Adam: Hello everybody. Welcome once again to another fantastic episode of the Business Creators’ Radio Show where we help you win in the game of business and marketing so you can thrive from the intersection of your brilliance and passion. My name is Adam Hommey, I am your host, and I am honored by your wise decision to tune in and invest in yourself today.
As the name of our show says, our listeners like you, are business creators. We have our entrepreneurs, small business owners, local business owners. We have the marketing and business coaches, consultants, and mentors. The folks who help others create their businesses, and the do-it-yourselfers who like to have your own hands on the levers. If you’re one or more of the above, and many of our listeners who tune in every week or all of the above, take a moment, explore episodes, discover how we can serve you at www.businesscreatorsradioshow.com. While you’re there, click on the iTunes icon, make sure to subscribe, you’ll get immediate access to almost 250 episodes since we went live in September of 2013, immediately available in your iTunes. Plus, you’ll get fresh content every single week, does that sound good?
What also sounds good—and this is one of the things we support the Business Creators’ Radio Show is—we love to help entrepreneurs experience more of what they call freedom on their own terms. We’re going to be speaking with a gentleman who has achieved just that, and he’s going to give you some insights on how to use the common internet strategy and tweak it so that you can experience more of what you call freedom. I have great noise cancellation in my microphone so you might hear a little bit of buzzing in the background. That’s just the way it is because I’m sitting out at my balcony right now, it’s a very nice summer day here in Las Vegas, and the air conditioner unit, that’s two levels down, is buzzing to keep my cats cool inside.
We’ve had guests who have called in from airport terminals. We had somebody who was on their bungalow on the top of a 6-story building with a view of the local airport, so you heard jet planes going over. We had somebody who actually called in from their vacation by a waterfall. We have all kinds of crazy things happening on this show. What you need to know is we’re real people, and we have a lot of fun here, so let’s have some fun, and let’s talk about how to passively generate high six figures from website traffic.
Our regular listeners may be saying, “Website traffic? Don’t you say that getting traffic to your website is the last thing you need or want for your website?” Well, inside my book, Groundhog Day Is an Event, Not a Business Strategy, I do say the last thing you need or want for your website is traffic. You don’t want traffic to your website because traffic is what I think about when I go from my bedroom to my home office when I’m not experiencing anymore, and website how do you define that?
What I urge people to do is to instead of saying, “Traffic to your website,” say, “Visitors to your web pages,” to fulfill the three Ps of website conversions. Meaning, you have people who are pre-qualified—right message, right audience, right time, prepped, they know what to expect, and pumped, so when they click that link and go to your webpage, they are ready to take the action you want them to take. Hopefully, you got your pages loading real nice and quick. I actually do believe, and I confess that traffic to your website is a great thing, I just like to rename it.
Out of respect, we’re going to stick with passively generating high six figures from website traffic because that is what our guest today is going to share with us. He’s a gentleman named Chris Parker. He is the founder and CEO of a website you might have been taken to buy your website hosting provider when you’re having problems accessing your site called whatismyipaddress.com, the number one website in the world for finding your IP address.
According to the Alexa rating, Chris’ website is one of the top 3,000 websites in the United States with over 6 million visitors to that web page per month. Sound good? Sound great? Chris is going to tell you stuff. Chris, welcome aboard. Come on in. The weather is fine.
Chris: Yeah, sounds great. I’m glad to be here, Adam.
Adam: Alright, so here’s what we’d like to do before we dive into the main topic of what we’re going to cover today, I know some of our listeners right now are opening a separate browser tab saying, “Who is this Chris Parker? What is this whatismyipaddress.com?” so what I’d like to do is I’d like to give you an opportunity. Tell us a little bit about your journey and what has brought you to where you are today serving business creators from the intersection of your brilliance and passion.
Chris: Well, my story starts back over 18 years ago now when I launched whatismyipaddress.com. It was never intended to be a business. It was never intended to generate any revenue whatsoever. But it was something that I needed to, exactly like you’re introducing, I needed to diagnose an issue that we are having at an office that I was working full time for, I needed to know my IP address, and I couldn’t easily figure it out. This was pre-Google days, and so I searched AltaVista and couldn’t find any easy answer and decided, “I’m going to put together a website that will help people just like me.” and that’s how it started.
For many years, we ran on an older Windows server sitting in my home office on a 1.5 megabit DSL connection as if anyone even knows what that is anymore. Everyone’s phones were faster than my internet connection when I launched the site. Fun stories about the growth process. Over the years, I learned that, “Gosh, this site is getting a lot of traffic,” and started putting content on it, and asking people to ask me their questions, and I started answering those frequently asked questions, posted the answers to those frequently asked questions on the website, and then one day, this great service called Google AdSense came along, and I started to earn some money.
As those of us who were online back in the days, AdSense was an amazing thing where you could get ads on your website without having to work 40 hours a week, trying to sell them for pennies on the dollar, Google just did all the work for you. An amazing thing that helped a ton of people launch their careers. During that time, this had always been a side hustle of mine. I got transitioned through a number of jobs and in 2010 my employer, like many, got hit by the recession and downgraded us all to part-time.
My wife and I were faced with the question of, “Do I try to find a new job in a crummy economy or do I kind of hang in here where I’ve got some part-time money coming in and devote that rest of my time to working to grow my business?” After a lot of thought, and a lot of conversations, we thought it’d best to, “Let’s try growing your business for six months. If that doesn’t work, it’s back to the grind for you. If it does work, then we’ll give it another six months and see how it goes.” Things went up and down with that employer, and ultimately in 2014, I got let go, and whatismyipaddress.com became my full-time occupation. It’s been a fun ride and fun to see it grow. It’s really neat to see that when you invest time and effort in something, you can actually see some returns and some dividends on that. That’s kind of the big picture of what’s going on over the last 18 years.
Adam: Funny you mentioned Google AdSense. I remember the AdSense party. That was not long after I jumped in entrepreneurship. In fact, when I first went full time with my venture, that was right when the AdSense party was in full swing, so I had a few sites up that I made a few dollars off of, there was one that I really enjoyed, the URL was speakerphonerocks.com. It’s a celebration of speakerphone. Although I’m out of the AdSense game, that website is still up because it’s actually kind of funny. Every so often, somebody stumbles in it, and they contact me, and they ask me what moon I fell off of. I find this so hilarious that I leave it up.
Back in those days, this was before a lot of cell phones—we used to call them cell phones. We didn’t even call them smartphones at that point—speakerphone was actually an option at that time. There were a lot of telephones in offices that didn’t even have a jack to plug in a headset. I was thinking of my early days when I had a job that was sales in nature, and you know how it is with sales jobs, you are measured by how much time you spend on the telephone. I probably still need work on my neck from how bad it hurts from trying to hold the telephone up while typing and writing at the same time. All of my reasonable requests of, “Hey, guys, could I have a headset?” I was told to tough it out. My thing was that I love the speakerphone, it’s so easy, just hit a button, and you can free form a conversation.
I do have a speakerphone today. It’s the Bluetooth setup in my car, so when I get a call while driving my vehicle, I can do it through hands-free conversation, the entire car turns into a speakerphone. It’s really no different than the person sitting next to me. I can drive completely safely which I recommend. Everybody, if you can get a car that has that built into it, pay the extra money, and get the state-of-the-art car so you can be safe. If it doesn’t have it, then do something aftermarket with your existing stereo system. Do a plugin or something like that so you can Bluetooth in your cellular or your smartphone and you can do that thing. Please do that for the safety of the children, and the people crossing the street, and the other drivers, is what I say.
If I were to do something with Speakerphone Rocks today, I would focus on, “Get a Bluetooth system in your car,” because to me, that’s one of the greatest things that’s been invented other than maybe seatbelts, and I’d say airbags, I don’t really think they’re all that safe—that’s just me. That just kind of took me back a little bit what you said about AdSense because I made a few bucks that way, and I had some fun with it.
Today, you’re getting six million consistent visitors per month to whatismyipaddress.com. I imagine not all of them are the result of hosting companies say, “Okay, so we can figure out whether or not your website got blocked, could you go and tell me what your IP address is? Just visit this website.” How are you getting six million visitors a month? I’m very curious about that.
Chris: Well, part of it is with the amazing rise of people worrying about advertisers tracking them, with people worrying about ISPs tracking them, governments tracking them. We just recently did a survey as to actually answer this question, “Why are you coming here? Why are you coming here so frequently? What in world is going on that made you come here?” We found out that a surprising number of people are using VPN services, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, one of these companies to be able to hide their identity online, and they’re confirming that it’s working before they start surfing.
Adam: Right, that is very interesting because I do some of the VPN myself, the whole world doesn’t need to know what I’m reading all the time.
Adam: What I also noticed, because I visited that website right before we started our interview here today is, a person today has more than one type of IP address. It used to be there was just like the 68.202.467.93, I just made that up, but now you have different types of IP addresses, what’s that all about, and I would say that’s another reason why people need to be curious about what you’re doing.
Chris: The old one that you just talked about, the numbers with the dots in them, 10.0.0.0 is what’s referred to as IPV4, that’s what most of the internet ran on until a number of years ago, and with the launch of smartphones, there became more internet-connected devices than IP addresses available for them. The technology that was created a lot longer ago than it was launched or commonly used was called IPV6, and I think it’s a quintillion IP addresses. Every light bulb in your house, every grain of sand on earth can have an IP address and be unique, and so it allows for just for so many more devices.
Now, the internet is kind of running on two separate platforms, IPV4 and IPV6. Then it passes back and forth between them, but sometimes it’s important to know one or the other, or both of them if you’re having technical difficulties.
Adam: You know that’s very interesting especially since we talked about smart lighting systems in your house that are controlled by your smartphone, the fact is all these remote devices have an IP address. Just off the top of my head, all of the external hard drive that plugs into my modem and router have their own IP addresses, so does the modem and router, so does I believe, each one of my computers. I may be right or wrong on that I don’t know.
Chris: You’re right.
Adam: Okay, alright, so I was right. All of my smartphones, I have more than one smartphone, they all have their own IP address whether or not they are currently connected to a cellular service because one is and the other three aren’t. I keep them as mini-computers that I use for various purposes. In fact, one of my smartphones, one of my oldest one, I use as a TV remote basically. That’s the one I use to control my television which probably has its own IP address even though it’s a dumb TV. I also use it so that I can have the apps on that particular device that I stream YouTube and Amazon Prime, and all the other things I use to watch movies since I don’t have cable and won’t pay for cable.
That way, I can have the apps on that dedicated phone. I don’t have to carry it around, and I can keep all my other devices lighter. All these things I just mentioned have IP addresses. If you have mood lighting in your house that is controlled by a remote, you may have IP addresses associated with that. We went well beyond the quintillion that you mentioned, and that just makes a lot of sense.
Just another little tip for our viewers, if you are in website development or you’re involved in doing a hosting transfer, here’s a little trick I’ll teach everybody, and this goes back to IP addresses. After you do the DNS whether you go to GoDaddy, or whatever registrar you’re doing, and you enter the new DNS servers for the new web host for your new website, and then you’re going back, and you’re checking, you’re seeing, “Has it gone over yet? Has it transferred yet? How do I tell? How can I see what’s going on in my monitor?” Whatever trick you use, whether it’s not uploading the index file or not connecting the database or changing one word on the front page so you know which version of the site you’re looking at, whatever it is, one trick I tell people is, put your phone on the Wifi connection and not the Wifi cache but on the 4G or the 3G connection while your house is on the Wifi. Then wait 30 minutes and check that website on your phone through your cellular data. If you see that the site has moved, flush your router, and then you’ll see the new site. That kind of sizes up the one to three-day thing that they still tell you to think about.
Just a little thing about the power of IP addresses and why we care because whatismyipaddress.com can also be used to identify where your domain is actually hosted right now, so you know the DNS action took place. Also, it helps if your website is attacked, you can figure out where they’re coming from.
Adam: ight. Let’s deal with evolution here a little bit, Chris if we may. What is your early setup look like, and then explain that to me, and then show us how has it changed over time?
Chris: When I originally started, like what I said, it was a Windows NT 2000 server. For anyone who didn’t think back that long, really, really old slow machine, but it wasn’t doing a whole lot. It was sitting on a 1.5 megabit DSL connection, and it actually ran on that for a number of years until the logs chewed up a good portion of the drive space which is when I realized, “Hey, there’s really traffic here.” I upgraded to a newer Windows box a couple years later, and then the next evolution was on the cheese grater Macs if you know what those are. It looks like a big giant cheese grater, weighs about 100 pounds.
Adam: Oh yeah.
Chris: There you go, you had a sudden epiphany of what it looks like, it’s cheese grater.
Adam: Yeah, that thing, I remember.
Chris: I actually had it running in my home until probably about 2012 maybe 2013, I had a half rack server in my home office, I had UPSs, I had a generator down in the garage in case the power went out. All the copper into the house was the Internet connection, I had a fixed wireless internet connection, part of the fun to me of running the site was managing all the infrastructure, and how do you manage traffic across multiple internet connections, how do you balance that, what happens if you’ve got a denial-of-service attack
To me, it was a lot of fun just going through the process of managing it, having it all hands on. One time my wife had a, as she often does, an incredibly wise statement, she says, “Honey, if somebody breaks into the house and steals the computer, what are you going to do?” And that was the realization that, “I need to get this out of the house. This is not good business, it’s not smart, it’s probably costing me more to run it out of the house than it would at a colocation facility.”
Fortunately, where I live here in Southern California, I’m at a nexus of high-speed transcontinental or whatever regional internet connections, and there are half a dozen world-class quality colocation facilities within a couple mile drive of my house. I picked one of them and migrated all my equipment over there, and now my house is a good 20 degrees cooler, my electric bill’s dropped about $500 a month.
Chris: Nowadays it runs in the colocation facility, it takes up almost a whole rack. Some people like to go with, “I’m going to use one high-end server.” I’ve gone with the methodology of a bunch of low-end servers behind a load balancer, so I can pull machines out of service, upgrade them, tweak them, put them back in service without having any downtime. Again, it’s still part of the fun for me, is still a little bit of that hands-on maintenance that I get to do, not as much as I used to, but it’s still fun to go depth in the colocation facility.
Adam: You know, I think what you’re describing, and I remember this from the early days when I got on the Internet. I discovered the Internet in 1995. I was an AOL user, and I remember I used to log in and out of AOL just trying to get it to say, “You’ve got a mail.” Remember back in those days when folks fight over an email? Just the other night which we are in 2018, I have so much email backed up in my inbox that I actually have to read. It wasn’t just a bunch of stuff that I could just say, “Well, the heck with that. I haven’t gotten through it, I’ll just delete it, and if anybody feels they’re missing me, they can email me again.” It wasn’t one of those things. I actually had to deal with it. It took me four or five hours to get to it, and I’m thinking, back in the old days, I remember I used to be on the edge of my seat, seeing if Sarah from St. Louis had replied to my email.
Chris: I remember those days.
Adam: Why can’t we get those days back?
Chris: I do remember that. I’m so excited to get an email. Now, I open up my email box in the morning, and I dread it, “Oh, you’ve got 500 new messages.”
Adam: Where I’ll go with this is, I remember back in that era—we took our listeners back and we showed them another time that many of them remember—you had these websites, they were only online when the person had their server turned on or when they themselves were connected to the internet through their dial-up. Which they did not leave on 24 hours a day because not everybody even had access to unlimited long distance. They just pay the $99 a month and could just stay dialed in all the time. Plus, phone calls have a tendency to drop no matter what.
Back in those days, you had a lot of websites that you wonder why you couldn’t find them all the time, and that’s because they were only online when that machine in their house was literally dialed in through the internet, that’s how far back you go.
Chris: Yeah, I’m back about those ages where the office that I was working at when I launched the site had a one megabit internet connection, it was fast.
Adam: Wow. I remember when I got Windows ’95.
Chris: Yup, I remember that too. Oh, we’re dating ourselves. Okay, we should stop that.
Adam:I remember when Sarah in St. Louis sent me that picture of her standing next to her Camaro, that thing was 82 kilobytes, and I remember the 45 seconds waiting for that thing to fully load so I could see her Camaro.
Chris: That’s great.
Adam: And now 82 kilobytes, I mean hell, most web pages are bigger than 82 kilobytes these days because we’re past the era where we necessarily don’t have to care, to a degree, except if you actually want your pages to load faster, Google like them, but not everybody cares about that.
Chris: You do have to be careful about how fast your page loads, and you do need to worry about those things.
Adam: Right. What do you do today that helps you to bring more traffic to your website, or visitors to your webpage, or whatever the heck you want to call it? We covered how you consistently get six million visitors per month but what are some of the things you use to keep that flowing in—two-part question—and then when they visit your webpage after they’ve found out what their IP address is, what other reason is there to be there?
Chris: We’ll start with the first question of what I’m continuing to do to get more people to come to the site is, I’ve worked really hard in the past and continue to write about technical subjects in terminology that’s not technical, no geek speak, analogies that everyone just goes, “That makes sense to me.” because I started looking at this stuff and people talking about IP addresses and network connections, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, you had to be a network engineer to understand what these people were talking about.” It’s like, “Come on people. We need to make it simple, make it easy to understand.” so we’re writing a ton of content about technical subjects, and these days, privacy and safety online is becoming a huge deal.
Sarah with her Corvette isn’t a girl anymore, it’s some creepy guy, and you better watch out for him. It’s not a simple and naive world as it used to be. We’ve got to do a lot more to pay attention to what we’re doing, who we’re talking to, what we’re telling them, what people can figure out about us by what we post online. What I’ve really morphed into, which is interesting to me today, is really trying to educate people how to stay safe, how to stay private online, and take care of their families and watch out for that stuff.
Adam: What I’ve also noticed here is you have some other resources that people can use. For example, I’ll just mention a few for our listeners, this is my way of, yes, Chris. I’m going to give you a little bit of a plug. One of the big issues that people face today is a speed test, checking your bandwidth, how fast is your download speed, how fast is your upload speed, what’s your latency, things like that. These are things that are very important especially when you’re paying an arm and a leg for supposedly turbo super mega gazillion fast internet service, are you actually getting that or are you still in a dial-up plan?
That’s the thing that I encourage everybody to do. Do a regular speed test to make sure that the level of internet speed that you’re paying your provider for is actually being delivered. If it’s not, review your own set up to make sure that everything is optimized, and then if it’s still not working, to hold your provider accountable for delivering what they say they’re delivering. Because we have issues with throttling, we have issues with network coverage, we have issues with saturation, and they need to be able to deliver on this. If not, then you might want to look at their competitor.
I mean, this is the way of optimizing your business, achieving maximum results through minimalism. Another thing that I find very interesting on your web page here is, you have resources to help people trace an email. Let’s say you get an email from someplace, and you’re a little bit concerned about the content of that email, and you’re wondering what that email address is, that give you some clues. Tell us a little bit about how that works. Let’s say somebody emails me some really nasty thing, and they sent it from [email protected] What on your site, if anything, can help me get to the bottom of who that is or at least where it’s coming from, that I can use as part of my research to narrow down who might have done this awful thing to me?
Chris: There are good news and bad news for you depending on which side you’re on. It used to be that almost every single email that you got would have the IP address of the person who sent it to you which is great if you wanted to figure out who is harassing you and those sort of things. One of the things that’s really happened in the last couple years is, with the awareness of privacy, companies like Gmail, Hotmail are no longer including the sender’s IP address in the headers. There are some tricks, and we actually have some tips on about a dozen ways that you could try to get somebody’s IP address from them, like getting them to click on carefully crafted links, HTML images which when the image loads, it sends the IP address that loaded it to a server, and you get to see it from there.
There’s a couple of tricks that you can get the IP addresses. But they’ve really done that I think, rightly so, to protect us on the opposite end of that. When you’re emailing somebody, you really don’t necessarily want them to figure out what your home IP address is, maybe be able to figure out where you live within a couple of miles, if you don’t want them to launch a denial-of-service attack on you because you emailed them and things like that.
Unfortunately, that tool is becoming less and less effective over time. That’s bad for me, but I think that’s good for people, in general. Privacy, I think, is more important than people being able to look up someone’s IP address. Because truly, if you are being harassed and someone is threatening you, you can always involve law enforcement and they can get to that stuff really fast if it’s truly serious. If your boyfriend or girlfriend says something mean about you, you’re not going to get it.
Adam: Yeah, you can tell this excites me. I think what you’re saying especially in this era where we see so much being done with doxing. Let’s say, I go to one of my social media platforms, let’s take Facebook for instance, and I’m going to scroll down my newsfeed, and let’s say there’s X issue that everybody is all upset about, you know what I’m talking about? Let’s say a friend of mine posted a comment about it, and I agree with what my friend says, so I type something like, “Ride on, and by the way, did you also know?” and I include a little fact.
Well, then some random shriek shows-up and decide they want to fight me but them telling me off isn’t enough, they need to publish my home address, and my personal phone number and everything else just to show that they have shown me what happens to people who espouse negative, hateful views like mine. You see more and more of that today, and to the extent that we can make it more difficult for people to do that, that’s good.
I also like that there are still some tools that we can use to find out about them because that easily can be construed as a crime, in some jurisdictions, that’s an illegal act to dock somebody for any reason, at all. Because what if some other crazed nut decides to act on that? The next thing I know, I have somebody show up, not on my doorstep but inside my doorstep at 3:00 in the morning—a lot of nice stuff that can happen. You also have revenge things. You have revenge porn. People who think they’re in love exchange racy pictures during the day to keep each other titillated, and then one breaks up with the other so the other says, “You know what, I’m going to post all these pictures to show what a poorly endowed man he is or what a whore she is,” or whatever it is. You can have a real issue with legalities there because that is criminal behavior.
You want to be able to do at least something to deal with it when it happens, and in many cases, you need to go after the site owner to get them to take it down. Also, to discourage folks so that they know you’re playing with fire if you want to try something like that, “Hey, you know what? Just go find somebody else.”
Chris: Yeah, and a lot of cases it’s just better for us to shut out mouths in public forums. It’s not worth it to get that extra digging, and then get all that backlash, it’s just sometimes not worth it, but sometimes, it’s truly accidental.
Adam: That’s recommended. But I’ve had a couple cases where I’ve had these total shrieks that just want to come after me, people I didn’t even know that just wanted to prove what warriors they were or whatever. If you’ve ever heard of two people running away from the bear, and the one stops to put on their running shoes because they know they only have to outrun the other person, that person that’s doing that stuff is the other person. “I’ve got my running shoes on, but hey, they want to get eaten by the bear, let’s just make sure that bear doesn’t get to me.”
Adam: If you would be willing to entertain a couple audience questions, would you be willing to do that?
Adam: When we posted on businesscreatorsradioshow.com that we were going to have you on our show, somebody looked into who you are, and whatismyipaddress.com. Now they’re thinking, “Well, IP addresses? Now we’re getting into privacy.” What’s on a lot of people’s minds in 2018? GDPR. That has impacted what we can know about people’s IP addresses. That’s impacted what we can do to store them. All kinds of great, interesting things that made our lives a lot more interesting. If somebody wants to involve anything GDPR-related, what does My IP address offer them?
Chris: I would suggest anyone who’s dealing with GDPR is to work with a lawyer. I’m not a lawyer, and so I’m not going to provide legal advice about that because I don’t want to be liable.
Adam: Okay, let me rephrase the question, I’m not a lawyer either nor do I play one on TV. I have a face for radio which is why we do a Business Creators’ Radio, not TV. What resources are there, let’s say somebody comes and claims, “You spammed me.” But then you have their record of their original opt-in to your subscriber which is in your database tracing their original IP address. Do you have enough information on your website that somebody could look up that person’s IP address and do either a location or at least a triangulation to say, “Oh no, that was you, you opted yourself in, nice try.”
Chris: For the most part, you can get general information about where an IP address is located. Let’s set a good example. Let’s say if you go to weather.com and weather.com says, “Would you like to share your location with us?” If you share your location with weather.com that usually will pull the GPS off of your phone or your laptop, or you know it actually can be like started only accurate, and you’ve now given weather.com or some weather sites something very, very close to your physical location, and in exchange for that they’re giving you hyper-local weather.
This is not to say that weather.com does this. But other businesses do sell that location information to data aggregators. It’s possible that if you’re going around the Internet sharing your location with websites, that if you come to a website like mine, which pulls from those data aggregators, it could be scary accurate of how close the IP address location could be. Now the thing is, if you ask me, “Hey, Chris. This specific IP address, is it accurate or is not accurate?” and I do get this question on a frequent basis, I can’t tell you how accurate it is because I don’t know. I’m not the user at that IP address, I don’t know who shared the information, I don’t know where the specifics came from. I could say, “Yeah, it’s usually within if you’re in the US, it’s 20 miles. If you’re an international audience, 25 kilometers or something like that.”
In general, it’s not going to lead someone to your doorstep, or you to someone else’s doorstep. But I think that’s where things like VPN services come into play and like you needing to do things to protect yourself when you’re sharing your location or rather don’t share your location with people.
Adam: Right. A few years ago, I had somebody who had signed up to attend one of my webinars, and then a few months later, they couldn’t just decide that they didn’t want my information anymore and unsubscribed, they had to claim I was spamming them. When I said, “No. You’re off the list. You unsubscribed. By the way, we didn’t spam you.” They went off on this tirade. They reported me to seven different agencies saying that I conspired with those agencies to send them unsolicited email. The person was seriously off their freaking rocker. I keep their email that they sent me because sometimes I need a laugh.
The way I made a complete fool out of this person, in addition to looking them up online and finding some interesting court cases that they lost, showing what a nut they really were is, I also found the IP address because it was in my database of where they opted in from. The date they opted in so I could trace back exactly where they heard about me, how they opted in, I knew everything about them, everything about them. I have that IP address, and I was able to use a site, it might have been your site actually because I went to one of those IP lookup sites, it might have been yours, and I did what was known as a triangulation where it said, “This IP Address comes within this general area.”
Then what I did is, I printed out that triangulation report which showed a street map in the area, the triangle where the opting-in come from, and then I did a Google map search of their office address. It’s like, “No, you signed up for my webinar while you’re sitting at your desk at work.” “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” “Go ahead, keep going down that plan.” I never heard from them again after that. They have tried big on my web hosting company and demanded that my site be taken down and everything else. It was actually the hosting company that contacted me, and they said, “Are you aware of this nutcase?” Because I had a relationship with the web hosting company, and I said, “Yeah, here’s a triangulation report, here’s where their office is, this is what we’re dealing with.” and they said, “Okay, we’ll block that IP address, so they don’t ever see your site again.”
Chris: That’s a good thing if you’ve got a reliable host, and you’ve got a reliable email service provider, and you’re keeping your records of opt-ins. It’s really easy to go back, “Hey, look. On this date, this IP address opted in this email address. It was confirmed because I confirmed opt-in for everybody. I don’t just add them, and they came from this website.” The mailing platforms have a tremendous amount of information about how you’ve interacted with the people on your mailing list. The nice thing is, most of the companies these days, as long as you can provide them, “Here’s the opt-in date. Here’s the opt-in IP address,” they’re usually quite okay with it.
Adam: Right because you’ve done your homework. Which is why I tell folks, “Don’t add people to your database. Just give them reasons to want to engage with you and then be persistently consistent with your communication, so they feel the information you continue to send them is valuable and helpful.” If they decide one day that they just don’t want to follow you anymore because I get people who sometimes opt off my list. They’ll send me, in addition to opting out, they’ll either type in the comment section or they’ll actually take the time to send me a direct email to say, “Just in case you noticed I unsubscribed just so you know, we’re still friends, it’s just that my business has changed. I’m not in need of what you’re looking for anymore. I didn’t want you to take it personally. We’re still friends.” And that’s because I take the time to care for my tribe.
Chris: And that’s the way to do it. As long as you treat people with respect, they’re going to treat you with respect. You’ll get the screamers here once in a while. They’re having a bad day or something like that. It’s part of the business.
Adam: When somebody starts screaming, What Is My IP Address helps you quietly, calmly, and rationally respond.
Chris: Exactly. I like that. I’m going to look at that.
Adam: Okay. We’ll go back, and subscribe to iTunes, download this episode, and listen to it again. Let’s see, let’s get the marker, where’s proximately the 40-minute mark. Alright. This is a little bit of a different turn than I expected for this interview. We ended up talking about IPs, and security and tech stuff which even though I don’t do tech for a living, it’s something that I have some passion about, and I get geeked out over it. Thank you, Chris, for giving me that opportunity. Also, we have some listeners who love the tech stuff too, so I’ll make sure that if they’re not tuned in live, that they hear this episode because I think they’ll find it interesting.
Let’s get a little bit into business development because, in a way, it does go into generating six figures whether it’s through website traffic or what have you. Here’s a question that comes up a lot in the Business Creator’s Institute toolkit which is where we have a bunch of software resources we recommend. How do you trust vendors for your software to use when you’re building your online business? I’m going to leave that an open-ended question, let’s you answer as you see fit.
Chris: I’ll leave this with a personal story of mine. If people are running websites, they may be able to relate to it. Sometimes it’s good to have a little full disclosure. There was an incident a number of years ago where someone claiming to be an advertiser approached me, and I recognized the company name. He said, “Hey, I really want to advertise on your website. It’s Q4. The rates are really good right now. Here’s what we can do.” All seemed perfectly reasonable, all seemed above board, signed-up. They’re an ad network, started running ads on my site.
A couple of weeks into it, the reporting interface started to get a little, “Ehh, it’s not working quite right.” I emailed the guy, he’s like, “Oh yeah. We’re having a technical problem with the interface. Don’t worry, everything’s still being tracked.” A week later, it went down entirely. The domain name wasn’t even resolving. I tried getting ahold of the guy, he’s not responding to emails anymore. I was like, “Okay, what in the world is going on?” I start, “Okay, let me dig a little bit deeper.”
What had happened is this guy had taken this well-known, reputable ad network’s name and website from the .com and he replicated it onto a .net that he had registered with a stolen credit card, and then he had changed the phone number to his burner cell phone number. Going to the website, it looked totally legitimate. I ended up losing probably five figures of revenue to this guy.
My first thought was like, “Okay, I’m going to war. I’m hiring a lawyer. I’m going to make this guy’s life miserable.” and then better judgment seized me finally. I said, “Okay, maybe this is just a life lesson for me. It’s expensive, but it’d be an awful lot of time and energy and stress going after this knucklehead. I’m not going to do that.” It actually became a business process of mine that now whenever somebody approaches me wanting to do business with them, I do my due diligence. Do a lookup on the domain name, “Have they been in business very long?” “Oh gee, they’ve only been in business two weeks. Mmm, don’t think I want to do business with them.”
Adam: There’s that IP address again.
Chris: I would look up where is the website hosted, where is the company, look for other people who have done business with the company, and there’s certain geography in the world that I just, “You know, I don’t want to do business with you. I’m sorry, I’m not interested.” Some businesses that are just brand new and starting up, I’m like, “You know what, come back to me in a year once your portfolio of products and services is more mature.” Have I given up on some opportunities by doing that? Probably. But I think without having these processes in place where I look at these sort of things, I would’ve likely to have fallen victim to another scam, someone else, or believing somebody’s hype.
Sometimes, it’s just having those processes in place for small business people even if you’re like a one-person shop, you should still have processes in place to make sure that you’re not falling victim to things, to make sure you’re doing your due diligence, to make sure everything is on the up and up.
Adam: Going back to history here, how tech-savvy does a person really need to be when starting an internet business or is this something you can figure out as you go? We know that you were on the alpha end of tech-savvy yourself. You’re running servers out of your house and saving on your heating bill in the Winter time if you have a Winter where you live or live at the time, just from the heat given off by those servers. But for anybody else, how tech-savvy, in your estimation, does the person really need to be?
Chris: I think these days you really don’t have to be too tech-savvy to have your online presence for your business, to start up your own blog, to do your own podcast. I don’t think you need to be as tech savvy as I had to be 15 years ago. You don’t need to be an expert in these things these days. I think you do need, however, need to make sure that you’re not going with, “What’s the cheapest solution? What’s the cheapest partner I can work with?” You want to make sure that you’ve got a decent security that, when more than three people are on your website at one time, it’s not going to crash.
I think there are things like when you’re talking about the infrastructure of your business, is it built to scale? If your business doubled, tripled, quadrupled, went 10x overnight, as small businesses could very easily do, is your infrastructure going to fall apart because of that? If it is, you really should take care of that sooner than later. Mind you, it does help to be technically savvy. You need to pay attention from where updates are on your router, making sure that WordPress is updating on a regular basis, or whatever CMS you’re using because if you don’t, you will get hacked at some point.
Adam: Yeah, very true. You know what I was also thinking of? I’m thinking of, you’re talking about bandwidth issues you mentioned. Let’s say you’re running a product launch or you get some media attention, suddenly, there are all kinds of traffic to your website. I’ve seen cases of people who have gotten their sites suspended, right in the middle of a promotion push, because 20 people landed on the page, the same site, and they were on a shared server. That 20 people who landed on their webpage was such a tax on all the other users that they had to suspend their site to protect all their other users.
Are you working with a hosting company that’s jamming 5000 websites on the same server? As soon as I hear somebody who says, “I’m looking for cheap hosting. I don’t want to spend money on hosting.” I’d say, “Okay. We’re going to spend a lot of money on lost business, lost goodwill, lost resource hours whether it’s your own or your team’s. They could be spent doing things to generate money instead of waste money, and then you’re going to find out the hard way, how good your web hosting company’s tech service really is.”
I remember 10 years ago, I had recently inherited a client—who today is one of my biggest clients, they’ve been with us for over 10 years—they did a big product launch. This was their first new course in 10 years, and people gobbled this course up. Five minutes into the go live, the site shuts down because it’s maxed out. I had the number for their tech support because they are previous people have given us. I dialed the tech support, and they start saying, “Okay, you need to go in and change your max connections. Do you know how to use [inaudible 00:48:50]? Do you know how to SHO or whatever the heck that is?” I said, “The site is down. We’re in the middle of a launch. We have people beating down our door. Can you fix this and then show me how?” Because when you contact your web hosting company, it’s usually not to chit-chat over tea and crumpets, it’s because there’s an emergency. You want to know do they have the type of service that’s not going to then try and give you a technical lesson, that’s going to first fix the issue and then give you the technical lesson.
When I vet hosting companies, I will contact them, and sometimes I’ll even pay somebody else to contact them as well, pretending to be a complete dumbass noob, and ask stupid questions through their phone support, their live tech support, their ticket support, and their email support. We hit them all. We use four different identities to do this. The reason being is, I want to see how they treat their lowest common denominator. Number one, because that is a reflection of how they’re going to treat their experienced person that actually knows what they’re talking about. Number two, I want to see if their level of service is consistent. If they feel that they’re responding to the four different people, then we’re going to see over a range of four different tech support requests to four different avenues, how’d they do.
Chris: I had a client of mine, they have kind of almost the opposite scenario, when I heard how much they were spending on their hosting, I almost had a heart attack, it was a lot of money. And then one day, at that time, I was the primary contact for technical issues for the company, and the hosting company called me said, “Hey, we’ve got a failure notice on the hard drive raid. We’ve got a technician inbound, he’s going to be here in two hours, and we’re going to swap out the raid controller, we’re going to swap out all the drives, we’re going to rebuild the database, it’ll be down for about an hour, when can we schedule this?”
I’m like, okay, now I know why they’re spending the money because if they were down for 8 hours, 12 hours, or a day which easily could have been with this sort of problem, it would have cost them years’ worth of hosting cost. Sometimes, it may seem like a lot of money, but it’s how much is downtime worth to you.
Adam: I think you have to find the right balance. I mean depending on your reach, if you’re an average-sized business getting average traffic, then I would say, if you’re paying for something that’s really good hosting, and it’s in a range of about $100 a month, and you have all your quotas you need, you have you have the ability to change your load settings, and things like that, I think you’re usually in pretty good shape.
If you’re doing 7 million, 20 million people a month, you probably should be on a dedicated server, but I’m still looking for that person that said, “I reduced my hosting cost to $5.95 a month, and boy am I glad I did.”
Chris: I’ve never met them.
Adam: For two reasons, they’re not playing a big enough game they’re even going to be seen, and number two, they’re probably spending so much time dealing with the problems, and that’s part of the reason you don’t hear from them.
Chris: As my business has grown, I’ve had to wrestle with is, “How much is my time worth? Is this really a good use of my time? Should I be doing the accounting or should I outsource to an accounting firm to do my accounting for me?” At some point, all entrepreneurs need to start asking themselves, “How much is my time worth? What happens if my hard drive fails on my computer? Am I going to be down for two days, three days? Can I afford to be down for a couple of days? Maybe I should back up my computer once in a while.”
Adam: Yeah, you would think so. Thinking along those lines is I think we can agree is, just be realistic about what it is you need and don’t be cheap either. Because if you’re paying $75 a month for your web hosting, and you never have a problem, and all your sites always load quickly, and you’re not getting hacked, well, you’re really saving money. If you go for $5.95 a month, and say, “Well, once every three months we’re going to have a problem.” I had this issue with a client of mine when we first came on as their consultant. They were using very inexpensive hosting, and they couldn’t do a darn thing with their website because the thing was constantly maxing out, and it was just inferior.
The host kept trying to blame my client. I said, “There’s a very simple solution to this, we’re going to move you to another company.” In this case, Liquid Web was the one we chose at that time. “You’re going to pay $75 a month for this hosting but you’re going to have your own WHM, you’re going to have the control of your php.ini, and you’re not going to have these problems anymore.” And lo and behold, ever since the site was picked up and moved, in two years they’ve had one very minor site down thing because it was the statistical one in a million time that Apache just stopped, and all you have to do is push the button to restart it.
Chris: Yeah, you get what you pay for. If you’re paying pennies, you get pennies’ worth of quality.
Adam: Yeah and it’s somebody who I really hate, as in truly hate said, and this is one of my other lessons which is, “Don’t discount the message because of the messenger,” “Cheap can get mighty expensive.”
Chris: Yes, it can.
Adam: Even though I have reasons to hate the person that said that, I agree with the quote, “Cheap can get mighty expensive.” I think that’s part of what we’re talking about here. Whether we’re talking about IP security, or vendors, or technology resources, or anything you do to boost more traffic to your website. One thing that’s very interesting, Chris is over the past hour here, originally we were going to talk about getting high figure website traffic, but you answered that question so clearly and so succinctly within the first few minutes.
I just want to circle around to our listeners who’ve been sitting through this saying, “Hey, what the heck is going on here?” What I’ve just done with Chris is, I’ve given you a primer on how to consistently get more value from your audience by giving them more reasons to visit your webpage or become the traffic to your website. The more you can share with them, the more value you can add to them, above and beyond your original promise, the more they’ll come back, the more they’ll tell their friends who will come visit, the more other providers will use you, and the more that you will, by understanding what else the person who comes to your site to the original reason would need.
Like somebody who wants to look up an IP address or heck, they might be interested in doing a speed test. They might be interested in, “What is my IP?” so maybe I’m looking to hide my IP. What’s a good VPN resource? If I’m looking at my IP because my emails aren’t going through, I might be on a blacklist so, “Look at that, I can do a blacklist check.” Somebody claims you’re spamming them, but I can prove they opted themselves in, “Look at that, I can trace my email.”
All the various reasons that somebody would be interested in IP addresses, you deliver. That is one of the lessons I want to make sure everybody got, above and beyond this whole thing about, “Let’s get more traffic to our website,” is think infrastructurally about why a person would need to come back over and over again, and refer you to others. That is how you will consistently get the big numbers when it comes to website traffic. If you look at whatismyipaddress.com, you’ll see there are affiliate and referral link resources which are income generators. I do the same thing in my business that I freely and proudly disclose, and these are just some of the things you do to generate a prosperous online business.
Chris, I really want to thank you for taking this little segue. I hope that our audience enjoyed that little punchline right there. A new way of looking at traffic to your website.
Chris: That’s great. I had a great time, Adam. I appreciate being on.
Adam: Alright, before we break off here, we have two minutes. I want to give one of those minutes to you. Do you have any resources for our audience if they want to explore this further, and discover more about how some of the things we talked about can work for them? As I said, everybody, go to whatismyipaddress.com and you’ll see some of these resources. Chris, do you have anything else for us?
Chris: Absolutely, for anyone who’s interested in learning more about online safety, and how to keep themselves, and their family safe online, we’ve got an eBook, and I’ll make it available at whatismyipaddress.com/creators.
Adam: Oh, whatismyipaddress.com/creators. Alright. Let me just look. Yup, there I see it. Everybody go to whatismyipaddress.com/creators and check that out. We had a lot of conversation here about keeping you, and your family safe, so that’s a great resource for you. Let me just say once again, Chris Parker, whatismyipaddress.com. Thank you so much for being with us today. It’s been an honor and quite an education.
Chris: Thank you very much.
Adam: For everybody listening, this is Adam Hommey, host of the Business Creators’ Radio Show, please check out our previous and our upcoming episodes at www.businesscreatorsradioshow.com where we help you win at the game of business and marketing. Until next time, have a great day, take care.
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