The art of the sellout

Is my website going to be the road to ultimate Internet riches? Probably not. In an ongoing experiment I have been seeking residual income by trying to whore out Happy Boredom into a revenue-generating machine. I’m going to chronicle my membership in ad and affiliate programs to see where it takes me and see if I get spammed into oblivion.

ads

Of course you already see the Google Ads peppered throughout this website. Unfortunately in approximately 18 months of running ads I’ve collected approximately $18. That’s $1/month which doesn’t come anywhere close to the $3/month I pay for web-hosting.

Once upon a time from about 1997 until maybe 2000 I had a website. Searching for riches, I put a banner ad that got 5-10 cents per click. I can’t remember what company that was but they definitely went out of business a few years ago. In the 3 years of its existence I think my website earned about $8 but I’m pretty sure at least $5 worth of those clicks were from me logging onto university computers to click my own ads. They call that click-fraud nowadays and Google knows how to prevent that more effectively than my primitive fraud methods.

affiliates

One of the more interesting things that has come about in the Internet age is the Affiliate program. Big websites offer incentives for bloggers and website owners to send their viewers to the retailer to buy products and services. I think it’s pretty cool to get paid for doing nothing and I’m sure readers don’t mind it because usually it’s a click-through for a coupon, discount codes, or whatever.

The first affiliate program I ever joined was for JobDirect.com. It paid $1 for every resume I could get from classmates. They even sent me posters, t-shirts, buttons, and business cards. I tried handing that crap out but I think I managed to get $12 from it because I forced all my roommates to put their resumes on the website. While I was working at the Michigan League Buffet I dropped the business card ads on every table as an advertising method. However my manager discovered those cards — she didn’t know I put them there — and complained to the regional JobDirect manager about solicitations on the tables. Apparently that wasn’t allowed. JobDirect has since gone out of business — duh.

I joined the Amazon affiliate program because I used to buy a lot of stuff from Amazon and it guaranteed me a 3%-5% commission on anything that I purchased through it. It’s a bit of a chore to get the proper links and if I were a better programmer I should have written a way to generate the product links more efficiently. But I’m not a good programmer so I haven’t done that. Hence my Amazon affiliate has not gotten me a check in the mail yet.

I’m currently investigating the affiliate programs for travel sites like Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, and Hotels.com They offer some decent incentives that I may take advantage when I reserve my hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I haven’t signed up for one yet because I got sidetracked by investigating the companies that actually run the programs for those websites. It appears that Orbitz goes through a company called LinkShare. I thought Expedia went through a company called Commission Junction (CJ) but after joining CJ I have discovered that only the European arms (UK, France, Germany) of Expedia go through CJ.

That brings me to CJ(Commission Junction). My work uses CJ to get customers so I figured it may not be a full 100% scam. I signed up for it through my LLC and am in the process of filling Happy Boredom with plenty of CJ related material.

As a note to you, the reader, the various links are not meant to be a scam and they shouldn’t take you to phishing sites. I’m just a testing out some of the promotions and maybe I can make a buck while you save a buck. It’s win-win!

Los Cabos research

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I’ve been planning a vacation to Los Cabos, Mexico with some buddies. Being a forgetful and lazy bum I keep forgetting to go to a travel agent. Thus, with the help of the internet I’ve been trying to do some research about Los Cabos. These are my brief notes after searching around a little. I need to get a guide book from the bookstore by Frommer’s or Lonely Planet or whomever else makes Cabo guidebooks.

general

Los Cabos has a number of towns. The major ones are Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. According to my brief research Cabo San Lucas is the party spot. San Jose del Cabo is the laid-back honeymoon type spot. Being three single men under 30 I think we’re going to Cabo San Lucas.


The closest airport is SJD airport. It’s a 2-3 hour flight from SFO to SJD.

Not all beaches are suitable for swimming. Medano beach is the main swimming beach.

Los Cabos 2BR hotels

For the sake of awesomeness and convenience I’ve been searching for 2-bedroom hotel suites in the Cabo San Lucas area. Preliminary research reveals that some hotels have an “extra person surcharge” for parties over 2 people. I find this a bit odd because a 2 bedroom hotel room is meant for 4 people. If I were to get 2 separate rooms, I would probably avoid the extra person surcharge.

Promising 2BR finds for 3 people, 7 night prices. Surcharges are per person per night. SJD = San Jose del Cabo. CSL = Cabo San Lucas

City Hotel surcharge 7 nt cost
CSL Marina sol Resort +20 $1,586
CSL Villa del Arco 0 $2,565
CSL Villa del Palmar +47 $3,100
CSL Hotel Vistazul Suites 0 $1,973
SJD Grand Baja all suite +94 $2,662
SJD Suites las Palmas 0 $1,420
hotel beds medano beach downtown kitchen bathrooms price location source
hotel finisterra 2 far 3 close 1 no 1 west marina hotels.com
marina fiesta 3 medium 1 close 1 yes 1 1212 east marina hotels.com
pueblo bonito blanco 3 direct 0 close 1 yes 1 2105 east medano hotels.com
pueblo bonito pacifca xxx far 3 xxx yes xxx too much xxx hotels.com
pueblo bonito rose 2 direct 0 medium 2 yes 1 1815 east medano hotels.com
pueblo bonito sunset beach xxx far 3 xxx yes xxx too much xxx hotels.com
solmar suites 3 far 3 far 3 yes 1 1533 cape hotels.com
villa del palmar 2 direct 0 medium 2 yes 2 2000 east medano hotels.com
villa la estancia xxx direct 0 far 3 no 1 too much xxx hotels.com
villa del arco 4 direct 0 medium 2 yes 3 2530 east medano hotels.com
marina sol resort 3 medium 1 close 1 yes 2 1587 east marina expedia
seven crown 3 far 3 medium 2 no 2 1121 east downtown expedia
hotel vistazul 3 far 3 far 3 no 1 2144 east downtown expedia

reference

I use the typical sites for searching on travel. Not all sites are created equal with regard to Cabo because of map details, room descriptions, and so forth.

Hotels.com — good room info and in some cases they have deeper discounts. They also have a broader selection of hotels. The maps they have for Cabo San Lucas completely suck ass because it looks like Cabo is in the middle of the ocean — pinpoints are in the blue water area. Their method for “favorite hotels” completely sucks.

Orbitz — good room info and best maps of the bunch. Limited Cabo San Lucas hotel selection.

Expedia — good room info and nice way to save and label itineraries. Some rates on Expedia trended higher than others. Links only open through JavaScript which sucks because you can’t open pages in new tabs/windows. Map for hotel rooms is beter than Hotels.com but not as good as Orbitz because it lacks city streets (only freeway).

Travelocity — no maps at all? Odd. Good pictures. Low selection. High prices.

Bored at work? Play Nodes

Ewok pointed me to this flash puzzle game where you try to pass lines through points in space by manipulating vertexes. Pretty neat.

Play Nodes

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