From the category archives:


BREAKING: A New Google App That Makes You More Productive

by Ryan on December 15, 2010

My good friend Adam Salky was kind enough to tip me off to a new Google App that makes you much more productive.  Watch the demo video below and let me know your thoughts!

So what do you think? Is it funny or should it die? Please cast your vote. Personally, I laughed out loud a few times, especially at the “Powered by Candroid / Number 2.0” part. Adam’s an accomplished filmmaker whose last film DARE starred Emmy Rossum and was an official selection at Sundance.

The 3 Ways to Get Traffic to Your Website

by Ryan on July 28, 2010

How to Get Traffic to your website

I’m often asked about how to get website traffic, users, and customers on the web.  It’s frequently in the context of another entrepreneur that starting a new web endeavor.  I almost always give the same response – from a high level perspective, there are only 3 ways to generate website traffic.  You shouldn’t even bother starting an internet company unless you have a reasonably good change at succeeding at one of these 3 methods.  The 3 methods are so dead simple and obvious that this blog post will likely come across as pointless to anyone in the internet space.  That being said, I’m still amazed at how often I have this conversation with folks – both with semi-seasoned internet players, VC’s, angels, and newbies. Without further adieu, here are the 3 ways to generate website traffic:

1.  Organic Search – learn how to show up in Google‘s free, organic search results.  In short, there’s really only a few things that will ever get you to appear organically – Content and Links.  If you don’t have good content, lots of content (and I mean lots), and content that’s regularly updated (i.e. fresh and new), then don’t even try it.  In addition, if you have no way to obtain a massive amount of inbound links with appropriate anchor text, then you’re better off trying methods 2 or 3 below.

2.  Paid Search / Paying for Traffic – anyone with a keyboard and a wallet can get traffic from paid search (as well as PR).  Sometimes the wallet things is what will trip you up (i.e. your not sitting on a big pile of money).  However, if you do have a bunch of cash to literally light on fire, then load up your Google Adwords and spend away.  You can literally get millions and millions of unique visitors from paid search.   It’s as easy as taking candy from a baby.  However, if you don’t have a website that sells anything other than advertising, there’s about a 99.9% chance that there’s no arbitrage opportunity in it for you and so all you’ll be doing is loading up Google coffers.  If you do actually sell a product on your website, then buy up some keywords and determine if there’s an arbitrage opportunity in it for you.  Arbitrage is the point at which the following equation has a positive outcome —>

Arbitrage Opportunity = Amount Paid Per Click Minus Average Sale Amount Minus Cost of Goods Sold.

If Arbitrage Opportunity > $1 – Proceed, Otherwise – Pause, Rethink, and / or Stop.

Start by spending $100 on Adwords and be sure you have conversion tracking in place.  If the outcome of the calculation is not positive, then stop buying clicks because all you’re really doing is lighting money on fire.

3.  Viral Traffic – if you have a product that’s extremely entertaining and viral, you can generate free website traffic, primarily from social media.  The links from social media outlets can also help with Organic SEO (item 1 above).  When I say entertaining and viral, I mean funny, scandalous, cute, or even profane.  This type of material performs really well on the web because people love to laugh.   However, if you don’t have a product that’s funny or otherwise entertaining, forget about it.  No one is going to go to your site, share your site, or talk about your site with their friends and colleagues if it’s of a boring, mundane, or otherwise un-entertaining subject matter.  There are plenty of boring websites on the web already and the last thing you need to do is build another one only to hope and pray that people visit it.  More specifically put, if your product is not something that’s funny enough to be discussed on late night television in a top 10 list, then you’re not going to get any amount of viral traffic that matters, and you should stick to items 1 and / or 2 above.

*Note: I consider word of mouth and PR subsets of viral traffic and paid traffic respectively.

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Droid Users Beware – Gmail Will Delete Phone Numbers of Your Contacts

by Ryan on June 26, 2010

Android Pictures, Images and Photos

On Thursday, I noticed something a little funny with my Droid Incredible.  The phone number of a contact that I frequently called was suddenly missing.  By Friday, it had turned into full blow phone number armageddon, whereby the phone numbers of every nearly single one of my contacts were missing, yet their names, email addresses, and other contact information remained.  After going into my Gmail contacts out on the server side (at I was further dismayed to see that the phone numbers were also removed from each contact out on the server.   What this meant is that Gmail had deleted my contacts and the Droid Incredible had auto-synced with Gmail and during this sync the server side pushed down blank phone number fields and overridden the phone numbers on the phone with blank data.

Just for a second, I’ll take a quick step back and explain how contact and calendar sync on the Droid actually function in case you’re not familiar with the Droid OS .  Droid basically syncs your gmail contacts and your Google calendar with the Droid’s contacts and calendar.  So it’s totally odd that all of a sudden the phone numbers would be missing.  What’s even more ridiculous is that Google would build a contact sync function that would OVERWRITE data fields with blank data.   What I’m saying is that the phone numbers of the contacts on the Gmail side of things were somehow, though a Gmail FUBAR move, deleted, but why would the blank phone number fields then be pushed down to the phone?  Why wouldn’t the phone just re-sync with the Gmail contacts out on the server side and re-upload the missing phone numbers back into Gmail?  Google – how can you not figure this out?

After a little research, it turns out that many other Droid users have had this same mysterious “contact missing phone numbers” issue.  There’a a pretty detailed forum thread on the subject.  Droid users beware of this bug.   Luckily, I was able to easily recover my contacts using Time Machine, and re-sync the restore contacts with Gmail, and then have these restored contacts pushed back down to my Droid.  The moral of the story is – backup your machine regularly, because not even Google has their act together when it comes to mobile address book syncing.