Category Archives: Affiliate Marketing

Text Link Ads refuse one of my sites

I just received a refusal from the advertising network Textlink-ads.com for one of my websites. This came as something of an annoyance to me, rather than a surprise, because the site itself is one of the newest of my portfolio, but one of the fastest growing.

The traffic on the website is very good, slightly below MrDaz.com presently, but should eclipse this site in the next month. However, as I said it is new. Which means it doesn’t have any Netcraft data, it doesn’t have any Google PageRank and it doesn’t have any history.

All of the useless stuff that pointless networks take into consideration when deciding whether they’ll take on a website or not.

Textlink-Ads said:

Hello Darren,

Unfortunately, at this time we feel that your site http://www.*******.com, does not meet our internal requirements to be accepted into the InLinks publishing program. We recommend that you continue marketing your website and generate a significant more amount of traffic to your site. Once you feel you have strong enough traffic — this normally takes a few months at least — you can feel free to contact us back and we will be happy to revisit the opportunity to work with you.

I was a bit annoyed and replied straight away with:

You probably shouldn’t base your decisions on Google PageRank.

Just a hint.

😉

As a consequence I won’t be using Textlink-Ads on the site even when they consider it to have met their ‘internal requirements’. I offered them the chance and they refused, their loss.

It’s frustrating but as I say, they’re the ones who will miss out.

Play.com miss the point with PPC restrictions

Today sees Google changing the rules with regards to brand bidding on its Adwords platforms, meaning that you can now bid on terms such as HMV, WHSmith and Play.com… should you wish to.

So what does this mean? Well, for one it means that you’re likely to get clued up companies bidding on the brand names of other companies, so for example Tesco may bid on the keywords ‘Asda’, ‘Sainsburys’ and ‘Morrisons’, meaning they’ll get search traffic for people looking for their competitors. There’s nothing the other companies can do about.

Or is there? What they could do is allow their affiliates to bid for them. You see, now that there are no restrictions on brand bidding, there’s nothing stopping HMV, GAME, WHSmith and everyone who sells games and DVDs bidding on the Play.com brand. Therefore, Play.com will be losing a lot of traffic and sales to their competitors. If they were smart, they’d allow their affiliates to bid on their brand name as well, meaning the affiliates would be shouldering the PPC costs for them, in exchange for the commissions. Then, anyone looking for Play.com, rather than finding their competitors, they’d find Play.com through the affiliates.

That’s if Play.com were smart. Sadly, they’re not. They’re quite stupid. They, and a great many other retailers have panicked at the change in Google’s brand restrictions and have sent out this email.

Hi Darren,

Bearing in mind the Google changes on brand bidding which come into effect on Monday, we would like to take the opprotunity to draw your attention to Play.com’s PPC restrictions:

“Unless specifically agreed in writing with Play.com, Affiliates must
not:

i) purchase, license or operate any domain name which is confusingly similar to ‘play.com’;

ii) bid on the ‘play.com’ keyword, or any of its misspellings, on any of the search engines that currently operate web services; possible derivatives of the brand term are:

Play.com
Play
Play .com
Www.play.com
Play.com uk
Play com
www play com
www Play
www.play
play dot com
playdotcom
play .com uk
Play.c
Plya
Play co
Playcouk
Play.co.uk
www.play.co.uk
play uk

and also:

Playusa
Playusa.com
Play usa
Wwwplayusa
www.play.usa
www.playusa.com
ww.playusa.com
playusa.com
play usa com
playusacom
play.usa.com
playusa.com play usa

iii) use the keyword ‘play.com’ to perform paid search activity across any search engines that operates web services  and to that effect, Affiliates must add the ‘play.com’ keyword and its derivatives as above as negative matches to their PPC campaigns.

iv) use the term Play.com or its derivatives in the Affiliate’s ad text for driving traffic from Play.com’s competitors’ brand terms to Play.com’s site nor the affiliate’s sites.

v) drive paid or unpaid traffic from search engines directly to Play.com pages or the Play.com site overall. The affiliate has to use their own sites for traffic from search engines.

For the avoidance of doubt, the above restrictions or the specific terms of agreement regarding authorised PPC activity shall supersede any conflicting provision that may be found in any section of this Agreement.

These rules are effective immediately and should the Affiliate not comply They will be banned from the Play.com affiliate programme with immediate effect and also face potential lawsuit. “

‘Face a potential lawsuit’? What are they thinking? How stupid are they?

I worry for the sanity of these people. All that will happen now is they’ll lose business to their competitors, and I hope they do. I hope they lose a lot of business. Come on GAME, HMV, WHSmith and everyone else… bid on Play.com and the rest of the keywords Play have listed above. Take the customers from them. As they won’t let affiliates bid on the terms you’ll find them quite cheap too!

Happy bidding.

Firebox.com add videos for Affiliates

If you’re looking to sell some gadgets through an affiliate site you’ll be interested to learn that Firebox have just launched videos of its products for affiliates to use on their websites.

You choose a video, enter your affiliate id, any tracking id you want and then the code adapts so the link is coded properly. You can preview your video on that page too, and even test the tracking.

Its been proven that especially for products such as ours, video vastly improves conversion rates. This is especially true for any products that move or have an interactive element. I expect affiliates who use the player will also see an upturn in conversion. At the very least, it’s a fun piece of content to add value to your site.

Firebox

You can see more about this on Firebox.com here. I’ll certainly be using these on a few websites over the next few weeks.

eBay to cease CJ affiliate program

eBay have just sent out an email announcing that they are stopping their CJ affiliate program from May 1st. They’re now going to be running it themselves through http://affiliates.ebay.com, and will be taking registrations from April 1st.

This means anyone running eBay links on their websites will need to sign up to their new program and replace all of their links by May 1st to continue earning commissions.

Damn, that’s going to take me days.

The new platform will go live on April 1st, 2008 PST, at which point eBay will no longer be running its affiliate program through Commission Junction. Beginning April 1st, affiliates should register with eBay Partner Network and migrate their links from CJ to the new platform.

While CJ and ValueClick have been valuable partners to eBay throughout the years, we’ve decided to give our affiliate community a customized experience for eBay affiliates.

It also represents bad news for Commission Junction and ValueClick, they must be gutted.

StumbleUpon taffic and Adsense

Last week I had one of my blog posts stumbled, resulting in an extra 10,000 page impressions in one day. The post in question was for a funny IT video, which as luck would have it was pay-per-watch. I didn’t stumble it, it never pays to stumble your own posts. It’s always better when that happens naturally.

What is interesting though is how an extra 10,000 page impressions in a single day affected my Adsense on this site. You’d think that more traffic means more impressions, means more clicks thus more revenue. In truth, it’s quite the opposite.

One week later, when I had 10,000 less ad impressions, my Adsense ads tracked more clicks and more earnings. So an extra 10,000 impressions through StumbleUpon had no impact whatsoever on my Adsense revenue, other than drastically reducing my eCPM.

Of course the Stumble traffic did have an affect on my pay-per-watch video earnings 😉

Amazon contextual advertising goes wrong

Amazon may be the daddies of affiliates and have some of the best affiliate tools on the web, but sometimes they just get it wrong, wrong, wrong. The beauty of having a blog that allows comments is that whenever someone adds a comment it adds content to your website. With affiliate programs like Adsense and Amazon you can use this content to generate affiliate links, which in turn generates money for you (or in this instance, me).

However, sometimes the words on your website left by commentators aren’t always the sort of words that lend themselves to affiliate links… that is of course, until Amazon’s contextual advertising kicks in and picks out some utterly random and bizarre phrases.

For some reason Amazon has automatically picked out the phrase ‘bunch of complete twats’ from one of the comments left on my blog, and has linked it to the product of the Brady Bunch on DVD.

Amazon

Why would Amazon have done this? Is the word ‘bunch’ sufficient for Amazon to pick out the product? Has someone at Amazon inserted the keywords ‘bunch’ and ‘twats’ together in the product entry for the Brady Bunch?

Whatever the reason, I don’t think I’m going to get any conversions from this particular link from Amazon.

Paying foreign cheques into Sterling accounts

I went into Lloyds TSB on Saturday morning to pay in my latest Affiliate cheque from Amazon.com. Unlike Amazon.co.uk, the US version won’t make any direct deposit to a non US account, so cheques are my only means of payment.

When you pay a foreign currency cheque into Lloyds TSB you have to fill in an A4 form which has 5 pages! Yes, 5 sodding pages!

It always takes the staff ages and usually involves at least two cashiers as few people know how to do it. Then when it finally does get filled in, I have to wait several days for the money to appear in the account AND I get charged a huge commission on the amount.

Why can’t Amazon.com combine the account with Amazon.co.uk and pay one amount via direct deposit each month? It would make it so much easier and I wouldn’t have to spend my Saturdays in Lloyds queuing up with people who only seem to be asking for a balance.

A balance!?!

I HAVE to go into the branch to pay this US Dollar cheque into my account. Why do these morons need to be there if they’re only after a balance? Use the cash machine, it will tell you. Use online banking, use anything. I don’t care. Just don’t queue up in front of me, wasting my time, just to get a sodding balance to your account.

And they were queuing up outside waiting for the bank to open for this.

Imbeciles.

Pepperjam Network launches

You’ve probably seen the Pepperjam Network splashed all over the affiliate and money making blogs today. The reason is they’ve just launched their new Affiliate Network and are promoting it with a massive web blitz, that’s why they’ve ordered this ReviewMe review.

As affiliate networks go Pepperjam is one of the sleekest, sexiest designs around. I didn’t need to be asked twice to sign up, I mean, mentioning Star Trek on the front page made me leap right in 😉

Pepperjam

One of the most important things with any affiliate network that wants to be successful is transparency with the affiliates. Pepperjam have made giant steps towards this by detailing every aspect of their business on their own network blog.

The network already has some fairly big merchants on board, including Blockbuster and the bloggers’ favourite ReviewMe.

When I signed up for the network as a publisher I was presented with the all too familiar US focused sign up forms. This is a pet hate of mine, but at least Pepperjam’s did have a stab at making it easier for non US based affiliates. The problem was though is that it forced me to enter a VAT number, which is apparently essential for EU based affiliates.

I’m not VAT registered, never have been. I don’t have a VAT number. However I couldn’t proceed without adding one, so I had to make one up. I’m sure there’s an element of illegality in doing that, but hey ho.

Pepperjam Signup

I’ll certainly give the network a chance, but at the moment it is very US focused. If it starts to creep into my site network and oust networks such as CJ and Affiliate Window I’ll let you know.

About Pepperjam:
Pepperjam is an industry leading full-service internet marketing agency offering marketing services and advanced technology in the areas of pay-per-click, search-engine optimization, affiliate marketing, and online media planning and buying.  The company was founded in 1999 by internet marketing expert, conference speaker, and published author Kristopher B. Jones. Pepperjam has received numerous awards and achievements, including recognition by Inc. Magazine for two consecutive years as one of the fastest growing privately-held businesses in the United States. Learn more at www.pepperjam.com.