“Obadobadope” Complete Blog Archive

The Personal Finance Blog Obadobadope went offline in 2010. It’s a treasure trove of unique thinking about investing, capitalism and consumption.

obadobadope title

I’ve archived it here so that people can read it again in an easy format, all on one page. I used php curl() to scrape these texts from the internet archive at archive.org.

Archive Notes

  • The following 330 kb of text is hosted by me, but all images are hosted by Archive.org. That means their servers do the real heavy lifting, so if you feel like donating to keep this archive alive, aim your generosity at archive.org.
  • I’ve removed links within the archived content since they don’t really work anyway. If this archive gets popular I’ll consider bringing links back and working to fix them all.
  • To make navigation easier, I’ve added a table of contents.
  • Unlike an active blog which starts with the most recent post and works backwards, I’ve structured this archive to begin at the very first post and proceed forward in time.
  • This archive contains 53,000 words, about the size of an average mystery novel.

Disclaimer

The following content is hosted here for informational purposes. I don’t own this content nor do I derive any monetary benefit from it. If the content’s author wishes this archive to be removed, he may get in touch with me via my contact page and I will remove it promptly.

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Buying Websites as an Investment Vehicle

I joined a Mr Money Mustache Meetup group. MMMMeetup I’ve cleverly called it. On the hike we completed last weekend, I spoke at length about building, buying and selling websites.

lynn-creek-canyon

The investors among the group perked up when I mentioned that websites trade at a P/E ratio of 2. That’s a deal an order of magnitude better than stocks or houses, which trade at ratios of between 20 and 30.

I realise there’s a good reason that websites trade at such a high discount rate; they’re inherently much riskier than owning land, labor or capital. These are some of the risk factors I’ve identified in a conversation with one of the MMMMeetup members. 

Things that go Wrong with a Website

  • A site with traffic based entirely on search might be using shady practices to get search ranking. A google algorithm change can wipe out search traffic. This can be a death sentence for a site, which is why vetting beforehand is so important.
  • Server can get hacked and will require repair. Repair can take hours to days to fix fully. This happens fairly frequently with WordPress installs.
  • A static site might start to slowly lose relevancy and will need fresh content to remain competitive in its space.
  • A competitor site might be launched, taking a portion of your traffic.
  • A site relying on time-sensitive information will become out of date (news sites, science&technology, health fads) and will need to be updated
  • New browsing technology may require a site rebuild. The best example of this is the smartphone trend toward sites that work on any size screen. A more recent example is the move to SHTML as a more important ranking factor.
Not every sudden change is negative.
  • A direct sale advertiser wants to place sponsored posts or custom ads, doubling your revenue for one or more months but requiring an account manager.
  • Your site explodes in popularity and requires a server move and/or content delivery system.
  • A new affiliate program needs to be integrated site-wide

Where to Buy Websites

I’ve identified these 3 marketplaces as the best at this time.
  • Flippa.com – This is the biggest website exchange as far as I know. Lots of cheap sites but there’s a lot of “pump and dump” type sites for sale – buyer beware and know how to do your due diligence on a site before buying.
  • EmpireFlippers.com I don’t know that much about it but a colleague of mine says its the only one she trusts. I think this was built around a book or something.
  • Quiet Light Brokerage – premium sites, usually costing $1 million and up. Well vetted by the brokerage beforehand, and you have to sign an NDA to get on their list. Not that many sites come through this pipeline.
Craigslist has sites for sale too, although it’s not a great fit because Craigs is local focused. I’ve only ever seen one decent site for sale on craigslist.

Considerations for Vetting a Website

  • Start with using SEMrush. Its stats are much more useful than compete.com or alexa, which are popular but I wouldn’t bother with at all. This gives an indication of a website’s potential for passive income through search engines. Although the subject matter of the site will have a huge effect on its income potential – finance related sites for example can push credit cards and startup business sites can push hosting services, which both pay a positively massive commission.
  • Check the website with mozrank, open site explorer and Google Pagerank. What you’re looking for are high quality links and a decent track record. 
  • Also look into their demographics. I have 2 popular sites, one which caters to males in their 20s and another primarily used by men and women over the age of 55. The site for 20 year olds hardly pays its server expenses, the 55+ site performs amazingly.

Cryptocurrency/Litecoin/Dogecoin Mining Business Plan

I like what Linus Media Group does. I’m not talking about the content they create, which is high quality and very useful by way, but how they run their offices.

They rent a big house out in Langley which they stuff full of computer and camera equipment which they use when it’s time to get some work done. Linus actually uses the kitchen for many of videos, although the recipes he’s teaching the audience have names like “budget gaming build” rather than “beef bourguignon.”

linus-tech-guy

Photo Credit: Linus Media Group and NCIX Tech Tips

But I’ve never had a compelling reason to rent office space myself – until now.

This new crypocurrency stuff allows me to stuff an office full of workers – virtual workers – whom I could manage remotely. I wouldn’t have to be physically present there unless I wanted to be. This office/house project makes a lot of sense for us right now because heavy equipment is about to turn piddlingly small bachelor pad into a 0BR 0Bath literal hole in the ground.

But is it feasible? I have no idea yet. But I’m going to find out right now with the power of spreadsheets!

Dogecoin Mining Earnings per Day

I’ve got about 2 weeks of data now on our new 700 k/h mining rig, which I can scale to find out what my equipment needs would be to pay for the office space + electricity. Meet Milky the Miner, creator of data points.

milky-the-miner

Now for the Data Dump

Based on a dogecoin value of $1.2 USD per 1000 Ð.

crate-stats

 

doge-chart

What Does it All Mean?

In summary, for every 1000 kh/s in processing power, crypto mining is earning around$3.42 a day, or 102$/month.

Breaking Even on a Crypto Apartment

The first task is to earn enough from the space and electricity a mining rig requires to pay for the apartment.

Rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in burnaby runs $950/mo which would require around 9 mh/s (9216 kh/s). Based on current energy consumption of “Milky” (400 watts: 700 kh), a rig this size would conservatively demand around 5.5 kilowatts, which in this region costs $356/mo. So you need another 4 mh/s or so to pay for that for a total of 13 mh/s just to pay for the space.

Now we’re up to 13 mh/s for our very conservative rent paying mining array. We could actually shave 10% right off the top just for currency conversion and another 30% if we use the average price of Ð rather than the period low of $1.2/1000. This is a worst case scenario build with tons of margin for volatility.

Cost of a Rent-Paying Mining Build

Over on /r/scryptminingrigs are some great sample builds with detailed cost analysis. This is currently the largest, a sample build for 4000$ that hashes a hair over 7k mh/s. We would need two of these. $8,000 all-in and we can almost guarantee a rig that can pay for the space it lives in. But your living space better be damn secure.

A Sample Crypto Apartment

This 2 bedroom apartment sits near the highway in Burnaby. According to padmapper, 2 it’s 0% more expensive than the typical 2 bedroom apartment in the area.

It would be very important to check how well the circuits in a place like this would handle the large power draw. However that dryer itself would need about 4500 watts which almost brings us to our power needs on its own. I’m not sure if they make adapters for those high amp outlets though.

kitchen

bedroomPictures from Kijiji Listing

Mining Cryptocurrency / Dogecoin Setup Guide and FAQ

I’ve been spending my spare desktop computer cycles mining for the latest hot commodity, DogeCoin. I’m lucky that the graphics card I already have is a pretty good miner already, the 7750 from MSI. Pushing only about 80% as hard as I could, I’m getting a steady 150 kh/s, building my fortune at a rate of about 1000 coins every 24 hours. The going rate for a grand of Ð? About $1.30. Sure that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a sizable chunk of my daily rent cost of $8.33, which includes the electricity that powers the miner.

Building New Skills

I didn’t expect that when I started mining for Ð that I would start assembling BAT files, using the windows console POWERCFG utility, tweaking processor core temps and fan speeds, or managing python libraries and scripts. I’ve learned more about computers in the last 24 hours than I have over the past 12 months and I’ve had a blast doing it.

Is It Risky?

DogeCoin doesn’t take itself too seriously. Which is for the best, considering that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and DogeCoin are still a massive unknown. If you take it too seriously, you might invest a lot of your time and money into something that ends up evaporating like fog on a sunny day. Keep it light and keep your expectations low, and you’ll be better off no matter what happens.

How Do I Get Started?

You need a few things to start mining.

  • A computer. Any computer will do but newer, better ones mine far better.
  • A Doge Wallet. This holds your coins. I use the desktop version 1.5 because it’s more secure than an online wallet.
  • Membership in a mining pool. This is free and anonymous and you can get set up in a couple of minutes. I use rapidhash. Once you are logged in you will need to create a worker for your mining utility to “log in” to.
  • A mining utility. This is by far the most complicated part of your setup. If you have a good graphics card based on AMD you will want to use cgminer 3.7.2 (not the newer versions). If you have a geforce graphics card you will need to use cudaminer. If your graphics card is deficient or non existent, you can use cpuminer instead but your mining speed is almost always faster with a graphics card than with a CPU. There’s a full list of graphics cards along with recommended utilities at litecoin.info.

Mining is done in a little terminal screen and set up using essentially an MS dos prompt. Fortunately the mining pool I recommended RapidHash makes a windows BAT file for you that sets everything up automatically.

cgminer

Can I Still Use my Computer While Mining?

I did this entire article while my graphics card plugged away full tilt mining DogeCoin. I was also running a Dwarf Fortress at its full complement of FPS.

Since the best mining method does not use the CPU, only graphic intensive tasks that use the graphics card are affected. That includes photoshop, youtube videos, and video games. Even the animated gif I used up above is much choppier than usual while mining.

Will Mining Hurt my Graphics Card?

It sure will if you let it get too hot. This rules out mining with most laptops because their airflow is so limited that they can’t handle the heat. Most miners try to keep their graphics card temperatures at 80°C but I like to keep it at a much more conservative 65°C. I find the best way to keep the card cool is by manually setting the fan control higher. Usually you will have to install the specialty software your graphics came with to adjust your fan controls.

Building a Dedicated Doge Miner

I found this useful tutorial on building a 500 kh/s rig for 300$. Considering I’m happy to pay 1$ per kh/s, this is a pretty good deal. US prices.

Source for video clip

Basing Every Goal on the Survival Number

Last month earnings blasted through my “survival number” of 30$/day like a freight train. Consequently, I’ve found my motivation for working hard melt away, leaving only existential bliss behind.

But the taste of independence is too sweet to risk to days filled with nothing but naps, snacks and video games. Now that my most important milestone seems firmly in the rear-view mirror, I must plot a course to the next.

The most dependable source of traffic for me is search engine traffic. Many internet marketers, veterans of the Penguin and Panda massacres, would disagree and claim from their own experience that search traffic is the most fickle. But my tail is long and fat. Take away any one keyword and the effect on the whole would look like normal fluctuation.

In the week of June 3, 2012 – a month after I launched my site – it attracted a total of 172 visitors from searches. Over the next 63 days, this figure doubled. 147 days more and it doubled again. Search traffic doubled a total of 5 times between June 3, 2012 and today – November 11 2013.

Don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with this.

My next goal is to meet my survival number with search traffic alone. Based on some numbers and graphs which I will not share here, I’m only 1/4 of the way there. In other words, this goal will require 2 more doublings which based on past history take ~100 days each.

Of course doublings should start to slow down dramatically at some point as the internet reaches its saturation point for information about buckets.

I like this new goal because it looks so similar to the last. Maybe I will base all future earnings goal on that same 30$/day number. It’s a “mind-sized” goal that keeps every number in sharp perspective.

Finally we can Analyze some Data for Facebook Friday!

 

It’s not as if I couldn’t have run some numbers before, but the more data I can get on the efficacy of Facebook Fridays the better.

I started this mad experiment on July 19th, according to the post I made here the day I committed to this social media plan. That’s only 9 weeks ago!!! Holy moly, it feels like so much longer than that.

At the time I had 206 subscribers on the facebook page – called likes in Facebook’s proprietary lingo. It’s growth, but it doesn’t seem too much faster than normal. Recent history would suggest that my assumption is probably wrong but I’ll run those numbers another time.

The numbers to run this time are traffic numbers. How about some charts?

Facebook.com Referral Traffic

These are ONLY the figures for traffic coming from the Facebook black box. Black box because you can’t tell which page on Facebook the visits are coming from. Each data point is 1 week.

The highlighted point is the first week of Facebook Friday. Data goes back to March or so for comparison.

facebook-frydayReal hard to tease out useful data from this isn’t it? This is the annotation that Taran left to mark that spike in early June.

SOMEONE posts SOMETHING SOMEWHERE, God only knows

Exactly. No way to tell where the traffic is coming from. I’m reasonably sure that the more recent spikes are my doing – but how to be sure?

I have no choice but to close on an unsatisfying note of ambiguity.

It’s sure nice to have Fridays off from writing for search engines though.

 

Giveaway Downloads on Every Post

It’s a strategy from a guy whose business is business. The kind of internet fauna of which there might be too much of, in the same where there are too many magic wand salesmen recruiting new magic wand salesmen who will recruit yet more magic wand salesmen.

The advice checks out though, here’s how I’ve adjusted it with my own slant of laziness.

Instead of putting a giveaway on EVERY post I’ve decided to spend the time to put these giveaways on the posts that have already proven that have 2 of the 3 following features

  • High traffic through main site
  • High search engine visibility
  • High page earnings

Spending the time to put giveaways only on the posts with a proven track record is sort of an 80/20 compromise. I figure I can get 80% of the benefit of these techniques with only 20% of the effort applied strategically.

I used the HTML code provided which was very helpful. The only coding necessary was the HTML and 1 or 2 CSS changes. In total it took 30 minutes, and will probably be much faster in the future now that it’s been done once. Building the brand new mailchimp campaign took an hour or two and should go much faster if part of the process can be template.

(from my comment on the interview podcast)

Nerd Finance

Ever since I learned about Nerd Fitness, I’ve wanted a Nerd Finance.

Nerd Fitness is a popular site that helps motivate 20-somethings toward health by plugging health and fitness into their Super Mario mindset. For example, the Nerd Fitness jogging regimen uses waypoints along Frodo’s epic ring journey to milestone your own daily runs. Now your running has a real tangible goal – being able to proudly proclaim, “I’ve run to Mordor!”

Today I heard the topic for the first Nerd Finance article I would write if NerdFinance.com weren’t the property of an eager for profits cyber squatter.

The Red Ring

The Red Ring is an ultra overpowered accessory in some 90’s RPG. As soon as you found and equipped the red ring, your character’s power ascended to that of a demigod. The protagonist breezed through the rest of the game effortlessly, slaying the end boss without breaking a sweat.

In finance, the red ring is your retirement nest egg. If you can aquire it early, you get to play your whole life on easy mode, living off the dividends it throws off quarterly. That’s why money saved in your 20s has exponentially more value than money saved later in life.

“Pick a Niche then Pick a Strategy – and stick with them.”

That was the advice given by Paula from AffordAnything.com on a recent interview with the Mad FIentist, a podcast that I listen to.

She was talking about investing in real estate, but the advice applies to building any asset base where the goal is building passive income.

So for example, if you’re thinking of getting into real estate, you should commit to single family homes or you should commit to mobile home park land, or you should commit to 20-unit apartment complexesthen proceed to learn everything you can about that niche.

As for picking the method, it could be buying distresses units and reselling them after putting in a bunch of work to fix them up. Or it could be holding them and relying on that monthly rental cheque. Pick one, and learn it, backward and forward.

My niche is blogging, since I don’t have the money to pay cash for real estate, and I don’t have the intestinal fortitude to bear a six figure mortgage. My strategy is to write better than average content which attracts a more balanced traffic strata than other for profit blogs. That way I’m not overly dependent on one traffic source (Google.) I shoot for traffic sources split approximately 33% between each – referral, direct and search traffic.

For fun, here’s my Niche and Method for winning Roller Coaster Tycoon. Pick a high traffic area, build a slide, and charge 3$ per customer. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, win scenario!

7-slidesAchieved 8,000 monthly income with a 18,000 company value. That’s what – a  500% annual return?

achieved

 

8 Month Itchy Feet

I find that with very few exceptions I don’t stick around at a job for more than 8 or 9 months. Maybe it’s a generational quirk. My parents stuck with jobs for 5 to 10 years, and their parents even longer.

Most recently I’ve been getting sick of constantly writing articles, day after day. Not mind-block sick of it, like the way Taran gets when looking for jobs, but “what a chore” sick. To me it means the clock is winding down. In a month or two I might loathe what I do. The same kind of thing happened at Pedal to Petal. I was doing the minimum amount of work I absolutely had to keep the company running and to keep enough money coming in. The difference there is that I stuck with that gig for 18 months, a good deal longer than the mean for me.

So it’s time to start considering new projects. This most recent one was the smartest thing I could do with 8 months ever before in my life, because the system I spent that time building won’t go away. Unlike when I unplugged from the UBC system and those fat paychecks were cut off completely, this time I’ll hopefully see an ongoing benefit for years – or decades even – into the future.

Maybe this is the psychological profile of a serial entrepreneur. Build a system, replace yourself, and move on.

Not to say that I’m any good at entrepreneurship. I’m actually shockingly bad at motivating people; I think I’m too easy going. I let things slide and by no means demand the best of people. And if I never have to do a cold call or bring donuts to an office in the hopes of future clients, I will die a happy human.

This Website Need Only Make $10 a Year

Websites are amazing because they are so damn cheap to run. The real estate that this site sits on costs me about 10$ per year, that’s for my fancy domain name – www.justscrapingby.com. Sure hosting costs money too – but each additional website I put on my server doesn’t cost me any extra – so that’s a “sunk cost” to use economist’s lingo. Plus I have web clients that lease server space from me, so I break even on web hosting anyway.

I have this one website I’ve been running with my brother for 3 years – DFStories.com. It’s very popular in the Dwarf Fortress community, the site is well designed and the articles well written. But it’s not a source of revenue for me because the audience is the least likely to click an ad or buy a product of any audience. The readers for this site are highly technically competant males in their 20’s and 30’s. Even the ones who don’t have adblock installed are exceedingly unlikely to click an ad or buy anything.

However, because this site is still capable of making a piddling 22$ per year, we can keep it up forever as a service to that community. Because its internet real estate costs the same as any other website’s real estate – just 10 dollars each year.

Imagine if AFK real estate cost so little, how society would be different. If rent for a basic place to live cost just 50$ a month, for example, people would be so much freer to pursue a way of life that feels right to them – not just a high expenditure, high workload existence. Not that I think that way of existing is necessarily a bad way to live, but wouldn’t you rather have the choice? That’s why I’m an advocate for Slum Zoning – which is a term I made up because no city councillor would dare to think of it before. But we’re already seeing tent cities popping up all over America – why not zone for them?

So today I’m putting a couple of ads on this website – and I’m shooting for an ultra conservative earnings target of 10$ per year.

 

Blogging as a Business

Northern VoiceThis is the abstract for a speech I submitted to the Northern Voice blogging conference. It summarizes a 30 minute lecture into 500 words.

Update: My speech got approved and I delivered it during Northern Voice 2013, making it my first paid speaking gig. 

Every blogger defines success differently. Some want to spread their ideas, and others are building communities. A tiny minority of bloggers write primarily with income in mind – blogging as business.

I like to sell the idea of blogging as a business to people with my “one dollar per week” thought experiment. A well written article on a well selected topic can easily earn one dollar a week. Like a tireless little digital employee, it’ll earn that dollar a week for you year after year – for as long as the internet sticks around! If one article earns one dollar, 100 will earn 100 dollars. Once you’ve accumulated 1000 articles, you’re earning slightly more sitting on your couch than the average Canadian earns working 8 hour days.

Separating the hobbyist blogger from the business blogger stand the same things separating, for example, a professional chef from a home cook who prepares food for just their family. This article will discuss what I’ve learned to be the 3 three most important factors separating hobby bloggers from profit bloggers – market research, consistency, and monetization.

Market Research

The most important work you’ll ever do on your blog is done before you write your first post. Like in choosing a business niche in the offline world, we want to pick a market with plenty of demand, a product that we can sell or promote profitably, and without too much competition. Fortunately, we can research these three factors for our blogging business completely free in just moments.

Consistent Content

A blogger’s business is content creation, and the blogger with an income in mind must make their blog a priority by showing up regularly to create their product. How long would a bakery last, if someone didn’t show up each day at 3 AM to bake bread and greet customers? You might agree that our proverbial bakery store is doomed. Bloggers have it a bit easier, because the internet is “always open,” but the professional blogger must still show up at regular intervals to “take care of business.”

Making it Pay

Finally, a blog must have a way to turn clicks and pageviews into dollars and dimes. With herds of new people flocking online every day, bloggers have never had so many monetization opportunities. Advertising is still a big slice of total blog income, just as with traditional media like television and print. But unlike these “old media,” the advertising pie available to online publishers is GROWING at breakneck speed.

The blogging profession is still in its infancy. “Professional bloggers” are the butt of jokes and are often not taken seriously. As a result many bloggers may not take themselves seriously either. But blogging CAN be a serious business. You CAN make a living from it if you commit to it and adopt the right techniques. There’s never a better time to start building up your 1000 articles!