Category Archives: Affiliates

Is It Time To Get Rid Of Commission Junction?

One of the first affiliate programs I joined was Commission Junction. In the early days of this blog, I added some kind of product to the end of every single post. I tried to match it to what I was talking about in the post, but since I can sometimes be all over the place that didn’t always work. Sometimes I added a product, sometimes just an affiliate link, all in the name of trying to make a buck or two off a post here and there.

conj_func
As opposed to this;
who remembers?

Unfortunately, I never made any money off any of those things from the blog. As a matter of fact, though I have made some money through Commission Junction over the years, I’ve never made any of it from any of my blogs; that’s kind of interesting isn’t it? I can’t say it was total ad blindness because when I checked stats I would see clicks on ads, but no conversions; so sad…

But that hasn’t been the worst part. I’ve been paid $150 over the course of 6 years; that’s not good is it? Truthfully, I’ve earned more, but not “made” more. What do I mean by that? Most of the time, even when I could prove a purchase, I wouldn’t get paid. Commission Junction’s policy is that you have to work things out with the advertiser; they don’t get involved unless you can’t get the publisher to respond to you. However, it turns out that’s pretty much a lie as well because they’ll send you an email, ask you to try again, then closes the ticket almost immediately, as if they never got it. What the hey? Reminds me of Tim Bonner’s post about money back guarantees that aren’t.

I’ve done some testing over the years by buying products that I wanted from some of them. I’ve used my computer, my wife’s computer, and my laptop just to see what would happen. The only advertiser that’s ever immediately paid me is 123inkjets. GoDaddy has only paid me when I’ve contacted them with proof of purchase, as they’re who I’ve always recommended to people to buy their domain names from, using my affiliate link of course. I did have one other that paid me, but it took about 3 weeks of back and forth conversations with them; that was a purchase by someone else.

However, the latest trouble I’ve had, with a company called Fansedge, has led me to start thinking about my relationship with them and how positive it HASN’T been. I mean really, I’ve had some advertisers drop me because I wasn’t making enough sales, some not approve me because they didn’t like my website (it’s not always this blog by the way), and frankly it’s a pain because, without notice, Commission Junction has sometimes changed up one of their formats without telling anyone and, of course, I’ve gone in, spent a lot of time creating something, only to find out later that they’d discontinued it and that’s why it didn’t work; sigh…

I've got nothing.
OUCHcharley via Compfight

Of course you don’t have to take just my work for it. Go look up their name and “not paying me” on Google and you’ll see post after post of complaints by people. One of the other things they’ll do if, after so long a period of time, start taking $10 per month from your balance, as if it’s costing them anything to hold your money; that’s how the federal government makes money off us through taxes by the way, holding onto the excess we (well, most of you anyway) pay to get that yearly refund and making money off the accumulated interest.

Understand this though. If I decide I’m done with Commission Junction, I have a lot of work cut out for me. I have my Services and Stuff page that would have to go through a major overhaul because the overwhelming number of the links on the main page and the banner ads throughout are from them. My other websites have some of their products and banner ads on them as well.

I probably wouldn’t officially drop them; I’d just remove all ads, let the money dwindle away since I’ll never get it anyway, and move on with life. Even though Google Affiliate Network is gone, I still have Linkshare, through whom I’m connected with Barnes & Noble (that’s an affiliate link; I think you could save some money on purchases lol) and, whenever you see me advertising a book, comes through them. They have a lot of advertisers and I could always populate my site tht way.

This leads to the question about affiliate marketing in general; I think I’ll leave that for the next post (a teaser! lol).
 

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Google Affiliate Network Done For

Wow, what a week eh? The mess in Boston, the mess in Texas, the mess in China, the mess in Washington DC… at least no one died in DC but what a horrid week around the world.

gan

With all of that, news that the Google Affiliate Network was shutting down probably slipped through the radar of most people; indeed, this is the first time I thought about talking about it. I remember when I wrote about GAN the first time how I thought that they would be a viable group to challenge Commission Junction, whom I first introduced here in 2008. After all, they were backed up by Google weren’t they? They even had my favorite offline company, Barnes & Noble, as one of their anchors. What could go wrong?

What went wrong? Over all these years, other than a couple of book sales that I believe netted me 50 cents or so total, it just never developed properly. Their formatting was a mess; their homepage was a mess. Some of the companies they got to allow them to advertise were quality, such as Allstate and Motorola, but they didn’t stick around long. Even Barnes & Noble left, going to Linkshare, along with other top companies like Microsoft.

I never got the feeling that Google really knew what to do with this type of thing. For that matter I never quite figured out what to do with most of what they had either. The interface was always kind of difficult to work with. I had many problems finding either banners or products that would fit into what I needed. CJ and Linkshare are both much easier to use when looking for something specific to market.

Of course now I, and thousands of others, have to go through the process of finding all the links going back to GAN and removing them; that’s not going to be pretty. I’m lucky not to have all that stuff on my blogs but I do have other websites; ugh. That’s always the danger of some of these companies though; it happens on the other two sites I’ve mentioned as well. If CJ ever shuts down like this, I’m in real trouble.

Goodbye GAN; a promise that never quite fulfilled anything, like many other things Google has tried, but at least you gave it a shot. Meanwhile, I did a video on this topic with my Hot Blog Tips Hangout gang; you can check this out if you’re interested:


 

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Would You Recommend Something Unethical For Money?

Before I forget, I want to let you know that I wrote a guest post on a blog called Marcie Writes, which works well since the owner is Marcie Hill. It’s titled 5 Steps Towards Blogging Integrity and I think it’s a very good post, not necessarily because I wrote it but because I wrote a guest post for someone who asked for it and I wanted to make sure it would be really good. That’s how guest posting is supposed to work when you ask people if you can write a guest post for them or if they ask you; always give your best. In its own way it segues into today’s topic.

A Man Without His Word Means Nothing
Catherine Rankovic via Compfight

How many of you have heard of something called “payday loans“? If you haven’t, the concept is that if you need money and know you’re getting paid on Friday, if you will, but it’s Wednesday, you can go to an establishment, take out money now, then pay it back on Friday at a “nominal” interest rate.

To some people it sounds like a great way to get an advance on their pay, but the way I see it, and if you follow the link above you’ll see more reasoning, it’s a scam perpetrated against those without a lot of financial acumen and can lead to both untold debt and dangers people aren’t ready for. It’s people allowing themselves to be taken advantage of, with interest rates that can skyrocket at a moment’s notice and, in some cases, being charged daily, and eventually leave a person not being able to keep up and, well, leaving bankruptcy as a final decision to make if they’re not able to pay off the entire amount immediately.

Yes, I think this is unethical, and I’m not the only one. The Federal government is now investigating mainstream banks that are participating in this, including many that were bailed out by the government back in 2009. Eventually they may get to everyone, but this shows that they’re concerned enough to worry about it.

It’s under this belief in ethics that I was dismayed when I came across a post some weeks ago by someone I usually think is pretty cool, Zac Johnson, who wrote a post titled Is It Time You Started Looking At Promoting Pay Day Loans? In the article, he talks about how it’s one of the fastest growing programs in the world and how some affiliate marketers might want to think about hopping on the bandwagon financially, even though there’s a “slight” disclaimer near the end of the article: “No matter what your personal opinions are on pay days loans and whether they are ethical or not, you need to think of the situation from an advertising stand point.”

I’m sorry, but I personally disagree. The statement alone proves that even Zac knew there was an ethical standard being crossed when he wrote it, and he talked about it in a positive way anyway. There are a lot of people going to dog fighting matches or watching videos of the clubbing of baby seals; would you promote that in positive ways if they were making lots of money?

Along the lines of when I asked the question What Will You Do For More Followers, I ask just what will you do for money? If you truly believed payday loans were the greatest thing on planet Earth and decided to promote it, that’s one thing; if you know up front that there’s an unethical component to it, are you going to do it just because it might pay well? If racism paid well would you promote it if it didn’t fit in with your morality? What about child porn, videos of death, cruelty to animals, etc?

There may be things you find unethical that you’ll complain to someone else about that doesn’t find it unethical. In that case it’s more on you than on the other person. But if you know it’s unethical and you promote it anyway, or the other person knows or believes its unethical and promotes it anyway, what does that say about your commitment to principles? Is making a buck, no matter how much it is, really worth your self respect, let alone the respect of others?

I know what I think; what say you?
 

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Discount Panda Updates? Not Me!

This is what happens when you don’t keep up on things. I’d almost missed that Google had put through another Panda update in October. The first time they did something like that most of my blogs took a tumble, but overall it wasn’t all that bad. However, this time it’s taken direct aim at my biggest money making site.


by Richard Elzey via Flickr

I’ve talked about my site Medical Billing Answers before. It’s been generating close to $300 a month in Adsense revenue, and with the other money I’ve been earning from other sites, which isn’t much, I’d been feeling pretty good. I want it to be higher but I figured that time would help push it along.

In early October it’s earnings were right on pace and I went on to start dealing with other things. With a week to go in the month I went to look again and noticed that things had dropped off sharply, and that I might not even make $200 for the month. I did, but barely. Not only that, but I ended up not getting paid my September money, which was greatly irksome.

On that front Google did eventually send out a notice to everyone talking about their glitch and saying that most of us would get that money and our October money at the same time in November; I’m still holding my breath on that one. However, almost halfway through the month and I’ve barely passed the halfway point towards $100; what the hey?

This is the part I don’t understand. My site on medical billing issues was doing very well, and suddenly, after what I believe is its third alteration, Panda decides it has no real authority after all? And just like that it affects my income that drastically? Is that fair?

Actually, it has nothing to do with fair I suppose, but reality. I haven’t added much new to that site in about 3 months, and maybe that’s the issue with Panda; no new activity, it stops sending people your way. These days everything seems to be about activity, kind of like the topic I touched upon when I wrote about blogging frequency. I mean, while traffic on my medical billing site has fallen 32% over the last month, traffic on this site has increased 7%, on my business blog it’s up 9%, and my finance blog is also up 8%. These are sites that I’ve kept up consistently new content. The oddity is my SEO blog, which is showing a decrease of 13%, even though I have a new post every 3 days there.

I’m irked that my income stream has been interrupted, yet I also think there’s something that I should have been able to do to keep it coming in. Do I start another blog? Ugh! Nope, that’s not going to happen. I guess I just have to try to make sure to add something new there at least once a month to see if that helps get its steam back. It does prove the overall need to diversify income streams, even online. Still, I’m not happy about it overall.
 

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Affiliate Programs I’m Connected With – Part Six, The Finale

Here we are at the end of this particular journey. Just so you know, there have been other programs I’ve been a part of that have either gone away or just aren’t worth mentioning for one reason or another. There could have been another 6 I might have talked about if I wanted to go in a different direction, but I don’t. Anyway, here’s the recap links first before we move on: part one, part two, part three, part four and part five.

Paul Myers’ Talkbiz News is a internet marketing newsletter I’ve been reading for years. I love reading it, and some of his articles have really made an impact on my thinking, including tone that’s a part of the image on this post. Two years ago he came up with an affiliate program to market both his newsletter and many products he’s created, and I signed up immediately.

To date I’ve made no money on it, but that’s probably more my problem than his. I’ve talked about the newsletter often enough, but not talked about his products all that much. He’s been around for a good while, though, and he’s not one of those guys that just pounds you with newsletters if he doesn’t have something to say.

Being In Heaven is a motivational movie that talks about the Laws of Attraction in kind of a different way. I actually wrote a review about it earlier this year. Obviously I signed up for the program before buying the movie since it hadn’t been released yet, but I received one of the earliest copies. I’ve sold 2 movies through their affiliate program, one of those purchases being mine (that’s one of the beauties of being with affiliate programs; you’re allowed to buy from yourself and thus make money while you’re spending money), as I was running their banner ad on a sidebar of this blog for awhile. The best thing about them is there’s no minimum for receiving your payment; if you make a sale, you get paid for it the next money, and it’s a 40% commission.

The final affiliate program to talk about isn’t quite an affiliate program, but since you can potentially make money from it I’m counting it. I wrote a post in April about making your blog available for Kindle. If you look to the right you’ll see my little advertisement for it. If people subscribe to your blog you earn money. I wondered whether anyone would subscribe to read a blog through their Kindle, since I don’t have one, but signed up this blog and my business blog anyway. And someone has subscribed to my business blog, last month it seems, and thus I made a whopping 30 cents. That’s not much, but I felt honored that someone would think enough about any of my blogs to pay to read them. I got the idea from Allan Douglas, so I thank him for it and hope he’s made money from it as well.

And there you are, all the affiliate programs I’ve tried, reviewed, and have now put in one place. I may turn this into a page since it actually ends up being a series so others can see them all at once, although they can just read this post and follow all the links that way. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and even if you haven’t, I bet you’d still have to say you haven’t seen anyone else write something like this. 🙂
 

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