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Everything posted by CDBurns

  1. I completely understand. If I had to write code for the site I would lose my mind. I'm sure you're using php which is quicker and easier, but still the idea of updating so many pages would prevent any progress, but you said you've made it an easier process so I can't wait to see what happens when you can focus on creating content. As you know the more there is the greater the search results. Which is all that matters now since people no longer browse the web and discover new sites. You are relying solely on converting people who discover your content via search. On the shoes vs books, there isn't even a competition. Kicks by a thousand miles. I wouldn't hesitate to say guys have a minimum of 10 pair of kicks and maybe half a hardback. They may have some paperbacks, lol. I make it point to prominently display books in all of my videos. I used to have my whiteboard covering my office book shelf now it's in every video. I think it's important people see that stuff. Let me know if I can do anything in my daily updates.
  2. Troy you already have this platform, but people would have to be willing to submit articles to you. Which is probably the hardest thing for people to do if they don't think you will give them Huffpost type publicity (which we all know isn't really publicity). Since people won't submit, you have to take it upon yourself, as always, to aggregate the data. In other words begin compiling the videos you find on your site with short posts and links back to those people. Then when you share it out to social (which honestly doesn't really drive traffic but people think it does) then tag those people. They may not reciprocate, but they will share it because it's their stuff. I subscribed to The Tea on YT already. As far as sharing the process that's hard. It's an ongoing thing. The most critical thing has been catering to what people want to read, while also creating the articles that people need to read. I know that I'm a sneaker elitist. I like discussing things from a business perspective, but sneaker culture really doesn't care about that. They want to know how to tell if their shoe is a real shoe. I decided to do a video for every shoe I carry (not every size, style). That has generated more traffic than I have with really poignant articles. However, the really in depth posts have garnered me an appearance on Marketplace Morning Edition and in prominent investment sites and on various news sites like Portland Business Journal. There has to be a fair mix. Most important there has to be time. I've lost everything taking the year off from selling (not self imposed, I closed my Amazon store cold turkey and lost half a million) and that year off allowed me to build the network. I knew years ago that my time had to be invested in my own platform, but doing so isolates me which is miss so much here. It's a sacrifice and it's difficult, but in the last year or so, sneaker blogs and networks have pulled in over 100 million in investments... yep sneaker blogs. I gotta hit that magic number of 1 million visits a month and I can get some of that action. I think ultimately you would have to take over design of the sites. I do all of the updates and layouts of WP for all of the network. When there is an issue I fix it. I have taken on that responsibility but my partners are willing to let me in their dashboards... I have to wonder if that can happen in the book world.
  3. Now I have to be clear in stating that it's the network that's garnered that growth which is still considerable. The funny thing is the primary site that has grown considerably in the network (Housakicks) when I first started working with him he was barely getting 1000 visits per month and he has since crushed my totals at 300K+ per month. My site suffered from my stupidity. I accidentally deleted it and it killed my sitemap and indexing with Google. I finally updated my sitemap and my traffic has started growing again but I'm only up to about 25000 visits per month. The other two sites are about the same. It's taken almost two years to grow the network, but long form content is actually making a big come back. I don't have a video because it hasn't been a straightforward process. It's primarily content. That's it. Combined we write between 20-40 articles per week as a unit. Creating the network has been vital. I could definitely do the same thing with Troy if I worked on CBP enough and you Mel, but the AHN takes up so much of my time and it's the money maker so I stay in that space.
  4. I haven't been logging in as much because I've expanded my network of websites to 4 sneaker and sports based websites. You are exactly right Mel. We have given away our power by living our lives via social media. Having your own site and building old school webrings is the way to go. I've done this with AHN and now my site and network in the course of a year and a half have grown from around 3000 visits a month to 400,000 visits a month. The sites generate income and sales and when we hit 1 million visits a month we will be in the rare air of sneaker sites that generate considerable interest. Several sneaker sites have gained investors with amounts ranging from 2 million to 50 Million dollars. As long form content becomes more important those with their own platforms are the people who will benefit. Social and search continues to change requiring paid engagement. It's not the way to build a long term business. 3rd party should be used in support of, not primarily.
  5. I'm willing to close my Kindle account and remove my books from Amazon Createspace and publish with you Troy. Just tell me what to do. (I need to remember to log in more often.)
  6. Troy I am going to make your account on CBP an admin account and whenever you want to write on the site you can. I'm so deep into sneakers I don't follow up enough here but at least using CBP will allow you to share articles and content and create more backlinks. It's a WP site so I know it will be easy to navigate. Let me know if this is cool? In regard to boycotting Amazon, it was an unrealistic approach that I admire, but ultimately people have paid for Amazon Prime and they aren't going to stop using the platform just as much as we aren't going to stop using Amazon Associates for affiliate revenue. The best thing to do is to promote "buy and browse black".
  7. Strategies

    There has to be an active "remind the bloggers" part of this as well. Most info is found via search. I very rarely update CBP, but I will add info that is important and what happens is it gets indexed and searched. It shows up and is there for as long as the site is active. If someone writes me or tags me I will always add updates to CBP. I need a reminder because I'm off on my own war against Amazon right now in the sportswear biz, so I forget.
  8. Yep, Direct To Consumer. Because I cover shoes so much I have a grasp on that, but the information from there goes across categories. Nike delivered information that customers in the apps spend 3X as much as those browsing so the brand has every incentive to get as many people utilizing the app as possible. This is the same with all apps. The interesting thing that you wrote above is that the price isn't posted and you need prime. People rely so heavily on Amazon (and this speaks to your point) Amazon's push of Alexa translates into more search via voice. When people search and order via voice Amazon actually charges more on the transaction than they do if a person actually utilizes traditional search and shop options. Amazon is an amazing business study, but the most amazing study is the laziness of the American consumer who no longer wants to browse, or look for the best deal. In sneaker terms, which doesn't apply to books because Amazon is using a different strategy of taking on incredible losses to control the book atmosphere, Amazon dupes the customer. http://arch-usa.com/sports-shoes-on-amazon-are-not-cheap-a-case-for-browsing-before-buying/ It's impossible to boycott Amazon because they have so much capital available, books have become a loss leader for the company. All of that extra capital means that they can get an Alexa in every home in Kindles and they can ultimately move to a point where they no longer require a ONE click order, you can order via voice which is being touted as the next big search method in commerce. Black people still use cash when shopping and could save brick and mortar or Black owned bookstores, but they are so content to sit on Facebook and give away their power, that the few people you pull away will return because even my wife has an Amazon Prime account even after the amount of money I lost building my business on the platform... smh. Cheap trumps Building communities.
  9. This is happening with every company as they all attempt to control their DTC connection. Every company is creating apps that require sign up to gain benefits. Nike calls it the Consumer Direct Offense.
  10. LOL!!!!! I gotta make sure I'm checking in more. I didn't even realize you shared this Troy. Thanks as always. Mel, stop being goofy, lol. I was actually in my feelings about it. The Jelly Beans are flavored like Krispy Kreme donuts.
  11. In order, I like 1, 3. 6. 4, 2, and 5 I'm partial to blue and simplicity is elegant. 1 has a bold, standout element in the black BESTSELLER wording. 3 calls attention to AALBC and is very clean. 6 has that banner across it, which makes it seem more official. I hope this helps.
  12. @Mel Hopkins LinkedIn allows you to search for a specific company and send a message to that person. There isn't any political banter and if your profile is solid, people will connect to you. It's a great place to seek employment and because of that it is the most efficient form of social media next to blogging. Twitter actually comes in second for me because of the same ability to tag, retweet and connect to a person you are looking to align yourself with. With all of that said, the biggest driver of traffic to my website is search. Our job is to literally create so much content that Google includes our content in their search listings. Even with over 3000 social media followers combined I only get about 4% of my overall traffic from social. The majority of my traffic, which has seen a +600% increase since October 2016, is from direct links and search. AALBC is almost = in directing traffic to my sneaker website as both Twitter and Facebook.
  13. I'm adding this to the site asap. It's a great tool for authors who don't want to maintain their presence and hosting.
  14. You know it's funny. We have to use Amazon Affiliates and Amazon services because the consumer simply isn't willing to take 1-3 extra steps to find us. It's frustrating, but at least I'm really seeing the benefits of backing off of social media and working on the sight. Traffic is up considerably and growing month over month. It reminds me that in the end search still rules the day, but you knew that already. I will update you when I make a decision. Right now I'm driving the Lyft and working on the site. That's a big change over the last few years of big money. Everyday I consider opening the Amazon store back up. I haven't done it and I really am working hard to make something happen that replaces at least a fraction of the income from that channel. if I can just get 5% of the money I made there it would help. As always I will pop in and keep you posted.
  15. Now that is a very nice feature. The author's page looks great!!!! Thanks Troy. I'm looking at pulling all of my books from Amazon soon and creating all of the books as eBooks or reverting to Lightning Source and re-releasing the books. I will keep you updated so that you can change your affiliate links so they won't be dead. Thanks as always for all that you do. This is extraordinary work.
  16. Yeah Twitter will be purchased by Facebook probably. Snapchat just IPOd so they are obviously hot, but Facebook is launching a Snapchat styled service so that IPO could become worthless. It's interesting to watch. Linkedin is actually a more valuable service as a social media channel than any of the others. The work on my site is really eye opening. The rate of growth is incredible. About 600% over the last 12 months. I'm adding 1500-2000 Unique Visits per month and people are starting to comment on the site. I have more stories to tell about Amazon as well. I quit cold turkey. I don't have any kicks up on the platform and I'm making the decision to shut it down completely, but sales on my site aren't picking up although affiliate and ad revenue are picking up. Also Amazon removes the right for me to sell a host of brands once I downgrade my account from professional. It's a catch 22. They charge 39.99 a month for having nothing on the platform, but if you downgrade they remove your right to sell shoes. With so many people shifting to Amazon for everything, leaving the platform for the next 6 months means that I lose six figures, but I'm determined to fight. For the first time in 7 years I'm applying for jobs. It's sobering. I'm also driving Lyft, lol. On April 1st Amazon will either charge me 39.99 or I will downgrade and lose the right to sell shoes. Which would mean that I would have to get invoices from every brand before being able to sell on the platform again. It's crazy. The beautiful struggle continues.
  17. I still check in to Facebook because people continue to write me there as opposed to my websites, but my time on Facebook has dwindled. My time on Twitter has increased, but I've been able to connect to some heavy hitters and get a lot of information that helps shape my site. Twitter has become much more effective tool, and so has Linkedin. But I'm not writing much there either. I'm primarily using the sites as tools for growth. My website traffic is growing tremendously now that I focus on the site and creating information for the site. My search has improved and my return visits are up. I'm working on doing something similar for CBP but it's hard to find source content that I'm just as engaged with as I am with sneakers. Anyway, I figured I'd drop in stop lurking, lol. My lurking is a symptom of being dedicated to the website growth, so I know you understand. Keep fighting!
  18. What is Means to be Black

    Troy, this is the overall issue with using third party platforms. As I told you I went from making 30-50K a month with Amazon and one change in the system and now I'm driving Lyft as I redesign my website and build it in a way to garner some of the major money being floated around in the sneaker industry right now. People have integrated third party sites so thoroughly into their lives that it's very hard to overcome without considerable consumer education. The consumer/user is the only person that can stop the bleeding and unfortunately comfort and ease of use rules the day. I need to explain how I was wiped out, but I have done videos discussing how I was setting myself up, but I couldn't stop like a junkie and I eventually was forced into rehab. I probably already talked about this, but it has to be presented again. Amazon a month ago decided to make all items over 35.00 bucks require free shipping. If your items did not meet the requirements for how they wanted free shipping presented, your listings were removed. I went from having almost 1000 listings available on Amazon to zero listings showing up. I contributed slow sales to post holiday hangover and I didn't check my inventory. After a week of zero sales I looked into my dashboard and realized that the listings were Active but not active in the buying area. Every listing had to be deleted and recreated. This would take countless man hours and I realized that I'd waited too long to build my website up because I was mainlining Amazon so hard I was shooting up between my toes and in my dick; which I had been cutting off by using third party platforms to reach my customers all of these years. When you talk about being hijacked by Google, it's the same thing Amazon has done by mining data provided by third party sellers and then releasing their own private labels to sell what is hot. Amazon and Google are genius business models and pure capital engines. They exist as a medium providing no inventory of their own until they have mined the data to make sure that success is a certainty. Once they make the decision to replace you or change the rules, you are doomed if you haven't been building up your platform first. I commend you for taking the time to rebuild. It inspired my current work and while the benefits aren't 30000 a month, I will drive Lyft until I work through the process of garnering the revenue that is flowing through the sneaker biz at this moment. My website growth has been tremendous since I've started the work which shows that people are looking for information. In February of last year my ARCH site had 2000 Unique visits. This Feb 2017 my site got over 17,000 Unique visits. I'm selling a few shoes through the online store and the checks are coming faster from Adwords. Ultimately the goal is to garner media sponsorships from Verizon and other sites as I push the Uniques towards 100,000. You know like I know one endorsement could do this overnight, but more than likely like AALBC I will be working towards this on my own.
  19. What is Means to be Black

    Since I have a small record label I will say this, all of the music on YouTube is protected in some way. Some channels have it up and it hasn't been removed, but the "owner" of the video does not get paid, the person who owns the publishing gets paid. YouTube doesn't pay much at all as far as streaming goes. I can give you hard examples for streaming on all streaming services. Just ask me to give it to you. If a successful artists controls their YouTube they can do very well with YT streaming. I think YT is not bad at all. Troy you talk as if you didn't put Maxell tapes in and record the Quiet Storm off of the radio. Music has always been accessible in some format. The problem now is that like Mel said the Digital Laws are flimsy and the studios are taking advantage of the loopholes. That takes us back to controlling our own platforms. At least an artist can become a YT millionaire with enough followers. There is real opportunity there and while it isn't a level playing field, a person with dedication and consistency can earn subscribers and convert those subscribers especially in music which is a more social medium than books or business info. (Which is why you and I have a hard to getting subscribers and followers on any social platform.) I guess we live in a time that is great, but difficult. There is amazing opportunity, but serious consumer ignorance. Thankfully millennials are a lot more aware of how they consume and they are becoming more responsible which is what has allowed music artists to create Patreon and which also allows Bandcamp to flourish in an environment where streaming dominates. As always thanks for all of your work on the site. As you know all of that work is about search because people will barely visit it direct and that's what we are all relying on is being discoverable.
  20. What is Means to be Black

    You know I was never introduced to Camille until Talib Kweli introduced me to her via one of his songs like 20 years ago. I guess it's like most people don't know who John Kasandra is. Good stuff Troy.
  21. I would have said James Baldwin, August Wilson and Toni Morrison, but I haven't looked it up and I don't know if I'm right on Toni, lol. Time to hit the google!
  22. Amazon is being analyzed as a company that may potentially become a trillion dollar business. The giant is rolling downhill and everything in its path will be crushed. Macy's, The Limited, Sears and countless small retailers have disappeared and it is not going to get any better. We the people demand speed and convenience and those things are all that matters. Speed and convenience means that we are left to be on our phones and watching our shows. We don't need or want to walk or drive to visit stores if that store isn't connected to our phones in some way.
  23. I figured it would be easier to put the videos up. In the words of the Borg on Star Trek, resistance is futile. Amazon is a machine on track to do a trillion dollars. You can either get on the ship or face certain death unless you have a website that is garnering a ridiculous amount of traffic daily. I got so pissed about this I did an entire series scolding the consumer. It's a no win situation. No one is going to abandon Amazon and doing so there would have to be a machine in place that could keep people coming back and incorporate the ease of zero to one click buying and quite frankly black folks don't want to leave their credit card info with anyone except Amazon and Apple.
  24. I have long known everything you've written as an active marketplace store I've been dealing with this firsthand, but the reality is this isn't on the government to break up, it is simply a matter of the consumer deciding against what's comfortable. That's the only hope is that consumers wake up.