Growth Hacker

Internet marketing is my area of expertise. Past consulting clients include eBay, CafePress, DocuSign, myfab, and DeepDyve. Visit my consulting site at Market Extend.
Is it a Company or a University? Getting Schooled at MindValley
March 10, 2008 Jamie Shiller MindValley

I’m starting my second week of a month long visit with MindValley in Kuala, Lampur Malaysia. This is a learning adventure to see how MindValley takes an idea and turns it into a profitable business.

These guys know Internet marketing backwards and forwards. They know it better than any other group I’ve encountered. In the coming weeks and months you’ll see MindValley release some truly innovative Internet marketing products. I’ll provide more information when the products become available.

There’s a lot more substance here than I expected. It will be very difficult to soak up MindValley’s business know-how in a month.

My time is spent examining MindValley’s existing portfolio of businesses and participating in the planning stages for new businesses. In many ways, MindValley seems more like a university than a company. Often, times this means pouring through the definitive information product on a particular subject and extracting the pearls of advice that can move company projects to the next level. All the best learnings are documented in the company’s wiki and employees adopt the learnings across the company. This spans the gamut from the best ways to brainstorm an idea for a business to how to package and launch a new product.

My head is bubbling with ideas for new businesses. I plan to test out some concepts next week following the idea testing methodology which MindValley has defined. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Tracking202 – PPC Conversion Tracking For Affiliates
March 9, 2008 Jamie Shiller PPC Conversion Tracking For Affiliates

This morning I was a bit surprised to find that another company is offering a PPC conversion tracking solution for affiliates. Remember, that the big problem is knowing which keywords convert for affiliates since the conversion pixel resides on the merchant’s page, not the affiliate’s.

Tracking202 is a San Francisco based company that’s offering their PPC affiliate tracking solution for free. The solution offers many features similar to HLOLA which I described in an earlier post. Why is Tracking202 free? They claim they’ll offer complimentary paid services in the future. If I were them I would certainly be charging. Funny how the Web 2.0 craze has brainwashed companies into giving away really good stuff for free.
Like HLOLA, I have not tried this service, but it’s a very good idea.

Both Tracking202 and HLOLA are hosted solutions, so yes they can study your keyword list and conversion data if they really cared. I know some folks are paranoid that this information will get into the wrong hands. The keywords are only useful to someone in a similar business and more folks probably know your data than you realize anyway. Your agency knows, your former employee now working at the competitor knows, and of course Google knows everything. I’m not suggesting one be reckless, just not to worry so much.

Apparently people can’t stop worrying. I lifted this from Tracking202’s FAQs:

You say you do not look at our information, but how can we trust you?

Unforunately there is no way that we can 100% prove to you that we do not look at anyone’s data. If there was a way to prove it to you that we do not look at your data, we would happily do it, but unforunately we have no way of doing this. If you have an idea of how to achieve this, please let us know, we would be happy to comply.

They sound like decent guys. Don’t worry 🙂

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How To Do It! – PPC Conversion Tracking For Affiliates
March 5, 2008 Jamie Shiller PPC Conversion Tracking For Affiliates

I was dabbling as an affiliate in some programs powered by Commission Junction a few years ago. One problem I encountered was how to track which of my keywords would convert into sales. The problem for affiliates is that they don’t control the merchant’s conversion page, so they usually can’t track which keywords convert unless the merchant allows them to place a pixel. Unless you’re a big affiliate, and even if you are, most merchants will not want to place an affiliate’s pixel on their conversion page. It can be a pain for merchants to install a pixel and they might be prevented by a bunch of internal corporate rules anyway. If you can get a pixel, by all means, do it. The good news is that there is an alternative.

Two years ago I wrote my own PHP script which performed A/B landing page testing and keyword conversion tracking for affiliates. I’ve long thought that I should offer the code as a product to others with the same dilemma.

So how does the script work? A number of affiliate program providers allow affiliates to pass in variables into their reporting systems. For Commission Junction the parameter is called an SID. I used the SID to pass an identifier in the the URL which tracked the landing page a user converted and they keyword which led to the conversion. It looked like the following when passed in the URL:


Here the SID column of the Commission Junction reporting would say lp1_blue-widget. In the example above, the user would have converted on landing page 1 with the keyword phrase blue widget. Commission Junction only gives you one field to play with. That’s why I separated the landing page and keyword with an underscore. This system works fine if you’re not doing too many conversions. However, it will take a bit of Excel crunching if you’re fortunate enough to have many conversions.

Enter, HLOLA. This company is taking the tracking method I’ve explained to the next level. They’re not doing any landing page testing like my script did, but in terms of keyword conversion tracking for affiliates, the system is way more advanced. Currently HLOLA can track conversions from Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and MSN AdCenter that are captured in Commission Junction, Clickbank, Share A Sale, Link Share, Azoogle Ads, CPA Empire and NCS Reporting. The secret to HLOLA is that you need to upload your reports into their system which then parses the info to offer rich analytics information and build pretty graphs.

I have not tried HLOLA myself, but I do appreciate their approach to keyword tracking for affiliates and I’m glad it’s finally being offered.

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One Comment
Jairo Rodriguez on July 16, 2009

As a repeat client of Ran (developer of hlola) I believe I have good experience to talk about his product. I liked Hlola so much that I purchased two licences for different domains. The problem comes with support, I'm afraid that either Ran got sick, died or disappeared from the face of the earth, but since his twitter feed is alive I came to the conlcusion that he doesn't offer support to his clients. Just for that reason, I would recommend anyone to look at other tracking products like Xtreme conversions or tracking 202. Good luck

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Kuala Lumpur’s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) – Not Quite Silicon Valley
March 4, 2008 Jamie Shiller Uncategorized

So I met another tech company in the Internet marketing space operating out of Kuala Lumpur. As I mentioned before there are only a few companies working in the Internet marketing category over here. This is a European based company that was drawn to open a development office because of the supposed benefits the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) would provide.

From speaking with this company and others, I get the sense that they feel the MSC benefits are a bit of a sham or not worth the trouble of jumping through the required hoops. It seems the official designated MSC zones conveniently correspond to the properties of certain landowners. Other places in the city just don’t qualify for the program.

I’ve only been working in an office for three days, but I’m not sure how “Super” the MSC is when the Internet data transfer speeds are painfully slow in central Kuala Lumpur. It’s amazing that I can even make calls on Skype.

Overall, even with the bureaucracy quirks and the slow Internet, I do get the sense that Kuala Lumpur is a great place for a startup of a shoestring.

Update 3/10/2008:

After further conversations, I’ve been told by business owners in the tech business here in Kuala Lumpur that they like the MSC program because makes it easy to hire foreign workers and they pay no taxes. Makes sense.

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Kuala Lumpur’s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) – The Next Silicon Valley?
Jamie Shiller Uncategorized

The Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) is a collection of areas in and around Kuala Lumpur which offer attractive incentives to draw in multi-national tech businesses and encourage local entrepreneurship in tech. The initiative has been modeled after Silicon Valley. It is intended to provide first-world knowledge and infrastructure but at developing-nation costs. Malaysia plans to have a knowledge work based society by 2020 when multimedia corridors will crisscross the country.

Multimedia SuperCorridor

Companies operating inside the designated MSC zones enjoy the following bill of guarantees from the Malaysian government:

1. Provide a world-class physical and information infrastructure.

2. Allow unrestricted employment of local and foreign knowledge workers.

3. Ensure freedom of ownership by exempting companies with MSC Malaysia Status from local ownership requirements.

4. Give the freedom to source capital globally for MSC Malaysia infrastructure, and the right to borrow funds globally.

5. Provide competitive financial incentives, including no income tax for up to 10 years or an investment tax allowance, and no duties on import of multimedia equipment.

6. Become a regional leader in intellectual property protection and cyberlaws.

7. Ensure no Internet censorship.

8. Provide globally competitive telecommunications tariffs.

9. Tender key MSC Malaysia infrastructure contracts to leading companies willing to use the MSC Malaysia as their regional hub.

10. Provide an effective one-stop agency – the Multimedia Development.

New office buildings are going up all over Kuala Lumpur. If these buildings lie outside the MSC areas of the city, their space might rent at a discount of up to 60% because MSC benefits would technically not be available. I am told this is the case with the building being constructed in the picture below. However, even without the MSC benefits, this building will offer premium, brand-new, office space for cheap when compared to Silicon Valley prices. Plus, it’s right next to a train station.


For more information about the Multimedia Super Corridor visit

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