10 Best Adult Affiliate Programs / Networks (High Paying

Best Dating Sites and Affiliate Programs in 2019

Best Dating Sites and Affiliate Programs in 2019 submitted by affiliatebay to u/affiliatebay [link] [comments]

Frontend Web Developer Roadmap: Everything you need to know to get started

If you're feeling lazy and would prefer to watch a full video summary, one is available here. Let me know if you have any feedback!
What is frontend web development?
It is using code to create the visual part of a website. The content, the colours and positioning, as well as the logic that is on a page, such as submitting a form. That's frontend. The other part is 'backend', which is everything related to the database and network; the non-visual things that are going on behind the scene.

Different routes to learn web development
CS Degree: The first is a degree, through either a university or college. This offers strong foundational knowledge in computer science, which can be very helpful, especially in certain areas of programming. However in my experience, this understanding of computer science is not necessary in order to get your first web development job and you can learn all of the theory and nitty gritty details of computers while on the job. Additionally, getting a degree is also a very long process, so 3-4 years, it's also extremely expensive - and the majority of it won't be focused on web development.
Bootcamp: Next -3-4 month coding bootcamps (offers good structure and forces you to be fully immersed, but expensive and must be full-time)
Self-taught: Finally -Self taught. What the focus of this guide is. This route offers a flexible schedule and inexpensive, and as long as you have the right set of online courses and curriculum set up for you, I believe it is the best option. Getting your first web development job is not about what certificate or degree you have. In most cases, it is a meritocracy - that is, if you have the skills to do the job, you can get the job.

How long does it take to be job ready? 4-12 months.
Outline a timeframe which you are able to dedicate towards learning web development(3, 6 or 12 months) and create a schedule around it. This way you can track your progress and hold yourself accountable if you set a specific date to, such as finishing a specific course or start apply to jobs. Whether it is 3 or 12 months, the only thing that changes is how much time per week you are able to dedicate towards learning this craft. If it is 3 months, you'll need to be working 12+ hours per day, and for 12 months, maybe 2 hours per day. The key is coding daily, so you can immerse yourself.
It's also important to stick to one programming language, based on the job you're wanting to get. Don't get distracted by other languages. They're fantastic, but your focus needs to be on the core frontend stack. You don't want to be a Jack of all trades, but master of none. You need to get vertical proficiency, not horizontal - and you get that by practicing that one thing, daily.
What do you need to learn?
HTML (the content - the text, images, links), CSS(the styling - colors, positioning and responsiveness), and JavaScript(the logic for your website, when you click a submit button - what happens?). Once you have learned those three and have a strong foundation in JavaScript, then you'll be at a crossroads; React, Angular or Vue. These are JavaScript libraries and frameworks, which act as wrappers around vanilla JavaScript, giving you additional functionality that would take longer to code otherwise. It is important that the first thing you do before getting too deep into one of these, is to look on job websites (LinkedIn, Glassdoor or Indeed) and ensure that there are a lot of jobs for all of these in your area. Search for titles including "frontend developer and frontend engineer", as well as the words 'Angular, Vue and React' and see how many listings there are. If there is more of one of these technologies in your area, it may be better to learn that one. You'll likely find many of each. Personally I would recommend React as it is easier to learn than a full framework and there are usually a ton of jobs out there for it.
As a bonus, I would recommend looking into TypeScript and Redux. In JavaScript, you don't have to say that variable x is a number. It will infer that x = 5 is a number type. This however can sometimes lead to hard to catch bugs. TypeScript is still JavaScript, but it allows you to add strong typing to your application, where you define that variable x will be a number.
Redux is a state management library. Angular, React and Vue all have their own variations of Redux. When your application gets bigger and there are lots of different parts with their own data, Redux acts as a centralized memory for all of your different UI components to read from. It acts as a single source of truth so that everything stays organized.
Also need to be familiar with the version control technology Git (allowing you to 'save' your app at a specific point, roll back to it if necessary, and share the code online to others using Github or Bitbucket).
May also be helpful to know the basics of SASS (CSS wrapper, giving you more utility. It is still CSS, but just some extra tools which can be huge time savers). Along the way, you'll also need to learn basic terminal commands, using NPM packages and the build tool Webpack. You should also be familiar with the basics of Agile methodologies, which is a management style that a lot of development teams work in. If you're familiar with the very basics, then it will be an easier transition for you to join a dev team, and hiring managers will know that as well.
Learning resources
So, what resources can you use to learn all of this? I found that between YouTube and Udemy, you can learn everything required. I am going to leave a list down below with a list of Udemy courses you can pick up for $15 (when on sale). Each course is about 20-30 hours and it will teach you the required fundamentals. I'm not affiliated with these courses and make no money on it. I simply know the instructors are excellent and am sure they are high quality courses.
https://www.udemy.com/course/modern-html-css-from-the-beginning/
https://www.udemy.com/course/javascript-the-complete-guide-2020-beginner-advanced/
https://www.udemy.com/course/modern-javascript-from-the-beginning/
https://www.udemy.com/course/complete-react-developer-zero-to-mastery/
https://www.udemy.com/course/vuejs-2-the-complete-guide/
https://www.udemy.com/course/the-complete-guide-to-angular-2/

Once you've completed a these courses and have built a few projects
After that, it is all about getting your first job. I am going to create posts (and videos) on each of these points, because they deserve a post of their own.
In short, you'll need to have a great resume which highlights your love for web development, while also emphasizing how all of your previous job experiences has guided you towards this new career path.
Have a GitHub with your own projects on it, as well as some of the work you've done while learning along the way. Build out a portfolio website which highlights the projects you've build and the skills you have. You can host your portfolio and projects for free on GitHub Pages.
Consider doing 1 or 2 freelance jobs(even if it is just for friends or family), where you're working with a real client, with a real deadline. This will be good practice for you, and will show your future employer that someone has already trusted you, and that you delivered.
Familiarize yourself with LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor - and start applying for 3-5 jobs per day. I did this for an entire month, had a few interviews and then landed my first job. It can take a few weeks, or a few months - eventually you will get your first opportunity. Getting your first job is the most difficult. Once you have worked somewhere and have some experience, finding your next job will be a lot easier.

Conclusion
On a final note, learning code is not easy. There will be roadblocks and it can be a difficult grind at times. Remember that the path you are on now is worth it and can get you to the place in your life where you really want to be, whether that is career satisfaction, ability to work from anywhere in the world, or financial freedom.
Thank you for your time! Consider checking out my YouTube channel, as I'm posting weekly now with videos specifically for frontend developers who are just starting out. Available here.
submitted by ProgrammingWithPax to learnprogramming [link] [comments]

Arbitrary list of popular lights - Summer Solstice 2020 edition

Happy Solstice!
In honor of Summer Solstice for the northern hemisphere, I've made an updated list of popular lights. Today is a couple days after (sorry!) the day you're least likely to need a flashlight north of the equator, but it increases every day after so it's a good time to buy a flashlight.
Because a definitive buyer's guide is too hard, I've made an arbitrary list of popular lights you should consider if you're shopping for a light. There is no best flashlight, so this is not the last word in what's good, but a list of lights that are often bought or recommended here with a touch of my own opinion thrown in. Exclusion from this list doesn't mean a light isn't good. To search more lights by their attributes, try http://flashlights.parametrek.com/index.html
Where possible, official manufacturer URLs are linked here. Sometimes the manufacturer offers good deals through direct orders, sometimes vendors have the best prices. There are coupon codes available that apply to many of the lights listed. I'm hosting a version of this list on my own site with affiliate links because a few people have asked for a way to give me a kickback.
Shipping/availability may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, items shipped from China are often taking 2 months to arrive. Supply chains and warehouse stock also appear to be disrupted as well, so you may have to be more patient than usual if you want certain flashlights, chargers, and batteries.

For those in a hurry

If you don't want to learn much, just get one of these.

All of the lights in this section come with a rechargeable battery and have a charger built in to the light. The battery will be a standard size you can buy online from third parties, and the charger will use USB as its power source, though some options do use a special cable. Aside from the Catapult, all have very good color quality compared to the average LED flashlight, improving your ability to see details.
These are at the top of the list not because they're the best in some objective sense, but because they're easy to own and use, and easy to buy. They score well on most measure flashlight nerds care about while also being suitable for non-enthusiasts.

About specs and considerations

Moved to the wiki due to character limit

Mainstream lights

Everyday Carry Lights

These are selected for pocketability first and performance second, but most of the larger options are perfectly adequate for house/cacamping/etc... uses. This section excludes right-angle designs that double as headlamps, but many people do use those for pocket carry, so see that section as well.

Keychain

AAA battery

AA battery

CR123A/16340 battery

18350 battery

18650 battery

This category is so popular it gets subcategories. If you're looking for a lot of power and runtime that's still possible to carry in most pants pockets, this is your battery.

Dual-switch lights

A tailswitch controls power, a sideswitch changes brightness. The ease of explaning the UI makes these perfect to hand out to others.

E-switch lights

Electronic switches enable shortcuts from off to useful modes - usually lowest, highest, and last-used.

Other by use case

Right-angle lights and headlamps

If I could have only one portable light, it would be a right-angle light that functions as both an everyday carry light and a headlamp. Some lights in this form factor also offer a magnetic tailcap, allowing them to act as mountable area lights.

Small

Medium

All of these use one 18650 battery.

Large

Duty lights

These are suitable for first responders and possibly members of the military in combat roles. The focus is on simple operation, reliability and a good way to make sure the light starts on high.

High-performance lights

Most lights on the list are easy to carry, with performance constrained by size and thermal mass as a result. After all, the best light is the one you have. Here are lights to bring when you know you'll be using them.

Flooders

Turn night into day, but not necessarily very far away

Throwers

What's that over there? WAY over there? The hotspots of these lights tend to be too focused for comfortable use up close, though using a diffuser is an option. These tend to be most useful for search and rescue, boating, and the like.
FL1 throw is the distance at which large objects can be detected in clear air. At half that distance, there's usually enough illumination to see clearly, though with more extreme throwers, the distances may be so great as to require binoculars to see clearly even during the day. Throwers have visible backscatter from the atmosphere even in clear air, which may obstruct the user's view of the target. Warmer color temperatures tend to have less.

Hybrids

Some throw, some flood... probably a lot

Other lights

Stuff that doesn't fit somewhere else goes here.

Enthusiast lights

Enthusiast lights can be subject to a bit of a flavor of the month phenomenon, and this section isn't necessarily going to try to include them all. What you'll find here are enthusiast lights with some staying power. There will probably be an Emisar D4 of some description this time next year, but not necessarily the latest new FW variant or whatever's currently trendy from Nightwatch.

Everyday carry

Jacket pocket, maybe

Big

* BLF GT90 - the GT with a Luminus SBT-90.2 for over 7000 lumens and 2700m throw claimed, but that's going to be limited by heat and power. For sustainable performance, the original may have the advantage. For short bursts, this will be most impressive. 360, but look for discounts

Edit 20200624: added Tool AA, NU25, KR4, KR1
submitted by Zak to flashlight [link] [comments]

Case Study 1: Month 48. $4k/m.

Hi all,
Semi-regular commenter here: this has been a long time coming. I’ve been a 'Just Starter' for over 4 years. I figured it’s time to share my story, lessons learned, and try to open up some good discussion.
I know we've all been frustrated at the lack of original content on here (shout out to all the Case Study: Month 1 posts) so hopefully this gives you something to read. So, instead of Month 1, here's Month 48!

Background

I originally found Humble’s first case studies not long after he posted them. I was already looking at ways to make money online, and was instantly hooked.
With my web developer friend we made a broad home site, and I started writing. Basically just doing best of lists of blenders, ice cream makers, etc. I went through a summer of productivity: getting up at 5.45am before my office job and blasting out writing on the daily.
1 year later, with around 50 posts, two pages struck gold and we peaked at $2,700 in a month from US Amazon affiliate income. These were seasonal pages and a July heatwave helped a ton. It quickly died back off in the winter.
After that summer, productivity nosedived (I got a girlfriend). But sporadically kept building the site. Our income never got back to that peak, but the next summer saw a few $2k months. That's when I started to think doing this full time was possible. My job had become badly managed, and I wanted to move away from the city. So despite the site still making peanuts most months, I quit my full time job on July 1st, 2019.

1 Year Later

This year has flown by so quickly. I wondered so much about what it would be like to do this full time, and now here we are. Here’s the year in summary:

Traffic & Earnings

Traffic: https://imgur.com/ofnjfVa
The recent ‘explosion’ has been from the many informational posts I wrote after going full time. These are now finally maturing. Even with an established site it's still taking 3-6months for many of our posts to mature fully. Also we're still more summer focused than anything - still trying to get away from that.
Earnings: https://imgur.com/3Bfi5A0 (Amazon rate cut was April 21st). These don’t include UK/Canada which run at around 10% of US income. I couldn't get our earnings from the start - Amazon only goes back 2 years.
Until 2020, earnings were entirely from Amazon’s affiliate programs. Recently we signed up to Ezoic, though we were getting sweet f all ($6.5/1000 sessions). In the last month we switched to Mediavine and it’s changed everything. We’re seeing $25/1000 sessions, currently bringing $70+ a day. This alone has almost offset the Amazon cuts.

Our Strategy

I want to touch on how we’ve built the site, since that's always what I'm most interested in when reading other studies. Ours is about as simple a setup as you can imagine.
Until I went full time, 90% of our posts were simple ‘best of’ lists. These were lower competition keywords. We didn’t build a single backlink (mostly due to my lack of trying). Most of our success came from playing with the wording of semi-long tails. (For example instead of best blender, most reliable blender). Though this is getting harder with semantic search getting better.
Lately I’ve been doing more informational posts, with some level of link building to our top affiliate ones. These are 10x easier to rank for and, with a decent ad network, a good money maker.
Keyword Research
Nothing fancy here.
I’ve used a combination of Ahrefs (batching via their $7/7days trials) and Income School’s “alphabet soup” method to find keywords. Always manually checking the competition before committing to anything.
Article Setup
All on-page SEO is now covered in a publish checklist. Mostly watching out for:
I try to keep it up to date with the latest coming out of Authority Hacker, Backlinko, Ahrefs case studies.
Luckily my friend is a web dev wizard, so our theme is entirely custom with some slick formatting for product reviews, pros/cons, etc. This gives us a high authority look which I can only imagine helps.
Backlinks
Up until recently I hadn’t built a single backlink for the site.
We’d been pretty lucky with the keywords we went for – and mostly still are. There are very few posts I’ve actively built links to, and I’ve yet to deliberately win a medium/hard keyword with strategically built links.
That said, I’ve been trying to do much more in terms of link building. Especially now that I have the time. I’ve really noticed that it’s not about getting 400 money pages, but striking gold with 5-10 of them. We have 160 posts and the 80/20 principle definitely applies to the results we see from them.
Mostly the link building has been a case of shotgun skyscraper (Authority Hacker) and a few exchanges or paid links here and there. I’ve not had too much success, but I'm looking forward to sticking at it until we do. I’ve been inspired by the massive success jumstakl was sharing from this, and want to master it to his level. Though I do appreciate it's all pretty outdated now.
That said, our current top post (25% of all traffic) is a fairly random informational post that I’ve never built links to. For some reason it just topped a very nice SERP in Australia. Can't complain.
Content
One advantage we've had (imo) is in original, well researched content.
Having written over 150,000 words for this site I've gotten pretty quick at putting out articles. I typically take notes on every post in the top 10 results, collate that into one larger outline, and write. There's so many outsourced posts out there that sound like they were written using a Cambridge Thesaurus - so I try to keep things super conversational and easy to read.

The Future

The goal for this site is to keep maintaining what we have while continuing to build. I want minimal input for day-to-day writing, with my only involvement being keyword research, high quality posts, and outreach.
On top of that, I want us to hit a few ‘big’ keywords too. Topics with decent competition where our quality and real links get us to the top and blow up our income.
My ultimate goal is to hit $10k/month in income. This would be huge for me, give me friend some massive side income help (he gets 20%), and put us at a sale value that could buy an apartment.
Strategy
I desperately need to work with other affiliate programs away from Amazon. This has been something I thought would take days to fix, but I’ve spent ages analyzing potential affiliates and yet to make a sale with any. We’ve started on two silos built for new affiliate programs, so hopefully these will give some good returns.
From what I understand it’s going to be hitting huge success with smaller affiliate programs that will allow you to cruise past 5 figures a month in income. Though I'm a bit paralyzed because it feels like branching out into a new world – rather than the same old rinse and repeat I’m used to with Amazon.

Community Stuff

  1. I’d just like to shout out the mods for keeping this subreddit going. I literally wouldn’t be doing this without this sub (and Humble who started it). Thank you.*
  2. I’d like to agree with the recent sticky – there’s too much spam on here recently. I feel like Humble would lose his mind at the amount of shitposts. It’s up to all of us to report the dumb questions for the automod to remove, and to discourage the ‘Case Study: Month 1’ spam.*
  3. Are there any other communities you guys subscribe to for sites above the $1k/month mark? Speaking regularly to others with established sites would be a massive help - outside of this forum I don't really have anyone to talk to. Would love to become part of a community and make a few friends who also run sites like mine. If there’s anyone like that on here – particularly based in the UK – please hit me up!
Ask Me Anything
There’s obviously much more to our site than I can cover in one post. So AMA! It’s lockdown and I’m bored: if you want to know anything just ask. I may reply slowly, but I will reply.
Thanks for reading.
submitted by xferok to juststart [link] [comments]

Ad Revenue/Content Site Case Study Mth#6

Hey Redditors!
Month 6 is in the bag. Starting to ride that passive income wave and improve the overall ROI on my site now - a lot can happen in 6 months!
You can see previous updates here if you want (but it's rinse and repeat each month, I just publish content):
Month 4
Month 5
For those seeing this for the first time; this site is basically an exercise in targeting low comp keywords, ranking content, and monetizing with ads.
If you want to see all the traffic and earnings screenshots for this month - you can check out this post on my blog.
Here are the stats to date:
Mth # articles # pageviews Ezoic $ AdSense $ Amazon $ Total $
Jan 31 109 0 0 0 0
Feb 70 677 0 0 0 0
Mar 86 6,533 0 0 11.49 11.49
Apr 33 30,001 190.84 18.89 64.82 274.55
May 35 48,275 474.67 46.83 94.60 616.10
June 22 42,748 454.75 60.41 62.52 577.68
Totals 277 128,343 1,120.26 126.14 233.43 1,479.83
Total expenses to date are <$100 for hosting and Ezoic Premium.

What I did this month:

Why traffic and earnings were down a little:

This is mostly just due to variance. I didn’t do much work on the site, so I don’t expect to see much improvement. Simple as that.
I wish the 6-month sandbox was a thing and a magic curtain was about to be lifted to allow loads of traffic to flow through, but I just don’t see it happening. It’s never happened on any of my sites due to the types of keywords I go for.
My sites always start to plateau around months 4 & 5 and tail off a bit because my posts index so high to start with.
Maybe I need to switch up the type of content I’m producing, I’ll do some research into this - or take into account any help you guys can offer.

A note about expenses for new bloggers:

I’m not looking to start any controversy or bash any tools, there are some great paid tools out there.
I just want to say something to try and help some of the new (or some of the experienced) bloggers.
My only expense is hosting (and Ezoic Premium but that comes back to me). It’s possible to build sites and make money without paying for any tools.
If you follow internet marketers, they are great at convincing you that you need some paid tools (the ones that pay them the most commissions) and I know for a fact some new bloggers get sucked in.
I just wanted to say that it’s not necessary in most cases. My approach is content monetized with ads, but I also know u/VladtheMystic said he’s building an affiliate site without paid tools. So, whatever your style of site, you can bootstrap it when you’re starting out.
I actually have access to ahrefs and SEMRush though clients I work for, but choose not to use them for my own sites.
So, it’s not a case of me knowing the value of tools; I have to use them on clients’ requests.
If you’re paying for any tools just ask yourself what value you’re getting from them, that’s all I’m saying.
If it’s paying you back in value, awesome.
If it’s not, and this helps one person cancel that $99/mo subscription, my work is done. Just think, that’s $1,200/yr, you can take a vacation. :)
Anyway, thanks for dropping by, I hope my approach to low-comp keywords also helps some of you drive more traffic to your sites.
Any questions, feel free to fire away.
submitted by PhilReddit7 to juststart [link] [comments]

Growing A Blog Network To >$25,000 A Month! - June 2020 - $4744/$25,000.

So this is my second monthly update post for Reddit and it is essentially a text-based version of my monthly update video that I post too. Income is down this month but I think that it is due to having so many returns for the Amazon Affiliate Program but thankfully, returns have normalized towards the middle/end of June so I am hoping that July won't have this issue. My theory is that people started using their stimulus cheques to purchase the professional level gear in one of the niches that I have an affiliate blog in and then ended up returning the items as they realized they only needed the amateur level gear or something.
My income screenshots for the month of June are below but the site level income screenshots later in the article are for Amazon.com only as it makes up around 75% of my income and going into the other Amazon storefronts to get screenshots for their trackers is a pain.
Previous Updates
May 2020
Just a few points to quickly cover from FAQs from last month's update. I don't give out any of the actual URLs for my affiliate blogs as it is too easy to use a tool like AHRefs to scan them and duplicate the more profitable keywords with your own articles on your own sites. I had a number of people reaching out last month as they wanted to see what my affiliate blogs look like but I go over examples of how I format my affiliate and display ad articles in this video and little to nothing has changed in the layout of my articles since publishing that.
I also had a few people reaching out and asking what my daily workflow looks like as an affiliate blogger and this a day in the life video pretty much covers it. I am still in the scaling phase for my blogs so doing a large amount of the work myself while outsourcing various tasks where possible too. I also had a bunch of people reaching out and asking how they could get started with affiliate blogging and I published this Quora answer to a similar question over the weekend that's almost 4000 words that may be helpful.
Generation One Domains
My generation one domains use a keyword research method that is not as efficient as it once was due to the 4th May 2020 Google update to their algorithm. Additionally, many of these first-generation domains were tests to transition from old school automated black hat SEO to a more Google-friendly method of off-page SEO.
Domain 1 - $164
- Analytics
- Income
- Wordcount
Nothing has changed for this domain since the May 2020 update due to it having been hit by the Google Media algorithm update as well as being in a niche where the April 2020 Amazon Affiliate commission cuts reduced its income by around 60%. I don't plan to work on this domain anymore due to this and I haven't added a new article to it since early 2018 if I remember correctly. I am happy with it ticking over bringing in $164 a month from now on as the domain has been profitable for a while now. It's just a shame that just as its traffic starts to pick up, Amazon decide to cut their commission rates for its niche else I think this domain would be >$500 per month now.
Domain 2 - $1179
- Analytics
- Income
- Wordcount
- Dedicated Site Report Video
Similar to domain 1 covered above, nothing has changed for this domain since the May 2020 update and I haven't published a new article to the domain since September 2019. It has also been hit negatively by two Google updates but thankfully the Google update in November 2019 recovered it from the negative updates and it's now doing better than ever. I put a video up on what to expect for your first six months of blogging featuring this domain as I feel that it is likley the best example that I have from my current portfolio for anyone wanting to get started with affiliate blogging.
Domain 3 - $1952
- Analytics
- Income
- Wordcount
- Dedicated Site Report Video
Although I have not actually published any new content on this domain in the month of June, I have been researching some new products that have been confirmed for the niche. The regular teaser videos are on YouTube with photos on the brands social media accounts but there is no real information on the specs, price, or release date for the items. Out of the three, I think two will be really good and popular within the niche so once I have more info I will be putting out more content for them but the third item seems to be a more expensive version of one of their current items so not sure how that one will do.
The community based around this particular niche has been putting out a bunch of speculation regarding price, specs, and release date but I can't find anything solid from the actual brand. As we are already a week into July I doubt they will be released this month now but time will tell. Even if the brand releasing these products would just confirm the specs and price I can start knocking out the bare bones of some articles with the correct information but until then I will just focus on growing my newer domains.
I have noticed a compeating domain in this niche that seems to have used a tool like AHRefs to scan my domain and pull the keywords that it is ranking in Google for. The new compeating domain is only publishing articles targeting keywords that my domain is already ranking in the top three of Google for but their on-page SEO is not as good as mine and from what I can tell, they are not doing any off-page SEO either.
Right now I am not taking this compeating domain as a threat but if they do start to build backlinks to their content and fix the on-page SEO issues they are having I may have to spend some cash on this domain to get it stronger backlinks so it can keep ranking for the terms it is pulling traffic for.
Domain 4 - $284
- Analytics
- Income
- Wordcount
This domain is the one I started in January 2020 and it surprisingly saw some really solid growth in both traffic and income considering the problems it is having. Essentially, there is an issue with the Google indexing system right now that they have confirmed they are aware of but seem to be struggling to fix. They tweeted out at the start of June that they had fixed the issue but the comments on the twitter post and my own experience contradict this with some people on twitter saying that the "fix" actually made it worse for their domain.
This is a screenshot of this domains coverage tab from my Google Search Console and as you can see from the verticle bars, there was a dip in the pages that were excluded from the Google Index when I used the force index option in Search Console but Google kicked the pages backout of their index a few days later again. It's a shame because I have a bunch of keywords ready to go for this domain but I don't want to put the time and effort into publishing them only for them to not get indexed in Google and not be able to pull traffic and make money so I will be waiting until Google fix the issue.
I have had a bunch of people reaching out about this issue and how to fix it but it does just seem to be a gamble right now. Force indexing in Google Search Console fixed this issue for this domain for around a week before Google kicked the articles out of their index, for Domain 5 I used the exact same force indexing system and it fixed the issue for the domain. I'm just hoping that Google can work out what's actually wrong and fix it asap.
Domain 5 - $1.87
- Analytics - Google Traffic
- Analytics - Pinterest Traffic
- Income
- Wordcount
This is the domain that I launched on 1st May 2020 only for Google to release their 4th May 2020 update and make the keywords that I was targeting on the domain much higher competition. For this niche the Google update seems to have given sites like YouTube, Reddit, Quora, and Amazon much more weight in the SERPs and pushed them really high on page one. Although Domain 3 was also hit by this update dropping by around 20% in traffic (starting to see some recovery now), that niche was not hit anywhere near as badly as this one and I can definitely see how some people were reporting >80% traffic drops back in May for their blogs after taking a more in-depth look of how the update affected this niche.
All of the keyword research for this domain that was done in April is pretty much useless now due to the update. That said though, I have spend some time using my post 4th May update keyword research method to try and find keywords to grow this domain in the future once I am done with Domain 6. Although I have been able to find around 50, it is much harder to do in this niche now due to the way the May 4th update hit it.
I keep flip-flopping between trying to find more keywords to get it up to 10,000 monthly sessions so I can get it on Ezoic or Monumetric for the higher display ad income or just scrapping it and letting it die and going with a new niche for my display ad project. I am kind of using keyword research for this project as a way to break up the monotony for churning out the articles for Domain 6 though. I basically smash out an article for Domain 6 and then take a little break doing keyword research for this domain so I will see how many actionable keywords I have by the time Domain 6 is finished and I need something new to focus on content-wise.
One of my friends who is more experienced with informational intent keywords for display ad sites has a theory that this may just be an extension to the Google Sandbox effect for some niches/keyword combos. He is having the same issue with his latest domain and has sunk much more cash into his project than I have for mine. I'm not sure if this will pan out but there's not really anything else to do with the keywords already published on the domain than wait and see if it does pick up at the >6 months of age mark or not.
Generation Two Domains
My second generation domains are build using a keyword research method that I am developing after the 4th May 2020 Google update that affected the way I did keyword research for my first-generation affiliate domains above. These domains are also based around being smaller niche sites rather than large multi-niche sites so if a competitor does scan my domains with a tool such as AHRefs, they only get a small portion of the keywords for my full money site network.
Domain 6
- Wordcount
This domain has been my main focus for July and it was launched around the 1st June with the Wordcount count above. I have freelance writers helping me with the content for this domain and they are focusing on the longer buyer guide type posts for higher search volume/higher competition keywords while I am focusing on trying to knock out 50 articles using the zero search volume strategy that I have been playing with over the years.
The keywords that my freelance writers are working on are essentially a proof of concept for a theory I have for keyword research after the Google 4th May update and if it works then I will move forward with that method for my affiliate sites. The articles that I am focusing on are based around the latest version of the zero search volume strategy on the theory that as keyword tools usually say the keyword gets zero searches, most people ignore it and they tend to be lower competition and much easier to rank for.
From the test batches of these keywords that I have been putting on my older domains, these keywords do tend to get traffic, usually, around >50 hits per month but they don't require backlinking to actually rank in Google. Although 50 hits per month is not much, the last round of this strategy that I tried on domain 3 are running at around $100 per 1000 hits to the domain so with the right item price point, 20 of these articles can potentially bring in $100 a month and they are usually 1000-1500 words rather than 2000-4000 words too. Although its slightly different, Phil who runs this case study has confirmed that he uses a similar keyword research method and has managed to have his second >$500 month on a domain that is only six months old.
If this test batch of the zero search volume keywords works then I am actually considering making domain 7 based around nothing but these keywords with zero backlinks to it too as it can be another way to scale. As the method can be used for both affiliate and display ad keywords, I might try to use the method to try find keywords for Domain 5 too but as its a display ad site, the RPM might be too low to make it worth it.
submitted by shaun-m to Blogging [link] [comments]

Applying to ART College: A Megathread

Hi! After using this sub for much of my junior & senior year (on a separate account), I've noticed there’s fairly little information on applying to art college. As such, I thought I'd compile all my knowledge and research about applying to art school as someone that used to obsess over the A2C process for both normal and art schools.
This ended up MASSIVE as I tried to stuff everything I could think of related to applying to art school in here. Hope it helps some of y’all out there :-)

Introduction

Having applied and researched applying to both art and normal schools, I feel that applying to art school is much more straight forward. There are so fewer moving factors and it's definitely much less of a crapshoot than applying to T20s and Ivies. If your art is good enough and you know what they're looking for, I think getting into even the top art schools is very doable and a lot less scary than one might initially think.
For some context, I'm currently an incoming freshman at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and was accepted with highest merit scholarship to all art schools I applied to, including RISD, Parsons, Pratt, and SVA. I was a 2019 and 2020 YoungArts winner in Visual Arts, a 2020 Scholastic National Gold Medalist, and a 2017 Congressional Competition where my art was hung in the U.S. Capitol for a year.
While part of it was hard work, another part of it was also figuring out how to navigate the process and choosing where to apply my effort. Figuring out what AOs want is super important if you want to maximize your chances at success.
Applying to art college is ultimately a game that anyone with a drive to create art can learn how to play, no matter how much art experience you have. And if you know how to play, it becomes a lot easier to succeed!

The Portfolio

The portfolio is no doubt the MOST important part of your application. This is a selection of your artwork that AOs will look at to determine if you're qualified enough to be admitted. Grades and ECs often matter little to none depending on the school, so if you're set on art school, make sure to focus on creating the best portfolio you can.
Depending on the school, they may ask for anywhere from 10-22 pieces. Each school has different quantitative requirements; make sure you check their website and/or Slideroom portal (where you'll upload your portfolio) for details.
Important note: Please keep in mind that my portfolio was mainly 2D fine arts with a little bit of Graphic Design from my time at RISD Precollege, which I attended in the summer before 12th grade (2019). As such, most of the research I did was about fine arts portfolios and I don't know if the information here is as applicable to portfolios with or centered on photo, video, animation, etc. It's also most specific to RISD & other top art schools in the U.S. (but we're all overachievers here anyway lol).

Major-specific vs Non-major-specific portfolios

Some schools want portfolios that are specific to the major you apply to (though this is relatively rare) or portfolios that are "focused" on (rather than only on) a specific major (this is a little more common). They may not even mention it explicitly on their website, so make sure you clarify what the school wants.
The advice & info I'll give is about non-major-specific portfolios (which schools like RISD (especially), Pratt, Parsons, SVA, SAIC, MICA, etc. want/accept), so keep that in mind!

What to include in a portfolio? (For art schools)

While this honestly varies from school to school, I know that top art schools not only want to see technical skill, but conceptual thinking and experimentation as well. I think a current RISD student that gave a portfolio lecture at RISD precollege put it really well—RISD (and many other top art schools) look for things that they admit they can't teach you, like a POTENTIAL to grow, a drive to experiment and explore, a proclivity for a type of thought-process that they think makes great artists. Realism and technical drawing skill are all things that anyone can learn with enough practice (and at many art schools like RISD, Pratt, and Parsons, you WILL be practicing through foundation year studies).
That being said, schools still want to see that you have adequate technical skills to build upon. You want a mix between technically-strong pieces and conceptually-strong pieces, i.e. pieces that show off your rendering abilities and pieces that show off your ability to put ideas and thought behind your pieces. Of course, these two categories can heavily overlap (and it's probably better if they do!), but if they don't, make sure you have BOTH in your portfolio.

Technically-strong pieces

Technically-strong pieces are pieces that demonstrate your mastery over your medium. Many this means super-detailed colored pencil still lives, well-crafted and purposeful sculptures, intricate landscapes, accurately rendered buildings, etc. In addition to making things detailed, technical skill also includes a strong grasp of color, light, composition, form, space, etc.
Tip: Composition especially is something many art school applicants don't pay much attention to (according to some AOs I've talked to), so make sure you're not putting everything right in the center of your page/canvas/etc. Also, play with cropping and having parts of the subject & objects go off the page rather than containing the entirety of the subject/object within the bounds of your page.

Conceptually-strong pieces

Having a portfolio of impeccably rendered but purely technical pieces may get you into some schools, but top art schools will still turn you down. I know of so many people who've submitted portfolios full of hyperrealistic graphite shoes or tools or other objects, only to be rejected. Such portfolios show that the artist lacks the ability to go beyond depictions of life and given another dimension to their art—a conceptual dimension.
By "conceptually-strong" pieces, I mean pieces that are idea and thought-driven rather than just purely technical. Think about how you can indicate a narrative within your piece or say something.
Think also about how you intentionally choose certain compositions, certain lighting, certain colors, certain styles, certain painting techniques, etc. to help subtly build the narrative of your piece. This is really important as it shows you're thinking about these things.
This DOESN'T necessarily mean that there has to be some explicit "moral" or message to your piece; trying to spoonfeed a story through very explicit (i.e. not-subtle) imagery can result in cheesy symbolism and pieces that feel cliche.
(I hope to add more to this later when I can put it into words better—this category is so broad and vague and I wish I could be more specific. Feel free to ask more specific questions about it below!)

Mastery over a range of mediums

Top art schools like seeing that you skillfully use and experiment with different mediums. Maybe if you mainly work with pencil and pen, you can try paint, which is wet and a lot looser than highly controlled dry mediums. Maybe you can try 3D!! Many high schoolers are scared of it so it'll make you stand out (if it's well-executed).
Tip: You can also play with combining multiple mediums in one piece. Consider less conventional mediums like e.g. painting on wood (having the wood show through under the paint can create a cool effect, plus you can also burn wood to create designs & cool effects), creating texture with crumpled newspaper, incorporating wires to create a 3D aspect, etc. The list goes on and on!
That all being said, don't put in a bad piece just for the sake of showing that you work with different mediums. If the piece isn't very good, it can end up hurting you more helping you :')
Additionally, some art schools may not care all that much about seeing a range of mediums. This is definitely more of a thing at schools like RISD.

Life studies: figure drawings, still lives, landscapes, etc.

Art schools want to see that you can draw from life. This means literally looking at things IRL and drawing them instead of drawing from a photograph. These pieces don't have to fully executed, fleshed-out pieces—it's common for people to send shaded black-and-white charcoal sketches of figures. They can also be sketchbook pages from sitting at a coffee shop, a park, a train station, your room, and just drawing the people, animals, objects, scenery, etc. around you. This is also a time to combine mediums if you want to add a splash of color to pen/pencil drawings. You can have fun with it!
That being said, it's still very important to display well-executed technical skill, ESPECIALLY for still lives as those are probably the most common life drawing + are in nearly every single portfolio and probably the easiest of the 3.
Tip: Put shadows underneath your still lives; don't just have them floating in a blank white page! Try to also draw at least some part of the background so that the object is indicated in a space. Play with composition and try to break away from putting everything right in the middle of your page/canvas with nothing going off the edges (bc still lives are like that and it gets very boring!)
If you can't access live nude models for figure drawing, there are some online resources where you can draw nude models meant for this exact purpose, both timed and untimed (posted below!). Though it won't be from life, it may still be worth including as human anatomy is important and something many art schools focus on, especially in your first year.
Although the vast majority do, some schools don't care about life studies or purely technical pieces at all (notoriously parsons!), so make sure you do your research through attending National Portfolio Day & contacting admissions with questions (more on that later).
Note: You should only submit a few of these!

Sketchbook pages

This very much depends on the school—some really want to see them and some may only want to see your best, most completed work. Typically, a school that DOES want sketchbook pages will explicitly ask to see them. Make sure you check their website or ask them!
If they DO want to see sketchbook pages, you can include thumbnail sketches, planning for another piece, life drawings, small experimentations, anything that gives a "behind the scenes" look into your art making and thinking. It's great also to show sketchbook planning for another piece you have in your portfolio. Schools like RISD really want to sketchbook pages so make sure you keep one!
Note: You should only submit a few of these!

School-specific assignments/tests

Some art schools will require you to create art based on a specific prompt. This prompt may change every year or stay the same. This is an important chance to show how you tackle an art assignment given by the school itself and a good assignment response can really boost your portfolio. I wouldn't go as far as to say these "make or break" your portfolio, however, as schools have explicitly stated that the rest of your portfolio is also important and not to devote all your time and energy onto the assignment at the cost of a lower-quality portfolio. Still take it seriously though!
Cooper Union (tbh it's the only school I know of that does this) gives a "home test" where they mail/email you a list of prompts to make art from that they assess you on. There's also a bunch of questions you have to answer (I don't know much about the home test so please let me know if this info is wrong or misleading!).
RISD's this year (just released a few days ago!) is "Identify something in need of repair. Use any material or approach to fix it." and an accompanying written response (further details here).

Portfolio tips

Be creative. Come up with unique concepts.

I'm sure someone out there is reading this thinking, 'Well, DUH, it's art school! Of course I have to be creative,' because I'd probably think the same. Yet, you'd be surprised how often AOs continue to see still lives of fruit or glass bottles, green landscapes, a portrait painted with a flurry of unnatural skin tones, etc.
Don't make things just because everyone else is making them. I guarantee you that you don't need a still life of fruit to get into art school. Instead, think about what pieces like that show AOS (for still lives, it'd be technical skill) and think about ways you can show those same skills but in a less-generic way. This piece by @lemoncholy_(IG) (link to a timestamped youtube video) is a great example of a fun and original still life that also works in a narrative while displaying technical skill.

Break out of rigidity

Common among applicants who are really skilled in realism are portfolios full of tightly rendered portraits and scenes from life, but nothing else. This is bad because it shows you don't know how to experiment and that your artistic skills and vision are limited within the very narrow realm of photographic realism.
Play with adapting a "looser" hand. Watercolor is great for this because it's so fluid! You can also play with combining realism and abstraction or illustration. An artist that I think does this well with oil paint is Jenny Saville. You can also experiment with stylizing some of your realism. Degas's pastel portraits

Don't place everything in the center

I mentioned this earlier, but placing things in the dead center is probably the most common composition that high school applicants use, usually without a particular reason why and just because it's the "default." Many AOs I talked to really emphasized it so definitely play with putting things off-center and asymmetry!!

Have backgrounds. Yes, even to still lives!

Also mentioned earlier, but pure white backgrounds should be avoided whenever appropriate. They can make pieces look unfinished and usually happen because people are scared of them. Break out of your comfort zone! Even if the background is simple, it still indicates the object in a space instead of it just floating in space.

Don't be afraid of color

Try to make more than half of your pieces in color! I'm not sure if this is as much of a problem now, but don't be afraid of it! It's much easier to work with it when the colors are controlled, like with colored pencils, versus when you have to mix your own colors, like with watercolor.

Make your artistic choices intentional

Why did you choose this certain composition? This color palette? This style? This lighting? Realism vs semi-realism? How can these choices help build a narrative without having to shove it down the audience's throat through explicit imagery?
Answering these questions can help you make more intentional and meaningful choices! and explaining these choices in the description will definitely give you a boost as it shows you're thinking deeply about critically (critically thinking) about your art-making.

Spend time on your written descriptions

Honestly, even if the work itself is subpar, a stellar description that reveals a lot of depth to the piece can save it and show that you think a lot about your artistic choices and art-making in general. From then, it just becomes an execution issue which you can work on in school.

Quality > quantity, but don't add too few pieces either

Don't try to reach the max-pieces limit with "filler" pieces that aren't very good. It'll bring the overall quality of your portfolio down.
At the same time, don't include too few pieces. If it asks for 20 pieces, try to give at least 13. If it asks for 12, try to give at least 9. Not every piece has to be absolutely outstanding!

Common mistakes

A purely technical portfolio

I'm sure I'm beginning to sound like a broken record at this point lol, but this is super important!! It's so so common for technically amazing applicants to get rejected because their portfolios are all just technical studies without any narrative or conceptual thought behind the majority of their pieces.
Tell narratives through your art. Go to art museums. Ask yourself what it means to be an artist and your role in society. What power does art have that other methods don't? How can you use your art to say things and reach others in ways that only art can?

Fanart or anime

Especially anime. They don't like it at all. The reasons are a little BS imo :( but you can't fight them; just don't do it.

Master copies

Mastercopies are when you replicate/copy famous pieces of artwork—art from "masters"—as accurately as possible.
This is a lesser offense than including fanart/anime and whether schools actually care will vary from school to school, but I know that schools like RISD & Parsons really don't like them and RISD specifically advises against them. They don't show any originality and the display of technical skill is also damped by the notion that it was copied from someone else's art.
Personally, I think master copies are actually super beneficial to people learning a certain medium and I really encourage people to do them as studies. Just don't put them in your portfolio!

Badly photographed pieces

The documentation of your pieces is an often overlooked yet highly important part of your portfolio. Try to take photos of work outside in bright but shadowy areas. This way you get natural light but not the glare of direct light. Rent a camera and learn how to use its basic settings or use a phone with a high-quality camera.
Crop your photos to the edges of your piece. Alter weird lighting, contrast, and color inconsistencies using a photo editing software. Photoshop is perfect for this as it's super powerful. If you don't have a subscription, PM me and I can help you with getting it for free.
Art Prof also has tooons of stuff on documenting your work here in the middle/second column of links near the top.

What makes the best portfolio? (For NON-art schools)

When submitting a supplementary portfolio to non-art schools, non-art schools typically prefer high-technical skill works and fully fleshed-out, finished works. Unless your experimental pieces are also highly skilled, it's best to go for very well rendered pieces that also have some conceptual thinking behind them.
The people looking at your supplementary portfolio may often be normal AOs that don't know much about art, and high-skill pieces will seem most impressive. And whereas the applicant pool for top art schools like RISD consists of many high-technical-skill low-conceptual-skill portfolios, supplementary portfolios to non-art schools on average usually aren't as good so you don't need as many risky, conceptual pieces to stand out.
Plus, non-art schools don't give two shits about your "potential to grow" in art so show off all the current skill you have rather than what you could have in the future! Especially if you don't even plan to do art in college.

Ordering your pieces

The order of your pieces does matter. You want to leave the best impression you can on the AOs and psychology plays a part in it. People generally agree that the first two and last two pieces should be your strongest pieces. You want to start and end with a bang.
Other than that, it's up to you and depends on your portfolio pieces. You could try grouping similar pieces together, but if two pieces are too similar to each other, it can seem repetitive and you should probably take one of them out (instead of just moving it somewhere else). You could also play with mixing things up, but be careful not to break the cohesion of your portfolio by jumping between pieces that have completely different purposes and moods—you want the order of your pieces to flow without seeming boring or repetitive.

What is Slideroom?

Slideroom is a portfolio uploading site where the majority of schools (including non-art schools) will ask you to submit portfolios on. Each school will have their own Slideroom portal (usually something like "[schoolname].slideroom.com") and you'll have to submit your portfolio separately for school you apply to.
When you upload pieces onto slideroom, you'll have the option to add a title and description for your piece. You may also have a box for year, medium, size, etc. depending on if the schools asks for it.
Tip: I highly recommend creating a separate document/spreadsheet with all your artworks' names, mediums, years, sizes, and descriptions as you'll have to put in that information again each time you submit a portfolio to another school (there IS an option on Slideroom to copy all your entries from portfolio A into portfolio B, but portfolio B may ask for yeamedium/size/etc. while portfolio A may not, which would require you to put it all in for portfolio B).

More tips!

Two ~1hr Youtube videos about "art school portfolio secrets" with tons more tips from Clara Lieu (former adjunct RISD professor) @ Art Prof!! Here and here.
A bunch of portfolio tips + more common mistakes by Art Prof (again lol) here (same link as the one about documenting artwork)!

Grades, Tests, Extracurriculars, Awards, Classes, etc.

Academics

Generally, grades and test scores very little to art schools. Most art schools barely care about your GPA and SAT, if at all. Even RISD, which probably cares the most out of all the art schools, has accepted people with sub 3.0 GPAs and sub 1200 SAT scores. Contrarily, many 4.0 UW 1400+ SAT people have been rejected because their portfolios are subpar. And it makes sense when you think about it, as academic strength matters little relative to your artistic strength when at art school.
Extracurriculars are more or less the same deal. Some schools only ask for art related ECs, so it's nice to have a few. It also may give you something to talk about.

Art Competitons/Awards

From my understanding awards also don't matter very much to art schools, and at least not as much as your portfolio. I know people who've won numerous Scholastic National Medals that were rejected from schools like RISD. IMO this makes sense, as art school AO's would definitely trust their own judgment when looking at someone's portfolio over that of a competition's that they aren't affiliated with, especially since they're admitting them to art school, which values potential, while competitions value skill.
Some schools give a few scholarships based on art competitions like YoungArts, Scholastic, etc. I always think it's a good idea to try for these as you often have nothing to lose except for your time and the application fee and you may end up with some portfolio pieces while preparing for them.
There are mainly two large art competitions that I know of:

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

This is probably the largest art competition in the country. It has both regional and national awards. It's not too difficult to get some regional awards and it looks good on a resume. Anyone 7th-12th grade can apply and you need to do it while affiliated with a middle school/high school art teacher.
They have many different visual arts categories such as photography, drawing & illustration, sculpture, mixed media, design, digital, comic art, etc. They also have a whole writing section that also has a bunch of different categories.

National Youngarts Foundation

This is a fairly prestigious competition with only ~50 winners nationwide, only half (or less) of which are Finalists. For visual arts, you submit a portfolio of 10 pieces that generally follow some unifying theme (the specifics change from year to year so make sure you check their site for details). Anyone 15-18 OR in 10th-12th grade can apply (so many college freshmen still qualify!). The due date is in October and if you get notified if you're a winner in December.
There are also many other categories outside of visual arts, such as theatre, writing, singing, dancing, classical music, etc.

AP Art

I personally never took this class as it wasn't offered at my school, so I wish I could say more about it. From my understanding, this class is a good portfolio builder, and many who take it before 12th grade end up with portfolio pieces. I think most art colleges don't allow you to use AP Art credit in college.

School Art Classes and Private Art Classes

In terms of getting you into art school, I don't think having these on your transcript or resume will increase or reduce your chances at all. However, these are definitely great opportunities to work on portfolio pieces and get feedback from teachers and peers.
Private art classes (if you find a good one) are definitely a great place to work specifically on portfolio pieces. Usually your instructor will work closely with you to build a portfolio and create pieces. Having not really done or learned anything in my school art classes, private art classes definitely helped me churn out a lot of art for the first half of high school.

Choosing an art school

Your major matters

The quality of your education at a certain institution will be VERY major dependent. While it may be tempting, don't just look at acceptance rates because they can mislead you (sidenote on this: try to get acceptance rates from students or the school's website because the ones Google reports are always much higher for some reason).
Even reputation can sometimes be misleading—for example, while RISD is sometimes considered the "Harvard" of art schools, it has a poor animation, video, and photography department. Contrarily, SVA has a great animation program despite having a high acceptance rate and despite some of their other departments being questionable in quality.

Flexibility in switching majors

If you aren't sure which major you want to go into or unsure if you necessarily will want to stay in your current major, keep in mind how easy or hard it'll be to switch majors. Some schools require you to apply to a certain major and are very inflexible about changing majors. For example, to do Fashion at parsons (which is famous for their fashion), you have to specifically get into the Fashion major because it's so competitive and they probably judge the applicants at a different standard.
Additionally, their first-year curriculum is completely different from all the other majors' first-year curriculums (which is usually a foundation year where ALL majors take the SAME classes on fundamental art skills like drawing and design). If you get into Parsons for something else, I've heard it's relatively easy to change majors from say Illustration to Graphic Design to very hard to change majors into Fashion.
It also may be hard to transfer out of such majors. Animation at SVA has a different first-year curriculum than most of the other majors (which also have a foundation year) which SVA brings up as why you can't switch from Animation to GD or Illustration but why you can switch form GD to Illustration or vice versa. I've heard of people who went into SVA for animation but realized after their second year that they didn't actually like animation. As a result, they either had to stick with it for another two years and 140k later or drop out.

Location

This is true for both art and non-art schools. Depending on your major, it may be easier to find work in more urban areas or certain cities. That gives schools around SoCal or NYC an advantage compared to schools in, say, Florida. Make sure you consider if that's something important for you and your major.

Connections/Networking

This may only be applicable for 'industry majors' like Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Textiles, etc. and not so much for very fine-arts majors like Drawing and Painting. But for those formerly mentioned majors, I've been told straight up that you pay for art school for the connections and the networking. Reputable schools have well-connected faculty and networking events with renowned companies and employers. This is super important in art industries like Graphic Design, where your salary can fluctuate GREATLY depending on where you work.

Ultimately, the name doesn't matter that much

While prestige may help someone graduating from a NON-art school find a good job, for art schools, your graduating portfolio matters a LOT more (NOTE: The portfolio I mention in this section is the one you build during your time at art college. The portfolio I mention in the next section and for the majority of this post is the one you apply to art school with). This is the body of work that you come out of college with and is what hirers (for industry majors) are looking at to decide if your artistic vision and skill is what they're looking for. The best art school for you then is the one that helps you build your best body of work, and that may not be the well-known big-name schools.

Do you like their student work?

Some schools have an affiliated Behance site where students (and alums) can post artwork that they make. You can usually filter the work in the site by major and year. The URL is typically "portfolios.[schoolname].edu" but I'd look up "[schoolname] portfolios" or "[schoolname] student work" in google as many schools don't have an affiliated Behance site.
This is a great way to see what students are currently making. You may find that you particularly do or don't like the work produced, and that's a really important indicator for whether that school would be a good fit for you.

Other options

Art at a non-art school

This can sometimes be risky imo as art programs in non-art schools are often small and not very good. Especially when there's only one professor for your major, you run the risk of getting a limited/narrow education in a field that requires fresh ideas and creative problem-solving (for most majors). The quality of the education may also just not be very great, and you'll also have fewer peers to grow from (Your classmates in art school are super important imo as you'll constantly be learning and growing off each other. You literally spend a third of your time in art school getting feedback from your peers.).
That being said, there are definitely some non-art schools with a strong arts and/or design department, like Yale, UCLA, and Carnegie Mellon. It can be hard to find stuff about this online and I wish I knew some better ways to research this, but it's best if you can talk to a professor or art student who's more 'in the know' about this stuff.

What if I don't only want to do art?

Most art schools only offer a very arts-centered education. Some have an art history/liberal arts requirement but those classes are limited. You'll still have to take some non-art classes, and if that's enough for you, great! But if not, you could consider doing art at a non-art school, where you'll have access to the school's non-art majors and courses too.
At RISD, you not only have a (relatively) heftier liberal arts requirement, but you also have the opportunity to take classes at Brown University right next door starting your sophomore year. However, I've heard that it's actually pretty difficult to schedule these classes as RISD classes are usually really long and the two universities don't really work together to coordinate classes.

Dual Degree Programs

There are also some dual degree programs, most famously the Brown | RISD dual degree program. This shit is competitive as fuck to get into (3-4% acceptance rate) but an amazing opportunity as you get a degree from both Brown University and RISD after 5-years. You can find a lot more info about it online. Overview of some specific logistics about its admissions here. There's also the Tufts SMFA 5-year dual degree which also has a 4-year option if you only want a degree from Tufts.

FAQs/Misc

I only recently got into art/I don't have a lot of experience. Do I still have a chance at top art schools?

Contrary to popular belief, people who are good at art are rarely truly "talented." Much of it is really just practice, practice, and more practice. Even with talent, practice is still essential (just like how talented athletes still have to train really hard in order to do well).
But imo, you can practice "smartly" and not-so-smartly. I know of multiple people who only started making art mid-high school or never took an art class before an art camp the summer before 12th grade and these people got into some of the best art schools in the country! They weren't secret Van Gogh's who had finally uncovered their god-given talent; they just knew how to build a portfolio that highlighted their strengths over their weaknesses and showed they had potential above all else.

How expensive is art school?

Top art schools are as expensive as top non-art schools. Some, like RISD, are notorious for being stingy about giving money. It's a sad reality. However, there are definitely other affordable but decent options outside of the big-name schools. Remember that a school might be alright overall but really good for your major, specifically!

How do I know if art school is right for me?

I struggled with the same question and am honestly still struggling with it. Is art to you a hobby or a passion? Would you be ok with doing art as a job, even if it means sucking some or most of the joy out of it? Would you be willing to go into debt for a degree that may be hard to pay back?
Do you want to go to school with passionate and driven students doing what they love? Do you want to go to school with students all more-or-less doing the same thing as you? Are you ok with focusing mainly on art but dabbling in other subjects too?
Ultimately, you can also always transfer schools!

Resources

Oh boy,, my favorite part lol. Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with any of the links or organizations below :’)

Portfolio reviews

National Portfolio Day - A collection of days throughout the year where you can have your portfolio reviewed & critiqued by representatives from a whole host of art schools. There's typically one in a certain state/region per year. It's a great opportunity to get legit feedback on your portfolio and I highly recommend people to attend if possible, especially if they're unsure about what direction to move forward in with their portfolio. Also a great time to ask art schools questions!! Calendar here.
Virtual National Portfolio Day - NPD but online through Careereco. Many schools also attend. Dates for upcoming VNPDs are on the NPD website. Their most recent one (as of the time I'm writing this) was on May 22nd, 2020; you can find the details for that one here.
This is still fairly new (first one was in 2019) and can get very hectic with long wait times but the whole thing usually runs the whole day from ~6 a.m.–5 p.m. EST. I'd definitely recommend NPD over VNPD if possible.
AICAD - If you can't make NPD, you can submit a 5-piece portfolio online to have it reviewed by a select list of art schools that you get to choose from. Not many schools participate but some decent ones do, like RISD and MICA. You'll get an email with feedback.
In my experience, a lot of schools used it as an advertising platform and I didn't get that much useful feedback on my portfolio. However, some schools (like RISD) did give feedback and it's definitely worth trying though if you want as much feedback as possible!
Art Prof Portfolio Critiques - Art Prof, a free online art education service, posts 30+ min critiques of user-submitted portfolios on their Youtube channel. The reviewers include art school professors and grads. You can buy a review on Art Prof's website.
They also have a ton of live art piece critiques (scroll through the created playlists) on all categories of visual art that you can submit your own art for for free!

Portfolio Examples

Admitted Portfolio Youtube Videos - A playlist of admitted art school portfolios + tips + general videos with info about art school. As of now, it hasn't been updated with the Class of 2020 acceptances, but has most of the ones from before then.
Art Prof Portfolio Critiques - (as mentioned above!)

Learning

Art Prof - The HOLY GRAIL of free online art education. The founder and head, Clara Lieu, is a former RISD Adjunt Professor. There is a TON of useful stuff on here, including tutorials in oil paint, marker, animation, printmaking, 3D, etc; ideas for art and portfolio pieces; guides on composition, light, portraits, etc; guides for photography art; etc. Literally sooo much useful content.
Here's a post with a ton of useful info on art school portfolios!
They also have a Youtube channel that is also incredibly useful and heavily integrated with their main site. As mentioned earlier, they have a lot of full portfolio critiques which you yourself can also purchase. You can also submit art on their site to get critiqued on their channel. They have tons of useful guides on just about everything art related, like it's seriously crazy. Literally God Prof.
New Master's Academy - Tons of solid lessons on all sorts of fundamental art skills, including anatomy, oil paint, watercolor, etc. A not-free subscripton based service. They also have a Youtube channel where they post some critiques and lessons here.

Reference Photos

Figures (nude and clothed)

Line of Action - Timed nude and clothed models. Also has facial expressions, animals, landscapes, etc.
Quick Poses - Timed also; same as Line of Action but the images vary more in quality (though they're also more diverse).
Artmodeltips.com - Tons of nude poses with some clothed. Not timed.
Senshistock on DeviantArt - Clothed and nearly-nude poses. Many are from dynamic perspectives and they're overall more suited for anatomy reference in illustrations but still serve as good practice.

Royalty-free images

For when you want to heavily reference a photograph that isn't yours. It's a good habit to start building as it's you could get sued using copyrighted photos + it's looked down upon. Take reference photos yourself if possible!
Pexels
Pixabay
...and tons more!
Hope this was helpful! I knew this would be long but it's now very very close to the 40k character limit lol and I'm out of space. I'll definitely try adding and editing stuff as I remember more art school-related content.
Feel free to ask any additional questions below and I'll try to answer them if possible!! I'm sure there are some things I've unintentionally glossed over, so please don't hesitate to ask :') If you have questions about specific schools, I may also be able to help!
submitted by batsbatsrats to ApplyingToCollege [link] [comments]

We are field staff at the SBA, ask us [almost] anything.

**Edit: I'm signing off for questions for the night folks. Thank you for your time and fantastic questions. I really appreciated it. **
Hi everyone,
My name is Noah and I work out of the San Francisco District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Our office has been working closely with business owners and doing our best to manage calls right now. The local offices are very small outreach teams and I spend most of my days right now talking directly with our local business owners about how the shelter-in-place orders are impacting folks.
Everything from cake shops and hairdressers to tech start-ups and manufacturers come through my (now virtual) door. That's actually normal, even during non-disaster situations! Regardless of industry and stage the uncertainty that folks share with me is universal. We're doing what we can to alleviate some of that, where we can but also be transparent and honest about our own limitations.
When working with business owners I work really hard to make it clear what's known and what's not known, as well as not provide answers that I can't answer. Sometimes I make mistakes.
Each morning our team gets incorporates new updates into our discussions as these programs are changing daily right now.
Here's what I can't do (unfortunately)
Pretty much all of these questions I'm going to refer to my government-assigned work-from-home Bureaucat Nina Zoobie Halloumi.
The moderators sent me a list of questions consolidated by the community. I'm joined today with a field representative for the Office of Disaster Assistance West Bill Koontz and another district representative in DC David Hincapie. All three of us are field staff, so that means that we work with the public regularly, but also that we're not policy makers.
We're going to start this off by doing our best to answer the questions consolidated yesterday:

Program Organization

* Which programs does SBA oversee and where can we get information about ALL of them, including the less known ones?

We release a national resource guide that provides an overview of all of our programs. That resource guide doesn't include the PPP or the EIDL advance, since these were just added a few weeks ago. There are ~20-30 programs for business owners through the SBA. They fit into 4 different areas:
Disaster Contracting Counseling Financing
Disaster Physical damage Loans 8(a) certification program - qualifying businesses to sole source contracts and more Small Business Development Centers 7(a) (with about 30 different flavors) - working capital loans
Economic Injury Women Owned Small Business Certification Women's Business Centers 504 - commercial real estate loans
PPP loan (new) Veteran Owned Small Business Certification Veteran's Business Development Centers Microloans
Economic Injury Advance (new) Surety Bonds SCORE mentoring SBIR seed grants for new products
HubZones Procurement Assistance Centers SBIC - equity/venture funding
Export assistance Centers

* What is the specific role of the SBA vs. the banks?

This is a complicated question. The short answer is that it depends on the program. For our larger lending programs, SBA operates essentially as an insurer for loans that are made in accordance with our policies (If a lender agrees to follow our guidelines for a business loan, we will "guarantee" it - meaning that we will pay for a portion of the losses should that loan go bad.) Borrowers pay a packaging fee for our normal guaranteed loans and these fees offset any of the losses in normal times, not taxpayer dollars.

* Why do the guidelines the SBA is implementing seem to be different from what was described in the law authorizing the programs?

At a high and very general level I can say that laws and procedures/rules are two different things. The latter will always be more specific and can't conflict with laws. For instance, the Small Business Act is a 300 page law. It rarely gets updated and needs an act of congress to do so. Our standard operating procedures, or rules for implementing for just one element of that act is a 500 page document that goes through a public rulemaking process where comments and feedback must be taken and responded to. It gets updated more often than the law.
The Bureaucat will answer most of the why questions, except where that reasoning was included in the interim rulemaking.

* Why did the SBA implement a $1k/employee cap in addition to the $10k cap? On what programs does the number of FTEs limit amounts?

[Bill]To ensure that the greatest number of applicants can receive assistance. The only other area where the number of FTEs may impact a business owners are where SBA size standards might make an applicant ineligible for our programs.

PPP/EIDL Specifics

Loan Organization

* How do EIDL/PPP loans work together or conflict?

  1. EIDL and PPP loans can't be used for the same expenses.
  2. EIDL advances (which are forgivable) will reduce the amount of forgiveness received under the PPP. This is to avoid duplication of benefits.
  3. Technically an EIDL can be rolled into a PPP. Further guidance may be coming out clarifying the process and conditions under which this can occur.
  4. EIDL loans are broader in what they can be used for. PPP loans are narrower. For that reason we generally suggest that payroll costs be paid with the PPP and other business needs (rent, utilities, inventory, etc) be covered with EIDL loan funds.

* What is the process flow for the loan/grant programs(apply, approved by SBA, apply at a bank...) or where can we see these flows?

The simple EIDL process flow is:
[Bill]The status of a specific application will be available to the applicant when processing of their EIDL is near completion. SBA will provide an email notification inviting the applicant to set up an account electronically. This account will enable applicants to check the status of their application, loan decision, loan amount, sign loan closing documents, schedule disbursement, etc. Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience while their applications are being processed.
We're not going to delve into the details on this because these processes are getting updated and changed constantly to work better. They also haven't been shared even with the field offices in many cases. Any information shared, even from the processing centers, would be out of date quickly or only represent a narrow perspective.
The PPP has a different process at every bank. It's different at every institution. From an SBA perspective it's a black box on both ends, except where we've made requirements in the application process (such as the information that an application has to collect. That's by design because SBA is not the one originating these loans.

* Does the SBA communicate directly with the businesses seeking these loans? How can we recognize legitimate attempts to communicate with us?

SBA won't contact a PPP borrower directly. If someone contacts you about a PPP loan and says they're from the SBA please report this to our Office of Inspector General. They released a special FAQ on Scams and Frauds earlier this month. If you haven't applied for an EIDL and you get contacted by someone from the SBA telling you about it you should suspect a scam or fraud as well. Once you've applied for EIDL, you may be contacted by an office of disaster assistance loan officer.

Loans and forgiveness

* Which loans get forgiveness, which loans are automatic, which require proof, how can we find the restrictions? What actual guarantees are there that loans will be forgiven if the rules are followed? Will the rules still be subject to change after the loans are made?'

Only PPP loans and EIDL advances get forgiveness. EIDL advance forgiveness is automatic. PPP forgiveness must be applied to and the details on that process have yet to be released. Questions about the future I'm delegating to the bureaucat

* Are there restrictions on how payrolls are paid for programs that require documentation of payment of payroll for forgiveness? (i.e. changing employee, emphasizing different operations, firing/hiring but attaining a particular payroll overall

This question would only apply to the PPP. The answer is yes, maybe and that the detailed rules on the forgiveness portion of the PPP has yet to be released. bureaucat

* How does forgiveness work if business conditions change like the company is forced into bankruptcy, employees refuse to return to work or the government orders the business to be shut down for more than 8 weeks?

  1. If you take the funds out and declare bankruptcy and don't get the forgiveness the PPP will act like any other federally funded loan.
  2. If employees don't return to work you may hire others to replace them or receive forgiveness proportionally to what you are able to spend on payroll costs (the details on how this is calculated have not yet been released). You can also return the funds that you weren't able to use. There are no pre-payment penalties for the PPP.
  3. PPP funds are expected to be paid towards payroll costs even if the business is shut down. There is no requirement that the business be in operation. Some business owners have taken the opportunity to find other work that can be done remotely for their employees, some are simply paying even though noone is working, some are having employees self-study/develop new skills. There are a lot of options here.

* Why are loans set up so PPP forgiveness only applies if EIDL is not used for payroll even after PPP is exhausted paying for payroll?

  1. They aren't? You can use EIDL for payroll costs, but you should document very clearly which funds (PPP or EIDL) are going towards which pay periods. Many business owners are just keeping the two totally separate to make for cleaner and easier bookkeeping.

* Why can the self-employed apply for 2.5 months of income but only 8 weeks is forgivable?

This was a decision by the administrator in consultation with the Treasury. Page 12 of the Interim Final Rule lays out the reasoning:

Obtaining approvals

* Why are different banks requiring different documentation between what financial companies require for documentation?

The short answer is because they have the discretion to do so. Every lender needs to exercise due diligence and make an effort to verify payroll costs. Among 5,000+ lenders you're going to see the full spectrum of approaches here.

* How much does creditworthiness or credit score matter for these loans?

PPP: Depends on the lender. EIDL: It is a factor.

* What happens if multiple applications (in good faith) are submitted to multiple lenders?

SBA's loan system should only allow for a single application to be submitted on behalf of a borrower. The first borrower to submit will lock-out all other submitters. I've dealt with a number of business owners who pursued this strategy. There are upsides and downsides.
edit: We've also encountered some situations where the above has not occurred and we're actively investigating this situation. If you are approved for two loans a borrower should notify their lender, only accept one, and should return the funds from one.

Loan status

* Where can businesses go to find their status with the SBA (i.e. confirmation numbers, status, etc)?

For the PPP, they need to go to their lender. We can only see if an approval exists. For the EIDL they need to go to the 1-800 number. ((800) 659-2955)

* Do you have any information about the order of EIDL grant processing?

[Bill]We are processing disaster loan applications and Advances on a first-come, first serve basis as fast as we can.

* If someone has an approval number but their bank does not act what options do they have besides waiting?

Banks were instructed that the expectation for PPP is that they disburse funds within 10 calendar days from approval.
EDIT: new guidance was released. The expectation remains 10 calendar days from approval. " Loans for which funds have not been disbursed because a borrower has not submitted required loan documentation within 20 calendar days of loan approval shall be cancelled by the lender" If a loan was approved prior to April 28th, the 10 day clock was reset to start on April 28th.

* Can SBA loan confirmation numbers be transferred away from lenders who are failing to fund in a timely way?

No.

* Do the confirmation numbers have a structure (region, number in line, etc)?

I'd advise against numerology. I'm not aware of a specific structure with much meaningful information and Application numbers are assigned as applications are received.

SBA Structure

* What are tiers 1, 2, and 3 on the SBA helpline and what questions can they each answer?

[Bill] Our customer call center has not provided ODA field office staff members any information about Tiers 1, 2 or 3. As with any operation, there are supervisors in the call center with oversight responsibility and more authority than others.

* Within the SBA, what is the role of the ODA (Office of Disaster Assistance)? What sub-organizations should we be aware of relating to this pandemic?

[Bill] The Office of Disaster Assistance's mission is to provide low interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery & equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster. ODA has their own field offices, but not sub-organizations.

* Does the SBA outsource operations? Which ones and to whom?

[Bill]Normally, no. For the COVID19 response, SBA’s ODA established a public/private relationship with an unnamed outside vendor to process COVID19 loans.

Communication

* How can we best recognize solicitation attempts by financial firms without proper affiliation to the SBA or access to the programs?

There are a few resources: 1. Check the Find a Lender tool if they have a physical location near you 2. Ask your local SBA district office 3. See if their name showed up on this list of institutions that made loans in Phase 1.
This can be legitimately difficult overall though because there are sometimes intermediaries that authorized lenders will allow to package loan applications for them. If a website has a "banking partners" section on their website they're usually an intermediary or a packager. You can do detective work using tools put out by the Treasury. A regulated bank will always have that information in the footer of their website with a number that you can independently verify at their regulator's website. For intermediaries, you just have to go off of reviews online.

* Customer service reps have been giving out unhelpful or confusing information. What processes are being put in place to make sure they can give us the accurate information we need?

[Bill]Our field office staff are sharing any reports we receive of unhelpful or confusing comments made by employees in SBA’s call centers. SBA will release any customer service representative who is unable to properly perform their job.

* Outside of SBA.gov, what are the routes the SBA uses to talk to us? Where can we see a daily or weekly briefing?

Folks can sign up for national updates here, or also sign up directly for smaller, more specific email distribution lists here. You can also view our events page, where local offices and our non-profit partners are holding hundreds of webinars on a variety of topics every month.

* How can we see the total amount of loans made?

Check our Freedom of Information page. New reports and data get published there.

* What communications should small businesses expect as they go through the process, including about errors, denials, progress or acceptance? (Might be integrated with another question)

[Bill] The status of individual applications will be available to the applicant when processing of their EIDL is near completion. SBA will provide an email notification inviting the applicant to set up an account electronically. This account will enable applicants to check the status of their application, loan decision, loan amount, sign loan closing documents, schedule disbursement, etc. Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience while their applications are being processed. Regarding files that are suspended or delayed due to errors or denials, our field office staff have not yet been informed how files in this category are being handled or when to expect resolutions.

Public Relations

* What does the SBA think of the job they have been doing so far?

bureaucat
That's a response I'll leave to our national press release. SBA isn't one thing.

* Which businesses or industries does the SBA think need help most? Does size (smaller than "small") matter?

SBA exists to help all small businesses. Some industries are much more represented than others (there are just more food service and construction firms than clog manufacturers out there.)
The federal definitions of "small" are often contentious, but the SBA definitions are often pointed to as more comprehensive definitions because we make an attempt to create a different definition for every single industry. You can use this tool or look at the table at the bottom of this page. The standards are designed to be broadly inclusive and for most of our programs are not the sole item used to determine eligibility.
My experience is that for our regular lending and counselling programs, business owners usually grow out of them before they become ineligible(they hire their own consultants or find they can get better terms than an SBA loan.) I don't work as much on the contracting side of things, but I think the size standards are more frequently needing to be evaluated in those programs.

* What are the most common questions you have been answering?

Additional questions

* Are there limitations on funding foreign owned but otherwise US companies built into the programs?

For the PPP technically the program can accept these applications so long as the business is a US operated business. It is overall more difficult to document and submit these in a way that is acceptable to SBA systems though. A lender has to be willing to slow down and work closely with the borrower and SBA to get it submitted. For all of the other SBA programs, a business needs to be majority owned by a US citizen or legal permanent resident to qualify.

* Some applications made 3/29 and 3/30 seem to be stuck in credit pull. Is there any plan for these? (Might be integrated with another question)

[Bill]We in the field offices have not yet been informed specifically how these files will be handled, or when. Any business that applied for a Coronavirus (COVID-19) SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) prior to the release of SBA’s new streamlined application the week ending March 29, must reapply using SBA’s streamlined online application (in SBA’s new loan processing system) available at www.sba.gov. If a business doesn’t have an application number or received one that begins with a “2”, they must reapply under SBA’s new processing system. SBA is presently contacting everyone who applied through the old system, and asking them to reapply at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/ when applications re-open. If a business owner has an application or conformation number that begins with a “3”, they don’t need to do anything – their application is in process in the new system.
submitted by Noah_SBA to smallbusiness [link] [comments]

The truth behind Puskás Akadémia FC - How Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán stole a legend, built a stadium in his backyard and guided his team to Europe

The 2019/2020 season of the Hungary’s National Football League (NB1) – being one of the first leagues to restart play - came to an end on 27 June. If a casual observer (for whatever reason) decides to check out the final standings, he would be not surprised at the first two positions: record-champion Ferencváros defended their title, while regional powerhouse Fehérvár (Videoton) came in second. However, the third place team, Puskás Akadémia FC might seem unusual and one could think that there is a story behind that. Is there a team named after Ferenc Puskás? Did some academy youths make an incredible run for the Europa League qualification? Well, the observer is right, there is a story behind all this, but it’s absolutely not a fun story. It’s a story about how one powerful man’s obsession with football stole a legend, misused state funds and killed the spirit of Hungarian football. (Warning: this is a long story, feel free to scroll down for a tl;dr. Also, I strongly advise checking out the links, those images are worth seeing).
Naturally, political influence in football has been present ever since the dawn of the sport and we know of numerous state leaders who felt confident enough to use their influence to ensure the successful development of their favored clubs – Caucescu’s FC Olt Scornicesti and Erdogan’s Basaksehir are well-known examples of such attempts. However, I fear that very few of the readers are aware of the fact that Puskás Akadémia FC is nothing but Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s grandiose project for establishing his hometown’s club as one of the country’s top teams. Considering that Orbán managed to achieve this goal using state funds in an EU member democracy in the 2000s, one might even say that it might be one of the most impressive attempts of cheating your way through Football Manager in real life. Now that Puskás Akadémia FC escaped the desolate football scene of Hungary and is getting ready for the European takeover, I feel that it’s high time to tell its true story.

Part 1: Part time striker, part time PM

Our story begins in 1999 when the 36-year-old striker Viktor Orbán (recently elected as the country’s Prime Minister) was signed by the sixth-tier side of Felcsút FC residing in rural Fejér County. It might sound surprising that an active politician would consider such a side job, but given that Orbán has been playing competitive low-level football throughout his whole life and has always been known as a keen football enthusiast, people seemed to be okay with his choice for a hobby. Orbán spent most of his childhood in the village of Felcsút (population: 1,800), so it seemed only natural that he would join the team after one of his old-time acquaintances became team president there.
Orbán’s arrival to the club seemed to work like a charm as Felcsút FC immediately earned a promotion to the fifth league. The Prime Minister’s busy program did not allow him to attend every training session and game but Orbán did make an effort to contribute as much as possible on the field – there is a report of a government meeting being postponed as Orbán was unavailable due to attending Felcsút FC’s spring training camp. The 2001/2002 season brought another breakthrough for the side as Felcsút was promoted to the national level of the football pyramid after being crowned the champion of Fejér County. Sadly enough for Orbán, he suffered a defeat on another pitch – his party lost the 2002 election and Orbán was forced to move to an opposition role.
No matter what happened on the political playing field, Orbán would not abandon his club. Just before the 2002 elections, Felcsút was surprisingly appointed as one of the regional youth development centers by the Hungarian FA. Orbán continued contributing on the field as well (he had more spare time after all) but his off-the-field efforts provided much more value for the team as he used his political influence to convince right-wing businessmen that they should definitely get sponsorship deals done with the fourth-division village team.
Club management was able to transform the influx of funds into on-field success: Felcsút FC was promoted to the third division in 2004 and achieved promotion to the second division in 2005. Although these new horizons required a skill level that an aging ex-PM is not likely to possess, Orbán regularly played as a late game sub and even appeared in cup games against actual professional opponents. The now-42-year old Orbán did not want to face the challenge of the second division, so he retired in 2005 – but this did not stop him from temping as an assistant coach when the head coach was sacked in the middle of the 2005-2006 season.
Success on the playing field did not translate to political success: Orbán lost the elections once again in 2006. However, this was only a temporary loss: the ruling party committed blunder after blunder and by early 2007 it became absolutely obvious that Orbán would be able return to power in 2010. Now confident in his political future, Orbán opted for the acceleration of football development in Felcsút – by late 2007 he took over the presidency of the club to take matters in his own hands. Sponsors seeking to gain favor with the soon-to-be PM were swarming Felcsút FC, so the club was able to stand very strong in an era where financial stability was a very rare sight in the Hungarian football scene, accumulating three medals (but no promotion) between 2007 and 2009.
On the other hand, Orbán realized the value of youth development as well, and started a local foundation for this purpose back in 2004 that gathered funds for the establishment a boarding school-like football academy. The academy opened its doors in September 2006 (only the second of such institutions in the country) and Orbán immediately took upon the challenge of finding an appropriate name for the academy.
He went on to visit the now very sick Ferenc Puskás in the hospital to discuss using his name, but as Puskás’ medical situation was deteriorating rapidly, communication attempts were futile. Luckily enough Puskás’ wife (and soon to be widow) was able to act on his incapable husband’s behalf and approved the naming deal in a contract. According to the statement, naming rights were granted without compensation, as “Puskás would have certainly loved what’s happening down in Felcsút”. However, there was much more to the contract: Puskás’ trademark was handed to a sports journalist friend of Orbán (György Szöllősi, also acting communications director of the academy) who promised a hefty annual return for the family (and also a 45% share of the revenue for himself). Ferenc Puskás eventually died on 17 November 2006 and on 26 November 2006 the football academy was named after him: Puskás Academy was born.
Orbán shared his vision of the whole organization after the opening ceremony: “It’s unreasonable to think that Felcsút should have a team in the top division. We should not flatter ourselves, our players and our supporters with this dream. Our long term ambition is the creation of a stable second division team that excels in youth development and provides opportunity for the talents of the future.” Let’s leave that there.

Part 2: No stadium left behind

Orbán became PM once again in April 2010 after a landslide victory that pretty much granted him unlimited power. He chased lots of political agendas but one of his policies was rock solid: he would revive sports (and especially football) that was left to bleed out by the previous governments. The football situation in 2010 was quite dire: while the national team has actually made some progress in the recent years and has reached the 42nd position in the world rankings, football infrastructure was in a catastrophic state. Teams were playing in rusty stadiums built in the communist era, club finances were a mess, youth teams couldn’t find training grounds and the league was plagued by violent fan groups and lackluster attendance figures (3100 average spectators per game in the 2009/2010 season).
Orbán – aided by the FA backed by business actors very interested in making him happy – saw the future in the total rebuild of the football infrastructure. Vast amounts of state development funds were invested into the football construction industry that warmly welcomed corruption, cost escalation and shady procurement deals. In the end, money triumphed: over the last decade, new stadiums sprung out from nothing all over the country, dozens of new academies opened and pitches for youth development appeared on practically every corner. The final piece of the stadium renovation program was the completion of the new national stadium, Puskás Aréna in 2019 (estimated cost: 575 million EUR). Orbán commemorated this historic moment with a celebratory video on his social media that features a majestic shot of Orbán modestly kicking a CGI ball from his office to the new stadium.
Obviously, Orbán understood that infrastructure alone won’t suffice. He believed in the idea that successful clubs are the cornerstone of a strong national side as these clubs would compete in a high quality national league (and in international tournaments) that would require a constant influx of youth players developed by the clubs themselves. However, Orbán was not really keen on sharing the state’s infinite wealth with private club owners who failed to invest in their clubs between 2002 and 2010. The club ownership takeover was not that challenging as previous owners were usually happy to cut their losses, and soon enough most clubs came under Orbán’s influence. Some clubs were integrated deep into Orbán’s reach (Ferencváros and MTK Budapest club presidents are high ranking officials of Orbán’s party) while in other cases, indirect control was deemed sufficient (Diósgyőri VTK was purchased by a businessman as an attempt to display loyalty to Orbán).
Pouring taxpayer money into infrastructure (stadium) projects is relatively easy: after all, we are basically talking about overpriced government construction projects, there’s nothing new there. On the other hand, allocating funds to clubs that should be operating on a competitive market is certainly a tougher nut to crack. The obvious solutions were implemented: the state media massively overpaid for broadcasting rights and the national sports betting agency also pays a hefty sum to the FA, allowing for a redistribution of considerable amounts. However, given that the income side of Hungarian clubs was basically non-existent (match day income is negligible, the failed youth development system does not sell players), an even more radical solution was desperately needed. Also, there was definite interest in the development of a tool that would allow for differentiation between clubs (as in the few remaining non-government affiliated clubs should not receive extra money).
The solution came in 2011: the so-called TAO (“társasági adó” = corporate tax) system was introduced, granting significant tax deductions for companies if they offered a portion of their profits to sports clubs – however, in theory, funds acquired through TAO can be only used for youth development and infrastructure purposes. Soon enough, it became apparent that state authorities were not exactly interested in the enforcement of these restrictions, so some very basic creative accounting measures enabled clubs to use this income for anything they wanted to. Companies were naturally keen on cutting their tax burdens and scoring goodwill with the government, so TAO money immediately skyrocketed. Opportunistic party strongmen used their influence to convince local business groups to invest in the local clubs, enabling for the meteoric rise of multiple unknown provincial teams (Mezőkövesd [pop: 16,000], Kisvárda [pop: 16,000], Balmazújváros [pop: 17,000]) into the first division.
Although it’s not the main subject of this piece, I feel inclined to show you the actual results of Orbán’s grandiose football reform. While we do have our beautiful stadiums, we don’t exactly get them filled – league attendance has stagnated around 3000 spectators per game throughout the whole decade. We couldn’t really move forward with our national team either: Hungary lost 10 positions in the FIFA World Rankings throughout Orbán’s ten years. On the other hand, the level of league has somewhat improved – Videoton and Ferencváros reached the Europa League group stage in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Too bad that the Instat-based top team of 2019/2020 Hungarian league consists of 10 foreigners and only 1 Hungarian: the goalkeeper.

Part 3: Small place, big game!

As seen in the previous chapter, Orbán did have a strong interest in the improvement of the football situation Hungary, but we shouldn’t forget that his deepest interest and true loyalty laid in the wellbeing of Felcsút and its academy. Now that Orbán had limitless means to see to the advancement of his beloved club, he got to work immediately. Orbán handed over formal club management duties to his friend / protégé / middleman / businessman Lőrinc Mészáros in 2010, but no questions would ever arise of who is actually calling the shots.
First of all, no club can exist without a proper stadium. Although in 2011 Orbán explicitly stated that “Felcsút does not need a stadium as stadiums belong to cities”, no one was really surprised in 2012 when the construction of the Felcsút stadium was announced. Orbán was generous enough to donate the lands just in front of his summer home in the village for the project, locating the entrance a mere ten meters away from his residence. Construction works for the stunningly aesthetic 3,800-seater arena (in a village of 1,800 people) started in April 2012 and were completed in April 2014, making Felcsút’s arena the second new stadium of Orbán’s gigantic stadium revival program.
The estimated budget of the construction was 120 million EUR (31,500 EUR / seat) was financed by the Puskás Academy who explicitly stated that they did not use government funds for the project. Technically, this statement is absolutely true as the construction was financed through the TAO money offered by the numerous companies looking for tax deduction and Orbán’s goodwill. However, technically, this means that the country’s budget was decreased by 120 million EUR unrealized tax revenue. Naturally, the gargantuan football stadium looks ridiculously out of place in the small village, but there’s really no other way to ensure that your favorite team’s stadium is within 20 seconds of walking distance from your home.
Obviously, a proper club should also have some glorious history. Felcsút was seriously lagging behind on this matter as though Felcsút FC was founded in 1931, it spent its pre-Orbán history in the uninspiring world of the 5th-7th leagues of the country. Luckily enough, Orbán had already secured Puskás’ naming rights and they were not afraid to use it, so Felcsút FC was renamed to Puskás Academy FC in 2009. The stadium name was a little bit problematic as the Hungarian national stadium in Budapest had sadly had the dibs on Puskás’ name, so they had to settle with Puskás’ Spanish nickname, resulting in the inauguration of the Pancho Arena. But why stop here? Orbán’s sports media strongman György Szöllősi acted upon the contract with Puskás’ widow and transferred all Puskás’ personal memorabilia (medals, jerseys, correspondence) to the most suitable place of all: a remote village in which Puskás never even set foot in.
While the off-field issues were getting resolved, Orbán’s attention shifted to another important area: the actual game of football. Although academy players started to graduate from 2008 on, it very soon became painfully obvious that the academy program couldn’t really maintain even a second division side for now. In 2009, Orbán reached an agreement with nearby Videoton’s owner that effectively transformed Felcsút FC into Videoton’s second team under the name of Videoton – Puskás Akadémia FC. The mutually beneficent agreement would allow Videoton to give valuable playing time to squad players while it could also serve as a skipping step for Puskás Academy’s fresh graduates to a first league team. The collaboration resulted in two mid-table finishes and a bronze medal in the second division in the following three seasons that wasn’t really impressive compared to Felcsút FC’s standalone seasons.
It seemed that the mixture of reserve Videoton players and academy youth was simply not enough for promotion, and although Orbán had assured the public multiple times that his Felcsút project was not aiming for the top flight, very telling changes arose after the 2011/2012 season. Felcsút terminated the Videoton cooperation deal and used the rapidly accumulating TAO funds to recruit experienced players for the now independently operating Puskás Academy FC (PAFC). The new directive worked almost too well: PAFC won its division with a 10 point lead in its first standalone year which meant that they would have to appear in the first league prior to the completion of their brand-new Pancho Arena. Too bad that this glorious result had almost nothing to do with the academy - only two players were academy graduates of the side’s regular starting XI.
Orbán did not let himself bothered with the ridiculousness of an academy team with virtually no academy players being promoted to the first division as he stated that “a marathon runner shouldn’t need to explain why the other runners were much slower than him”. Orbán also displayed a rare burst of modesty as he added that “his team’s right place is not in the first league, and they will soon be overtaken by other, better sides”.
The promotion of PAFC to the first division made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Supporter groups were united in hatred all along the league and not surprisingly, away fans almost always outnumbered the home side at PAFC’s temporary home at Videoton’s Sóstói Stadium (demolished and rebuilt in its full glory since then). One of the teams, however, possessed an extraordinary degree of anger against PAFC: supporters of Budapest Honvéd – the only Hungarian team in which Ferenc Puskás played – felt especially awkward about the transfer of their club legend’s heritage to Felcsút. Tensions spiked at the PAFC – Honvéd game when home security forced Honvéd supporters to remove the “Puskás” part of their traditional “Puskás – Kispest – Hungary” banner – the team answered the insult with style as they secured a 4-0 victory supported by fans chanting “you can’t buy legends”.
Despite Orbán’s prognosis, other better sides did not rush to overtake his team, so PAFC, now residing in their brand new Pancho Arena, came through with a 14th and a 10th place in their first two seasons. Naturally, conspiracy theories began to formulate, speculating that government-friendly owners would certainly not be motivated to give their best against PAFC. However, as the league size was reduced to 12 for the 2015/2016 season, PAFC found themselves in a dire situation just before the final round: they needed a win and needed rival Vasas to lose against MTK in order to avoid relegation. PAFC’s draw seemed to be unlucky as they faced their arch-enemy Honvéd at home, but Honvéd displayed an absolute lackluster effort – fueling conspiracy theories – and lost the fixture 2 to 1 against a home side featuring four academy players. Vasas, however, did not disappoint, their 2-0 victory resulted in PAFC’s elimination and a very relaxed sigh all over the football community.
PAFC’s relegation seemed to be in accordance with Orbán’s 2013 statement, so public opinion supposed for a while that Orbán’s project came to a halting point and the Academy would go on to actually field academy players in the second division (especially as rostering foreign players was prohibited in the lower leagues). However, if you have read through this point, you know better than to expect Orbán to retreat – obviously, PAFC came back with a bang. With a ballsy move, PAFC didn’t even sell their foreign players, they just loaned them across the league, promising them that they would be able to return next year to the newly promoted team. The promise was kept as PAFC went into another shopping spree of experienced players (easily convincing lots of them to choose the second division instead of the first) and easily won the second league.
Orbán – now aware of his negligence – opted for the doubling the team’s budget, making PAFC the third most well-founded club in the whole country (only coming short to his friend’s Videoton and his party minion’s Ferencváros). With an actual yearly influx from TAO money in the ballpark of 30-40 million EUR, PAFC management had to really work wonders in creative accounting in order to make their money look somewhat legitimate. The books were now full of ridiculous items like:
Naturally, in the country of no consequences, absolutely nothing happened: PAFC went on with its spending and signed 35 foreigners between 2017 and 2020. They did so because they could not hope to field a winning team in the first league consisting of academy players, despite the fact that Puskás Academy has been literally drowning in money since 2007. This seems to somewhat contradict Orbán’s 2013 promise, stating that “Puskás Academy will graduate two or three players to major European leagues each year”. To be fair, there have been players who managed to emerge to Europe (well, exactly two of them: Roland Sallai plays at Freiburg, László Kleinheisler played at Werder Bremen) but most academy graduates don’t even have the slightest the chance to make their own academy’s pro team as it’s full of foreigners and more experienced players drawn for other teams’ programs.
Despite their unlimited funding, PAFC could not put up a top-tier performance in their first two years back in the first division, finishing 6th and 7th in the 12-team league. Many speculated that the lack of support, motivation and even a clear team mission did not allow for chemistry to develop within the multinational and multi-generational locker room. Consistency was also a rare sight on the coaching side: club management was absolutely impatient with coaches who were very easily released after a single bad spell and there were talks of on-field micromanagement request coming from as high as Orbán.
Even so, their breakthrough came dangerously close in 2018 as PAFC performed consistently well in the cup fixtures and managed to reach the final. Their opponent, Újpest played an incredibly fierce game and after a 2-2 draw, they managed to defeat PAFC in the shootout. Football fans sighed in relief throughout the country as ecstatic Újpest supporters verbally teased a visibly upset Orbán in his VIP lounge about his loss.
Obviously, we could only delay the inevitable. While this year’s PAFC side seemed to be more consistent than its predecessors, it seemed that they won’t be able to get close to the podium - they were far behind the obvious league winner duo of Ferencváros and Videoton and were trailing third-place Mezőkövesd 6 points just before the pandemic break. However, both Mezőkövesd and PAFC’s close rivals DVTK and Honvéd fall flat after the restart while PAFC was able to maintain its good form due to its quality roster depth. PAFC overtook Mezőkövesd after the second-to-last round as Mezőkövesd lost to the later relegated Debrecen side. (Mezőkövesd coach Attila Kuttor was fined harshly because of his post-game comments on how the FA wants PAFC to finish third.)
PAFC faced Honvéd in the last round once again, and as Honvéd came up with its usual lackluster effort, PAFC secured an effortless win, confidently claiming the third place. PAFC celebrated their success in a nearly empty stadium, however neither Orbán, nor Mészáros (club owner, Orbán’s protégé, now 4th richest man of Hungary) seemed to worry about that. While Orbán high-fived with his peers in the VIP lounge, Mészáros was given the opportunity to award the bronze medals (and for some reason, a trophy) to the players dressed up in the incredibly cringe worthy T-shirts that say “Small place, big game!”. Big game, indeed: in the 2019/2020 season, foreign players’ share of the teams playing time was 43.6% while academy graduates contributed only 17.9%.
On Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after PAFC’s glorious success, György Szöllősi, now editor-in-chief of Hungary’s only sports newspaper (purchased by Orbán’s affiliates a few years back) published an editorial on the site, stating that “the soccer rebuild in Felcsút became the motor and symbol of the revitalization of sport throughout the whole country”. Well, Szöllősi is exactly right: Felcsút did became a symbol, but a symbol of something entirely different. Felcsút became a symbol of corruption, inefficiency, lies and the colossal waste of money. But, hey, at least we know now: you only need to spend 200 million EUR (total budget of PAFC and its academy in the 2011-2020 period) if you want to have a Europa League team in your backyard. Good to know!

Epilogue: What's in the future?

As there is no foreseeable chance for political change to happen Hungary (Orbán effortlessly secured qualified majority in 2014 and 2018, and is projected to do so in 2022 as well), PAFC’s future seems to be as bright as it gets. Although consensus opinion now seems to assume that Orbán does not intend to interfere with the Ferencváros – Videoton hegemony, we can never be really sure about the exact limits of his greed. One could also argue that entering the European theater serves as a prime opportunity for making splashy transfers who could be the cornerstones of a side challenging the league title.
However, as all political systems are deemed to fall, eventually Orbán’s regime will come apart. Whoever will take upon the helm after Orbán, they will certainly begin with cutting back on the one item on Orbán’s agenda that never had popular support: limitless football spending. Puskás Academy, having next to zero market revenue, will not be able to survive without the state’s life support, so the club will fold very shortly. The abandoned, rotting stadium in Felcsút will serve as a memento of a powerful man who could not understand the true spirit of football.
But let’s get back to present day, as we have more pressing issues coming up soon: PAFC will play their first European match in the First qualifying round of the Europa League on 27 August. We don’t have a date for the draw yet, but soon enough, a team unaware of the whole situation will be selected to face the beast. I hope that maybe one of their players does some research and maybe reads this very article for inspiration. I hope that the supporters of this club get in touch with Honvéd fans who would be eager to provide them with some tips on appropriate chants. I hope that other teams gets drawn as the home team so Orbán wouldn’t get the pleasure of walking to his stadium for an international match. But most importantly, I very much hope that this team obliterates PAFC and wipes them off the face of the earth. 5-0 will suffice, thank you.
And if this team fails to do that, we don’t have to worry yet. Due to our shitty league coefficient, PAFC would need to win four fixtures in a row. And that – if there’s any justice in this world – is a thing that can’t, that won’t happen. Ball don’t lie – if I may say.
TL,DR
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán redirected some 200 million EUR of taxpayer money over 10 years to fuel his ambition of raising a competitive football team in his hometown of 1,800 people. He built a 3,800-seater stadium in his backyard, expropriated football legend Ferenc Puskás’ trademarks and heritage and built up a football league where almost all clubs are owned by his trustees. His team, Puskás Akadémia FC was originally intended to be a development ground for youth players graduating from Orbán’s football academy, but eventually the team became more and more result-orianted. Finally, a roster full of foreign and non-academy players came through and finished third in the league, releasing this abomination of a team to the European football theatre. Please, knock them out asap!
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