The Evolution Of Digital Downloads

History Of Digital Downloads

Libraries, art galleries, museums, universities, schools and government, initially saw digitalisation as:

  • A way of using the it to preserve artifacts, documents and treasures. Limiting access to the originals but expanding access by dissemination of the images and information associated with an item.
  • A way of quickly disseminating information to the general public, or particular groups of people, interest groups and employees. For example the introduction of new company or departmental policies or the introduction of new laws or rules.

That quickly changed. All of the above institutions and businesses plus a whole lot of new players started to see tremendous opportunities. How bypassing the machinery of conventional publishing could get information into the hands of people more efficiently and cheaply.

The Information Age

Information, software and scripts, music, video, audio and art; all became available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. For a few dollars you could purchase something that would have cost four or five times as much in a hard copy. For much of the material of new creators, most of it never published before the value was even greater as they had no track record to recommend them.

The quality of the information published in those early days was variable to say the least, and many people lost money to the false information or dubious strategies, but equally so many benefitted from the information they purchased. The same variability applies today, because as soon as a protection is built into the industry, along comes a strategy to circumvent it.

The Shady Side Of Internet Marketing

Someone once compared the worst of Internet Marketers with Used Car Salesmen and the Used Car Salesmen were offended. Yes it’s very true that the underbelly of our industry is not very savory.

Disclaimers

For example the regulators require us to put a disclaimer, that says:
“The Seller” can’t guarantee you the same results as “they” or people providing testimonials to the product, because “they” don’t know your work habits, ability to follow instructions consistently, and any number of other factors that could affect your ability to duplicate the system “they” use.

Now that is a fair disclaimer; one that shows a commitment to develop a mutual relationship.

Unfortunately the unscrupulous have used the disclaimer as a shield to protect outlandish claims.

So for a prospective buyer the text says:

  • Become a millionaire.
  • In a week.
  • Takes 20 minutes work per day.
  • Anyone can do it.
  • No experience necessary.
  • No skills required.
  • No discipline needed.

The Devil’s Disclaimer

While the small print, “the disclaimer” says to the new owner:

  • The author does not warrant at any time that the contents are accurate. (not even at the time of writing)
  • The author assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein. (What about a simple mention on the sales page that these could exist)>
  • Any perceived slights of specific persons, peoples, or organizations other published materials are unintentional and used solely for educational purposes. (So why not say the guys think differently, check them out before you decide.) /li

    It Continues

  • No representation is made or implied that the reader will do as well from using the suggested techniques, strategies, methods, systems, or ideas; rather it is presented for news value only. (How come the copy says differently.)
  • The author does not assume any responsibility or liability whatsoever for what you choose to do with this information. (In the sales letter you say the method, if followed as you say, is legal and safe, suddenly it’s not!)
  • Any perceived remark, comment or use of organizations, people mentioned and any resemblance to characters living, dead or otherwise, real or fictitious does not mean that they support this content in any way. ( Why name drop unless those people will stand behind the product)
  • There are no guarantees of income made, traffic delivered or other promises of any kind. (Can understand the first two, but why make promises you can’t stand behind.)
  • By reading any document, the reader agrees that under no circumstances is the author responsible for any losses, direct or indirect, that are incurred as a result of use of the information contained within this document, including – but not limited to errors, omissions, or inaccuracies. (Why are these things mention in the main text of the sales letter)

Why would you buy from the purveyor of this product, who is saying in the final analysis you can’t have any faith in anything “he or she” says, or any course of action “they” recommend.

These are the highlights not the whole thing, from a real disclaimer.

How Come These Type Of Disclaimers Are Not Challenged

Because there are two groups of people that enable this unethical behavior to continue, two groups that make up most of those interested in Online Marketing:

  • Those attracted to opportunities with the lure of big dollars fast, with no work, and no credentials are often desperate rather than enthusiastic. They are likely to read the small print but still decide to take the gamble. Which is often why they are desperate in the first place.
  • The rest see the headlines and the bullet points and it seems to make sense, so they don’t bother to even read the disclaimer, because they don’t want to spoil their enthusiasm with negatives. They want to become independent of the “job” and are sure they will make it work somehow.

Take Action

Read every disclaimer and don’t buy products with disclaimers like the one above.

The niches where these abuses most frequently occur are the “Internet Marketing”, “Making Money Online”, and “Home Business”. Avoiding these niches is one option, due diligence is another, while a combination of the two makes a third.

My Experience

Now I am over 70, I have been around marketing and on the internet for 26 years and still have not found any way that you can be fabulously rich without doing any work. It is ridiculous to believe that the “four hour workweek” can be achieved next week, next month or next year.

Working online has shown me that I do need some knowledge to begin an online business and that I will need to keep on learning, until I quit working online.

Presuming you have a decent computer and an internet connection of some kind with the best speed you can afford. There are some things you need on the internet to run a viable business, that includes a website with a product, niche or brand domain name and email.

Where Are We With Digital Products In the Second Decade Of The 21st Century

Software

Consumer
It used to come boxed with paper manuals so thick you could get a hernia lifting them, now more and more software even from the mainstream publishers like Microsoft and Adobe is now delivered via your computer. Saving the planet’s resources and your shelf space. The sophistication of many of these software offerings is utterly astounding and they now usually come with a try before you buy option, never available in the days of manuals and disks.

Automation
Some of the task integration and automation systems that have been been developed in the last five years, can certainly reduce the soul destroying repetitive tasks associated with this endeavor and allow the non techie person to build pages, and construct funnels.

Utilities
Including Virii and Malware detectors and destroyers, registry cleaners continue to provide an important level of security to individual and networked computers.

Themes Plugins and Training For CMS’s such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal seem to be never ending.

The perception that software has more value than other digital products keeps this sector vibrant. The fact that simple software is within the grasp of most computer users, make it a great choice for anyone with development aspirations.

Books

Written on every subject known to man are now sold digitally at the rate of 2 for every 1 sold using paper, the advent of iPad, Kindle and other book readers has driven this rapid expansion.

The quality is variable as the big players let the market decide what is good, based on the levels of satisfaction from those who have already purchased.

Audio Recordings

Of both music and the spoken word are now more frequently downloaded than purchased in a music store, and the quality of the recording does not deteriorate even over long period of time. Your MP3 player might get scratched,  but not the recording and your entire CD collection can be kept on an one iPod or similar. Add to that that many Kindle readers have an audio component with either computerised or human voices available.

Video

Video and Audio combine to invade almost every other media. Training videos are a great OTO for a eBook, for software, as an addition to musical audios.

Maps

Static maps that can be printed have been around for a time but software that enables a GPS receiver to function are much more recent and these can now be obtained for most major cities and countries around the world, great if you plan to drive on your holiday, trip, or even around your own town.

Art

In recent times Artists are selling their work as high definition digital downloads that can be printed by the purchaser and framed. Print runs are limited in number to maintain value and the purchaser can save huge amounts in freight and insurance. Should the picture be damaged there are secure ways that the legitimate owner can get it reprinted.

Hopefully we can develop a relationship with you that will help you establish yourself as a creator or affiliate for one or more of these types of digital material.

Or maybe you have another plan and are looking for the best digital products to operationalise it.

Our aim is to give you the best help advice and fit for your needs.

Finding The Best Web Hosting

What Is Hosting

Your host is the place where your Domain name will live, where you will place the content and if you are a marketer, promote the offers that put your mark on the internet as a person of authority and integrity in your field.

It is probably the most important component of your Internet presence, and finding the best Web Hosting is a task you should undertake with utmost care.

There Are However Some Problems

There are the two major myths that are deeply rooted in this industry which need to be dispelled before we can even think about what our hosting needs and preferences might be.

a) The Liberal Use Of The Term Unlimited

When the hosting company says unlimited, it doesn’t mean unlimited, in fact what it is really saying is that it imposes no specific caps on usage.

The only reason hosting is so affordable is that the hosting that the average user utilises which is called shared hosting, involves many sites sharing one server.

Hosting companies host between 1000 to 5000 individual accounts on each server. That very arrangement limits the space available to each account.

The hosting company utilises a method similar to that employed by “eat all you can” restaurants, or “pick your own” berry farms or orchards; that is the average account will use less than is allocated with only a small percentage taking more.

If you go and get twenty plates of food at an “Eat All You Can Outlet” someone is likely to say that’s enough; if you eat two kilos of fruit for each kilo you bring to the weigh-in at a “Pick Your Own” berry farm or orchard, someone is likely to point out the unacceptability of the practice.

So it is with shared hosting. if you’re taking more is excessive or consistent then your account can be sanctioned, what is even more difficult is that there are rarely hard and fast rules.

However you will always find the real story by reading the Terms of service (ToS) or Terms and Conditions (TaC).

These are the fine print behind the copywriters promises and they tell a somewhat different story to those promises, nowhere more so than for the term in question.

Look for sections talking about Unlimited: Domains, Data Transfer, Disk Space or Storage and their Fair Use Policy in those areas. These sections, with more or less specificity will explain the real meaning of the phrases

Remember the box you casually ticked during signup that had beside it “I have read and understand the Terms and Conditions” or something similar. Well that’s legally binding and one of those terms will say something like: fair use is not having activity on your account which impinges on the ability of other accounts on the server to operate, utilising their fair share of the available resources.

Even if you use more expensive forms of hosting you will find that their will be limitations of some kind.

Virtual Private Server (VPS), which is shared hosting on steroids, will still have fair use policies, but of course with higher limits, for which you typically pay higher prices.

Even if you move to a dedicated server where you lease an entire server, and where you will have full control over the server, including choice of operating system, hardware, etc. The hardware itself will impose limitations based on disk size and traffic intensity.

So in reality there is really no unlimited anything, anywhere unless you are Google, Twitter or Microsoft, even owning your own server, will not give you that.

b) Features
Those which are front and centre in the advertising and which are touted as being of major importance in your choice of host are not in fact features that offer stark contrasts between those competing for your hosting dollar.

Performance in areas such as server speed, uptime, cPanel navigation, software stability and ease of content management system installation, for example WordPress, all measure within tenths of a percentage point of each other.

What Is Important Then?

In a nutshell the important things you should know about, are those that can or will:

    a) Affect your ability to grow your site.
    b) Affect your costs

To effectively achieve the goal of growing your site you need to:

    Find Out What The Limits Are.
    Remember the idea of creating a site, for most of us, is to get visitors. The more the better. So when you are estimating your needs, think success and what that would mean in terms of resource requirements.

    It may seem a waste of time to do this kind of research for an expenditure of only a few dollars, or Euro’s a month, but the reasons go much deeper than that.

    This isn’t only about looking at whether those limits would enable you to operate without sanction today, but in your second or third year of operation.

    If you are able or intend to pay for your hosting on a monthly basis, this will be irrelevant, but most of us are enticed by the convenience of and reduced pricing associated with signing up for longer periods.

    The reality hits when you find that even a meager number of visitors is eating up your data transfer allowance, or just two domains are putting you over the storage limit, and your host is getting antsy about its fair use policy and your contract still has several years to run.

    So before you tick the box and provide your credit card numbers or Paypal details, please read the ToS, and if you don’t understand something, contact the hosting company you have decided on and talk to their support staff.

    This is the time to get you questions answered to your satisfaction, because this is the time when they are still trying to get your business.

    Having established the limits of your account and that it does fit your current estimates of your requirements. There is one other thing you should establish.

    Find Out If This Hosting Company Offers The Ability To Change Plans.

    The best laid plans of mice and men can fail and should you still have under estimated your requirements you need to know what you can do to avoid your account getting locked or deleted.

    Your preferred host will have a policy and you need to be aware of it. Many hosts apply a charge for this service, while others see this as an opportunity to stay with you in changing circumstance and are happy to facilitate your change of plans without imposing any fee, apart from any increase costs associated with the new plan.

    Remember Failing to plan, is tantamount to planning to fail.

To effectively manage your costs, the second part of the equation, you need to:

See if Your Host Offers Freebies

For example some hosts offer to renew your domain name for free every year while you remain with them. If you only have one domain on your site that is 100% of your Domain costs saved and is very worthwhile.

However if you have a number of domains the savings go down dramatically as you will only get one renewal per account so if you have six domains at $10 per year, you will still have to pay for five, but any saving of $10 is worthwhile.

Beneficial Pricing

This can be a big help in a number of ways:

    a) Some companies offer really low rates for the duration of your initial contract with the price increasing by up to 100% on renewal. This can have some advantages if you are pretty sure that you will be generating income within the time-frame of your contract and can budget for the increased fees.
    Companies that offer such deals are usually offering premium features at low cost to entice your membership, in a very competitive environment, So the charges they revert to are usually fair. However they can be a shock if you didn’t read the terms of the initial offer.

    b) Others lock in a price for the duration of your time with them. Being able to predict hosting costs for your website, enables you to plan spending in other areas with much greater certainty.

    c) Then Others Offer Returning Customer Discount Offers. Which is a discount on additional accounts of up to 50% for life. As you bring your accounts to the host the discounts are automatically applied.

Finally, that area which I believe offers the most contrasts between web hosts and that is:
Responsive Customer Support.

If your research lands you up with several options for a website. Then this should be the deciding factor. All the leading providers have 24/7/365 support, but responsiveness is what I believe is the quality you should look for.

Look at:
What kinds of support channels are there?
FAQ’s, Live Chat, Telephone, or Email.
Do they put more resources in one channel over another and is it one you would use by choice?
What is their stated response time?
How helpful are the representatives?

As in everything you should do your own research, actually test each channel out and make a final decision based on your own experience.

Remember this is the best time to find out that they state five minutes but in actuality its more like 25 minutes or more.

I did that for this post and came up with the three hosts above, I have been a long time customer and affiliate of Blue Host, but on the basis of my research I also joined the other two hosts as an affiliate. So if you think that any of the hosts would meet your needs and you click on the links and buy one of their hosting packages I will get a commission.

My choice for overall value is currently Arvixe by a nose, but as it will be for you that is a personal choice.