Sneaky ways to make money part 27: steal search traffic

Say you make consumer broadband routers and you’re looking for a new revenue stream. Your customers expect you to spend money upgrading the firmware for their routers, but you’ve already taken money from them… they’ve paid already.

Don’t despair, there definitely are ways to squeeze more money out of your unsuspecting clients. For example: in your next router firmware update add a new feature that directs all mis-typed URLs to your own search page. Bingo! You get a brand new pipeline of money from all those paid search results and your customers will never know what hit them. Heck, they’ll probably think it’s spyware on their computers and spend a bunch of time trying to track down the bad bits and never even blame you!


Some tips:

  1. Call it an “advanced” feature – Novice users will never touch anything labeled advanced for fear that they’ll break something important. You can rest easy knowing that you’ll be able to keep raking in the revenue for years to come.
  2. Turn in on by default in your next upgrade – People can’t turn off something they don’t know is there. And how are they going to know it’s there? Dig through all the menus to see what’s changed? I don’t think so. They’re not going to find it in the printed manual you gave them either… because you don’t give out printed manuals anymore.
  3. Throw in some security language – Who doesn’t want Anti-Phishing features? Protection from identity thieves?  Of course people want that, the net is a scary place and if you turn off security on your router pedophiles will move into your basement, eat your last Oreo and leave the lid off the toothpaste.

One final tip: don’t name your search site “”, it will shorten the time it takes for your customers to figure out that it’s D-Link who is being a dick and stealing traffic. If you make it too easy for them to figure out who’s stealing the traffic, but hard for them to figure out how to turn them off they’ll get pissed off and make blog posts telling their friends not to buy your hardware (yes, I’m looking at you, D-Link).

But, hey, no big deal, right? They’ve already paid money for your router. Once you’ve made the sale the existing customers are just a drag on your revenue. You can make it up in volume.

A quick search can pay off big

Paula’s using my old laptop and Pa really needs to take it out back behind the barn with a shotgun.  It’s slow, it won’t dock properly and I really don’t like the way it’s been looking at the toaster.

This past weekend we finally bit the bullet and placed an order for a new laptop for Paula, the ThinkPad X61s.  Paula’s top desire is small and light and this unit fit the bill (as well as came with a ton of awards to ease our minds).  Sony and Toshiba have some very sexy laptops… but the price of the ThinkPad sold us (although we were both tempted by the pretty hardware).  The total with shipping and tax: $1,989.93, a full $1000 less than the Sony.

We were very pleased with the results.  Paula really wanted the Sony TZ, but once we added a dock, shipping and tax the price jumped up to $3,158.07.  Lenovo had a sale on ThinkPads through October 1st making the price hard to beat.  But it gets better…

Our order was delayed because I didn’t have my alternate shipping address (Leslie’s house) on record with my credit card.  As part of the process I went back to the web site and what should I find?  Lenovo started a new sale.  Bad news normally, but good news for me since my order was still pending.  I canceled the order and put in a new one.  Ding!  Saved $100! 

But wait, there’s more.  While I was admiring my new, lower total I noticed a blank line: “eCoupon”.  I’m already getting a great price on this laptop (in my opinion)… they’re not going to allow me to apply a coupon to their sale price, are they?  Only one way to find out… I type “lenovo ecoupon” into Live search and first result is for a coupon listing on  I hop back over to my order and sure enough, my good deal just got better!

End result: the laptop I was pleased to get for $1,989.93 is being shipped to me for $1,527.22. 


Oh, by the way, out of curiosity I went back and tried the same search on Google… the money saving coupon was seven links down.  Thanks Live Search! 

Thin, beautiful and wearing leather

Intel recently commissioned Ziba Design to build a sexy laptop and I’d say they hit the target… and blew right through.

About as thin as a Motorola Razr, this magnesium shelled bit of geek pron is only 2.25 pounds, has back-lit keys and an optional leather folio cover sporting an external side show screen.

For more details you’ll have to check out Business Week’s write-up… at least until I find out the limb to fantasy hardware exchange rate.