January 21, 2009

Making Money with Proxies

How to make money with proxies?

How to earn money with proxies? How to make a proxy? How to advertise a proxy? That is exactly the questions this book is going to answer. Proxies get quite the buzz these days as they are a popular "Make Money Online" startup. It seems all the time I come across people asking how to make a proxy. In this guide I will tell you how to make a proxy, how to monetize a proxy, how to get traffic to a proxy, and what not to do with a proxy.

There are several guides out there on how to make a proxy, however none that I have found that are as comprehensive as this one. Most are basic guides or bits and pieces. My goal for this guide is to not only make it comprehensive, but also provide links to other resources.

How hard is it to run a proxy? Well it does take work, so if you sit back on the couch and watch TV while you wait for the checks to arrive, then proxies are not for you. By the same token making a proxy is not hard, nor is maintaining them. Basically all you have to do is a few simple steps.

First you have to make it, then get traffic to it. Maintenance is as simple as making sure your proxies are up, you don't max out your server, and that you don't over your bandwidth limit.
Most important is that you make sure you cash your checks that you receive! (This is the toughest part I think.) Then just rinse and repeat as many times as you want.

Although making proxies is not hard, there are several steps to it.

What type of proxy to make?

There are several popular proxy scripts and more emerging all the time. At one point it was not that way, there were only 2 major proxy scripts – phpproxy and CGI Proxy. Phpproxy has been retired by its designer. CGI proxy is still good, but is a huge server hog. Of the many emerging proxy scripts that are now on the market one particular script stands out for me – Glype Proxy. Others such as Zelune and Phantom Proxy are good scripts too, from what I hear. However Glype has my vote for many reasons.

  1. It is ever being developed and is constantly coming out with new features.
  2. It has a great support forum.
  3. Many members of the support forum are helpful and have designed plugins that are free
  4. Glype out of the box supports myspace and facebook
  5. It has an easy setup, easy theme system and easy plugin system
  6. It is faster then the old phpproxy and more efficient.
  7. It provides many options to make life easier and more robust for both you and your users
  8. It does everything for free
So for the purpose of this guide on how to make a proxy, I am going to tell
you how to do it using Glype.

Choosing your domain name

So how to get a domain name? If you have created other websites then you probably already know how to get domain names. If you have not then I will give you the scoop. You need to pick out a name that is not already taken. First lets talk about names, what to do, and what not to do. Then I will tell you how to check if its taken and where you can get one. As for picking out names, be creative. If you are shooting for US and UK traffic - which is generally the most profitable - then your proxies will most likely be used by teenagers at school and young working adults. So think like them and think what they would remember. Some successful proxies of mine are as follows:

You get the idea. I have to say that all of my best names were not my ideas. I would ask co-workers, friends, and family for names. Everyone else always came up with better names then me. I guess names are just not my forte' anyway. Be creative, think like a teenager. Also think stealth, I mean ones that aren't likely to be recognized as proxies right away. Names that are lesslikely to be blocked by IT admins. So lets talk about that for a minute.

Your proxies will eventually get blocked at schools and work places. For you, the slower that happens the better, because the more it will be used and the more money you can make. When people use a proxy it shows up in a list of sites used, and the IT admins browse thru these lists. Now a site like proxyfun.com or something is quickly going to be recognized and blocked.
Where as a site like artideas.com is much less likely to raise a flag and less likely to be blocked right away. In addition to manual blocking, most places use automated blocking to some extent.
So when the filter sees the word "proxy" in proxy fun, it could block it before the user ever gets to it to begin with. Again, "artideas" doesn't have this problem. For those reasons, I would recommend that you do NOT use the word proxy in your domain name. Now some of you will ignore me and do it anyway, but don't complain to me when you get blocked right out of the gate.

Word of mouth
Proxies travel largely by word of mouth. Upwards of 90% of the traffic on some of my proxies comes from people directly typing the domain into the browser. Which means that they have told their friends and they are just remembering it off of the top of their head. Thus DO make your domain names easy to remember.
I did a test where I registered a few domains with a less common spelling and the same domains with the popular spelling. I advertised the domains with the less popular spelling but never once have I ever advertised in any way the common spelling ones. In fact the less popular spellings have been indexed by Google. The more common spelled ones have never even been indexed by Google. The more common ones are not linked to from anywhere.
Today the less common ones get used, but the more common spelling ones get over 1000 home page views per day, and they have NEVER even been advertised! - By the way, they are busier sometimes then the advertised ones. So use normal spellings and make them easy. thus kem88pol.com will likely not be blocked by a automated filter, but it will also likely never go viral. Viral in the proxy world is word of mouth - think teenager, who can maybe not spell great. Go with easy, correct spellings, and don't use the word "proxy".

Where to register
So where to get a domain name and what kind to get? If you are already a webmaster of other sites you probably have a favorite company to register domain names with. I have three. One that I register .coms with, one for my name servers, and one I register .info's with. So if you have a favorite then hit them up, if not let me make it simple for you.

Whois Guard
Whois Guard. What is it? It protects your domain name registration info. Did you know that if you put your real info on a domain name registration - which you are required to do- that anyone can do a WHOIS lookup and find out who you are? So think of it. Someone uses your
proxy, your proxy happens to be a bit slow that day, they happen to be having a bad day. So they do a WHOIS search on your domain. Find out your name, email address, home address, and phone number. So they call and leave you a nasty voice mail, send you a nasty email, mail you a nasty letter or worse - they find out they live 5 minutes from your house and show up at your door during your family dinner time to make a scene about it. Not the ideal picture of what I want.

Also mind you people use proxies not just to get around school or work filters. People use them to be anonymous. Criminals use them to be anonymous. Not the people that I want showing up at my door step. Not trying to scare you off from proxies though, thus enter Whois Guard or
Domains by Proxy. They will hide all of your info and put their info in its place, while you still get to own the domain name. They have strict policies about your personal information and are generally pretty good. If you have questions then read their policies. From what I read about Domains by Proxy - which is the big player in this market - they won't give out your info to
anyone with out a court subpoena, which will be more then sufficient to prevent the above scene from coming true. Now back to our original topic.

Other registrar options
Are there other domain companies that are good too? Of course. In fact once you are all set and going I would encourage you to shop around a bit. There are places like godaddy.com that
have .info's for $3.
There are other sites that I have heard that sell .info's for $1 each. For a long time GoDaddy had a sale on .info's for just over a buck, at which point I bought over 30 domains from them as about a buck is a great price. But prices change from time to time and the above prices are at the time of this writing. They could be different when you get to them.
So prices are subject to change, but once you get established with a company then sometimes it is worth paying the extra just to save the hassle. I will be honest and say that if I could get a $1 sale over at GoDaddy vs. paying $5 over at NameCheap I would take it. I mean for that matter why not just buy 5 .info's at GoDaddy and start a whole network of proxies. Oops, I am getting ahead of myself.

Bottom Line
Bottom line is use who you like. NameCheap does it all, so its not a bad idea to have at least 1 domain name there. Depending on your hosting you may well need custom name servers, at the time of this writing and to the best of my knowledge, godaddy doesn't do custom name servers. I would not recommend registering a whole network of proxies with namecheap though as that would be just blowing money. Make sense? Good, lets take a quick detour before we move on to what type of domain to get.

Detour: You can use coupons to save a few bucks when registering names. Don’t count on coupons as an everyday price, but take advantage of the opportunities that you can. There are many different kinds of domains that you can use - .com, .net, .biz, .org, .info, etc... I would recommend that you use only a .com or .info. The reason for .com is that everybody mentally automatically puts .com on the end of any domain name. Remember proxies spread highly by word of mouth, which requires peoples memory. To that end .com's are great. However if you plan on making multiple proxies, which most people do, then .com's could cost you a small fortune, the average price being $9-$10 each. For round numbers lets take 30 sites, times $10 each is $300. .info's however are much cheaper, but less easy to remember, so lets look at them.

.info's = cost savings
The primary reason that most proxy owners use .info's is because they are cheaper.
.info's are commonly used by proxy owners, and proxy users have slowly gotten used to the idea that .info is used with proxies. So while it may not click right into place with some people that are new to using proxies, over time they will come to associate .info's as a common domain extension. So .info's aren't bad, and I would recommend them, most of my sites are .info, but if you can afford it, .com is better.
Will using a .info cost you enough traffic over time that you will lose more money then it would have cost to buy the .com? Maybe, Maybe Not. Depends on how much time we are talking. Do some experiments.
Also .info can be good if you have a good name in your head, but the .com version is already taken. It is best if you use this technique - that the .com that you can't get is not a proxy site. Because if the users accidentally puts in suchandsuch.com instead of suchandsuch.info and gets another proxy site he is going to use that one and not yours. Where as if he puts in suchandsuch.com and gets a hooked on phonics website then he is going to do a double take and go, ok what did I do wrong. They he might remember that it was .info and find your site.