Interview with Vanabode Author Jason Odom

Jason Odom exemplifies the spirit and initiative of an American entrepreneur. Mr. Odom agreed to be interviewed by Grant Hall for the benefit of our website visitors and customers. Enjoy the interview.

James Clark King, LLC

Publisher, Privacy Crisis books

www.PrivacyCrisis.com

Grant Hall: Hello Jason. Thank you for this interview. I read your book, Vanabode and I love it! For those who may not be familiar with your book and the concept you write about, I’ll quote what you wrote on page one of the book. “Vanabode allows you to travel further, easier, cheaper, and for longer periods of time, than any other method of travel. I guarantee you will see more for less, day after day, week after week, and year after year, than you ever thought possible.” The subtitle says it all: “Travel and Live Forever on $20 a Day.” It seems that anyone can enjoy the experience of traveling who is on a budget. How did you come up with the idea of seeing the country while living in a van as opposed to traveling the traditional way?

Jason Odom: I cover this topic very early in the book. To summarize I came up with this method by trying virtually every other method and finding them lacking in ways that prevented us from doing much of what we wanted to do while on the road. In the “Vanabode verses other living strategies” chapter I compare Vanaboding in a simple plain white van to travel in large RV’s, campers, travel trailers, backpacking, car camping, homelessness, boating, even living in a house. Each method has good and bad elements, but the Vanabode and accompanying strategies allow you to travel off grid (and secretly if you want to), for about $20 per person per day for food, gas and lodging. If you have more money and want to spend more money of course you can upgrade your experience by driving more miles, staying at more paid campgrounds, or eating more expensive meals.

Grant Hall: You wrote how you and your wife traveled and lived in a van-a very specific type of van as explained in Vanabode, and over the course of 17 years, your travel miles exceeded 700,000 miles. That’s a lot of driving! Do you feel that your living on the road so to speak and being a perpetual traveler enhanced your views of the world and the country and benefited your entrepreneurial skills? Explain how you changed your business views due to these experiences. What other business experiences besides writing are you involved in now or have experience in as a founder or manager?

Jason Odom: Hating the concept of working 12 months to get permission from my employer to have a one-week vacation every year drove me to find a better way. I like to travel a LOT and how can you afford to WITHOUT a job? Even worse, how can you travel a lot WITH a job? Vanabode was the only way I could figure out how to do it. To clarify on the miles: my wife and I have road traveled over 700,000 miles in 21+ years of marriage in everything from a Volkswagen fox station wagon to an 18 wheeled tractor trailer (we drove together for two years straight through nearly every state delivering flowers out of Florida). We road tripped and camped from cars, trucks, vans, class C RV’s, class A RV’s, and of course the big rig.

Grant Hall: While the consensus view might be that living in a van sacrifices comfort, your book, Vanabode explains how to maximum the potential of living accommodations in a van, and offers the idea of a romantic adventure while providing the freedom of owning one’s time-not selling their time for money earned from wages or a salary. At the same time, you explain how to work while on the road to meet expenses and make a living. Tell us about some of your job experiences during your travels.

Jason Odom: I saved enough money to travel on for many years and we did not work at all, except to build web pages and write the book. The legendary Henry David Thoreau talked about this subject. To paraphrase, instead of figuring out how to sell baskets (or anything else) to the lawyer (or anyone with their hand out) I INSTEAD figured out how to NOT NEED TO SELL BASKETS AT ALL. Vanabode makes for the least possible safe long-term travel experience so we did not have to work much. Some years we would rent a house or “buy” one and work jobs for a year or two or three. Once, in between our travels I worked for NASA for nearly five years. You should have seen the faces of my coworkers living in mansions along the Indian River when they heard we lived in a motorhome. When they asked why on earth would I do that with the money I was making, I answered, “Because I can. Plus when I leave here in a few years I won’t be back for a very long time.” Since then we have lived from the income from my websites (all of them since folded into the main Vanabode website). The money I saved while camping when others were paying mortgages allowed me to pay cash for a house (which we rent out when we’re on the road). There are dozens of other methods of earning money for frugal travel outlined in the Make Money page at http://www.vanabode.com/camp/quit-your-job-make-money.htm

Grant Hall: Please discuss the importance of having one’s spouse or partner on board with the idea of the vanabode experience in order to succeed at this lifestyle.

Jason Odom: Regardless of your pursuits if your spouse is not enjoying themselves while on your adventure or plan the relationship will suffer and fade. ALL parties in any venture must benefit in order to have a long-term solution. My wife identified the things she wanted in order to be happy which included a hot shower, healthy food, safe sleep, fun hiking, photography and TIME to herself. I figured out how she could have that on a micro budget and she said YES let’s go. I cannot possibly imagine a better traveling and living partner than my wife Kelly.

Grant Hall: It would seem that those who desire a lifestyle of privacy would like the idea of the vanabode experience. You are without a doubt an expert on how to live privately. Please elaborate on how your traveling lifestyle benefited your personal and business privacy or presented obstacles. For instance, did you “bank” on the road via ATM machines and was it beneficial or inconvenient to keep in contact with friends, associates, and loved ones?

Jason Odom: My privacy strategies have come exclusively from reading your books Grant. Those books helped me understand that you can travel the country without ever divulging your identity to anyone except a police officer using a Vanabode. I do not bank secretly, choosing instead to keep all my saved wealth within the confines of a single residential unit protected under Florida’s “castle law”. This provides very strong protection against seizure, though it is not private. Still I firmly believe if someone wants to be completely invisible today, they can, by combing the strategies you outline in your books with a Vanabode.

Grant Hall: You write about freedom in your book. In fact, the thesis and philosophy seems to be living as one wants to live rather than being a wage slave locked into a mortgage that eats up one’s time and money, not to mention the stresses of working for someone else while hoping to keep a job. Please comment on these points.

Jason Odom: For me one of the greatest points I make in the book is covered in the “We Never Own Anything” chapter. Spending your early years going to school to get a degree so you can spend the next thirty years working for people you don’t like in a job you don’t like so you can pay off school loans and buy an oversized drywall box to sleep in seems stupid to me. I encourage everyone to stop lazy thinking and knuckle down and ask the hard question. What do I want to do with my few years on this planet? Then figure out the shortest path to that activity. Vanaboding has given so many people their TIME back (their life). Not all of them travel like we do. Maybe you just want to sit on the river and fish all day, well you don’t need a big career or house in order to do that. Go FISH! Hundreds of people have written me about this subject and I published their stories and comments on Vanabode here – http://www.vanabode.com/vanabode-reviews.htm

Grant Hall: Are you continuing to live on the road as described in the book, Vanabode or do you do it part time?

Jason Odom: We were on the road about seven months in 2014, and six months in 2015. Now in 2017 we are hanging out in Florida in our house taking a small boat out weekly to explore the millions of acres of lakes, inlets, marinas, rivers, and springs around the state. Once I get this boating and fishing itch out of my system, we will head back out for an extensive 3 to 5 year dig in deep trip.

Grant Hall: The name, “Vanabode” is unique. Tell us about how you came up with that name or concept. Did you take a lot of time pondering it prior to settling on that name or term?

Jason Odom: I wanted a name that I could trademark and have protected somewhat on the Internet against copycats. VAN = the vehicle of course, and ABODE = a place of residence and thus the technical definition of a Vanabode = “To happily abide in a four wheeled box shaped vehicle providing transportation and housing.” By the way, as soon as I published Vanabode a dozen other authors copied my work and ideas and published books on the same platform at cheaper prices, which cost me money. Still Vanabode works, so I have no troubles despite the unfair competition from unscrupulous people.

Grant Hall: As a full time traveler, how did you handle receiving necessary mail and providing a permanent address when it was necessary to provide one?

Jason Odom: I cover that in the book in detail in the “Mail and State Residency” chapter but briefly: You can have a friend (or you can pay any number of companies) to receive your mail for you, then forward it to you using the General Delivery option at the post office closest to where you are traveling.

Grant Hall: Describe some of the stresses one incurs while traveling and living in a well equipped van as described in your book, Vanabode.

Jason Odom: Our biggest issue, and it’s not much of a problem really, is finding a comfortable place to sleep at night (park the van) that would not cause anyone else a problem. We rarely spend money on campgrounds. The reasons are listed in the book. In the country there is rarely a problem and usually requires nothing more than a five minute look. So that’s stress free. Up the East Coast, exploring big cities like Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, New York City, etc, and doing it on $20 a day, required a bit more planning. We employed the more advanced strategies outlined in Vanabode for staying for free. Details on that five-month trip can be found here with hundreds of photographs and an accompanying book – http://www.vanabode.com/travel/east-coast-road-trip.htm Bottom line, there’s almost no stress to this lifestyle, but you will spend a few minutes per day arranging free parking if you choose to explore the art galleries, museums, architecture, sporting venues, shopping districts, restaurants, tourist attractions, and the popular waterfront and downtown areas of big cities.

Grant Hall: On average how long would you live in one location?

Jason Odom: Sometimes as long as four years, if staying somewhere extraordinary like a National Park as long as a month, otherwise all trips and stay times are based on our interests and weather and we may play in one city all day, then drive 40 miles to spend the night, then play in a state park the next three days, then drive 30 miles to…”

Grant Hall: Please provide some ideas of how one can handle inquiries from anyone associated with law enforcement who might inquire about seeing a van parked overnight? Did this issue come up?

Jason Odom: In 21 years of travel we have had an officer knock on the door of the van only three times. Every time they ask for our drivers license, ask us what we are doing, and if we have weapons of drugs in the vehicle. My answer is always the same. No I do not have any weapons or drugs. We are tired, so we are sleeping here while we travel the United States Vanabode style. I show them my card or a copy of the book, they smile and sometimes they let us stay there and sometimes they ask us to move to a different parking place. I don’t consider three times out of thousands of nights out a problem. In fact I’m glad to know they are looking out for us.

Grant Hall: You have an affiliate program through Click Bank and their website is www.ClickBank.com,  and anyone can sell the e-book through a website or blog by signing up, and this affiliate information is on your site at www.Vanabode.com.  In fact, you offer a generous commission for selling it. Discuss your views on affiliate marketing and tell us about your experiences with this type of business both as one who offers products to affiliates and as one who is an affiliate for other producers of products.

Jason Odom: I feel creating an original authentic product that solves a problem and then rewarding others to sell it is the single best way to earn money without a job and allow for permanent travel. Everyone wins, the book buyer gets access to 20+ years of travel information, thousands of pictures, updates for life, and email access to me the author, while the affiliate selling my book gets a 55% commission and I keep the other 45% minus my transaction fees.

Grant Hall: Discuss your idea of “We Never Own Anything” as you write about on page 16 of Vanabode.

Jason Odom: That is one of my most important topics and provides a lot of value from within the book. In fact many people that have written me providing feedback on the book have said that this information provided the impetus for the biggest paradigm shift in their life. If you think you own your house or your car or your career or anything else, you don’t (I prove this in the book), and since you don’t own anything, why are you devoting so much of your most precious resource (your time) to it? If you are working at a job you hate so you can own something grab your own copy of Vanabode, and you’ll see why “You Never Own Anything”.

Grant Hall: Kindly, discuss anything you want readers, potential book customers, affiliates, or soon to be affiliates to know about your book or books.

Jason Odom: For those that cannot find a way to reclaim time for themselves, Vanabode provides the fastest easiest most enjoyable way to own your own life. This page provides information for those wishing to earn a 55% commission promoting Vanabode – http://www.vanabode.com/travel-affiliate.htm

Grant Hall: Please provide any information and links to your website you believe we should know about. Include any new products you want us to know about.

Jason Odom: This main page has links to thousands of pictures of our travels and location information – http://www.vanabode.com/travel/destinations.htm

This page covers my life prior to Vanabode using an RV and how that travel style works – http://www.vanabode.com/rv/index.htm

I’ll probably release a fourth edition of the book soon (all buyers get free updates for life), which will contain additional information about using alternative vehicles to travel affordably.

Grant Hall: You may add anything you choose that you believe would benefit readers of this interview.

Jason Odom: Vanabode is designed to eliminate obstacles to travel, but if you don’t want to travel you can use the principles and a Vanabode to instead lower your living expenses for any purpose. Vanabode is the original Tiny House. Vanabode will allow you to do WHATEVER it is you want to do, locally, internationally, in one spot or on the road for as long as you wish.

Grant Hall: THANKS, Jason. I appreciate you taking the time for the interview.

Jason Odom: I appreciate the opportunity to help. I have enjoyed your beneficial books as well and reread them every couple years.

 

List of Privacy Resources for your Stalking Solution

Worried about him harming you? Does she keep calling, embarrassing you at work? Are you receiving threats?

You can defeat a dangerous stalker.

Receive a Free Stalking Course by e-mail if you are a being stalked or bothered.

Our site has a series of articles on anonymous living that may be helpful and these are Free.

Here is a list of top Privacy Websites with book, resources for your privacy needs and solutions to your stalking problem”

www.PrivacyCrisis.com

  1. Privacy Crisis by Grant Hall
  2. Privacy Crisis Banking by Grant Hall

www.Vanabode.com

  1. Vanabode by Jason Odom

www.PTShamrock.com

  1. The Internationalist by Charles Freeman

All of the above are available in e-Book format for immediate purchase and download.

Privacy Crisis and Privacy Crisis Banking by Grant Hall and Vanabode by Jason Odom accept affiliates. All three of these books are part of the ClickBank affiliate program.

Is Affiliate Marketing on the rise? Selling other businesses’ products may be a viable home business in 2017 and beyond. Grant Hall interviewed Customer Paradigm founder, Jeff Finkelstein whose company provides internet marketing and other services that may be useful to website owners/managers. Visit the Customer Paradigm website for information on their services.

Identity Theft remains the fastest growing white collar crime. People and businesses want a one-time charge, how-to system to prevent or solve the problem, not costly, privacy-invasive, identity theft insurance.

Testimonials: Grant Hall’s book, Privacy Crisis: Identity Theft Prevention Plan and Guide to Anonymous Living

“The ultimate book on working & living

privately, your book may have saved my

life.”

Living peacefully without my Stalker

  1. M., Western U.S.A.

 

Privacy Crisis combats identity Theft “Privacy Crisis provided much needed

help following the loss of my identification

– the result of an online scam.

Anonymous

“It’s no secret that divorced dads

are raked over the coals in today’s,

unfair, family court system… I bought

the Privacy Crisis E-book… and am

finally making up my mind to defeat

my enemies and take back my freedom.

Your book, Privacy Crisis is worth

thousands of dollars to me because

this is what I have saved by reading it.”

A.J. Texas

Sell Privacy Crisis and Privacy Crisis Banking and earn a 50% commission. ClickBank products. Buy the books. Instant download. Begin reading both e-books in Five Minutes.

More Testimonials:

Here’s what a world renowned privacy expert said about, Grant Hall’s book: “Privacy Crisis is the most valuable financial privacy book-Ever” Mr. Elliot, President, 24/7 Private Vaults, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

“I have to say, your book is the best book on privacy I’ve ever read, by far. I have read a number of other privacy-oriented books, including J.J. Luna’s, How to be Invisible, Michael Chesbro’s The Privacy Handbook and Robert Mintz’s The Privacy Plan (and several others). These books have useful perspectives, but are not in the same league as your book…” David Jack Quilty (Alternate Name) Reader, Privacy Consultation Client

Based on our inquiries, customers have the most interest in preserving their financial privacy. Clearly, the need to hide money and “disappear” is a popular desire by those who are concerned about an intrusive government, a troublesome and dangerous stalker or an identity theft criminal. Privacy Crisis: Identity Theft Prevention Plan and Guide to Anonymous Living by Grant Hall is the best-selling identity theft and financial privacy e-Book on the internet. Anonymous Banking is possible when one has the correct information and complete financial privacy can be accomplished in the U.S.A. See Chapter 15 of Privacy Crisis for a description of the Dual Trust Account Principle-a system of making certain than only you know where your funds are held. Ever heard of the Alternate-Name Business Entity Concept? Neither had Betty Munoz until she used it to escape her abusive stalker and keep her money and name under the radar. Read how in Chapter 15 of our best-selling e-Book, Privacy Crisis. Have you been told to use a nominee for banking? We recommend you reconsider and use Hall’s methods for storing money as described in CHAPTER 15 of Privacy Crisis. Buy the book, download it immediately and read how to make your money invisible in just five minutes.

Jason Odem wrote an interesting, travel on a budget, book called Vanabode and the book is available as an e-book and can be sold by affiliates. Visit the Vanabode website. Privacy living is a cinch as you “vanabode” around the country.

PT Shamrock may be the oldest privacy website on the internet and they have been in business for decades. Grant Hall interviewed PT Shamrock. What an interesting perspective and lifestyle it can be to become a “PT”

Thanks for reading and thank you for your business.

James Clark King, LLC, Publisher, Privacy Crisis books

Website: www.PrivacyCrisis.com

 

 

Work From Home for Profit and Privacy

Has America entered into a new entrepreneurial trend? Will people begin to start their own businesses out of necessity-corporations no longer offer job security or employment benefits across the board as was the case some years ago? Will the Trump administration’s policies usher in new business start ups en masse?

Do you want to work from home? Working from home provides for cost cutting and convenience and allows for personal energy conservation as well. You could work in your P.J.s while being just as effective as dressed in a business suit from a home-based business. And think about the privacy benefits, too. There’s no need to share one’s employment with privacy-invasive, work-related data bases while one is self-employed and working at home. Working from home creates a good deal of work privacy.

One’s job security or lack of it is created by you as you strive to succeed in what may become a new, small, business boom in the United States of America.

Historically, The United States has led the world in new business ventures. However, with banks holding true to their tight-fisted, loaning policies even in the face of zero interest rates, it will be challenging for new business managers and owners to find capital to support their ideas for profit. Or will it?

Have you heard of crowd funding? Companies now exist that help businesses find funding for operations. Companies like Equitynet replace typical loaning sources. These sources of loans are surely taking market share from banks and other traditional, lending institutions. And these new sources of business capital can be expected to grow in an entrepreneurial friendly environment. If we have one on the horizon.

How can you make money from home as a new start up business? What opportunities for the would-be-business founder who has the drive to succeed, but is puzzled about what sectors and industry groups provide the best money-making opportunities during 2017 and beyond? Publically traded companies may offer insight into this dilemma. Godaddy, symbol, (GDDY), a provider of domains, website hosting, web development, and other services is trading near an all time high. Wix, a website development company, symbol, (WIX) made a new high days ago. There are other internet-related companies showing high relative strength as well, and if one believes in what the market is telling us, the internet sector may be flashing a signal on how products may continue to be marketed with less risk and higher margins in the years to come.

Where does one start? Professional advice is often expensive on the surface but proves to be cost-effective when good information is obtained. Once an idea is developed, it’s the rare manager/owner who can market it successfully. Perhaps a consultation with experts will result in money well spent. Customer Paradigm provides internet marketing services and has completed over 11,300 projects since 2002 according to founder, Jeff Finkelstein. It’s always a good idea to go with a company with a business history in this author’s opinion. See Mr. Finkelstein’s interview with Grant Hall for more information on services offered by Customer Paradigm.

What about selling products developed by someone else? Affiliate marketing can eliminate product development costs while allowing a business person to reap a profit from another’s widget. Affiliate marketing opportunities are found throughout the internet. You may be interested in an e-mail affiliate marketing course Free of charge. And reputable companies such as ClickBank allow for accurate tracking of sales allowing credit where credit is due for affiliate sales.

In summary, based on the trend as evidenced by certain publically traded companies’ earnings and relative strength combined with what is believed to be a new business friendly environment going forward, the internet may continue to be the hub of choice for new businesses, and once product(s) are developed or affiliate products are selected to market, and experts are consulted, and services as needed are used, new businesses may find their own golden opportunity while working from home.

Sue J. Holtzen

James Clark King, LLC

 

 

 

Jeff Finkelstein Founder of Customer Paradigm Interview

The company, Customer Paradigm has a website located at www.customerparadigm.com and according to their information focuses on acquiring new customers, keeping customers, and interacting with customers. Jeff Finkelstein, Customer Paradigm agreed to this interview with Grant Hall.
Grant Hall: Hello. Thank you for communicating with me by e-mail. I am interested in learning more about your company. Please tell me about your business and your role in it.

Jeff Finkelstein:

Thanks, Grant!  I founded Customer Paradigm in 2002, and since then, we’ve completed more than 11,300 projects in the website development, marketing and privacy space.  I have a particular focus on Web privacy, and worked at a $47 million venture funded company focused on privacy, prior to forming Customer Paradigm.
We focus quite a bit on eCommerce, and keeping information secure and private.
Grant Hall: We sell privacy books and services at www.PrivacyCrisis.com and I requested this interview because our website visitors, customers, and clients often inquire about privacy issues related to their businesses as well as marketing services available, particularly related to internet sales, marketing, and search engine optimization services. Would you comment on your company’s services available to businesses and website companies? How can individuals and businesses preserve privacy in the face of hackers and identity thieves?

Jeff Finkelstein:

Sure.  Data is valuable.  It’s valuable for a company – it allows an organization to reach back out and hopefully get a past customer to buy from them again.  With a lot of data, you can create a more personalized approach, and really make marketing to the end user even more compelling.
I’ve created marketing campaigns for organizations that connect a real person to other real people, and is compelling and engaging.  And when that real person who received a personalized email message shows up at an event or conference, they truly feel they have a pre-existing relationship with the person sending them a message.
We did all of the early email marketing for the Howard Dean for America campaign, way back in 2003.  Although he didn’t win, we showed their team how to use email in a compelling, personalized way.  They set records for raising money online, and it was fun to help teach their candidate how to better engage with voters.
Fast forward 14 years to the present.  We work on a lot of eCommerce sites that collect payment information, address information and other data from end users.  We also work with companies with more basic, informational websites as well.  But those sites often have payment pages, or contact forms.
A hacker looking to steal data is usually motivated to get credit card information.  They either want to use that credit card information to make purchases on other sites (perhaps to convert it into more untraceable funds).  Or, they’ll try to sell it.
If the site is an eCommerce site, the attackers will often attack the specific files that capture the credit card information during the purchasing process, and then send these details to a remote server.  In some cases, we’ve seen hackers binary encode information like credit card numbers into what looks and acts like a normal jpg graphic; they retrieve the credit card details by simply downloading the file.
Fortunately, there’s ways to keep an eye out for attacks such as this.  Businesses should do automated scans of their sites, and keep up-to-date on security patches.

 

Grant Hall: Is there a conflict between good marketing and privacy protection? For instance, a consultant or manager of an e-commerce website will want to be available to communicate with prospective customers while at the same time he/she may have strong reservations concerning the security of the website and providing personal information to those who seek goods and services, but only have an internet presence.
Jeff Finkelstein:
I think that the trend that we see is that companies that focus on security and privacy are doing quite well in the marketplace.  Yes, a marketer is always going to want to reach back out to talk to past customers and entice them to buy again.
We’ve found that companies that treat end users with respect and use good judgement are successful.
If you are selling products or services online, you do need a way to deliver a physical or virtual product to the end user.  If the product is good, most end users don’t mind a thoughtful contact from the company to help them learn more.

Grant Hall: Your business provides search engine optimization services according to your website, www.customerparadigm.com. Is SEO an ongoing service that requires continuous involvement by the SEO expert in order to keep organic traffic flowing to the business website? How can a business manager budget for these costs while marketing a few products? Why are more companies providing SEO services and other internet marketing services not amenable to providing services in exchange for a percentage of sales? This lack of interest in working on a “commission” appears to be incongruent to other industries and personnel such as the insurance business, real estate agents,  stock brokerage and portfolio management financial service industries, and other business sectors and industry groups that require the industry professional to prove his/her abilities by producing sales prior to being paid?
Jeff Finkelstein:
Yes, this is a great question.  SEO for a site is kind of like working out.  In order to stay healthy and fit, you need to work out a few times (or more) each week.  You can’t just do one massive workout on January 1st and then you’re good to go for the year.
Sites that rank well are ones that have content that is actively added and curated.  Otherwise, the site becomes more of a static time capsule.  I don’t think that you need to adjust title tags each day or week, but working on your site is always an ongoing process.
Second, most people don’t want to do SEO on a percentage of sales perspective, because there are a lot of factors beyond their control.  Things like price, reputation, other companies and how competitive the space might be.
If you are trying to do SEO in a highly competitive space, you’re going to have to spend tremendous energy to make a small dent in your rankings.  There are some industries where people will spend $100,000+ per month in SEO to rank well.  Spending 5 hours a month is just not going to make a difference.
Most reputable firms will not work on a percentage of sales for SEO.

Grant Hall: On the surface, it would appear many website owners/managers would be open to sharing sales in exchange for services, thus creating a win-win business plan for both sides. This appears to be especially attractive to website companies who have developed a product but lack website development and SEO skills as well as other marketing skills. How do you feel about a service plan with a commission structure in place as payment for SEO and marketing services for selling internet products and services?

Jeff Finkelstein:
With rare exceptions, I always pass on these types of projects.  It usually means that the business owner is strapped for cash, and that all of the risk is on the web development firm or SEO company to produce results.
Again, there’s a lot of factors outside our control.  Perhaps their product sucks.  Perhaps the pricing is way, way to expensive.  Perhaps their delivery times, customer service or documentation is lacking.
To me, a structure like this means that we as an SEO company do all of the work, and then if it’s successful we’ll get 10% as a commission.  If I believe that much in a product, I’d rather buy it wholesale and do all of that myself.

Grant Hall: I am aware of certain website owners and managers who have hired website marketing businesses that charged substantial fees for taking on a customer as well as large maintenance fees for a period of time-sometimes a contract is required for a period of time. Furthermore, I am aware that sales did not increase to justify these marketing expenses. If one is considering a company for internet marketing services, do you believe that company under consideration should be a proven website marketing winner that manages their own in house websites that produce sales and make these websites profitable? What other criteria should a manager use to evaluate a marketing firm’s potential and credibility prior to hiring the company?
Jeff Finkelstein:
Any website – short of a static HTML vintage 1994 site – should be a living, breathing entity.  One that has content, products and information added to it each week.  Security patches come out all the time, and need to be implemented.  Those patches or software upgrades can break existing features, so someone needs to help out.  Or, you might need someone to add more complex content or change the design of the site.  That’s more of a function of running a business that has an active website.  Those are often what maintenance fees can cover.
For our clients, we always offer ongoing support and maintenance, but it’s not required.  We don’t lock people into a long term contract.
As far as criteria a manager should use to evaluate a marketing firm’s potential, I’d look at what they’ve done in the past, and what kind of strategic and tactical plan they can offer to help you solve your business needs.
Many of the people on our team have run Websites in the past, and seen solid success with it.
If you’re looking at a company to help out with SEO, you can ask them what types of keyword terms their site ranks for.  That said, trying to rank broadly for SEO is a highly competitive game.  Instead, ask what tools they use, and how they evaluate success.
And avoid anyone with an SEO performance guarantee.  I can guarantee that you’ll rank #1 for some obscure keyword that nobody ever searches on.  It’s a lot more difficult to rank highly for a keyword that is highly competitive.

Grant Hall: Can you comment on affiliate marketing and do you assist companies with attracting and recruiting affiliates at your company?
Jeff Finkelstein:
We will often help people integrate affiliate marketing tracking systems into their site, and suggest that this can be a great way to drive additional traffic to a site.  If done really well (and you have big margins you can entice affliates with), this can be a great channel.  That said, this is not something that we usually manage for our clients, as it does require a very active role and day-to-day management.
Grant Hall: Please tell us anything thing else you would like for us to know about your business and feel free to expand into any areas we have not covered thus far. And point our readers to any links on your website that you believe would be helpful and educational for business people interested in your services.
Jeff Finkelstein:
Most of what we focus on these days are helping eCommerce sites that use the Magento platform stay secure, as well as implement new designs, features and functionality.  More information can be found on our site here: http://www.CustomerParadigm.com.
Grant Hall: Thank you for the interview. We will post it on our site at www.PrivacyCrisis.com or www.PrivacyCrisis.com/blog and you are welcome to post in on your website as well.