Archive for November, 2007

Easy money from video sharing

Video search company Blinkx has made it possible for anybody to make money from the videos they post on their website or blog.

Their clever technology (called AdHoc) analyses the content of a video and then displays relevant adverts for it. When someone clicks one of the adverts in the video, they share the revenue with you.

Here is an example:

Did you notice the advert above the video? It took less than 1 minute to set that up.

How to do it

  1. Find a video you want to share( go to YouTube, Google Video, Metacafe or a.n.other).
  2. Copy the embed code from that site.
  3. Paste the embed code into the form here: http://adhoc.blinkx.com/newvideo
  4. Enter a password and your PayPal email address.
  5. Blinkx analyses the video and outputs the embed code for your website/blog.
  6. Write your blog post / webpage as usual and paste in the Blinkx embed code.
  7. Someone watches the video on your site and clicks the (contextually relevant) advert. You earn money! Blinkx pays it into your PayPal account once you've earned $20.

The catch

The big downside is that an advert costs only $0.05 and Blinkx only pays you some of that (they don't declare how much, but I guess 50%). So it is going to take a loooong time before you can give up your day job. On the other side, 5 cents per click is amazing value if you are an advertiser, so get over to Blinkx and set-up a campaign to get some cheap traffic.

If you've used Blinkx AdHoc on your website, please leave a comment and tell us how much have you earned from it.

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VW Polo running on vegetable oil – no modification needed

For the last 600 miles, my Volkswagen Polo 1.4tdi has been running on a mixture of diesel and vegetable oil.

It's an experiment I've been wanting to run for 2 years but I'd been put off by the antiquated Inland Revenue taxation regime on fuel. That was scrapped recently so you can now put vegetable oil in your car without paying fuel duty. (Check that your car can run on biodiesel before trying this!).

Pouring vegetable oil into my VW Polo
I have done no modification to my 2001-built VW Polo so I was a little apprehensive for fear of damaging the engine. The car is designed to run on diesel, but the handbook states that it can run on up to 50% RME (Rapeseed-Methyl-Esther) mix, so I should be safe. Some diesel engines require modification because vegetable oil is more viscous and puts more strain on the fuel pump. It can also be harder to start the engine in winter.

To minimise the risk, I used a 1:4 mixture in my first tank. My mix is:

  • 80% diesel
  • 20% vegetable oil

55p per litre
The fuel tank capacity is 10 gallons (45 litres). So I put 9 litres of vegetable oil into the car, then filled it up with diesel.

The price of diesel recently rose above £1.00 per litre. Vegetable oil costs about 55p per litre in the supermarket. So, by using a 25% mix, I saved about £4.05 on a tank of fuel. On my next tank, I will use a 50% biodiesel mix, and will save over £10 per tank.

There was no noticeable change in the average MPG (miles per gallon) – I recorded 68mpg which is what I achieve with standard diesel.

Biodiesel is, arguably, better for the environment than diesel. It comes from a renewable source and the CO2 emissions are equal to the sequestrated amount when the vegetable grows, so it is carbon neutral. However, some people believe that it is contributing to the destruction of rainforest as Malaysia, Indonesia and other developing countries cut down their rainforests to plant palm oil, which can also be used as a biofuel.

Seeing as I am burning sunflower or rape seed oil, I don't think I am having a direct effect on rainforests. But if I wanted to run the ultimate biodiesel car, I would copy my mate Adam and collect used vegetable oil from the local fish and chip shop, run it through a filter then stick it in my car. It's free and it's an otherwise waste product. Everyone's a winner!

If you want to investigate biodiesel, there are lots of useful websites. I recommend this one to start with.

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