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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Why I Show Products At The End Of Posts

Here’s the questions. How often do you go to the store and end up buying things you didn’t initially go there for? How many times have you been looking through a catalog or advertisement, saw something that interested you, then decided to check it out and saw something else you liked instead?

I belong to a lot of affiliate marketing programs and advertisers. Most of you know that I’m a member of Commission Junction. They have almost 3,000 different advertisers that you can choose from, some big names, some not so big. Every time you see an individual post on this blog, at the top you see a Commission Junction banner, via one of their rotating banners programs. I’m also running one of their little applets on the left side.

Many of the advertisers allow you to post their products on your websites as well. The template you see below is their template, which I kind of use for other things, such as my book and webinar there at the top left. That’s just standard HTML, which I already knew, but their version was just so clean I’ve co-opted it. Some of the advertisers don’t have specific products you can purchase, but have services instead. So, when you see a banner, those are usually companies that offer services.



Sales Manager

But not always. I also participate in the Linkshare affiliate program, which also has some advertisers like Commission Junction, just not as many. The same goes for ShareASale, but I’ve only hooked up with a couple of those. Most of the pictures you see on this site in a post are actually images you can purchase in some form from them. I also always have at least one image to the left side. I could do it more often, but I don’t always think images fit my posts, though some people swear by them.

And many other affiliate programs I’m associated with also don’t have products I can specifically hawk, but I still want you to know about them. So, I’ll throw those banners on here every once in awhile as well. Just so you know, I didn’t join all those programs because of this blog, but since I still belong to them, it makes sense for me to cycle them in here from time to time.

Here’s the thing. If I highlight something like the rowing machine below, what I’m showing is a sample of the types of things you can find at that particular site, which in this case is called BigFitness. Now, you can go directly to the site and purchase it and cut out the middleman, but if you’re nice ( 🙂 ) and want to help a brotha out, you’ll buy it from me. But maybe you’ll go to the site and see something else you like instead. No matter what you buy, if you buy something from the site, I’ll get credit for it. And suddenly it’s just like the flat screen TV you saw in the Sunday flyer that got you to the store, and instead you walked out with a GPS unit. The store only hopes you bought something; kind of what I’m hoping as well.

There you go. And sometimes, if you find something on another site that you want, if you come back and ask me about it I might have a coupon that will get you a discount of some kind, even if it’s only free shipping. Hey, saving money never hurts either, right? If that’s what happens, just go to my contact link above, see my email address there and write me.

It’s a very passive form of marketing, I know. Does it work? Well, in two years I think I’ve made two sales for CJ stuff and a couple for other products. So yes, I’ve made some sales. Not a lot, but that’s okay. You make no sales for any products you don’t try to market, right? 😉

I’ve been asked often over the years why I have any products on my site that aren’t just making money things; that’s why. And that’s why I never beat up on anyone who’s marketing anything on their site. Sometimes I even take a quick look at it. Never hurts to look.

Rowing Machine - Stamina ATS 1400 Air Rower

Rowing Machine – Stamina ATS 1400 Air Rower

$427.25






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Linkshare

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.

linked
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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