What Internet Marketers can learn from George Lucas

George Lucas is a multi billion gazillionaire. He’s made more money from Star Wars than I have Star Wars figures, but then by virtue of the fact that I have a lot of Star Wars figures he’s bound to have a lot of money. That’s economics!

s George Lucas seems to be all about making money, it makes sense that Internet marketers could learn a lot from him, so without further ado…

If you find a niche market, exploit it.

It really doesn’t matter how good you are at something, if you find a niche market that no one else has discovered, exploit the living crap out of it. George Lucas isn’t the best director in the world. His script writing skills are entirely suspect or ‘shit’ as Harrison Ford once labelled them. This didn’t stop George creating one of the biggest franchises in movie history. He found that he could exploit the nerd culture for every penny of their allowance, and he gleefully took it.

This applies to Internet marketing as well. You don’t have to create the best website, or the biggest, or have the most Wookies. You just need to attack the niche with a fervent passion and saturate it. If you own the leading news site, the leading forum and the leading community site all within the same niche, you become the dominant player. As George Lucas has found, this brings very lucrative rewards.

If something works, re-skin it and use it again.

How many costume changes did Natalie Portman have in the Star Wars prequels? I’ll tell you, it was 7,963*. The reason for this was that George Lucas could then sell 7,963 different Amidala Star Wars figures. She’s the same figure, but with a different costume; and the nerds bought them. This couldn’t be truer of Internet marketing. If you create a site that works and earns you money simply copy the site, re-colour it, re-package it and use it for another site.

Repeat the process ad infinitum and then in a few years you might have as many websites earning you money as I have useless Amidala figures, all running off the same template.

Know when to delegate

Even a megalomaniac control freak like George Lucas knows he can’t do everything, so should you. If ideas are your forte and your time is best spent thinking, pondering and coming up with obnoxious CGI characters then that is how you should spend all of your time. If you need someone to write the code or design the site for you, hire a freelancer. Prices are cheap and money spent at this stage can be recouped easily on the time saved and the fact that you’ve had something done correctly by a skilled professional.

George Lucas tried to re-edit Empire Strikes Back when he thought that Irvin Kershner was ruining his film with all that ‘love’ crap between Han and Leia. Thankfully for all of us George quickly realised that Kersh was in fact correct and he let him finish the film his way.

See the bigger picture

I constantly get people wondering what it is I actually do, and how I make money. It’s not obvious to the average 9-5 guy. When George Lucas made Star Wars he waived his director’s fee in exchange for merchandising rights to the film. People at the time wondered how he was going to make any money from the project, now he has enough money to buy a small island, Australia perhaps. George had faith in his idea and knew it would work. He could see the bigger picture, something many people can’t.

To succeed in Internet marketing, particularly affiliate marketing you need to be able to look beyond the wage-slave existence that most people experience. Being paid a flat rate fee for a set amount of hours didn’t interest George, and it shouldn’t interest you.

Don’t be precious about your website

In ‘Return of the Jedi’ the battle on Endor between the Ewoks and the Storm Troopers was originally supposed to feature Wookies. I know, Wookies don’t live on Endor, but they nearly did. George changed the battle to Ewoks because he thought fluffy cuddly teddy bears would be more merchandisable. When everyone else told George that 3 foot teddy bears fighting Storm Troopers was ridiculous, he said “No… I’m going to make more money this way”. By Christ he was right.

The moral here is that you shouldn’t be afraid to make changes to your website that, although may appear to be at the detriment of the website, in fact make more money. George Lucas’ goal wasn’t to make a compelling film; it was to make a mountain of cash. He did this spectacularly well because he never lost sight of his goal. Always remember why you’re in Internet marketing.

* The figure of 7,963 was made up. I’m not certain Natalie Portman had this many costume changes during the Star Wars prequels as I fell asleep during the Phantom Menace and woke up around the time R2D2 was flying in Attack of the Clones. I presume the figure is fairly accurate however based on the crap that filled the shelves in Wal-Mart shortly after.

CSA screw me over once again

I just had a call from Nicky Taylor from the CSA, and what she told me was staggering. It seems that my last variations report that they received in November, where I listed the mortgage payments I’d made on the property that is jointly owned my myself and my ex, cannot be taken into consideration because they can only consider payments AFTER the variations report is sent in.

This is something of an issue for me, as I originally contacted them about this in JANUARY 2007 and spoke to Shelly Dacoure, she assured me that case worker Steve Gibson would phone me back. It took him TWO MONTHS to contact me. He phoned me in March 2007, after I’d chased him for several weeks.

Steve then advised me that I could claim for my rented accommodation in Manchester as a work expense, and for the travel back to Wales to see my children.

Nicky has just told me however that I cannot claim for rented accommodation. This rule was changed by law in 2003, so Steve lied to me when I said I could claim for it in March 2007. Nice one Steve you lying twat.

This variations report was of course refused, and some months and lost letters later, I filed a second variations report for the mortgage payments, which has now been refused because as I’ve just mentioned the CSA won’t take into consideration anything before the variations report was filed.

Now, the issue is:

  1. I contacted them in January 2007, it was there fault that they didn’t get back to me, even after I chased them several times.
  2. When they did get back to me they lied about what I should do.
  3. After they lied they took weeks and months to respond and even sent documents to the wrong address.

This is disgusting. It’s the CSA’s fault that my variations form wasn’t filled in correctly and given to them in January 2007. Through their incompetence, lies and delays they’ve cost me thousands of pounds. I’ve been paying for two cars and two properties through no fault of my own, and still have had to pay them their money on top of that.

They’ve screwed me over, pure and simple.

The best of it is Nicky is sending me a stamped addressed letter for me to complain in writing, which has to go to their mail handling depot in Crewe. Like that’s going to come back with any results.

The CSA are a thieving bunch of lying incompetent cunts.

I hate ASP

For years I’d been coding in ASP and have only in the last few months switched to the more reliable, stable and easier PHP. Well, I knew my Microsoft sabbatical would come back to bite me on the ass. I’m trying to edit an old site built in ASP and it’s proving to be a serious pain in the ass. I’m looking at the code and wondering what the hell it’s supposed to be doing. I should know, I wrote it, yet I don’t.

I haven’t a frickin’ clue. It may as well be written in German for all I can work out.

I hate it, it’s a nonsensical language from a demon spawn source. Never again will I use it, I swear.

Home Delivery Network toss my parcel over the gate

I returned home last night when it was pissing down with rain (in Manchester, go figure) to find a card through my door from the Home Delivery Network. There was no order number on it and none of the fields were filled in, but there was some pen scrawled on the top displaying the words ‘Round Side’.

Not sure what this meant I figured maybe there was a parcel left round the side of the house, so I looked. There was nothing there. Then I thought what if they’ve chucked it over the 6 foot hight gate? I hope not, it’s a very high gate, a long way for a parcel to fall and it’s been pouring down all day.

I went out to look and sure enough there was a parcel from Amazon sat a pool of water next to our bin. Jesus Christ, what sort of arsehole does this?

I decided evidence was in order so I took photos of the parcel as I opened it, you can see from the pics that the water had seeped into the box. It would, it had been there all frickin’ day.

I also have a computer coming from Amazon. I hope to fuck they don’t use the Home Delivery Network for that one. I doubt it’ll stand a 6 foot drop into a pool of water. What a bunch of fucking morons. Come on Amazon, sort it out.

Torfaen Council contact me!

You might remember my problems with Torfaen Council where they wanted to (and eventually did without my being there) go to court to insist I paid them council tax for a house I not only didn’t live in, but couldn’t even enter. Well it seems that the guys at Torfaen Council are avid Google users as they found my post on page 1 of Google for a search on Torfaen Council.

I received this email from Ben Black.

I picked up your mention of Torfaen Council on your blog about an issue you have with council tax. Can you contact my colleague *** ***** on ***.*****@torfaen.gov.uk or call 01495 ******. She will be able to check your address and look into your problem.

Once again it seems being a position to go public has paid off. I called Ben’s colleague and she seems quite willing to help out. I’ll send her the details next week by email and fax and we’ll see what happens.

I hope it goes off soon as I’ve had another letter since stating that the bailiffs now have permission to enter the house and remove property to cover the bill. I hope they don’t, they’ll be breaking a court order if they do!

Affiliate Window bug

While adding a product to a website today through Affiliate Window I noticed that an Amazon product showed up. This is odd I thought, Amazon using Affiliate Window. So I added a post on the A4U forum about the incident. Further investigations showed that the Amazon link actually had the Amazon affiliate ID for News International (The Sun) embedded into it. They would receive all commissions from any sales I generated!!!

Within 10 minutes of posting the thread I received a phone call from Chris at Affiliate Window saying that it was an error and that their engineers had no idea how it happened. It appears that the Sun website receive Amazon products through Affiliate Window, but the rest 0f us shouldn’t. I, apparently, managed to break the system.

Go me.

Thanks to Chris for jumping on this so quickly as well.