Business Posts

Guest Post for SmartBlog on Social Media: “4 Simple Rules for Generating Traffic from Forums”

I wrote a guest post for SmartBlog on Social Media that was published on Monday. It’s called “4 Simple Rules for Generating Traffic from Forums.” That title is pretty descriptive – it’s a simple, straightforward guide for those who want to participate on forums in an effort to drive traffic to their own site. The four steps are:

1. Observe first, act second.

2. Fill out your profile, especially your signature.

3. Want to be there.

4. Don’t mention your website.

The article goes into more detail. If this is something that you are interested in, I hope that you find it useful.

Video from the “How to Deal with Trolls, Spammers & Sock Puppets” Panel at Blog World Expo 2008

In November, I shared video from the “Avoiding Disaster: How Not to Use Social Media” panel at Blog World Expo 2008. The fact that I couldn’t get video of the other panel I was on, “How to Deal with Trolls, Spammers & Sock Puppets,” probably tells you how busy I’ve been! But, in any case, I’m sorry for the delay and the video has now been posted on

Thank you to everyone who attended to panel and to my fellow panelists, Rick Calvert, Founder of Blog World Expo & New Media Expo; John Chow of John Chow dot Com, The Tech Zone and TTZ Media and Jeremy Schoemaker of ShoeMoney and ShoeMoney Media Group.

My Epic, Unneccesarily Detailed Recap of South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) 2009

meet-me-sxswDuring the second week of March, I headed to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) 2009. The conference itself ran from March 13 through March 17 and I arrived on March 12 and left on March 18. Since it is still fresh in my mind, as I did last year, I wanted to provide a recap of the experience. This is my epic and unnecessarily detailed and long (even boring by some standards) recap of the conference. This is the “WHY DID YOU WRITE ALL THAT? NOBODY CARES.” recap. It’s for me personally, to remember the event, as much as anything else, but if you want to read it, you are definitely welcome! Good luck.

March 12

Let’s start with this: I’m sitting in the Charlotte airport on wifi, waiting for my flight to Austin, and a guy walks by. He looks like a much older version of Kevin McCallister’s mean brother Buzz, from the movie “Home Alone,” which I loved as a kid. I tweeted this out at the time. The next day, after I’ve arrived in Austin, a girl at the convention center hands me a promo for a movie called “The 2 Bobs.”

I look at it and notice that this was the guy on my flight. And then the girl who hands it to me says that he was in “Home Alone.” So, it was the guy. His name is Devin Ratray and he was in town doing promo for the film.

On the flight from Charlotte to Austin, I sat next to Scott Brewster, the Director of Online Learning for The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and we got to know each other a bit, for the duration of the flight.

I got in town at around 5 PM and it took me an hour and a half or so to get to the hotel and get checked in and settled. After considering various dinner options, I saw a tweet by Paul Boag of Boagworld. I had hoped to meet up with him at some point, but he said he was having an informal dinner and I made my way over to his hotel lobby to meet up.

But, first, I went to the Austin Convention Center to pick up my badge for the conference. The line for the general attendee pickup was very, very long. About three quarters of the first floor – four people deep. But, the panelist registration had all of two people in line when I got there. Yes! So, I was able to pick my badge up very quickly, but not before chatting with Grant Robertson of Download Squad and meeting Victor Agreda of Weblogs, Inc.

When I made it to Paul’s hotel, I realized that I had only a hazy idea of what he looked like (basically, my best memory of his Twitter avatar, with him looking in a downward direction). But, I spotted him rather easily and joined him and a group that included Niqui Merret, Marcus Lillington, Phill Tran and John Morton. I actually ended out hanging out with Phill at various points of the conference, as well. All cool people. After dinner, they headed to Buffalo Billiards… I headed to bed.

The Solution to Commission Junction’s $10 Monthly Inactivity Fee for Publishers: Skimlinks

Back in February, I wrote about how Commission Junction had charged me $10 for inactivity on my affiliate account without any notice. I was displeased and stopped sending traffic to Books-A-Million because of it.

While I was down at South by Southwest (yes, my epic recap is still in the works), I met Joe Stepniewski, the co-founder of Skimlinks. Skimlinks is a service that takes ordinary links on your website and turns them into an affiliate link, where applicable. It does it automatically, regardless of if the link was posted in the past. Their homepage shows this example: let’s say you were writing about a product from the Gap.

You don’t need to mess around with any affiliate code or apply to be a member of the Gap affiliate program – just post a link to the product like normal, just as if you were mentioning it in an IM conversation or something like that. With Skimlinks installed on your site, that link will automatically become an affiliate link.

Skimlinks keeps a portion of the revenue generated. But, their FAQ states that they are able to negotiate better affiliate rates than an individual affiliate would be able to get and, because of that, “you can earn up to 110%” of what you normally might.

As I was browsing their website, after the conference I saw that they worked with the Commission Junction network and it dawned on me. This is the solution! If you want to use Commission Junction’s affiliate network, but don’t want to worry about the $10 inactive fee – Skimlinks is perfect because, with Skimlinks, you won’t get hit with such a fee.

Of course, that’s a small point, really. The Skimlinks service looks quite interesting (I wrote about such a concept in my book) and I am looking forward to trying it.

April Fools’ Day 2009 on the iFroggy Network

April Fools’ Day is always a fun time for me and that is reflected on the iFroggy Network, where I collaborate with my staff and others to brainstorm ways to have fun with our visitors on April 1. Here’s what we did this year:

On, all logged in members were granted admin panel access, via a link in the header. The link took them to this page, encouraging them to prank others by talking about their new found admin access.

On, we announced that phpBB 2 support was coming to an end on the site. But, this is not the case.

At, we announced plans to support only Photoshop CS4. Basically, if you asked a question on the community, it would have to relate to Photoshop CS4 and no prior versions. If you created a graphic or example and posted it on the forums, it would have to have been created with CS4. That’s not something we are going to do.

Finally, on Bad Boy Blog, we did a couple of jokes. When I was coming up with ideas, I had been thinking of fun story ideas that I could write about. One of them was “Exclusive: Sources: Jordan McCoy Joins Boyz N Da Hood, Replacing Gorilla Zoe.”

For those who don’t know, Jordan McCoy and Boyz N Da Hood are both acts signed to Bad Boy Records. McCoy is a 17 year old pop/rock singer who is also a member of Dream, which is a pop girl group. Boyz N Da Hood is a southern, hard core rap group consisting of rappers Big Gee (signed to Bad Boy as a solo artist, as well), Big Duke and Gorilla Zoe (also signed to Bad Boy). Jody Breeze is another member, but his status is up in the air and it sounds like he’s out.

So, really, what I was going for here was some Onion style humor. Something that is rather obviously absurd, but written in a serious, believable manner. Jordan and her manager, Debbie Hammond, are friends of Bad Boy Blog, so I decided to see if we could make it bigger by involving them.

We didn’t have a lot of time, but we pulled something together. First, I posted my report late on March 31. Then, in the afternoon on April 1, her MySpace layout was updated to include “The Newest Member of Boyz N Da Hood!” in the header (see it here). She blogged about it on MySpace and and tweeted about it. I then wrote a post, announcing her confirmation of my report.

So, we collaborated to pull off a pretty good joke and gave her fans a laugh. After I announced it was a prank, she did the same and her MySpace layout was reverted to it’s normal form.

The other joke we did at Bad Boy Blog was to supposedly post a new single from Diddy. While it sounded believable, anyone who clicked the audio player link in the post was taken to a page announcing the prank.

Another April Fools’ Day in the books!

Back From South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) 2009

I’m back from South by Southwest Interactive 2009 and I’m working on catching up to the big pile of messages and long to do list. The conference was a lot of fun and I hope to have a recap of it up at some point. There is some rough video of my presentation available, with a higher quality recording coming at some point.

A huge thank you to everyone who attended my presentation and the book signing, as well as everyone that I met and talked to during the event. I’ll have more details and the names of some of these folks in the recap. For now, just a huge, general thanks! The conference went great.

Live Video: “The Art of Responding to Feedback from Your Community” Presentation at SXSWi 2009

Update: Embedded the saved stream below. Warning: it’s rough!

Today, March 14, at 1:30 PM ET, I will be speaking at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) 2009. I will be giving a presentation called “The Art of Responding to Feedback from Your Community.”

For those that were unable to make it to Austin for the conference, I wanted to try to stream the presentation on Ustream. The video stream is embedded below. If you’re free, please check back at or a little before 1:30 PM ET today. The presentation will last for no longer than 20 minutes.

It may not work because we are at the mercy of wifi and bandwidth, but I will try my best. The camera angle may also be awkward. Even if it doesn’t work or isn’t ideal, a friend will be taking video for me of the entire presentation that I will post online at some point, as well.

During the presentation, or after, please feel free to provide feedback on Twitter @patrickokeefe. Thank you for watching!

Broadcasting Live with Ustream.TV

I’m at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) 2009!

I’ll be attending the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) 2009 conference in Austin, Texas, from March 13 through March 17. So, things will be a little quiet around here at this time. I appreciate your patience.

On Saturday, March 14 at 12:30 PM, I’ll be speaking, giving a presentation called, “The Art of Responding to Feedback From Your Community.” After the presentation, at 12:55 PM, I’ll be doing a book signing for 20 minutes at the SXSW Bookstore. I’ll probably sign whatever stock they have, so if you miss the signing and still would like a signed copy, please stop by the bookstore!

But, even if you can’t make it to my session and would like to meet up, just let me know. Probably the best way, after March 11,  is to send me an @ reply on Twitter. My Twitter name is patrickokeefe. I look forward to seeing you there!

Hoping to Stream my SXSW Interactive Talk

I did some testing today and I am hoping to stream my SXSW Interactive 2009 talk, “The Art of Responding to Feedback from Your Community,” live online via The presentation starts at 1:30 PM ET, but I’ll probably try to start the stream a little earlier. You will hopefully be able it on the Show channel.

Please keep it in mind that it may not be possible. It will depend on the wifi connectivity as well as the available bandwidth. Fingers crossed, we’ll make it happen! Even if I am not able to pull it off, I will still be taking video that will be posted online at some point.

What Events Should I Go to at SXSWi?

South by Southwest Interactive 2009 is quickly approaching. I’ll be speaking, but I’ll also be in town from the 12th through the 18th, taking in the whole conference. So, I thought I’d ask, what events should I go to? Are you hosting one that I should come to?

I already have a few Tweetups on the schedule, as well as “Hands on Kirtsy.” Please let me know where else I should go!