Linkshare (called Rakutan as of 2014) is another affiliate marketing program that’s a lot like Commission Junction and Google Affiliate Networks in that you have the opportunity to market companies and products of either big name or actual businesses that many people know about. For instance, when I first registered, I immediately was accepted for TigerDirect and Fujitsu, but I also got to apply to Ace Hardware, PBS Shop, HBO Store and Nutri Systems.

anjan58 via Compfight

Signing up was a little more difficult than I care to imagine, though it’s probably because my eyes are getting older. They require you to use the same name that you use to submit your taxes with, which makes me question whether foreign companies would be allowed to market them. Then, after you fill everything out, they use a captcha, which you know I hate, as the final piece, and I ended up having to do that seven times because I had difficulty seeing it.

That, plus every time it says you messed up, you have to remember to type in the username and password you created, and click the two boxes below saying you agree to their terms and whatever the other box said, as I don’t remember right now. Oh yeah, for your password, you have to have at least two numbers in it, which is a first for me.

After it finally approves you, then you can go in and select companies you want to market. I probably picked 20 out of the lists, and, as I said, I was approved for only 3 immediately, one of those being an affiliate marketer for Linkshare themselves, hence the banner ad below.

This site also looks like, if you decide you want to market specific products, you can create your own links to those products, something that you know I sometimes like to do on this blog and on some of my websites. You also get a choice of different sized banner ads, and of course they also have some text ads you can use if that’s your game.

It looks like a pretty nice affiliate program, but of course we’ll see how well it performs in comparison with the others. Then again, right now, since I’m not making serious bank with any of them, it’ll probably fit in nicely. 🙂

By the way, I know I’ve never mentioned this before, but I hope that, when most of you add your affiliate links and the like, that you’re making sure that, if it’s not already included, you’re adding as part of your “href” code the part “target=”_blank” (don’t forget to add the quotation marks) to the end. By adding that, it means that if anyone clicks on it, it’ll take them to another window or tab while leaving your post still sitting there.

I’ve noticed only recently that not all banner or text links add that, which means when people click on your stuff, like Adsense, they’re gone, though hopefully not for good. Unfortunately, you can’t add that to javascript, from what I’ve seen, but if anyone has any extra insight on this, I’d appreciate hearing it.

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12 comments on “Linkshare

  • John Dilbeck says:

    Good afternoon, Mitch.

    I don’t really have anything against LinkShare, but trying to sell things through them has not been profitable for me.

    As you already know, I think profitability is more a function of interested visitors with disposable income and a niche site with credibility and good content than it is a matter of how you link to the merchants.

    Still, I’m wondering why I have a much higher conversion rate when I link through private affiliate programs than when I go through the major affiliate networks such as LinkShare and CommissionJunction.

    Most probably, it’s because of my sites and what I write about, but I’m moving away from the affiliate networks.

    Act on your dream!


    • Thanks for your comment, John. Actually, I’d just heard about them and decided to sign up, as another test; you know that’s how I roll. To date, I’ve still only been approved for the same 3 programs that I started with, one of those being Linkshare themselves. That doesn’t bode well for me bothering to deal with them long term, I have to say.

      • John Dilbeck says:

        Good afternoon, Mitch.

        Again, my lack of success with LinkShare is no indication that you may have the same experience.

        The only way to know for sure is to do what you’re doing: join and test.

        I would think that my readership is a good match for VistaPrint and free business cards, for example. I don’t remember right now if their affiliate program is through CJ or LinkShare, but after a couple of years of trying to give away free business cards, I’ve earned exactly nothing from them.

        I’m a huge fan of VistaPrint and buy business cards by the thousands from them. It still doesn’t translate into commission checks. Now, I just link to them directly.

        Hopefully, you’ll do well with the merchants you’re promoting through LinkShare.

        Act on your dream!


      • Actually John, we never know what’s going to resonate with our audience, which is why I try a variety of things, not necessarily to use on this blog, but to possibly use in general.

        As for Linkshare, not being approved by more advertisers is getting on my nerve, and that’s why I’m thinking about maybe not participating all that much.

  • John Dilbeck says:

    Good morning, Hubbers.

    I’m a huge fan of VistaPrint and have been purchasing from them for a long time and will continue to do so.

    I always read all the fine print when I make a purchase and advise others to do the same. That way, I don’t get anything I don’t want.

    I always check my bank statements when I get them, too.

    I’ve had no problems at all with the free VistaPrint cards or the premium products I’ve purchased from them.

    I look forward to being a customer for a long time.

    Act on your dream!


  • Mitch, I had to laugh at your description of Captcha! I also have difficulty reading the script, so one day I decided to use the audio.

    OMG! Am I deaf, too? If you haven’t used the Captcha audio, do it just for fun! It sounds like somone speaking underwater!

    BTW. With regard to VistaPrint… I don’t use them because I too got signed up on all and sundry affilliate clubs (I had cards printed for my grandson and high school).

    Besides, when I receive a business card, I always feel for perforations first and then turn it over to see if it has VistaPrint on the back. I understand about being frugal in business, but having a good business card tells a lot about a person.

    If you want to save the money, find another way to do so, but always use a professional biz card.:)

    • Hi Althea. I know nothing about Vista Print, so I’m going to leave that one up to the rest of y’all to talk about.

      Regarding Captcha, I’ve actually written about it on this blog. I just have problems deciphering it, and I’m not colorblind. And a couple of times I’ve tried the audio, and you’re right, you feel as though you’ve gone deaf because I’ve never been able to understand any of them. I’d much rather build other protections than to that route, which, of course, I have. lol

  • All websites I link to will pop up in another window, but for internal linking I don’t want to keep them inside as, if it opens in a new window, it counts against your bounce rate; at least I read that somewhere.

    As far as my sidebar affiliate links, I haven’t put nofollow tags on anything. I’m not worried about it either, since I don’t care about page rank all that much, and, well, I am a dofollow blog after all. 🙂 But if the advertiser has already put it in, I don’t remove it.

    • I some circumstances it can, but in my case, I’m hoping to make it easy for people to go back through my site without having to jump around, and of course, though you don’t look at it, that does help the bounce rate stay lower. I particularly like seeing time on site, which I think, if it’s higher, shows that people might be interested in more of my content.

    • To tell you the truth, I don’t know what their payout is. To tell you more truth, I’ve never checked on what the expected payout amount is for any of the programs I promote; how odd, now that I think about it. lol

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