence.

Josh has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - .com or .net":

.com and .org are best (easiest to read and remember)

shorter the better, some names are better with dashes, some are not.

It all depends on your personal preference.

That's two votes for .org over .net. I'll seriously consider that.

I've decided against dashes.

As long as I'm the #1 result in Google for my site name, that's good enough. Looking again, the #1 site in Google for my potential name has a PageRank of 2, and the squatter's site isn't listed at all.



Josh has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #84":

No, I wasn't saying because you lost your job you're not entitled to pick and choose (ridiculous). I was saying if you lost your job (and now your AdSense account), I hope you're careful how you spend (none of my concern). Wasn't trying to be hostile, sorry for the confusion.

I can afford $20/month. The only reason I haven't spent it already is that my parents would veto the expense.

When I was working, I was making $20-$30/hr. Living with my parents, my living expenses are essentially $0.

My biggest expense is healthcare. I had to purchase an individual policy after my COBRA expired (Ripoff!). I can't decide to forego insurance because my parents would say "OMFG!! You need insurance!" Also, without insurance, I'd be forfeiting my savings if I were hospitalized again. If you're uninsured and hospitalized, the "full retail price" for an uninsured hospital stay is $5k-$10k+ per day.

As for copper, you don't need to "buy" it. Copper costs less than $1.70 per pound. You can just go to a bank and take out pennies, about 10% is pure copper pre-1982, the rest will be zinc. See Coinflation.com, which will tell you nickels are the best metal value/face value for coins you don't need to "buy".

Coinflation.com is a nice site. Take a look and bookmark it if you haven't already.

My father was hoarding nickels when the melt value was near $0.05-$0.06. Now that nickel prices have crashed, he's spending them. His nickel investment had a free put option to cashout if prices declined.

Dealing with pennies is a hassle. As you pointed out, you'd have to segregate pre-1982 and post-1982. It's low value per ounce.

I've also been considering getting some 0.5 ounce silver rounds. Apmex has them sometimes. If I knew someone with a minting business, I might get some 0.25 or 0.1 ounce rounds (or copper). In the present, I'd probably just use "junk silver" for change.

Alternatively, I could just use slave points for change.

And finally, for t-shirt equipment, I don't know how much you've looked into it. But I'd strongly advise against buying equipment unless you know what you're doing and you know your market. For somebody who's sold over 600 t-shirts the past year, I can tell you I saved myself lots of space, time and money once I found a good deal.

I live in California so I won't be introducing you to who I print my t-shirts with. But sit down and do the math, do you know how many t-shirts you need to sell @ $10 or @$20 to make back your equipment costs (forget the time and labor)?

Oops, I forgot again, not my money, and you never said you were doing it for money either.

I looked into it. A machine costs $2000. If I sell 1000 T-Shirts, that's an amortized cost of $2 each. Plus, the machine should last longer than 1000 T-Shirt printings. If I buy from a vendor, I have to pay sales tax *AND* the profits of the vendor himself *AND* any taxes he owes, in addition to my own profits.

I can buy blanks for $3 each. Add another $1 for ink and electricity and the special paper. If I sell for $10, that's a profit of $4 (tax-free!). That's a viable business. It would only take 1-2 minutes per T-Shirt to burn.

If I want to get a good price, I have to buy in bulk. Then, I have the hassle of carrying inventory.

If I want to make a lot of different designs, then I'm better off having my own burning machine.

If I have my own T-shirt burning machine, then I can have "just in time" inventory. I can burn a T-Shirt when anyone buys it. If someone wants to buy 5-20 custom T-Shirts, I can easily sell them agorist-style.

If I start an agorist T-Shirt burning business, I can *DEFINITELY* compete with any on-the-books vendor. My costs are half of any on-the-books competitor! Anyone else who wants a custom T-Shirt can buy from me!

If you figure that I spend 1-2 minutes per T-Shirt burning, it becomes attractive salary-wise. I can always hire an assistant (off-the-books of course), if successful.

If I attempt agorism via standup comedy, "sell T-Shirts before/after your act" may be viable. I read a standup comedian lamenting that their act wasn't suitable for T-Shirt selling. There might be a good market for "Taxation is theft!" T-Shirts. If I put my domain name on the shirt, that's also advertising.

They also sell a portable burning tool. If there's enough demand, I could just-in-time burn T-Shirts there! I could bring preprinted images, and then burn a shirt when someone asks for it.

I'm looking at "Multiple businesses that support each other!", rather than exclusively earning income from blogging.

I can afford the $2k capital investment as an experiment. I can't do it now, because my parents would veto the expense. It's on my list of things to do.

I am trying to get my own agorist businesses started. I'm looking into things that are low-risk, high-reward. Standup comedy or selling T-Shirts fall into that category.



I'll answer all the responses to "FSK got banned from AdSense" next time.

I signed up with text-link-ads on Friday. If I don't sell any links in the next few days, I'm going to take them down.

I'm going to try AdBrite next. Yahoo Publisher Network is a close second.

My goal from advertising was "earn enough to buy my own domain and hosting" and not "earn a full-time income".

3 comments:

Josh said...

A follow up on the t-shirts idea.

It's not just $2000 upfront (which is actually not much, I admit). Let's assume
1. Your labor is free
2. Your ink is free
3. No electricity costs

You are right, you need to sell 1000 t-shirts for $2 profit each.
More realistic would be 500 at $4 profit each, this is assuming the above, that you have all the energy to do it and would rather not wait for somebody to do it and pick it up when it's done.

Blanks t-shirts are not free either, like you said, $3 each.

Instead, if you took $2000 to make t-shirts.

You can probably have 5 designs at $400 each.
For $400 you can get 80-100 t-shirts, all different sizes. DONE, sales tax, set up, t-shirts...etc all included.

How long do you think it takes to sell 100 t-shirts? A week? A month?

Looking again, $2000 + blank t-shirts is no joke. You'll spend $5000 to make 1000 t-shirts, assuming ink and labor and electricity is free.

You're better off taking $2000 and shopping for a maker that'll make t-shirts for you at $4 everything included (offer to pay them $2000 upfront, sign a contract).

T-shirts are low risk, but not high return in my opinion, it's becoming very saturated and competitive just like webhosting. If you still don't believe me, try bargaining with some of your local businesses, they might be so desperate for money to survive they'll take whatever you offer. Hell, wait another month they might be going out of business and selling their equipment (I wouldn't say this unless I've seen this happen a few times in my area).

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Mantar said...

Hey, I like your posts, but man, they *really* fill up the page over at the anarchoblogs.org aggregator. I just opened anarchoblogs and found I had to press PageDown 40+ times to see what the next blog was posting about. It felt a little bit excessive. :) So, ummm...

Some of the other blogs have something set so that it will only display the first two or three paragraphs, and then have a link to the specific blog to read more.

Maybe you could find out how they do that and enable it for your blog, too.

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