Friday, June 24, 2011

Blogger Provides Favicon Functionality

BloggerImage by kuribo via Flickr
Earlier this month, Google announced that they have provided Blogger users the capability to add their own unique favicon to their Blogger blogs. Prior to this, only users who could host their own favicon file could add this to their blogger template. Now, however, all Blogger users can create a favicon file and blogger will upload and host it for us.

At present, there are a couple of quirks. First, this functionality is only available to those using Blogger in Draft. Second, once the favicon is uploaded, many users have reported that they do not see it on their tab or url lines. I had the same problem, but found that it was resolved when I closed all instances of my browsers, and then reopened them.

To assist you with adding a favicon to your blog, please refer to Blogger's article: Customize Your Favicon

To assist you with the design and creation of a favicon, please see our 2009 article: Add a Favicon to Your Website or Blog

We are thrilled that Blogger has provided this enhanced functionality and we are sure that every Blogger user will take advantage of it.
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Rock Paper Sissors - CMF Ads

As a followup to last week's post, I'd like to emphasize the other major features of CMF Ads that make it an important network for all bloggers whether new or old. Below I've described 4 of the primary reasons why this blog, Ask the Blogster (ATB), likes the CMF Ads network.

First is the CMF Ads site itself. Developed by Ben Barden and administered by Turnip, the CMF site has undergone many transformations. In its present state, members can easily traverse the site by use of a well organized series of pull down menus. One can quickly see their account information, advertisements, blogs, or view the overall membership community as well. Without having to go anywhere, you immediately see your account balance as well.

Second, CMF Ads is an advertising network, aimed at allowing you to advertise your site within the community. For this purpose, CMF offers members the opportunity to purchase 4 different type of ads:
  • Rock Paper Sissors- Spikes: which begin selling for $0.20 for 50 unique clicking visits
  • Rock Paper Sissors- Fireworks: which begin at $1.00 for 50 unique visits.
  • Rock Paper Sissors- Campaign: directly targeted ads to individual member blogs for various terms
  • Rock Paper Sissors- Network: broad based ads randomly displayed on all member sites.
This wide range of advertisement choices allows users of all budgets and interests to maximize the reach of their blogs.

Third, all members are publishers as well, meaning that they can easily earn both passive and active income. As publishers, blogs earn passive income from all Campaign and Network ads displayed on their blogs. Those who wish to be more active can boost their earning by clicking on all of the daily Spikes and outstanding Firework ads. All earnings can be utilized to purchase any or all of the offered ads types, or can be withdrawn from the system for only a 10% fee.

Fourth and lastly, its content is family orientated and well monitored. CMF Ads does not accept all blogs who apply for membership. All content must be original and the blogs must be free of spam, pop-ups, music, etc.

CMF Ads was launched in 2009 after extensive rounds of beta testing. The same group of members have operated the site, continually enhancing it and making improvements. So, if you are looking for a way to boost your visitor count and earn some income at the same time, then join CMF Ads and its membership community!
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Friday, June 10, 2011

CMF Fireworks Illuminate Your Exposure

CMF Ads recently introduced a new advertising alternative called Fireworks. These are similar to Spikes in that a member may purchase a fixed number of unique visits through their advertising widget. However, there are two primary differences between Spikes and Fireworks.
  • First, Firework ads are hosted on member blogs after installing the associated widget. Whereas, Spikes are displayed on a unique CMF page.
  • Second, Fireworks ads can provide unlimited impressions because only clicks by unique visitors are counted.
Firework ads cost approximately 5 times that of Spikes, but return 4 times the amount of income to visitors. For those trying to click on all the available Fireworks is like entering a scavenger hunt. Since ad placement is random, members must visit a variety of blogs to locate a Firework. However, there is no guarantee that you will find a new Firework ad. This feature provides advertisers the opportunity to have their ad displayed with an infinite number of impressions.

We believe this new product is a great complement to everyone's blog because the CMF Fireworks illuminate your exposure.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Use of Merchant Name an Affiliate Trademark Violation?

Overnight, I was surprised to receive an email notifying me that one or more of my pages were in violation of a trademark infringement. The company sending me this notice is one in which I am currently an approved ShareASale and GoldenCan affiliate marketeer. As an affiliate, I have the opportunity to earn a commission for any product sale generated from one of the links they have provided me and others.

At present, I will not name the company, but will simply refer to it as:  XYZs Things.

For years, XYZs Things has been a prominent member of Internet Retailer’s Top 500 list. One reason for its success is its utilization of affiliate marketing services which it authorized both ShareASale and GoldenCan to manage. I joined its ShareASale program at the end of February 2007. When XYZs Things joined GoldenCan in June 2008, it provided an integration solution for its affiliate data feed, coupons, and search functionality. This service is funded by XYZs Things and is free to its affiliates only. GoldenCans distribution encourages affiliates to create individual stores for each individual merchant.

Having met GoldenCan's requirements, I established my own XYZs Things store, and linked to it from my website. I do not advertise and have never received any income from this merchant. However, one day I hope that it will generate income. My stores page is clearly labeled "XYZs Things" so that it does not confuse any visitor about the source of products displayed. The items are not mislabeled to prevent the true merchant source from being misrepresented.

For reference, I have provided a description of trademark infringement from Harvard Law's Overview of Trademark Law:

If a party owns the rights to a particular trademark, that party can sue subsequent parties for trademark infringement. 15 U.S.C. �� 1114, 1125. The standard is "likelihood of confusion." To be more specific, the use of a trademark in connection with the sale of a good constitutes infringement if it is likely to cause consumer confusion as to the source of those goods or as to the sponsorship or approval of such goods. In deciding whether consumers are likely to be confused, the courts will typically look to a number of factors, including: (1) the strength of the mark; (2) the proximity of the goods; (3) the similarity of the marks; (4) evidence of actual confusion; (5) the similarity of marketing channels used; (6) the degree of caution exercised by the typical purchaser; (7) the defendant's intent. Polaroid Corp. v. Polarad Elect. Corp., 287 F.2d 492 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 368 U.S. 820 (1961).

Prior to writing this article, I performed a search for XYZs Things. There I found three interesting things.
  1. My XYZs Things store appears on the first page of the results in 6th place and below the XYZs Things site listing, even though I do not advertise or promote this store.
  2. Since Google implemented Panda, XYZs Things traffic plunged by 2/3rds, site ranking was lowered, and XYZs Things earnings dropped dramatically.
  3. The CEO fired the firm he used to acquire inbound links and hired new copywriters.
Learning this information, I concluded that XYZs Things considers my site to be a threat to their income. This is evident by the fact that they reduced my affiliate commission from their standard 6% to 2.5%. They really do not want to pay out affiliate income and are trying hard to build up their traffic to their site once again.

By requiring me to remove their name from my XYZs Things store by saying that I am in violation of trademark infrigement, they believe that my store will drop off the search engine cliff, which is true. However, I believe that by not labeling the store's content with the XYZs Things name would truly place my page and content in jeopardy of a trademark violation. The reason is because visitors would believe they are purchasing items from me, and not XYZs Things, thus the "likelihood of confusion" would exist.

I understand the actions that XYZs Things has taken, but I believe that if they really wanted to eliminate my store as competition, they would simply remove me as an authorized affiliate. However, it is possible that another one of their affiliates would take my place on the search engine results. Thus, they would have to remove that affiliate as well. Eventually, they would conclude that all of their affiliate marketing efforts must be stopped completely in order to ensure that they do not pay out commissions.
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