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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Affiliate Marketing - Beyond the Dot Bomb

    Affiliate Marketing - Beyond the Dot Bomb

    Hey ppl,
    well my first article is now up on sitepoint and was wondering if you could post your oppinions if you have any... good and bad are both welcome!!

  2. #2
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Well... all over there are grammatical mistakes with things being capitalized that shouldn't be. You'd think that the editor would have caught those..

    The link to amazon.com points to ammazon.com

    Your term definitions are incorrect.

    Pay Per Click: (AKA PPC) A pay per click program will earn the affiliate a commission for each unique visitor that they generate through their own site, and send to the Merchant's site.
    Calling it pay per click is fine but the advertising model is officially referred to as CPC. Additionally its not based on unique visitors but banner clicks. Which may not match up. Fraudulent or abusive clicks are usually audited out of final figures but some person may click on the banner twice over the span of a week and both would be counted... of course this is subject to the agreement between the publisher and the advertiser.

    Commission: The payment made by the merchant to the affiliate in response to an action made by a user of the affiliate's Website.
    This is a very generalized definition. I wouldn't label it as the payment either. The commission is your piece of the pie, but it may differ from what you are payed.

    Then there are a few other grammatical mistakes... but those aren't your fault, whoever edited this article didn't do a good job.

    I also didn't like your Introduction... too many grand sweeping statements for my taste.
    Last edited by aspen; Sep 25, 2001 at 20:40.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  3. #3
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    I think the article is tops!!
    Gold stars for Nicky!!


  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    thanks aspen,

    may seem weird but i actually liked a bad comment!! my grammer is poor! im aware of that and i did try to keep it clean. I knew there were some errors, after my g/f read it but i didnt have time to re-submit to sitepoint.



    Calling it pay per click is fine
    i did consider using CPC instead of ppc however my target was at new affiliates and expaining cost per click, when there is no cost to them wasnt as idea as explaining pay per click.

    This is a very generalized definition. I wouldn't label it as the payment either. The commission is your piece of the pie, but it may differ from what you are payed.
    was the best definition i could come up with..


    I think the article is tops!!
    Gold stars for Nicky!!
    Thanks

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot drumminlogan's Avatar
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    You also have a link to Click Trade. As of the 6th of September they have quit their service. Might want to take that out.

  6. #6
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    You should always accept "bad comments". They make you better as a person. Next time you probably won't make the same mistakes.
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RKuhle
    You should always accept "bad comments". They make you better as a person. Next time you probably won't make the same mistakes.
    i dont know about as a person, but as a wanna be writer they do...

  8. #8
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    I found the article somewhat infomative, but also very one-sided. It completely dismisses advertising as 100% bad, and praises merchant programs as 100% good. It neglects to mention the downsides of merchant-based programs. Namely:

    1) The tighter you integrate a program with your site, the more turmoil you will be faced with when that merchant decides to terminate their program. Sure, tight integration is the most effective way to get results. But merchants will often give you only a 7-day notice that they're ending their program. That doesn't give you much time to rip all that integration out. The extra time you spend updating your site needlessly may negate your earnings.

    2) Merchant Fraud. You mentioned Affiliate fraud, why not point out that some merchants have problems tracking, some will try and circumvent the affiliate program, and some simply don't pay.

    3) Lack of decent programs. True, some programs are ideal for some sites. But for the most part, programs try and sell junk that won't sell in stores, or that aren't appropriate for sale over the internet. I'm a sports site. When's the last time you bought sporting goods, or even sports clothing over the internet?

    4) Becoming a big whore. You run the risk of "selling out" to the advertisers. Maybe you don't particularly like a book, but you think "why don't I put it on my site because someone else may like it". At what point do you offer more affiliate programs than content? Many sites fall into this trap.

    5) The Small Potatoes factor. Sure, you can maybe sell a book via an amazon link. And for that you'll get 15% of the purchase price -- average price is probably $10. So you get $1.50 per book. Not bad.

    But then think about it. In order to make $150, you have to sell 100 books. In order to make $1000, you have to sell 667 books.

    Do you really think you're going to sell 667 books via your site?

    Amazon is pretty liberal with its commissions. Many merchant commissions are in the 5-10% range. That means you have to sell $20,000 worth of merchandise to make $1,000. If your can sell $20,000 worth of merchandise, you should consider fulfilling those orders yourself -- you'll make 40-100% profit instead of 5% (although you'll have to risk your own money).

    Bottom line: most affiliate programs pay you a small percentage of a small-ticket item. You can't move enough small-ticket items per month to make much of a difference in your bottom line.

    6) The Big Unknown. You're basically trusting someone to pay you for results, but they're the sole and final arbiter of how much to pay you. There's no way for you to test their program. You don't know if the affiliate is skipping some results -- because it's defined as fraud if you try to "test" the program (i.e. sign up for your own program, etc.)

    I've spent the better part of the past 3 months worrying that CJ is not tracking my eBay link. Why? Because I'm seeing wildly inconsistent signups -- No one signs up for 15 days, then I get 1 person per day for the next 7 days. Then no one signs up for a week, then I get 2 people per day for 3 days. My site traffic doesn't change. I'm not changing the links. So why the inconsistency? Why do I go 15-20 days with no signups, then get a clump of them?

    And what can anyone do about this? Pretty much nothing. You can't prove if your links are working all the time. You can either run the program or not run the program. Those are your only options.

    Bottom line; affiliate programs can work well in some situations. However, more often then not you'll spend countless hours trying to find the right program, and when you do find a program that works for you that program will soon be cancelled. In other words, don't depend on affiliate revenue for 100% of your income. Advertising is still a viable way to make money from a content-based website.

    Ralph

  9. #9
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Ralph Slate
    5) The Small Potatoes factor. Sure, you can maybe sell a book via an amazon link. And for that you'll get 15% of the purchase price -- average price is probably $10. So you get $1.50 per book. Not bad.

    But then think about it. In order to make $150, you have to sell 100 books. In order to make $1000, you have to sell 667 books.

    Do you really think you're going to sell 667 books via your site?
    I agree with most of what you said except that.

    On my wilderness site I'm selling about 7-10 books a day on Amazon.com

    My affiliate check for Q4 2001 should be close to $1000.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Ralph Slate
    I found the article somewhat infomative, but also very one-sided. It completely dismisses advertising as 100% bad, and praises merchant programs as 100% good.
    Okay i admit that i was bias towards affiliate programs over online advertisment, but look at current rates for banners, in all forms, they are nothing to write home about, even the big sites are struggeling like yahoo and internet.com, What does this leave hope for with a smaller site? secondly take a look at the banner networks and again you have to have a fairly good userbase before you will get accepted. affiliate programs have almost none of these problems (GENERALLY, there are cases of underperforming ect ect) see aspens post above of a very good use of affiliate programs on a small site generating an income that he is absolutly stoked about and rightly so... then compare that with how much he would have made in banner advertisment.



    1)sure it happens, quite often aswell. however if you stick to reputable merchants, then you are far less likely to have problems with this (may consider this in future article)

    2)the last 2 paragraphs on affiliate fraud briefly touch on merchant fraud, i just didnt say "merchant fraud"
    Merchant fraud is also on my list of possible future articles, Im not stopping at one. hence one of the reasons why i started this topic, to get some feedback and to see if i should give up, or push on... thanks to your reply (thats a seriouse thanks, not sarcastic) i am looking more seriously at doing a few more articles!

    (3)take a look atthis article altho it focuses on the bad sides of ecommerce it shows that people do buy online, wich we all know or else we wouldnt be here!


    4)i mentioned in the common mistakes made by affiliates that over populating is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make! I know that there are ALOT of sites that do this, and you will be glad to know that generally speaking they fail! hopefully they learn there lesson. There is a fine line beetween overpopulating and not overpopulating, however it goes back to intergrating WITH your content, not becomming your content.

    5)667 books, depends on your visitors and how many you get! ill use a hypothetical example, kevin Yank is about to bring out a book (one of the staff at siepoint) Now its all about PHP, there are ALOT of PHP geeks here trying to learn it, and do i think sitepoint could recomend 670 people to amazon in a month for a PHP book? YES, why because it suits there audience, sitepoint is a respected site and i would TRUST there recomendation (so would alot of other sitepointers)

    6) Are you tracking how many people you are sending to ebay? if not then try it, sure you may be sending alot of peopple to ebay, but remember that ebay is huge, very well knowen, with millions of users, i personally do not like the ebay program for this reason, if they havnt regersted for it by now then they probably never will.

    I also completly agree with the CJ tracking, you arent the first nor will you be the last person to complain about it.

    ---------------------------------------------
    As i said above, thanks alot for the reply, i hope some of the answers i have given, do seem bias towards affiliate programs, they dont have to be a replacment for advertisment, wich is by all means a good way to cover costs! but they are a good way to make extra money on the side!

    Affiliate programs can be dangerous, but they have the potential to generate a high income if they're used correctly
    Last edited by iTec; Sep 27, 2001 at 10:54.

  11. #11
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    even the big sites are struggeling like yahoo and internet.com, What does this leave hope for with a smaller site?
    Just because something is bigger doesn't mean it's better. Small websites run by 1 or less than 10 people still remain profitable, even in these times, because of the low overhead.

    Sitepoint is still profitable with near 40 employees (of course thats also their design business)

    Larger sites struggle because they have corporate overhead.

    Here is an excellent article you should read:

    http://www.shorewalker.com/pages/dans_economics-1.html

    So there's only so much gold in them thar hills. Big companies may be able to get hold of more of it by digging a big expensive mine, but it turns out that single people squatting by the river with a pan end up with better margins.
    Last edited by aspen; Sep 27, 2001 at 11:08.
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    woops , didnt quite come out right , what i was trying to say was more along that even those large portals are struggeling with getting advertisers,

    p.s: liked the article
    Last edited by iTec; Sep 27, 2001 at 11:40.

  13. #13
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    I agree with most of what you said except that.

    On my wilderness site I'm selling about 7-10 books a day on Amazon.com

    My affiliate check for Q4 2001 should be close to $1000.
    That's not bad. Can you post the link to the site? I'd be interested in seeing how you've integrated the books. What kind of traffic level do you get?

    Then again, $333 a month, while not peanuts, doesn't seem like much considering you've generated 300 separate transactions in the month. It's not easy to sell 300 pieces of anything to the general public. I'm not knocking Amazon's rates -- I know their margins are pretty small. My point is that the compensation per item sold is naturally fairly low.

    Ralph

  14. #14
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Its in my sig, wilderness-survival.net

    Site traffic currently around 4000 impressions a day - but a large portion of those are in the quiz which doesn't have the book links.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  15. #15
    SitePoint Enthusiast JohnInFl's Avatar
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    Please take out those annoying popus on your wilderness site. Great site though. Poups encourage me to leave sites.

  16. #16
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    then don't go there, yahoo, well any search engine other than google, amazon.com, aol, etc etc etc
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast JohnInFl's Avatar
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    It was a recommendation and I said I like your site. But I went to
    Yahoo - No Popus
    Amazon - No Popups
    AOL - Of course expected, but not everytime I click a new page.

  18. #18
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Both yahoo and amazon.com run popups, yahoo paid ads for places like x10, amazon.com for store promotions.

    Sitepoint runs a popup.

    Nearly every big site does now adays, they are an essential tool for directing your user's eyeballs.

    My popups are all ads. The ones I put on there myself are only seen once per person if you have cookies enabled.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Dear Nicholas,

    I just finished reading your article on Affiliate Marketing and I wish
    that you had taken a bit more time to research your article. Not only
    did it fail to mention LinkShare Corporation (we are the largest
    provider of affiliate marketing technology in the US and Japan as well
    as the largest affiliate network producing more revenue for our partners
    then all the other networks) but we were also the first provider of the
    solution in 1996 with a patent on affiliate technology. I would hope
    that you will take the time to edit your article or at least follow this
    article up with a more accurate view of the world.

    Stephen

    --
    Register for free today and join over 600 of the most successful
    affiliate programs on the Web:

    http://www.linkshare.com/join

  20. #20
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    Geez iTec, I bet you'll hop right up and edit your article to incorporate Link Share, right?

    He critizes, then asks for a favor. Funny.
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  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    haha yer i was tempted...

  22. #22
    Not a post-script error?!! guysmy's Avatar
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    Another Article

    Your article was kewl iTec, but I didn't really learn anything new. I guess it's aimed at beginners.

    Maybe you could write another article for intermediates!!

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Re: Another Article

    Originally posted by guysmy
    Your article was kewl iTec, but I didn't really learn anything new. I guess it's aimed at beginners.

    Maybe you could write another article for intermediates!!
    yer, im about to start it... looking for a few things to write about... I was thinking of doing a few case studies. but im still undecided

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    Congrats on your #1!
    SVP Marketing, SoCast SRM
    Personal blog: Strategerize
    Twitter: @jeremywright

  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    thanks jeremy :0)


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