Who remembers AllAdvantage or FreePC?

I’ve been a member of both. AllAdvantage had one of those deals where you downloaded a tool that showed you ads while you used your computer and paid you for looking. I remember that my co-workers and I all got it and we figured out that it was paying attention to mouse movement to decide if you were active or not. So of course one of my friends wrote a script that would move his pointer every few seconds so he could hit his max of “active” time (10-20 hours or something) in the first day of every month and then he could disable the ad banner until the following month. We made some change, but of course they eventually failed.

Then there was FreePC, where they offered you a Free PC and free dial-up Internet service in exchange for reducing your resolution from 1024×768 to 800×600 by filling in the excess with an L-shaped ad banner. We all submitted our information and got on a waiting list, but Em and I were the only ones who actually got one…I always surmised that it was because she was the only woman and the FreePC folks already had their marketing quota of 20-30 year old male computing professionals but a 20-30 year old female was much more rare for them (remember, this is back in the dial-up days when men greatly outnumbered women on the Internet). We got our PC and used it happily (800×600 wasn’t so bad in those days) for 6 months before the company went under and sent us instructions for disabling the ad software (wasn’t worth the money to pay for the PCs to be shipped back and liquidated). We kept that computer for years so I guess we won out on that one.

Well now, I think, marketing on the Internet has matured. Bidding, communities, affiliate programs, and referral programs have shown themselves to be viable models. I wrote about Prosper.com the other day (I’m now loaning two people money – more on that later) which makes use the first two models. Google has a bidding model for how you pay for sponsored links. Amazon has an affiliate program and I’ve made a little money for referring people there…mostly just 3-4 personal friends who use my link as their Amazon bookmark when they go to buy stuff. I get about 4% if someone buys something by visiting Amazon through that link – it’s cool. You can do the same thing very very easily although there’s no referral bonus for bringing in new affiliates. You can’t make money by using your own link though, so Em has one that I use.

AGLOCO is a new, very cool idea that is, I think a mature version of what AllAdvantage & FreePC were. It’s an affiliate/referral community (three out of four models I mentioned) that involves a downloadable ad-bar (much smaller and less obtrusive than the AA or FPC ones were). Basically, you become a part-owner (or share-holder, if you will) of a private company that distributes ads. Some of the member community who browse with the viewbar will actually click on the ads and buy stuff, and this generates advertising revenue for the company. The cash-flow is distributed to all members based on how many hours they browse with the viewbar up. You also earn shares in the company (which will hopefully be worth something someday) based on your browsing hours. And you can refer others and you get more money and shares based on their browsing – same for their referrals, but it only goes two levels.

The company is 100% owned by the members so basically it’s as if we all joined the Amazon Affiliates program and all agreed that we’d use each other’s ads when we did any shopping on Amazon, and we distributed the revenue based on how much time we spent shopping and how much we did to grow the community (and thus the total revenue) by bringing more people in. But someone else does the legwork of managing it all in exchange for some income (the developers don’t get any shares, but they get 10% of the revenue – so we are literally the owners and we pay them a percentage of the cash to do the work). I think it’s an awesome system of passive income and I hope it works. Of course, I also hope to make money on it (that link above is, of course, a referral link, and I’ve already done my 5 hours of browsing for June :-) .
I’m noting that, as I discover serenity and happiness and spirituality, I also find that my income-generating creativity increases as well. This not uncommon and there are many examples out there, like Jack Canfield and Steve Pavlina…perhaps I’ll become a personal development guru while helping to spread the magic of dance to as many people as possible. More on this in a future entry – I’m going to be late for someone’s wedding if I don’t get out of here!

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