Start an Online Advertising Agency?

There are times when idea people get in their own way. Or, they at least need to take a step back and see what it is they really are thinking. Pulling it all together, from a distance. This happens to me. This has happened to me, today.

I’ve been making a web directory. But, I keep changing my mind about details, adjusting for new ideas and just generally fumbling around – knowing what I want but not getting it done.

Then, while looking at another site, I understood that I’ve been misleading myself. I don’t want a web directory, I want an online advertising agency. I want to be my own public relations business, online.

The funny thing is… although I feel like a fraud, I actually do have the background for it. Corporate Communications (my college education) included PR, writing and publishing. In actual experience I have been online since 1996 building my own sites, maintaining, managing, promoting, writing and publishing other sites. I’ve been doing it all, all along. But, mostly for myself or as a contracted employee (contributor) for others.

Am I rushing into this? Quite likely, I tend to jump in when I think I have a good idea, before I have the plan all sorted out.

But, it does feel right. It is what I’ve been trying to build without really putting a label on it.

From Entrepreneur:

Online Advertising Agency

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes

Not only will you be providing a valuable service for site visitors, but you will also be establishing your own potentially successful business. The business concept is very straightforward. Start by designing a website that features information about various advertising mediums including rates, contact information and any special promotions or discounts in terms of advertising rates. Business owners who visit the site simply locate the type of advertising that suits their marketing program and budgets. Income is earned by charging the advertising companies a fee to be listed on the site, as well as by selling advertising space featured on the site.

I think I have start up costs covered, one way or another. I know how to put things together, free, online. I’ve been working that way for twenty years.

Resources for Starting an Online Advertising Agency:

I’d start with an ad exchange. I already have all the links saved to become a directory. This would be a simple way to build the directory, see which sites want to be part of exchanging ads (which would help me eliminate those who are not active, don’t want to mess with code to make ads for themselves, etc.). The sites which want to exchange ads would have a fancier spot in the directory of links. I can give them an image, a larger description, and so on. All of that I can do with what I have now.

The next step would be finding outside advertisers from related businesses which would pay for ads (without being part of the ad exchange network). I’m not really confident/ bold when it comes to approaching people to ask for anything, but it could be done. I might even find someone to help me at that point.

That’s how I see it, for myself.

I do have the niche – urban exploration.

I have found a few ad exchange software possibilities, for free, just having a quick look this afternoon. I may be missing something but I am wondering where the people at Entrepreneur found a need for $2,000 start up costs? I guess I will find out along the way.

Software (RTB – Real-Time Bidder):

Plan a Hoax

Invent a hoax. Plan to fool the world, or at least your family and friends.

From the Shroud of Turin to the Patagonian giants these are 25 Forgotten Hoaxes That Fooled The World. You might just recognize some of them. A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences, or April Fools’ Day events that are passed along in good faith or as jokes. Even if you weren’t aware of its meaning it’s almost certain you’re aware of some of the most famous and “successful” hoaxes. Some have even managed to fool millions of people and last for ages or even decades. Take the Loch Ness monster for example. It may be easy for us to understand how a photograph can be manipulated (after all, photoshop skills are not that uncommon anymore), but for people back then, a photo manipulation was not something easily done.

 However, there have been countless hoaxes throughout history. You might have heard of a few of them. These are 25 Forgotten Hoaxes That Fooled The World.

list25.comSource: 25 Forgotten Hoaxes That Fooled The World

Industrial Urban Noise to Write By

Some people like playlists as audio background while they write. I haven’t found that suits me. The music I like changes my mood, distracts me and I just don’t want to work that way. I could look for white noise, like the TV once the station has gone off the air for the night. But, that’s just a bit too plain and doesn’t seem worth spending the electricity on. I could try the sound of rain, or humpback whales, or the spa music my sister-in-law likes. Those would be nice, enjoyable but… mood altering in a way I don’t really want when I’m writing.

So, what did I think of next… ?

Industrial urban noise – the sound of the subway or street cars in particular. There must be other urban audio recordings for people who don’t want to listen to music or anything too peaceful and harmonious. I’m on the look out for mechanical noises to write by.

Get in the Road Trip Mood

Find a vintage motel or hotel postcard on eBay. Pick something from your local area so you will know the streets, more or less. Use Google Street View (find the location on the back view of the postcard) see if you can find the motel now. Is it still there at all? If so, is the name the same? Spot the differences between then and now.


Source: Caribou Motel Barrie Orilla Ontario ON Canada Vintage Chrome Postcard | eBay

Take it on the road and visit the site. Get a photograph and (if you have a site) post the then and now images. Find some history, if you can. Or design a history for the motel yourself. Who owned and operated it over the years? Did they love it, grow too tired to keep it going, run out of money? What changes happened around them in the local area?

I found the Caribou Motel in the present, it’s gone. Replaced by a new gas bar. Nothing left of the old motel and diner except the space around the new building. You can see some curb out by the road and the parking lot is bigger than the current commercial business would need. Small hints at what once was.

caribounow

You can see what became of the Caribou in urban exploration photos from CopySix and other explorers who posted to Flickr and Ontario Abandoned Places. Note: the CopySix post has a comment from the original owner’s family.

Submitted Myself for Reinstatement at the Open Directory Project

I was looking up something tonight and found a link to the Open Directory Project (aka Dmoz or ODP). I was an editor there, shedragon, for about ten years. I liked being part of the project, seeing it evolve and tweaking categories for topics I was interested or involved in.

odp dmoz

I forget why I left now. Something I was annoyed about. Isn’t that so often the story. I did seem to have upset someone in the upper management of the directory but I never found out what it was about. I think that’s actually why I did leave. I can remember being annoyed at the close mouthedness of it and feeling I couldn’t even defend myself because I had no idea what the problem/ issue was.

I put a lot of time and energy and care into the directory. I was quite proud to have become an editall and manage several larger categories in the directory. Likely I burnt out and I did leave and not regret the decision. I still don’t. I do tend to get absorbed into things so it is good for me to take some steps back and give myself space to find diversity instead of becoming too focused.

Anyway, today (just now) I checked if my old login still did anything. Not expecting it would. But, some part of it was still there. So I filled out the short form to ask to be reinstated.

It would be nice to fix up the categories for urban exploration and ASCII art again. But, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy sorting out my own link collections and sites. It is nice to be part of something though. I wish Dmoz had grown, along with Google. It’s a shame it didn’t. It’s still a decent resource if someone is looking after the section you’re looking in. That’s likely why I applied. I do like history and archives!

via – DMOZ – the Open Directory Project.

30 Fun Things to do with a Digital Camera

  • Create a wish list. Make a catalogue of things you would like for your next birthday, Christmas or other event.
  • Take a photo of important information like a list of phone numbers, your Christmas card list, something you need to remember later and so on. Take a photo of your shopping list so you can send it to yourself if you forget the list at home.
  • Keep an idea file with photos of things you have seen and would like to make yourself. Or a hairstyle you would like next time you are getting a trim.
  • Photograph collections of things. An especially effective way to deal with clutter from collecting too many things. Choose which you really want to keep and photograph the collection before you disperse the rest. 
  • Play scavenger hunt with friends or family. Photograph something specific in your home or town and challenge others to find the item or place you photographed.
  • Turn a photo into a jigsaw puzzle instead of the more traditional greeting card sent for events, holidays and such occasions.
  • Become a photojournalist and collect all your photos to tell a story.
  • Use your photos for digital scrapbooking and keeping an art journal.
  • Choose something interesting or unique and take a photo of a day, create a series. See if you can take a photo a day for a full month, even a full year.
  • Take photos in black and white and see how different people, places and things look in shades of grey.
  • Photograph collections of things by colour. Display items of all sorts, but all of them are red, for instance.
  • Photograph the same place at sunset and again at sunrise, make sure you have the camera positioned in the same spot for both photographs.
  • Practice portrait photography using dolls, stuffed animals and other inanimate toys with faces. Pose them and sort them in patterns and try different light and shadows too.
  • Photograph reflections in windows, water and anything else creative. Mirrors don’t really count, too easy.
  • Try night photography. Make the most of available light or explore the flash features (avoid washed out photos from flash).
  • Take selfie photos. Explore new ways to take quick self portraits.
  • Photograph people with different facial expressions. Start a collection.
  • Create a household inventory. Useful for insurance but a good way to go through what you have and sort it out.
  • Take a photo of old photos and other things which will fade with time. A digital photo can keep them fresh, preserved.
  • Photograph your luggage when you travel. If anything goes missing you can show just what you had when you started out.
  • Play with macro and close up photos. Insects are a good challenge, interesting and not hard to find out in the garden. Flowers and plants are popular for up close pictures too.
  • Photograph anything you would like to sell and post the photo to online forums where people are buying.
  • Try street photography. If you’re too shy find a good place to people watch and pretend you’re checking your camera while you take the photos.
  • Try food photography. Learn how to display fruit, vegetables and home baked goodies for taking great images.
  • Take photos by candlelight. Make them romantic or spooky.
  • Try urban exploration, taking a photo of something forgotten or derelict in your area.
  • Play with focus. Focus on items near and then try the same photo with the focus on something in the background.
  • Try catching a water drop and the ripples they create in the standing water.
  • Go abstract, looking for interesting shapes, textures and colours to turn into unique images.
  • Take a drive and get into landscape and nature photography. Or, find a great spot where you can take a photo of the cityscape for your town/ city.

Bring Back The Equalizer

The EqualizerOne 80’s TV show they should make over is, The Equalizer. Does anyone else remember that one? Edward Woodward starred in it. He was an older man, retired from the CIA or something. Kind of a crusty, grumpy old guy at times but he would take up a cause from the little guy and fight for it. But, he stayed on the straight and narrow, if someone lied or became dodgy he didn’t just meekly accept it.

At least that’s how I remember it. The actor, Edward Woodward, died in 2009. (I looked it up). So they can’t bring him back as his Father or Grandfather or anything else like that. It would have to be a new character without links to the old Equalizer, which would work just fine really.

I remember my Dad watching the show. I didn’t usually like all his cop shows, but The Equalizer was different. That show had a personality of it’s own.

I’ve been watching the remake of Beauty and the Beast, based on the 80’s show which starred Linda Hamilton. I’m really disappointed in it. The new show lacks all the romance and poetry and the world building fantasy of the old show. The very things that worked so well have all been stripped away. Instead they have tried to go for a newer angle, newer urban legends. Instead of people living in home made communities under the city they have governments creating super soldiers.

What old 80’s show would you like to see remade and what kind of spin would you put on it to make it new, for this century?

The Web Directoress

I’ve got the idea to start two web directories. I had the idea last year, even the year before when I paid for software to set up a web directory. But, the set up is surprisingly detailed, kind of fussy and time consuming.  At least the way I see it all coming together.

I bought a new domain for an ASCII art directory. Partly because I do make my own ASCII art and I really do like it. Partly because I would like to see the old ASCII art from the newsgroups and beyond, saved. Most of the ASCII art collections I know of are extinct, abandoned or not getting much TLC any more. Last of all, I’m setting up an ASCII art directory because the posts I make with ASCII art get (by far) the most traffic on HubPages and my other blogs too. Makes me feel a bit bad for all the writing posts and the work I have put into that, but we have to deal with how things really are, not some dream version of how we want the world to be.

The other directory is going to be a Green Living History sort of thing. The focus will be on urban exploration with offshoots for related history and repurposing things. (Might include Pagan links too but I’m not really sure if I want to load more on my plate).

I think both directories can do well for bringing in Adsense/ Google ads. But, I don’t want to stick with that and hope for the best. That is the “so far” plan as far as advertising. But, I have looked at a couple of options which will require more looking at and thinking and planning.

I’m going to have to make graphics for the directories soon. I hadn’t even put that on the list yet.

Looking at Men’s Style Blogs and What Makes or Breaks a Great Blog

I started Men’s Style on Scoop.it, mostly as an excuse to look at men in suits. I don’t mind admitting how nice it is to look at men dressed up and looking good. As I began looking at content (it’s a curated content blog sort of site), I realized how many fashion blogs there are geared to men. Not all of them are good, of course. Some are really great.

It’s funny the things that can make one blog great over others which have good content, navigation, layout, etc. If you think about it, what is the one thing that makes a blog stand out for you?

For me it’s whitespace. Having space and a clean look to the blog. This includes not having a lot of ads and other stuff cluttering up the sidebar. But, some blogs go bare minimal. For me this makes them look professional, easy to read and better written even. They may not be at all better than another blog which isn’t so clean-looking, but it’s the first impression I get when I see that simple, clean site.

Have a look at some (or all) of the men’s fashion sites/ blogs I’ve listed. See if you can decide what one thing makes or breaks a great blog for you.