Friday, January 24, 2014

HotelsCombined Affiliate Program Review – Yay or Ney?

HotelsCombined Affiliate Program Review

At first I don’t want to publish anything about the company since this is how I make money from my other blog. I don’t want to share the idea since there’s only limited bloggers who take advantage of it but for the sake of letting everyone now what they do, if you should avoid it or not, and as a function and purpose of our Bloggers Tech blog, then here we go!

Please note that I’ve been their affiliate since the first year I’ve started my blog and I’ve started blogging, and that is since 2011  - and I started blogging for the sake of practicing my English writing skills. I’ve been their affiliate for more than a year and then suddenly they cut me off for the reason I don’t understand.


EARNINGS

When I joined the program, there are two (2) ways that I could earn from them and they are:


PAY PER 1000 VISITS

When I started being their affiliate, they also pay me per 1000 visits that I have going to their site. I think it was $5 per 1000 visits. But then they stop, so yes you won’t going to have and enjoy this. I didn’t earned much from this since way back then I’m not known at all, I only have around less than a thousand visits in a month and it will be a miracle if I even reach 500 in a month. But hey, I was a total noob but earning.


PAY PER LEAD

Now this is where you make money (this time), it will depend on the hotel and the room they (your visitors) booked. It says on their affiliate program that you (or most of their affiliates) may earn $0.50 to $2.00 which is partially true, but I earned less than that since most of the people book on my own private label is from the Philippines. So how much I earn? Just around $0.20 and my earnings were just crawling per cent in a month.



Make sure you read the part emphasized above, that's the part July sent me, so "maybe" they've "suspended" me because my visitors clicks on the "book now" button and doesn't book at all? Come on! That's not my fault. Maybe they're just curious.


So to summarize on how much I’ve earned and how long? It’s crawling, it's not as much as how much you'll earn with Google AdSense but better to have crawling earnings than none. It’s a passive income.


PRIVATE LABEL

This is one of the things that I really liked about the program. I could have my own branding of it but then I’ve heard that they’re changing links to get a free traffic from you, which means you won’t going to have any share of the earnings anymore. I’m not sure if this is true though .

Anyway, on the first month their staff even helped me in customizing the whitelabel of their site. From colors, arrangements, etc. I was happy. Really happy since after the first year I have an increasing numbers of visitors already because I was recognized by blog awarding bodies in the country and there are quite a number of foreigners find my posts helpful too.

So you really don’t need a technical knowledge on this, you can ask for their help in having a custom design but best if you have the knowledge so you know what’s going on.

But then, I’ve tried to put a Google Analytics tracking to track my traffic on that side, but they don’t allow that. I guess they don’t want me to know something. Lol.


AFFILIATE SUPPORT

Yeah, it first (as stated above) I have no problem but then suddenly they emailed me and said I’m being deactivated. I asked her why, it’s unclear for me because it’s not reasonable, and she did not reply anymore.

I tried a lot to get the attention, and decided to remove the link to the private label because I can’t see my traffic (because I can’t log in anymore) and anyone could still book a room on my link. So how would I know if they’ll still counting and assure that I’ll be paid when I couldn't log in my account anymore?

Then this “JULY” girl replied to me:





Then months later I asked if there’s any other way to get back again, someone else said “you stop sending traffic… ” but here's the email I got. 



I removed my url (hotels.exoticphilippines.info) because it's all still live even though I'm suspended and the July girl told me I could remove it if I want, but she didn't told me that I could still recover from it if I just  continue even though I wont be seeing my earnings (because I won't be able to log in anymore, can't see the status, so I totally assume I don't have the chance anymore to continue, right?). 

So I’m like, “OH MY GOD!.. You should’ve told me that at the first place! You should've stopped me from removing my link to my whitelabel...”

Then we exchange emails and she seems to layout that “it’s my fault that I send them a lot of visitors that doesn’t book”, which totally sucks as an affiliate being treated like that when you’re sending them traffic and helping them earn and make money. And hey, it's not my fault that they don't want to book, I don't have a control over my website visitors and duh, I'm not even getting paid anymore per 1000 visits - because they've removed it.

So I’ll leave that to you, if their affiliate support sucks or you love it. But I tell you I don’t like it at all.


PAYOUT

I did receive my $100 payout (the minimum payout) after more than a year of blogging and reviewing hotels, but better to have that than nothing right? 

Before they kind off “banned” me, I have around $54 already and few more months I could’ve get a payout. But they don’t want me anymore, so yeah. Goodbye $54 – my 8 months of blogging, posting hotel lists and reviews - since that's forfeited already.


Their payout is after a month that you’ve earned the minimum payout (for PayPal and check). So if you’ve earned $100 on (let’s say) last week of the month, you won’t get the payout on the next month, it will be on the month after that. So yes, it may take longer than a month.


HotelsCombined Affiliate Program – Yay or Ney?

I am not alone on this, there are a lot of affiliates of HotelsCombined that finds it a scam. I think they’re really NOT a scam, they just have a POOR affiliate support and treat their support like TRASH. They don’t give any worth to their affiliate, that’s why they give poor support. If they hire someone else, I think they’ll do better if they only have someone that don’t disrespect their affiliates. Well, I hope their company head are not like their employee.

They've actually left a comment on this blog post, I'm not sure if it's really from the same Ray on the above screenshot because the email is different - not a Hotelscombined email. But here's what he have to say:



I did not approve it to the comments below since it deserves a spot here (they deserve their side), they're pretty nice here too. LOL. 


Anyway, my advice to Hotelscombined? Don't IMMEDIATELY disallow your affiliates to login to their accounts, because immediately they'll assume that they're banned - just like me - and got no more chance to continue being your affiliate. Even though you sent an email, it's important for us to see the progress, the traffic, where have we done wrong, or at least the increase of our earnings. Second, inform your affiliate that once they stop sending traffic, you might remove them from being your affiliate. And lastly, hire someone who choose better words in talking to your affiliates and especially to your customers.



Another one from the Hotelscombined is Yury, he said that there are thousands of sites using their affiliate program and doesn't find "it sucks". Well, let me share you some of your affiliates:



There are also bloggers who posted about your affiliate program, like Kevin Leland's review.

Basing on the comment from Ray, they seem want to resolve the problem with my account. I do too, but I totally got tired of trying to contact them, getting their attention to see if it can be resolved and emails have been exchanged. To be honest, I already have my private label's reputation build up back then, I do get at least 1 booking per day before they suspended me, and that's good enough for me. I've written a lot of hotel reviews and lists of hotels to boost my earnings, but hey they don't mind it all and just let me wait until I publish this post.

I won't and don't deny that HotelsCombined's affiliate program CAN BE good and can be a great way for anyone can make money online, if they could only give more value, better process and better good communication to their affiliates they could be the top affiliate program in travel niche. Having your own private label hotel booking site, own brand, and they help you design the private label plus it's a good way to have a passive income as a travel blogger - it could be a good deal but not these days.


So as of now, I would say it’s a NEY. Want me to rate it? I say, I can only rate the HotelsCombined affiliate program 2 out of 5 stars. Why? They treat their affiliates like trash, their earnings are slow, they ban you with unreasonable things, and earnings are low.

I wouldn’t suggest this type of business for anyone, I’ve read a lot in different forums and people even contact me to help them plan and optimize their site that is an affiliate of HotelsCombined. It’s not ideal for a long term affiliate program, the earning is low and slow and you might have to spend a lot from your pocket to earn more than $100 in a month.

I hope this is helpful for everyone, and for the current affiliates, just be careful. Read again their agreement.
For the fellow victims, let me hear you out, let people hear your side and leave a comment below and share with us how it happened and if you were able to at least earn and withdraw once.


Updated: January 29, 2014 - Added the email screenshots and details to provide proof that I (am) was an affiliate.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Remote Access for Macs from Mobile Devices

Remote Access for Macs from Mobile Devices

The online revolution has entirely changed the way we interact with each other and do business. Life has become more mobile than ever before, especially with the ability to work or connect remotely. Thanks to excellent and readily available remote access solutions, it is possible to access your entire desktop even when it’s thousands of miles away.

Reliable remote access to hosted Windows applications and desktops from Windows PCs has been around for some time, but finding the right solution from your Mac has previously required a bit more work. Luckily enough, there are some products which really do fill the gap. It is worth noting that the following do not require your computer to remain running, as most can ‘wake it up’ via an online connection.

  • Ericom Remote Desktop Connectivity. Here is an RDP client for Mac which guarantees speed. Utilizing compression and acceleration software, Ericom will give you an excellent display on your Mac machine for even some of the most graphics-intense programs, such as PPT and Flash. This is a great solution for content which includes high resolution of complex graphics and it is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android devices and others.
  • LogMeIn Ignition. Just install an app on your remote Mac and LogMeIn Ignition will give you access to an exact copy of your desktop on your iPhone or iPad. There are more expensive features which can be added on top of the base price, including HD video support and printing via AirPrint-friendly printers. You can of course also transfer files using this system.
  • Splashtop Remote Desktop. This also utilizes a useful app to enable you to have full use of your Mac on your iPhone or iPad by using the internet or a local network. Splashtop is a very quick and responsive system, although it might end up slowing down the resolution on your remote computer. However, this is probably a small price to pay for the convenience of accessing your entire desktop from a mobile device.
  • Mocha VNC Lite. Instead of using an app as a basis for your virtual desktop, Mocha VNC Lite, as the name would suggest, makes use of a traditional VNC client in order to connect your Mac to a remote mobile device. Usefully, it allows you to share remote files by either a cloud service or e-mail which will appear in your synchronized folders if you use an iPad.
Don’t forget that once you’ve set up your remote access using any of the above products, it is worth taking full advantage of the suite of Mac tools available. For example, you can use iChat even with remote access, allowing you to talk or share a screen with anybody from practically anywhere.

      

Friday, January 10, 2014

SSL for Newbies

SSL for Newbies

You might have heard about an acronym called “SSL” being spoken about in the past before, and perhaps your knowledge on the matter is limited to knowing that it is just something to do with websites.

Here is a handy guide that demystifies this subject for you, and explains the importance of it when it comes to websites and Internet security in general.

What exactly is SSL?

SSL, short for Secure Sockets Layer, is a term used to describe a type of website security.

Developed by a company called Netscape (any veteran web surfers out there will remember they used to develop a web browser called Netscape Navigator), it is a way of securing or “encrypting” information sent between a website visitor’s browser and the server that the website is hosted on.

When you visit a website or web page that is protected by SSL encryption, you will notice that the URL (website address) in your web browser’s address bar starts with “https://” rather than the usual “http://”. The ‘s’ signifies that the page you are looking at has something called an SSL certificate attached to it, to confirm security credentials.

An SSL certificate is basically a digital certificate that display information such as the type of encryption used (128-bit, 256-bit, and so on), what website the certificate is used for, whom it is registered to, what certificate authority it was registered by, validation dates, and all sorts of other technical and detailed information.

Should I be using SSL certificates on my website?

There are many reasons why you would want to use SSL encryption on your website, here are some common examples:

     Collecting personal information - if your website has a contact form, or some other kind of form that gets submitted to you and contains personal information such as names, addresses and contact numbers, then you want to make sure that no-one can hijack that information whilst it is being transmitted (for example, hackers looking at data sent by people’s laptops over unsecure Wi-Fi links);
     E-commerce sites - if you have a website where your customers can order products and services, then it is essential that all information they share with you, such as personal information and credit card numbers, be encrypted;
     Privacy - search engines like Google, for example, use SSL on their websites so that people cannot spy on what they are searching for online.

If you are looking to secure your website, or parts of it, with an SSL certificate, then it is crucial that you compare all SSL certificates and find the best one for your business.

Are there different types of SSL that can be used?

Yes, there are several options when it comes to purchasing SSL certificates. Ones offered at the cheaper end of the market tend to be for a single domain name only, whereas other options are available such as wildcard domain SSL certificates (i.e. subdomain1.domain.com and subdomain2.domain.com etc.), and even multi-domain certificates.

It all depends on your particular requirements; however, Thawte offers a range of different products for the best SSL protection available, so it is worth having a chat with them to determine what type of SSL certification you need.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Advantages of Being a Digital Designer

The Advantages of Being a Digital Designer

Do you fancy yourself an artist? A technical expert with a creative edge? Would you sell your second arm for a top-of-the-line WACOM tablet or yearly upgrades on your CAD software collection? Before you saw of your limbs, sigh at the lack of employment (though who isn’t with you there?) or fall prey to shuffling off non-essentials on ebay to cover the expense of being the best in the business, indulge in a little positivity. What’s so great about being a digital designer, anyway? Do you remember? Take a breath, put your junk back on the floor and sit on your butt, reading down the following list and absorbing the positive vibes. Go on, we all need to remember where we’ve come from occasionally, only if to acknowledge where we’re going versus where we want to be.

You Are an Analytical Creative

Do you remember the right-brain, left-brain test in high school, dusted off when the rainy day DVD’s had been exhausted and the teaching staff desired to make a half-hearted bid to be educational? It seemed silly to categorise yourself accordingly then, and for good reason, digital designers are usually a balanced mixture of practicality and creativity. It’s never fantastic to be too much of one thing, as you’ll be transported far from the point of a project, into a realm of conjecture or professional obstinacy. If you’re 100% practical, you’ll never be able to conceive the sophistication and joy of a beautifully rendered design, but if one is too creative, say goodbye to any shred of productivity. So, you’re perfect!

Flexibility – How Low Can You Go?

Similar to the bygone party game Limbo, designers must be flexible and able to fulfil a number of capacities; indeed, you may be suited to a number of different fields (introducing a highly desirable variety element), as creation, design, implementation and support are required across the spectrum, from the more technical disciplines ( click here for more details), to digital artistry. Don’t be afraid to experiment with free-lancing opportunities, pick up new skills and get your feet wet across the multi-tiered rock pools of the design sea.

Progress, Progress, Progress

Designers are blessed with a degree of autonomy, as beginners usually start in-house, grasping the basics, making contacts and understanding the mind-melding nature of office politics, before climbing the ladder into new positions. After cutting one’s teeth on big, small and medium sized projects, the word freelance starts to bubble beneath the discontentment of your soul, and yes it will boil, as creative people (whether they’re practical or not) are not always suited to working for other people or realising their vision. You may have one of your own. If this is so, and with enough experience, nothing will prevent you from flinging your own start-up into the fray, whether it be a competing agency or sole trading liscence. Similarly, design is almost a universal language; you can work anywhere in the world, trading in identical skill bases.

Do you feel amazing yet? You should. Being a designer is more than just an occupation, it’s a lifestyle. What do you love most about design? Let us know in the comments below.


Photo Credits: OutlawRave

Friday, January 3, 2014

Features of the Finest RC Helicopters

RC Helicopters

The finest RC helicopter models offer the possibility of quality time and hours of entertainment spent with family and friends.  RC helicopter is a term that means radio controlled helicopter.  Currently, there is a large amount of different RC helicopter models that are available in the marketplace.  Some of the models of RC helicopters are considered to be better than others.  So what is it exactly that makes some RC helicopter models to be considered the top of the line?

Usually certain models of RC helicopters are judged to be the best based on their features.  Here are some of the common features that the best models of RC helicopters possess:

Electric motors (not methanol-powered)

One of the best things about electric motors is they usually are brushless.  This makes them a lot more efficient and results in better performance and a longer life span than methanol-powered, brush-based motors.  Therefore, if you want to buy a RC helicopter, choose a brushless, electric motor over one that is methanol-powered.  You will be very happy that you did.

Pulse Code Modulation (not Pulse Position Modulation)

The advantage of Pulse Code Modulation for radios controlling RC helicopters is that there is a failsafe mode on the Pulse Code Modulation (or PCM).  Pulse Position Modulation (or PPM) does not have a failsafe mode.  Anyone who is familiar with how radio controls work will say that it is essential to have the failsafe feature.  RC helicopter models that have PPM, of course, tend to be less expensive than the RC helicopters that come with PCM.  However, we are assuming that anyone looking to buy the best model of RC helicopter won't be looking to purchase the cheapest one there is.  The top of the line models are usually not the cheapest model, this is especially true when you are talking about electronic items.

RC helicopters with Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (or FHSS) are even better.  However, at the moment, there are just a couple manufacturers employing this kind of technology.

Collective Pitch Mixing (not Linear Pitch Mixing)

Most authorities consider the best models of RC helicopters to be ones that utilize collective pitch mixing.  Some refer to this as cyclical pitch mixing.  The good thing about the technology of collective pitch mixing is models of RC helicopters that use this form of technology have a tendency to not be very complex mechanically.

Controlling the swashplate is also more precise on RC helicopters that utilize collective pitch mixing.  These are the main reasons why RC helicopters that utilize the technology of collective pitch mixing are among the best models of RC helicopters.

 Long And High Flight Capabilities

This feature is not a technical one, but is instead a descriptive feature.  Layman use these terms when looking to buy the best models of RC helicopters.  This refers to when individual express being interested in models of RC helicopters that can fly "far and high."  Remember, RC helicopters are intended to fly unmanned while there are being controlled from the ground utilizing a remote control device.  The maximum horizontal and height distance of the flight that these helicopters are capable of depends on what distance the radio can "see."   Some of ours have the capability of flying out up to one mile, while others can only travel shorter distances.

For vertical flight distance, some of our models of RC helicopters have more impressive capabilities than others do.  In the end, according to a majority of individuals who purchase an RC helicopter, the best models of RC helicopters are the ones that have more impressive performance when it comes to flight height and distance capabilities.

Energy Efficiency

Most people looking to buy a RC helicopter consider the best models of RC helicopters to also be ones that are energy efficient.  What makes a RC helicopter energy efficient involves things like the construction of the RC helicopter, the flight technology that the specific model of RC model is based on as well as other factors.  When it comes down to it, most people would agree that the best models of RC helicopters are energy efficient.