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The single biggest misconception about games is that they’re an escapist waste of time. But more than a decade’s worth of scientific research shows that gaming is actually one of the most productive ways we can spend time.

No, playing games doesn’t help the GDP – our traditional measure of productivity. But games help us produce something more important than economic bottom line: powerful emotions and social relationships that can change our lives–and potentially help us change the world.

Currently there are more than half a billion people worldwide playing online games at least an hour a day — and 183 million in the US alone. The younger you are, the more likely you are to be a gamer — 97% of boys under 18 and 94% of girls under 18 report playing videogames regularly. And the average young person racks up 10,000 hours of gaming by the age of 21. That’s almost exactly as much time as they spend in a classroom during all of middle school and high school if they have perfect attendance. Most astonishingly, 5 million gamers in the U.S are spending more than 40 hours a week playing games — the same as a full time job!

Why are we increasingly turning to games? According to my research, it’s because games do a better job than ordinary life of provoking our most powerful positive emotions — like curiosity, optimism, pride, and a desire to join forces with others to achieve something extraordinary. Games also, increasingly, are a particularly effective way to bond with our friends and family — strengthening our real-life and online social networks in ways that no other kind of social interaction can.

That’s what I mean when I say — in the title of my new book — that Reality is Broken.” The fact that so many people of all ages, all over the world, are choosing to spend so much time in game worlds is a sign of something important, a truth that we urgently need to recognize.

The truth is this: in today’s society, computer and video games are fulfilling genuine human needs that the real world is currently unable to satisfy. Games are providing rewards that reality is not. They are teaching and inspiring and engaging us in ways that reality is not. They are bringing us together in ways that reality is not. And unless something dramatic happens to reverse the resulting exodus, we’re fast on our way to becoming a society in which a substantial portion of our population devotes its greatest efforts to playing games, creates its best memories in game environments, and experiences its biggest successes in game worlds.

Fortunately, however, this temporary exodus is not a complete waste of time!

When we play a good game, we get to practice being the best version of ourselves: We become more optimistic, more creative, more focused, more likely to set ambitious goals, and more resilient in the face of failure. And when we play multiplayer games, we become more collaborative and more likely to help others. In fact, we like and trust each other more after we play a game together — even if we lose! And more importantly, playing a game with someone is an incredibly effective way to get to know their strengths and weaknesses–as well as what motivates them. This is exactly the kind of social knowledge we need to be able to cooperate and collaborate with people to tackle real-world challenges.

The good news about games is that recent scientific research shows that all of these feelings and activities can trickle into our real lives.

For example: kids who spend just 30 minutes playing a “pro-social” game like Super Mario Sunshine (in which you clean up pollution and graffiti around an island) are more likely to help friends, family and neighbors in real-life for a full week after playing the game.

People of all ages who play musical games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero report spending more time learning and playing real musical instruments than before they started playing the videogame.

And just 90 seconds of playing a game like World of Warcraft – where you have a powerful avatar – can boost the confidence of colleges students so much that for up to 24 hours later, they’re more likely to be successful taking a test at school… and more outgoing in real-world social situations.

This “spill-over” effect of games means that young people who identify strongly as gamers have real-world talents and strengths that will indoubtedly serve the well in the future — if they understand that these are real skills and abilities, not just virtual ones. That’s why I wanted to write Reality is Broken: to show gamers (and parents of gamers) exactly how playing games can prepare us to tackle challenges like curing cancer, ending world hunger, and stopping climate change. (Yes, it’s true! There are games to help players do all of these things).

Of course, there can always be too much of a good thing. Studies by both university researchers and the U.S. Army Mental Health Assessment Team show that playing games up to 21 hours a week can produce positive impacts on your health and happiness — especially if you’re playing games face-to-face with friends and family, or playing cooperative games (rather than competitive games). That’s why I personally recommend that parents of gamers spend as much time as they can playing, too. In fact, just this week, a new study by Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life revealed that daughters who play videogames with their parents report feeling much closer to their parents — and demonstrate significantly lower levels of aggression, behavior problems, and depression.

But when you hit 28 hours a week of gaming or more, the time starts to distract you from real life goals and other kinds of social interaction that are essential to leading a good life. Multiple studies have shown it’s the 21-hour mark that really makes the difference — more than 3 hours a day, and you’re not going to get those positive impacts. Instead, you’ll be at risk for negative impacts — like depression and social anxiety.

So what’s the optimal level of gaming? For most people, an hour a day playing our favorite games will power up our ability to engage whole-heartedly with difficult challenges, strengthen our relationships with the people we care about most — while still letting us notice when it’s time to stop playing in virtual worlds and bring our gamer strengths back to real life.

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credited to : CT Moore from : Reve News

Over the last two days, the dust from Affiliate Summit East 2010 has settled and most of us have recovered from the jet lag and three consecutive days of late nights and early mornings (for some there may have been some drinking involved).  And now that we’re starting to settle back into an everyday pace, a lot of us are assessing just what we took home from the conference. Well, here are the top 5 things I took away from ASE 2010.<p align=”none”> </p>
1. AdWords faces some tough competition
From Facebook Ads to Plenty of Fish, advertisers seem to be turning to user-driven-networks spread their message. And it’s no surprise why.
While AdWords only lets you target by location and intent, user-driven networks let advertisers reach users by both location (great for localized offers) and demographics while at the same time fostering a network affect of like-minded shoppers. So while Adwords only helps you reach users that are already aware of the kinds of services/products you offer, user-driven networks allow you to reach a completely untapped customer base through their social interests.
2. Facebook Ads are the new big thing
Despite the fact that Facebook Ads are bupkis advertisers are drinking the Kool-Aid. No matter if it was a session or a one-on-one interview, everyone seemed to be talking about Facebook Ads. Those who’d figured out the platform heralded positive results, and those who hadn’t figured it out weren’t ready to give up on it just yet and wanted to know more about how to leverage it.
In a nutshell, Facebook Ads let advertisers target users by demographics and personal network; and that affords them a bit more trust currency. And as we know, belief is essential to selling. For instance, your ad might tell a user that one of their friends “liked” your product/service, and that seems to help with conversions more than a run-of-the-mill banner ad or sponsored result. Of course, the flip-side of that is that your product/service can’t completely suck.
3. Email remains a vital component
Believe it or not, email is not just still important, it’s more important than ever. And the reason is that email notifications are an integral part of the social networking experience. Just think about it: whenever a contact takes any action on your profile or content on a social network, you get an email notification.
As Declan Dunn pointed out in his session, marketers should pay attention to users’ email experience for two reasons. First, email is obviously integral to keeping users engaged in whatever community you’ve built-up through social media.
Secondly, and more importantly, depending on the platform you use to manage that community, either you can’t advertise directly to them or it’s inappropriate/inadvisable to do so because it infringes on their community experience. So email notifications become one of your best opportunities to promote any product or service.
4. A picture is worth a thousand clicks
During his awesome session on Facebook Ads, Jeremy “Shoemoney” Schoemaker broke down the most important elements of a Facebook Ad. And the most important piece of the puzzle was, you guessed it, the image.
Essentially there are three elements to a Facebook Ad: the title,  the ad copy, and the image. From his own personal experience with Facebook Ads, Jeremy has found that the image impacts an ad’s performance much more so than the body or the title. So much so, in fact, that between the three elements, Jeremy focuses 70 percent on the image, and only 20 percent on the body and a mere 10 percent on the title.
5. Sex still sells
Of course, this isn’t exactly a revelation. But sometimes, it helps to be reminded of  age old truths — if only to not lose sight of them.
For starters, there were no shortage of pretty face representing the CPA networks and merchants. One network even had a pair of bikini babes prowling the conference floor.
But sex seems to work even on a performance-basis (no pun intended). In fact, one of the examples Shoemoney offered during his session (linked above) was an experiment where he sent US traffic to ad pages where some of the ads featured a cleavage pic and some foreign text. The cleavage/foreign language pics got more clicks than the non-cleavage ads that had English copy.
So it seems that sometimes, it doesn’t matter what your call-to-action or value propositions. Users seem to judge books by their cover, and have their minds in the gutter.
The sum of it all
Overall, Affiliate Summit East 2010 is the best conference I’ve been to this year, and maybe one of the best ever. Unlike a lot of other industry conferences, everything was extremely well organized (from sessions to parties), and the networking opportunities abounded in both quantity and quality.
More importantly, all the intelligence to be gained through sessions came directly from the front lines. After all, these are affiliate marketers. They live and die by their performance, so there’s no margin for error. They’re very focused on results, and very quick to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
In a nutshell, everything I learned was about what is working, not what was fun or cool to do with someone else’s money. I’m looking forward to doing it all again in Las Vegas in January.

http://youtubemarketingcoaching.co.cc/youtube-affiliate-marketing/building-an-affiliate-marketing-income/