Outsourcing Secrets

by Jonathan Goodman on July 1, 2013

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This is Jonathan Goodman. Welcome to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. It’s great to have you with us. Today’s episode is “Outsourcing Secrets.”  First, let’s start with the news.

Social Media

After seeing Twitter’s enormous success in using hash tags to create conversation about television, Facebook has decided they want in on the action. They hope to use hash tags to collect data and information and use it to sell ads and spots for advertisers. Critics of the Facebook hash tag claim the website’s functionality and design make it hard to create a live stream of content the way Twitter can.

For the average viewer, being able to connect with a wide range of friends and like-minded individuals around a particular event or program is going to be the most important thing. With the same rule applying to advertisers, Twitter’s recent announcements would appear to put it ahead of the game in the world of social TV.

In the world of Social Media, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has been working on developing a “personalized newspaper” type of reader. The design would resemble that of a current reader, FlipBoard, which allows users to flip through articles.

Goggle Readers will no longer be in existence come July 1st. Digg Reader released earlier in the week and is currently working as a desktop and iOS-only option. Feedly remains the front runner for now. It offers free services to desktop, iOS and Android users. It also offers API keys to developers. Newsblur (desktop, iOS and Android), Feedbin (desktop and mobile) and FeedWrangler (desktop and iOS) are three paid options.

Your Semantic Minute

Let’s look at semantic web for a minute. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has joined with German organization Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide to design the Global Hunger Index (GHI), which will measure and track worldwide hunger according to country and region. The GHI will take three factors in consideration – undernourishment, rate of children who are underweight, and child mortality rates – and then assign each country a single index number between zero and one hundred. A score of zero indicates no hunger which no country has yet achieved. Based on this number, countries are categorized as having a low, moderate, serious, alarming, or an extremely alarming rate of hunger. Currently, 20 countries have ratings of “alarming” or “extremely alarming.”

English: Calculation of GHI English: Calculation of GHI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The GHI will pull in Schema data that includes official country information alongside the information about undernourishment, child malnourishment and child mortality. These organizations are still facing challenges with scalability, legacy data, and accessibility. I’ve gone ahead and created two short links to the GHI raw structured data. First the RDF is available at http:/bit.ly/11SkSYH. And the Linked Open Data, which is a fairly new form of data, is available at http://bit.ly/14ApHaW. They’re looking for help, so if you have the time and ability and you’re familiar with semantic data, please visit ifpri.org and review the Global Hunger Index data.

Hacking News

Let’s talk about some hacking news. The cloud backup feature of the Galaxy S4 makes it vulnerable for hackers to send text messages without the owner’s knowledge. Samsung is reportedly in the middle of fixing the problem, but for now users should disable the cloud backup feature when they’re not using it. Microsoft is offering the highest bounty by a tech company to discover vulnerabilities within their new Windows 8.1 preview, which released on June 26th. Now 8.1 is a major update to the current operating system. If you provide a defensive tactic within your findings, you can earn a $50,000 bonus. For any of you who have had the unfortunate incident of installing Microsoft 8, you know that most of it is garbage. So you can easily win yourself $100,000.

Windows 8 Desktop Concept Windows 8 Desktop Concept (Photo credit: louisvolant)

Maybe 8.1 is a little bit better, but truth be told, I was recently buying one of our company’s new computers. I prefer not to buy HP or Dell. Well, I won’t buy Dell, but this was an HP. So I had the guy on the phone and he was helping me figure out what I needed. He offered a different computer than the one I was looking at because the one I was looking at actually came with Windows 8 installed. Now don’t go back to the messenger with this, but he said that Windows 8 is such a disaster he didn’t feel he could sell it to me. In fact, he was being told within the industry that Windows 8 was going to be pulled. So for all of you out there suffering with Microsoft 8, know that there is an 8.1 that is currently in testing and they’re looking for hackers to look at that and see if they can find any type of vulnerability.

The Google Chrome Web store has been a hotspot for malware. So Google has decided to slow down the process of approval and now all apps will be scanned for malware prior to launching in the Web store. What’s interesting is they’ve actually put up notifications for anyone who has knowingly submitted apps with malware in them that they would be highly advised to take those out. If they haven’t been reviewed yet, they’re highly advised to take those off without incident. So that’s a nice way of saying: Get your junk off of our store.

App Review

I wanted to backup to talk about the Google Reader. I have a lot of content to talk about today, which is why I went through the news so fast. The fact that Goggle Reader is ending July 1st has now opened the door to all of these other readers out there. This is again really an amazing kind of psychosis that you see within these large corporations where if something isn’t big enough and isn’t making enough money, they’re willing to just let it go. Google Reader wasn’t making any money for Google, but it was a great added feature. By them shutting down Google Reader, it has now opened the door to all of these companies building their own readers. It really shows how American big corporations work.

I was involved in this. I built up an eCommerce system for a large energy company. I knew going in that it wasn’t really a big tie-in between the eCommerce products I was selling and the larger functionalities of the company itself. But because they were a public company, they were asked by Wall Street to diversify. One of the ways they diversified is that they bought small mom and pop stores and tried to kind of re brand them into a larger national chain. It failed miserably, but the one shining star of that whole department was the eCommerce. When I came in there, they had already sunk $400,000 into development attempting to get their website eCommerce running smoothly. Within five years, I took it from a negative $400,000 to $1.2 million in sales. However, within that time, Wall Street came back and said, well, you’re really an energy company, so you don’t need to be diversifying into this.

So that kind of leads to this a whole crazy thing that happens within larger corporations where they will start a project that could have a benefit, but they end it because at the end of the day, the sales weren’t enough. So $1.2 million is sales wasn’t anything to a multi-million dollar corporation. Of course, as a single entrepreneur, if you ran a company that had $1.2 million in sales, you’d have banks throwing money at you. As far as Goggle Reader opening the door to other companies, one thing that isn’t being mentioned is this company Paper.li. I think they took the Lithuania international domain name. It sounds to me like .li would be Lithuania. They’re a different kind of reader. They’re actually a news aggregator for newsletters. I’ve started using this both at Halyard Consulting and soon with some of my other clients.

It’s really quite an incredible tool. It is a reader, but it allows you to gain an audience, which is so incredibly critical. I think so many people overlook this. As an affiliate marketer and as an Internet marketer, having conversations within the industry were always kind of like one-upping each other on how large our email lists are. But I think that small businesses forget when they’re collecting emails that this is a critical ability to communicate directly with people who want to hear from you. Paper.li allows you to aggregate articles about your industry and provide them to an audience that is already interested in what you have to say. If you create a Pro account, you’re able to put in your own advertising, so you can advertise back to your audience, which is really incredible. I have mine daily. If you’d like to sign up, go to the newsletter side of my website, HalyardConsulting.com. I think you can set it weekly or monthly, but who would want to do that?

So I wanted to do that as an app review. Paper.li is a content creation service. It enables people to publish newspapers based on topics that they like and treat their readers to fresh news daily. Every day, around the world, millions of articles are featured on Paper.li benefiting millions of readers. If you have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people in your email newsletters, now you turn on Paper.li and you’re able to constantly touch that market. You’re touching those potential clients. Here’s a quote from Paper.li: “We love the semantic web, we respect our content creators, we strive for simplicity, and we thrive on feedback.”

I’ve done the accolades. I’ve already said how amazing Paper.li is, but I want to caution you on something. As much as I feel bad pinpointing them on this, I think it’s a critical piece of what they’re trying to do and they’re failing at it. My apologies to Kelly and the rest of the staff at Paper.li, but I’ve been dealing with an interesting issue you all need to understand. When you create an account on Paper.li, you are given two options. You can either create the account using Facebook or Twitter login information. However, they fail to mention that there is a glitch in their system whereby if you sign up using Facebook, you can’t then push your newsletter via Twitter.

It’s kind of a crazy thing. Since I created my account using Facebook, I had to get them to switch it to my Twitter account so that when my news feed goes live every day, it then announces in my HalyardConsult Twitter. It doesn’t do that if you start your account using your Facebook login. I’ve gone back and forth with them on this. They’re very apologetic and I understand that they’re a small start-up, but gosh, I said to them, “Okay, if you’re not able to do this right now, please tell people that they need to sign up with Twitter and maybe take the Facebook thing out. Or if you’re going to sign up with Facebook, then you’re not going to have this option on your dashboard.”

My other little complaint is that you can only pull from 30 feeds. I understand the reason for the limitation. It’s so that you’re not bogging down the server, but I’ve already paid for a Pro account and there’s no difference in the number of feeds that I’m able to pull in from the free account to the Pro account. Now there’s other things you get with the Pro account, so that’s fine. But I would almost like them to offer a Super-Pro account where I can get 50 or 100 feeds to pull from. I know you’re thinking to yourself, why in the world would he need 50 or 100 feeds on a daily basis? Well, here’s the thing. It would allow me to go further down the niche of my newsletter. So right now, some of my feeds are generic because they’re about the industry. If I was able to get those generics and then go further and further down, what that means is the further you go down in a niche, the less content there is going to be on a daily basis.

For instance, let’s say that I wanted to create a newsletter on shootings in Newark, New Jersey that happened on East Avenue. Just as an example – I don’t even know if there’s an East Avenue in Newark. But you can imagine that the millions of people out there all have their own little hobbies, their own little niche. If they’re pulling in 10 or 20 generic shootings or just Newark information, then you can really dive down. But those dive-downs, the deeper that you go, you’re not actually going to have a lot of data and a lot of content. So the more of those you put in, the more you’re going to on a daily basis have niche content. So that’s the app.

Rant of the Week

I want to do a rant of the week. I do love doing these. It is quite amazing that I’m able to come up with a rant each week. I’m a very angry person, so I’m always pissed off at something. This rant is about using and abusing the sales process in order to perfect your internal business strategy. I had this happen about a year and a half ago and it just happened again on a much larger scale. So I think it needs to be spoken about. I presented to a potential client. I was given a very good way in to this potential client and I really wanted to impress them. I provided them with about five fixes that they needed to do to their pay-per-click account that would reduce the amount of money they had to spend on a daily basis and on a monthly basis. That was all kind of the hook to bring them in and get them to sign the full proposal. What wound up happening was that they made those fixes internally and then they didn’t hire me.

This happened on a much grander scale with a much larger law firm in Florida this past year where through the course of conversations over about a 6-month period, they did hire me to do small work. But during that process, they picked my brain to the extent that I was actually in Florida and I met with them for what I thought was going to be an hour meeting. It turned into a half-day event where they basically asked me so many questions that they were then able to redo their own marketing plan. The whole reason I was willing to give this information out was because I thought I was getting closer and closer to them signing the proposal. And it was a big proposal and it was very good. However, the line went dead about a week and a half ago.

They finally got up the balls to email me – they didn’t even have the courtesy to call me back – to tell me that they went with a competitor. That would be perfectly fine, except don’t just make up an excuse if everything is going smoothly. If they’re negotiating, tell me what their price is and I’ll match the price. Tell me what they’re doing that I’m not doing. Then, if it’s neck-and-neck, that’s fine. I lost the bid. No big deal. However, you got so much material from me during the past six months, I’m not saying that you should write me a check. But I’m saying there should have been a common courtesy halfway through that process where you said to me, “We’re looking at other people and here’s where you’re falling behind.” They didn’t do that. And so they went with another company.

Perfectly fine. At the end of the day, I’ve got business coming in. It’s not a big deal. But it definitely has put my guard up as to how much information I’m really going to be willing to talk about with potential clients. And that’s a shame because I do like talking about what I do and I do like helping people. And those two things sometimes come back and bite me in the behind.

Main Topic

For my main topic, I wanted to give you some outsourcing secrets. Now I realize that outsourcing can be controversial, depending on how you look at it. I hire Americans, and I hire Canadians. But at the same time, I hire Kenyans, I hire Greeks. I hire Egyptians for a lot of the work that I need done. Now when it comes to helping me with things that need to be written in the English language, I really don’t feel that I can hire internationally. I feel that there is a break in language if they’re not talking on an everyday basis in the language. You’re missing the nuance, so I really can’t use international workers for writing. But for some of the things that we do here, we do farm out that work and manage it. Believe me, anybody in this industry who tells you they’re not doing it, is lying because it is much more cost-effective.

James Martell and Shawn Collins James Martell and Shawn Collins (Photo credit: affiliatesummit)

I use Elance. I also use Fiverr. Believe it or not, as junky as you may think Fiverr has been – and I admit there is some goofy stuff on there – it has helped me build out certain sites. I would never hire Fiverr for article writing. I would never hire Fiverr for any type of software or application or stuff like that. For $5, you’re going to get what you’re going to get. But I have used Fiverr for international photo taking. I have used it for illustration. I have used it for banner advertising and creation. And I really think that it is quite amazing. I’ve also used Elance.

But I wanted to turn this conversation on its head because someone said something to me. I was talking to James Martell, who I frequently speak with. We were talking about Elance and he gave me the best advice I’ve ever heard, which is a constant with him. He’s always giving me amazing advice. You really need to listen to his podcast, which is Affiliate Buzz. He said, when you’re creating Elance projects, set the bidding amount to undecided or don’t know yet before you put that project out there. Here is the critical thing when you say you don’t know what your pricing is yet. We’re in America, and $50 in America is a lot different than $50 in Egypt and a lot different from $50 in Greece and it’s extremely different from $50 in Kenya. I wanted to show you these numbers. The average household income for Greece is $24,490. That’s in U.S. dollars. In Egypt, it’s $2,600. For Kenya, it’s $820.

Now again, you’re hiring the people who have specialties in what they do. And one of the key things you have to know when you’re outsourcing is that if somebody is really good, that doesn’t mean that they can do everything. You’re not hiring an individual who is going to be able to answer your phones and write your articles and work on your database. You are hiring specific people to do specific jobs. And you need to qualify them. As these outsourcing sites such as Elance and Odesk grow internationally, there are people who are very skilled within those countries and they’re working with a completely different economics situation.

So let’s say that you had a project that you put together and you wanted to charge $1,000. If you put that into your Elance job posting, you’ve already locked yourself in to a U.S. dollar amount. Now if you hire somebody from Egypt, believe it or not, that’s half their entire salary for the year. If you hired somebody from Kenya, that is beyond the average salary for a year. So if you want to do this correctly, you set it so that the freelancer bids on your project. Now it’s important to put a lot of detail into the job posting so that you provide the potential hire with everything that you’re going to want them to do. Don’t surprise them with anything. They should completely understand from head to toe, start to finish, exactly what the project is going to entail. Then they can bid on that project.

Also don’t discard the lowest bid because the lowest number in the poorest country could be the highest number in that person’s neighborhood, town or city. And they’ll do a fantastic job. They will jump head-over-heels to help you. And they will work with you day and night to get the job done. The other important thing is when you do find somebody who is very, very qualified, you’d better hold on to them. What I have learned is that you’d better line up those projects and you’d better work with them.

Here’s a perfect example: I had a project that went kaput halfway through. My worker did some of the work, but he didn’t do a lot of the work. So we negotiated. The project was a very expensive project and I said to him, “How much would you like me to pay you for the work that you’ve already done?” He gave me a number and I came back with 5 times that number because I still made my money from that project even though it was done.

So let’s wrap it up for today. Again, this is Jonathan Goodman.  You can follow me @HalyardConsult on Twitter. New episodes of The World of Internet Marketing can be heard every Friday. You can access the archives of my previous shows on Spreaker.com – user name Jonathan Goodman. The podcast is also available with transcription at halyardconsulting.com and geekcast.fm one week after the episode airs. I’ll be speaking at Affiliate Summit East on August 18-20 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA and also PubCon Las Vegas on October 21-25 at the Las Vegas Convention Center South Halls.  Thank you all for listening to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. Don’t forget to pick up my book The World of Internet Marketing on Amazon and if you like this podcast please share it with your network of friends and family. Have a great Fourth of July.

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