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Mei Ling’s BA in Affiliate Marketing – Part 2 – What is Affiliate Marketing?
May 18th, 2009 by estreet

Will Martin-Gill of the eBay Partner Network writes:

affiliate marketing — or paying online publishers to drive quality traffic to a company’s Web site based on the purchases and revenue they help generate — has quietly grown into a $6 billion+ industry. Jupiter Research expects affiliate marketing to grow another 13% year-over-year through 2012.

There is an overwhelming amount of niche markets and techniques used by Affiliate Marketers (AM). I’ve given myself a week (or two) to make sense of the mass of loudly broadcast information on AM. There are credible sources who provide AF information and tools, but it takes time to read through, process and filter out the deceptive claims of “make easy money in minutes”.

The “affiliate” part is simple: earn a commission for sending a buying customer to a destination site. Affiliates want to increase their earnings by increasing traffic to their own site and pre-selling products before sending users to the destination affiliate site. For example, posting a product review will get targeted traffic to your website and make people want to buy the product.

“Marketing” is where AM gets complicated. John Reese simply says that your assets are an email/member list and content. Marketing is the methods you choose to promote your content to your user list.

Here’s a simple checklist to understand any AF’s business model:

Retailmenot.com

  1. Target audience: shoppers ready to checkout
  2. Website Content: People powered coupon codes, revenue share when people post on the site
  3. Source of traffic: Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO), pay people to post on blogs
  4. Monetization source: retailers, Google Ads

CNET reviews:

  1. Target audience: Tech shoppers
  2. Website Content: reviews of tech products
  3. Source of traffic: Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound links
  4. Monetization source: retailers, Ads

popsugar.com

  1. Target audience: Star watchers
  2. Website content: dishing on the stars
  3. Source of traffic: Natural SEO, inbound links
  4. Monetization: retailers, ads

As you can see, there are many practices, techniques and strategies. The simplest strategy is to promote eBay or Amazon items on a blog. The most attention grabbing AFs use hype and popularity to draw large numbers of followers who they then monetize. Then there are the quiet AFs like Kaboodle.com and MSN.com.

Now to review the Affiliate Marketing tools that I reluctantly decided to sign up for, but pledge to use without resistance. There is too much information for 1 or 2 posts, so here’s an overview.

Overview:

  1. Opportunity.com ($40 per month):
    John Reese’s new site has a series of instructional videos that start at the beginner level. As I mentioned before, he starts with the most important assets for an affiliate marketer: 1. an email/member list and 2. content.

    This site is oriented to the non-technical, so it would be a good fit for eBay sellers. In fact, John says technical work takes time away from money making activities. Hmm…there is truth to that. I’m guilty of spending too much time creating features and not enough energy on marketing. But I think you need a technical solution and technical capability in order to scale your results.

    Impression: Good introduction. $40 a month is too much. But then I paid $75K for my MBA from Northwestern University. { Shrug }

  2. Shoemoney tools ($9.95 1st month, $100 per month after 1st month):
    Shoemoney provides tools for an active Affiliate Marketer to use. It’s more advanced than Opportunity.com.

    The first thing I saw under the SEO tools tab is the domain marketplace. It shows a list of unregistered domains for sale, the number of inbound links, and where the links come from (.gov, .mil, .edu). The prices are around $10-30 each but you can’t see the entire domain that you are purchasing. They show hidden domains like this: xxxshop-xxx.net. There’s no guarantee that the links actually drive traffic to the URLs for sale.

    My impression: I’m not sure if the tools are more useful than free tools yet. I have to dive in further. It would be better if they added written help text in addition to the video tutorials, but they have good support personnel.

  3. Tim Buchalka (FREE so far)
    Tim promotes his videos and tools on Twitter. The thing I like about Tim is that he doesn’t use a lot of hard-sell hype. He is simply persistent and uses positive language.
  4. SEObook.com
    This is the most cerebral of the bunch. They mostly focus on techniques to drive traffic to your site using natural search engine optimization (SEO). I follow all of their SEO advice on my site.

Next post: Domain strategies.

eBay affiliate links within eBay listings
May 8th, 2008 by estreet

A developer complained on the eBay Developer’s forum about cookie stuffing using iframes. eBay’s response was they “have monitoring in place to capture suspicious behaviors and poor value traffic to help us quickly pin point questionable affiliate practices.” Here’s the link to the forum.

eBay affiliate links within eBay listings is prohibited in the Ts & Cs of the eBay Partner Network. However, you can see some people do add their affiliate links which are clearly visible in the listing description. Check out this search for “rover.eBay.com” on eBay.

New eBay affiliate program link changes
Apr 1st, 2008 by estreet

Sign up for the new eBay affiliate program to get an extra 5% affiliate commissions in April. http://www.ebaypartnernetwork.com/

If you currently use affiliate links on your site rather that the eBay tools/widgets, here’s what you need to change.

Find your new rover server which looks like this: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1

Find your new campid. This replaces the PID. The campid is how you get credit for eBay sales. The customid is the same as your old SID and simply helps you track the link that a person used to get to eBay.

The final link will look like this one.

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?type=4&campid=5335819324&toolid=10001&customid=blog&mpre=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.ebay.com%2Ftahari

Now, just replace *ALL* of your existing links. ;-)

The good news is they now provide a dashboard where you can see your impressions, clicks, EPC, and sales. They say on the forum that the dashboard will be updated throughout the day.

Update 3:15pm CT April 1:  

The affiliate dashboard statistics seem to update every 2 hours.  I made some clicks at 1:20 and the dashboard click counter showed new clicks after 3.

eBay affiliate link changes
Mar 18th, 2008 by estreet

Prepare to take action in April.  All of your eBay affiliate links must be changed, but there is nothing you can do right now.  You have to wait until April 1 to get your new links.   http://affiliates.ebay.com 

 Commission Junction used to run all of eBay’s affiliate program. Then just a year ago we changed our eBay affiliate links to eBay’s “rover” servers. That put eBay in charge of the tracking clicks, purchases and redirects to the proper eBay pages. CJ.com was still responsible for reporting and payments to the affiliate.

Now the eBay Partner Network will run all of the affiliate program functions starting April 1, 2008. I hope eBay improves the consistency of the program. Some of the weaknesses of the current program are:

1. errors in reporting purchases

2. variable reporting times each day

3. having to download a spreadsheet to view the actual items purchased

4. inability to log into CJ.com

From April 1 to May 1, the CJ and eBay programs will overlap. Switch early to get a 5% bonus for April sales.

You can receive an additional 5% bonus for all traffic tracked through eBay Partner Network in April 2008 (bonus applicable to traffic sent to Half.com and US, UK, Australia, Canada, Italy, India and Spain eBay sites). The sooner you migrate, the more you’ll earn! Just:

Register with eBay Partner Network on April 1, 2008

Confirm your registration, and obtain your new identifiers

Update your links with your new identifiers.

Reminder: Please plan to complete migration by May 1, 2008.

http://affiliates.ebay.com

eBay UK increases affiliate payout by 15-20%
Feb 4th, 2008 by estreet

The affiliate payout for eBay.co.uk sales increased by 15 -20% on Friday.  Before this, the revenue share started at 25% and the ACRU started at £7. 

cjuk.jpg

eBay sellers pay for the affiliate program with their fees which can run 10% to 25% of a seller’s total sales.  Affiliate programs are considered a cost of sales like advertising, radio, marketing or promotions for a traditional retail store.   

Why is eBay increasing both the UK and US payouts?  Because it’s part of their aggressive strategy to drive buyers to eBay and remain the #1 ecommerce channel in the minds of buyers.  Affiliates are rewarded when they invent new ways to entice buyers to eBay.  Sellers benefit from the increased buyer traffic.     

You can participate in the UK affiliate program if you reside in the US.  Just apply for a relationship in Commission Junction.  www.cj.com   And likewise, UK folks can participate in the ebay.com (US) program.

If you haven’t yet joined the eBay affiliate program, check it out here: http://affiliates.ebay.com

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