Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Grim Truth about Crowd Sourcing and Astroturf!

by Robert Leavitt

Well you may ask yourself how Crowd Sourcing and Astro Turf go together in a sentance!  First lets define each:

Crowd Sourcing is a type of employment where people hire employees (via the internet) to perfom small tasks that can't be accomplished by a computer in most cases.  They could be searching for a website, clicking certain links, or signing up for a service.

Astroturf is artifical grass that was originaly used in the "Astrodome" in Houston, TX as a place to play baseball that required no ground maintenance.  Another advantage was the ability to play in any weather condition.

Now, these two terms refer to people using Crowd Sourcing as a way to "Astroturf" certain websites by giving them "fake roots" and manipulating search engine results.

As some of you know I was a microworkers employee for a long period of time, and I have completed many many tasks.  I started to notice some patterns emerging.  For example there were several tasks that always asked you to go the site.  They will post a picture on a picture host server and it will have the name of the site painted into it, so it's not identifiable to a spider crawling the web.  Then once on that page, you will search inside that page for a list of advertisements.  Then you are asked to click the advertisement.

I have seen many variations of the above task, but they all share a couple of things in common.

  • You are never asked to search for the site in google.
  • You will enter the site from another site, usually facebook or something like that to make it appear like legitimate traffic.
  • You usually conduct a search while in the page, though not always.
  • You are asked to click an advertisement.
At first this seemed harmless to me, and some of the people were paying a decent amount to do this fast task ($0.15 - $0.25 a task for a matter of seconds).  In fact I used to look for these tasks exclusively as they are highly profitable for the worker.

Yesterday I applied for an adSense account to help monetize my fertilizer blog.  I figured that i could use the ad revenue to help pay for hosting costs, etc... After I filled in the details and I got to the end, I started to read the Terms of Service (TOS) for adSense.  I was absolutely shocked to find that paying someone to click your links is an outright violation of the TOS.

So why do they continue to allow it?  Why wouldn't Google try to sue microworers and other sites like it?  I don't have the answer to this question, and I know that microworkers is based in Europe somewhere.  It's really kind of sad how much manipulation there is out there in World Wide Web.

It's a dog eat dog world out there.  What are your thoughts?

You can learn more about Robert Leavitt on his Google Plus page.

Friday, April 18, 2014

BING and Yahoo #4 results!

Last night, bing and yahoo both indexed my site.  I got the number 4 slot for my keyword right off the bat.  I can't believe it.  Google has yet to index the site, but I have the analytics installed and it's starting to give me information about my website.  It's incredible.  I'm off to write another article now about fertilizer!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blog update

OK I spent some more time on the blog this evening, and I came up with the beginning of a "products" page, where I will have all my products listed in one place.   I also got my code together for the buttons needed to make a shopping cart and easily checkout with that cart.

It's nice because it allows you to update the qty and things like that right there in real time, and the cart itself is actually handled by paypal, which is where my account is anyway.

The most important thing to understand about this whole process is that now, with the site, I am completely free of "eBay" and any sales I do here, will not be subject to that 10% fee (+2.5% for payPal).  This is a wonderful thing.  I can use my distributors, etc.. just like I always would.  Also because it's not processed by eBay, paypal will not hold any of the funds.  Which allows the money to be free to place orders with the distributors, etc.. I plan to REALLY get a bunch of products into this product page.  Using my main dropshipper he has an abundance of "overstocked" items, like harvesters, cultivators, lawn mowers, etc..

the problem is his inventory is constantly changing, and he doesn't have an inventory feed.  So this is going to be a lot of baby sitting, but seeing that it is my first venture into this, and I will have the time to devote. I might as well give this a shot.  I am going to next do some research on my "ocean solution" affiliation which I picked up a few days ago, so I can get that product up on the webpage too.

That product differs because it's not a "dropship" item.  They handle the fullfillment, but it's independent of my site.  That site will handle there own cc processing, so i better keep it seperate so it's not confusing.  I get a 30% comission on anything I refer to them, so it's a win-win situation for both of us.

This is what I keep trying to teach everyone that reads this.  Dropshippers and affiliate programs exist out there, however you have to do the research and contact people on your own.

Anyone charging you to "dropship" is a huge red flag.  Also buying premade lists can be beneficial for brainstorming and such, however if you already know what products you want to carry, then don't bother, get out the phone book and google and start looking for the places.  Call them, explain to them what you are doing, and see what they say.  If they say "yes we DropShip" or "Bond Ship" then your in there and you can start building your page.  If they don't then you have to move on and find someone else who does.

They are out there, remember I told you that this isn't easy!  Everyone is trying to do it!

Here is the site as it stands right now

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The truth about dropship amazon programs.

by Robert Leavitt

I haven't posted on this blog for a little while, and for that I apologize.  I wanted to give everyone on update as to my whereabouts.  I am just breaking into "blogging" and internet affiliate marketing.  There are many advantages to affiliate marketing.  It allows you to collect a commission or percentage of each sale you drive to a website.

Several places have affiliate programs and I am going to give you a brief list of things to look out for as scams.  As you all know, the internet is a giant scam and it's always trying to prey on people that emotional.  I read an excellent article in a doctors office the other day.  I am not sure what publication it was in, but the title was something along the lines of "How I was a con-artist for 30 years and conned millions of people out of millions of dollars".  The most important thing I remember from this article was this:
  • People that are being conned don't ask questions, they answer questions.  
If you are involved with someone that is trying to sell you something (usually the next best thing) they will ask you a bunch of questions and prey on your emotion.  If you are driven by a "get-rich-quick" attitude and always looking for huge rewards with no work or risk, let me be the one to break this horrible news to you.  It doesn't exist.  There is no such thing, in the online world, or outside as a "get rich quick" scheme.  I have read several programs and I am a sckeptic by nature, and there are so many people preying on "work at home" and the like keywords right now it's not even funny.

Have you seen the ads for amazingmoneymachine or dominate-whatever it's called.  They are both drop ship programs for Amazon.  These programs promise things like a 6 hour work week, cutting and pasting descriptions.

I have "drop-shipped" from amazon to ebay.  It is possible, however there are a lot of things they aren't telling you about this.  First of all, the only way you are going to get someone to "brown-box" ship something for you, is if you contact that vendor directly and set it up with THEM.  Chances are if they are selling on amazon, they are selling on eBay too, and your not going to compete with the price to begin with.

If the item is fulfilled by amazon, it is not going to happen.  Amazon has an affiliate program.  They don't have a "drop-ship" program and anyone that is telling you to "click this link" on their site to get "brown box shipping" from amazon is a scam artist.  It's not a "brown-box" link.  It's just a link to amazon through their affiliate ID so they get a commission on whatever you buy.  The item will still arrive in a box all covered in amazon tape and smiley faces.  And you will have egg all over your face!

At this point your customer will be upset.  They will find out that they could have gotten the item for much less, and even though this is America and we practice capitalism, people get upset when they find out they didn't get the best price, and they just payed you X number of dollars to "click a couple times".  It leaves a bad taste in there mouth.  It's not illegal according to either eBay or Amazon policy (unless you use Amazon Prime for 2 day shipping, then you are breaking rules), however it is highly frowned upon and it's a not-so-good way to make a very small profit margin.

  • Your customer is gonna leave you bad feedback, lowering your ratings.
  • It's HIGHLY competitive, and anoyone with topseller status will get a break on the eBay fees and be able to undercut you.
  • The margins stink.  It's not worth sacrificing your rating over a few dollars.
  • If you pick an item that has authorized resellers selling, they most likely will grab you on a copyright infringment for the pictures, causing eBay to take down the listing, and potentially getting you in a heap of trouble if you violate this policy several times.
  • If they generate a return, your stuck out of pocket until amazon refunds you, because it's NEVER gonna happen in the time you have to refund your customer on eBay.  If they return ship it to your drop-shipper with the proper numbers in the first place.  Otherwise they send it to you, and now you are out shipping again, and you have to wait some more for the refund from amazon.
Oh... what do you mean they didn't tell you all that when you signed up for that program they just charged you a few hundred dollars for?  I mean did you really think that you were going to cut and paste your way to a cruise in the Bahammas?

Don't feel bad.. I fell for this too.  I actually didn't pay anyone, and I don't know those things I outlined above because I had a divine intervention.  I know them because I made those mistakes too.  I'm not trying to be hard on you, but sometimes a dose of reality is necessary to give you the push you need to make something positive happen.

DropShipping is real.

Look at that statement, notice is says DropShipping is "real"  it doesn't say, "Dropshipping is real easy"...because it's not.  It's HIGHLY competetive and attractive becasue of the very low cost of doing business.  When something is that competitive your chances of sucess (especially when you are a novice) are next to none.

I have nothing to sell you at the moment.  Just trying to get you back to earth.  I will discuss some of my current ventures when they are farther along.

Here is a peak at what my most recent project is:

As always you can contact me directly at  Don't contact me with some mentor program regarding how to get rich quick or I will find you and rip off your arm and beat you to death with it.

You can learn more about Robert Leavitt on his Google Plus page.

Friday, April 4, 2014

I received negative feedback on eBay! What do I do!?!?

by Robert Leavitt

If you have been selling on eBay for any length of time it's bound to happen sooner or later.  Eventually a user will not be satisfied with the product you sent them and leave you a negative feedback.  It doesn't matter what you are selling.  If you were selling gold bars for a dollar, I guarantee that somewhere along the line there will be a buyer who says something like "My gold bar for 1 dollar wasn't gold enough" or perhaps "My gold bar should be twice this size, I mean after all, I sent you a dollar!"
Negative Feedback on eBay
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  B Rosen 

Well I too received my first negative feedback at eBay today.  To make matters worse, the person said that the product was "covered in mud splotches" and "reeked like pot".  I find this a little bit comical as no one in my house smokes pot.  In fact, no one has EVER smoked pot in this house at any time.  So, I did what any other person with an untarnished reputation on eBay would do..... I panicked.

I called customer service to demand that it be removed as there is no basis for these accusations, and I found them to be completely crazy and in no way shape or form substantiated.  So they transferred me to the "elite" section of eBay customer service where they have the authority to handle such matters.  After a few minutes of being on hold and listening to various advertisements I was connected with a customer service representative.  I was promptly informed that they would not take it down, and that it was between me and the buyer and it was not eBay's policy to intervene.  I was also informed that I should contact the buyer to see if they would retract the comment and that I also had the option of "responding" to the feedback so my other customers could read that response (have yet to find where that button is).

eBay is a monster company
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Janitors 
So I sat back and I know that negative feedback and unhappy customers are just part of the game.  I understand that this is part of doing business.  I don't understand how someone could make up whatever they wanted and put it on there and that eBay is not responsible for helping me maintain my "stellar" record of outstanding customer service, products and prices.  They sure intervene when it's time for them to take out their seller fees.  I am waiting for a response from my disgruntled buyer who obviously just wants to be an ___hole.  One can see from his other feedback sent to other people that he's enjoys getting people upset.

Has this happened to you?  Leave some comments and tell me about your experiences.


After a couple of tries with customer eBay customer service, I got an OUTSTANDING rep, who went ahead and got the horrible feedback removed for me!  I was very happy.  Most of the customer service call center for eBay is outsourced to another country, which can be frustrating and I have not had a great overall experience with the cust. service department.  However this was addressed and is proof that it pays to be persistent.

You can learn more about Robert Leavitt on his Google Plus page.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

is a legit site or a big fat scam?

by Robert Leavitt.

I promised to share with you some of my successes and failures and this is going to be the first tried and true method of earning money that I ever discovered.  I have been asked on several occasions if is legit or not.  I asked if it was legit myself, and did a lot of research before getting involved.   I want you to know upfront that I get NO AFFILIATE or REFERRAL BONUSES for sharing this information with you.  Microworkers doesn't work that way.  You simply go there and sign up and then you can either start earning or start hiring people.   Maybe I am getting a little bit ahead of myself, let's start with the basics:

According to the definition of microwork is:
Microwork is a series of small tasks which together comprise a large unified project, and are completed by many people over the Internet. Microwork is considered the smallest unit of work in a virtual assembly line.  It is most often used to describe tasks for which no efficient algorithm has been devised, and require human intelligence to complete reliably. The term was developed in 2008 by Leila Chirayath Janah of Samasource.

For all intents and purposes microwork is synonymous with  microlabor, crowdsourcing, crowd labor, click labor, etc.. there are so many terms being used to describe this activity that it's hard to keep up with them all, but they are all basically the same thing.  Doing little tasks for a small pay.  Sometimes the pay is so small that it's not worth the time, but that's why I am reviewing first!  This is the one that I have used since the very beginning and the reason is, you can do this with very little to no skill whatsoever.

There are several other places to this kind of work.  However, I have found that microworkers pays better than the others for trivial tasks (like google searches).  There are other sites that will pay you more, but I am here to tell you that unless you are a writer, or an editor, or someone that is skilled in other specific areas, it's very hard to earn any money doing microwork.    I still use this site to this day, and I would guess that when I am really trying I earn somewhere between 30-40 dollars a week doing the tasks.  I would say I probably spend about 3.5 hours a week doing the tasks.  As you can see, that turns out to be around 10 dollars an hour, HOWEVER.. I only do a limited range of tasks, and if I wanted to to do 40 hours a week, it probably wouldn't be possible.  there are only so many tasks available at any given time.

Microworkers is a haven for scam artists.  You will find as you spend time doing tasks there that there are going to be both tasks and employers that are scandalous.  If you are not comfortable with the task or information they are asking for, DON'T DO IT!  You are not required to complete every task.  For example I NEVER do any of the Download and Install tasks.  This is just an invitation for a hacker to get your information.

I am going to add a few more parts to this blog, but I wanted to show you a picture of my withdrawal screen so you can see that I am not lying about getting paid from this site.  It's true, you really can earn money here.  You have to be patient.  The PIN comes from overseas, and it took me 6 weeks (2 tries) to get mine, but it did come, and I did start earning money released into my paypal account.  It's slow and it takes forever for them to release it, but you get used to it, and you can get it going on a schedule.  They also charge every time you withdraw a percentage but that's the way it goes when it comes to earning from home.  It can be called the "poor" tax!

is microworkers legit? is legit!

You can learn more about Robert Leavitt on his Google Plus page.