#46 Abruptness, Weird Comments, Octopi & Farming.


It’s a listener love-in where James and Timbo cover plenty of ground (or should that be Ocean?!).

Timbo calls James on his directness. Is he too abrupt? Or just straight to the point?!

We share some feedback from a listener who has broken through some big walls thanks to spending time in the Ocean.

What’s with those spammy blog comments that don’t make a whole lot of sense?

We define what article farming is, why it’s dangerous and what the more effective option is.

Video versus audio …. what’s best? And what gets the best traction?

James explains why you should treat your website like an octopus. What?!

And we help you decide whether to niche or super niche.


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Tim: Welcome back listeners to episode 46 of your favorite internet marketing show, Freedom Ocean. I am Timbo Reid and right there is…

James: James Schramko.

Tim: Correct. Correct. Welcome back mate.

James: See it went over to me that time, sometimes he’d announce me …

Tim: Yeah, I know I just liked to keep you on your toes as you do me.

James: Is this because you’ve got a new co-host in your other show and you used to sharing now? Is this is a good sign?

Tim: Mate, I have got a new part-time co-host on Small Business Big Marketing and as you saw in our Facebook update or maybe an e-mail that I sent to my list. So this guy, his name is Andrew Griffiths, and he can talk underwater with a mouth full of marbles while eating a pie.

James: The guy can talk. I tell you. I listened to an episode yesterday and it was funny to see you being the quite one.

Tim: [chuckles] He’s a machine.

James: I have a part-time co-host on my InternetMarketingSpeed blog.

Tim: That’s why you’re what?

James: I have a part-time host on my InternetMarketingSpeed blog.

Tim: Who’s that?

James: You might have heard of this guy called Lukie.

Tim: [chuckles] Correct. Correct.

James: I only bring him on to joke about you. So, what are we talking about today, Timbo?

Tim: We’ve got a listener’s question show, a bit of listener feedback. Had lots of questions coming in over the course of the last few months. Many of which get posted to the show notes on our website. Some of which comes through on Facebook, through iTunes, etc. and you lovingly respond. I would say a loving response from you to a listener question, like I’m talking loving would be 6 words.

James: I got an e-mail today from my travel agent and he said, that was the shortest booking ever.

Tim: You’re a freak.

James: And you know this guy, Jake, because I’ve been teaching him his online marketing stuff video newsletters.

Tim: Jake Hower, Pan Travel.

James: But I looked at the thing and I thought, really was it that short. I looked at it. It said, “Hi Jake, please book Manila, November, this date, quote us. Thanks.” [Chuckles] I imagined I’m like a low-hassle customer for him.

Tim: I must say, this might be a personal interrogation to James Schramko but he didn’t know you, he can take your abruptness like anyone who’s short and brief, as rude.

James: It has been said before. I learnt this in one of my forums; people thought that I might have been rude when I’m just really pithy with my posts.

Tim: Pithy, what’s pithy mean?

James: Short, punchy.

Tim: Right. Well, it’s good. Actually, at the end of the day, the old sort of making conversation, it’s a pain in the ass sometimes. So we’ve got some great feedback and then let’s get stuck into, we’ll mix it up a bit, a very short feedback from Brian Gendelbrose, is that how to pronounce that, “I listened to everything you do. It’s just a matter of time before I become part of the community. I love the stuff. Freedom Ocean is what started it.” I got a longer one here from AJ Silvers, whose name I love, James. I don’t know is that, AJ Silvers, what would you put him as kind of a formula 1 driver, basketballer?

James: Yeah, I thought, when I saw that, it reminded me of Derek Sivers who’s quite a famous and awesome author.

Tim: Yeah right.

James: I reckon it is a pretty cool handle.

Tim: Look, this is pretty touching feedback, I might say, because I imagine you get this a lot.

James: Whoa, whoa hang on a sec. Just so that you know, that wasn’t publicly posted, so maybe we’ll just talk about that essence of that.

Tim: [laughter] well –

James: The reason that I shared it with you, Timbo, is because I wanted you to know that we are actually touching people in a good way and that’s why we started this thing.

Tim: Yeah, right. Okay. Well, in that case, what don’t you talk about the essence of it?

James: The essence of it was that he’s found the podcast refreshingly honest, brutal and fun but he’s been getting some kickass results. I won’t say what he did, for privacy reasons but he was making $500 an hour and it’s something he can continue to do, he’s had a little bit of a tough time. Before there were some other things but Freedom Ocean has really given him the confidence to do what he believed was the right thing despite what most of the IM gurus and the hype in the myths talk about. That’s the bit that I thought was cool because I’m all about blunt, brute directness, and he promised to buy me a beer which I thought was extremely generous.

Tim: Yes, yes. So that’s good. It’s nice and we get a lot of that feedback, of its making a difference, so that’s a good thing there mate. So, some listener questions. This is more a question for me but who writes these comments in blogs that just don’t make sense. I’m looking at this one, “thank you for sharing excellent information. Your website is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on your site. It reveals how nicely you understand the subject. Bookmarked this webpage. You, my pal, rock! I found just the information I already searched all over the place and just couldn’t come across.” They make me laugh and that’s actually a half intelligible ones. Some of the stuff that gets posted in as spam is just extraordinary. How does that happen?

James: Yup. Okay. So the technique that the person is trying to use is to get a link form your site to their website. So generally, you’ll see, they’ve got a hyperlink in it. It could be something. It could be anything from travel accommodations, through to Viagra. What they’re trying to do is find blogs that automatically publish content and don’t get them vented; the default setting to WordPress is a little bit lax. I suggest anyone with the WordPress site goes and ticks moderate all comments. So, sometimes, it will let the comment go through if it has less than 1 link in the post or even if it has no links. They’re still relying on that author hyperlink. So, the motive is to get a link from your site. It works because; a) they’re able to generate massive volumes of these using automated tools. Tools like xRumor and ScrapeBox, I believe are used for this sort of massive… they’ll be sending absolutely hundreds of thousands of these and this is what the other side of these cheap ass, will get you 10,000 links for $5 looks like. This is what your little friendly Fiverr guy is doing in his basement. He’s lining up this spam machine just to go and blast the internet looking to exploit website comments, and they also do this with forum profiles. If you own a forum, you probably get these weird registrations and if you have any web forms on the internet, you’re probably getting similar sort of web forms filled out by bots, so automated machines.

Tim: There may be lots sometimes.

James: The very good ones are so well worded that you could actually think a human posted it and you may have manually approve it. They’re the very sophisticated ones. As a website master, what you can do to check, if you’re not sure, what I do is actually cut and paste the words into Google and what you’ll find quite often is there’s like a hundred versions of the exact same phrase on all these different blogs and then you know it was just spam. As a webmaster, what I’m looking for is a comment that relates to my post that shows me that they read it. So, a better comment would be, “Hi Tim. I really liked this episode. I think what that baker has done with his business is inspirational for other Australians.” Now, that shows that the person has read your post. They’re more likely to earn a link to their website. But if they go and type 7 different comments on different posts, now they’re starting to become a spammer. So, links from blogs are powerful. Links from blogs are relevant. Links from blogs are really, really easy to get if you just put in a little bit of effort and hand post on other people’s blogs with genuine comments. Like our readers do on FreedomOcean, you can bet we’re going to be moderating them. They earn a link off from a relevant place where other people just like them visit back to their site. So that’s why they do it. That’s how they do it and this is what you should be doing if you are both the webmaster or the person trying to get the link.

Tim: James, that was the most verbose answer you’ve ever given on anything.

James: I’m working on it Timbo. I want to be comprehensive. So far, it’s been an amazing day. We’re finishing the month of August here. It’s been an incredible month just back from visiting my team, the business is solid. Lots of cool things happening. So I’m on a high. Not that I’ve ever seen the lows.

Tim: You’re pumped. You’re on a high.

James: I’m always pumped, really. Let’s do it. What else you got?

Tim: Whoa, whoa mate. I even have found another e-mail which identified you and once again, a humorous space, because it’s from Tim Heims and Tim says—he’s commenting on one of the previous episodes, episode 43, which is the one we titled, the healthy episode and he commented to us both, “well done on the weight loss.” Which then he adds a nice line, “mind over platter.” That was funny but then you’ve come back with a comment that says, “It’s better than the seafood and eat it diet.” Hey you’re on fire.

James: Well, you can’t beat a good dad joke.

Tim: Correct, correct. I’m glad you recognized it as a good dad joke because I’m constantly reminding my kids of how funny their dad is, which is me. Tim actually followed up on that post to say that he’s actually lost 6 kg following my diet regime. Hey, we’re not only making a difference to people’s back accounts and mindsets, but their waistlines, James.

James: Are you still skinny?

Tim: Say it again.

James: Are you still skinny?

Tim: I am mate. It continues to drip off. So it’s a good thing.

James: Well done mate. That is awesome.

Tim: I’m hesitant to talk too much about weight loss because we’ll get out of business. So get on the business stuff.

James: Yes. We’ll get slight a bit. Just for the record, I’m still maintaining my 91 on solid gold. Alright, let’s go. What else you got. Come on, let’s talk internet marketing stuff.

Tim: Alright, there are a couple of questions from… who’s this from? Where is the name? Sophora says about farming out of articles. First, if you could define what farming out of articles is, but I’ll tell you what the question is. “I was warned that this can be dangerous and that Google can actually remove your website from searches. Do you know anything about that? I have a lot of blog posts and articles which many of us do that I would love to use to drive traffic to my site.”

James: Just put the articles and post on her blog, that’s the number 1 thing to do now and it always has been. You could look back – gosh! Like 4 years ago, maybe 5, probably about 4 years ago, I put an article on my own blog about the ridiculous stupidity of article marketing where people were talking their very best content and putting it on places like Ezine articles and I’m thinking what the hell are you doing? Put your good content on your own site, that’s it. Like I do with my blog, like every single author should do. Put your best content on your own website. Okay? So farming out the article, that’s where you might take the content and start putting it all over other article directories pointing back to your website but you can’t use the same piece of content. You shouldn’t use the same piece of content to do that. You’re going to have to manually rewrite the content or use a completely new fresh article that has never been seen before. If you understand what Google want, they want original content. They want to show the very best result they possibly can by relevance to someone who’s searching into the search results. So, if someone goes to Google and types in a phrase, they want to serve up the most relevant, fresh, unique, helpful piece of content possible. That’s what you should put on your website. If you want to promote your website by putting articles in other places, then do guest blog post. Yes you can submit the articles to article directories, however, don’t be obsessed with it. Don’t make it a full time job. What you should do is have somebody rewrite your articles or just put out extra articles and it’s so easy to have fresh articles made or done for you even if you don’t like to type.

First, you can hire someone to do it which is my strongest recommendation. Secondly, if you absolutely have to do it yourself, why don’t you just talk into a microphone for half an hour, or pretended you’re Tim Reid do it for an hour and then just give that audio to someone and let them make articles from that and then you can have really good fresh content but don’t put the same piece of content all over the place. All that happens is that it gets degraded. The big risk now and this is fresh since penguin, is that people tend to use the same hyperlinks on all that content. And if you would put the same piece of content out there 10x, well there’s not really a penalty for having the same content out there, they just devalue the multiple instances of it. It’s not going to penalize you but the thing that can actually trip you up now is if you had 10 of the exact same link coming back to your site, that now can penalize you. That’s overdoing your anchor text. In these days, you really want to keep anyone phrased down in the single digit percentages linking back to your site, unless it’s a brand name. If it’s the name of your website or the name of your brand, so we could quite happily link to FreedomOcean many, many times with the words FreedomOcean, or FreedomOcean.com. That’s not so risky. But if we kept linking to FreedomOcean with internet marketing podcast, internet marketing podcast, internet marketing podcast, sooner or later, Google’s going to say, “you know what guys, I think you’re trying to manipulate us here with internet marketing podcast phrase so we’re going to penalize you for that phrase and we’re not going to show your website for that phrase anymore because I think you’re taking the piss out of us.” So that’s the big risk with syndicating any type of content these days, syndicating too many of the same anchor text when you’re doing that.

Tim: It makes sense. It’s all in relevance.

James: By the way, anchor text is merely the words that you use in the hyperlink. Okay? Just in case our listener doesn’t know what anchor text means.

Tim: Good answer. Thanks. Just as you’re talking and you commenting on my one-hour interviews that I do on Small Business Big Marketing, I’ve been having this discussion a bit lately with both clients and people who are contacting me about video versus audio and there’s really good arguments for both but clearly, I’m a fan of audio and I’m a fan of audio because it’s just infinitely consumable, you know, whether your running or in bed or at the gym or commuting or driving. You can be listening to something whereas video requires that you stop and watch a screen. Now you’re doing both. I’m doing a lot of audio. I also don’t do a lot of video because I just find it and I know there’s ways of making it easy, but it is harder than video, what’s your view on that?

James: Well, SuperFastBusiness is a good test for me because I’d put out a 3-5 minute video every few days and I podcast it. the interesting thing for me is that the podcasts and the video get almost the same views so I get about 300 to 600 views on my YouTube video and I get about 300 to 600 podcasts listens per episode. For an InternetMarketingSpeed or FreedomOcean podcast, we’re able to hit a couple of thousand listens for these particular episodes. So, it doesn’t really matter, it comes down to what sort of media you like to make. In your case, you are designed perfectly for audio.

Tim: Great. I’ve got a great head for audio.

James:Well, you’ve got a good voice for audio and it’s your medium. I’m influenced by you about the audio. I could actually podcast my video on SuperFastBusiness but for whatever reason I actually do like to podcast just the audio. I think it offers, as you said, it’s making it easy for people to consume that media anywhere. Yes, I mean last night, while I was editing something, I listened to a 1+ hour podcast from someone and I just had it playing in my headphones while I was working. I really like consuming podcast. I think they are a great medium. If you take FreedomOcean, InternetMarketingSpeed and SuperFastBusiness, I’m getting up in the mid 100,000 podcast downloads per month and I don’t think that would be the case for videos. I’m only seeing 10,000 video views a month. so, all added up, the podcast medium seems to stretch a bit further and the other thing is, the podcast just has such a super sticky loyal, repeat passionate customer. I think most of my paid customers have come from a podcast like FreedomOcean. In fact, probably FreedomOcean is driving a lot of my commercial traffic because people become part of the show and they enjoy it and a lot of them do commute and it’s amazing how many times people say they’re walking a dog or going for a walk with this.

Tim: I know.

James: So, probably someone is listening to this right now, walking, smiling and the people walking the other way are looking at them thinking they’re a bit weird. Yeah, I think the audio medium is going to stay. We still listen to radio in our car even though we’ve got all the latest technology. There’s some things you can do with just audio and you can’t do video. But I would definitely say video is a strong part of my business now. You can’t ignore YouTube and the amount of hours that people watch. But my experiments have shown if I give people both, it’s almost equal consumption.

Tim:It’s good. Interesting. I just think audio still – because you hear those crazy numbers, you know, like 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every second or every minute or something. Yeah, just big numbers, but you don’t hear the same about audio because there’s just not the same discussion going around. So that’s good. I think we agree on that one. You can’t ignore video, and you shouldn’t. But there’s a whole lot of upside to audio.

James: Oh, the other thing is that it’s so much easier to make audio as well. I mean, if you like to write, do these big feature blog posts and then just read them out and record them and then you can leverage your amazing text content into the audio space, the big thing of what I’m teaching with traffic now just like I’m literally rolling out TrafficGrab 2. I did the first part of that called Content Assault two nights ago, and the big message I’ve got is you got to treat your website like an octopus. The head of the octopus is your feature blog but you need tentacles. You need them in YouTube and iTunes and Amazon and Google. Don’t be single traffic source dependent. Don’t be single-content dependent. Get that text out there by all means but get the audio out there and if you can do some feature videos, even though the production is more difficult and takes longer, it just taps into a different audience and it lets people experience you in another channel and also, these things lend themselves extremely well to both Facebook and Pinterest. You know, you can put a Pinterest link to a video and that takes a screen grab of the video.

Tim: Oh, cool. And then also, don’t forget the offline. I mean, the head of the octopus being – I hate octopus to say. That freaks me out even saying it – being the website but everywhere those tentacles go out too, that should go out offline.

James: Everywhere.

Tim: Off to start if you want an opinion piece for net magazine, once a month. That’s a printed magazine and that’s already starting to get, driving traffic people when you can do and they’re saying “I’ve enjoyed the piece.”

James: Or radio commercials.

Tim: or commenting it. So, you know, also look offline as well obviously for those traffic sources.

James: Yeah, like radio and live events. Speaking from stage or just attending and participating LinkedIn forums. I’ve been discussing in your LinkedIn forum. I’m just waiting for you to join in some time.

Tim: [laughter] I’ve been there the last few days actually.

James: I’ve been stirring up trouble.

Tim: You’re just stirring the pot there. Now we’ve got a question here from Lora Thomas. She’s a bit of a newbie from the UK, podcast recommended at a networking event. She’s starting to make some good progress and writes some good content. Her question is around targeting her niche. I have become weary that I’m sitting between 2 niches to become super niche if you know what I mean. The first niche is being aware of sugar habits, and the second niche is realistic weight management for younger woman. Should she really stick to one niche based on Google keyword research and what can she do to test that I’m not going down the road that will be hard when it becomes time to SEO. There’s a lot there, isn’t it?

James: Yeah. I’m going to just separate all the noise, right? It’s as simple as this. Find someone with the problem and solve it. Okay? So, how does she know if it’s worth rolling out? She should be able to try and sell something. If she can sell the idea of an eBook or a solution or a weight loss plan or a consulting session or whatever. If someone will pay her money for what she’s got right now, that is the minimum viable product. So, she should work that pitch around. She should be talking to people, everyone she meets if they are lady and they look like their overweight. She might have the conversation and start to figure a way the hooks are. Is it around sugar? Is it around weight loss, is it both? Generally, the more you specialize, the easier it is for people to identify your specialty and to put value in that, so for example, if I was an office relocation expert, that’s great. But if I was an office relocation expert for small to medium businesses who are in a pest control industry, then that’s very specialized. Okay, these people move pest controllers and they’re experienced with handling hazardous chemicals and etc.

So, the more she specializes, the more she’ll find her market but then the problem is, it might be so small that you can’t serve it. So you want to look for a certain number of people in the market. It could be a couple of thousand people that are in that market, and she wants to look for financial capacity. Do these people actually spend money already? In that market? And then, can she actually access them? Can she get in front of them? It’s a very competitive space that the health, the weight loss space. There’s huge money in there. There’s no question about that. So, what she needs to do is sell something to somebody. Usually, it will be face to face for a minimum viable product. she could say, you know, I’ve actually got guide I’ve crafted that’s 50 pages that will show you how to shed 20 kg in the next 60 days, and it’s $39. If someone says, “Yeah, I’ll have it. Where do I buy it? Can you send it over to me?” That’s a good sign. If they’re like, “Oh yeah, that sounds interesting” and they’re not ready to open the wallet and pay the money, then it’s really not the right path for her.

Tim: Yeah, good call. Good call. Mate that is going to bring us to the end of a listener questions. We’ve got lots of other listeners’ questions which we might tackle in a future show but listeners if you do want to ask James or I a question, you can do one of 2 or you can do a number of things. Go to FreedomOcean’s Facebook. You just got to like FreedomOcean.com. If you sign up at FreedomOcean, we will send you emails and you can reply to any of those emails with a question or you can just go to iTunes and leave a listener review and ask a question there.

James: By the way, we don’t really send a lot of emails. We pretty much only send an e-mail when there’s a new episode.

Tim: Yep.

James: The occasional special thing. I think we’re probably due to send a special offer to members of Freedom Ocean that’s not available to the public. So we might leave that little incentive there and we’ll send that out after this episode goes to air. So make sure you’re on the e-mail list for that. The other way, of course, yes, just reply to any e-mail we ever send is one of the easiest ways to put forward some feedback to us and that will go to Tim and myself, and we’re both on Facebook and Twitter. Are you still twittering? You have a love/hate with twitter.

Tim: Yeah. I’m less on Twitter these days. I got on yesterday. I went to small business event the Victorian government put on and I was just quite infuriated by a couple of speakers who are up there speaking in front of 600 small businesses owners and one bloke spokes about the old chestnut of social media and he was just boring. He was just rattling off the big numbers. You know, this many people on YouTube, this many people on Facebook. It’s like it was a conversation that was had 3 years ago. We know there are lots of people so I was actually pretty active on Twitter during that. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it but there’s a fat boy – there’s a video on YouTube that talks about the power of social media to a fat boy slim song.

James: Nice.

Tim: And that also is about 4 years old and he played that and then that really got my back up. I use twitter when I want to complain or I want to research. That’s about all.

James: I just use it to watch Luke Moulton so that I can see what I’m supposed to be paying attention to because he’s good at finding stuff.

Tim: Well.

James: I use it for a research tool. I basically follow the people who are going to point me to the things that I need to know about and the other one I like, follow the main newscaster in the Philippines who just tells me what’s going on with the weather and the things that are important to my business. Alright, good to catch up Timbo. Hopefully we can catch up again soon.

Tim: Hey, that would be a good idea. Excellent idea. alright buddy, take care and see you next time.

James: Alright.



  1. Hi blogger, your blog about stuff is really good at informing me about things I find relevant.

    Kidding – I don’t have a website to peddle right now. But when I had a blog, I always found those comments hilariously transparent. I did find that if I read someone else’s blog and commented, chances were they’d have a look at mine and comment too, and there’d be some back-and-forth with genuine interest in the topic matter for us both, but also an undercurrent of the ulterior motive of getting more people to read our blog.

    Is James too abrupt? – well I guess it’s all relative, but I prefer concise, and I don’t find it rude at all. For me, to-the-point is good, prattling on is pretentious and annoying. If you can say in six words what someone else would say in sixty, power to you; it tends to stick better that way, and that’s fifty-four words of confusion you didn’t include.

    Good stuff guys.

  2. Hello your blog is answer to all I needed to find with what you knowledge have this is so good hear now for all to see it and understands, I now so happy is come to you blogs………..

    Sorry couldn’t resist. I agree with Mike’s comment. I have updated my comment blocker as I was getting lots of those inane comments and now I know the reason.
    Too short? No, as you say, less is more. I can find waffle anywhere and get totally confused which is why I prefer to come here and get a simple clear answer. When someone asks a direct question they are, in my view, wanting a direct answer not a sermon.
    So endeth my bit and yeah probably 100 words too long 😉

  3. Hello, glad you guys are back on the horse and podcasting again. I’ve learnt heaps from the both of you. I think Tim’s jovial verboseness is a perfect match for James’ concise, “pithy” style.

  4. the social love sharing devices are back on the ocean!

  5. Hi Tim and James,

    Thanks for the great podcasts! You guys have helped inspire me to make our own exercise video series allowing people to get 6 weeks of free videos from filling out the form at http://www.fitnessenhancement.com. I’m sure there’s no new marketing ideas there for you but you might both benefit physically from 6 weeks of free workout videos and tips 😉

    As a Personal Trainer video is better for us than audio, it let’s people see our Trainers are real people who can help them, not gym junkie meat heads! This approach along with many other online marketing strategies has helped us grow Gold Coast and Brisbane wide and become QLD’s largest independent Personal Training company.

    Would love to hear what you think of my videos!

  6. Just discovered your podcast because of Dan and Ian at the Lifestyle Business Podcast.

    Now I have more great stuff to listen to while at the gym!

  7. Smiling while walking through Salamanca market Christmas shopping

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