“How I Love America and Hate it too – a story of a Filipina Immigrant”
Bingkee, the author of I Love/Hate America was kind enough to grant me this interview. Her blog, fliploveusa.typepad.com (or Filipina Love USA), started some 3 months ago, and after 10 weeks of blogging (on this site), her page rank rocketed from, nothing to PR2 (there goes the sandbox theory?), and has an Alexa Ranking of under 360000. The reason why I chose her site for this interview, is not only because of the recognition she deserves, but also, because there is a lot to learn from this blog. So, for the interview:
interview conducted by: diTesco (Making Money Online)
interviewee: Bingkee (love/hate America)
ditesco: First I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to interview you.
bingkee: I am thrilled actually because I feel like you’re interviewing me like a celebrity . hahahha!
ditesco: Can you tell us something about yourself? (small bio)
bingkee: I’m a Filipina living in a suburb in the northeast of the USA. I came here to the US almost 10 years ago and met my husband here. I came to the US for the cliché-ish “greener pastures” believing my life would be much better and I‘d realize my dreams here. I had various jobs ranging from a nanny, teacher assistant to an advertising coordinator. In the Philippines, I held glamorous jobs—in an advertising agency, an event organizing company and a hotel. But mainly it’s copywriting, public relations and marketing communications. I brushed elbows with socialites and celebrities. I also established and founded a modeling/talent agency in my hometown.
ditesco: When did you first decided to blog and what motivated you to do so?
binkee: I quit my job last year because my husband and I decided to have kids, and primarily because I hated my last job in a newspaper publications company. While trying to conceive, I was also absolutely bored staying at home. I really wanted to blog a long time ago. I just didn’t know how to go and start it. After having participated in some social sites, I decided to create my own blog last July 19, 2008. While blogging, I spent about 10 to 12 hours online reading and studying other blogs about blogging and making money through blogging. That’s how I came across your site.
What motivated me to blog is my love for writing. I’d been writing since age 8. Since then there was nothing to stop me. It led me to take a course in Bachelor of Mass Communications. I was bent on either to become an advertising copywriter or a TV scriptwriter. Writing was my profession. Until I came to America, writing took a backseat. My daily chores were such that, I didn’t have the luxury of time. So when I did have the luxury of time, I said to myself, “I really need to go back to writing.” Then it became a passion knowing that I could gain a lot of friends in the blogosphere and that strangers are reading my blog and knowing they’re being entertained. I enjoy it.
ditesco: Can you tell us the topic of your blog and did you have any specific reason why you chose this?
bingkee: I always have the desire to let everyone know especially my countrymen that this is America. You know a lot of Filipinos think that America is all that—that it’s the better and the greener pasture and where the money is. That’s a wrong vision. Even I myself thought it that way before. Gee, I was wrong. It’s also difficult here. I’m away from my family and friends and I couldn’t see and feel anymore the things and feelings I’m used to. Some people think my blog is all about hate when they see it in the title. They overlook the “love” part. Honestly, there are so many things to love about America. It is a blessed nation. But only a few Americans acknowledge and realize what a blessed country they have and that their conditions are way much better than any citizen in the world. Generally, my blog is about love for America first and foremost and that is why the URL link is “fliploveusa”- meaning Filipino loves USA. I chose this topic because I am an immigrant here with views of America might not be the same as the natural born American. I also chose this topic because my views might be the same as them but they can’t even admit it or express it. My views and opinions might be offensive but it’s the truth. Nobody can deny it even Americans themselves. Why not let America be known in the eyes of a foreigner who’s actually living there?
ditesco: What platform do you use and why? (any specific reason)
bingkee: Typepad. I chose Typepad because I’m not really a techie person. I don’t know how to build a sitemap or execute Webmaster tools in Google. I’d rather pay than having the pain of doing that myself. Besides they’re doing a good job. They automatically stream your posts to Facebook if you have an account. And I love the pinging that automatically sets whenever I post to different directories such as Technorati. I don’t know if Blogger or WP does that. They say WP is the best. I’ll probably try it for some other blogs that I have in mind that are coming soon.
ditecso: Do you have any specific audience for your blog?
bingkee: No. I cater to the general public – young or old, men or women, liberal or conservative, etc.
ditesco: What were the most difficult aspects did you encounter when building your blog?
bingkee: Nothing really. Since I had been blogging in Friendster before which uses the Movable Type platform, it is somehow similar to Typepad dashboard. Typepad also assists me all the time. They got a help support that answers your ticket in less than 24 hrs. But I might need a new theme. I want a better and prettier theme that suits my content and my personality. I still don’t know HTML. I might ask some friends to do that for me. If you know to do HTML, I will ask you for help. Hehehe!
ditesco: Do you have any other blogs? Are you active at all of them like Love/Hate America?
binkee: I only have one. But I am going to start 2 more soon —one that is about “praise and worship to the Lord God” and another about “being a new mom at 40 and parenting at age 40 -something.”
ditesco: On a bloggers perspective, would you consider that you have a successful blog? Did you get help from anyone in any form? Name a few?
bingkee: I don’t consider myself successful yet. I’m still aiming at least an average of 300 to 500 a views a day but I’m not there yet. I want to get to reach at least a PR of 4 within 6 months and a higher Technorati Authority, at least in the 200 by my first year of blogging. I did not get any help from anyone other than the Typepad support. But for generating traffic; Blog Catalog and MyBlogLog gets me a lot of page views. Others are from my friends in Friendster, Multiply and Facebook and also Netlog and Hi5.
ditesco: How many articles do you write, per day, week?
bingkee: I really want to write at least 3 posts each week. I am trying and I was successful in it. But lately because of my medications and condition, I think I could only manage to 2. But now I’m getting back on my feet again, I’ll probably write more than 3 coz I just learned it’s also good to write on the weekend.
ditesco: Do you know what SEO, RSS, Backlinks, Nofollow, and PR means?
bingkee: Yes, definitely:). I know SEO too but I’m not really sure if I’m maximizing its potential. I learned RSS better through your site.
ditesco: I noticed that you are very active on social communities. Do you see any benefit in participating on social sites? What social sites are your favorites?
bingkee: Of course, as I have mentioned above. My friends in Friendster, Multiply and Facebook are very supportive. My favorite is Friendster because most users are Filipinos. You can customize it like MySpace with lots of different themes, layouts and graphics. My friends in these 3 sites announced my posts to their own network of friends and they come and view my posts. Also BC and Mybloglog but I favor BC more because it has more features than MyBlogLog. In MBL, you cannot broadcast anything.
ditesco: Do you visit a lot of other blogs and often leave comments?
bingkee: Yes I visit a lot of blogs. I’m not a hard-core commenter. If I don’t have something substantial to say, I don’t comment. If I strongly don’t agree with the post, I don’t comment either. I comment depending on the content of the post—especially if I have some personal experience with it.
ditesco: Do you monetize your blog? If so, when did you decide to start doing so? Why?
bingkee: Yes, I’d been trying to monetize my blog a while ago. But I don’t know why I’m never given any task by Smorty. PPP is such a pain in the ass because it’s like “grab all you can and all your might” there. It’s 1st come, 1st served. You have to hang around that site to grab an opp. Oh I just had one opp reserved from PPP and I wish there are more coming. Just recently I have some tasks from BuyAReview and Blogsvertise. I just applied in Bloggerwave , Linkworth and Payu2Blog. Of course I have the Google AdSense, and the merchant stores of Amazon. At this time, I haven’t checked yet if I’m earning.
I’m monetizing my blog because – well, why not? If you can write and earn at the same time, why not? Besides, hopefully I have babies coming:). Just for a baby fund – you know like money for diapers, milk,etc.
ditesco: Any specific recommendations and/or suggestions you can give to bloggers who are on their first footsteps?
bingkee: I’m not that successful yet to dish out advice but all I can say is study and learn as much as you can about blogging especially if you’re a newbie. One blogging tip – be sociable. Don’t be a snob. If you’re joining any blogging social networking sites, try to be sociable. That is why you join this “social networking sites” because you have to socialize. Socializing is networking. If they add you, thank them for the add, while asking them to visit your site. Some bloggers don’t even say “thanks for the add” and that’s like being snobbish. If you add them, just wait for the acknowledgment. Visit also their sites. If they ask you to do something like stumbling their posts or subscribing to their feeds, do it as you also ask them for a return favor. Be careful when you comment on others’ blogs. Don’t be rude like challenging them or attacking them personally. You might not know they will get back at you, or block you from commenting again in their site.
ditesco: BTW, I understand that you are trying to have a baby?
bingkee: It’s fine. A lot of people know about my hopes to become a mommy.
ditesco: I am sure that everyone will join me in wishing you all the best and good luck towards your journey of being a mom:). Once again, I thank you for this interview and wish you continued success.
So as you can see, bingkee, with virtually no knowledge of SEO or any other technical mambo jambo, only started to blog some 3 months ago, has managed to obtain a PR2 in ten weeks and has an alexa ranking below 399999. I did not even ask, but I am sure that she does not have a clue what SEO Blackhat is.
How do think she was able to obtain this success in such a small period of time? What have we learned from this interview? Go ahead, visit her site (take a peek or something) and you might just learn something. Googling: “I hate America” will return 28.9 million results. Guess what, her spot is number 9 (first page – not bad, yeah!).
The interview was conducted via email and is not a paid interview. There is no relationship what-so-ever, between diTesco and Bingkee, with the exception of having stumbled upon each other on the internet (myWeblog to be precise), and since have been friends.