What Is The 1099 Form and How Does It Apply To Affiliates?

What Is The 1099 Form and How Does It Apply To Affiliates?

When I was recently signing up for an affiliate program, I noticed that they made note of the 1099-MISC form and I had absolutely no idea what that was. After doing some research, I found that the 1099-MISC form is sent to freelancers and contractors by the companies that pay them. Here’s what I learned:

The 1099-MISC is very similar to the W-2 that employers send out. For example, if you work at Microsoft, they will send you a W-2 form at the end of the year stating that you have made $60,000 that year working with them. If you also work at Best Buy part-time, you will get a W-2 form from them stating that you have made $12,000 that year. It is then your responsibility to claim this income on your taxes.

FatCow AffiliateIn the case of the 1099, not every affiliate will receive one. You have to make at least $600 in a calendar year from a single company for them to send you a form. For example, if you are part of the FatCow Affiliate Program (which pays out $100 per sale) and make $800 that year, they will send you a 1099 form in the mail to fill out and forward to the IRS. If you are also a member of the CommentLuv Premium Affiliate Program but only make $85 from that particular program, you will only get a 1099 form from FatCow. However, if you make $800 from FatCow, $85 from CommentLuv, and $1,200 from Host Gator, you will recieve separate 1099 forms from FatCow and Host Gator that should be filled out separately.

1099 Forms do not include information like income taxes and federal or state taxes. It is the responsibility of the freelancer or affiliate (i.e. the person being paid) to report their income to the IRS.

WS Domain Name Extension What Is it?

WS Domain Name Extension What Is it?

WS Domains

I was recently browsing the GoDaddy website and saw that they have added another country-specific domain name to their top level domain list. The .WS domain extension is obviously nothing new since it was developed in the year 2000, but domain registrars have found a way to advertise and brand this extension to customers – .ws = WebSite.

I am normally against companies marketing country-specific domain names like .tv (for the islands of Tuvalu) and .co (for the Republic of Colombia), so my first impression of the .ws domain extension was not a good one. Google normally gives favoritism to country domains in the country that they have been assigned to. For example, if you are searching on Google.co.uk¬†for the term “web hosting”, you will be given UK-based web hosting companies with the domain extension co.uk, but if you search for the same term on Google.com, you will be given US-based companies with the domain extension .com. That’s not to say that I never see co.uk websites in my Google.com searches, but Google favors the country that you are searching from. So if that system holds true everywhere, country-based domains like .tv, .co, and .ws will have an obvious disadvantage.

WS Domain

What Country Is .ws?

The .ws domain extension was founded by Michael Starr and Alan Ezeir in 2000. The extension was intended for use in Western Samoa, but the co-founders knew that it could have a dual meaning of “website”.

Reasons To Register a .ws Domain

There are a few reasons to register a .ws domain, but I would have to say the most significant one is the availability of high-quality domain names. If you visit the Premium Domains page on the Website.ws page, you will find that domains like dog.ws, clemson.ws, and betterdomains.ws are all available. I’m not sure of the value of a domain like dog.ws, but I’m sure if you get quality backlinks and write great content, you will make money for sure.

Another good reason to register a .ws domain name is to protect your brand. I have seen domains like kia.ws that are available to be purchased by anyone. Technically I could buy kia.ws, put up a website that looks similar to kia.com and see how much money I can make from advertising.

Finally, .ws domains are fairly inexpensive. You can register a new name on GoDaddy for about $15 which is considerably cheap compared to other country domain names like .tv that cost $40 per year.

Reasons To Stay Away From .ws

Obviously, the first reason you should stay away from registering a .ws domain (especially if you want to create a serious business or blog) is Google’s purposeful bias. In the United States, .com, .org, .net, .info (somewhat), and other popular domain extensions normally appear in Google results. If Google truly does try to display .co websites in the Republic of Columbia and .co.uk sites in the United Kingdom, then it wouldn’t make sense for them to show up for a United States user unless it contained super relevant content.

Another reason to stay away from .ws domains is that people will often associate them with spam sites. It seems like the average user automatically thinks that any website without a .com, .org, .net, .gov, .edu, or .co.uk is spam. If you wouldn’t want to brand a karate dojo with GordonKarate.info, you wouldn’t want to use GordonKarate.ws either. It looks odd (especially for users who don’t know any extension beyond .com), it sounds odd to say (dot-w-s), and if you put your advertisement on a billboard, people would have a hard time associating the GordonKarate.ws address with a website.

Blogging vs Vlogging: SEO, Making Money, and Gaining Traffic

Blogging vs Vlogging: SEO, Making Money, and Gaining Traffic

In February of this year, I bought my girlfriend her own domain name. It was simply a .com of her first and last name and was intended for her to start a blog or website about anything she wanted. For six months, her domain has sat empty with her not wanting to do anything with it. I finally got a text from her today saying that she wanted to start a website about fashion, but she wanted to start a vlog, which basically serves the same purpose as a blog, but uses videos instead of words. Almost all vloggers use YouTube as their platform of choice and use their website to send traffic to YouTube… Normally, bloggers try to use YouTube to send traffic to their website, so this concept seems backwards to me.

Vlogging and Blogging

SEO

When you have a blog that uses a platform like WordPress, you can get plugins that turn your post tags into meta tags. Blogging also has the advantage of keywords in the title and post body, keyword-rich domain names, search engine friendly URLs, and the ability to gain strong backlinks from other websites.

If you choose to start a vlog using YouTube, you can have tags, a title, and a video description. These three things pretty much make up the SEO of your video and can’t be enhanced in any way. In addition to simply having your video on YouTube, you can make a WordPress blog post for each video that would include a domain name, keyword-rich meta tags, a title, etc. If you choose to create a blog post for each video, the only real way to rank in Google would be to provide a transcript of everything you say. At that point, you might as well just write the blog post and scrap the video.

In the SEO department, having a written blog definitely wins.

Making Money

On my websites I tend to use Google AdSense and affiliate marketing to make the most of my money. You can also sell products or services, serve advertisements directly, and sell links or other Internet marketing services. The possibilities of making money with a written website are endless and can always be expanded and upgraded, making it easy to skyrocket your income in just a few months.

On YouTube, the only real way to make money is to serve AdSense advertisements. There are some really popular YouTubers that are sponsored by different companies, but for the average person looking to get into vlogging, Google AdSense advertisements are the only possible way to make money. YouTube makes it hard to sell services or products because everything is video-based.

Due to the restrictions of vlogging, having a written blog will make you more money.

Gaining Traffic

When bloggers choose their post topics and write their posts, the main goal is to gain traffic from Google and other search engines. I use social networking, email, and referral tactics such as guest posting, but my main source of traffic is from Google searches. Depending on the topic of your blog, you could get a lot of hits from Google or you could not – it’s all up to the searcher.

Because the majority of people that watch videos on YouTube are teenagers that are heavily into social networking, vlogs are more likely to be shared than blogs. If somebody sees a funny or moving video on YouTube, it’s very easy (and tempting) to share it on Facebook, leave a comment, and see other videos on the same channel. Traffic will flow to your videos quickly, but only if they are worth sharing. As far as ranking in Google, I have seen some YouTube videos make the top spots, but it takes some time and a lot of views. Plus, the majority of people looking for a video will search directly on YouTube.

Because YouTube videos are more sharable, you will receive more targeted traffic on a vlog.

Conclusion

If you are having troubles deciding between Blogging vs Vlogging, I would choose the written option or a combination of both. You have more opportunities for search engine rankings, more opportunities to make money, and it’s generally easier. If you mess up in the middle of a video, you have to start over again. If you mess up writing a blog post, all you have to do is hit the backspace button and edit it. Vlogs also show your face which can lead to negative comments or loyal viewers – it all just depends. I personally just prefer written blogging because it’s easy for me to do anywhere, I don’t have to spend forever editing videos to look pretty, and it’s better for SEO.

Where Your Money Goes When You Buy Electronics

Where Your Money Goes When You Buy Electronics

If you have ever been curious about where your money goes, you’re not alone. Many people wonder how they are affecting the economy, what people or businesses they are directly supporting, and what happens with the money they just spent on a product. I, like many others, was curious and wanted to figure out where my money was going.

If you walk into your local Walmart, then go to Best Buy, and finally check out Amazon.com, you will notice that the price of an iPod touch is almost the same at each retailer. Retail stores purchase merchandise directly from the manufacturer, then resell it in their store for a higher price. In the case of the iPod touch, Walmart will buy like 50 iPods directly from Apple, then sell them in their store for consumers to buy. So when Walmart purchases the iPods, they are directly supporting Apple. When you march into Walmart and purchase one of those iPods, your money goes directly to Walmart. They can use your money to purchase more iPods from Apple, upgrade their store, buy other merchandise, or pay their workers. By purchasing something from Walmart or Best Buy, or even at an online store, you are directly supporting the business that you bought the product from. In turn, they could always turn around and purchase more iPods, which means you would be indirectly supporting Apple.

Inside Best BuyThe other way Apple (and many other manufacturers) sells their products is in their own retail stores. In the official Apple stores, they do not purchase the merchandise, they are simply shipped supply to sell. When you purchase a product from an official Apple Retail Store or on their official website, your money goes directly to Apple itself and you do not support any other store such as Amazon, Walmart, or Best Buy. Apple will then use that money to pay their bills for their store, make more products, pay their employees, or buy anything the company may need.

Why The July 9th Internet Blackout Was Not a Big Deal

Why The July 9th Internet Blackout Was Not a Big Deal

If you have seen the news coverage for the July 9th internet blackout, you may be paranoid right about now. Basically, hackers developed some software that changes the DNS settings on a person’s computer. Changing the DNS settings on a computer allows the hackers to redirect infected users to whatever website they want – affiliate marketing pages, scam websites, advertisements, more viruses, etc. This leads to the hackers making lots of money and your computer not working at all, but it’s really not that big of a deal. (more…)

Why Websites Track and Use Your Information

Why Websites Track and Use Your Information

If you have ever visited a website before, then information about your computer and browsing habits are left with that website. This helps us website owners better optimise our website and allow us to analyse data about our website traffic. It seems creepy that you’re constantly being tracked, but you’re actually just fuelling the circle of data in cyberspace.

Why Websites Track and Use Your Information

Most websites use tracking software such as Google Analytics, Sitemeter, Jetpack for WordPress, or another service that allows them to see who is visiting their website. I personally use Google Analytics on all of my websites and it allows me to see how many people viewed my website every day, where they were viewing it from, what type of computer they were using, what browser they used, what website they came from, how long they stayed, how many other pages they viewed, and much more. As a blogger, this helps me decide what methods are working for search engine optimisation, which articles are popular, who my target audience is, and much more. If I find that 80% of Omega Web readers are using Firefox as their browser of choice, then I should probably write an article discussing my favourite Firefox plugins. If I see that I am starting to get a lot of viewers from Mexico, I should consider adding an option to translate my whole page to Spanish. If I see that many people are being referred to my site from Facebook, then I can be sure that my Facebook advertising is paying off.

If you are paranoid about websites tracking you and using your data, you should calm down. We don’t have your name (unless you leave a comment), credit card number, address, phone number, or any other personal information about you. Websites can simply record the things that computers can tell them – brand of computer, browser, screen resolution, referring website, Google search terms, etc. When you view a website, there is no way of tracing a specific piece of information back to you. It simply compiles your data into many charts and graphs that allow us website owners to make the Internet a better place. The more websites you visit, the more data we have. The more data we have about people’s browsing habits, the better we can make our websites suited towards you… It all just comes back to making the Internet a better place for you, the consumer.