An interview with Watch Super Affiliate Ariel Adams from Ablogtoread.com
I meet Ariel Adams at At:tech San Francisco, he is a man with a passion and that passion is watch’s. He started a small watch blog about swiss watches and luxury watch review which is now a great business with 2000-5000 visitors per day. How would you like to be sent some of the world’s best wrist watches for FREE to review! Ariel Adams is also a big ebay affiliate. If you are a watch merchant, with a watch affiliate program he is your man!
Q Tell me more about Ablogtoread.com?
aBlogtoRead.com started as the result of eager curiosity. After attending a CJU (Commission Junction University) conference in 2007, I wanted to get into the Internet Marketing game after getting so excited about the concept. With only a vague understanding of the concepts of not only Internet and affiliate marketing, but of building a website – I did everything on my own learning as I went a lot. I recall the night when I first registered to domain with Bluehost – being asked to name my new domain. I sat stumped, having no idea at the time it would be wrist watch blog, trying to think of what a suitable name would be. I imagined some amorphous bored netizen Googling “a blog to read,” in search of something to read. It made sense at the time and domain was borne. While I still like the domain it doesn’t harmonize with the overall topic of my blog as much as it could. My advice to others is that if you decide to start a website out of thin air, really sit down and consider what the theme is going to be before taking action.
Right now aBlogtoRead.com is a very popular blog on all things “watches.” Estimates place it as the most popular blog on watches online today. I talk about new watches, industry news, give watch reviews, and feature articles on societal tie-ins such as discussing watches in movies, TV shows, and the culture of watch appreciation.
Q What one watch would you take to a desert island?
Funny you should ask, as this was the topic of one of my first articles: http://ablogtoread.com/watch-experiences/watch-choice-for-survival-top-pick-for-deserted-island-scenario/. In a nutshell I take a very practical approach and discuss watches that will not only help you survive, but will survive themselves.
Q If I have a watch company and want a review how do I get your attention?
Just contact me:
I am approached by numerous watch companies, PR and Marketing firms, and watch retailers every week. I can’t talk about everyone, and of course won’t promote something I simply don’t like (really care of course), but with the 3-4 websites I write for, I can typically give everyone some coverage.
Q What was your first website?
aBlogtoRead.com was my first wholly owned website, but I think that most people start early with various types of social networking profile pages and likewise. These help us with framing messages for other people, and understanding the concept of how to frame content for other people. aBlogtoRead.com has and will continue to undergo redesigns. So to an extent, the site is not exactly what I started out with. That is the beauty of websites – they can evolve easily.
Q What is the biggest tip you would give to a newbie blogger?
Like I said earlier, plan it out. The biggest problem I see with bloggers is fading motivation. Blogging is a lot of work. Sure it is easy to write a few articles, but what about a few articles a week (or more), week after week? Blogging should be something that you stick with for the long term, else no one is going to read you. Bloggers feed first and foremost on readers. I’d also remind new bloggers that blogging is not exactly like article writing. The best type of blog post offers “nuggetized” information. You don’t need to scibe a manuscript each time, just some juicy on-point information that will satisfy the limited attention span Internet readers typically have.
Q What do advertisers do that you wish they wouldn’t?
Good questions. I would prefer that advertisers are a bit more savvy on what Internet advertising is all about. Most of them are stuck back in the days of print, or think that just having a banner on your site will do them good. Others think that Internet advertising is all a numbers game (e.x.: Page Rank X + Alex Score Y / outbound links x Number of pageviews = More Sales). Yes, the numbers are important, but when it comes down to it logic is king. Advertisers should work more closely with publishers and realize that it does not matter if they get a million pageviews a day, if their creatives or landing pages stink (or there is some other flaw) they aren’t going to get what they want. Basically I’d recommend that advertisers hire ex blogging professionals to run their online media programs.
Q What do bloggers do that you wish they wouldn’t?
I don’t think there is anything specific to bloggers that annoys me, but rather aspects of human nature. As an attorney and someone who is proud of my original content I really wish people wouldn’t steal content without giving credit. While most bloggers routinely break intellectual property laws on a daily basis, to a large degree it is allowed as long as credit is given. Every once in a while I discover someone who has been flagrantly stealing my content without attributing it to me (just a link is often good enough). While I am fortunate to have the skills to know how to fight this, many less legally aware bloggers are not. It is a big problem. Bloggers all over the world need to respect each other, and play fair. A few bad apples can cause a lot of trouble.
Q Where do you see growth in the blogging field?
I recently read that blogging is one of the fastest growing fields in America. The media is careful about discussing it because most bloggers are self-hired, and only the top bloggers can make a living out of it. We are quickly approaching the point where there is more information being produced than is capable of being consumed on a daily level. Content creators are banking on the fact that legions of people (ideally consumers) are at the other end consuming their content each day. My feeling is that this reality will eventually lead to only the best marketed bloggers surviving, which I hope includes bloggers that write well. Bloggers will eventually overtake journalists in terms of the opinion leaders of America, as traditional media publications are too slow, and have too many rules and procedures – it is just a simple fact, I’m not making a value judgment.
Blogging as a hobby will continue to grow just as it is now, hopefully fueled by an increase in marketing and advertising dollars focused by advertisers to the medium. I think real growth will come in terms of official corporate blogging. Companies are playing with corporate blogs, Twitter, and other tools to help connect with their customers and users. Right now it is still all experimentation, but eventually it will mature. I think that PR departments will all have blogging arms in the near future as the regular online post will eventually replace the press release. It is hard to say who will fill these ranks, but I think enough of them will be experience bloggers who have proven themselves. When it comes down to it, all anyone will care about is how much of the public (or right demographic) gets the message.
Q What new ideas are advertisers coming up with to take advantage of new trends?
Well I mentioned Twitter, which is a big deal though no one really understands how to take advantage of it yet. You can tweet all day long, but really who is reading on the other side that cares? The public just doesn’t have the attention span for all of that. Though I do respect companies that try to make full use of Twitter as a marketing medium. Lots of companies are very poor at public communication and like the idea of setting up a blog. It isn’t that they can’t do it, they just aren’t sure what its use would be. Companies that use corporate blogs to get consumers excited about new products are doing it best in my opinion. The best sales are made through gradual relationship building with consumers. This concept can be better applied to the Internet and blogging. Take for example traditional banner ads. No one really notices them much anymore, but what if their purpose could change. Use banners to tell a story over time. Assume that the same people are going to see banners in the same places over time. Start to tell a story or build a relationship with banners. Instead of hoping for a click through, hope that people just read the message. You can place animations and all sorts of great media into a banner. Use that few seconds of attention you might have from a consumer to point out just one or two benefits of a product. The difference here is that you change the banners each couple of weeks to keep pressing the message and point out different product benefits. This way you slowly grow the consumers interest so that eventually they actually want to learn more about purchase because you’ve shared every good part of the product with them overtime – in a simple and none intruding manner. Some advertisers are slowly doing things like this, but it would highly benefit more advertisers to use banner messaging in a more intelligent manner.
Q What do you do to improve the world?
I think the best thing anyone can do to improve the world is to set a good example. People don’t like being told what to do, but they will follow successful people who do “good” things. I try to provide an honest and useful resource to people interested in an industry that classically has terrible communication. I show consumers and companies that I am not afraid to let my thoughts known. I don’t tell other people to do this as well. but I hope that these ideals translate into people overall being better communicators. Also, as a lawyer, I try to help people when I can. I dedicate an enormous amount of time to responding to e-mails from people who just needs some advice. I give them my time to show them that even though I am busy I still care about helping out. Karmically speaking maybe they in turn will dedicate time to help someone else.
Q What do you do that is green?
I could be better – much better – but then again most people could be. Living in San Francisco I only drive my car one or twice a week, preferring to walk or take public transportation. The fact that “going green” is getting very commercialized irks me. It means that marketing efforts are being placed into making people feel like they are being environmentally friendly, when in fact their overall impact when using commercialized green products is probably minimal.
Q What is one thing about you that not many people know?
Well they sure know I like watches. The funny thing is that I talk so much about that, they have little opportunity to learn other things about me. When it comes to the things I am passionate about and my work I am pretty open, but my personal life is pretty closed-off.
Q What’s your favorite book?
I’d be worried that I didn’t read enough books if I have a favorite – there are just too many high quality books out there to choose a favorite. I prefer to read fiction books, especially those set in different types of works or times, basically Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Reading for me is a good escape and I consume enough “nonfiction” online. Like all things, what you like to read at any time is a phase.
Q What is on your iPod?
I don’t own an iPod, and haven’t used a dedicated MP3 player in a long time. I rarely listen to music while out and about – mostly on the phone. When I do, I prefer my XM portable receiver. It takes the effort out of choosing songs and making playlists, which for me is a pain. I like the idea of a glorified radio, which is basically what XM satellite radio is. Online I often listen to specific songs I like, or Internet radio such as Pandora.com.
Q What are your contact details (email, company, blog, facebook, myspace, forums, etc)?
Q How do you prefer to communicate?
I am a talker, so that means I am not shy to get on the phone or to meet in person. Lots of people in this space are e-mail only I find (not even instant messaging), but I a good conversation most of the time. A lot of that has to do with relationship building, which I find is a very important part of this space. There is of course alternatives such as social networking sites and text messaging, but really those are just extensions of e-mail in my opinion.
Q Who would you recommend, and why?
I am going to mention a few resources that I think should be in everyone’s arsenal when trying to make it as being a blogger or internet marketer. Many thanks to WordPress of course, and the world of support and active developers that make it great. Thanks for craigslist.org for your free or low cost way to find quality help fast (this also applied to other iInternet freelancer search sites). Picnik.com is great for quick and basic photo editing, while YouTube and Vimeo make messing with video painless. In the end, it is going to be people who have “been there before” who are going to be your biggest asset. So in one gesture I’d like to thank everyone who have patiently answered my many questions, concerns, and frustrations.
Q Who would you NOT recommend, and why?
I don’t like working with all inclusive agencies or firms. They have high overhead and charge a lot looking for people with deep pockets and low interest in doing anything themselves. That isn’t how I work. I take pride in doing as much as I can, and finding specific people to help me where I don’t have the right skills. Being in the Internet marketing world requires learning a lot constantly. If you aren’t willing to put time into keeping yourself aware of new technologies and events, it isn’t the right area for you.
Oh, and Google as a company is pretty worthless to deal with. They are the force of nature you are forced to embrace, but end up hating in the process. You’ll get no clear answers from them, and will get frustrated in trying to please the search engine behemoth. If you business model requires good search engine results, I recommend finding a good SEO person to built your website or to consult with. I had to figure most of it out myself.