Sunday, November 19, 2017
During the Obama Administration, the FTC set out to destroy the affiliate marketing by requiring that web designers put a huge yellow block next to all affiliate link telling people not to click on the link.
The FTC's assumption is that affiliate marketing is just about money.
Affiliation is about relations between web sites.
There is a fun free site called ArtWanted.com. This site lets amateur artists share their work in a supportive environment. You can upload your creation and you will receive supportive comments along with advice from other artists.
ArtWanted has an affiliate program.
This is a free site. The chance of getting paid is next to nothing.
I joined the program and got the affiliate id so that the creators of the site can track inbound traffic. I've sent Artwanted about 50,000 hits. I like that I can log in and see that traffic. I really do not expect to receive compensation for the effort.
The FTC requires that I put a huge warning when I link to the program because their is a very remote possibility that I might make money.
But that's not what I am doing in this case. I simply wanted to track clicks. Here is the FTC Warning:
During the Obama Administration, the FTC set out to destroy the affiliate industry by requiring that web sites put a huge warning next to all affiliate links warning the public that the link is an affiliate link.
The FTC warning is supposed to be bold and preferably has a yellow background. It is supposed to be positioned before the link occurs.
I am breaking the law. I put the FTC warning in the middle of the page. To limit the size of the FTC block, I use as font that is a step smaller than the main font.
I showed a page with my FTC warning.
Predictably, the person did not want to click on the link. This is predictable. There is a huge FTC warning telling the person not to click on the link.
The user typed the name of the business into the address bar. This brought up the google search page. The person then clicked on the Google ad for the merchant.
Because I am required to put an ugly FTC warning on my page, the traffic that I am generating is being credited to Google.
So, what I did yesterday is I updated the code for my FTC warning to include the direct URL for the merchant.
This way if a reader is horrified by the possibly that I might possibly benefit from a web page that I created, then they can click on the direct link. This will cut my site out of the commission chain.
This change took a full day to implement as I had to make sure I had the correct URL for the 400 affiliates that I currently list. It took all day to check 400 urls.
Here is the current FTC warning design. A site called Artwanted has an affiliate program. This is my affiliate link www.ArtWanted.com/?RID=10452 . The RID is a unique identifier for me. My FTC Warning has a link with out the id.
If you are a progressive and are incensed at the possibility that I might receive a financial return for creating a web page; you can indignantly click on the tag free link in the FTC warning. How cool is that?
Friday, November 17, 2017
I've been reworking the FTC disclosures for affiliate links on my web sites. This has me feeling extremely depressed.
The FTC disclaimer is a contrivance of the Obama Administration. The FTC Warning is supposed to be a big bold design element that goes at the top of any page with an affiliate link. The purpose of the FTC disclaimer discourage readers from reading the page or clicking link. The FTC site says the disclaimer must be in bold type with a yellow background to make it stand out.
The fact that my government requires crap like this makes me sick. The FTC treats small merchants and independent web designers like criminals for trying to figure out ways to make independent web design profitable.
Personally, I think that the affiliate paradigm has the potential to be the most honest form of advertising. This can be proven by looking at numbers.
In 2009 there were tens of thousands of merchants offering a variety of products. One could find millions of things to sell in this market. People authentically engaged in this market look for the best bargains from the most reliable partners.
In contrast lets look at an employee of a firm or an advertiser hired directly by a merchant. A person who is dependent on a single source is actually more likely to lie for that source.
Don't you see the math? A person who is choosing between thousands of products from hundreds of sources is more likely to be honest when writing reviews than people who are hired directly to write ad copy for a single product.
There is a great deal of dishonesty in the affiliate world. This dishonesty takes place a systemic level. For example, AdWare companies make programs which switch affiliate ids. SEO companies work to manipulate search engine results. Some affiliate networks engage in underhanded practices.
The FTC requirements only affect the people who are engaged in above board affiliate marketing. The FTC regulations are treating the honest people in the industry like crooks while letting those engaged in systematic manipulation of the market run rampant with no checks.
Anyway, since I am engaged in white hat marketing, I've been trying to follow the stupid FTC guidelines even though the guidelines dramatically undermine my business.
So, the FTC guidelines say that I am supposed to put a huge FTC Warning on any page with an affiliate link. The code for my site would place an FTC warning in plain text. The problem with this design is that it has me repeating the same words on every page. To keep from repeating the same content, I decided to put the warning in an iframe. The problem with an iframe is that the iframe tag does scale correctly in all web browser. Below is my FTC warning in an iframe.
I decided to break the rules. I am making the text of the warning one step smaller than the main page.
The disclaimer warns people that the page has dangerous affiliate links that they should avoid using. It also tells them how to visit the site without triggering an affiliate id.
A lot of people think that using a search engine engine instead of a link is safe. This just means that Google is credited with any sales while small sites get cut out.
When I first first placed the FTC warning on my site, I saw an immediate 40% drop in income and I lost a huge portion of my web traffic because people felt that any web site bearing such a stern warning must be evil.
The progressives I know would agree with FTC. Progressive hold that any attempt to fund web development through ecommerce is an act of evil. That I saw a forty percent drop in sales because of the FTC requirements just proves that I was misleading the public by making a web site with affiliate ads.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Today we find Democrats forming angry mobs to tear down the statues.
Personally, I consider defacing public art on par with burning books. It is a distasteful act. I do make exception for public art that was intentionally designed to oppress people.
I would cheer the tearing down of Nazi art after WWII and the removal of public art after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Removing the propaganda art of an oppressive regime is part of the healing that needs to take place.
The current wave of tearing down Confederate statues appears to be targeted at President Trump. This group Antifa seems to be actually engaged in intimidation. I linked a video made at one of the art destruction event. The MSM described this as a "peaceful demonstration." These people seem quiet angry. They kick the statue, spit on it and make obscene gestures.
Monday, August 14, 2017
The left reaches its ultimate expression with communism. The right reaches its ultimate expression with fascism.
The fight that broke out in Charlottesville over the weekend was simply a clash between the ultimate expression of the left and right.
The proof that Conservatism was created by enemies is straight forward: The ideology of Conservatism was created in the 1830s when the Tory Party changed its name. Conservatives in England still call themselves Tories. The name "conservative" comes from efforts to restore the monarchy after the French Revolution.
The evolution of progressivism is contorted. Essentially, the monarchy funded the universities. The monarchy charged the universities with creating an ideology that framed the state as the engine of progress.
The weird twist is this: The Kings of England were German. The Hanoverian Kings of England (King George I, II and III) were from Hanover, Germany. The Kings of England directly funded and constructed universities in Germany.
The most radical left wing thought was written in German, then translated back into English. Hegel and Marx were creating a philosophy that would restore monarchist rule.
Both the left and right came from the same source:
The statement I am trying to make becomes clear if you ask the following question:
Imagine that you were an extremely powerful king and you needed to control a nation that was demanding the right to vote.
The easiest way to control the people is to create a false dichotomy in which you controlled both sides of the debate.
The people would battle each other and get really angry, but the central authority will always win in the end. It is easy to do once you know how.
This is exactly what we have going on in our nation at the moment: The two sides of the left/right split are becoming increasingly shrill. Both sides of the debate lead to a top-down society.
This is clearly seen in the health care debate. PPACA (aka ObamaCare) was based on a plan from the Heritage Foundation and first enacted by Mitt Romney. The GOP campaigned for seven years that they would "Repeal and Replace" Obamacare. We find out that the replacement was just a watered down version of PPACA.
We had seven years of a shrill non-debate that set neighbor against neighbor. At the end of the non-debate, the GOP leadership simply sought to replace ObamaCare with ObamaCare-lite.
Both sides of the debate lead to the same end. Yet we see people becoming even more shrill.
There was a street fight between the Alt-Right and Antifa in Charlottesville over statues to the Confederacy.
I need to come back to my statement that the left/right split was created by the enemies of liberty.
The party system that controls our government was not mentioned in the Constitution. For that matter, "The Federalist Papers" (which explored the arguments of the Constitution in detail) waxed philosophic against the evils of factions (aka political parties). Madison clearly saw factions (the party system) as one of the greatest threats to freedom.
The left/right split which dominates political discourse was made by enemies of liberty. The ultimate expression of both sides of the debate is a totalitarian state.
The left/right split leads to mindless conflict as we saw in the brawl between Alt-Right and Antifa in Charlottesville.
We have to find a better way.
I believe that we could find a better way if we did something radical. For example, it would be great if people took off their partisan filters and talked about health care.
Friday, July 14, 2017
As I suspected, Trump's trumpeted "Repeal and Replace" legislation is nothing more than ObamaCare with fewer benefits.
Reducing benefits might lower premiums, but it does not actually lower costs. Reducing benefits has no effect on the price of the benefits continue to receive. It simply means that people receive fewer benefits.
Health care providers are notorious about shifting costs. Imagine a hospital that provides service A and B and that TrumpCare no longer provides coverage for service B. The hospital is likely to shift costs from service B to service A increasing the cost of service A.
Trumpcare increases the tax deduction for Health Savings Accounts. The health savings accounts do not restore the free market. The HSA is simply a tax credit for the upper middle class. It does absolutely nothing to help provide health care for the people who actually need care.
TrumpCare is nothing more than ObamaCare-lite.
What is likely to happen politically is that the party-line vote on TrumpCare will create a situation where the GOP now owns the failing ObamaCare system. The Democratic Party is likely to begin campaigning on Medicare for All (or whatever euphemism they come up with for national health care). Because the GOP sold its soul to pass TrumpCare, the Socialists will win and put the final nail into the American dream of a free society.
Sadly, there is verily little that anyone can do.
Those who try to stand up for actual free market reform will just be lumped in with the Trump bashers and their voices will be silenced.
Watching conservatives systematically destroy the opportunity for free market health care reform has been disenchanting. The conservative movement and the GOP have failed the American People.
Donald Trump's plan of curbing insurance premiums by reducing benefits might temporarily stabilize markets. The plan does not reduce prices. It simply reduces the care people receive. The plan does not provide a path toward a better future.
Monday, May 22, 2017
In recent years, progressives have been pushing a really exciting new idea called "The Tiny House." The ideal tiny house is built from reclaimed materials (like all of those used shipping containers that come from China and sit around empty in American shipping yards ... because Americans no longer make anything).
One can place 6 tiny houses on the footprint of a standard bourgeois American house. The problem is the design of many tiny houses have chassis's so that the owners can move them around.
Sorry, but the act of moving a tiny house from place to place consumes fossil fuels. Fossil fuels which release greenhouse gases that cause global warming. So, while the tiny house movement is progressing our society in the left direction, I do not see it as a long term sustainable solution.
The biggest problem with tiny houses ... and this is something that every progressive American should think about. Is that tiny houses are owned by individuals. Individual ownership of housing weakens our collective identity impedes the progress toward a utopian future.
I am thinking that, for our society to progress to a higher level, we need to look beyond tiny houses toward an even greener and more sustainable future.
I am thinking of starting an even greener movement than the tiny house movement.
I will call this new movement ...
... drum role please ...
A tiny apartment.
A tiny apartment is a living space for a family of four in a container that is a little smaller than a studio apartment.
Again, I think it is great that we are building our tiny houses from those shipping containers that come from China, but, unfortunately, these containers have the same unsustainable characteristics of bourgeois housing: The containers have six sides.
My new tiny apartment idea will have structures that are twenty units wide and eight units high stacked back to back. One tiny apartment complex could have 160 units. If each unit held a family of 4, we could stuff 640 people in just one of these tiny apartment buildings.
The beauty of stacking the tiny apartments side by side is that the tiny apartments can have communal walls.
To emphasize the progressive nature of the tiny apartment, I was thinking we could give these projects a progressive name like Tenement to emphasize that the people in the projects are tenants not owners.
I just realized that there is a design flaw.
As a dedicated progressive, I believe that people must be regulated. Stacking up rectangular shipping crates means that some of the people in the tenements will have a side windows. That is not tolerable. To create a communal paradise, people must be regulated.
If only we had more communal ownership and greater regulation; we could progress society to perfection!
Anyway I am busily working on plans for your children's future. It involves housing everyone in deeply stacked tiny apartments in buildings called tenements in planned societies called "The Projects."
It's going to be great, I tell you. It is going to be great.
Monday, May 15, 2017
Carbon Dioxide is a green house.
A green house gas that can lead to Global Warming!!!
In light of this discover, I say we slap an 8.6 billion dollar tax on the dieting industry
... and we should make fun of skinny people because they obviously are releasing more than their fair share of green house gases.
(Note, I've been trained by the media to feel outrage whenever I hear the words "carbon dioxide." I've been conditioned to demand more taxes when I hear the words "global warming." Actually the article is interesting. The article simple asks: where does the weight go when people diet and exercise?)
Friday, May 05, 2017
I am distraught because the bill actually is falling in line with classical "conservative" thought.
One can't use a charged term like "conservative" without defining it.
What is Conservatism?
That answer is obvious. Conservatism is the ideology of the Conservative Party.
The Conservative Party was created by King William IV in an effort to rebrand the Tory Party for electoral reforms of the 1830s. 180 years after the creation of the Conservative Party, Conservatives continue to call themselves "Tories."
The Tories, as you may recall from American History, were the people who fought against the US Founders during the Revolutionary War.
People who stand on the street corner are proudly declaring allegiance to an ideology that stretches back to the Revolutiony War. They are aligned with the people who fought against the US Founders!!!!!!!!
The goal of the Conservative Party was to conserve the social structure of the angient regime. The game is simple. One claims to support free markets to gain power, then one passes laws that favor the upper class to lower classes once in power.
Trump's health care reform law fits perfectly with Conservatism as King William IV first intended.
The Trump/Ryan Health Care Plan gives subsidies to rich insurance companies in the name of the working poor while stripping away the benefits and protections of Obama's plans.
The Trump/Ryan health plan is a massive give away to rich insurance companies at a cost to working Americans.
This fits perfectly within the 180 year tradition of Conservative Party ... in England.
Real free market health care reform is liberal. True free market health care reform would liberalize the health care market. It reduces barriers to entry and lower the cost of health care while enfranchising the people at large.
The problem we face today is that "conservatives" are dead set against the "liberal" reforms needed to restore a free market in health care.
Anyway, if you are upset with the Republican Health Care Plan, you should realize that the Ryan plan is Conservatism (as in Tory) in action. Ryan is simply proving that Conservatives that took control of the GOP are Conservatives in the strain of King William IV and that Barry Goldwater style of Conservatism was nothing more than a fancy of a few out of touch intellectuals.
The Ryan/Trump plan does not restore liberty. The Ryan/Trump Plan is Toryism in action.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Iron is magnetic. Most landfills pass our waste stream under electromagnets and we capture and reclaim a huge portion of waste iron.
Currently the Trump Administration is seeking to impose tariffs and restrictions on imported steel claiming that that steel is a strategic commodity that we need to protect for national security.
I say that, because iron is so easily recycled, it is actually in our nation's strategic interest to import steel.
All of the steel things that we import help our nation build up a strategic reserve.
If there is an international crisis that suddenly requires a great deal of steel, we can easily recycle the huge steel reserve that we imported.
Let's say we had a conflict with China. All of the steel that China exported in times of peace is steel they no longer have and that we have in reserve.
As for iron and coal reserves in the ground, we are in a better strategic position if we leave our resources in the ground and let China overdevelop their reserves.
If we have a national crisis that suddenly requires a great deal of steel, our nation can easily ramp up steel and coal production. The huge amount of recyclable metal that we have in our nation plus the ability to ramp up undeveloped reserves puts us in a better position than a false market where we use tariffs to block steel imports and consume our natural iron reserves in times of peace.
Thursday, March 09, 2017
The goal of Conservatism is to conserve the top-down social structure of the ancient regime in an age of political change.
Conservatives of 1830s crafted a very simple strategy: Conservatives use free market rhetoric to gain power. Once in power, they pass legislation that gives the ruling elite an economic advantage over the people at large. This creates the illusion that the existing social order is somehow the natural social order.
The conservative play book has not changed in 180 years.
The Health Care proposal by Paul Ryan, Tom Price and Donal Trump is keeping with the age old methodology of Conservatism.
The GOP plan keeps those parts of the plan the feed economic centralization while reducing the taxes and subsidies the plan included to make PPACA appear progressive.
I agree with Paul Ryan. The GOP's health care plan fits the 180 year tradition of Conservatism.
The top-down health care reform pushed by Paul Ryan is conservatism in action.
Paul Ryan is using the exact same playbook the Tories used when King William IV rebranded the Tory Party as "Conservative."
(For those of you who don't know history. King William IV was the younger son of King George III. The Tories were the people the US Founders fought against during the American Revolution. Conservatism is an ideology crafted by the enemies of the United States.)
Conservatism is an inherently disingenuous ideology. One uses free market rhetoric to gain power, then passes top down legislation once in power.
The problem with the Conservative methodology is that people, like me, who believe in the American tradition of free and fair economics are systematically cut out of the process.
The millions of people who fell for Conservative rhetoric feel duped.
They feel duped, because they were duped.
There's a large number of people who've been calling themselves "conservative" because they like the ideals of freedom and they are caught by surprise that their conservatives leaders are essentially seeking to conserve the core structure of Obamacare.
I have no idea how to break the political impasse between those who believe conservative rhetoric and those who employ the methodology of conservatism.
The people who claim that Paul Ryan isn't conservative enough because his health care plan is essentially "Obamacare Lite" are wrong.
Paul Ryan's actions are 100% in keeping with the 180 year tradition that Conservatives have followed since the Tories chose to re-name their party the Conservative Party.
Conservatives who keep with the tradition of the Tory Party are the most conservative of all the conservatives.
Conservatives use free market rhetoric to get in power, and enact top-down legislation that gives the upper class an advantage over the people.
This is what King George III wanted. This is what King George's youngest son wanted. This is what the Tories wanted.
Paul Ryan is not only a conservative. He is pure bred conservative in the great tradition of the Tory Movement.
Sadly, the only way for America to restore its liberal traditions is for people to realize that "Conservatism" is as corrupt an ideology as "progressivism" and I fear that few people in the GOP are willing to make that connection.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
It is likely that Donald Trump will attempt to stimulate with a tax cut.
When Bush passed his tax cut, he gave everyone a refund check.
The problem with the refund check is that checks have to be financed with debt spending.
A better approach is simply to pass some spending cuts that take place this year and a tax cut that starts next year.
Smart investors will start making their investing decisions based on the tax cut that will come in the future.
We don't need to engage in the debt financing of refund checks.