Interviewing Scott Weaver from Affiliate Toolbox
Brief Intro about yourself?
Hey, I’m Scott Weaver, I’m 25 and I live in sunny southern California. I’ve been an affiliate marketer since late 2006, but using computers since I could walk. I run several websites, with the most popular most likely being the Affiliate Toolbox.
How did you get started?
My dad always had several computers around the house. When I was about six or seven, he gave me a TRS-80 and a big book of BASIC. I tinkered with it and got a few things running. It wasn’t until I was about eleven years old that my dad helped me buy my own computer with a shared internet connection and I took a big interest in mIRC and its scripting capabilities. I made all kinds of add-ons for it and some of them were pretty popular.
When I was thirteen, I had an online buddy who was pretty decent with some funny language called “Perl”, and he told me I could do a lot more with Perl so I gave it a shot. Right off the bat, I was making some interesting things with Perl: an IRC bot, an instant messaging server and a few others. At fourteen, I made a PenPals script that people actually used. The idea was that they’d find new friends and send messages to each other. I think it’s still running somewhere.
At 18, I created a little blogging site called Sitdiary that’s still running today. On the advice of a friend, I switched the “currently listening to” text into Amazon music links and made a few hundred dollars that way in the first few months. I slapped up Google Adsense and started making a couple hundred per month that way as well.
Fast forward six years — I was 24 and interested in making big bucks, so I scoured DigitalPoint Forums and someone clued me in about ‘Affiliate Marketing.’ I started out slow and then got into months where I was spending more per day than I made in a month at my job. That’s when I knew it was serious and I started the blog. The rest is history.
Do you run your blog under any “Media” type site? Like I run mine under the control of Gurilla.net
Nope. I run it on a shared Hostgator server.
How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging on Affiliate Toolbox since November of 2007. In general, I’ve been blogging since 1999.
Whats your strategy with your blog in general?
My thinking is that if I provide users with things I’d be interested in reading, not only will I be interested, they will too. Not everyone likes what I like but for those that do, it’s an open book. As I’ve written in several posts, I like to provide people with information they’d otherwise have to pay for. That’s been true the whole time and hopefully it keeps people coming back.
How do you get rss readers?
When the blog started out, I tried link baiting on Digg and that sort of thing. With the Shoemoney/John Chow post, I got a spike in readers but most of them died out. In fact, Digg banned the site from being Dugg after that.
In general, I’ve found that users are attracted to posts in which you’ve actually done something. Most information you’re going to write on a blog is superfluous — you’re usually just emphasizing information or re-wording what other people have said. Yet when you come up with something original, people seem to be genuinely interested. Plus, I help them to make more money so that makes them subscribe.
Could you tell me, in as many words as you can, what made you stand out in blogging?
Again, I have no problem giving out for free what you’d most likely have to pay someone to tell you or you’d find in a $29.95 e-book on “making money online.” Aside from that, I like to give out PHP scripting tips that help with affiliate tracking and other similar things, so I guess you could say I’m very accomodating to the marketing crowd.
Also my logo rocks.
Do you give out freebies?
Of course! I made a getting started guide for affiliates as well as an affiliate dictionary to help new affiliates look up all the confusing lingo associated with the business. I’m sure there are more but I can’t think of any right now.
But if you mean free tangible items like shirts, hats, etc., then … no.
Whats your opinion about the importance of PR in a blog’s life?
Do you mean Pagerank or Public Relations?
If you mean Pagerank, I haven’t put much importance into it and perhaps that’s why my site isn’t ranked higher but I’m not in this to get rankings.
Public Relations, however, is what blogging is all about.
Do you consider the top100 list at 45n5.com as authoritative?
Sure, I don’t see why not.
Any thoughts on my post on Blogs are not the authority, the Bloggers are?
I agree with everything you said except that “Blogs are made to be sold.” I didn’t make mine to sell it and I don’t see why anyone would buy it; however, if someone made an offer, I’d consider it.
Would you sell out your blog at some point?
Depends on the offer.
Do you think people should sponsor wordpress themes?
I’ve never done this but if it gets you back-linked well enough, go for it.
What’s your take on sponsored reviews?
They’re great! Great, that is, as long as they’re relevant.
What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
I think the answer is obvious here: money. And no, I’m not kidding.
Did Aweber play a vital role in your growth?
Aweber is god’s gift to internet marketers. It’s made me thousands of dollars. Once someone allows you to email them offers more than once, they become a cash cow. Get enough cash cows and you’re making money, baby.
Do you think Pagerank plays a vital role in a blog’s life?
Oh, I see what you did there. See previous answers for this one.
Could you give me a statement for everyone using the feedburner hack here
Hacking Feedburner for a false reader count might gain you a few readers up front, but guess what those readers are going to do once they see your reader count at 20 once Feedburner catches on? Yeah, that’s right — they’re ditching you, you jerk.
What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?
1. Readers – Without readers, content is pointless.
2. Content – Without content, readers are just ‘traffic.”
3. SEO – Without SEO, you won’t get traffic.
4. Traffic – Without traffic, you won’t get new readers.
Did you ever consider selling links to those underground link sellers, you know, the ones that mail you and ask you to sell in-content links and pay per year.
As far as Google is concerned, no.
Did you ever get an offer of selling your blog out of the blue, if so how did you react to it?
Actually, when the blog was new I received an offer for $250. I told the guy to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.
What are your thoughts on my free wordpress themes here, be as blunt as you can.
They’re cheesy but if they work, more power to you.
Overall what do you think of blueverse, once again be as blunt as offensive as you can.
To be honest, I wasn’t exactly a reader until I saw your interview bits. Now I’m making my way back through your posts. Ask me again when I’m done.
Any tips for my readers?
If you start blogging just to make money, you’ll inevitably fail. Write about something you love and do your best to actually help people. Do that and money will follow.