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Archive for October, 2009

The 5 Problems With Affiliate Marketing – The Countdown

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

affiliatemarketingsucks

Ironically, in our house, the words Affiliate Marketing have now become “dirty words”. Why? – Because there is no secure consistency with affiliate programs. That is a very broad statement – I know, but let me explain further.

Some affiliate programs are worthy, because you’re being paid by a strong and healthy company – but alas, there is a problem with these so-called “secure” and profitable affiliate programs, and that is competition.

There is great deal of powerful competition out there in the pool of good affiliate marketers with powerfully developed web sites, and the way it works in the affiliate marketing game is “the race for the cookie”. This competition for the elusive cookie, is why the top end affiliates make all the cake, while the lower level webmasters make peanuts.

There are other problems with affiliate programs which we will discuss in a countdown format.

Affiliate Problem #5: Merchant Campaign Changes and Shutdowns

affiliateprogramchangesThe ultimate dream for those of us who work online, is to make money in auto-pilot without hardly ever having to go look at our web sites or blogs. This is the dream, but never the true reality. We have to do upkeep, add content, pictures, updates, theme changes, etc. etc.

Generally speaking though, it can be ALMOST an autopilot income stream if you avoid AFFILIATE PROGRAMS! With affiliate programs, you have to always be vigilant in checking to see if you are getting ripped off by some merchant, checking to see if one of their campaigns has expired, checking to see if they have closed down their affiliate program all together.

We had a merchant that owed us over $12,000 in affiliate commissions for one month of work. They reneged on their payment, and after months of negotiating and pestering, we got our money back. This changed the affiliate marketing model we used for the next two years, and now we rarely take part on any affiliate program now.

Often affiliate programs just shutdown and if you are not on the ball, you could be sending traffic to the merchant’s web site for free. Also, you have lost the stream of income, and now have to replace it!

Affiliate Problem #4: Conversion Levels Are Too Low for ROI

lowaffiliateconversonratesSo often the landing page(s) at the merchant’s web site is faulty or weak in conversion percentages. The percentage of visitors that actually pull out a credit card and take action can be very low if the merchant doesn’t know what they are doing.

Another thing is complete lack of control of the merchant’s landing page, or buying page. Many times you will have a campaign running sending traffic to a merchant’s landing page, and you’re making some kind of the profit – then the merchant changes their landing page to a lousy, low conversion page. Often you’ll lose a lot of money in PPC traffic before you find out their landing page is lousy.

Affiliate Problem #3: The Commission Levels Are Too Low for ROI

affiliateprogrampayoutsCommission levels often look good for many affiliate programs, but when see how much traffic you need to get or BUY, it often doesn’t pay to play. Your ROI (return on investment) really lags when you are driving traffic to your site (or blog) using PPC (pay per click). You need to spend allot of money before converting a visitor.

We’ve tried MANY different landing pages, and screens to convince visitors to buy, and even with the best tested landing page, you still have trouble converting enough paid for visitors to make a decent ROI.

Affiliate Problem #2: The Race for the Cookie

affiliatecookies

As any experienced affiliate marketer knows, the cookie you leave on the shopper’s computer is the trick to making a profit online. At one time our online business made over $800 a day from affiliate commissions, and it was fantastic. The ONLY reason we made so much money from that particular affiliate program was because our site(s) were winning the race to the cookie.

Now, to win the race to the affiliate cookie you better be right at the top of the search results for your most lucrative keywords, and there are two ways to do that – one, be in the top three search result positions in the natural/organic results, or top of the paid for PPC (pay per click) results. It’s either a ton of PPC money, or many years of diligent work for natural results.

If you are in the top results for your most lucrative keywords then you will no question make a bundle, but that is not the case for you is it. If you were doing that well, you wouldn’t be on this page. You would be counting your money.

If you don’t know what a computer/browser cookie is, you need to read this page on Wikipedia first. To save you the long read, I’ll explain it in very simple terms.

An HTTP cookie is nothing more than a tracking tool. It works like this…….when you visit a webmaster’s web site, and click on a link or banner that takes you to a merchant’s web site, there is a cookie placed on the shoppers computer tracking the fact that YOU GOT TO THE MERCHANT’S WEB SITE FROM THAT PARTICULAR WEBMASTER’S SITE.
This way if you decide to buy something on the merchant’s web site, that webmaster will be given the credit for the sale, and get paid the affiliate commission for the sale.

Affiliate Problem #1:  Shady Merchants

shadymerchantsSo after 6 years of making our living completely from Internet traffic, my wife and I have experienced full well the ups and downs of the affiliate marketing game. The race for the cookie is not even the biggest problem with online affiliate marketing – the biggest problem is shady (dishonest) merchants.

We (my wife and I) tracked all of our traffic to web sites, and noticed that the amount of credit we got for our traffic to merchant web sites was stupidly light. The ratio of commissions/conversions to the amount of traffic was way out of balance. Finally, we got fed up and did some serious tracking using some very sophisticated software. We soon realized that these merchants were lying through their teeth, and not crediting us for our conversions. We tested 10 different merchants from 3 different affiliate junction sites (like CJ) and 8 out 10 merchants were not crediting us for all of conversions.

We now don’t believe that these companies can be trusted to pay you the commissions you have actually earned. They only pay out a percentage of commissions and they set that percentage based on how greedy they are. It’s fixed. Period. Don’t believe that, try it for 5 years and tell us your findings.

What Obama REALLY Wants With Health Care – “Baby Steps”

Friday, October 9th, 2009

barack_obamaThrough all of the health care debate going on in the United States, it’s obvious to see where it is going.

It was obvious from the beginning where Obama was going with health care, and many other problems he is dealing with – he understands the power of “baby steps”.

If Obama had a completely DEM controlled Senate, he would be approaching the health care debate much differently. He knows he has a Republican party that is going to vote against any health care bill the DEMS want, and he also know that some of these Conservadems (Blue Dogs) are not going to vote with a strong Public Health Care Option in the Senate.

You hear reporters, and talking heads, claiming that the DEMS have these big majorities in the Congress and Senate, but it’s far from the truth on some bills, and health care is one of those bills.

Being a fairly hard American left-wing supporter (more like fanatical lefty – from Canada so what do you expect) I too want to see a single payer, Government run, Universal Health Care plan for my American brothers and sisters. I too want to see an end to the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law in the US military.

I too want to see “Gitmo” shutdown. I too want to see the complete END to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and anywhere for that matter. (I think America should get out of all these wars, spend their money on complete health care and infrastructure projects. I think America should use covert operations, Satellites, spies, intelligence ops, and drones to deal with terrorists).

But Obama knows that this is all to much to ask for. He’s a pretty savvy dude, if you haven’t noticed yet.

So These Are Obama’s Real Plans – His Baby Steps

Health Care

  • get rid of the preexisting conditions scam
  • create mild competition for insurance companies to lower costs
  • insure more people (but understands all can’t be done yet)
  • regulate insurance companies
  • have a way to monitor insurance company practices

Gay Rights (but only after Health Care and Wall Street regulatory changes are made)

  • repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and make it legal for gay people to serve in the military
  • give gay citizens the rights they are being denied (marriage etc.)

Wall Street

  • heavily regulate Wall Street avoid another crash in the United States¬† economy

The Wars

  • he wants to ratchet down the wars SLOWLY without petting the conservatives fur backwards until he gets health care through. He knows he won’t get the GOP votes for his health care bill, but he needs those right-leaning DEMS to support him, and if makes any big moves with the wars right now, he will likely loose them.
  • once Obama has health care finished, he is going to go even more to his natural left – just watch. He will pull out all the troops by the end of 2011. I know the hard left wingers (like me) want all the wars over NOW, but there is more to it than that
  • with the economy as bad as it is, if he can employ thousands upon thousands of troops in the military and civilian contractors over in the middle east (with FULL Republican and DEM support) it’s like a kind of welfare program, even if the effort doesn’t get any results. He knows that some young people are going to die over there, but it is blood he is willing to have spilled for the greater good of America in the long run.
  • Obama knows that the USA is going to have nothing but hatred coming at it from the extremist NO MATTER WHAT HE DOES, so he may as well employ hundreds of thousands of Americans with contract employees and military employees.
  • Obama also knows that if he pushes the war in Afghanistan he will be making the right-leaning moderates and the right wing voters happy just enough to likely vote him in for a second term as President.

Obama’s Overall Strategy

Obama’s overall strategy is simple. GET a second term so he can really go left as hard as possible. If the health care bill makes the Preexisting Conditions ploy by insurance companies illegal, he will have secured the health over 2oo million Americans who have health insurance now. He thinks that whatever else he gets on the health care “reform” bill is just gravy – forget about a public option……he thinks that is TOO MUCH CHANGE TO FAST.

He wants to push the watered down (but still trans-formative) health care bill through before the House and Senate seats are shuffled in 2010 – and I assure you, they will be shuffled, giving the GOP more seats.

He knows that all he can do is put America in the right direction (or should I say left direction). He knows that his legacy may never be about HUGE change, except for the color of his skin, and that his accomplishments will have been nothing more than baby-steps away from a “center-right” agenda in American politics.

Until one fine day when the politicians in the United States are not allowed (by law to except) “bribe money” from corporations, these are the kinds of “Obama baby-steps” we can only hope for.

Majority of American Politicians Love Death and Hate Life

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

americanpoliticianslovedeathandhatelifeFairly ugly headline HUH! Well it’s true. As the health care debate continues it’s very obvious to anyone with a clear pair of eyes that the majority of American politicians love death and hate life.

The scrap in the congress and the senate continues for health care and the GOP and the Conservadems are whining about the cost of the health care bill which is still lame and will kill hundreds of thousands of Americans over the next 10 years.

And just today you will notice this was not in the headlines anywhere of note. Especially not on the tube. THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS JUST PASSED A BILL GIVING 130 BILLION MORE DOLLARS TO THEIR STUPID WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN.

So it’s very plain to see that the American politicians LOVE DEATH and HATE LIFE. Over 4,500 Americans have died in the wars, and many thousands more wounded. Over 1 million people have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Death, death, and more death, and the US politicians have no problem putting up hundreds of billions of dollars for war.

Yet for health care back home it’s A REAL BIG PROBLEM spending a portion of the money they spend on war on health and life for their voters and citizens.

As Long as American Politicians Are Allowed to Except Money From Corporations The U.S.A. is Doomed

Don’t believe that? Better start waking up now. When a country has politicians in the federal and state level governments who can take money from corporations it’s obvious what the outcome is going to be. The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer, the poor will have high death rates, there will be wars forever, and the result will be a completely corporate run country which is EXACTLY the same culture as a communist country. It’s doesn’t matter what you call it – if the masses have dick and a small percentage at the top get it all, IT’S DISGUSTING, IT’S SHAMEFUL, IT’S UNJUST, IT’S UNFAIR, IT’S NOT RIGHT, IT’S CRIMINAL.

Wake up America, and vote out these politicians who have been selling you out for decades.

Wake up Obama. Shut those wars down, and give your people universal health care. While you’re at it regulate the CRAP out of Wall Street.