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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, March 01, 2013

February Numbers

Between January’s payroll tax increase (or reversion to the norm) and February’s increasingly hysterical headlines about Congress’s latest efforts to tank the economy, it’s no surprise that this month’s numbers suck. With less money in your pocket and a self-inflicted recession on the horizon, you’d have to be insane or rich to buy anything you don’t need.

And, of course, I only sell things you don’t need.


Total income: -36.8%
Total COGS: -41.0%
Payroll: -44.3%
Marketing: -42%
Net Income (Profit): +69.9% (+$921)

Year to Date:

Total income: -25.0%
Total COGS: -34.7%
Payroll: -18.5%
Marketing: -31.5%
Net Income (Profit): +62.6% (+$1,189)

The bottom line looks swell because I have not yet paid my corporate registration ($456), my annual report fee ($109), my tax preparation fee, or my developer’s fee for last week’s version upgrade. Those expenses will wipe out my profit in March.

Thank the gods I stashed away money for everything but the software upgrade. 

Assuming Congress remains deadlocked on the sequester, March sales could worsen dramatically as the spending cuts start to bite, the stock market tanks, and furloughs and layoffs begin – at least, that’s the Obama administration line. Or nothing at all might happen if Americans have stopped paying attention to Washington’s crisis-of-the-month. It’s always some damned thing and us little people can’t do anything about it anyway, so who cares?

Guess we’ll find out a month from now. Either we’ll be circling the drain again or we won’t.


On Google’s advice I converted a couple of my ad campaigns to their new “enhanced” mode, which is supposed to let me adjust my bids for clicks on mobile devices. People shopping with smartphones seldom buy anything, they misread product descriptions, and they generate a lot of cryptic emails and (worst of all) phone calls. Those who do place orders usually fail to choose product options and then don’t answer my emails. Even though smartphones are a small and low-quality market segment, I don’t want to block them entirely, so reducing my bids is a good option -- and even better if I can shave a few bucks off my advertising costs.

When I tried to cut mobile bids by 50% in my main campaign the interface cryptically told me “Not available with this bid type.” Bidding is really complicated with at least half a dozen different options (focus on clicks, focus on conversions, target maximum cost per conversion, target average cost per conversion, and on and on). I never did manage to find the bid type that would let me reduce mobile, and I think I screwed up my results while trying. Yesterday I had triple the usual click traffic for the same daily spend, which would be great if anybody had bought anything.

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