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Archive for the ‘Affiliate Marketing’ Category

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.

Google Ambush by Michael Lee and Andrew X

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Go this nice little email this morning from Michael Lee and Andrew X on their new service called Google Ambush. Catchy title and catchy idea for sure. These two were smart enough to see the difficulty you average Internet marketer has trying to make a profit using the standard system; (more…)

Ever Wonder Which Money Making eBook is #1?

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Ever wondered which eBook is the #1 best seller online, for people wanting the learn the art of online income?

It’s not who you might think it is. It’s the Ultimate Wealth Package from Mark Warren.

I know……yaaaawn. But this is the BIG one these days.

TZ 

When Affiliate Links Where Removed From Adwords

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Unlike some of their competitors, Google wants to provide the highest quality search results possible. That is an noble effort, and they’re not about to harm their loyal advertisers who bring them billions of dollars in ad revenue each year.

However, a new AdWords regulation will put a crimp on those marketers who run ads using an affiliate URL as a landing page.

Google’s Theory:

For any keyword search, a good sized portion of AdWord results has, at least until now, consisted of affiliate ads promoting identical seller sites.

Example Case:

I searched Google for the term “motorcycles.” Of the ten AdWords listings returned on the first page, three were affiliate ads promoting Motorcycle-Mania.com, a motorcycle dealer in California USA. Another ad on the same page belonged to Dan himself.

From Google’s viewpoint, and mine as well, that was not a quality search result.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, that won’t happen a second time. The new AdWords policy states that, for any keyword search, when two or more ads are found that feed to the same affiliate URL, only the ad with the highest popularity and ranking will be displayed.

At the same time, the new AdWord policy cuts a bit of slack, in that affiliate advertisers are no longer required to identify their affiliate status in their ad text. But overall, it has dealt a severe blow to thousands of affiliates, their market exposure, and their potential for income.

So What’s The Answer?

There are three things that can be done to regain that exposure.

  • Optimize the existing ad according to AdWords standards and hope you’ll land the top ranking. That will be tough if you’re competing against ten or twenty other affiliates who are all doing the same thing.
  • Create a redirect page on your website that will feed to the seller’s page, and use that unique URL as a landing page for the ad. The unique URL alone will successfully circumvent the new AdWords affiliate policy. Still, this may be regarded as somewhat sneaky or unethical.
  • The best answer can be spelled out in just two words – Content Pages.

A content page is just a simple webpage, hosted on your own website, that presents a short (500 words or less) report relating to the product itself or to the related niche.

And of course, your affiliate link will be embedded into that content, rather than being used as a direct link in your AdWords ad. Once again, the unique URL for your content page will effectively and legally get around the new affiliate policy.

Now, I’m a firm believer in content pages. They not only make your site more important to your visitors and to the search engines, they can (when well written and keyword relevant) help to pre-sell the product. An informative content page can often make the difference between a sale and a loss when there happens to be a weak salesletter on the seller’s website.

Another advantage … you can embed multiple [related] affiliate links into a single content page, giving your potential customers several buying options to shop from.

Where Can You Get Content Pages?

2 Main Ways To Create Content:

1 – Write the content yourself. Stick to the topic and use relevant keywords/keyphrases to tweak the reader’s interest, and that of the search engines as well. A personalized review of the product usually works best, offering your own experience in using it, and your resulting benefits. Then format the content as HTML, optimize the page for search engines, upload it to your site, and use that unique URL in your Google AdWordsTM campaign.

2 – Search for topic related pre-written articles at sites like EzineArticles.com and place your affiliate link(s) in a short blurb before and after the article itself.

TZ

The Super Affiliates of Internet Marketing

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

In this post I want to outline some of the slow progressions I’ve gone through on my way to larger and larger online profits. (I can see ears perking up already) I will outline my first steps, attempts, trials, valleys, and my personal mountain tops of success. Believe me, due to my average intelligence and bull-headed attitude; it took me quite awhile to figure out the Internet, and more importantly my visitors needs. When you have this figured out you will succeed every time.

Definition of a Super Affiliate Marketer

I’m sure Wikipedia has a better definition of a super affiliate marketer, and you can find many other definitions of what a super affiliate is, but this is how I define a super affiliate.

A super affiliate is an Internet affiliate marketer that promotes products other people have created, but they do this in consistent volume. A super affiliate can increase a merchant’s sales 10 fold, if he or she decides to promote them. There are many super affiliates among us on the Internet that don’t have blogs, ebooks, or large email lists. There are many quiet super affiliates who discreetly go about making $50K – $100K per month. They’ve worked REALLY hard and learned how to bring targeted visitors to their sites that promote the exact products and services their visitors are willing to take action on.

Bug Spray Compared To Super Affiliate Marketers

When I first started dreaming of earning money on the Internet I had no idea how to do it, and I started my journey like so many beginners do – by reading affiliate forums. No surprise that my favorite forum for affiliate marketing was the Warrior Forum. Being a somewhat blunt fellow I got myself in trouble by ruffling the feathers of super affiliates that had years of experience under their belt.

Big mistake, I alienated many who could have helped me open my eyes to the real path of success. I was bug spray compared to these super affiliates and as far as my dream of being a super Internet marketer goes, I may have well been dreaming of being the president of the United States. Yet, on I marched into the chasm of online marketing and online income. I had very little experience using a computer and I had zero experience communicating with others. Both are critical.

Super Affiliate Ebooks – The Holy Grail of The Internet 

As I searched the Internet for the knowledge I needed to make my dream a reality, I stumbled across many different ebooks promising to deliver the holy grail – and I know you are likely expecting me tell you how they were all useless, and that I’ve found the Super Affiliate ebook with the REAL deal facts that will make you a multimillionaire with a few clicks of a mouse. (enter exclamation mark, banner, and affiliate code embedded link here) (more…)