The Idealized Sandwich Shop

August 15th, 2008 · No Comments

Every programmer wants to open a sandwich shop. At some point in their career, they all suddenly want to open a motorcycle shop, or become a carpenter or open a sandwich shop. I always thought I would be immune to this until one day not long ago I started to plan my farm. I attribute this malady partially to the fact that we programmers get sick of only making ephemeral things, but mainly to the fact that the grass is always greener on the other side.

When deciding whether its worth it to jump into a new arena, we almost always idealize what it will be like and give the new venture a huge discount because of it. “Well that job will only pay 30% as much but I’ll love doing it.” Of course you will, for about three to six months. At some point however it will become a job. This is important to remember.

While some of the benefits of Internet business are lasting–like working from home and setting your own hours–the novelty of the whole thing will wear out just like any other option. Regardless of how much you like writing your blog, there will come a day when you don’t really feel like doing it and will have to anyway.

Everyone loves a sandwhich, right?

Everyone loves a sandwhich, right?

In addition, when it comes to Internet business, the same low barriers to entry are going to work against you as well as for you. You’re going to have to stand out in a huge pool and compete against people who are willing to do the same work for much less, or even free. Hopefully you will have other advantages that will offset these things, but ultimately you’re setting yourself up for a hard slog.

This is especially true if you have a high-paying job to begin with. While $10 an hour may seem like a pittance to you, the same pay may be great income for other people–especially someone who has limited other options. Its much easier for a stay-at-home parent to have a successful Internet business than a highly paid consultant, because the definition of success is much easier to meet.

So when deciding whether it’s worth it to try your hand in the Internet arena, remember that the grass is always greener and don’t idealize your new idea. If it only makes sense because you’re going to love doing it, think hard about whether you’ll still love it as much in two years. Otherwise you might find yourself chasing around a rat in your ramshackle farmhouse and wondering why you ever thought farming would be fun.

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What does chocolate have to do with SEO??

August 14th, 2008 · No Comments

getting creative with cake?

getting creative with cake?

The Chocolate Part

I was watching a Food Network show today about cakes, and a baker said something in an interview that I found intriguing. When asked about baking blunders, she said that the great thing about her job is that nobody ever knows exactly what was planned. For example, what was supposed to be a three-layer, frosted chocolate cake might accidentally end up as a flourless chocolate tart, a chocolate mousse cake, or even chocolate parfaits with ice cream and raspberries. In the end, everyone gets a lovely dessert and nobody ever knows that it differed from original concept. Failure can, in fact, be opportunity.

The SEO Part

It made me think of a recent situation at Because we have a high standard for the type of links we post on the site and don’t require linkbacks as a “payment” for space, we’re forced to figure out other ways to drive traffic to Walt Disney World for Grownups. As you know from other posts, we’re working on building our forums and have installed quizzes as interactive content. But we’ve also been writing what we consider to be strong content articles aimed at the interests of our niche market, such as working remotely in Walt Disney World and what to do in WDW without the kids.

Initially, we wrote the articles to facilitate our search engine traffic, assuming search engines would spider the articles making WDW for Grownups a hit for more keyword searches. Though we’ve not yet seen increased search traffic from the articles, we’re confident that it will eventually come. In the meantime, we’re considering submitting the articles for use by fellow webmasters (“free” advertising), and continue to increase and improve the articles’ targeted content so that the articles are “link-worthy” by other sites and “forward-worthy” by our readers.

The Sweet Truth

If our tenets are to go out on a limb, try new things, and learn from our mistakes, I’d also add that we should make a chocolate parfait out of a three-layer cake! If you’ve spent a significant amount of time on something and it doesn’t turn out how you’d hoped, just turn it into something else!

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Domain Name Inflation

August 13th, 2008 · No Comments

I have noticed recently that I have a new psychosis that I attribute to what I’m calling “domain name inflation.” I have spent so much time typing in ridiculously obscure domain names, only to find them taken, that I have lost all perspective on what constitutes a “good” domain name. I find myself saying things like “ is available?!?!? Awesome!”

This is, of course, the result of the amazing value of a good dot-com name. Gone are the days when we naively typed in a single dictionary word and had even the faintest notion that it might return availability. Now we’re happy if we can put two words together that seem to make sense. “” looks better and better by the day.

When it all becomes interesting is with ICANN’s recent approval for basically “anything goes” top level domains. .smith, .ibm, .monkey are all on the table. The question is: Will this have an impact on the value of the dot-com addresses. Is there any reason we should favor to www.monkey?

If you look at it long enough...

If you look at it long enough…

The answer to this is somewhat apparent already. Is there any functional reason why should be more valuable than Theoretically? No. In reality? Of course. Dot-com addresses are valuable because dot-com addresses are valuable. If you’re a “serious player,” you have a dot-com address.

Moreover, the dot-com address is practically synonymous in a typical user’s mind. The dot-net address is less valuable because even if you are “”, there’s a good chance your user is going to type in “” Ultimately, even though the new ICANN decision will open up a world of new address possibilities, the dot-coms will all still maintain their blue-chip status and their value. And perhaps increase it.

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