Saturday, December 1, 2001


======= December 11, 2001 ===========
From: Robert Massa

Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2001 12:46 PM

Subject: Portal Partner Press 12-11-01

The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general.
SearchKing Targets European Market Through Franchise Agreements
My whole purpose in going to Europe, (aside from the fact that if I have an excuse for spending three weeks in Europe, I'm taking it!), was to strengthen old relationships and establish some new ones. We have had a reseller in London for close to a year now. I mentioned this in an issue of the PPP back when we first made the deal.
Basically, his focus is on building and maintaining portals for corporate clients in the UK using SK software. For a small fee, we set up his own branded version of the SK portal program allowing him to use our products and resell them. He gets them for half of what we normally charge and then charges what he likes for the software and the maintenance. Kind of a "what the market will bear" thing.
We have also noticed over the last few months that we seem to be doing well in Europe. The UK, Germany and India, (I know, I know, India isn't in Europe), make up almost 40 percent of our total portal pluses. But, we have also noticed that very few of these portals ever upgrade or get involved in our forums. Of course the language barrier and the cultural barriers are the obvious reasons.
Even with the UK speaking English, (I found out while I was there, I don't speak English, I speak American), the way we communicate in America is not the same way people in the UK communicate. What we in America find to make sense, is not the same thing that would make sense to someone from Europe, even if they do have a good command of the English language. The cultural differences are as much a barrier as the language.
Watching the stats, it occured to me seveal months ago that there was little I could do to appeal to a non-American market. Not knowing or understanding the culture, the language or even the money left me at a real disadvantage. Now the Euro dollar is going to take over in Europe on January 1st 2002, so that may eliminate the money barrier to some extent, keeping in mind that Britain has refused to change and will continue running it's own currency in British pounds, but that still leaves the language and cultural problems.
My best solution was to approach it from the position that someone who actually lived in the target market could do a much better job of marketing to that market than I could. Since we had already done the reseller deal with one UK client and found it to work just fine, I could see no reason why we couldn't do it again.
So, we set up UKSearchKing as our reseller for mass market penetration. Actually, we will refer to UKSearchKing as a franchisee because it is a little different than the other reseller we have set up. The franchisee will have the rights to distribute all SK products within the UK, (with the exception of course of the deals we already have in place). Kind of a wholesale, retail thing.
We will set up a separate admin panel and give UKSearchKing access to all our promotional material letting them run their own branded forums, PPP, classifieds and marketing. They will sell in pounds and pay us in dollars. Their main responsibility will be to change the text on the pages from American to English. They will speak in pounds instead of dollars.
We will provide server and technical support for the franchisee, they will provide it for their portal partners. They will run their own forums, and their own PPP. They handle their own billing. They handle their own server costs and bandwidth costs and pass those costs on to their customers the same as SK does. Again, kind of a wholesale, retail thing.
This should give each country a community specific to thier intersts and needs, while securing a solid presence for SK in that market. It should also provide a viable business model for search services within that country.
They will get all developed software from SK at half the retail price. SK will retain rights to 30% of all advertising space, they get the other 70% and we will share databases so that they have access to global results and we have access to UK specific results. Instant search service and web hosting player in the UK market.
Assuming it works, we will then pursue the same strategy with other countries around the globe. We also made a deal with another company to represent our franchise sales in Europe on a commision basis. We're hoping this company ends up being able to handle all deals for franchises around the world. They have unique access to a lot of sales staff that covers a lot of languages. We'll see.
We should have everything up and running within the next 90 days. I'll keep you all posted.
Have a great week! 
See ya' next week. 
Publisher -- Bob Massa

======= December 21, 2001 ===========
Subject: Portal Partner Press 12-21-01
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 10:58:13 -0600
From: Robert Massa
The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general.

Telling The World Who We Are
We're Taking the First Steps to Making SK the Traffic Generating Center for Portals
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We all make decisions in our life and it is those decisions that tell the world who we are. Where we go to church, what house we buy, what we teach our children, all these things say something to anyone who will take the time to look. Those decisions define who we are and what we believe.
As human beings, we take most of our decisions for granted. We rarely stop to think about the impression we make on people when we decide what to wear today, but the fact is that whether we think about it or not, we are making an impression. So what impression do we want to make when we do think about it. Well, that's what I'm hoping to do today. Get you to think about a decision I'm going to ask you to make. A decision to do something. Something that won't cost you any more than a few minutes out of your busy schedule, but those few minutes will go a long way in telling the world who we are.
When you hear someone on the net make a statement like, "telling the world who we are," I think it's safe to assume that most people would think you were referring to sending out bulk email or making a post in a popular forum or at least including something in your sig tags. Well, all those things may play a part in telling people who we are, but in this case, I'm referring to something a little more substantial. I'm talking about taking actions to not only tell, but to SHOW the world who we are. Doing something more than just putting text on a web page or using a sig tag at the end of our emails.
Last week, I had the great pleasure of getting to spend some time with a man whom I respect a great deal. A man who, like myself, is convinced that he can do something to make the web a better place.
Lennart Svanberg is the founder and organizer of a group called WAIM. That stands for the World Association of Internet Marketers. Lennart is from Sweden and I first met him at the Internet Marketing Conference in Las Vegas last April where I had the great pleasure and honor of being a featured speaker. Lennart is also the organizer for those conferences. This past week he was in the United States and made a special trip to Oklahoma City to see me.
While he was here, he never asked anything more of me than my continued support of his efforts. He doesn't even know I'm writing this about him now. He didn't ask for a link. He didn't ask for me to donate money. Just my support any way I wanted to give it.
I was impressed with Lennart when I first met him at the conference because I know how difficult it is to organize something like those conferences and I also knew that Lennart was not a wealthy man nor did he have a huge company to handle all the details and to foot the bill. I knew that he was like me in many respects and simply trying to build his business. Well, that takes a lot of focus and dedication, not to mention the kahonies to risk your own money on something you believe in. Pretty much the same reasons I'm impressed with most of you, the portal partners.
But what impressed me most was he was pushing hard for the World Association of Internet Marketers. He was obviously passionate about this organization. As we spoke about it, he told me how he felt it was important for there to be an organization that helped to establish standards for e-business on a global scale. Lennart knew how the focus has been on American companies leaving our foreign brothers-in-arms a little left out. He also knew that we were all facing a possibility of allowing the net and e-commerce in general to be completed dominated by big corporations with bottomless pockets and spammers - leaving the "little guy" who just wanted to start an honest business and do his best out in the cold.
Now he was singing my song. Over the last few months I have had the chance to read a great many posts from Lennart and speak to him personally on several occasions about WAIM. He, like us, wants to do what he can to build a better web. He believes in many of the same things we do. I decided that I would help and support WAIM any way I could.
WAIM is struggling the same as many of us are struggling. He is struggling for many of the same reasons we are. He has taken on a huge job because he believes that someone, somewhere has got to do what they can to make things better. WAIM is non-profit. Lennart doesn't do it for the money. He does it because he believes there needs to be standards set, a code of ethics established for net marketing as an industry and a support system in place to help those that would agree to adhere to those standards. I agree.
Now there is nothing to guarantee that WAIM will succeed and grow into becoming a major influence on the world of professional net marketing, but that's not why I feel it's important to support them. I feel it's important because they are trying to do something good, something better and they need our support, and we need to let the world know who we are.
If I can just get 5 of you reading this to go to their site and apply for membership, they would feel better and you would feel better too for helping someone who is trying to do the right thing. If I could get 50 of you, now, we as a group would have an impact on the entire organization. That is power. The power to make a difference.
Individually, we are just one voice trying to be heard above the clatter and confusion, but together we could be a force to be reckoned with. We could have the power to change things together.
Please, make a decision today, right now, to stand up for something and act on it. To show your support for something that tells the world who we are. Go to and click on the join waim link at the bottom of the page. There is no fee for joining at the time so it doesn't cost you anything to join. The application for membership is a little tedious. There is no form to fill out, just instructions on how to craft your email application, and due to them being short handed, (I'm sure they'd love to have some of us as volunteers), it can take a week or two to get approved. Just follow the instructions and be sure to let them know in your application that you are a part of SearchKing.
Think about this. What if it does become the world's first association of internet professionals? Do we NOT want SearchKing to be a part of that? Do we want to have to pay to join later? Do it now. Do it for yourself and your fellow portal partners and tell the world who we are!
If you'd like to see some photos of Lennart and I, click here

Some of you may recall some of our discussions earlier in the year in the Portal Partner Press and in the forums about strategic planning. In those discussions I stated that SK's goal was to become the foundation and traffic generating center of the world's largest network of independent portals. One of the best things that came out of those discussions was that it was pointed out to me that this was a mission statement and not a goal. Very important fact. So I changed that to our mission statement and set a real goal. Prudence dictates that I not make that goal publicly known mainly because it's not important so long as we accomplish our mission statement.
Well, a few months have passed and I can see where some might think that I have forgotten about that mission statement, but nothing could be further from the truth. Not only have I or anyone else on staff not forgotten about it, it is the topic of conversation on an almost daily basis. It just takes a little time. It is a little more complex than it sounds and it has to be thought through and then built according to plan.
There are a lot of developments going on that are all in line with our strategic plan and our mission statement. Today I'm finally getting close enough that I would like to let you know about a couple of things happening that show just how dedicated we are to that mission statement.
On Tuesday I called Mike Rotter, our webmaster, and had him start doing some things, (I'm not at liberty to disclose exactly what yet), to ensure that our portal partners get the lion's share of our search traffic. In other words, we are using some of the unique features of the SearchKing admin panel to boost the portals in our directory to the top of the regular search results. So, for those of you who are in the directory and NOT in the SK engine, you will be put there manually, but that means that you won't have the passwords to edit your own site. This is now very important as you can edit your title, description and KEYWORDS to control how you get listed. If you don't have your passwords to edit your site, you can contact Mike at
For those of you who have submitted your site to SK and have your passwords, you may want to pay a little extra attention to your listing because even though we can PUT you there, you still have to get the votes to stay there.
Secondly, we are getting ready to set up a page linked from SK's main page that will push advertisers to your portals directly. Dave has written a couple of routines that allow us to monitor page views from the portals. We will display portals based on categories, which we are also setting up, showing their title, description, url and page views from last month and to date this month. These listings can be edited separately from the regular SK database because the idea is that your title and description should be something to show the value of your service to advertisers rather than just the general searching public.
This will also be a way for each partner to be more involved in what is going on as a group and oh yeah, it will also give each partner site that gets listed another link from a site with a page rank in Google almost equal to one from Yahoo. In case you didn't know, Google has obviously decided that SearchKing is a hub worthy of superior linking power.
Those are just two of the very first things we're doing. Much, much more to come.
This will be the last issue of the Portal Partner Press until next year, (Wow, 2002. What a trip!), so I'd like to take this moment to wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and a happy new year from me and all the staff at SearchKing.
May you receive all the blessings of giving this holiday season as you share with your loved ones and may the coming year see your success bring smiles to the faces of all those you can share more with next year!
Thank you for all the wonderful things you have brought to us this year. We look forward to growing with you in 2002.
Have a great week!
Publisher -- Bob Massa

Thursday, November 1, 2001


============ November 6, 2001=============
From: Robert Massa

Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2001 4:02 PM 

Subject: Portal Partner Press 11-06-01

The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general. 
**************************************************************************** *****

Who Are Your Customers 
Portal Hosting Changes Coming Soon
I've been spending a lot of time reading every marketing book I can get my hands on focusing on targeting specific markets over the last few weeks. It's not so easy. Most of the books I've been getting are textbooks and of course that means they have to write them assuming you have a year to learn it all. The one that I'm on now is a good example. Barron's Marketing, third edition, by Richard Sandhusen. This is a little 550 page lite reader that could put a speed freak to sleep. Talk about belaboring a point. Sheesh!
This is my third such lite reader in about a month and while most of these books leave me with more questions than answers, one thing is becoming abundantly clear. It's not as complicated as all these text books make it seem. It is true that marketing is certainly a skill and the more you learn about it, the better, but for people like us, common sense is going to teach us just about as much as reading all the text books. Common sense and the discussing and sharing of ideas is going to do the job for the vast majority of us.
OK, let's talk a little about who your customers are. This all relates to the planning things we've been discussing for the last two or three months. In the initial planning stages, you know, when you're setting your goals and strategies, you should have made some attempt at identifying your market. At the very least, you should have narrowed it down to people who live in your hometown, or people who like to scuba dive, etc. Now, when you did that you identified a market segment. A market segment is a group of people who, for whatever reasons, share some common wants, needs or desires. Your job, to effectively get what you want from your market segment, is to identify these wants, needs and desires and then address them.
The simple conclusion I've made after all this reading is to know who your customers are, know what they want and then say what they want to hear.
I'll give you a couple of examples. Let's say that you have a local portal. What is a hot topic in your town? Crime? Traffic? The school system? The new mall that's being planned? Your local news on TV, your local newspaper editorials, billboards, PTA newsletters and the topic of conversation at the donut shop are all excellent sources of information that tells you what that target market, (people in your hometown), share in common. Address these issues and you will be saying what they want to hear.
Now, you can break that down even further by placing the people in your hometown into even smaller groups. Such as your hometown seniors. Your hometown kids. Your hometown parents. You can take this as far as you want to go. Now all you have to do to sell the same product or service to all these different groups is simply put up a page or specific section of your site that says exactly what that group wants to hear. The key here is that each group is going to have a little different twist. Food is a good example. Every person in your hometown buys food, but senior citizens have different needs than young parents for example. Your job is to say what each group wants to hear.
Another way of saying "what they want to hear" is, what benefits are they looking for. A senior citizen is not going to respond very well to a benefit like:
Buying our food gives you more hang time on your skateboard.
The same as a 17-year-old skateboarder isn't going to respond very well to: Our food can help keep you regular.
The point is that you can have one portal that appeals to a lot of market segments. Just use different pages and different sections of your site to present benefits that will appeal to that specific group.
One important thing I want to mention. Ideally, one site for one target market is the best approach. That is the easiest way to establish yourself as a true resource for that market. The challenge only comes if you are planning on making your revenue ad based. Ad based portals need traffic and the smaller your market, the less potential traffic. The trick is in finding two things. #1 alternate income sources besides ads, #2 generating higher income from your ads due to a highly targeted market. Figure out #1 AND #2 and you have it made.
I've had it! The free portals continue to cause more grief and cost more money than they are worth. I'm tired of the spam. I'm tired of the wasted efforts in setting them up only to have no one ever even go to the admin panel. I'm tired of the bogus submissions. I'm tired of our affiliates not getting paid and I'm tired of giving the wrong impression that a tool this powerful isn't worth anything.
Has anyone noticed the continuing trend towards localization? Google is offering local searches. Even smaller players like Bigwhat are using what they call map searches. Forum discussions are turning more and more to local discussions. Folks, I guarantee you local internet is coming and soon. It is becoming more important every day as more and more sites struggle to find ways to include it. SearchKing has been on the leading edge of these discussions for a long time now and the best way I know of to capture a local market is with an SK portal. They have value and will have more value tomorrow than they have today.
We are in the planning stages now of how to stop the free portal pluses. If you have been thinking of adding a portal plus or upgrading your portals, I urge you to do it pretty soon.
I don't have a definite timetable yet, but the changes are coming and they're coming very quickly. As usual, we'll keep you posted. **********************************
Have a great week! 
See ya' next week. 
Publisher -- Bob Massa

======= November 19, 2001 ===========

From: Robert Massa

Sent: Monday, November 19, 2001 1:01 PM

Subject: Portal Partner Press 11-19-01
Portal Partner Press
November 19th, 2001

• A Terrible Week of Tragedy is Behind Us Now
• Portal Partner Point of View on Planning
• The Trouble With Planning Continued
• Giving You Customers What They Want
Actually, this past week's tragedy will likely never be behind us. The kind of tragedy that we have all lived through since September the 11th, 2001, is the kind of tragedy that will haunt the entire world for a long time to come. But the fact remains, we did live through it. We are still here and the only real question is how are we going to deal with it.
I have no intention of using this space to wirte a personal editorial of just how I see the effects and implications of these terrible events. There are plenty of people in the world doing that already and if you need to read another talking head's opinion, you don't have to look very hard to find one. The only thing I feel that is important enough for me to discuss, is how I plan to deal with it.
• I intend to remember that it is the actions of a very few that has caused so much grief.
• I intend to support those who have lost so much.
• I intend to remember that I am one of the very lucky ones.
• I intend to remember that there are those in the world who make a living form making something bad even worse. I call them "Merchants of Chaos".
• I intend to think for myself.
• I intend to look for justice and not revenge.
• I intend to continue believing that mankind is basically good.
• I intend to remember that I have friends, relatives and customers all over the world of every nationality, religion and race.
• I intend to remeber that I have a responsibility to myself, my family, my partners and the world to run my business to the best of my ability.
• I intent to remember that I have a job to do and one of the best things I can do, is get back to doing it.
May God bless and keep you all.

My personal thanks to Lynne Scott
Confession of a Compulsive Planner
I admit it. I'm a compulsive planner. I break into a sweat at the mere thought of not having my work planned for months ahead. I crave order. Maybe it's the teacher in me, but I actually have a need to sit down at the end of the day, write out what I'm going to do tomorrow, and see how it fits into the longer range planning I've been doing. I'm getting better, but I still live by "plan your work, and work your plan."
Of course, there have been exceptions. When I was teaching, some of my most successful lessons were "off the cuff", which means I fell asleep before I got my day book finished, so I had to "wing it" in class the next day. I used to have nightmares about standing in front of a group of 6th graders with nothing planned (I realize that you have to experience that particular horror to understand it, but, trust me, it's not a pretty sight), so I'd put in hundred hour work weeks just to be sure that every minute of every class was totally planned.
Then the unthinkable would happen. The long hours would catch up with me, I'd crash as soon as I got home from school, and be totally unprepared for my classes the next day. Sometimes I'd flop miserably, others I'd give the lesson of a lifetime, and I never knew which it was going to be, or why. Now I do.
In those days, I'd spend my summers planning teaching units to be used throughout the school year. If I were to compare those to business planning, they'd have to be pretty much equal to mid-range goals. The long range goal (objective) was always the same -- to have all of my students pass into the next grade. Units gave me specific chunks of knowledge that had to be poured into little brains in a specific time period. Each unit was broken into lessons that had specific objectives. The actual lesson plans weren't written until the day before they were to be taught, but the general concept of each lesson was included in the unit plan.
So how come some of my winged lessons succeeded, and others failed? It took me a long time to figure that out, but it all goes back to those unit plans. Remember, the long range goal was clearly defined. I wanted all of my students to pass into the next grade. The mid- range goals (units) were pretty clearly defined, as were the concepts for the short term goals (lessons). The only thing that was fuzzy was the actual lesson, because it had to be planned just before it was taught. After a LOT of puzzling over my unplanned successes and failures, I started looking at the circumstances that surrounded them.
Almost every unplanned lesson that flopped happened in a unit that was rigidly planned, and left no room for the unexpected, whether good or bad. I had left myself no opportunity to use the things that were happening around me to the advantage of my students. Almost all of the unplanned successes happened in units that were less rigidly constructed. They still had measurable objectives, and specific chunks of wisdom that had to be imparted, but the paths to the objectives weren't carved in stone. I had the flexibility to use current events, or little whoopsies to move the unit along. If I arrived at school unprepared, I could use what had happened in the last lesson as a starting point for that day's work.
The day I realized that was the day that my business planning started to get more effective. Up to that point I was solidly locked into my plans. I never let myself get sidetracked. I ignored opportunities that didn't "fit" my plans. Realizing that plans don't have to be carved in stone in order to be effective gave me the flexibility to accept the great business building opportunity of my first portal, and incorporate a new set of skills into my repertoire. It has also given me a whole new, international customer base, and wonderful new group of friends.
Don't get me wrong. I still do long range planning. I still set mid-range goals. I still make a "day plan" and check that it fits into my long range plans, it's just not as detailed as it used to be. I've just come to accept that short term planning has to be flexible. It has to allow for the unexpected -- good or bad. And that's fine with me. *************
Lynne Scott
Graphic Design Portal
Eye on Winnipeg
Our planning discussion this last week in the forums has not been very active. That's undrstandable in light of the current events. But it's time to get back to work.
I have a feeling that many of you reading this are still having some troubles taking the first step, which is to write down your goal. I understand. It's not often easy to make that committment.
On the other hand, it's not very hard.
I have a little trick I use on people, (including myself), from time to time to help them make decisions. I've never tried using it in print, but I see no rason why it wouldn't work. So, I would like to help you right now get past the problem of writing down your goals. Once that is done, you'll see the whole planning thing much clearer and much easier.
The hardest part of this whole process for me, was in taking the first step. Writing down what I really wanted. Once I finally got that done, the rest became fun, even exciting. Seeing the plans actually come to life is a powerful thing and if you don't take that first step, you'll never be able to see it. I want you to be able to see it and I understand what some of you are feeling now. I honestly think I can help.
You need to get a pencil and a piece of paper and put it where you can quickly and easily get to it. That's not hard is it? Well, then go and do it now.
Let's learn something new and we'll come back to this a little later and with any luck, by the time you finish reading this issue, you, and your busienss will be taking a whole new direction. A better direction that will put YOU in control.
One of the reasons that the planning process seems so hard to some of us, is that it looks like it involves a lot more than we are capable of doing. All the books you read on the subject cover a wide variety of factors that upon first glance, it just feels like there is now way we have the resources to answer all the questions that look like have to be answered before we get started. So naturally, the obvious answer is not to start.
The fact is, (and I'm living proof), that all those factors need to be answered before you FINISH, not before you START, and the trick to this little problem is that you're never finished with planning so in actuality, there is no reason not to start. As you go through the process and it just becomes a part of your business life, all those factors involved eventually get dealt with and each one that gets dealt with only makes your plan stronger, better.
So to re-cap, the first steps to take in planning is to:
• Set your goal.
Where are you going and what will you have when you get there. (This is the hardest one. Once this is done, everything gets much easier and remember, I've got a little trick to help you with this. Just keep reading)
• Create your company's nmission statement, or purpose.
This determines what it is your company does. It identifies the markets you serve, the products and services it offers, the geographic area it serves and the value of your products and/or services it provides to your customers.
• Create a set of company policies.
This is like a code of conduct or a statement of ethics. This is what determines how you deal with situations that aren't planned for. By making your policies known, it tells you, your employees, your suppliers and your customers what actions can be taken to address specific problems. It establishes the guidelines for how your company acts at any given time.
• Define your situation
This is how you establish and identify the general obstacles that need to be overcome to accomplish your goals.
• Create your strategic plan.
This is simply a broad, general overview of how you are going to structure the procedures to accomplish your goals.
Once you get this far, you are well on your way of having a much brighter future! Keep in mind that if you would like to see and discuss some examples of this stuff in real life, jsut go to the forums and see the one that I have done for SearchKing.
So, some of the things that can do the most to improve your plan and make it even more effective is to ask yourself some hard questions and answer them honestly and to the best of your ability. Information is power and the more information you can put into your plan, the more powerful it is going to be.

6. In regards to business planning, some of the information you are going to want are things like:
7. who is my competition
8. what are they doing right
9. what are they doing wrong
10. what is happening within my industry
11. what is going to be available soon
12. is it changing or stable
13. how much maney am I going to need
14. where do I get it
15. how do I spend it
16. where is my market
17. how big is it
18. is going to be bigger or smaller if so, when
And then there is what we're going to discuss today Giving my customers what they want
The more time, people and money you have to put into this the better, BUT, you don't have to have more than a few minutes, more than just you and no money at all in order to get the inforamation you need to make your planning more effective. The very least you could do is much more than doing nothing.
Remember, the trick to this is in being able to ask your self questions and then be able to answer them honestly and to the best of your ability.
Here is a short list of what you want to know.
Who your customers are.
There are good customers and bad ones. The good customers are the ones that buy from you, pay their bills on time, speak well of you to others. This is your life blood and you need to know what they want and then give it to them to keep them being good customers. ever heard of the 80/20 rule? I hadn't until I read Business planning for dummies. Statistically, most businesses generate 80% of their income from only 20% of the customers. This should give you an idea of just how important that 20% is.
5. Learn where they live. Break them down by country, region, state, city and even neighborhood.
6. Learn their ages, gender, occupation, income level, group associations, even nationality.
7. Learn WHY they buy.
8. Figure out what their needs and desires are. Needs fullfillment is at the heart of all consumer behavior.
9. Some examples of these are:
The need for survival. This is why there is a market for homes and apartments, utility companies, grocery stores, tailors and cleaners and so forth.
The need to feel safe and secure. this creates a market for alarm companies, banks and insurance companies.
The desire for belonging and acceptance. This creates members-only clubs, private golf courses, health clubs, etc.
The desire to feel recognized. This is why there are expensive sports cars, trophy companies, designer clothes.
The desire for self improvement and achievement. This is why there are adult education classes, correspondence courses, and book stores.
Answering these questions allows you to determine customers motives. Motives aren't always what they would appear on the surface to be. For example, greeting cards companies done't get those exorbitant prices for cute jingles on glossy paper. What they are actually selling is an insurance policy against their customer's feeling guilty. Had this motivation not been discovered there would very likely be few profitable greeting card companies. Another example is beauty shops. What do you think they are selling? Hairdos? They are actually fulfilling that desire in humans to be attractive and accepted by society in general. If that were not true, there would only be one kind of hair cut and that of course would be the cheapest one. Yikes!
Knowing what motivates your customers can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
Learn HOW your customers make their choices. Remember that customers make buying decisions based on their perceptions of the world, not yours. What is real to them is the only reality that matters. Understanding how customers make choices, you have a much better chance of getting thier business. The point here is just that the more you know about what your customers really want, the better you will be able to provide that.
There is a 5 step process that we all go through when making a purchasing decision. Here is a chart to give you an idea of what those 5 steps are and what you can do about it.
6. Steps Description of consumer
7. Your task awareness aware of a product but lacking detailed develop a strategy that educates
8. knowledge and excites potential
9. customers interest Curious and seeking more info
10. provide more detailed info and
11. continue to build momentum
12. evaluation deciding to test the product
13. make the product evaluation
14. process as easy and
15. rewarding as possible
16. trial Uses the product on a test
17. basis make the trial as simple and
18. risk free as possible
19. adoption decides to become a regular user
20. develop strategies to provide
21. more products and to
22. retain good customers
Business-to-business planning is a little different. It inviolves many of the same aspects, but you need to remember that this is a second-hand demand. In other words, if your customers are primarily other busiensses, they are only going to be interested in you only as far as how it affects their customers.
Now, that doesn't sound too hard does it? Well, I think that is enough for this week. If you have any questions about this stuff or would just like to fulfill your desire to be recognized, post your comments in the forums and we'll all talk about them.
All right, time for that little trick to help you write down your goal. Got your paper and pencil handy?
I'm going to ask you a question and then say NOW. When you next see the word NOW, write down the first thing that comes to your mind. Ready?
What do you want from your business? NOW
Whatever you wrote down, whether it was to become rich, quit your job, help somone else or to just show your dead step father that he was wrong, that is very likely it. That is probably what you really want from your business. Now there is no committment to be made, no big decisions, no soul searching to be done. The hard part is over. Now simply refine what you wrote to fit into what you consider a suitable business form and then move on to the next step.
Do you feel like a great weight has been lifted from your shoulders? I know I did. Luckily I had someone who pulled that little trick on me. Even though I had been using that technique for years on others, it worked like a charm for me. What I wrote down was very close to what I really wanted. I had been over- thinking it way too much and that simple little process solved mty problem. I hope it did the same for you.
Next week we'll go over some stuff about how to identify market segments and coming up with ways to group customers and then move on to identifying your competion and what to dow with what you learn about them.
Happy planning ! -----------------------------------------------------------------
Have a great week! 
See ya' next week. 
Publisher -- Bob Massa

======= November 27, 2001 ===========
From: Robert Massa

Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2001 1:01 PM

Subject: Portal Partner Press 11-27-01

The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general. 
**************************************************************************** *****
Portal Partner Press
September 27th, 2001

• How To Identify Your Market Segments
• Getting Into ODP
• The Trouble With Trackers

Dividing your customer base into groups can be as complex and as in-depth as you care to make it, and the more complex and in-depth it is, the better you will be able to profit from your planning. However, for the majority of us running portals, we have limited resources and there is really not much to be gained in spending all our time and money figuring out percentages of our customers based on age, gender, income, education, hobbies, location, religious affiliation, and on and on. The importance to us as small, independent portal owners, is to identify the two or three most important segments and then say what that group wants to hear.
The more specific your target market is, the better chance you have of saying exactly what that group wants to hear. The drawback to this process for small portals is that we can define our market down so far that the numbers aren't going to be there to allow us to meet our financial goals.
If you run a local portal and the community you're targeting has a population of let's say, 200,000, and your target market is motorcycle riding lesbians between the ages of 18 and 22 who are Baptist kite-flyers who eat fish on Fridays, then you better be charging a hell of a lot for your product or service because making a living off these of two customers is going to be a little tough.
What we're looking for is a much broader audience that we can appeal to. Since we are all running topic specific or local portals, our best bet would be to cover the basics. What percentage of our market is male compared to female? What age group does the largest percentage of our visitors fall into? Are there any obvious characteristics that are common to our market? Things like that are going to be the things that get your community rolling.
One thing I will point out that may make defining your market a little easier is this. Your market is very likely going to be people very much like you. They are going to be people that are already developing an affinity with your content. Why? Because YOU wrote it.
Now the test of this little process is to ask yourself, is this accomplishing my goals? Am I moving in the direction I want to go? If not, then you are targeting the wrong market and you need to identify that market and then say what they want to hear.
For you topic specific portal owners, I'll give you a couple of little tricks on how to define your market.
You have some basic information about your visitors already. They either use or are thinking of using your product. What do people who use your product have in common? Are they mostly men or women? Do they use your product for work or leisure? Are they generally older or younger?
The trick is to check up on industry magazines, clubs, conventions and tradeshows. What are the topics being discussed at those tradeshows and in those industry magazines? That is what that market is interested in. That is what they relate to and that is what they want to hear.
For you local portal owners, it can be a little more challenging because there are many small groups within the large group of your town. There are still tricks. Read the editorials of the newspaper. Again, this is going to addresses concerns of a certain percentage of your market. Whatever topics are being discussed in the editorials, those are the topics of concern.
Listen to the people talking in the booth behind you at the local coffee shop, beauty shop, barber shop, mechanics shop.
Notice the billboards in your town.
Pay attention to the radio ads that you've heard before.
These are all little tricks to identifying and developing an affinity with your market.
At the present, the war on terrorism is THE topic. This illustrates my point. Every day there is something going on that is important to a certain segment of your market to varying degrees. If your market is your hometown, find out what concerns the people in that town have and then provide them with information and a way of expressing their own feelings about that concern and you'll get traffic. Keep doing that and you'll get more traffic next month than you did this month.
Apply this concept to sales and you start turning your community into a business.

This week we are very fortunate to have a portal partner provide us with valuable information. This particular partner wears many hats, like most of do, and one of those hats presents him the opportunity to learn how ODP works. ODP is one of the few major directories left on the face of the planet that can generate significant traffic for free!
Thanks to Eddie Eldridge for this article.

Submitting to DMOZ
DMOZ, or the Open Directory is an important place to list your site because so many search engines and directories use their data. Many people have problems getting sites listed here because of some basic misunderstandings. First, DMOZ is not a search engine. It is a human powered directory. Every submission is looked at by a human. Many of the points I am going to raise here apply to Yahoo as well. Don't be over eager. If your site is not finished, especially if you have under construction notices on the site, do not submit. You are wasting your time and annoying the editors. Wait and finish your site. Once it is ready take a little time and find the correct category for your site. Be honest, don't hype, it won't help you at all. Once you have found the right category, you will find an Add URL link at the top of the page. If there is not one there, it means that this category does not accept listings, find a suitable sub category. At this point you should be aware of some of the rules. They are all up there on the FAQ pages. Only submit your main page. Double check that you have entered the address correctly. Next enter the Title of the site. It should be the title shown by your browser. It is here that you need to be careful. If your site is Bloggs & Co Ltd, that is the title you should use. ,"Bloggs & Co Ltd - The best widget makers in the universe" will not get through. The official policy of the ODP is to list relevant sites, not to help you sell your products. You can do that when a visitor gets to your site. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS . This is just rude and annoys everyone. Next comes the site description, and the most contentious part. ODP policy is to describe the site, not the business. There is a subtle difference. So, on our widget site a good description might be " Contains a technical discussion of various widgets. Also included is a guest book and a discussion board. " " Widgets, left handed widgets, everything you wanted to know about widgets" will not be allowed. Neither will " We provide the best and most comprehensive widget site on the net " Once you have this down pat enter your email address. It is important if you want any feedback. An ODP editor will review your submission to determine whether to include it in the directory. Depending on factors such as the volume of submissions to the particular category, it may take several weeks or more before your submission is reviewed. Please only submit a URL to the Open Directory once. Again, multiple submissions of the same or related sites may result in the exclusion and/or deletion of those and all affiliated sites. Disguising your submission and submitting the same URL more than once is not permitted. If a site you submitted has not been listed after three weeks, you may submit it again or you may send an e-mail to an editor of the category for which the site was submitted. Remember the editors are all volunteers and not everyone logs in every day. My advice is to email the editor first before resubmitting. Think how you feel when your directory gets the same site 4 or 5 times. There is no guarantee that your site will be listed, but proper submissions normally make it in the end. Although meta tags should be there for searching in ODP partner sites, they will be of no use at all in the ODP itself. One other rule worth remembering is do not repeat the category title in your description or title. So if you are submitting to Regional/UK/London, your description should not mention London at all. " A list of taxi drivers in the area" is OK. " A comprehensive list of London taxi drivers" is not. Best Regards Eddie Eldridge The Gloucestershire Portal Software & Internet Tel: 01452-552799
In a sentence, the trouble with trackers is, they don't make sales. The best trackers only tell you what your customers wanted AFTER those customers left your site. As internet marketers, all we really care about is the money, the sales. Yet, we all check our trackers every day, sometimes several times a day, thinking we are checking to see how many people CAME to our site, but the fact is, what we're really checking is how many people LEFT our site.
Trackers are a very valuable tool for any internet marketer and I personally don't know how a marketer could possibly do without one. Trackers provide information about your customers that you need to know. They can help identify trends. They can tell you what browser your visitors used. What country they came from and arguably the most important thing they can tell you is what search engine provided you what hit on what keyword term.
Those are just some of the things a tracker CAN do, but what it cannot do is tell you any of that information until AFTER the visitor has gone from your site and if that visitor is gone we aren't selling anything to him, all we can do is try to prepare for the next visitor, assuming of course, we get one.
Anyone that has any experience in sales knows that you don't try to find out what a customer was looking for after they left your store, you want to know what they are looking for when they ARE AT your store. Trackers can only give you information about a visitor after the fact. Why can't a tracker give you information when the visitor gets to your site so you can give them what they are looking for before they leave? Because that's not what a tracker does.
Even if a tracker could tell you what a visitor was wanting while he was still at your site, what are you going to do? Stay up 24 hours a day watching the tracker? Even if you did that, are you going to change your website to provide different content to each different visitor. Can't be done, right? You can't change one web page every time a different visitor hits your site. Or can you?
Have you ever heard the terms "Dynamic Content Management" or "keyword delivery"? Dynamic content management, as it relates to web pages at least, involves how to deliver specific content to a specific visitor asking for specific content that may be contained within a site, but not readily apparent to that visitor. Several studies have been done that indicate the average surfer will spend less than 5 seconds on a site looking for relevant information. This creates a situation where a visitor can be sent to your site by links from other sites, search engine placements, electronically delivered content such as newsletters and e-zines, affiliate links to your site, banner ads, text ads and even offline ads such as TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. When these visitors were sent to your site, they were sent there with an expectation of what they would see.
Did you know that experts say the average sales to hits ratio on the internet is less than 4%? That's the good sites that are actually very specific to a targeted keyword term. What about the rest of us that have several products or services to offer? Most of us have to try to make a living off of a much lower percentage than even the dismal 4%. Is it possible that one reason for these low sales figures is the simple fact that we are not showing what the visitor is expecting to find?
This is what dynamic content management does. It parses the referrer when a visitor comes into your site, and then delivers specific content based on that request rather than just tracking the visitor after he leaves. In other words, it knows what a visitor typed in a search box, it knows what link a visitor came from. It knows if your visitor found your site from an email link or if it came from a specific ad like an affiliate. It then allows you to automatically deliver a graphic, a sentence or an entire html page based on that information.
Giving a customer what they want is the golden rule of sales. Knowing what the customer wants and giving it to them in the first 5 seconds on a web page is the golden rule of internet sales. Keyword delivery technology can now do just that. A tracker can't and that is the trouble with trackers.
For more information on Dynamic Content Management, here are some sites of interest:$110
Bob Massa
CEO SearchKing, Inc. 
Building a Better Web 
Have a great week!
See ya' next week.
Have a great week! 
See ya' next week. 
Publisher -- Bob Massa

Monday, October 1, 2001


=======October 15, 2001==========
From: Robert Massa

Sent: Monday, October 15, 2001 1:01 PM

Subject: Portal Partner Press 10-15-01
The Portal Partner Press is sent each week for the education and entertainment of the people who own and operate a SearchKing hosted portal. It is intended to help you learn to better operate, maintain and market your own portal. Anytime you have a question about any item in an issue of the PPP, please visit our forums at and feel free to ask any questions or post any comments about your portal, about SearchKing or about internet marketing in general.
**************************************************************************** *****
Portal Partner Press

October 11th, 2001

I Guess it's Official - It's War
Who are Your Customers?
Earlier this pat week, the American military began offering its products to the people of Afghanistan. We began bombing and deploying guided missiles into strategic Taliban targets. For a country who has so little to offer their own people, they now have less.
May God Bless and protect the innocent people of Afghanistan.
May God Bless America! 

I didn't publish an issue of the Portal Partner Press last week for the simple fact that I have been pretty much consumed with studying and implementing stats and market segment identification. Today I want to focus on the stats. Next week I'll get into how to identify your market segment.
I'm not talking about the stats we are probably all associating that word to. As internet marketers and webmasters, most of us have a tendency to associate that word, stats, with website stats. I'm not talking about referrers and search engine placements, what browser was being used and whether visitors came to our website from a dot com or a dot net. You know, those bits of info provided by extreme tracker and hit box. I'm not even referring to server logs which tells us what spider came to what page and when.
I'm talking about graphs that tell us how our business, our employees or our projects are doing at any given time. I'm talking about a way to see trends and what to do when those trends indicate a negative direction and what to do when they indicate a positive direction. In other words, what to do if we're losing and what to do if we're winning. In theory at least, we all want to stop losing and keep winning.
I'm talking about a way of tracking numbers. Numbers that give us an idea of what's working and what's not. Numbers that tell us if we're reaching our goals or just staying still or going backwards.
Have you ever heard the old cliché, "the numbers don't lie?" Well, Webster's defines the word statistic as:
a numerical fact or datum
The old saying is true. The numbers DON'T lie. The information being supplied to create the stats can be false either by deception or by incompetence, but the fact remains that the numbers are either stable, going up or going down, and whatever direction the stats are taking, that is a fact.
To turn stats into something that can be analyzed at a glance, we use graphs, or charts. We've all seen pie charts using different size slices and graphs that use horizontal and vertical columns with a line going up or down over a specified period of time. These simply make figuring out your numbers much easier than totaling up lists of numbers.
I've selected to use the standard horizontal/vertical graphs and I recommend you do the same for simplicity if nothing else.
On a piece of graph paper, you crate a horizontal column going from left to right. This horizontal column represents time such as a day, week or month.
The vertical column, going from bottom to the top, represents the money such as income or expenses.
The most important thing to do with stats is to make them real. A graph that shows very little movement quickly gets forgotten about and soon has no value whatsoever. So, the trick to developing some kind of reality with your stats is to make sure that you SCALE the stats properly. There is a neat and easy little trick for this. The way to do your scale is to realize that every stat is different and the trick is to make your stats look more like a mountain range than a straight line. You do this by setting up your graph with 100 lines total. You then take the lowest number you can foresee that particular stat ever going DOWN to. Write that number down. (Keep in mind, the lowest number is not always zero).
Now take the highest number you can imagine that particular stat ever going UP to in a three month period if it's a weekly stat, (which I recommend if your just starting out doing stats), or 12 months if it's a yearly stats.
Now subtract the lowest number from the highest number and divide by 100. That's the neat little trick for finding proper divisions in your stats.
For an example, let's say the lowest you can imagine your sales going down to is $100 per week within a three-month range, (I suggest you keep your estimates rounded off. If you start using projections of say $12.15 to $527.34 then you better kick off your shoes or get on the calculator), and the absolute highest you can see them going up is $600 in a week then $600 - $100 = $500 divided by 100 = 50. Set up your scale at $50 intervals. This means that over that 90-day period you are going to see drastic increases or drastic decreases. Those jumps up or down can tell you what action you need to take to make those stats accomplish your goals for you. I'll tell you in just a minute ho you know what action to take when based on your stats.
If you had set up your scale in increments of say $100, your stats would go from $100 up to $10,000 and within a couple of weeks you would see nothing but a tiny movement which would resemble a heart attack patients flatline on a heart monitor and very quickly you would start to ignore the whole thing. It wouldn't seem real to you.
The next thing is to not get confused over your stats. This comes about from assigning multiple meanings to one thing. In other words, expenses going up in a business are usually considered bad. However, sales going up is good. So in this scenario we have established that lines going up can be good AND bad. This can create problems. For our purposes, we want stats going up to mean good and stats going down to mean bad. So, how do we get ourselves to know that expenses going up is good? The answer is we don't, we trick the stats.
Anything that's going down would present bad stats - we simply reverse the numbers. In other words, we start our expense stats with the lowest number at the top and the highest number at the bottom. Most vertical lines on a graph start with zero at the bottom left column. Not ours. Our expense stats start with the lowest number at the top so when our expenses go down, the stats are actually going up.
Now that we have that worked out, we can all see quickly that ALL stats going up are good and all going down are bad. If our sales stats are going up, that means we brought in more money. If our expense stats are going up, that means we spent LESS money. That is good.

Reading The Stats
Let me start by saying that you, or anyone for that matter, can make stats just about as simple or as complicated as you like. As for me, I'm pretty much a simple kind of guy, especially when it comes to math and numbers. I can't imagine much of anything being too simple for me. So the illustrations and examples presented here are in that range. Simple. It works for me and it will work the very same for you. However, if these simple illustrations don't satisfy your hunger for numbers, I encourage you to do the research and create your own conditions for reading stats. The important thing is that you set up and read your own stats. How you do it is not nearly as important as just doing it. Okay, with that out of the way, let's move on.
There are 6 major, conditions that can be read by stats. These represent the condition of your business, your employee, your project or anything you care to establish stats for at any given time. Each of these conditions can be identified and acted upon to modify the conditions. I will tell you what those conditions are and what actions you need to take for each one to handle them.
The conditions are:
Steep or near vertical down line is a condition of NON-EXISTENCE
A down line at an approximate 45 degree angle would be a condition of DANGER
Slightly down or completely horizontal line, like a flatline, would be a condition of EMERGENCY
A slightly up line would indicate a condition of NORMAL
A steeply up line would indicate a condition of AFFLUENCE
The 6th condition is a condition of POWER
It's important to note that a condition of POWER is not judged on a one-week basis. A condition of power only exists as a normal condition trend at a VERY high, sustained level. A trend means to average out up, down or level over several weeks or months, so a power condition can not be considered power until several units of time have been accumulated.
While I'm on the subject of trends, I want to make sure we all understand how to identify trends easily.
A trend is an inclination toward a general direction or course over an extended period of time. So, the way to chart a trend and make it easy to see on our stats graphs is to use dotted lines.
Our actual numbers are always reflected by solid black lines in boxes that have a vertical value and a horizontal value. Remember that the line along the bottom of our graph represents time such as weeks. The vertical line at the left of our graph represents money.
so we've got
wk1 | wk2 | wk3 | wk4 | wk5 
(I just realized how hard it was to make a graph using WordPad, so I'm going to assume you get the idea). Now you have to mentally insert the heavy black lines connecting the x's. Once you've done that you will get a mental picture of the lines going from $2 on week 1 to $4 on week two to $3 on week 3 and $3 on week 4 and $5 on week 5. This gives you that "mountain range" look.
Now to identify the trend, we add all the numbers together so we would have 2+4+3+3+5 which equals 17. Divide that by 5, (the total number of weeks we have tracked so far on the graph), and that gives you 3.4
Now draw your dotted line starting at $2 to cover the entire 5 weeks and end up stopping at 3 dollars and forty cents. This gives you your trend and shows that you are in a condition of normal, or a slight increase in your stats over the five week period.
All right, enough about trends. On to the fun stuff - knowing what to do when you find yourself in a specific condition.

When your stats are going almost straight down, it doesn't take rocket science to know that you are headed for extinction, non-survival, bankruptcy, the fat lady singing. Like I said, all stats are different and all situations are different, so the amount of time you have before total collapse depends on each specific situation. Some may last months in this condition while others may not survive the day. The point is, at this point you are going to have to make some hard decisions whether you like it or not. Of course there is always the option of giving up and calling it quits. Take your hickey and shut the doors, but I'm going to assume that like me, many of you don't have that option and are not interested in knowing how to quit but how to survive. So, the way to handle a condition of non-existence is:

• Open communications.
Talk to anyone and everyone who has even an interest in your business. Partners, family members, bankers, people who have invested in you and maybe most important of all, your customers, (assuming of course, that you have at least one). Make yourself and your business known. Gather as much data as you can as fast as you can. Ask questions of the people that have an interest in your success and find out what is wanted or needed and how and why you are not providing that.
• Once you know what is needed or wanted then DO. Do produce or present what you need to provide a solution to the problem.
Another way of putting this is to find out who would use your product and why. Find out what your competition is doing to be successful and then do what they are doing right and stop doing what you are doing wrong. And you better hurry.
The formula for handling a danger condition is much the same as handling a non-existence condition. In fact, if you are actually reading your stats and applying the formulas for handling the conditions, you will never get into a on-existence condition because you will see it coming and do something about it.
• Find the problem that caused your stats to go down and correct it. This sounds obvious but the fact is that when your stats indicate a danger condition, those stats are telling you that someone or something somewhere is not doing their job. An employee is lying to customers or just not performing as he agreed to when he took the job. A link to an order form is not working. Shipments are being sent to the wrong address. You're overcharging your customers. Someone is not answering e-mails, etc.
• Handle the situation and remove the danger in it. Fire the employee that is lying to your customers. Fix the link to the order form and set up a process where the link gets checked periodically. Find another provider for shipping services. Stop overcharging your customers and set up procedures to keep it from happening again. If someone is not answering e-mails on time and you don't know if you can get them to change their behavior but you can't fire them, then bypass them and start doing it yourself.
• Don't let it happen again.
When your stats are going down only slightly or are staying constant, you are declining and if you don't do something about it, it will only get worse. The way to handle a condition of emergency is:
• Promote! To a business it means promote. To an individual it means produce. Exactly what is promotion? Well, go look it up in a dictionary if you need to. It is making things known, getting things out. Getting yourself known, getting your products out. this is the first step to handling a condition of emergency above all other things that you can do.
• Change your operating basis. If you keep doing what you've been doing that got you into this condition, then you will just end up here again. Find something you are doing that you don't need to be doing and stop it, or find something that your not doing and need to be doing and start doing it.
• 3. Economize.
• 4. Prepare to deliver what you have been promoting.
• 5. You have got to stiffen discipline. When an emergency condition exists, it exists due to an actual emergency or someone is not following the policies and procedures you have set forth. If the condition exists due to an actual emergency, then discipline must be enforced because human beings tend to allow their focus to shift to whatever the perceived emergency is and that can't be allowed to endanger the business.
When your stats are going up at a slight increase over a period of time, you have a normal trend. When you are in a condition of normal, you handle it by:
1. Don't change anything.
2. Discipline is mild and things are smooth and steady.
3. If your stats go up, even a little, find out why they went up and do more of that without changing anything else you were doing before.
4. If a stat goes down, quickly find out why they are going down and fix it!
5. Now you just jockey these two situations. If they go down, something has made them go down. If you look, you will see what has changed to make them go down. Fix it and rock on.
When your stats go up sharply for an extended period of time, you are in a condition of affluence. The way to handle the condition of affluence is:
1. 1. Economize. Now is not the time to hire new staff or to buy new equipment. Avoid the temptation to go into debt for that new car or big screen TV. Make no future commitments. Tighten the budget and clamp it down.
2. 2. Pay every bill you got! Hunt down every penny you owe under the moon and stars and pay it off.
3. 3. Invest anything left over in service facilities. Make it more possible and easier to deliver more of your products or services.
4. 4. Find out what you did to get you into a condition of affluence and strengthen it. Don't let your policies and procedures go lax. Keep doing what you have been doing only do it better.
, Stats, Who are Your Customers?
Once you have stats in the stellar range for an extended period of time, it becomes a power trend. The way to handle the power trend is:
1. Don't disconnect. Keep the lines of communications you have worked so hard to establish open. If you start not answering the phone when the banker calls, you will soon find you are no longer in a condition of power. If you don't stay in communication with your key employees, you will soon find your stats in trouble again. You must take ownership and responsibility for all your connections.
2. Make a record of all your connections. Write down all the lines of communication you are responsible for in as much detail as is possible. Without doing this, you will never be able to disconnect for any reason and expect to continue reaping the fruits of your labor.
3. Write up your job description. Your responsibility is to write down every aspect of what you do and what your job is and how you do it. Include all communication lines, all tools you use, time schedules, processes you use in making decisions, EVERYTHING.
4. Your responsibility is also to get your job description into the hands of the person that will take care of it. Once you decide who is going to take over when you are not there, make sure that they have a written explanation of what they will need to do to do your job.
5. Do everything you can to make your job occupiable.
Once you get to this condition, you have won. You have reached your objective, met your goal and are now ready to enjoy all that you have gained. You may be quite satisfied with your position and wish to hold that position for as long as you live. you can do that now. You may start another venture since this last one was so easy. You may wish to retire and fish for the rest of your days. Whatever you want to do, you are now in a position to actually do it.
Next week we'll look into finding out who your customers really are and what they want from you and more importantly, how you can give them just what they want for fun and profit.
Have a great week!
See ya' next week. 
Altlist Free Toplist Hosting and CGI Scripts Free hosting of your top 100 site on our servers. Free CGI script, instant setup, fully customizable design, FTP access, 10Mb of space.
Have a great week! 
See ya' next week. 
Publisher -- Bob Massa

Saturday, September 1, 2001


=======September 11, 2001==========

From: Robert Massa
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 11:26 AM 
Subject: Portal Partner Press 9-11-01

Just before I sent this issue of the PPP, I learned of the three attacks on the World Trade Center and the US Pentagon. It is a dark day indeed for America, the World and all Mankind.
Our prayers are with the innocent victims.
Portal Partner Press
September 8th, 2001
The Trouble with Planning
A Word From Our Webmaster

The purpose of this issue of the Portal Partner Press is to get as many people as possible setting goals for their businesses and start learning how to use effective strategic planning and organziational management to accomplish those goals. I believe the single biggest factor in success is in planning and without it, our chances of success are greatly diminished.
I will be using personal experience to illustrate many of the points I would like to make. I do this in the hopes of establishing an understanding of how important planning is to me and to show that many of the challenges
I face are the same ones that you will need to face as well. Even for those of you whose situation is completely different, I am trying to find things that we can both agree on and see as being real problems that need to be overcome. 
For most of my adult life, I have been self-employed. I have owned and operated several businesses over the last 30 years including candle manufacturing and distribution, toy manufacturing and distribution, TV rent-to-own, furniture stores, pizza restaurants, an advertising distribution service, a collection agency, a printing company, a search engine placement service, a search engine and a web hosting company. Out of the last 32 years, I have worked for someone else less than a total of 4 years all together. Most of them in less than 90 day intervals. It seems that if I couldn't show my employers the benefit of "letting me go" within that time frame, I would simply quit. It would appear I that have a small problem with authority.
All of these businesses made money or at least made me a living. A couple of them made me a LOT of money, yet, most of them are gone. Out of business. Did they fail?
I guess the only official answer would be yes, but in my mind, they all succeeded for the simple fact that I achieved the goal I set out to accomplish. The question is, if most of those businesses are no longer in business, yet I consider them a success, what goal was I trying to achieve?
I left home at the age of 15. I was raised by a step-father who was constantly telling me I wouldn't succeed. Telling me I was too dumb to understand things. I was too lazy to finish anything. It seemed that every endeavor I attempted throughout my adolescent life, he was always there telling me I couldn't do it. In spite of the fact that I was an honor roll student, I was writing for the school newspaper, I was successful as a wrestler and a football player as well as many other extra-curricular activities such as Boy Scouts.
With each interest, it seemed the more success I attained, the more intent he was on convincing me I couldn't do it. This would ultimately result in me losing interest in the subject until I created a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Quitting became easy and yet I seemed to constantly become more determined than ever to "prove him wrong." Quitting one thing and quickly starting another became a pattern. A pattern that involved me setting short-term goals and then once accomplished, I was ready to start something else. All the time I was saying that my goal was to win a trophy for wrestling, as an example, because I knew that would really "get his goat." As soon as I would win that trophy, in my mind, I had accomplished that goal and was looking for the next thing that would really irritate Him.
My stepfather passed away some 15 years ago, yet in those moments when I can be totally honest with myself, I realize that, to this day, I am still trying to prove Him wrong. I am still playing out that pattern.
For example, the rent-to-own business - my goal was to borrow a million dollars. I thought that would definitely show Him I was worth something to somebody. I also thought it would take me long enough that by the time I reached that goal, the business would be well established and provide me the opportunity to live on the profits for the rest of my life, (keep in mind that I was 24 at the time and knew I was the smartest man on earth as do most 24 year olds).
I opened the business, worked an average of 12 to 14 hours a day at least 6 days a week and oversaw virtually every aspect of the day-to-day operations. I was focused and worked hard. I understood my market and was a good salesman. Within 18 months I had secured a one million dollar line of credit from Philco of Oklahoma, (a major distributor for TV's and appliances). Success! That ought to show Him!
Over the next few months I stopped going into the office everyday. I turned over the day-to-day stuff to office managers and within less than a year, it was all gone. I have repeated this pattern over and over. I now realize that I wasn't setting goals, I was setting objectives and that's not the same thing.
About 10 years ago, I realized what I was doing and got it into my head I needed somebody. A person who could take over once I got it up and running and kept it running. Well, I've been through several friends, partners and employees looking for that person and it has never worked. With each new venture, I set a specific objective, work very hard to hit my numbers and then once I do, I lose interest, turn the responsibility over to someone else and in short time, it falls apart.
I see now that those people were all competent. Each and every one of them could have successfully ran my businesses and freed up my time to do something else except for one thing. I did not do my job and my job was to set the goals for that company and oversee the strategic planning and THEN let that other person run it. Without those goals being set and some kind of planning on how to accomplish those goals, there was nothing that anyone else could have done. You see, I had already hit my objective, but I had never established a goal and a plan of how to attain that.
I finally realize that once the goals and strategic planning are set, the company itself becomes a living thing and it manages itself to some degree. Once that happens, anybody who is motivated can run it by simply following the strategies to make sure that the goal is reached. Without telling people where you want to go, it's impossible to expect them to take it there. As soon as you put a driver behind the wheel without telling him where to take you, you are going to very likely end up somewhere other than where you thought you were going. Now try to imagine 5 people or 10 people all sitting behind the wheel and nobody knowing where it's supposed to go. 
See if this sounds familiar to any one:
With each new business, it was basically me. Me unloading the inventory off the trucks. Me doing the books, me waiting on the customers, me writing the ads. Me doing everything. Plan, who has the time?
Eventually, sales and income increase to the point that I am unable to do "everything" so in comes the wife. Now I'm telling her what I want done. Soon, we hire the first employee and I tell him what I want done, then the next employee and the next. Very soon, the entire company looks like a one-eyed dog in a sausage factory. Nobody knows which way to look next.
What gets these companies this far is little more than my sheer determination to make it happen. I am willing to do everything that I can't get someone else to do, except of course the one thing that would free up my time and actually allow me to manage and that is planning. I could set up procedures, you know the old, put the money in this drawer kind of stuff, but I couldn't seem to find the time to tell anyone WHY we put the money in that drawer. This always sets up a situation of everybody doing exactly what you tell them to do but if you're not there or too busy to tell them what to do, nothing gets done. It's not that you have bad employees, it's that you have bad management. Each of those people are fully capable of making decisions themselves on how to accomplish their objectives but only AFTER you tell them what those objectives are.
Even when you have no employees whatsoever and you actually are the only labor resource available, (like most of you right now), you waste a lot of time making decisions that you feel are wrong. You see, there really are no wrong decisions; there are only decisions that conflict with your overall goals and the plans to achieve those goals. When you don't take the time to do the planning, you don't know those decisions are conflicting until after you realize that it's not working. Assuming it's not too late, you then have to go back and do it over again so that it gets put back more in line with your goals. Assuming of course, you have set your goals. You see, a goal without a plan of how to make that goal become a reality is a dream. Are you dreaming or are you reaching your goals?
With each of these businesses, I have basically run it out of my back pocket, probably very much like most of you are doing right now. I was so busy reaching my objective that I could never find the time to plan. To decide on what I really wanted and how I was best going to be able to get that. It's not that I haven't accepted all along the importance of planning, it's just that I wouldn't do it.
I started reading and studying basic business and marketing when I was still a teenager. I used to spend a lot of time reading everything I could get my hands on about successful business people. I read about Carnegie, Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt and on and on. It became apparent that there was a common theme in all these books. They seemed to always be talking about the plan. So, it didn't take long before I started reading all those one minute manager and the Peter Principle books. Soon I'm reading textbooks on strategic planning and management. I'm sure this all helped me a lot even if I wasn't applying the things from those books. I could at least talk about them.
My point is that it's not that I didn't realize the value of good planning, it's just that I didn't do it in spite of knowing it. My guess is that it's much the same with you. You know the value and importance of effective planning and you know that without it, effective management is not possible. Yet, we push on day after day pursuing our dreams and many of those days we feel like we worked hard but got little accomplished. Why?
I don't really have the answer. All I can do is give you some of my personal experiences and observations and hope one of them strikes a nerve - something that you can see as being real to you, and then offer some possible solutions.

Where do you get the time? In my case, I used this as an excuse for many, many years until finally I was able to accept that they were excuses. Let me give you a little history on how most of my typical days go.
At some point during the day, I usually tell myself things I need to get done the following day. I don't write them down or anything, I just tell myself. Then the next morning, I walk into my office, turn on the machine and start checking my e-mail. After actually reading very few and deleting sometimes as many as a hundred spams, then I move on to reading my favorite forums. After reading a lot of posts and posting in very few, now I'm ready to get to work doing the thing I told myself yesterday I had to get done. 
Oh wait, it's lunchtime.
After lunch, now it's time to take care of the little day-to-day stuff. Answering customer calls, talking to various people that have some influence over my business. You know the accountant, the electric company, the phone company, the bank, etc. I pay bills or review data and complain about how this or that didn't get done. Time to go home after a 14-hour day.
I have finally been able to again be honest with myself and I now realize that most of the time I spend in a day, working myself half to death, I spend ACTING busy. The truth is I don't really have to be that busy. I spend most days trying to catch up instead of trying to go forward. This is the direct result of not having an effective goal established and an effective plan for getting that goal accomplished. If I would develop a plan, I could schedule and if I could plan, I could delegate, which would free up more of my time to create more effective plans to enable me to capture more of my market better and increase my income.
A possible suggestion: DO YOUR WORK FIRST and then check your email and read forums. Almost everyone I know that has a web business has an alarm on their email so that every mail that comes up beeps them. They instantly drop whatever they are doing and go check the mail. All this in spite of the fact that we all KNOW that the vast majority of email is spam. We are not controlling the mail to help us reach our goals - the mail is controlling us. Disable that email alarm and get into a habit of checking your mail AFTER you finish your work. Another way to look at is, don't try to find the time to do your work after you check your mail, (several times a day), instead, make time to check your mail for business matters after you've done your work.
Make the time to plan and the plan will free up your time. This is a fact that I have proven to myself.

Almost every book or article I've read about planning and management leaves me with more questions than answers. There must be a thousand books out there about planning and the vast majority written by college professors who naturally need to go into great detail. This is fine and I'm certainly not telling anyone NOT to learn and keep learning about planning, but, I've put off planning for years for the simple reason that even though I had read the books, I didn't understand them. I had no reality with them.
Let me give you an example. I just bought yet another planning book over this last weekend. In the index, chapter 16 was titled, "LET'S GET STARTED." Just to get to the point of getting started I had 15 chapters, some 250 pages, to read and exercises with each chapter. Now it was all very important information that needs to be learned. Things like identifying your market, your competitors, your industry etc. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses, reviewing your financial records and allocating capital. Like I said, these things all have a direct impact on your business and your ability to reach your goals, BUT, I need a plan now. I don't have the time or the money to start doing surveys and hiring consultants. So there is no point doing anything if I can't do it all, right? WRONG!
It's not hard to understand the NEED for setting a goal and developing a plan, it's only hard to understand how to use the books to know how to get started. The solution I chose, and the one I recommend is to stop worrying so much about it and just do it! In my opinion even a bad plan is better than no plan and even if it is a bad plan, just having it makes it easier to spot the areas where it is going wrong and then change them. Without any plan at all, there is no way to know if it's working or not.
What I purpose to do is to try to help all I can by showing you what I have done and why, then be honest enough with you to let you know what works and what doesn't. I will keep you abreast of what steps SK is taking to turn the company into a more effectively managed company that is prepared to grow. I will share the information I learn and implement with the hopes that over a period a time we all are able to create plans that increase productivity and income.

We all have fears that motivate our actions whether we know it or not. Now, in my case, I was finally able to realize that one of the main reasons I kept checking my email trying to LOOK busy instead of just doing my job was due to fear; fear of failure and proving my dead stepfather right, and fear of success and hitting my objectives only to have to be faced with once again starting on something new.
Once we write down what we want, we are in a sense committing ourselves and that opens the door to failure or success. Once we decide on a goal, there are only two things that can happen. Either we attain that goal (success) or we don't (failure). Either way can present some pretty scary prospects. As long as we don't ever decide where we want to go we can't really fail, we were just getting ready to get started. Once we set our goals and make it, what if that wasn't really what I wanted after all? I don't even know what's involved with being rich, so if my goal is to be rich, how do I know if that is what's going to make me happy?
In my case, I was finally able to realize that what my stepfather did has nothing to do with what I'm doing now. I also realized that by not doing what I knew needed to be done, not only would the chance of my failing be much greater, but in addition, I wouldn't be able to do some of the things that I honestly think I would like to be able to do. Such as spending more time with my wife. Building our dream home. Being able to help our kids get their kids through college. So I just forced myself to take the things I had learned about planning and put them to work the best I could.
You want to know something funny? I'm so scared of it that it actually makes me physically sick. I noticed a short while back that every time I would sit down and start writing, within about 10 minutes I would start feeling a little light headed, a little tired, a slight headache and a little sick to my stomach. For years this has kept me from actually sitting down and writing a plan. I found myself un-consciously avoiding it, always telling myself I would come back and do it later when I felt better, which of course I never did because as soon as I started again, I started feeling bad again.
For those of you that are able to be honest enough with yourself and admit that fear has something to do with why you don't do what you know you need to be doing, all I can tell you is get over it. Just do it anyway. Do the best you can and as much as you can and each little bit helps more than you can imagine. It's still not easy for me to sit down and do the planning, but it is getting easier and just this last week the difference it has made in the company is pretty amazing.
It took me about a month to write what should have taken no more than a few hours at most. Just last week we had a company meeting and I revealed the new goals and strategic plans with job descriptions and this week it's like a huge weight has been lifted from everyone's shoulders. We all seem to have a new lease on life. We all know what we're supposed to be doing. We know how and when we're supposed to do it and most importantly, WHY we're doing it. I truly hope that some of you will get to experience this feeling.
I have no way of knowing if you have some fear that is keeping you from setting goals and creating strategic plans, all I know is that if you are, you have to beat it or the very thing you fear the most is much more likely to actually come true. Don't let your fears stop you. Use your plans to overcome those fears and allow you to have the things you really want for you and your family.
As I said, I want to help all I can and I will! In order for me or anyone else to help, you have to speak up. Go to the forums and get involved in the threads about planning. There are several going on now.
In fact, I said last week that I would show you all the next step of planning after the things I wrote about last week. This week I was going to show you the job descriptions and basic procedures for day-to-day operations as well as the lines of communication we have set up. There are a lot of ways to get your plan into action and I'm just showing you the way I chose. Since this week's issue is getting a little long, I will instead post those things in the forums. If you care about your business, you'll go there and read them and get involved.
Over the next few issues I will start telling you some things I am learning about customer surveys, identifying and satisfying your market, how to predict trends in your industry and so forth, but this is plenty to absorb for this week.
I hope to see you all in the forums discussing your plans.

Are you being Gatorized?
As many of you are aware, Gator, a program for automatically filling out forms and remembering passwords has been listed recently as one of the major scumware programs on the Net by
There have been millions of users that have downloaded Gator on to their computers, that runs on their computers to aid the user in automatically filling out online forms and helping the user to manage their passwords used online. What Gator has done recently, is added to their program pop-up ads that are the same size and in the same location as they are found on websites, thus positioning their ads over the top of the website's own paid advertising.
An example of this might be if you went a website that had a paid ad from Chevrolet, then Gator might deliver an ad from Ford right over the top of the paid Chevrolet ad, thus cheating the website owner and the advertiser who paid for their ad to run on that website. For more information on Gator's predatory advertising campaign, go to:
or the scumware forums at: +The+Net+Fights+Back!&number=28
For Gator removal instructions go to:
There is a better alternative to Gator - RoboForm
Let me introduce RoboForm - it is a better alternative to Gator. This program is free and has NO ads running. RoboForm will import all of your information seamlessly from Gator, so the transition is easy and painless. RoboForm is fully customizable and you can set this program to your preferences easily. Read the reviews:
From Rebecca Marker:
From ZDNET:,,55388,.html
You can also download RoboForm directly from their site at:
I downloaded and have been testing RoboForm for almost a week now and I can tell you that this is a darn nifty little program that is free and best of all, NO ads! If you are running Gator and are looking a better, scum free, alternative OR if you're looking for a program to manage your online forms and passwords, I highly recommend RoboForm!
Mike Rotter
Webmaster, SearchKing, Inc. 
See ya next week
Publisher -- Bob Massa