As a blogger, or affiliate or niche marketer you´re always looking for new ways to make money, and different avenues for exposure. Social media is the new way to connect and market to people, and some people have absolutely mastered it – and others have not. Itś funny that sometimes I see people literally spamming their affiliate links all over the place trying to make a few dollars, and they really don´t seem to know that thereś a time and place for that. It´s pretty much common sense if you ask me!

Online things are pretty much ¨Quid Quo Pro¨ (this for that). Article marketing for example – you submit your content, we give you backlinks! In online forums you are allowed to put links in your signature, and when you post offering your free help your signature and links get published (free backlinks again!). See how this works? You give a little, you get a little.

When new social media tools come along, I usually get an account to see how it works. Even if the tool sucks, I can usually get a free backlink from the profile page. I was reading Time magazine last year and they had this article about the 100 best web sites of 2009, and it listed some I never heard of. A few of them were really, really cool – and the one that has been the best is Aardvark.

Social media has always been viewed as an online conversation – but this tool really is. You can either ask or answer questions (or both). It finds somebody that is a purported expert for that topic and gets you an answer – usually in minutes (in either email or IM – or both)! When I signed up I asked a WordPress question just to test it, and got the answer within a minute. Basically, you sign up and create a profile with the things you know about – and wait to answer incoming questions. You can do this in either email or IM. You don have to answer every question, and if you don answer quickly – Aardvark will just move on and find someone else to do it. I have to say – the service REALLY impressed me quickly. You can ask just about anything from a cooking question, to photography, electronics, video games, even personal or health questions.

So – back to how I made the money. I´ve been using Aardvark for 3 months now, and I get about 2-3 questions per week about things I know about. It usually takes 30-60 seconds to answer. Most of the questions were easy one-off answers. I´ve gotten (and not wanted) anything in return – I was just helping people. A few I gave my web site URL to for more info and free information (good exposure).

Today I got a direct question: ¨I´ve tried Dreamhost and 3 other hosts and I´m not happy – who do you recommend?¨

THIS is the right time and place for an affiliate link!

I told her ¨I have used Hostgator for 4 years now, and I´m very happy with them. Support has been great, the price is right, and their live chat feature works well¨.

The referral commission for Hostgator is $100 for a new signup, so in 30 seconds I made $100! So, keep your eyes and ears open – there are always new and unusual ways to make money – WHILE helping people and spreading a little good karma!

Whatś the strangest way you´ve made money in the last year?