What is a friend?

Business, and especially online marketing, is all about trading. Advertisers, publishers, agencies, networks, and exchanges trade ad impressions, clicks, and conversions for money. A deal takes place when supply meets demand. Simple economics. This is why in business you sometimes work with people that you don’t really like. It’s all very rational, mostly about numbers.

In my personal life I want the complete opposite. I don’t want to negotiate deals and I certainly don’t want to spend my time with people that I don’t like. I want to be with good and honest people, not worry about numbers, and simply have a good time.

Still, I feel I’m sometimes surrounded by people that treat personal relationships like business. They have this “what’s in for me” attitude and constantly try to get the most out of you just for themselves. They mostly demand and hardly don’t offer, they usually take and don’t give, they consume and don’t contribute, they talk a lot and act very little.

Even if you think these people are your “friends”, they are really not. They are just acquaintances and will be around only as long as you have something that they want. Once you have nothing to offer to them anymore you will never hear from them again. So don’t waste your time with these bullshitters, life is too short.

What is a friend then? It’s actually quite simple:

A friend is a person who does something for you without expecting anything in return, in the present or in the future. A friend is happy to help you out and will never ask you to return the favor. He will leave it up to you to show your gratitude.

Let me give you an example:

Last week I went to dmexco in Cologne, Germany’s main digital marketing exposition and conference. Originally I was planning to go there on Tuesday, do some meetings on Wednesday and then leave to be back in the office on Thursday. So I didn’t even bother getting a ticket for Wednesday night’s big party (OMClub).

It turned out that I had to stay until Thursday and do all of our meetings. All the people that I knew were planning to go to that party and all the tickets had been gone for days or weeks already. So I just called a friend of mine and asked him whether he thought he could organize an extra ticket for me.

Here is the important part: Without even thinking about it he immediately replied saying that I shouldn’t worry and that he would sort me out. He told me to call him once I get to the venue and he would get me in. And it all went exactly as he promised. I gave him a call and there he was with an extra ticket. He was happy to give it to me and didn’t ask for anything in return.

That is a friend.

An acquaintance would have asked for something in return, trying to get something out of my situation. Maybe not that night, but sooner or later an acquaintance would have brought up the ticket story for his own benefit. Now think about it, of those people that you usually hang out with, who are your real friends?

Thanks Ingo, I owe you one.

Wanna-Be Clients

Whatever business you run, sometimes you realize that a potential client is not worth the effort. Sometimes that is because they have nothing to offer. But very often it is also the case that they are just looking for a free ride.

These people or companies are not really clients because you are never going to get any substantial business from them. I call them “wanna-be clients”. You need to avoid them like the plague. They are vampires, sharks, whatever you want to call them.

Here are some very typical indicators of a wanna-be client:
– He doesn’t know his own product or service well enough.
– He has no significant references.
– His business develops very slowly.
– He wants everything but doesn’t want to pay for anything.
– He constantly tries to bring your price down.
– He wants a lot of free consulting without ever having done any business with you.
– He is not willing to make any prepayments.
– He never pays on time, or even worse, he doesn’t pay at all.
– He says all of your competitors are better and cheaper than you.
– He always complains about everything.

My advice: Stay away from those people. They are bad luck. They cost you so much time and you’re never going to make anything off them. Rejecting a wanna-be client is not a missed opportunity but an avoided nuisance. Leave this junk up to your competitors.

I’ve lived and worked according to this principle for many years now. As a result, I work with people who know what they are doing and who are willing to pay good money for good service. Remember, life is about quality and not quantity.

TeamViewer Remote Control

Have you ever wanted to control a remote computer? Then you have probably messed with VNC-based programs in the past. But the problem is that VNC is usually tied to a very specific port. And if you are behind a router or firewall you need to configure that device to allow you access to the computer. All really complicated, especially if you’ve never heard of HTTP ports and such.

TeamViewer solves all of these problems. It’s remote desktop software available for Windows, Mac, Linux and iPhone. All you need to do is start the software and enter the TeamViewer ID of the remote machine and a pre-defined password. TeamViewer does the rest. No more worries about port configurations and possible video drivers interfering. For non-commercial use it’s absolutely free and a must for every geek.

Download: http://www.teamviewer.com (no affiliate link)

Affiliate Networks vs. CPA Networks

Lately I’ve checked out a number of (mostly American) CPA networks and realized how old-fashioned most affiliate networks turn out to be. Here is why I like CPA networks much better.

Programs vs. Offers

Affiliate networks are usually about merchants. Some of the programs bombard you with every possible banner, link and product feed they have and don’t really help you much in making a choice. CPA networks on the contrary are usually about landing pages. A CPA offer may have a couple of landing pages, but that’s it. Lately the affiliate networks have adopted the CPA trend and started what they call campaigns. They’re basically integrating landing-page-only programs into their portfolio.

Direct Relationship vs. Blind Network

In a traditional affiliate network the merchant (or the agency) has direct contact to the affiliate. In a CPA network the affiliate talks only to the network, not the merchant. Usually the merchant doesn’t know the identity of the affiliate either.

Approval Process vs. Instant Start

Most affiliate programs have an admission process, many of them approve affiliates manually. In a CPA network you have no direct relationship with the advertiser, so there is no approval process. Affiliates can start right away and pull their codes. Don’t you hate how long some affiliate managers sometimes take to approve you?

Open vs. Confirmed Transactions

Probably every affiliate network can assign leads and sales a certain status: unconfirmed, confirmed, denied. I can understand the point of the merchants as they only want to pay for transactions for which the customer has actually paid. But affiliates, especially those that do media buying, need to know their final revenue by the end of the day. They can’t do effective media buying if they don’t know much money they actually made the previous day. So it’s no surprise that most CPA networks don’t get into this. They solve this for example by paying for every transaction but with a lower payout.

Secrets vs. Transparency

There are still a number of affiliate networks that keep the performance of their programs secret. On the other hand, CPA networks are usually brutally honest and give you access to the metrics. Not only that you see the stuff in the interface. The other day I received an email from a CPA network with a list of all eCPCs for their search offers. I’ve never received this from any affiliate network before, even when I asked them for it.


Very simple. If you are a content publisher, stay with the good old-fashioned affiliate networks. They provide you with all the fancy ads that you can throw on your sites. Also, the really big brands want to be in control of their affiliates so you won’t find very many of them on CPA networks. However, if you are a media buyer who wants to drive hardcore sales, go for the CPA networks.