Category Archives: Tools

Video Boss Bonuses, want the best? get access to my $1M automated video creation service

If you want the best bonuses for Video Boss 2.0, how about tools that will do the heavy lifting for you? Video Boss Training will turn you into a video marketing master, but it won’t do the work for you – that’s where my bonus comes in.  When you order through my affiliate link you will gain access to the $1M dollar automated video creation & promotion service that does everything for you, plus a killer WordPress video marketing plugin that you have got to see in action.

You can learn more about my bonus in this video
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Last year when I got Video Boss 1.0 I learned a bunch about video, but I saw with a partner that much could be automated so we did.  My automated video creation and promotion service that has been in development for over a year that does the heavy lifting for you. You give us text, we get you back videos, and video traffic, that simple, that easy.  Built by marketers for marketers, it’s taken over a year to develop, and close to $1M dollars, Right now you have to spend $5K -$10K to get access to this tool.  When you order through my affiliate link, you will also get the kick ass WordPress plugin that allows you to turn your blog posts into video with one click, and also rank video directly on your blog close to where the action is.

So be sure to get Video Boss through my  affiliate link

 

Video Sales Pages with synchronized elements.

Hey Guys,

Most of you know now that video sales pages are crushing it
especially compared to long form sales letters.

One great trick is showing hidden elements at the right time.
Like optins and or buy buttons (e.g the UBB)
The has the benefit, people focus on your message
rather than searching for the price.

Doing this requires script, and doing it correctly
requires special script, that’s hard.

So I developed one and a wizard that makes this easy.
It synchronizes one or multiple calls to action to a video,
unlike others, it keeps perfect synch with the video
even if it’s paused or rewound.
The the call to actions are also completely hidden.

Here is a demo video on the first version over a year ago.
Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

It’s proven, you’ve likely seen others using the approach
in major launches.
I believe in it so much, I’ve never had a sales page without it.
I’ve even licensed the tech to some major gurus
for several thousands of dollars who white label it.

We’ve added many things since then
including HTML5 video (ipad, ipod), preloading, bandwidth detection.
google analytics etc.

Now I’m looking at letting others like YOU play with it, but I need your help.

In the process want to develop a course on video sales letters
how to best use them, and any other questions
like what specific questions you have on creating video,
hosting video, integrating it, etc.
How to use this Magipage script for sales, powerful video surveys,
single time offers, A/B testing etc.

As well as what I need to do to make it easy to use,
as I know many of your aren’t techies
and need all the help you can get,
so will even make my tech team available to you if choosen.

So I’m looking for 7 people with *existing* sales pages  and existing sales, that are willing to do A/B split tests to figure out how much better this performs over their existing page.  You’ll get the script for free and help from my team and myself getting it in place.

If interested please leave me a comment below,with why you think you’re a good candidate, and if desired include your phone or skype.

How to download for offline viewing and archiving those expensive website based courses

This article is inspired by three concrete problems I had this weekend, where I had premium content locked in a paid membership site and wanted a local copy of.  That content was often a rather large complicated site consisting of 200-300 files of 500-1GB of size.  While possible to do manually, getting it all, would have been time consuming and tedious to do so, regardless if I did it or one of my staff.  So in this we are going to review and cover 3 automated solutions I tried to get a copy and keep it safe.  So like the pharaohs of old you can take it with you.

Like the pharoahs of old, you can take it with you, provided you know these tricks...

The problem with online courses:

1) your course is only available online in some password protected site. Lose the password, downgrade your membership you lose access to it all.

2) you can’t take the course with you on the road or in places with poor internet connectivity, often which is a perfect time to learn and review this.

3) courses get outdated, and taken offline. E.g. gurus retire, or retire courses.  You spend $2k on the information it’s only fair that you get a copy of it, regardless of what the guru does with it in the future.

If you could get a copy for later for your “Learning Library” you could keep a copy even if you never use it. I still keep copies of my university books just occasionally to refresh my memory on certain subjects. Can’t say that they’ve gotten much use out of (e.g. Linear Algebra and Chemistry) but I spent like $200 on some of them when that was a LOT of money to me (as in a full month of rent) and years later…still… can’t… quite let them go in the trash 🙂

My Inspirations

First, I own Jeff Walkers Product Launch Formula 2.0, which was $2k or so when I bought it about a year ago.   Jeff is retiring PLF2.0 in favor of PLF3.0 in just a couple of days. That means he’s deleting ALL of the excellent content and sites surrounding that product, partly to push people to buy the upgraded “redone from the ground up”.  Much of that pricey but good content I just don’t remember OR worse have paid lots of money for but haven’t gotten a chance to view yet, which come to think of it, is true for many of the courses I have bought, even if I have been working my butt off the entire year!!!.   While I could manually download files one by one, I wanted an easier way and one that would make sure I didn’t lose anything,  and being so busy, I put it to last few days…and just realized I only had a few days left.    I had planned originally just to download the core modules files, but getting into the site after almost a year ofnot seeing it,  I realized there was a huge amount I haven’t seen, and most available in several formats like PDF transcripts, that would benefit me more than just the video. It would be rather insane downloading the entire site that way so I went with the automated approach.

Second I am canceling one of my $300/mo mastermind groups, as over the 4 months, I’ve gotten most the value I need out of it and would rather have that money going someplace else -that’s about what I pay for a month of some of my Filipino workers!  As soon as I cancel though I lose access to ALL the information in the premium mastermind section. Which kinda sucks.  A much better way to go would be to just stop allowing me access to things I haven’t paid for but their membership software doesn’t do that.

Third one of the other membership sites  I wanted local copies of the videos, as they way they organize the site, you can’t watch a video and actually see the slides and take notes at the same time unless you use a spare PC, which make it hard for me to learn the site.

In every one of these cases downloading the videos is perfectly permitted and encouraged, as it’s for personal -not pirated use.  You almost never have the permission to reupload the site to make it ‘your’s” but in some cases (like in the case of employee training) it’s borderline, just make sure you only grant permission to authorized parties.

How to get a copy of that website for safe keeping.

The good news is there are a few different ways to go about this important if somewhat daunting task.

Manual This is great if you only need a few files, pick and choose style.  You can just use the browser to right click over a link and hit save as, or  from the main menu choose File>Save As> Webpage Complete.  This however won’t download video files on say S3 or youtube to keep them safe.   The reason for this is that it’s saves the html file verbatim, and keeps the links intact pointing to the web.

If it’s a video on say youtube there are a few different websites services for this like keepvid and  FireFox plugins like Orbit downloader.

In a pinch when people make it hard to find the video (e.g. EZS3) you can often use the firefox plugin firebug to see where the files are coming from and open the the file in new tab then save it. Firebug is meant as a web development tool (and it kicks butt at this).  Basically how you use it, look at this 9 step picture.

9 Steps to Using Firebug to download a video
9 Steps to Using Firebug to download a Video

Last I should say there are some times when people stream video, that video cannot be saved via any of these approaches, as the video never hits  your harddrive ever. In this last case you can use any screen capture program (Screenflow on a Mac, Camtasia on a PC) to do a capture of everything.  This is particularly great for webinars on gotomeeting.

Automated: If you have a lot of files special software is website rippers, that basically behave as you would viewing the site, except instead of saving it to a local cache they save it permanently to a folder of your choice.

So there are many tools to help you automatically download entire website for later.  They have basically have the responsibility to automatically follow each and every link from a given start page and download each and every file much like google’s search engine bots crawl your site, and once downloaded rewrite the links to something local and not still on the web.   This can actually be relatively complicated job given most sites link out to many other resources (like amazon S3) to host media files, or cross promotions. You have to sometimes setup boundaries on what you do and don’t follow, you don’t want to download the entire web!

Generally you first start a “project” that will contain all the files (e.g. 1 project might be 1 website) , so in my case I needed 3 projects, one for each site.  These projects can exist in various formats: the raw files as they exist on the web, or various compressed archives like zip folders or “chm” help files, which saves space and makes them say easy to share with mastermind or employees.   In all cases these tools try to download everything at a fast rate so will both hog the netconnection and consume significant CPU, so I recommend doing this when you aren’t trying to do something super important at the same time, or better yet start it when you go to sleep etc and check it in the morning.   Also it’s generally a good idea to make sure these files are virus checked in case the site got hacked.

There are MANY programs that do this, I tried the first 3 that caught my eye searching google for “download website offline viewing“, alternate search terms to try are “download entire website”

3 Website Software to Download for Offline Viewing

  • Htttrack, this is an open source free, near the top of the results.  It appears to be a command line utility minimal UI.  It worked fine for normal sites, but I couldn’t figure out how to get it to work with the password protected websites requiring a non popup login.  Though looking at it’s logs I was able to see that one of the sites was using the WP membership site plugin Aweber which I couldn’t have known before hand. It was the cheapest as it was opensouce/no cost.
  • SpideSoft’s Webzip:    this is not free but it has a fully functional 30 day trial, which for my purposes was good enough as I didn’t need this for more than a week.  They’ve been out for it seems a couple of years, various copyright dates on the software.  This is based on InternetExplorer so it’s workflow is different, and it worked better than Httrack for the password sites.  Basically with it’s built in browser, you browse like you would normally to the part of the site you want to copy, login if needed, and then hit go.   If needed to purchase they were also the cheapest of the 3. at $39.95 for the normal version.  The UI is reasonably polished and fancy feeling, some questionably graphics showing all the bytes in an bytes out.  I found running on Windows XP that it crashed a few times but was easy to resume from where it left off.  Viewing the results it added a extra note at the top about where the files came from, and the date. There is also a resync website so for example if the contents had changed and you wanted to only download the new ones. By default it stores the site in a conventional file/folder.
  • Bimesoft’s SurfOffline:  this is not free but has a 200 link trial, which for my purposes on 2 of the sites wasn’t good enough. It had a polished UI, good reporting on what it’s doing, it also had a visible browser so I could log into the sites before downloading them.    It did not crash like Webzip, but it’s not a fair comparison it also didn’t go as far as the trial version stopped at 200 links.  I found it a bit more limited and market/nagware. After you complete the download pops up a message to upgrade to the full version it had four different versions $39.95 for the standard ‘non-commercial’ version and $69.95 for the non-commercial professional version, commercial versions in both would run *significantly* more.  I couldn’t really figure out what the difference was between the standard and pro version.   It by default stores files in a compressed archive which is a great space saver but I didn’t like, as I prefer to be able to jump to movie files I want.
Screenshot of Webzip, after downloading the PLF website for offline viewing
Screenshot of Webzip, after downloading the PLF website for offline viewing.

At the end I was pretty happy with the trial version of Webzip, it did the job I needed, without costing anything.  If I needed this on a regular basis I would probably investigate some of the others out there, that didn’t require restarting. In any case I imagine that most tools like this run $40, and a 1TB harddrive is about $50 as of this writing, which is nothing compared to the price of one of these pricey courses and the peace of mind having the ability to consume it however you want, whenever you want, however long you want, without being dependent on those pesky gurus.

ADVANCED:
I have what I call a Learning Library currently about  1.5TB in size. It contains ALL the courses I have bought to date, some $10K or so.  In particular it contains on the harddrive, copies of  DVD collections and OCR printed materials I get in those “big box courses” as harddrives are cheap, and DVD’s can get easily damaged or lost in the hustle of life and piles of stuff. OCR the swipe files makes them actually easy to copy and paste from.     Even better is once ripped and converted most are compatible with web browsers, I can tag, organize and even search the files and create hyperlinks to relevant courses on relevant subjects which i can’t easily do with my DVD collection collecting dust on the shelves. Not to mention most IM courses are kinda ugly, not exactly something I like having a showcase of..

What Is Google’s ‘Sidewiki’? and the Controversy

Been following the latest controversy about Google SideWiki?  Here’s a good overview of what it is and what it means.

In a single sentence: At present, it’s centralized chat (the good and the bad) about a particular URL/page that currently ONLY appears in browsers with the free 1) Google Toolbar installed AND 2) the sidewiki frame open via this icon The Google Toolbar Sidewiki Icon. unless it’s integrated into the webpage via the API google provides.

The Google Sidewiki breakdown

Here is a official shot from google with what it would look like in action, say we are visiting the hypey san francisco tourist page, we are getting potentially useful social commentary on the left.

Google Toolbar with Sidewiki on in action.
Google Toolbar with Sidewiki on in action.

To understand the fuss let’s asks some questions:

As a viewer of this site, do you feel you are looking at one consistent whole or two parts?

Are those comments relevant or not to the page?

Is the first comment by Susan about the best time of the year to visit purely opinion or by a qualified weather forecaster, or a native who’s lived there for years (note San Fran has many different microclimates so you should be prepared for anything)

Is the second comment by  Melissa a Shill for the Golden Gate Bridge Tour  or Golden Gate Toll Bridge Operators?  Could I reply to Melissa being a member of the Citizens Promoting Walking Golden Gate? Would you as a reader of the page care to see that?

Now here’s the breakdown, the area in green is the browser, the Google toolbar and sidewiki are a part of the browser. Your page is in the orange area, the Comments in the red box are specifically about that particular URL in blue.

troynotes_google_sidewiki_what_it_is_browser

NOTES

I find – especially with reference material, it’s much easier to understand by annotating books helps me understand, my personal library (and some of the public) are filled with side bar notes.  Going to a used book store I find I’m not alone in Marking up books with highlighters and sidebars, and in some cases I’ve found these other sidebar notes either highly insightful (especially in physics where the problems in the book had the wrong answers), entertaining or an ugly nuisance.

The internet being largely a digital equivalent, the range of  possibilities is the same.   This social annotation of the web is not a new concept, multiple other sites have done, currently do the same or similar things.  Most have failed, but then most don’t have the backbone of google.

How SideWiki Works

Just like in a book where the doodles are tied to the page they are on, so I could say “see the doodles on page 3” the Sidewiki currently maps social comments to the particular URL, and that URL can be passed around to fried.s

http://www.buzzmachine.com/

has Google Sidewiki “entries” about the site overall.

This page:
http://www.buzzmachine.com/2009/09/23/google-sidewiki-danger/
has another a different set of Google Sidewiki “entries” about that post/page.

But, this url doesn’t, thought it *may* be the same page as prior, it might not
http://www.buzzmachine.com//2009/09/23/google-sidewiki-danger/#comments

That last should show you how brittle this can be, and also has implications if you blog and you change your permalink structure.

3 Side Wiki Myths

1)  you don’t have control of your content: HALF TRUE  you don’t have 100% control of your content, as the site owner you have the first comment reserved just for you, and you (with others) the ability to vote or rate  comments.  There are also some ‘blockers‘ being built that exploit the URL

2) Comments are there forever: NOT TRUE,  comments can be rated and deleted. Over time those with value will survive those without value will die off. Of course by then like a smear campaign the damage might already be done.

3) Spammy comments are easy to make: HALF TRUE,  while anybody can comment those comments require a google email id, and that google id has a history and trust factor.  Any comment can be deleted or ranked. Eventually this will get orwellian sophisticated, for now it’s about as easy as tweeting.

Eventually you’ll see comment ranking just like search engine ranking   (a new field CEO? Comment Engine Optimization?).  So  Just like in web search/ SEO if a guru and a newbie both post the same comment the guru will eventually be ranked higher.

PROS

adding an active dialog about any page, making each page blog like, seems inevitable as the web is really about humans being human, and we like to talk!  That said Google is still far from ideal.

For government sites this layer of transparency could be great.

In theory for inept spammy sites having no real value, this comment board will end up being giant warning signs to warn consumers (e.g. refund issues)…if they aren’t out shouted by other spammers trying to compete for the same search traffic which seems more likely.  For companies with solid value, if you are subtle it can be a completely new channel to brand.   Hijacking sabotage or shilling are also possible.

For severe offenders google is already blocking these people on multiple levels: first with the google slap, then banning them from PPC, then black listing in the from the search engine so you don’t show up, and blacklisting with the browser so you can’t even see the page without feeling like you are about to have you machine instantly hacked.

If machines start using it as an central open place to add metadata that could also be quite amazing. As good as google is, there is still a great degree shrouded in mystery about how some of it works.

INBETWEENS

the comments are tied to your google id. Which has all sorts of metrics used with it. Like a SEO of sorts, the longer it’s aged, the contexts it’s used, will result in higher rankings.  Do you have your google driving license?    What if you want to change or segment identities? Will this mean having to have dozens of google email ids? I’m guessing so.

Being a comment stream from the peanut gallery, just like youtube comments I have my doubts it will be in many cases more than a place for snarks. While that can be entertaining, I suspect that many will find it mostly non-relevant so will turn it off by default. If that’s the case it then it won’t matter.

Moderating is tricky. Basically you as the owner of the site have the first word and like everyone else a vote.

Since this is an option on a toolbar that has to be installed it’s unclear what penetration this will have.  I for one don’t have the toolbar installed, but it’s that it hasn’t been tried as it’s bundled with many other applications.  I currenlty model it like youtube comments, they are on almost every video and the majority I find so junky I don’t read them. ..and try to hide them as they are more annoying than the ads.  However given the huge amount of comments on most video this is probably the exception. On others I have found the very valuable. There’s no automated way to separate those two.  Long term I imagine that google is looking to create a side bar disccusion similar to digg or slashdot which has similar problems.

CONS

Like any community dialog it’s subject to manipulation. Majority vote win. So it depends on the community surrounding the page,and the moderation.  High traffic pages are likely to get a continual stream of spammers.   While I haven’t tested I’m sure the moderators take hours to days, compare that to a weblog where comments can be deleted in minutes.

That conversation might be stale, relative to the site since it’s based on comments. Imagine a startup where the product rapidly changes, if people comment on rev1.0 but everything has been fixed in rev2.0 how long will it take for the comments to reflect that.  In that case it might be easier to start from scratch than to say “under new management”

For real businesses focusing on real this is yet another headache as the comments in the hands of sophisticated snarky or spammers may be an invisible graffiti.  This post goes over to the many real problems with screenshots of actual abuse.

That can be a hole in your ship if your value is based on selling things that are available elsewhere for free (e.g. PLR crap), basically you must have a unique selling position.

Since it’s (currently) a browser plugin frame, it won’t ever match your site. If you opt to have the comments integrated.

Yet another place to police what’s being said about you for both the good and the bad.

It’s not really what I consider a wiki, and most pages/sites don’t have the user base to keep things neutrally written and objective.

STRATEGIES

Since you don’t own it, you can’t control it 100% but you can as the site owner, post the first comment, and with tools integrate the comments into you site. You should definately police your site by using one of the many tools being developed or the RSS feed it provides.

The comments are tied to a particular url, and thus won’t work on SSL, and dynamically driven websites that have verbose dynamic urls, so if necessary (e..g sales carts) use that or other blockers to keep people being able to comment on it, but understand that the homepage of your site will not be able to be blocked so if you have a bad reputation it will follow you around.  You can of course change the url scheme of your site and this will break the comments, but it may also break your seo too.

For other strategies and reports like this, make sure to subscribe to the RSS, or opt-in to the insider.

Troy

For More Information

Official Page

http://www.google.com/sidewiki/intl/en/index.html

Some (long and heated) discussion

http://www.buzzmachine.com/2009/09/23/google-sidewiki-danger/

http://www.marketersboard.com/google-sidewiki-controversy/

Get the Ultimate Belcher Button (UBB) with Rollover effects

It’s big, it’s ugly, it’s proven to get 35%-320% conversion over other buttons. Odds are you’ve probably seen it…and now the infamous Perry Belcher button is even better.

How do you take something that well tested and make it better? Watch this short 1 minute video for a preview:
[flash http://www.troynotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/troynotes_ultimate_belcher_button.swf w=550 h=300]

4 ways the Ultimate Belcher Button (U.B.B.) is Better than the original

1) Figure out what you shouldn’t take out .   Start by listening to Perry’s great video on why each element in the Perry Belcher Button is important and how they synergistically work together, don’t change what’s proven to work,  unless you have time and money to do split test 10-100K combinations.   Unlike the others out there I didn’t remove anything that impacts conversions.

2) Make it Interactive: Images are so static..and dead, half the time I can’t tell if it’s clickable or not. It’s nice to be reassured I’m actually over something via clear continous feedback visually and auditorially.    I come from a background of making video games and I demand that buttons be button like, having rollover and press visual states. As this warriors forum post will attest, I’m not alone in knowing these subtle things can increase conversion. so this has nifty liquid rollover effects in the button not possible in CSS and hyperlink also has rollover and hit states.  You can see those in action in the video or by hovering over the opt-in form at the upper right which has a similar button.

Added a rollover green border from the Conversion Doctors tip, possibly because green is associated with go, but also that green and red are opposites so is a good way of reducing page blindness.

3) Put it on a diet: Perry’s Jpeg is bit big at 28KB,  Plain version is 11KB static 16KB (reconfigurable price).  While it’s possible to create something close in css/html, or a stripped down version here they are all missing important features that add to the bottom line, if you’re going to use might as well get the whole thing.   By careful use of Flash not only is it half that size (20KB) it has many more features.

4) Make it scale: jpeg’s and gifs don’t scale well.  Sales buttons need to be able to fit anywhere.  Flash vector graphics and text in the Ultimate Belcher Button can scale cleanly up and down, from tiny to giant:

troynotes_resizeable_ultimate_perry_belcher_button

(not shown in the video) Updated the credit cards to used a cleaned up graphic from http://www.credit-card-logos.com/ which also shaved off some size and reduced the jpg dithering in the original, flash does an okay job smoothing images so these look fine until you make it way bigger…can’t imagine why you’d want to do that.

How do you get the Ultimate Belcher Button?

Well right now you can’t, It’s been built for the the new intellinar service, which I can’t say much about right now as it’s still in stealth mode, but obviously if we’ve gone to this detail to get conversions up on a single button you can imagine how what we are doing to the rest of the service for your sales.

Update: I have a version that works in html and javascript available to my Troynotes Insider members with a video instruction guide. So opt-in on the upper right, and you’ll get a copy in your email, also you’ll get access to updates on it (we are adding sound and paypal).

Oh the new opt-in uses the same style button.

P.S. If I get 30 comments on this post, I’ll make it available to everyone for free.

P.P.S. I tried to let Perry have it, but he has left the IM to focus on his businesses, if so this button is dedicated to the big shiny money getting occasionally rude man who helped me get my start…this button is allot like him 🙂