Monday, November 26, 2007

Adsense Vs. May Mer Most

[Note: This post was originally uploaded on Oct 7, 2006.]

You'll notice I don't use Adsense on this blog... an odd omission considering my overwhelming appreciation for financial compensation. I've actually used Adsense before a couple times, once on a blog and once on a failed Amazon affiliate site focused on language products. In both cases, the income I made with Adsense was not really worth my time.

As good as Google is - and they are very good - it's just not that easy to make people want to click on ads. Google really tries to make the ads specifically relevant to the page they're on, but you only get paid if people click on the ads. Adsense is really geared towards benefiting elite bloggers who can generate thousands of visitors per day.

That's why the

Monday, Nov 26, 2007: Attention, we interrupt this post with a special announcement. The Google empire has decided, in their infinite wisdom, that certain methods of monetizing blog posts that compete with Adsense are bad news. Even naming the site, which rhymes with May Mer Most, could lead to good hard deGoogling of your site until the only evidence of your previous PageRank(tm) is a gaping hole and a light sheen of santorum.

Now I don't use Adsense, and I haven't posted anything on May Mer Most in a a good long time -- mostly because I just don't have time. But Google is by definition not evil, and if they don't like May Mer Most then neither do I. I mean, how could you side with evil against not evil? I'm sorry Google. Forgive me my trespasses, as I forgive those who have trespassed against me? Lead me not into temptation, and deliver me from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.

May Mer Most's paid blogging works better for me. The ad is, by definition, relevant to your content, because the ad is the content. Given that, and the fact that the links have value in and of themselves, May Mer Most can afford to pay the blogger whether people click the links or not. I've only been using the service a short while, but since I started I've found it's much easier to make money. At around $15 per day (for a few minutes work that I enjoy) it's not making me rich, but it's certainly helping with the car payment.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

How Much Does a Rolex Cost? How about a Mac?

I've got a few friends who own actual, honest to goodness Rolex watches. Now, cost aside, I'm about as likely to wear a Rolex as I am to drive a Corvette. A Rolex may be a great watch, but I tend to believe people wear them more for what it says about them than as a great timepiece. If I wanted my watch to say something about me, it would probably be the opposite of what a Rolex says. To me, a Rolex says I've got six thousand dollars with which I've nothing better to do. It probably goes without saying that I never expected to learn anything valuable about personal finance from a Rolex wearer. But I did.

J is a sales dude, and ostentatious displays of wealth are part of his schtick. Tormenting J is a favorite past-time of mine, so I'm sure I made some snarky remark about how I'd rather retire a few months earlier than own a nice watch. J pointed out that he had bought the watch used and, because a Rolex retains its value, he'd likely sell it for close to what he paid for it in a couple of years. Assuming, for simplicity's sake, that the transaction costs are not a factor then J's cost of owning the watch is his cost of capital (k). On a $5,000 watch, that works out to about $30 per month or so. That's not nothing, but it's probably a no-brainer for a guy who's livelihood depends in part on the appearance of success.

I'm sure I sat slack-jawed as he explained this, because I'm a bad multitasker and I was too busy having an epiphany to close my mouth. It should have already been obvious to me that you should consider resale value in the cost of an item, but I sure as hell wasn't doing it in most situations.

Since then, I've seen numerous examples of this principle in action. I've got a film-maker friend who's an ebay power-seller, and he financed an entire movie paying little more than ebay shipping costs. First he bought the high-end cameras he needed (he actually made money on the cameras by modifying them in a way that made them equivalent to more expensive cameras), then returned them to get the money to buy post production equipment, editing software, etc.

And today, I saw an article that used the same concept to explain that a Mac is actually cheaper than a PC. Since I'm in the market for a Mac but really put-off by the price, this was another great reminder that the price of an item is only the starting point for calculating cost.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Financial Koans, Anglo Style

So I haven't posted anything in 5 months. I've been busy. What? It's not like you've been checking back daily.

Anyway, The V-Train and I are contemplating a couple-year stint in London, home of the $20 Burrito (I'm sure it's delicious). So here are a couple of financial questions I've been noodling over. I'll give my thoughts on them later - but first I thought I'd throw them out there for my vast reader base to do their own unbiased noodling.

Question the first - Would it make more sense for us each to take a job that gets paid in pounds, or one of us to get paid in pounds and one in dollars (assuming the total comp will be the same either way at today's exchange rate, and that each of us gets paid roughly the same amount)? What should be the considerations?

Question the second - With the housing market down significantly since last year, would it make more sense to sell our condo in a down market, or rent it out and wait for prices to come back up? Does it matter how much equity we have? What if we were upside down? We live the greater metro Los Angeles area. Assume there's no expat package that helps us with either option.

I await what's certain to be a flood of responses.

[Go to part II of this post.]