Home-built CO2 laser-cutter Free Report

Hi all,
I've just made some changes to The Blake Laser website. For those that haven't seen it before, it's a home-built computer controlled, CO2 laser
cutter.
I'm now offering a free report (version 1.0) on the site, which you can get when you subscribe to the Blake Laser newsletter.
The intention of the free report is to help others who are interested in building their own CO2 laser cutters at home.
Get the free report at http://www.theblakelaser.com
I want to make the free report better, so I will be grateful for any suggestions or contributions. The report will always be free - with your help I will improve it over time and continue to offer it to the home-built laser community.
Also, version 1.1 of the Blake picture e-book is now available too. There are only minor changes from version 1.0.
The picture e-book is only 97 cents for a short time! Go grab it, it's cool... http://www.theblakelaser.com
Cheers,
Tony Burch
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I dunno, Tony. This started out pretty well, but you're going down some crass commercialism road, IMO. It's not that you're trying to make some money -- which is fine -- but how you're doing it. Either put up a regular Web site to sell the damn book or give it away for free. You have popups to collect e-mail names of people interested in the "report" that is never described on the page, and come-on advertiser links that click through to products that have nothing to do with your laser.
Example: At the bottom of the page you kave the text: "Other places of interest: Reasonably priced, brand new laser tubes and power supplies...," and then a picture of an exposed CO2 laser tube. But clicking on the picture brings you to a site selling a so-called gasoline-saving device. Pretty cheeky.
Since your ultimate aim is commercial in nature, please start putting FS: or similar note on the subject to indicate it's a commercial post.
-- Gordon
Tony Burch wrote:

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Gordon, I think your point about him being clear whether he's doing something for free or actually trying to make money is valid. He should decide which he's doing and make it clear one way or another.
However, with a bit closer inspection, I see the "gas saving" site has a link that reads:
SuperGasSaver CO2 Laser Division, Click Here!
And if you click on that you see they do sell C02 laser tubes. So the link is valid even if it is a bit confusing. He might consider linking straight to the CO2 tube page.
--
Curt Welch http://CurtWelch.Com /
snipped-for-privacy@kcwc.com http://NewsReader.Com /
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Curt Welch wrote:

Ah.
But you know, with everything else on the site -- the popup that my popup blocker didn't catch, the invitation to sign up to a newsletter and report that have any description or example, the lack of a privacy notice regarding the use of e-mail names, etc. -- I wasn't about to look around the gas saver site to see if they indeed had tubes! I rather think most people will just click off that page just as I did, which means it's not too useful as a way for the gas saver guy to make money selling tubes.
I wish Tony all the success and hope he does well, but I just found a couple of the tactics a bit disconcerting. I mean, a lot of us have something to sell (including me), but most of us use some discretion in promoting that.
-- Gordon
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I'll just comment here that any site with a popup written to get around my popup blocker has automatically defined itself to be a site I want nothing to do with.
--
Joseph J. Pfeiffer, Jr., Ph.D. Phone -- (505) 646-1605
Department of Computer Science FAX -- (505) 646-1002
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Hi Joe,
Thanks for your comment. It's certainly your right to decide what websites you look at, or decide to filter. I definitely understand what you are saying.
I actually agree that "normal popup windows" are irritating. However, if you look more closely at this one, it's not a normal one. A new window is not opened, like with a "normal popup window". When you close the browser or navigate away, this html window doesn't stay anywhere.
Most visitors actually find this kind of "gentle window" to be useful and not irritating, because it performs a valid function (free report and newsletter subscription) on the website when it comes up and does not open any new window (which WOULD be really irritating).
Let me say again that I understand your comment, but I think this parcticular html window is not a "bad one":)
Cheers, Tony Burch http://www.theblakelaser.com
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Tony Burch wrote:

Though it uses some JavaScript IFRAME tricks, the nuisance is the same. You have to ask yourself why you even use it to begin with. It covers up almost the entire screen. Users have to manually move it out of the way, or manually close it, to see what's underneath.
Your page would be more effective if you provided a sample of the newsletter content -- it's not a lot of effort for asking people to give up their e-mail addresses -- and providing the signup in the body page. It seems to work for everyone else.
Otherwise, as I said, you've designed a spammy-looking site, IMO.
-- Gordon
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Hi. Thanks Gordon and Curt - I sincerely appreciate your comments. I may have went a bit too far with some things, so the feeback is very helpful.
I've taken your comments onboard and I have just edited the website again. There's now a description of the free report, a privacy notice for the newsletter subcription, and a comment to help SuperGasSaver visitors to go to the laser tubes. I've also removed the Third Sphere hosting link - even though this is a great service, you are right - I should stick with laser stuff on this page. http://www.theblakelaser.com
I'll respond about the popup window too in the next post where Joe has commented.
Please also consider that the picture e-book is 97 cents. To date, it certainly has not even covered the web hosting and bandwith costs, but I still want to offer it to the laser builder community somehow. Also, the other report is free (with newsletter subcription).
Gordon, by the way, what do you sell (please give us a link)? Is it laser related? I am sure alot of us, including me, would love to know what your commercial activity is, especially since you are such a helpful and long-time contributor to comp.robotics.misc and alt.lasers (and probably other newsgroups too). I have also appreciated your help in the past.
Thanks again for the feedback. Cheers,
Tony Burch http://www.theblakelaser.com

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Tony Burch wrote:

For the US at least, privacy notices are legally mandatory if it's a commercial site and you even suspect some visitors will be minors. I know you're in Oz, but I have to wonder if they don't have something similar. For adults, I'm not sure that it's legally *required*, but I personally feel it's very important to spell ouyt the privacy policy on any site that takes in money or asks for e-mail addresses for permission marketing purposes.

Actually, I wasn't bothered by this at all. It wasn't obstrusive, being at the bottom, and the graphic/link says what it is. Let me rephrase: it's not links to unrelated topics that I found troublesome, but what appeared to me a link to product that was masquerading as something else. Curt pointed out the gas saver site also sells CO2 tubes.

Like I said, you gotta spend more time on telling people what they're going to get with the free signup. You're asking people to divulge a valuable commodity: their e-mail address. I think you'll find the sample content will also do wonders not only for the ratio of signups but also for your Google ranking. G loves content.

It's Budget Robotics, which I've been operating for the last few years. BTW, I'm also in Oceanside, California, along with Gas Saver Guy (or 'C02 Tube Dude' in this context).
-- Gordon
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