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We live in a “social” world. There is a website where you can like, poke, and write on the walls of complete strangers and nobody will call the police on you for doing so. We try to meet people all over the world from the comfort of our computer chairs. In the world of online business, this is exceptionally true. Why limit yourself to trying to sell something to the people next door if you can showcase your product to a worldwide market at the ease of a few keystrokes? Of course, people prefer to buy things backed by real people instead of produced by robots and cold hard computer code, so, the “social” aspect has also invaded the world of online marketing. In the last couple of years we have seen Traffic Exchanges integrate chatrooms into the surfing area, and make user profiles and social website sharing much more accessible and detailed. There are lots of ways you can utilize these to make a first impression with each person you meet, but for the purposes of this article, I want to touch on one small but powerful tool that I feel many people are overlooking or misusing.

Avatar: noun, a visible manifestation or embodiment of an abstract concept OR a graphical image that represents a person, as on the Internet. Also known as your profile picture. You hear it said a hundred times a day in Affiliate Marketing chatrooms every day: add a profile picture so we know who you are. Some call it part of your “personal branding”. Speaking just for myself, there are many folks who have been around popular Traffic Exchanges long enough, using the same photo over and over again, that I can often look at one of their splash pages with just their photo on it and know the name of the person it belongs to. That is the essence of personal branding. So adding a human touch to your digital sales pitches can make your messages much warmer and more inviting- but does this work for every picture?

This is where my major rant comes in. What is wrong with you people?! Okay maybe that’s the wrong way to proceed with my point, let me try again. Are you a dog? No? Take Fido’s picture off your profile unless you are selling dog biscuits. Are you under the age of 13 or have you fallen into a cartoonland? No? Take that wascally wabbit’s cartoon picture off your profile. Do you want people to think you only care about wealth? If the answer is no, take the picture of diamonds, the Ferrari, or the mansion off your profile. This is, after all, the first impression we are talking about here. You need to carefully consider what your picture looks like to someone who never has, and maybe never will, meet you in person and get to know how much awesomeness you have that can’t be summed up in a photo and an About Me paragraph.

Now that we’ve gotten the obvious out of the way, I still have a complaint about the more “ordinary” photos. Yes, it has a person in it and it is unique and human, buuuut… Recently I found myself surfing in a mode that would be considered mindless, or requiring very little thought. My eyes were glazed over, my coffee was long gone, my mind kept wandering, and only my peripheral vision was paying attention to the surf bar icons. Click, click, click. I started watching for the profile pictures that would display to tell you who the current advertisement was posted by. It intrigued me, the photos that people would post of themselves, and I was putting captions on them in my mind. It went something like this:

  • “My face is blue because I snapped my pic with my webcam and only the light from my monitor. I’m not really from a planet with a blue sun.”
  • “My face is off-center and at a weird angle because really, who has time to take a second photo?”
  • “See me, see my hobby behind me, yeah, I’d rather be doing that instead of filling out my profile.”
  • “Don’t mind the cobwebs and crooked curtains beside me, this is the only spot in the world that I can take a photograph.”
  • “I do not smile for photographs. It takes too much cheek muscle effort!”
  • “I’m in this photo of four people. I’m in it, really! If I take one by myself, I’ll look lonely.”

Nobody ever wrote rules about right or wrong profile pictures, because there is no right or wrong*. But when you put a representation of yourself out in cyberspace that turns people away, who you are really harming is yourself. If your profile picture is not one that you could tape on a paper bag and put on your head to sell encyclopedias from door to door with, then it’s not going to work much better online, convincing people that you are good person to buy from. (If anyone actually tries to sell encyclopedias from door to door while wearing a paper bag, I take no responsibility for your sales). The questions you should consider about your photos don’t have to pick apart every detail. I recommend the following aspects be met for online marketing:

  • Look cheerful. Some people smile easily, some people do not, but a smile is not required. It’s about attitude.
  • Look approachable. If you look focused and attentive in the real world, people are more likely to start a conversation with you, or ask you for help. The same look can be achieved in a photo.
  • Don’t have distractions in the photo with you. Save your hobbies, and home, and scenery for other photos. Your first impression photo should be simply about you.

That’s pretty much all there is to it. A photo is worth a thousand words, right? After that first impression, you can work on telling people all about what really makes you who you are, with profile text, About Me pages, and of course, actually chatting with people. Here’s to your First Impression, may it bring you good responses!

Birdie Hurt, the photo-obsessed nitpicker.

*With the exception of abiding by website Terms and Conditions, and trying not to be offensive.

On Friday Jon decided to being the Sweeva Surf Party back and it was a huge success.

Sadly I missed it as I had to leave my computer to fend for itself in a dark and unheated room while I went and interacted with people offline.

Now I must be old fashioned, perhaps horribly old-fashioned but on those rare occasions when I socialize with others then I actually talk to them.

However it is really fascinating, at least to me, to observe those who have grown up with hand-held digital communication as the norm.

Many of this generation seem less comfortable interacting with those around them but will spend all their time interacting with their friends online via various social apps on their smartphones.

Anyway what has that got to do with the Sweeva Surf Party? Well absolutely nothing at all as it happens. But if you have been paying attention you will recall that I said I missed the Surf Party so I have to talk about something on this post!

Sweeva Surf Party news is that it looks like this will be a monthly event, on Thursdays rather than Fridays, with the next one taking place on Thursday March 12 at 4pm Eastern.

So hopefully that sounds like a good plan for everybody and I will do my best to turn up for the next one.

But before I go there is only time to honor the stand-out page of Friday’s Surf Party…step forward Norbert Ladner from Renegades with this awesome contribution:

Norbert Ladner Renegades Vitamines splash page for SSP

Well done sir.

Tom Wacker Getting Bombed video splash page

January has gone and now that we are into February, for some at least, our thoughts turn to love and romance.

This certainly seems to be the case for Tom Wacker whose latest video splash page comes on a background of red love hearts.

He also wears an eye-patch and says he is getting bombed on Friday the 13th.

I am confused about it all. Not for the first time has a splash page confused me and I am sure it will not be the last either.

Does anyone know what Tom is up to here?


This splash page from SurfAholics Alpha member Martin Bolger made me laugh. It was posted in TELive on Thursday when Matt announced that he was stepping down as team leader.

Funny splash page - Matt Badura's influence on SurfAholics Alpha in CTP Teams

Hopefully it made you laugh too.

And if you have a funny splashpage about your team, then please let me know, as we all need a good laugh from time to time.

This is the second batch of pages I received for the “Patrick is…” badge I gave away during the Bigfoot Badge Hunt.

Once again thanks to everyone who took me up on my offer and I am more than happy to present your creative efforts to a wider audience here on this blog.

Evelyn Kramer

Evelyn Kramer Patrick is splash page

Patsy J Payne

Patsy J Payne Patrick is splash page

Serge Cote

Serge Cote Patrick Is Splash Page

Shelayne Fico

Shelayne Fico Patrick Is splash page

Keith Butterworth

Keith Butterworth Patrick Is Splash Page

David McKay

David McKay Patrick Is splash page

Lynn M

Lynn M Patrick Is Splash Page

Lucie Bellemare

Lucie Bellemare Patrick is Splash Page

So there you have it – thanks everyone for sending me your pages and keep being creative. This industry will thrive on unique pages.

When the idea for the Bigfoot Badge Hunt came about this year I wanted to do a little experiment.

I wanted to see if I set a challenge which required some amount of effort on the part of the badge hunter, how many people, if any, would take up the challenge.

I had decided I didn’t want people to sign up for a list, upgrade in any program or actually pay out any money but at the same time I didn’t want to just give the badge away for nothing.

So in the end I settled on the idea of making me a splash page. I didn’t offer to promote it anywhere or even say what I wanted the page for (and nobody asked me what I was going to do with the pages that came in.)

The instruction was very simple and just asked for a page containing the words “Patrick Griffin is…”

What I planned to do was just show the pages on this blog so here goes…

Valentin Mavrodin

Valentin splash page for Patrick Is

Kendra Morgan

Kendra Morgan Patrick is splash page

Stephen Whittle

Stephen Whittle Patrick Is splash page

Adrian Gurgui

Adrian Gurgui Patrick is splash page

Jean Kopinski

Jean Kopinski Patrick Is splash page

George Nikolis

George Nikolis Patrick Is Splash page

Kathy Dyer

Kathy Dyer Patrick is splash page

Andrew Stark

Andrew Stark Patrick Is splash page

Elina Balashova

Elina Balashova Patrick is splash page

So, among other things, I am not an Uber Surfer, Stephen Whittle’s biggest fan and the Elton John of TEland.

Thanks everybody for your great pages…I will put the final batch up later.

Yesterday with just over two hours to go before the Sweeva Surf Party, I was chatting online to Matt Badura.

I told him I really wanted to make a funny page for the party again this week but after killing the show dead with the last page shown a week ago, I had decided to hold back.

“We could always do a page together?” suggested Matt, and that was all the convincing I needed to get to work.

We wanted to do something “funny, topical and relevant to the SSP audience” and the clock was already ticking.

Both of us had seen the “Marcus dressed as a nun” page. That’s not its official title, and he wasn’t even dressed as a nun, but if anyone has seen the real page then you will see how that description fits very well.

Matt pointed out that it was also Ken’s birthday…and now there was less than two hours to go.

All we had to do was download Marcus’s original video, import it into some video editing software, delete the audio track, come up with a new soundtrack, add the new audio, re-upload the new file, create a splash page and get it seen on the Sweeva Surf Party.

Just to add a bit more pressure we both decided to make new audio tracks to see how each of us approached the challenge.

We didn’t compare notes in advance…just fired up the editing software and got to work.

Then disaster for me…it is so long since I edited a video that I had completely forgotten how to record an audio file. When I worked it out I had changed a setting which muted everything and spent 30 minutes working out how to put it right.

Now I only had time for one take, a quick edit to remove the pauses before uploading it to Dropbox and sending it to Matt.

He laughed…it was a good sign. At about the same time he sent me his video…I laughed out loud…another good sign.

Matt had huge problems with the video code for some reason and only got one page uploaded to the SSP so here are the links to all the videos.

First of all this is the original splash page from Marcus Wahl…click the page to see the video in a new tab.

Better Than Gold

Better than gold or Marcus dressed as a nun splash page

This is the splash page seen at the Sweeva Surf Party.

Happy Birthday Ken

Happy Birthday Ken splash page Marcus dresses as a nun spoof

And this is the video Matt recorded which is similar to mine but far funnier.

Party With Nuns

Party with Nuns splash page spoof on Marcus dressed as a nun

I don’t think I have had so much working on a splash page in a long time…thanks Matt and thanks Marcus for inspiring us with such a memorable splash page to begin with.

Oh and Ken, I hope you had a great birthday.

Last week saw the battle between The Strays and Lucky 13 for top spot, and as we know, Lucky 13 held on to their lead all week.

Naturally there was rivalry between both teams during the week…just as you would expect there would be from two very competitive teams.

Yesterday in TELive I mentioned this splash page which Boris made about rivals The Strays:

Losers jibe from Lucky 13 to The Strays

Some people thought the headline was a bit harsh, as did I when I first heard about it. But, having seen the page, I can see that this is nothing more than gentle ribbing.

Now it is the time for The Strays to respond…to keep the rivalry going. Nobody gets hurt, nobody is attacked personally, but it brings something of a competition within a competition if you like.

Jon had a great idea for this week’s Sweeva Surf Party (let’s hope we can get him out of his new hot tub in time for the SSP!) and said a battle of the splash pages between these two teams would be awesome.

It sure would. And with The Strays now with a new leader maybe they are already planning their next move.

Watch this space as they say.