Bitcoin mining: a huge waste of time?

I admit. I got sucked in.

I read the glowing article in last month’s Wired about bitcoin. Thus far, I’ve been pretty oblivious. Future of currency, blah blah blah, whatever. The way it’s been built on open source software is interesting, though, the value is, of course, appealing, and that there are more PayPal-like services to handle money transfers is a huge boon. So, okay, bitcoin. It’s legit (probably). How do I get some?

Well, I could buy a bitcoin or two, but jeez, as of the time of this writing, that’s $500 for one bitcoin. Five hundred dollars!!! Seriously? I’m not dropping five hundred bucks on a virtual coin with limited resources to use it. But being a digital currency, certainly there are other ways to acquire bitcoins besides begging people to give you some out of the goodness of their hearts or only accepting client payments in bitcoin.

Let’s take a step back. The way, say, the American dollar works is that, in theory, it’s backed by gold. You could — the theory goes — exchange your dollar bill for an actual chunk of gold, if you wanted (but good luck spending it). Gold is a precious metal that’s mined from the earth. It’s scarce — on a long enough timeline it will all disappear — and that gives it value. The value increases as the scarcity increases.

Bitcoin works on the same theory except that the scarcity is artificially induced. A new bitcoin is “mined” when a complex cryptographic puzzle is solved. The puzzles get increasingly complex as time goes on until 21 million bitcoins have been mined. Then that’s it, after 21 million bitcoins are in circulation, there will be no more new bitcoins. There’s the scarcity.

Mining bitcoins is a little like mining for gold. Except, rather than climbing down into a dirty mining cavern with a lamp and a pickaxe, you need to decrypt an algorithm. And by you, of course, I mean your computer. Or, a computer, at any rate. That got me thinking, well, surely that could be my computer. Because certainly nerds have been doing this for years already.

I went into research mode to figure out what bitcoin mining actually entailed. I was right, nerds have been doing this for years, enough to have developed fairly user-friendly tools for wallets (where you store your bitcoins) and mining programs. Only these days, no one mines for bitcoins anymore. Instead, you donate your CPU cycles (GPU, actually, as graphics processors have been found to be better able to crunch through the algorithms) to a mining pool, where your share is divvied up (generally) based on your contribution to the pool (exactly how this works depends on the mining pool). Effectively, it works similar to the way you can currently donate your processor power to SETI and help search for aliens.

First you need a wallet for your bitcoins. I downloaded Hive, which is listed on the bitcoin main page. I also set up an account on Coinbase — which Hive integrates with — so I can accept online payments in bitcoin. Coinbase is basically like a PayPal for bitcoins, making it extremely easy to send and receive bitcoins or integrate bitcoin payments into your online store. Then I needed to find a mining app. Asteroid is a bitcoin mining app for OSX and it’s pretty easy to set up, so I downloaded and installed that. Before I can mine for bitcoins, I need to connect to a pool. I had read some references to Slush’s Pool, so I figured that was as good a place as any. Create your account there and you get a worker. The worker identification goes into your mining program so it can connect to the pool and sync the progress it makes in helping the mining process with the pool’s system so the pool can manage your contribution and what that means in terms of payouts. I was all ready to go, now it was just time to start mining.

Asteroid
Asteroid, a mining app for OSX

So I started mining. And mining. And mining. Most of last week, I was writing, so I didn’t really need my main computer — I was working off my laptop. I figured I could just let my desktop mine while I did other things, and anyway, the mining process didn’t seem to have any detrimental effect on overall performance (though, since I’m using an iMac, there are warnings when you set up Asteroid that you might cause damage — e.g. overheating — to the GPU, but I set up the mobile app that hooks into Asteroid on my iPod which can give me alerts if the system temperature is too high).

After a week of casual mining, all I’ve got left to show for my work is a fraction of a fraction of a bitcoin. In Slush’s Pool, you can define a threshold for payouts. I set mine to 0.05, roughly $20 at the time I set it. To date, I’ve earned exactly 0.00003003 bitcoins equal to — ready for this? — a whopping 1 cent

 

0_01365_USD_·_Preev
A week of mining bitcoin and I’ve earned…ugh, let’s not even talk about it

 

So here’s where my dilemma is:

On the one hand, that’s freaking ridiculous!!! One week and all I have to show for it is a penny? What is this? An allowance from 1840? And this is only going to get harder as more people — and big businesses — jump onto the bitcoin mining bandwagon. Hardcore miners build machines — possibly even multiple machines — dedicated to mining. And it terrifies me to think that, sure, I could do that, too…wait, am I even considering this?

On the other hand, there’s literally no work involved. I fire up a program and let it run. It doesn’t affect hardly anything I do (unless it fries my graphics card, which kind of freaks me out). Surely the complete lack of effort is worth something?

The problem is that I know that my current setup is not optimized for bitcoin mining. And I keep thinking about “well I wonder what the best GPU for bitcoin mining would be” — but then that leads into the whole why am I considering making a monetary investment into something that’s yielded a penny?  Bitcoins are prohibitively expensive and not widely exchanged outside of nerds and investment firms. For those people, they’re riding high, because the value of bitcoins is rising by the second. And it’s possible that, at some point, my 0.00003003 bitcoins will be worth a chunk of cash if I just sit on it long enough — like a government bond, it just needs to mature. But right now, I’m wondering if the time for mining for bitcoins — even in a pool — has passed.

So this is why Hollywood blockbusters aren’t very good

Disney exec says storytelling is B.S. when it comes to B.O. | Blastr.

How are we supposed to be expected to shell out $15 a seat to watch a film in the theatre when Hollywood execs like Andy Hendrickson from Disney say things like this:

People say ‘It’s all about the story.’ When you’re making [blockbuster] films, bulls**t.

Using Alice in Wonderland as an example (made $1 billion), he said at an international conference: “The story isn’t very good, but visual spectacle brought people in droves. And Johnny Depp didn’t hurt.”

Seriously Andy Hendrickson, chief technical officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios?  Seriously?  There are more movies being made than ever before and yet the tickets sold hasn’t changed, and you want to make up the difference by recycling the same crap movies and you expect that to pull us away from our 60 inch, 3D, plasma flatscreens and 500 channels and our Netflix and Hulu and streaming video and movies distributed on BitTorrent and give you money for that?  I’ll stick to waiting until they show up on Netflix streaming, thanks.

iTunes Security: Worse than you thought?

On December 1, 2008, I woke up to find a series of disturbing emails in my inbox.  They were a pair of PayPal receipts and the corresponding iTunes store receipts for 2 purchases of $200 gift cards sent to anonymous Hotmail and Yahoo email addresses.  The problem was, I didn’t make the purchases.

The transactions took place around 5:30am while my wife, myself, and our son were in bed.  Seeing as how I couldn’t possibly have made the purchases, and how they were suspiciously paired one after another and sent to random and easy-to-obtain email addresses combined with the fact that, though I had linked my PayPal account to my iTunes account “just in case”, I had never actually made a purchase previously, it seemed obvious that I had been the victim of a scam and I could easily get the transaction reversed.

Not so.  Thus began one of the most frustrating and infuriating experiences of my life, leaving me with a foul taste for both PayPal and iTunes.

Contacting Apple yielded no help.

I understand you are concerned about purchases that were made with your iTunes Store account without your permission or knowledge.

I urge you to contact your financial institution as soon as possible to inquire about canceling the card or account and removing the unauthorized transactions. You should also ask them to launch an investigation into the security of your account. As part of the investigation, their fraud department will contact the iTunes Store directly to resolve this issue.

They also recommended I change my password, something I did the second I discovered my account had been hacked.

Unfortunately, my financial institution wasn’t a financial institution at all.  It was PayPal.  And there’s a difference — although I was blind to it at the time.  In a normal scenario, you could contact your bank, your bank would put a stop payment on the transaction, launch an investigation, and if anything seemed out of place at all you’d get your money back.  PayPal doesn’t work that way.  They aren’t a bank and don’t operate by the same rules as banks do.  Their only concern and primary objective is transferring money from one bank to another and, in that sense, their job was done.  It, apparently, didn’t matter to them my (presumably valid) claim that it was someone else who authorized the money transfer from PayPal to iTunes.  I had linked my PayPal account to iTunes and that stated intent (despite having gone unused), and made me liable for any transactions, including fraudulent ones.

I fought the issue for a week.  I had had just under $200 in my PayPal balance.  The remainder pulled from my bank account which I was able to get refunded easily (without even having to talk to anyone) from my bank.  (PayPal held firm even after I pointed out that the investigation my bank had done saw enough reason to refund the money.)  I called a hotshot New York criminal defense lawyer associate for advice. (File a police report, take it up in small claims court if I want to pursue it. I didn’t.)  Ultimately defeated, I let it drop.  If I wanted to take PayPal to court, I could force them to hand over the documents claiming to prove that it was me (or at least my IP address) that had initiated the transaction.  I had already lost enough sleep over the issue, I succeeded in getting the cash that was taken from our bank back, the rest, I felt, was the cost of two important lessons learned:

1) PayPal is not a bank.  As benign as they appear, they are a business.  A large, thriving business that makes money from you on every transaction you make through them.  That gives them huge capital without a large overhead since their costs of operating are minimal.

2) PayPal will, almost invariably, side with the seller as the default rule.  Even in the case of an eBay dispute, they will start by assuming the seller is correct and the burden of proof is on the buyer and potential victim in the scenario.

But one important lesson still went missed, even as I was removing my PayPal linkage from everything I could find, changing the password and email address on everything that matched what I had entered into my profile on iTunes, and finding alternative checkout systems to PayPal for my design business (we primarily use Google Checkout now).  That was: how secure is iTunes, anyway?  I had assumed my experience was an isolated incident, that I was just some poor victim most likely in a series of attacks that occurred that morning across multiple accounts.

According to this article, I was wrong.

It turns out, there have been a lot of people swindled on iTunes.  The most recent security breech artificially bumped up several Vietnamese books into the top 10 list by what looks to be authorizing the purchase without the buyer’s knowledge (or consent).  But this is only the latest scam.  Both the Mashable article and the comments on the article itself reveal countless others who have been swindled in similar ways — mysterious transactions that took place without their knowledge.  How is it that arguably the largest retailer for digital downloads has such shoddy security that accounts are routinely infiltrated and exploited for profit?  I was surprised to learn that, not only was I not alone in having my iTunes account hacked into (something I blamed myself for — my password wasn’t altogether secure and was the same one I’d been using for years, a combination of numbers and letters that was a combination of the AOL profile my dad had made me and the numeric code at the end of my username from the old telnet BBS systems I frequented back in the early days), but my $400 wasn’t the most that had been robbed (the first comment I saw on the Mashable post was from someone who lost over $550).

The most sound advice was given by another commenter: don’t use your debit card, don’t enter financial information at all, in fact; use only prepaid cards and remove them when you’re done.  It seems paranoid, but if it’s that easy to get into user’s account, wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?  From that perspective, it’s easy to imagine legions of opportunistic wanna-be hackers trying to infiltrate the mighty iTunes fortress and the treasures of nubile user accounts with endless caches of funds in the form of credit card info and PayPal accounts just waiting to be plundered.  The question is not is my information safe but rather how long until my information is comprimised?  With so little help from Apple and PayPal, it doesn’t hurt to be paranoid when your money is at stake.

____________________________________

Chris Reynolds is one half of the design team at Arcane Palette Creative Design. He writes in his personal blog, jazzsequence, on subjects like music, technology and social media and shares links, videos, and posts various personal music and writing projects. You can also follow him on Twitter.

how am i going to tell my kids there’s no christmas this year?

gather ’round the fire, kiddies, it’s story time.  i’ve been hanging on to this one for a good long while, but it’s time for this rant to come out and rear it’s ugly head.  mostly, it’s a tale in which we laugh at people who have not been born with an overabundance of intelligence, but there’s a morality tale in here as well.

and this story is called, as you could probably tell…

how am i going to tell my kids there’s no christmas this year?

(cue dramatic music)

so, i used to do tech support.  for a long, long while i was a tech support monkey, and i got my monkey start working for a callcenter who was doing support for MSN.  MSN is, or at least was many years ago, microsoft’s answer to AOL.  they’re both the devil, really.  they’re both glorified browsers with a bunch of crap added on that are supposed to make browsing easier but really just crowd your screen.  i will say that after msn8 was released, i did use it — at work — but it was slow and bogged down my computer at home.  and i couldn’t imagine wanting to use it over a dialup connection, which is what most of the folks calling in were on at that time.

tech support is usually divided up into three tiers, and these tiers’ functions vary depending on the company and infrastructure.  tier 1 is invariably the front line.  they are the first people you talk to when you have a problem.  doesn’t matter what problem it is, you’re talking to some tier one schmuck.  and most of them are schmucks.  even though officially you weren’t supposed to move up to a higher tier until you’d been on tier 1 for at least 3 months, i got a tier 3 position in a little over a month.  only the schmucks or the n00bs are ever left on tier 1.  tier 1 is trained to try to get first call resolution.  and probably 8 times out of 10 they can, because most problems are dumb.  it’s the other 2 that leave you, the customer, screaming at your tier 1 schmuck and begging him for something, anything, else, because you’ve already flushed your cookies and cache, you’ve rebooted the computer and the modem, and you’ve repoptimized your msn client — whatever the hell that does — and you still can’t connect to the internet.

at the call center i worked at, msn tier 3 handled all escallations, which means billing, customer service, and technical support escalations.  billing was, understandably, always the worst.  usually folks were okay if you refunded a couple months back to them.  but we had a policy not to do more than 3 months.  technically we had the ability to do more (with manager approval — hint: they wouldn’t), but it was discouraged.  (I think later they disabled the actual ability to do more than 3 months, but those of us who had that ability before, kept it later.)

My most difficult call is also, in retrospect, my most amusing story, and is a lesson about keeping your finances in check.  Being on tier 3, we got a lot of calls from customers who had gotten a new computer at best buy.  best buy was running a promo at the time that signed you up for 3 months of free msn internet service when you bought your computer on your credit card (or visa/mastercard debit card).  i agree, the deal was pretty slimy.  from what i understood, it sounded pretty difficult to not get the msn service, and anyway, who can argue with free internet?  this didn’t stop us from being really snotty towards the people who didn’t realize they were being billed months after the billing cycle started.  we got these calls every day.  does anyone actually look at their credit card or bank statements?  i started to doubt they did.

so one day in december i got a call from an angry african american lady in chicago.  i remember chicago, because the people who called me from chicago when i worked at msn were always angry.  (it’s one of those social stereotypes that somehow just always applies, like everyone from the east coast is brash and a little (or, often, a lot) offensive, and everyone from the south, particularly african americans in the south, are pretty cool.)  i once got a call from a lady whose phone number was on a list of dialup access numbers, so she was constantly barraged by phone calls from modems — she was angry, also, she was in (or around) chicago.  why she didn’t just change her number, i didn’t understand. (“why should i have to change my number. you’re the ones with the problem.”)  back to this angry african american lady in chicago.  she had a pretty good sob story: the family was low on cash, they had a couple kids and they couldn’t afford christmas presents this year.  “i really hate to have to put all this on you,” she said, “i’m not trying to ask for a handout.*”

“okay, how can i help you?”

“well i bought this computer last year, and i just noticed you guys have been charging me every month for msn that i’m not using.”

the story was obvious: she bought a computer at best buy, paid on credit card, and was automatically signed up for 3 months of free msn.  after the trial period, the billing cycle had started.  the amazing thing was that she has been billed for a year — and it really had been almost a full year, like 10 or 11 months — without noticing.  i explained the likely scenario and she seemed to agree that that was likely the case.

“well, i can’t give you a full refund, but based on your situation, i can cancel your account and refund the last three months,” i said.  that wasn’t good enough.  the phone call escalated more and more, and each time i explained that i could not refund more than 3 months.  she wanted the full year.  she made accusations and threats and — at the peak of hysteria — screamed into the phone, half-sobbing, half full of pure rage: “how am i going to tell my kids there’s no christmas!”

newsflash: why don’t you start by explaining to your kids that you are so unable to manage your own money that you not only signed up for an internet service without realizing it, but additionally, didn’t realize that you had been billed every month for said internet.. service.

* dialog is approximated and probably not the actual things that were spoken.  the christmas line, however, is too good to be something i made up.  that actually happened.

sometime after this she asked to speak with my supervisor and i was more than happy to let her.  of course, he didn’t want to talk to her at all, and ended up getting in a shouting match with her.  i, at least, had kept my cool.  (at least, i think i did.  for the purposes of this story, we’ll just assume i did.)

sidenote: i recently got slammed with a $400 charge for 2 $200 itunes gift cards i did not purchase.  someone had gotten into my itunes account,  and used it — which had already been pre-loaded with my paypal account — to purchase 2 $200 gift cards for two anonymous and random users at 5:20am when myself, my kids, our cats, and erin were all sleeping.  i filed a dispute with paypal and they refused to refund the charges, stating that they’d tracked the transaction to my ip address, and they don’t issue refunds for “buyer remorse.”  i filed a similar dispute to reverse charges with wells fargo (because the first $200 had pulled from my paypal balance, but the second $200 had overflowed into our bank account), and they reversed the charges without a second glance.  important note: paypal is a business — it is not a banking institution.  it should never be assumed that paypal is a bank.  this assumption makes it easy to assume they will be on your side in a dispute.  they aren’t.  they want their money and they only get their money when money changes hands.  they are on the side of the seller.  i talked to a lawyer friend/client who was similarly outraged, and suggested filing a police report, and taking paypal to small claims court, but i really didn’t really want to go through the trouble.  i filed it as a loss, changed my itunes email address, changed the password associated with all accounts that used that email address, removed all but one email address from paypal and changed that password, and now, use paypal for as little as possible (except, when necessary, billing clients, but mostly we use google checkout now).

here’s the hidden moral: there’s lots of ways for businesses that are both benevolent and morally gray to get at your money.  don’t make it easy.  if you ever are required to give out your credit card number and it isn’t clear why or what it might be used for, and you aren’t directly making a purchase (like subscription services such as itunes, xbox live, wii store, etc), for gods’ sake, be conscious of what you are doing, and know that now that they have your credit card number, it will be used whenever money needs to change hands for a purchase, whether you are aware of it or not.  when i filed my complaint with itunes, they brushed me off: i had submitted my paypal information, therefore, as far as they were concerned, i authorized the use of my paypal account.  they encouraged me to settle the dispute with paypal.  thank you, drive through.  (that is, what we in the tech support biz called a flog — a generic response that the recipient can’t act on immediately, that gets them off the phone.  another flog could be reboot your computer and try again, or buy an antivirus software, run a scan, and call back if you still have problems.)  honestly, i have no idea what inspired me to link my paypal account with my itunes account. probably it was just the fact that i could.  i never used it, and i’ve never payed for mp3s (p.s. i used that in my defense — paypal wasn’t impressed).

and here’s a bonus hint: don’t blame other people for your own failings.  the people i dealt with at msn that i issued refunds to (particularly those i issued the maximum refunds to) all had one thing in common: they were all hopelessly unaware of their own finances.  they allowed themselves to be charged several months’ worth of internet service before noticing.  it’s not the fault of the internet service provider that you can’t have christmas, it’s your own fault for not looking at your credit card statement and maxing out your cards.  if there’s no christmas, it’s no one’s fault but your own.

the secret to making money online is there is no secret

seriously, there is no secret.  it’s just critical mass.

why is upstart blogger doing so well? because he has traffic.  lots of it.  and he has minions.  far-reaching minions that sell his product for him.  it’s great, almost unheard-of, that his affiliates make 50% commission off each sale of Twitter Rocket — that puts each minion in a great position to make a lot of money fast if they’re a good salesperson.  but as much as each individual minion makes, ashley morgan makes more — because he gets the other 50% from each sale every one of his minions make.  and that’s what pisses everyone who’s not in the club off.  he’s perceived to be sitting on his ass, doing nothing, meanwhile he’s making a killing because he has people doing his selling for him.

well, i doubt he’s actually just sitting on his ass, no matter how great the hardware that his ass is encased in may be.  if he stopped blogging today, the Twitter Rocket sales would taper off and die.  the timeline for that is probably pretty long, but eventually, no one would know what Twitter Rocket was anymore, what Upstart Blogger was, and it would fade away like every other internet flash mob.  and it’s true — every one of his most bitter critics are embittered because they want to be where he is.  i include myself in this category.

i just spent the last 2 weeks working my ass off, without taking a single day off (something we vowed never to do after i left WF), to get a huge project done by its deadline for two grand.  now, granted our prices are much lower than they should be — but we’re still trying to establish ourselves in a specific niche and in so doing, can’t charge $10k for a site like this one.  yet.  hannah says she can make that in one day?  yeah, i want to be right there.  i’ll be blunt — i have very little respect for hannah as a blogger.  but i’ll give her one thing — if she’s not a fictional character (fairly unlikely), if she’s not lying (possible, but probably not the case) or exaggerating (even more possible, especially for a teenager), and she can make that kind of cash, she’s right: her a levels are kind of pointless.

(note to those of us not in the UK: a levels are half the equivalent of SAT/ACT/AP tests, and half like high school exit exams or college entrance exams — doing well on your A Levels means you are guaranteed a spot in a good school.  doing badly means you’re not, and a lot of people who do badly on their A Levels end up not going to college at all, and instead take on more remedial or manual jobs.  it’s almost like an enforced intellectual caste system where the A Level exams determine what caste you will be in.  “caste system” may be a bit harsh, but you get the idea — if you do badly on your SATs, you can still get into a pretty good school if your grades and other stuff are in place.  I got an 1150, which, while not horrible, wasn’t anywhere near what my friends in my AP English class were getting, and yet i went to a private university and a highly specialized program that let me develop my own major.  of course, the other side of the coin in the uk is that not everyone goes to college like they do here — it’s not nearly as expected, which may be related to the fact that college education — up until a few years ago — was free.  anyway, i’m getting off on a tangent — these are things i learned when i studied abroad for a semester at the university of east anglia.)

i don’t particularly credit hannah with an overabundance of brains.  it’s mostly to do with her age — i was stupid, too at 17.  at 17, i was trying to find my writing voice, and more than likely i, too, would start a verbal war over the internet with an arch-nemesis.  what hannah has is a huge following, everything else falls along the wayside.  reading her twitter stream is like watching an 8 hour infomercial, but it doesn’t matter — because she has 10,000 followers.  let’s do some math:  if 1% of her followers clicked on one of her links to Twitter Rocket and bought a copy, that would be 100 sales — $4,700.  the actual results are more like 0.1% if she’s getting 10 sales a day.  and you know what? part of the reason i am willing to believe that Twitter Rocket does what it says is because i have little respect for hannah.  because if she can do it — a young, occasionally volatile, inexperienced and untrained neophyte blogger with no formal education past high school — and make that much cash reselling it, then anyone can.  and so i’m leaning back on the Twitter Rocket side of the camp.  except…

it’s one thing to say microsoft is evil.  microsoft makes a ton of money.  they spend a ton of money on making their products so ubiquitous that they are household names.  they’ve done some potentially ruthless things to become the single most recognized name in technology (at least for a while). ask any schmoe to name a single company in IT and it’s probably 50/50 between microsoft and google.  but microsoft is also a large company, with a lot of employees.  all that cash doesn’t go into bill gates’ pockets and it never did.  and i doubt there are as many people talking about microsoft right now as twitter rocket.  now, one may say that you could look at twitter rocket affiliates as employees paid on a commission basis — a very good commission.  but twitter rocket has just crowdsourced its’ advertising.  even salespeople on commission still make hourly wages.  it’s as if, rather than spend a penny on marketing, microsoft put all that money directly into one person’s pocket (and, look it up — microsoft spends a ton of money on marketing, especially now that they are still trying to re-legitimize their name since their antitrust case in the 90s and with Windows 7) and they gave their customers to opportunity to make a bit of cash by doing all the marketing for them. the amount of cash would need to be lucrative enough to give enough incentive to enough customers to support the production and development costs of the product, but in the case of twitter rocket — there are no production costs, there are no development costs.  there is one architect and he sits on top of the food chain.  no matter how not-a-pyramid-scheme twitter rocket is, there is still, irrevocably, one guy sitting on top.  and he knows it.  and he knows that you can’t touch him.  even critique of twitter rocket could still amount to a potential sale for twitter rocket, and at the very least people are talking about twitter rocket.  the more times i say twitter rocket, the more traffic he gets for twitter rocket.  he said so himself in his letter to his critics.  it doesn’t matter what anyone says.

i’ve had some great feedback recently from both people who are skeptics like me, and people who use twitter rocket, and defend ashley and hannah.  by all accounts, ashley is a great guy.  my own personal experience has been that, yes, he does respond to people.  even, unimaginably, to direct messages on twitter.  and if you can make the money you paid for twitter rocket back on just 2 affiliate sales, even if you never go the infomercial route, it could be said that he’s just giving something away.  except.  he’s not.  hannah’s arch-nemesis’ most valid and resonating criticism is how much actual work do you do to make that money? granted, working for cash is the opposite of passive income, which is what ashley morgan blogs about.  but if you actually read the horrible, evil vegan‘s blog (and just overlook, for a minute, the places where she makes mistaken assumptions about how twitter rocket and the affiliate program work), you will see a recurring theme: she wants to work for her money and get paid for a job well done.  it’s not a crime, or an affront to all twitter rocket users and affiliates to want to feel like you earned the money you make.  (and, also, guys, it’s not a crime to be mistaken either.  there’s plenty of bad information on the internet, and like ashley himself says, anyone smart enough to matter will take the time to get the facts straight — so there’s really no point in flaming her…) but again, that’s the opposite of passive income.  i would love money for nothing (though i’ll pass on the “chicks for free” — i’m taken, thanks), but i’m ambitious — if i’m making money for nothing, i want it to be part of my own empire, and not be a pawn on the chessboard of someone else’s empire.

so no twitter rocket for me.

yet.

and how am i doing on that topic?  well, i updated my graph:

graph

as you can see, my twitter following has grown at a regular rate.  now, i’m one week in, and i don’t yet have 1000 followers, so i can’t claim the success rate that twitter rocket does.  and this aggravates me to no end, and again, makes me want to just shell out the $97 bucks and get a copy. (actually, at this point, i’m waiting until he does another special offer and since i’m on his brand-spanking-new newsletter, i’m assuming there will be something for his subscribers eventually.)  but what’s most interesting to me is that i slacked the last two days in trying to get this project i was working on finished and didn’t follow anyone new, just followed back new followers for @teh_s3quence.  and yet my following remained self-sustaining, getting 40 new followers each day.  that’s not bad.  they’re probably all marketers, but whatever.  because it doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is the traffic.  and tweeting your own links drives traffic to your site.  and the more followers you have, the more traffic you generate.  that’s it.  that’s the secret.  it’s really not a secret, it’s just common sense.

i’m giving the schoolbus a month.  we’ll see where i am at the end of the month, and then, maybe i’ll get my own copy of twitter rocket.

postscript: yes, i do realize there are 23 references to twitter rocket — oops, 24 — and that almost all of them links to, that’s right, twitt–er, the home page for the product.  yes, i realize this is absolutely ridiculous.  but it’s intentional.  i’m making a point about how spammy it ends up sounding when every single one of your links and posts is about one thing.  when everything is a marketing ploy, everything else loses credibility.