Codecademy is a good place to start learning web programming basics.  Rather than describe the free service here, I'll refer you to my interview in this week's Boston Herald for a piece called "Up to code".

Keeping this post short... and getting back to my lesson!
I have systematically broken down how you can self-promote, both shamelessly and effectively, in 3 easy steps:
  1. Create a ranking that is controversial or unique.  Ideally the topic of the ranking is related to your own core business and includes a number and a superlative in the title (Might I suggest "7 Smartest Guinea Pigs in North Carolina" for a local PetSmart branch?).  This provokes an emotional response for affected readers, although I doubt it is relevant whether the emotion is positive or negative--it simply has to be strong.
  2. Explain why you should be treated with authority as a source.  Ideally this involves detailing an objective statistical methodology and being transparent about any subjective opinions that enter into the analysis.
  3. Publish online and harness social media like Facebook and Twitter.
Note: This guide is an excerpt adapted from "the Daily Beast named Dumbest Site on the Entire Internet" over on Etc, my new blog for Raves, Rants, and things that don't necessarily fit neatly on a consumer Internet blog.

Hsee-Zappos-Stober Link
Half the fun of sharing links might be tracking how many times they get clicked.  This post follows up on my Zappos mention and explains how a link shortening service like might be helpful.

Link shortening got more prominent since 2006 when people started needing to cram links into Twitter messages, limited to 140 characters (this previous sentence is 137).  While got my attention as the default shortener in Tweetdeck, anyone can shorten links instantly by visiting

For those who have not done so already, I recommend the following steps:
  1. Register for a free account at
  2. Set up the Sidebar
  3. Optional for Tweetdeck Users: Configure Tweetdeck to recognize your new account
I had taken these steps before tweeting Chris Hsee's article at Tony Hsieh on August 5th, which means I have some fun data to share about how my link circulated after Tony tweeted it.

As of August 27th:
  • 2,216 clicks on my link.  Some users manually removed my @adamstober name from their tweets but a significant percentage did not.
  • 64% of clicks came in the first 30 or so hours (word travels fast!)
  • 90% of all clicks to the Hsee WebMD article were from the link that I created and Tony Hsieh circulated -- creates different short links to track clicks to the same webpage for different users.
To see additional link details and up-date-data and since August 27th, 2010, click here.

I thought "going viral" and being mentioned by one of the top 100 most followed people on Twitter might turn me into that poor kid in the UK who did not want the fame he got when Kanye randomly gave him attention on Twitter, but it did not.

I gain more Twitter followers and get more blog visits when I post about either to my Facebook account relative to the exposure outlined above.  In this instance the attraction was Hsee's research and Hsieh's opinion, not the guy who connected them: me!

Open note to I want better geographic data on where my clicks are going from.  If I have 32 clicks in the United States and 2 in Canada, that doesn't help me figure out where my clicks are coming from.

I haven't used Zappos enough to give the service my seal of approval, although I really enjoyed reading CEO Tony Hsieh's Delivering Happiness earlier this summer and am happy to recommend the book.  Special thanks once again to Booth classmate The Vegan Republican for lending it to me!

When I saw this tweet from Booth Thinking about a new article by one of my favorite Booth professors, Chris Hsee, I thought it might be fun to tweet it at Tony, since I figured he would find it relevant.

I wouldn't expect someone with celebrity status like Tony to track their thousands or millions of mentions, but sure enough, he is on top of his stuff.  Tony re-tweeted the Hsee article, giving credit to me for finding it, to over 1.7 million followers.

For those who don't use Twitter but do use Facebook, this is similar to being tagged in a Facebook status post by a guy with 1.7 million friends.  One difference between Facebook and Twitter though, is that Twitter users are much more likely to re-post status messages of interest for all of their friends ("followers") to enjoy.  So if 150 of Tony's 1.7 million followers re-tweet the message with my name, and each has an average of 300 followers, and 50 of those re-tweet again, the message becomes "viral" and circulates widely across the internet.

For those who don't use Facebook, imagine the CEO of a billion dollar company emailed an article to almost two million people and thanked me personally for bringing it to his attention.

Given that some readers coming to my site today might be interested in Behavioral Economics as well as the Internet I am publishing my best paper from Professor Hsee's Managerial Decision Making course for anyone interested.  My paper relates "the twenty dollar bill auction" to the "escalation of commitment" phenomena and links them both to "entertainment shopping" websites like, and is included below.  To this day I argue that if casinos and lotteries and online poker sites are regulated as gambling, Swoopo should be too.

File Size: 129 kb
File Type: pdf
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    Adam Stober

    Inspiring novice and intermediate internet users to enjoy the best free or inexpensive products and services all across the Internet


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