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If you are in this camp then Glen has done an amazing post on keyword research which is a really good place for you to start. The important thing to take note of there is the last part of the article that talks about things you are passionate about. Picking a niche or keyword set based solely on the idea of making quick cash is a really good way to lose interest.
First of all great article John, and thanks for sharing your story. What Vicki says about her kids resonates with me. My parents limited me to schools I could commute to. In the back of my head I always knew that was better financially, but it was still tough to think of what I was missing out on. I still got by and had a blast in school so it worked out. Everything is what you make of it.
Sounds like you need to go back to high school. Lack of punctuation, capitalization, apostrophes, btw? BTW?! Look at how you’re talking and yet you’re complaining about an article to help people get the big picture? Pathetic really. Someone like you shouldn’t even be reading a journal/article like this, when basic grammar isn’t even part of your being or intelligence, well lack of intelligence I should say. Best of luck to you. Griping on something like this isn’t making you any more money than those who read this and get motivated. Feedback is always welcome when things like this are posted, but you’re so rude and ignorant that it really defeats the purpose. Best of luck to you
ps. collecting these Facebook polls is one of the main reasons I was able to get so many SiteGround sales. Yes, I’m suggesting SiteGround for your host, but this is also a strategy that can be used to collect unbiased reviews. Just go to Facebook and search “SiteGround poll” and you can dig up some great stuff – you can do this with lots of affiliate products/companies.
Most of the information on this site is free for you to read, watch or listen to, but The Creative Penn is also a business and my livelihood. So please expect hyperlinks to be affiliate links in many cases, when I receive a small percentage of sales if you wish to purchase. I only recommend tools, books and services that I either use or people I know personally. Integrity and authenticity continue to be of the highest importance to me. Read the privacy policy here. I hope you find the site useful! Thanks - Joanna
Penny – Great post and you have gone beyond what most teachers do to maximize income. Teachers are underpaid. My wife taught for 18 years and the most she ever made was $26000 (when she was single in Alabama), but she would never have traded the experience and sense of accomplishment she had as teaching in a low income school district and helping kids envision a better future.
Of course there are some drawbacks. Learning to fly isn’t cheap. Another $50,000-$100,000 on top of the costs of a college education is realistic for most. But just as with college tuition, there are loans available to help pay for flying education. And one can flight instruct part-time while attending college to not only help pay for classes, but also gain valuable flight experience. Obviously the military, either active duty or national guard, is another potential option for defraying the costs of flight training.
Nothing is untrue about this post, I just have a different take perhaps because I am 55 and I have also raised 7 children of diverse interests into adulthood. First – i am a board certified Veterinary Pathologist and work for the pharmaceutical industry. A niche career, not well known by peiple outside of the field but i have loved it and it has been great to me and it pays AMAZINGLY. I didn’t even know the option existed when I was in high school, college or even until well through veterinary school. I followed my passion and talant. Remeber what you decide to do you get up and do everyday – so if being a petrolium engineer and living in TX giges you the heeby-jeebies well, don’t follow this guy’s advice. You have to have a reason to get up everyday and it may not be to earn as much money as you can in 5 years and retire – maybe it is, but then you still have to do something with your time.
Beside reading this post which is great for information. i really loved your comment. I feel you. I am also 31yo currently making around 100k living in an Eastern European country and trying to make more by finding new oportunities. Somehow i connected with your comment, i feel atracted to it. If you would like to continue comunicating in private just let me know. Cheers
Btw, can I get into investment banking without having a license? I already have a degree, just need to self-learn the material online, but…I don’t know if I can be valued as an employee like that…But my main question, if Bank of America doesn’t take me on full-time, can I apply to other full-time 50k+ IT positions while being a contractor or introducing myself to other IT professionals within the company and showing my interest for an entry level IT role?
Determination and a positive attitude can bring so many rewards. A lot of people don’t need 100k to live comfortably or to be happy, especially if they don’t live in a big city, but I think it’s a great career goal for city dwellers. Getting good grades and going to a strong school are definitely a leg up to a big salary. If I’m interviewing someone and they didn’t write their GPA down on their resume I always ask what it was – if they had bad grades in school from goofing off and partying why should I believe they would be any different in the work place? I want to hire people that are responsible, driven, efficient, and performed well in college.
Great post, Penny! As you know – I am finishing up year 29 in education. I have two Master’s degree and a doctorate and I’ve never earned six figures. Had I stayed as a principal in the last five years, I would have made six figures. I’d likely be at around $120,000 right now. But I gave that up to go teach at the college level, not work 12 months a year, and have fun educating the next generation of teachers. Five years ago, I knew I was almost to FI because of this community (and that’s never making six figures and being a single mom for a number of years…)

As a service provider to several different types of business owners over the past 25 years, I think it is not the education but rather the execution of process and people that make the difference. More times than not I have seen educations get in the way of continuing education than not. Truly the learning or connection making does not stop at school and to imagine that it only starts there is foolish.

You didn’t mention engineering as a industry. Engineers have some of the best starting salaries out of college and many of my business partners have MBAs. I graduated with a masters in structural engineering and then 6 years later got qualified as a diver with an ADCI commercial dive card. Then I was making 100,000+ annually. I now have my own firm and make 200,000+ at 32 years old.
As you progress your mid-career 6-figure/+ salary, and full 401K contributions over the years, along other bonuses/stocks/investments you may have made/saved., you are on your path to that million and/or FI.. As you reach into late 30s, early 40s, see the financial picture: your 401K+investments growing about 7% average — on a typical 800K investments — that amount to $56K/year, your salary (don’t forget savings!), plus say 25K/year growth on your home-equity (in good town/school-district)., you will be closing “double” the six-figure income. Keep the progress going, cruise-control, and enjoy the ride along the way — you be on your way to FI soon. Do learn Golf, you know how to hob-nob with big boys (or girls)
The "mean annual salary" is the average salary being paid for a job or position. Your annual salary is the amount that you will get paid in a year assuming you work the entire year at that salary. For example, if you are paid semi-monthly (such as US military pay, 1st and 15th of each month), and your annual salary is $24,000, your gross paycheck (before taxes) will be $2,000.
Hi, thanks for another awesome article. I understand EVERYTHING on this subject but what’s the best course of action when your website is lacking a tight focus? My site is based around the concept of stop doing the things you hate and start doing what you really want. Which started out with ‘how to quit your job’ but I thought that was too limiting so now it now covers all aspects of lifestyle, interacting with others, thoughts on life and health & fitness. (using personal experience where applicable).
Great post! I took a similar route only with Mining engineering. One thing I didn’t see mentioned is the aid available for these type of programs (less recently). When I started school companies would sponsor a full YEAR of tuition with the stipulation you graduate within the mining program, and you didn’t have to work for that company (scholarships booyah!!) These industries have a huge age gap with the majority of senior engineers retiring or recently retired. Can you say desperate? While I do still work for the man, at least I get to play with huge machines and blow s*** up!
It seems like you no longer want to work so much and are trying to break free ASAP in your mid-to-late 20s? Is this true? If so, why do you think you burned out so quickly from petro engineering, especially if it only takes you 40 hours a week? 40 hours a week is a walk in the park in comparison to banking, consulting, law, medical etc. Why not just work as a petro engineer for longer?

This is BS because Mech E and Chem E curriculums don’t cover fluid flow in porous media which is what petroleum engineering is all about. Further, Pet Es have essentially dedicated their career to oil and gas with limited options to go into other industries. To avoid hiring them due to saving $10-15,000 in starting salaries is a slap in the face. The least petroleum companies can do is hire petroleum engineers and simply offer less money!
Very easy my dear friend, I think reading this article, any body can make money online. So the basic idea of this whole article was -affiliate marketing through email list. Another method that is totally working and i am able to generate an average 20-50$ per days is just post proper review on any popular system and fully optimize that so that that review can rank higher in search results. This method will generate endless affiliate income for you.
Penny – Great post and you have gone beyond what most teachers do to maximize income. Teachers are underpaid. My wife taught for 18 years and the most she ever made was $26000 (when she was single in Alabama), but she would never have traded the experience and sense of accomplishment she had as teaching in a low income school district and helping kids envision a better future.
Yes, people who perform on stage look like a big group of people and they have union. Perhaps when you read the article about the strike you were surprised to know symphony players earn six figure salary, but only about 1% gets to play in the 100k+ salary orchestra from top music schools (Juilliard, Curtis, NEC, etc). I am a lucky few who plays in a major orchestra with 100k+ pay, but I spent my 20s practicing everyday earning $10k-$20k until I finally won the audition at age 30. (33 now) In order to be competitive in auditions, I own (parents and grandparents paid) an instrument that costs $300k. Most of the straight A students from top music school I know now earn below $50k. As a music student, it is a big success if one wins an orchestral job with $50k salary. Many try to teach and freelance at a $5k orchestra job to scrape by.
The only thing to skip is the fancy school because most of my colleagues went to midwestern state schools. To Sam’s point, many engineers see an MBA as a way to move up when they get stuck and wonder “what’s next”… depending on circumstance, I’ve found this to be a bit of an illusion without a total career change. Anyway, I’m self-aware enough to admit that the glad-handing and corporate buzzword stuff isn’t my strength, so I’m happy to chill in the very low 6 figures with reduced effort now that I’ve mastered the job. To get ahead, I leveraged simplistic living/frugality (65% savings rate) as opposed to further career growth.
This is probably going to be controversial but a few months ago I remember someone saying that Google is now putting more weight on blogs and websites that have a unique approach. This makes sense. They don’t want all the results on the homepage to be review sites! Since hearing about this and implementing it on a few of my blogs I’ve noticed quite nice results. If you can go one step further and create a unique tool or app to add to the page you’re laughing.
I don’t have firsthand data but I believe you’d earn a similar amount working in investment banking as in Pet E for the first few years. However, you’d probably work up to twice the hours (60-80+ per week). If you do well and stay in the industry you could make an extremely high income…much more potential. Might have to go to a prestigious school and be at the top of your class however.
I would counter and say not to get a petroleum engineering degree but rather a mechanical or chemical degree and find a job in the O&G industry. Petroleum degrees limit you to a specific industry and from what I’ve heard (I’m in the industry) many companies are now leaning towards those with mechanical or chemical degrees over the once popular petroleum degrees. Further when the industry hits a down turn like we’re currently in, those with the more general engineering degree will have a better shot at finding work in other industries.
I’m not a teacher. So what? I realize that money in education is vastly different than most other career fields. While we enjoy both the good and the bad that comes with having very public salary schedules, it is possible to play the long game in many jobs. Networking, informal conversations, and even snooping researching on sites like Glassdoor should at least give most everyone some initial insight into their field. More than anything, though, flexibility and adaptability if you find yourself in a less-than-ideal situation go a long way.
I like what I do but eventually would like to start my own engineering company. I feel like this is different than what Sam was referring to with regards to dissatisfaction with the work that engineers do. Engineering is a pretty easy gig honestly. I work 40 hours a week on engineering work and occasionally work a few extra hours on business development. I’m going to finish my masters in a few months (completely paid for by my company) and then be looking to make ~160 after that.

We’ve compiled the following list of jobs to illustrate some of the most popular careers that offer high income opportunities without a college degree. Keep in mind that just because someone can make $100,000 each year at these jobs does not mean it’s guaranteed. These careers offer the possibility of generating a high income, especially when the careers include a salary, bonuses, commissions, overtime pay, and most importantly, hard work.
“Just remember that your happiness, as measured by income will continue to grow until $200,000 and then stop because of government persecution and the bitter populace who want to keep you down. After you break $200,000 you need to start going into hiding. So if you discover after taking my advice that you are on pace to blow by $200,000 a year, don’t forget to create an exit strategy!”
Before I share the strategies that I’ve used to generate over $100,000 in affiliate commissions per month at this point, there are two extremely important rules I use when promoting products that are not my own. You don’t have to use these rules in order to become an affiliate or be successful at it, but it’s what has helped me grow my affiliate income tremendously over the last couple of years:
While the two paragraphs above only describe the relationship between status and personal income, household income is also often used to infer status. As a result, the dual income phenomenon presents yet another problem in equating affluence with high societal status. As mentioned earlier in the article, 42% of households have two or more income earners, and 76% of households with six figure incomes have two or more income earners.[11] Furthermore, people are most likely to marry their professional and societal equals.
If you are writing online your posts should be brief, clear, checked for spelling and grammar and consistent. Your blog may not have broad appeal if it has limitations in these, so your EBooks and public posts can benefit from a professional proof-reader, or extra classes in English, whether it is your first language or not. Whether you write a blog, a book or anything else, your only tool to deliver your message is language, and you should gain all the skills you can with it. If you don’t have time for this, use the services of someone with the best language skills you can find.
Here’s how Amazon Associates works. People Googled “gifts for writers,” then clicked on the ideas we shared in our post, which took them over to Amazon.com. Regardless of whether they bought that item we recommended, they then continued to do their holiday shopping, stocking up on all sorts of random gifts, from electronics to clothing to books. And because they clicked on our link initially, we earned somewhere between four to 10 percent of whatever they spent on Amazon during the next 24 hours.
Thanks John and Sam – I’ll shoot this one over to my 22 yr old daughter who is about to graduate with an applied math degree. She plans to work for technology companies, probably starting with data analysis and visualization, which will pay over $100k within a few yrs depending on how much she wants to work. There isn’t any reason she can’t earn over $100k by 25, esp with me to help her get in (I’m in the biz…for maybe a few more years). I’m quite curious to see what kind of lifestyle she chooses. She’s smart and a good communicator, but she definitely isn’t the one yelling, “how high?” when some life-hating micromanager screams “JUMP!” :-)
these are certainly well known ways of making money with affiliate marketing…the best example i can give is rahul kuntala of learnblogtips.com, he has created an ebook and also has a landing page as you suggested! i would also specify bharat mandava of wpsquare.com, who earns most of his income through affiliate marketing!! thx fr the article jafar :)
I would have one partner create a separate page/contact form specifically for the advertiser – so only people who see that contact form are people who were referred to by the advertiser. The advertiser would use that page as their outbound link. I know you can track outbound clicks in Google Analytics events and Contact Form conversions (usually through most contact form plugins) but that is the best way I think. Never done it, but this is how I see most affiliate programs like that work.

If you're new to the blogosphere then this book is brilliant, but if you're already somewhat experienced then you need to start looking elsewhere. It's really just all the blogging basics in one tome, but as far as building strategies it lacks a little bit. I do recommend it to anyone who wants to start they're own blog or has done it already and has yet to learn a little.


But don’t worry. You don’t have to make it all the way to the top, because you’re not going to an Ivy League school (see Step 3 and Should I Go To A Public Or Private School). Instead, channel your aggression towards maximizing Advanced Placement (AP) and community college courses. Why? Because these translate into real college credits later for a fraction of the cost now.
Freelancer – refer people to developers, designers, and other freelancers you’ve worked with and make 100% of Freelancer’s project commission for the first 90 days. I get a lot of people requesting WordPress speed optimization services… so I refer them to my developers with a freelancer affiliate link and make $125/month in passive income. You can’t use affiliate links to link to specific freelancer profiles, so I direct people to the homepage via affiliate link and give people my developer’s usernames.
We also pay for the occasional epic blog post, plus digital tools like MailChimp ($150/month), hosting ($150/month), etc. Because the site has grown exponentially over the last 18 months — we now see about 115,000 unique visitors each month and have 23,000 newsletter subscribers — it costs more to run the site now than it did a year ago. We now spend about $3,000 a month to run The Write Life.
Following my passion was definitely the wrong thing to do. I never advise anyone to ‘follow their passion, after what I went through. If your passion doesn’t pay a living wage, don’t follow it as your main career, follow it as your hobby. I wish someone would have told me thatthe first time around. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the internet and all these wonderful blogs when I went to college the first time.
[…] FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act and consists of a Social Security tax and a Medicare tax. This tax is very important for everyone to understand because so often we only think about federal tax rates and state income tax rates. The FICA tax is a big percentage of your total tax bill, especially for those making under six figures a year. […]
You found a topic that is of interest to a huge target audience (who doesn’t want to make 100k plus a year?) You spent some money so your website comes up while searching google (therefore generating more traffic to your page) and you’ve written this guide in a way that includes everyone (that way nobody feels like they aren’t able to achieve this same success) Throughout the article you’ve posted links to multiple products/companies which you earn revenue from each time someone clicks them. Along with that there are advertisements throughout that you’re gaining revenue on etc. So essentially, anyone reading this and clicking links is generating revenue for you. Touché
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Im 39 yrs old, graduated from a average college in business management. I currently work for the state in the IT help desk making around 35k a year in Sacramento, Im not happy with this salary, but my job is stable and Ihave retirement benefits. But, I want to make more money now, I want to be making 250k plus, I dont know if I should quit this job and go to the private sector and what field I should go into or stay what in the same field but switch to private IT job. I feel at this age, If I went back to business school to get an MBA might be a waste of time and money. Can you advise me?
I don’t think I would have done worse financially at all. I just think it evens out in the end of you make the right choices. I probably would have started with a much higher salary out of the gate. Put there’s a possibility then I would have been spending my time with people who put value on superficial items, and I’d spend more money on my apartment, car, clothes, etc. I’d probably try to stay in that job for many years, if it were paying well, versus having a real reason to leave positions to quickly move up and try different things. Right now I’m in a private company that is excelling and due to being open to any opportunity I was able to work a job that paid relatively little compared to market rate in exchange for a large amount of options. It’s yet to be seen if these options are going to be worth anything, but at this point there’s a reasonable change that I could meet or exceed the amount of savings I would have had, say, if I were making $100k out of the gate after graduating from an Ivy League school. Having a low income out of undergrad forced me to prioritize and learn how to save, and also how to live on a salary of under $30k a year in the Bay Area. While I’m still scared of losing my job, I understand how to live cheaply, which I consider a value-add to not having such high expectations and requirements for lifestyle out of the gate. Now, I am considering getting an MBA if I could possibly score well on the GMAT (I believe if I could get a high score on the GMAT I’d be an interesting candidate for a top-tier MBA program given my experience working with multiple successful startups as an early employee) but I’m not sure I want to take two years off to do that. If I were to go back to school I feel it would be more valuable to specialize in technical development or analytics, to really address areas where I am weak that would lead me to be a much better professional today. It’s unclear if an MBA program would be able to address my weaknesses — or give me the salary boost you speak of as with bonus I now make up to $130k per year (last year I closed out the year with about $110k.) I’m 29 and 7 years into my career. I save, I invest, and I’m glad I didn’t make all of the “smart” decisions in my life because this made me hungrier, potentially more well rounded, and less scared of taking risks as I had so little to lose.
Hi TOM, I have really enjoyed your shared nice piece of content with us. ..Actually, I am thinking to design and develop a mobile comparison website but you know, it’s not an easy job to collect mobiles data. A lot of time and cost is required to build such a website and I don’t want to spend a lot of money as I am new in this field. My colleague has recommended me RevGlue for this purpose as this a UK based registered company and are providing mobiles and its deals data for the UK only with the name of RevEmbed technology as I have read its blog revglue.com/blog-detail/13-setup-free-uk-mobile-comparison-website but I am the little bit confused as its a newborn company. Anyone, have experience with RevGlue. Guide me in this respect. Waiting for your kind response. Thanks in advance.
Also if you don’t have AP credits you can choose to cram in credit hours for a few semesters. It will take most your “fun” time, but you could essentially cut out a semester or two by sacrificing a little here and there. Shooting for 18 or more credit hours would be the goal. You could strategize it anyway you’d like. A couple semesters at 21 hours will really help you cut down your time in school. Now I didn’t employ this strategy but in hindsight I should have. I had a handful of business student friends that did this, and they seemed to have perfectly fine lives. They were even sighted at the occasional party or two, and were always happy.
If your youngest child is really interested in OT, then I suggest Colorado State University’s program. I have several friends who were in the OT program there while I was a post-doc in the chemistry dept. Its a great program, and about 98% of grads land jobs immediately. Also, Fort Collins is a nice town on the Front Range with access to all kinds of outdoor fun. Its not far from Denver or Boulder. The people are friendly, and the cost of living is pretty cheap. I work on the East Coast now at a biotech, but not a day goes by that I don’t dream of moving back to CO.

I get the feeling it is actually easier than we think to make a salary up to $200,000 a year because so many people in this country are basically LAZY and feel they are entitled to a certain standard of living with little effort on their part. Not saying everyone is, so don’t take me wrong. I’m guilty of it myself at certain times in my life. Therefore, the folks who strive to achieve the principles that you’ve outlined in your article are way ahead of the pack, just by making an effort. As the saying goes…The cream rises to the top.


After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator that pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms. Definitely run your numbers to see how you’re doing. I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket during this time thanks to better money management.
I liked your post. I was a Mechanical Engineering undergrad and got a Masters in Aerospace Engineering and was working by age 23 for a Fortune 50 company making Aircraft Wheels & Brakes. Since then I’ve moved to several fields and got into management. Made over $100k per year ($140K) at age 27 and onward and upward from there. My grades were poor, too much lack of focus the first two years of undergrad so then did an undergrad research position and co-published a paper to help me get a scholarship into grad school. Now I love learning about new businesses and leading people to achieve good business outcomes. It makes me a better investor too.

LOTS of people feel the way you described in terms of being trapped and not being able to move up. I’d argue through, that in a lot of the cases engineers are kind of awkward, while also being kind of arrogant and entitled. I’ve experienced person after person express dislike for their job or inability to get promoted, but they don’t get company paid for masters degrees, they don’t get PMP certifications, they don’t even do the work of applying for other jobs, they just whine about it…
You don’t exactly have stellar punctuation, yourself. You come across as mean, reactionary and elitist. Telling people they don’t write well enough to read an article? For real? I didn’t realize the written word was supposed to be safe-guarded from people whose written skills are deemed unworthy. With that logic, no preschooler should ever read anything, ever. Had you considered that maybe he was replying using a mobile device? Not every device comes ready to add contractions to words, and for the sake of quickly getting your point across, you just roll with it. You didn’t even comment on the content of his remarks. Learn to read for meaning and you will be more successful at criticizing others. If you criticize only the superficial, you will be seen as superficial and lose every time. BTW (see what I did there?), it’s widely accepted that people who pick at grammar only do so when they have nothing substantive to contribute. Questioning his intelligence because of his punctuation only calls into question your own. Best of luck to you.
But getting 1000 visitors to any given affiliate site meant I'd have to get about 10,000 visitors to my own site. If I could do that every week, I'd be doing OK for a small business site with a marketing budget close to zero. But I was already learning that it takes time and money to get 10,000 visitors a week. And let's see... for all my traffic generating efforts I would pull in a cool $180 a month? It didn't take a genius to figure out that it might not be worth the effort. I passed.
But getting 1000 visitors to any given affiliate site meant I'd have to get about 10,000 visitors to my own site. If I could do that every week, I'd be doing OK for a small business site with a marketing budget close to zero. But I was already learning that it takes time and money to get 10,000 visitors a week. And let's see... for all my traffic generating efforts I would pull in a cool $180 a month? It didn't take a genius to figure out that it might not be worth the effort. I passed.
Great post, I also liked your one on starting a fashion blog. Do you have a post on affiliate linking through social media? I’m pretty confused on whats acceptable, especially for Pinterest. It seems Shopstyle {Shopsense} and rewardStyle seem to work on Pinterest. I started my website on Weebly.. so I am making the oh-not-so-fun transition over to WordPress currently.
Regarding “convincing someone to buy your product is not that easy”, I do agree with you, but at the same time, I remember all those products I’ve bought online. I did not search on Google for those products neither I went to the company websites to get information and buy. They were affiliate people and their blogs that inspired to buy them. PrettyLink Pro, SEO Pressor was recommended by Kimberley, I bought Profits Theme, WP Zon builder because Alex Whaley recommended. Similarly I bought CommentLuv Premium because Ileane, Kavita, Steve and many others were talking good about it.
Several years ago when I started out try to make money online I chose a weight-loss product, built a pretty crappy site with WordPress, fashioned a ‘giveaway’ and an email series and linked it up to Aweber. I wrote several articles and submitted them to various directories then one day I was signing in to my AOL account when I saw an article on the Huffington Post about dieting. I wrote a comment along with a link to my website and pretty much forgot about it. The following day I was absolutely astounded to see that I had got 300 people signing up on my list. Over the week about 15% unsubscribed-probably as my email series was bobbins but by the last email contained a link to the product of which 17 people bought. As the commission was £42 (about $63 in those days) I made £714/$1071 with a crappy site, a crappy email series and a crappy comment. I (stupidly) have never done anything with it since-can you believe that? Anyway that site is still there and continues to make the occasional sale.