The only thing I had in place was free cantBarsed.com webmail accounts which I thought were great fun and they remain popular today.
It was a chance email exchange with Dan Mountain (MD, Buyagift) that changed the direction of the website and led to my career in affiliate marketing.
Having quit my design job in London and retired over a decade earlier to become one of the first house husbands in the playground I was living the cantBarsed lifestyle and tinkering around online in my spare time as the World Wide Web stumbled into existence and the dot.com boom became the next big thing.
We heard a comedian using “dot com” as a punchline which stuck in my mind. One of Deb’s favourite expressions back then, and even now, remains: “I can’t be arsed” and I started chiming in with “dot com” every time she said it. At some point I casually checked whether cantBEarsed.com had been registered – and it had, which could easily have been the end of the story.
However, lying in bed, late one night, the image of a bumble bee between the words can’t and arsed popped into to my head (yeah I know it’s stupid but stick with me) and the idea for a domain named cantBarsed.com was born. I registered the domain and it was only when I was playing with logo designs I realised the letter B turned sideways made a bum shape and the original cantBarsed logo was born. The logo was subsequently animated and tipped up at an angle so it’s easier to read and the design is now protected as a registered TradeMark.
I also registered cantBarsed.co.uk and several years ago I finally managed to get my hands on CantBEarsed.com for £3700 – which is most I have paid for a domain name so far and a sizable company expense at the time. I remember Nadeem Azam telling me it was news in the domain name industry and I also remember Nadeem making himself ill during the .eu domain sunrise period trying to buy them ALL(!) which prompted me to pre-register cantBEarsed.eu and cantBarsed.eu and those, along with a bunch of other variations, all end up at cantBarsed.com website.
The cantBarsed.com screenshot is dated 14th August 2000 and, from memory, I’d just revamped the site with the idea of making money aiming for an Austin Powers multicolored blocks feel – I still like it!
Keen affiliate marketeers will notice I was already up and running as an Amazon affiliate and the Firebox.com and Cheeky Monkey banners were running via UKaffiliates – which later transmoglified into Deal Group Media. I think the mp3.com banner is an early Commission Junction program.
After several years of trial and error, learning from my mistakes along the way, cantBarsed.com eventually started to make money and went on to establish itself as one of the first popular UK affiliate marketing portal style websites in the UK.
The peak year for CantBarsed.com was around 2007, before dedicated code sites dominated affiliate marketing, but even now, in CantBarsed.com’s 10th Anniversary year, the site still makes money from over 700 hand-crafted static HTML pages which continue to rank well in search engines for many popular search keyword terms.
Future CantBarsed.com Plans
We continue to add content and keep CantBarsed.com up to date and during 2009 we finally managed to automate the promotional code handling to comply with IAB regulations. During 2010 we’re planning to move away from static hand crafted HTML pages using Adobe Dreamweaver to an online Content Management System which should free up more time to add more original and useful content.
I find the continued existence of CantBarsed.com, in today’s über-corporate world, purely as a result of a string of co-incidences, remarkable and I’m looking forward to working on the site to secure it’s future well into the teenies.