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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reader Mail #86

This article on mises.org, via lowercase liberty was interesting. Money and interest rates are different things.

Interest rates are the relative price of future work compared to work in the present.

Money represents the value of work already performed.

When the State tampers with interest rates, it interferes with the ability to plan for the future. When the State tampers with money (via inflation), it steals the value of work already performed.

The Federal Reserve credit monopoly steals the power to finance businesses and plan for the future. Inflation literally steals the savings out of your checking account and the money out of your pocket.

When the Federal Reserve "monetizes the debt", it purchases bonds from financial industry insiders. This is an outright State subsidy to the bankers who speculate in Treasury debt.

Theoretically, the Federal Reserve can purchase whatever it pleases. Citing the example given in the article, the Federal Reserve could buy SUVs instead of Treasury Bonds when it increases the money supply. That would be a huge windfall profit for whoever manufactures SUVs, just like the current financial system is a huge windfall for the banksters.

Even though inflation is 20%-30% or more, Treasury debt yields 0%-4% (depending on duration). The Federal Reserve has a literally infinite budget. The government (via the Federal Reserve) repurchases its own debt, keeping interest rates artificially low.



This article on TechCrunch was interesting. MySpace is ****ed, because a bunch of top executives just quit. Most startups go downhill once acquired by a large corporation.

I never understood why MySpace was interesting.



This post on ProBlogger about "expandable" AdSense ads was interesting. I never enabled anything more than the plain text/link ads. That's irrelevant to me now.

AdBrite offers "full-page ads". You're redirected to another page before visiting the blog. I didn't enable that, because I find such ads *ANNOYING*.



I liked this video by the Onion. "Sony releases a new piece of **** that doesn't ****ing work."

When I see those "The Onion" videos, my reaction is "It'd be cool to do stuff like that." I should get a video camera and vlog.

I also realized "If I'm going to self-publish videos, I should use a differnt site than YouTube!"



I liked this article, via Hacker News, about an entry-level software engineer getting frustrated.

There was an interesting bit. "A bunch of financial industry insiders lost trillions of dollars speculating. Therefore, I lose my job." That's an interesting assessment. The financial industry mess is causing many people to lose their job, or fear losing their jobs.

The primary purpose of the financial industry is to loot and pillage. However, if you loot at too great a rate, the entire scam starts collapsing.



Eagledove9 was asking "Can you get an RSS feed with comments only?"

Yes, you can get a "comment only feed" on Blogger.

http://fskrealityguide.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default



This post on Debt Prison was 100% missing the point. He was thinking of proposals to reform the voting system. *YOU CAN'T DO IT!* Any voting system is based on the assumption that the majority has the right to steal from the minority.

Who is eligible in Debt Prison’s America?

1. You must be at least 30 years of age to vote.

I don't see what that accomplishes.

2. You must own property.

Nobody owns property, due to property taxes.

What if you live someplace where the land is ridiculously expensive, like NYC? Does owning a condo or co-op count? What if someone buys a tiny plot of land, just so they're eligible to vote?

3. You must pay taxes.

That's everyone.

Further Restrictions for the above mentioned.

1. If you work for the government you are excluded.

But it's OK to work at a bank for several years and *THEN* work for the government? It's OK to alternate between working as an executive in industry X, and then work for the State regulating industry X?

2. If you receive any government financial assistance you are excluded.

That's entirely missing the point of welfare. One goal of the Welfare State is that encourages poor people to support the current State, because they think they're receiving a "benefit".

Who can run for office?

1. Must have managed or owned a business for at least three years.
That wouldn't exclude George Bush. Wasn't he involved with the Texas Rangers? Didn't he start a few businesses with his Saudi friends/investors?
2. Must be married and have children.
I don't see why that's a valid restriction.
Restrictions to who can run.

1. No one with a law degree can run for any government office.
The bad guys would find loopholes. Besides, the current government (controlled by lawyers) would never allow such a thing. This is the "Lost 13th amendment".

You're missing the point. *ANY* reform you propose has exploitable loopholes. Any meaningful reform would not be ratified by the bad guys. Accepting *ANY* government at all is missing the point.

You're grasping at straws to avoid realizing "Who needs a government anyway?" If you say "It might be possible to reform a fundamentally corrupt system!", you're pro-State trolling.



This post on RadGeek makes an interesting point. "LEAP" is a group of law enforcement officers who are opposed to drug prohibition laws and are lobbying for their repeal. However, while on the job, they arrest people for violating drug laws.

Which is worse? Someone who has no clue that drug prohibition is evil, and enforces the law? Or, someone who knows that the ban on (certain) drugs is evil, yet enforces that law anyway? As a practical matter, it's irrelevant. Both are criminals.

Anybody who says "Support the police!" (but not stupid laws) or "Support the troops!" (but not the President who put them there) is advocating for the Nuremburg defense. "I was just following orders!" is *NEVER* a valid defense.



This article, via Hacker News, was amusing. FaceBook has a list of "banned names", as a means of preventing people from signing up with fake names. That sucks if your actual name is on the banned list.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. Employees are leaving Google to form startups.

I no longer consider Google to be a cutting-edge technology business.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. Someone had put a bunch of nearly-identical lawn signs, in a bunch of cities, promoting nearly identical online dating websites.

If you build an online dating website, you are *GUARANTEED* to have a high churn in your userbase.

If your site is successful, then users have no reason to come back, because they're no longer single.

If your site is a failure, then your users get disgusted and leave.



In this post on Bureaucrash (registration required), Seth was asking about advice for agorists.

For a long time I have wrestled with the issue of how much information I should reveal about myself in order to conduct business in the modern world.

When dealing with the State, you always need State-licensed ID. I advise agorists to keep their slave papers, because it's too awkward otherwise.

For Agorists, I think this topic deserves some discussion. Should an Agorist file income taxes? Own property in their name? Have a bank account in their name?

You should file income taxes on all your State-reported income. Did you get paid via W-2, 1099, or via check? You should report that and pay tax on it, because the bad guys already know about the transaction.

For owning land (actually renting, remember property taxes), this is tricky. The best solution I read was having a "common law" marriage with your wife. You act like you're married, but don't get legally married. You put all your property in your wife's name, but you work as an agorist. Then, the IRS can't pursue your wife, because she isn't legally married to you.

You still should have a bank account, because it's too awkward otherwise. However, there should be an agorist banking system independent of the State.

Or perhaps it makes more sense to maintain a low paying cover-job, so you have an innocent looking footprint in the system, and then perform the bulk of your work somewhere else for cash and off the books.

The best strategy seems to be having a business that generates some income. The small business has some State-reported income. Most of your income is earned as an agorist. You have to be careful, because the IRS aggressively cracks down on small business owners. I have no idea what the true risk is.

Also, should we be concerned about publicly self-identifying as Agorists using our "government" names? What do you think the likelihood is that by doing so you are putting your name at the top of the list of undesirables to be rounded during the next crisis?

Maybe we should always use names other than our government names when networking and forming relationships with other agorists?

A made-up fake name is as valid as your State-licensed name. As long as you're consistently identifiable as the same person, it's acceptable. For example, you know all the content on my blog was written by the same person (or a group of people that are a convincing fake).

Faking State-issued ID isn't that hard, if you're a serious criminal!

With agorists, you should tell each other your State slave name, but you shouldn't keep any written records. If necessary, use made-up names for any written records. (The reason I blog Anonymously for now is that I'm concerned a wage slave employer would discriminate against me based on my free market ideas. I may abandon that later, especially if I get free of the wage slave track.)

I liked the "dual life" solution. Keep two sets of records. There's your official State records, and your agorist records.

(There were some other responses in that thread worth reading.)



In this post on no third solution, David Z is wondering "Why can't I convince this pro-State troll?"

A better question is “Why are you wasting time debating idiots?” If you waste most of your time debating idiots, you wind up lowering yourself to their level.



I noticed this wiki on TV had a bunch of interesting bits. It's worth a browse.

I liked this page on the Chewbacca Defense. All pro-State troll arguments are a variation of the Chewbacca Defense. If it's complicated and confusing, then it must be true.

I liked this page on "Reset Button". At the end of each Star Trek episode, no matter what happens, things go back to the way they were at the start of the episode. Captain Picard can be captured and tortured by the Borg or whoever, but he's Captain of the Enterprise again at the end of the episode. Similarly, "Obama got elected President! Reset button!" No matter what evils George Bush and previous State employees performed, Obama gets to start over. All evils of the State are forgiven, and the system is not broken.

That site had another interesting bit. The heroes are usually fight stronger and stronger enemies, so that it's always interesting. In reality, you'd probably fight the strongest enemy first, and then things get easier. In the fight against the State, have the hardest battles already been won?



This article was interesting. Someone purchased gold from Stanford bank for an art exhibit. The assets were frozen and he is unable to get delivery of the gold, even though he paid for it.

That's one risk of doing business with a corporation that files for bankruptcy. The corporation gets to keep any payment you made. You're just another creditor when it comes time to accept delivery. For this reason, "rumor of bankruptcy" can itself lead to bankruptcy.

If a business is rumored to be nearly bankrupt, then suppliers refused to ship goods without immediate cash payment. For example, a retailer accepts goods on consignment. The retailer accepts the goods, and only pays the supplier when the goods are sold. If the retailer files for bankruptcy in the meantime, then the supplier is SOL. I heard rumors of independent game developers getting screwed over like that. Their game was a success. Due to unrelated problems, their publisher declared bankruptcy. The game developer is then SOL.

There was another interesting bit. For a previous art exhibit, that artist borrowed gold. He paid an interest rate of 6%. Gold leasing at favorable rates is only available to insiders!



fritz has left a new comment on your post "Google Disabled my AdSense Account!":

I Never clicked a single add FSK. But thank you for keeping us abreast of the Adsense experiment , It was interesting.

It was an interesting flop.

It also was interesting that I was allegedly making $2 per thousand pageviews. That's a good baseline comparison point for competing ad networks.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Google Disabled my AdSense Account!":

I think yahoo has ads as well. Do some googling and you'll find a couple more. Steve Pavlina used to publish his stats on income I think from google. Having the same person clicking on your ads can shut you down. Google monitors I.P. or some shit and this has happened to many innocent people.

One of your readers has probably been clicking on your ads to cause this to happen.

Someone could have clicked on my ads, overzealously trying to support me. Someone could have done it maliciously. Google gives me zero details, so I'll never know.

(AdBrite is much better than Google, when it comes to reporting. They give me per-ad statistics.)

If I were running an ad network that competes with AdSense, I'd definitely click-bomb small AdSense publishers to get them banned from AdSense. If I were Bill Gates, I'd spend a couple hundred thousand dollars to hire someone to spam Google's ad network with invalid clicks.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Google Disabled my AdSense Account!":

http://onlinebusiness.about.com/od/affiliatemarketing/tp/online-advertising-networks.htm

That's interesting and useless at the same time.

That's interesting, because it's a list of online ad networks.

That's useless, because it doesn't do any sort of comparative analysis.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Google Disabled my AdSense Account!":

did this happen right before you hit $100 bucks? will you get paid at all?

I had $85 in my account when I got banned. I probably would have gone over $100 in March.

I don't get paid at all. Google gets to keep the $85.

What am I going to do? Sue Google in small claims court for $85? That isn't worth my time. Besides, the cost isn't just the $85. There's also the cost of being banned from Google's AdSense publisher network (assuming I can't find a decent alternative). Some of the ad revenue was almost definitely legitimate.

I heard that Google tends to ban people as their account approaches $100. There's no point in banning someone with only $10 in their account!

citizen stefish has left a new comment on your post "Google Disabled my AdSense Account!":

someone mentioned the other day that you could get in trouble for talking about it. is it possible a troll reported you just to mess with your experiment? seems possible.

I doubt it. All attempts to communicate with Google lead to an automated reply.

As I mentioned already:
  1. Someone could have done it over-zealously to help me.
  2. Someone could have done it maliciously. (In retaliation, I'm now going on a AdSense clicking spree, whenever I see AdSense on a blog or in search results. I'm trying to cost Google at least $100 from invalid clicks!)
  3. Google's abuse detection algorithm is defective.
I have no idea, because Google has no obligation to give me any details.

for the record, i clicked on one, because i was interested in it.

Well, that proves that my AdSense earnings were 100% fraudulent.

For all I know, you could have clicked on a bunch of ads just to get me banned.

Kiba has left a new comment on your post "Google Disabled my AdSense Account!":

Try ProjectWonderful.com.

I'll try that after AdBrite or Yahoo Publisher network. Most of the small blogs were selling ads for something like $0.05 per day or less.

Are you the same person who said "It's immoral for FSK to intentionally generate invalid clicks to **** over Google"?

The income is pretty steady except for really unpopular site. You might not get much but the payout rate is much lower.

You need to only make 10 bucks then you can withdraw it and put it into your paypal account.

I don't have a PayPal account.

My goal is to make $20/month, to pay for a Linode.

I'll try that if AdBrite and Yahoo Publisher Network are busts. AdBrite is reasonably successful so far. Of course, someone could click on a bunch of ads to get me banned from AdBrite! They have both CPC (pay-per-click) and CPM (pay-per-view) ads.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Google Disabled my AdSense Account!":

There are certain things you can discuss and certain things you can't. I am not sure- since I have never discussed mine at all the distinctions don't matter to me.

I doubt any Google employee ever bothered to personally read my blog.

I would say that just discussing it at all on the blog you are using it on might in some way encourage illegitimate clicks. At least that's a thought. It seems most people who are shutdown are those who talk a lot about it. People who make money online don't normally discuss their money making and stats, unless it's on a separate blog. At least that's my experience in 5+ years of affiliate marketing and blogging.

Why should I be responsible for what my readers do?

If State agents try to kidnap me for "tax evasion" or "advocating tax evasion", then they at least have to pretend to give me a fair trial. If Google says "Your AdSense account is terminated!", that's it. In a free market, I'd just choose another vendor. Google seems to have a near-monopoly of blog advertising. (I'm looking into alternatives.)

I have 2 adsense accounts and one is over 5 years old. Never had any problems.

I thought it's illegal to have 2 accounts on the same name?

Google has my SSN, so they'd catch me if I tried to open another account. I read that there's a loophole. If you incorporate, your corporation is applying for the AdSense account, and not you as an individual.

I have tried things like TLA and Adbrite- never worked for me. I don't know what the current deal is but I believe TLA was getting sites penalized when I was looking into it. I use adbrite for my adult sites ( adsense banned).

Other ways to make money? Private Ads and "Joint Ventures" seem to be popular with bigger bloggers who can swing it. I am mostly an affiliate marketer. So I mostly use affiliates of specific products or services that fit my site. Adsense is a small piece of the pie.

It seems that "directly sell individual ads" is the way to go. That probably won't be viable unless I get 100x-1000x more traffic.

A lot of sites are saying "If you're serious about making decent money as a blogger, you have to directly sell individual ads." I'd need 100x-1000x more traffic, to have a large enough audience to attract potential advertisers.

The issue is when you have a site like yours that doesn't really fit in with any particular product. Maybe you can create one? In your case adsense probably WAS the thing that made the most sense- since this blgo is more about spreading ideas and using ads to offset the costs and invest in domain/host. If you had "FSKs Guide to Widgets" you could have affiliate ads from widget dealers, amazon ads, ebay ads,adsense, private ads,etc. I have sites that make money with 2-3 visitors a day- because they are niche sites made to make money.

A lot of the AdSense ads seemed scammy. I suspect I'll have that problem with any vendor.

I also have more "social" sites, and they make around nothing. My most popular site makes less money than all my others. Because it is banned by Adsense but not porn and has no relevant products.

I'm probably going to try AdBrite next. Text-link-ads looks like a bust.

Josh has left a new comment on your post "Google Disabled my AdSense Account!":

Yes, sadly, you cannot stop a spammer from destroying your account without you noticing. This is particularly easy for low traffic sites, shit happens.

Google can find any excuse to close your account, same with PayPal, they can afford to piss thousands of people off as they're essentially the monopoly.

Google doesn't have to give a reason. It's their sole discretion.

If I were running a competing network to AdSense, I'd go around intentionally getting small publishers banned from AdSense.

With PayPal, I've heard horror stories. If PayPal freezes your account, your checking account may *ALSO* be frozen. I've heard horror stories of someone having $10k in their PayPal account and losing it.

If I were to set up a PayPal account, I'd do it at a separate bank from my other savings, and only keep the minimum balance.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Google Disabled my AdSense Account!":

Griz's february income report. This dude reports his income regularly and it's a lot of money each month...

http://makemoneyforbeginners.blogspot.com/

I've seen plenty of people post their full AdSense statistics. That's not the reason Google gave me. Their reason was "invalid clicks".

It's ironic that the only really profitable blogs are on "How to make money from blogging!"



eagledove9 has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #84":

You mentioned that gmail went down, which I didn't know happened, and that the biggest risk is if someone steals your password.
If someone phishes or guesses my gmail password, then I lose my gmail account and also my blog.

I also heard you can disable someone's gmail account via repeated false login attempts.

If Google disables/seizes my gmail account, or someone hacks it, I'm SOL.

Suppose I had my own domain and hosting, and someone hacked my account. I might lose my data, but I could always call my hosting vendor and ask for a password reset.

I keep occasional blog backups on my HD. I plan to rewrite all my old "best" articles anyway.

I thought of another risk on another website that I just learned recently: On MySpace, you can have a million emails from somebody saved in your inbox, but if that person shuts down their profile, it also automatically destroys all the emails they ever sent you. My ex-boyfriend usually used MySpace to send me emails, and then, years later, he shut down and deleted his MySpace account. I just went in there to look at my emails and every email from him had this default error message from MySpace saying "This user has deleted their account, blah blah blah" instead of the original email message! The messages weren't life-or-death important, but nevertheless, I had intended to save them someday. So don't save important messages in your inbox at MySpace if there's any chance that the sender could delete their own account without warning you first.

I don't use MySpace. The more I think about it, the more I realize I should reduce my dependency on Google. I'd be screwed if someone hacked my gmail account.

I'm smart enough to back up anything important. There's nothing really important on my gmail account, except my blog and my regular readership.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Miracle of Parking Tickets":

Unfortunately state traffic light timing fraud has been uncovered in many places. Examples:

A traffic light "scam has been uncovered in Italy that has led to one arrest and 108 investigations over traffic systems being rigged to stop sooner for the sole purpose of ticketing more motorists."
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/06/009214

"6 Cities That Were Caught Shortening Yellow Light Times For Profit"
http://www.motorists.org/blog/6-cities-that-were-caught-shortening-yellow-light-times-for-profit/

Traffic tickets are used by the bad guys for revenue generation, instead of enforcement. That's the evil of a monopolistic State.

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "The Miracle of Parking Tickets":

Mississippi currently has a law that just past the State Senate and will ban all traffic light cameras in this state. The bill went back to the house, with a few changes from Senate, where it's expected to pass and move to the governor's desk. Our governor used to be a tobacco lobbyist and the RNC Chairman so I don't whether or not he'll pick up the veto pen. I suspect he will.

I doubt it'll get passed.

Traffic light cameras have three benefits.
  1. Traffic light cameras raise money.
  2. The corporation that makes the cameras is receiving pork.
  3. The bad guys can also use the cameras to track every car that passes an intersection.



There's an interesting variation of pro-State trolling in response to my AdSense disaster.

People are saying "FSK must have done something wrong. Otherwise, Google wouldn't have banned him." The flip side "Google did something wrong." does not cross people's minds.

I do have a valid claim against Google. I wasted 2 months serving their ads when I could have been trying a competing network. Due to Google's near-monopoly status of the online ad publishing market, other vendors will probably pay less.

Therefore, it's in my rational self-interest to try and bust Google's monopoly. If a substantial number of people tried "Intentionally click on ads to frustrate Google!" (or write a script that does it), then that's the end of Google's business model.



Josh has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Alternatives to AdSense?":

The best way to see ad programs that don't care about your content or are less spam attack vulnerable, is to see troll infested sites.

I'm concerned that any online ad network will have very low-quality ads.

AvnAds, adengage, adbrite.

Are you advocating for or against those? I'm trying adbrite now.

Some more blog oriented ones blogads, federated media..etc.

Blogads looked interesting. I might give them a try. I have as many weekly pageviews as the lower-tier ones on their site.

As I get more traffic, I should have more options.

I've personally used neither, so you'll have to read their terms and rules to make sure it fits you.

As for "buying copper"
Here's my opinion.
1. Copper is $1.60 per pound, that's $.10 an ounce.
2. If you're going to trade something for about $1-2, get junk silver Roosevelt dimes
3. If you really think you'll need coins under $1, just get quarters, nickels and pennies.
4. Liberty Dollar does make pure copper rounds, but overpriced at $1 per ounce.
Liberty Dollars are overpriced relative to metal spot price. I know to avoid them.

I'm probably better off going with junk silver or slave points for transactions smaller than an ounce of silver.

ravi has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Alternatives to AdSense?":

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I probably should have vetoed this comment as spam, but I was feeling charitable.



mike has left a new comment on your post "Google Disabled my AdSense Account!":

My adsense account has been disabled too. I dont have any idea why I get kick out. The sad part is I cant get the money in my account.

Google gets to keep whatever was in your account. You're screwed. Google has no obligation to give you a reason.

I'm venting my Google anger by flooding their network with bad click data. I'm probably going to write a Firefox extension to help with that. That's a lower priority than "Write my own RSS reader", "Write my own forum engine", or "search for AdSense advertising alternatives".



robert30062 has left a new comment on your post "Shovel-Ready Theft":

How do they come up with the words? Reference my "Think Tanks and Fnords" article.

You could provide a link, rather than making me look through your blog for it..

You're referring to this post.

After awhile, people start to recognize certain words as evil. The bad guys just come up with a new name for the same thing. For example, "layoffs", "downsizing", "rightsizing", etc., are all equivalent names for the same thing.

It could be think tanks coming up with the new words. Also, politicians hire consultants to write speeches for them. Everybody copies everybody else, so new fnord words spread fast.



My sister was visiting and watching "The Celebrity Apprentice". I rapidly concluded "This show is garbage!"

I understood pretty rapidly. Donald Trump has the parasitic personality type. The show is attractive to people with the parasitic personality type. Most of the contestants had the parasitic personality type.

I also realized "optimal strategy for winning a reality show" correlates to "optimal strategy when surrounded by idiots in a wage slave job". However, that is not optimal when dealing with sane people.

Contrast that with Gordon Ramsay. He has the productive personality type. Therefore, I find his show interesting.

Jim Cramer has the productive personality type. However, he fails to recognize "Who needs a central bank anyway?" He's not going to rock the boat and risk his career deviating from the script. Besides, he's never seriously considered "The financial industry is one big scam!"

I noticed another interesting reality show bit. For most reality shows, the entire season is taped before the first episode airs. The producers know the elimination order when they edit the shows. If the producers spend a lot of time developing someone's character, you know that person will be around for awhile. If the producers don't spend much time on someone, then you know that person will be eliminated early.

For example, on "The Amazing Race", they've spent a lot of effort promoting the deaf boy and how awesome he is for overcoming his handicap. I'd be surprised if he gets eliminated before the final 5. The first few teams eliminated got practically no screen time.



I just realized that I haven't been paying any attention at all to College Basketball all season.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FSK is Investigating Other Ad Networks":

You are becoming less of an idiot.

You have attempted to make a sub-subsistance pay by selling lists of your readers to corporations that track people and try to sell them crap.

I was only trying to make enough to pay for hosting.

It wasn't immoral for me to try and make some money off my blog. (We've had this discussion already.) It'd be nice if I could find some non-scammy advertisers.

You've previously made it clear that you don't give a shit about us being tracked, as long as you make your $20 bucks!

You can block AdSense if you object, or use one of many Anonymizing services.

Well, wake up. These fuckers won't even give you your $20! But you will supply them with your entire reader's list for a few months before you realize that!

As some moron said:

Life will present you with a sequence of lessons. You will repeat each lesson until you learn it!

Signed: Anonymous and proud of it!

Yes, I got ****ed by Google. Shame on me.

It still was a useful experiment. I'm not giving up selling advertising. My goal is "Make $20/month and then move to my own domain!"

I did notice that the vast majority of the help requests on the AdSense forum were "Google unfairly blocked my account!" along with smug responses of "Google wouldn't have blocked you unless you did something wrong!"

It appears that nobody at Google bothers to read their own help forum. They don't even bother taking down the spam posts.

You're still missing the point, mentioned many times before.

GOOGLE OWNS BLOGGER! GOOGLE ALREADY HAS THE FULL SERVER LOGS! GOOGLE ALREADY KNOWS THE IP ADDRESS OF EVERYONE WHO VISITS MY BLOG, ALONG WITH WHICH PAGES THEY READ!

This incident does highlight the need to de-Google my life. I'm overly dependent on Google. If I lost my gmail login, I'd be screwed.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to directly sell advertisements myself. Until that's viable, I'll try various ad networks. I'm currently a member of text-link-ads, but haven't sold a link yet. I'm probably going to try AdBrite next.

Kiba has left a new comment on your post "FSK is Investigating Other Ad Networks":

Google does not have a monopoly. It have only 53.6% of the web search market.

It is more of a sign of google becoming too big causing diseconomy of scale.

I'm not referring to the web search market. I'm referring to the "sell advertisements in small blogs" market.

I don't know how much market power Google has. I'm investigating alternatives.

Text-link-ads says that a link on my blog is worth $20/month. I'll see how many I sell. Text-link-ads takes a 50% commission, so I need to sell 2 links per month to cover hosting costs. I have 10 total slots. I've sold zero so far.

A link on my blog obviously isn't worth $20/month, if text-link-ads hasn't sold any yet.

I'm taking down the text-link-ads widget soon.



My new hobby of "click on as many Google ads as I can" is somewhat amusing. I'm going to write a script to automate the process eventually.



I realized something weird. The only reason "Search Engine Optimization" is a valid business is "Google has exploitable defects in its search engine."



I'm converting my father into a gold bug (somewhat). He's been buying GLD in his IRA. Due to declines in the rest of the market, while gold increases, GLD is now a substantial % of that IRA.

I'm considering making SLV as my first metal investment, in my Roth IRA. It's a State-licensed investment, but it should still outperform the stock market. In an IRA, GLD and SLV seem to be the best options. I'm not cashing in the stocks I already own, but new investments are going 100% to GLD and SLV.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Ron Paul Forums and Paid Disinformation Agents":

You are a highly paid disinfo shill and I have your number, you cunt Oruval.
Why is a flamewar from another site spilling over into my blog? Are you accusing me of having a link with Oruval? I'd never heard of him before.

This is the thread on dailpaul.com that cited that post. The Strawman Fallacy would have been more appropriate. According to Google Analytics, that thread led to a lot of traffic for my blog. Maybe I should promote my blog on dailypaul.com?

The theme of that post was "Some Ron Paul supporters also support crazy conspiracy theories, such as '9/11 was an inside job!'" That's missing the point. Ron Paul and his supporters are 100% correct when they criticize the Federal Reserve and income tax. Each idea should be independently evaluated. Even if some Ron Paul supporters say "9/11 was an inside job!", that doesn't discredit the arguments against the Federal Reserve and income tax.

Suppose my goal was "Discredit Ron Paul!" Then, via the Strawman Fallacy, I should pretend to be a Ron Paul supporter and also sponsor other crazy conspiracy theories.

I researched Oruval a little bit. In this post, he was citing a new law regulating farming. Allegedly, there's a new law that would require *ANYONE* who grows food to subject themselves to State regulation, including someone who grows food in their backyard. The cost of regulation compliance would bankrupt all small farmers and make "farmer's markets" illegal.

I also noticed this article on "professional forum spamming". On most websites, your "karma" rating equals "# of posts submitted" combined with "how long you've been a member". A skilled disinformation agent can make a lot of posts to gain credibility, and then later start advocating for stupid things and censoring.

I wonder if some of my regular commenters are professional disinformation agents? Are they intentionally making a large volume of comments to lull me into complancency? I'm pretty good at evaluating "quality of comment", so I suspect the answer is "No!"

For example, I don't remember Kiba commenting before, and now he's strongly advocating for "Project Wonderful". Is he sincere, or does he have a link to that advertising network?



"The Gold Lease Rate is Negative!" has been getting a surprising amount of traffic, with no referring source.

I read that, if people share your blog via Twitter, it shows up as "direct traffic" rather than a referral from Twitter.



Josh has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #85":

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).
We also discussed this a little via IM.

If I expect to sell more than 1000 T-Shirts, I'm probably better off buying T-Shirt burning equipment.

You did make an interesting point "People prefer colors other than white!" The printer I'm considering works on dark-colored shirts. They also sell custom T-Shirts for $17 each (one-off). That's a pretty high price. I'll shop around locally. I should be able to find a good/cheap vendor in Chinatown (Manhattan).

When I first start out, I'll probably buy 10-20 T-Shirts from a vendor, just to test out the market. I have no idea what they charge for custom T-Shirts.

If I buy from an on-the-books vendor, I have no idea if they're actually reporting the sale to the State. Suppose I buy 20 T-Shirts for $10 each. I pay $200 cash. If the store owner isn't an idiot, he isn't going to report all his sales to the State.

If I buy from an on-the-books vendor, I have to buy in bulk to get a decent price. Suppose I buy 50 "Taxation is theft!" T-Shirts, but it turns out people really want "Government is terrorism!" T-Shirts. If I have my own equipment, then I can have just-in-time inventory.

I haven't done my full background research and homework yet. "FSK sells T-Shirts" is on my list of agorist business ideas. I should always be able to undercut an on-the-books vendor on price.

Repeating my calculation, I figured my costs were:

$2 for amortized cost of printer (and it should last for more than 1000 T-Shirts)
$4 for blank T-shirts
$1 for ink+paper+electricity
$3 for my labor (If successful, I can hire an assistant.)

That's a cost of $10 or less. I'm thinking "One ounce of silver each!" would be a fair price. I probably could even go down to 0.75 ounces of silver each (but then there's the "making change" problem).

I'm considering selling the T-Shirts directly to regular readers of my blog. If I attempt "Promote agorism via standup comedy!", then I can sell T-Shirts at my performances. If I put my domain name on my T-Shirts, then I can sensibly sell them for breakeven.

"FSK starts his own T-Shirt business!" is not something I'm going to try for at least another year or two. It's on the list of things I'm considering.

I noticed this thread on Joel on Software. Someone (presumably an amateur musician) was considering burning his own CDs. He concluded that "Buy a high-quality burner." was superior to "Hire a vendor."



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #85":

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Diane Calhoun, New York

I considered rejecting this comment as spam, but I was feeling charitable. I was writing about "I'm SOL if someone hacks my gmail password!", so that is somewhat on-topic.

I really should get my own domain, so that I'm not totally screwed if Google terminates/freezes my gmail login.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The "F*** Google!" FireFox Extension":

People on balance like Google, so they just won't use Adsense. That's not unreasonable. It's not like other people's experiences with AdSense weren't out there.

I don't understand what you're saying.

Yes, I was aware that other people had gotten ****ed over by Google. Nearly half the questions on the AdSense help forum were "WTF? Google banned me!"

So far, AdBrite seems like a viable alternative.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The "F*** Google!" FireFox Extension":

YES! YES! Now you are thinking!

There was a google-f**k firefox extension that generated random search requests to google. The idea was that you were generating so many searches that the engine would not be able to track you effectively. I think it was called 'haystack' or something like that.

Unfortunately, the writers were stupid and the requests were from a pre-set list that was somehow distributed (not too often). One day I looked at my router logs at the requests that were generated and almast ***pped my pants as the words 'terrorist', 'bomb', etc. were repeatedly searched for. Not quite what I had in mind.

So yes, good idea.

But an autonomous ad clicker would be even better. Not connected to the browser at all, masquerading as a real browser in the request. You may have realized by now that 'reusing' code is an idiot's game and writing a simple HTML tag parser that catches ad networks is MUCH easier than trying to interface to the voluminous libraries and badly documented firefox parser code, as an extention or a plugin.

Good luck.

Happyily anonymous.
You appear to have a decent level of computer literacy. Go ahead and write it yourself, if you're that interested.

Writing a "F*** Google!" Firefox extension is lower on my priority list. My list of priorities now are:
  1. Find a viable alternative to AdSense. AdBrite seems to qualify so far.
  2. Write my own RSS Reader.
  3. Write my own forum/wiki/digg/reddit engine.
  4. Write the "F*** Google!" Firefox extension.
Here's how the "F*** Google!" application would work.

Whenever you read a URL, it seeks links for Google ads. A regex match would suffice, so it can be easily updated if Google changes their link formats. It picks a random sample of those links, perhaps just one and perhaps not all the time, and then simulates a click on it. A randomized time delay is added, so Google can't tell the difference between simulated user clicks and genuine clicks.

The simulated click would be presented to the server as a regular HTTP request. However, the page would not be rendered to the user. All the javascript and other widgets from the page would be run, so the advertiser would be totally fooled.

Such an application, even if used by only a couple percent of Internet users, would pollute Google's ad network with invalid clicks.

Such an application, if widely used, would mean that pay-per-click is an invalid business model.

I have a non-static IP address. Google could not ban me without also banning all of Verizon's NYC customers.

For now, I'm simulating this application by actually clicking on ads. I'll get bored of that after awhile, and will write a script to do it for me.

Kiba has left a new comment on your post "The "F*** Google!" FireFox Extension":

FSK, please do not defraud google no matter how angry you are!

Just because they caused you grief doesn't mean you have the right to engage into unethical actions.

Stick to your principle!
Retaliating against Google for cheating me is *NOT* a violation of the Non-Aggression principle. I am *NOT* violating my principles when I defend myself from aggression.

I have a valid claim against Google for $85. I am morally justified creating $85 (or more) of invalid clicks on Google's ad network.

Google has a near-monopoly of online advertising. On competing ad networks, I will probably get lower revenue than from Google. It's in my rational self-interest to break up Google's dominant position in the online advertising network.

Besides, if I write the "F*** Google!" application, it'd be more of a joke than something serious. If such a program is widely adopted and used, that's not my problem.

If you're promoting the "Project Wonderful!" website, you need to do a better job of trolling.

Josh has left a new comment on your post "The "F*** Google!" FireFox Extension":

De-googling is not easy, and trust me,you're not the first to want it.

Keep us updated as to how far you can go.

Well, the steps for de-googling are:

- Get my own blog. That eliminates my usage of Blogger and Google Analytics.
- Write my own RSS Reader. That eliminates my usage of Google Reader.
- Put my own mailserver on my own domain. I don't know of any open source mail applications that are competitive with gmail. Gmail has a *GREAT* anti-spam filter, but I could accomplish the same thing with sensible filtering rules.
- For search, there's zero lock-in. I can switch to another search engine for zero cost, provided the results are just as good. Microsoft and Yahoo and others should catch up with Google eventually.

I see the weaknesses of Google as a search engine. Any statistical method for ranking webpages has exploitable flaws. Human-assisted search, via a forum or wiki with suitable moderation, is much better. For example, if I ask here "What's a good alternative to AdSense?", I may get better answers than asking Google search.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The "F*** Google!" FireFox Extension":

A previous responder calls this 'fraud'.

That is simply moronic.

How I choose to click on the garbage served by ad networks to my screen is my business. The above-mentioned troll probably thinks not watching TV commercials is fraud too. To heck with you!

Once you present something to me on the screen it is mine to deal with! If I choose to click on it all day, that is entirely my right. If you don't like it, don't send it to my screen, little troll!

Don't hurt google, please? What the hell is wrong with you! Google hardly needs your protection, chickenbrain. It knows ALL about YOU, and I hope it uses it against you in ways that I haven't yet thought of.

Mr. Anonymoto

"It is immoral for FSK to write a program that automatically simulates ad clickthroughs!" ranks up there with "It is immoral for FSK to fast-forward through commercials on his VCR!"

It's only fraud if I had a contract with Google. If I'm a Google AdSense publisher, then I have an obligation to not commit click fraud on my own site. Now, I have no such obligation.

It's not my fault that pay-per-click is a defective business model.

Josh has left a new comment on your post "The "F*** Google!" FireFox Extension":

I was thinking the other day

In case you've not decided your domain name yet

Maybe get "Free Speech Kane/Kush/Kin" (FSK) or "FiSKal Guide"...just thoughts, whatever is easiest to memorize, read and spread out.

I haven't registered my domain yet. (I really should.)

Those names are unsuitable. They'd be hard to remember for nobody who visited my site before.

If I own my own domain, it's easy enough to move via a redirect. I have a good choice in mind.

fritz has left a new comment on your post "The "F*** Google!" FireFox Extension":

I think this idea is fantastic. I would like to be involved. I would be most interested in the effect it would have. And wonder if the stats. could be tracked. Who knows, if you set it up right Google might beg you to stop, and even offer you money to quit.

Sounds like good google fun, lets play

I might set it up so you could report your stats to a server, or allow people to just use the program Anonymously.

I plan to open source the software once I write it. If Google tries to stop me after it's released, it's too late.

Zargon has left a new comment on your post "The "F*** Google!" FireFox Extension":

I'd think that would have the effect of getting good content providers banned from adsense. Especially if it's just you, or a handful of users from this blog using it.
Such an application could "go viral". There are a *LOT* of people angry at Google.

The mainstream media would probably promote it, just to mess with Google (if it gained decent traction).

What's wrong with me getting good content providers banned from AdSense? That's good for Google's competitors! I want Google's ad network to be filled with spam sites!



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "AdSense Sucks!":

Always back-up your gmail account. If Linux, use a script; or open and download everything using a GUI mail client regularly. Also, use your own domain name. This way if you're cut off (My father was once for 24 hours, no reason given) you have your old e-mails and can easily recover by changing your name servers. Gmail spam filtering is just so good or I wouldn't use them at all.
We used to buy ads from Google. It started at 4 to 5 cents per ad. It then steadily increased to 10, then 12, then 15, then 20, then 30, then 40 cents EACH. Classic bait and switch. Goodbye. There's a bitter lesson and many hours wasted setting it up. Beware.

I don't keep anything important in gmail. The big thing that sucks would be that I'd lose my blog.

I keep backups on my HD, and I could re-create all the important articles. The annoying part is that I'd lose my regular readers.

Kiba has left a new comment on your post "AdSense Sucks!":

Ad-sense never make much money for me so I ditch it before Google have a chance to suspend me.

Thankfully, I used an advertising network that relies on mostly traffic rather than ad-clicks because the owner behind the network knew that click based advertising are open to abuse.

Like I suggested before, http://projectwonderful.com is a great advertising network even if make minicule amount of money.

Plus it is friendly with other advertising network so you can supplement your income by selling ads from other network.

You sure are pushing "Project Wonderful" aren't you?

My concers with "Project Wonderful" are:

- You need a PayPal account in order to get paid. I don't have a PayPal account. There is no option to get paid by check.
- The sites listed were earning *REALLY LOW* eCPMs. They were getting only a few cents per thousand pageviews. I'm doing a *LOT* better with AdBrite. (Of course, they could also default, just like Google.)

I agree that CPC-based advertising is inherently defective. It leads to disputes between publisher and advertiser over "Am I getting paid for each click? Am I getting paid enough per click? Is the publisher intentionally clicking on his own ads?" With CPM-based advertising, there's much less potential for abuse.

If you're promoting CPM-based advertising instead of CPC-based advertising, then wouldn't you be eager to use the "F*** Google!" application?

4 comments:

Kiba said...

Ok, I didn't realize I was pushing an ads network. So I'll stop here.

Your experiment with adbrite pique my interest in doing a trial run with adbrite as well. If it really does generate better revenues, I'll start switching to it.

I also experimented with text link ads too since you also experimented/mentioned it. I also get nothing. I am more concerned about the TOS though. Can't seem to find the Term of Service anywhere.

Finally, I want to start my own agorist blog and make anarchist cartoons.

I am thinking I am going to specialize in making anarchist currencies made of gold, copper, and silvers. Once my blog starts making money, I am going to use it to largely run an agorist mint.

citizen stefish said...

you're venturing into extreme paranoia. i told you i clicked on one damn ad because it interested me. then you said that that made everything fraudulent, and that i might have done it to get you banned. yea ok, i read a blog virtually every day for well over a year, and then i decide, "i am going to crash this!"

you placed ads on your site to generate revenue. i am a regular reader. i saw one that interested me. so i clicked on it. sorry!

are you just being an jerk? i rarely comment on anything because you treat a chunk of your regular posters like they're scum.

barry b. said...

FSK,

Looks like everyone isn't happy with your thoughts today. Hey just wanted to say that I'm still kicking around this idea that all taxes are immoral and any recognition of government is therefore immoral. I find this subject very interesting and realize that it will take me more time to adequately verbalize a conclusion on the matter (if a conclusion is even possible).

If using force for anything other than defense is immoral, then isn't taxing someone (using force) immoral?

However, how can you hope to have a society without government, where personal libery rules, if you cannot produce the defense necessary to protect such a society, for the simple reason that in the absence of forced taxation, you cannot adequately build a defense to beat back an invading army of trolls who ARE taxed against their will?

Also, the absence of government means the absence of law itself. How can you safeguard private property without an enforcement body that everyone is forced to recognize?

Josh said...

I know you keep saying you don't like to buy in bulk, and it IS a hassle to buy stuff in advance, just the transporting part alone :P

But if you're going to get a printing machine, you'll need space for that anyway, so it won't hurt to buy your blanks in bulk, depending on brand, you can easily get them down to $2 a piece or less (especially if they're light color fabrics).

And IF your cost of a t-shirt is 2+4+1=7, that's already more than what I'm paying today (and I've almost always ordered 3 dozen or less t-shirts at a time, in the high tax State of CA, and my stuff is always screen printed, mostly dark fabrics too).

But if you can get t-shirts made by a vendor or yourself for $5 or less, THAT'S when you'll be saving money or making on your investment(and I know you can, just keep looking & trying)

You are definitely right, if a competitor to AdSense was thinking, they'd totally be destroying AdSense beginners (and they just might be!)

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