Why Am I Doing Reviews?
Who is this guy, and why should I care what he thinks about a CD?
I'm just a guy with a rather large CD collection. I'm one of those who thinks it's more fun to have $5,000 worth of CD's than a $5,000 stereo. Over the years, I've built up a database to keep track of my music collection, and part of that database includes a ranking of what I think of a particular CD. The ranks are from one to five, with one meaning "never again" and five meaning "enduring classic". Every time I buy a CD, it goes into my database as a 'three' (or average). Every few months, I go back and review recent purchases, adjusting the rank up or down (or leave it at three) depending on how I feel about the CD after repeated listening.
I was born in 1960 (facing the big 'four-oh' this year), so my music tastes tend to run according to that 'schedule'. I had three older brothers, so I picked up on Beatles, Crosby Stills Nash, and other groups that might have otherwise been 'too old' for me. On my own, I've discovered the joys of American 'standards'. I have no formal education related to music; I'm an electronics engineer by training.
I've used the database for the last year or so to publish a handful of lyric websites on Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Vintage R&B, and some others. Mostly due to space constraints, I didn't do the whole collection. Geocities recently bumped up my webspace limit (I guess they like the traffic), so I now have the room to launch the 'big one'. (Addendum: Geocities had the room, but their inventory management system left something to be desired when I put my 15,000 files up. The FTP program kept timing out on me. This drove me to own domain, www.thepeaches.com.
What's up with the links to www.cdnow.com?
When I put up my lyrics pages, I didn't install a counter (mostly because my internet hero, Phil Greenspun, considers them 'amateurish'). Geocities (my webspace provider) used to send me monthly summaries of how many times they had 'served' my web pages; I was running monthly totals in the 3,000 hits range. Geocities elected to stop collecting that data. I ran 'in the dark' for most of a year. Finally, I added a counter / analyzer from www.hitbox.com. I was a bit surprised to see that I'm now getting 3,000 hits *a day* on good days. 90,000 hits a month!
I didn't get on the web to make money, but I figured with 90,000 hits a month, I should at least think about it. I have bought CDs from CDNow in the past, and found them to be straightforward and professional. They have a program that will allow me to link to them, and when folks buy merchandise through those links, they'll credit my account 7%. It costs the purchaser nothing additional. The link looks like this: http://www.cdnow.com/from=sr-5064720 where that last bit is my account number. If the link is to a specific artist or album, there will be more info after the account number. If you purchase anything during that 'session' I'll get credit. If you come back later (without clicking 'in' from my site), I won't. No biggie.
At this writing, I am not getting rich off of this. In 3 months, I've 'earned' one CD, and I have another $12 in my account (looks like I'm sneaking up on CD #2). Out of my 20,000 hits a week on my site, 300-400 are clicking through to CDNow. About once every other week, somebody buys a CD, and my account gets credited a buck or two. Anytime somebody tells me about how they're going to put their home business on the web and 'get rich', I think about these numbers (and I have above average traffic).
An update: CDNow is gone, Amazon bought up the web rights. Amazon isn't as pleasant a company to deal with as a web developer (they're a fine retailer, I buy from them all the time) so I'm probably going to cut ties with them. I make a couple bucks from allposters.com, but I don't think I'm breaking even yet. I've just started google ads (as of May 2004) so we'll see how they do.
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