Tag Archives: affiliate marketing

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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Affiliate Programs Iā€™m Connected With ā€“ Part Three

Hi Y’all. We’re talking affiliate programs that I’ve used and tried to make money with over the years in these last few posts. We’ve had part one and part two and now we move to part three; hold on to your seats.

Clickbank is one affiliate programs I’ve never specifically written about, hence no link to an article I’ve written. Clickbank is a program that you see a lot of big time internet marketers talking about all the time. They say they create programs, then set it up with Clickbank to help them market their products by allowing us to find products on their site to market, as publishers with their landing pages. There are some nice products there, but a lot of junk as well I have to say. I did purchase one product from them that I liked, 20 Ways To Make $100 Per Day Online, that I thought was pretty good and I marketed that thing for a long time on this blog.

And this is where things fall apart for me. According to them, I’ve never had any clicks on any of the products I’ve marketed from them, and I’ve never made a single dollar. I find that hard to believe, but it’s why I decided a long time ago I wasn’t going to market anything else they offered except for the book I’ve given the link to above. A month ago I finally removed that product from my sidebar as well; I guess just having me think it was great didn’t translate to anyone else. But over 5 years I haven’t been credited with a single sale. Maybe others have had better success than me; can’t tell you.

Solutions Medical is an affiliate program that I hooked up with to market medical billing books through my medical billing site, which I talked about on the part one post. Unfortunately, it’s another affiliate I’ve never made a single dollar from, although they do show some clicks here and there.

TTZ Media is an interesting little affiliate program in that it can highlight certain types of ads that you can put wherever and the products will rotate. You can pick one product or many products and change colors as you want to. Below is an example of the types of ads you can create:

According to TTZ, I’ve had almost 2,000 clicks over the years, but I’ve never made a single sale. Once again, it’s a program that I didn’t use a lot, but did have it on some of my other sites here and there, as well as popping it into a blog post every once in awhile. So, once again, I can’t tell you how well they pay or what payments are like. I can see how this might work for some people, but it’s never worked for me.

J-V Network is a lot like Clickbank. What you do is look through the tons of offers they have and sign up to help promote and market that program. I actually did a test with something called Tweet My Blog, which I had on this blog as the first program I used to send my blog posts to Twitter, which was neat except I couldn’t get rid of its marketing on my blog itself. That is, if anyone clicked on the link in Twitter they came to the blog and had a large banner ad at the top of the blog that obscured even the title of this blog.

Anyway, I had that post above and I heard from 3 people who said they’d added it to their blogs as well. When I went to check my stats it didn’t show I’d had any clicks, which of course means it showed me as not making any money from those sales. That was disappointing and I wrote them, but never heard a single thing back. I’ve never gone back to try it again, and I’m not sure I will. I do still get email every once in awhile from someone that’s created a new product that they’d like help marketing, but I’m just not in the mood for now.

There you go, 4 more affiliate programs I’ve dealt with. And there’s still more coming; well, you asked. šŸ™‚
 

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Affiliate Programs Iā€™m Connected With ā€“ Part Two

Obviously if this is part two, then there was a part one, which I hope you check out. Last time I mentioned 3 affiliate programs I’m a part of; here are some more. And, just to remind you, the links are to articles on this blog and not to the sites themselves, but there are links to those sites on some of those other articles.

Commission Junction is probably the second best known affiliate program I use, but it’s also been the diciest. I can’t say I’ve had great success with it, but it’s given me some of the best options for finding products and links to market to date. If you notice at the top there I have banner ads, and those are from CJ, as I call them sometimes. They rotate, so if you go to a page more than once you’ll see different ads, up to 5.

The best thing about them isn’t the fact that they have lots of different sizes and literally a couple thousand affiliates. The best thing about them is that they allow you to pop up specific products, with a template that’s formatted along with a “buy” button, which I kind of stole as the template for my books there to the left. The first three years of this blog had me adding a product or link of some kind at the end of every post, but I gave that up at the beginning of the year. Sometimes I pop a product in where my image resides. I use products on some of my other websites instead now.

I can say I’ve made money, but it’s been kind of iffy. I’ve talked about the problems I’ve had with some Commission Junction affiliates, which is irritating because I deserve to be paid. They don’t always support the publishers, which is us, and that’s depressing. But I have made some money here and there, to the tune of probably $400 over 3 1/2 years. Not great if you ask me, but more than some other affiliates. I’ve actually made more, but I’m not counting those affiliates that haven’t paid me.

Google Affiliate Network is Google’s version of CJ, with fewer advertisers but they’re getting bigger. Over the years I’ve made some sales, but not tons. That’s probably my fault as I haven’t used them as much as CJ except for Barnes & Noble, who just recently left them. The best thing about GAN, as I sometimes refer to them, is that if you have Adsense money and make sales with this program, it counts towards your monetary total, and thus you get to your thresholds for getting paid quicker.

The bad thing about Google Affiliate Network is that, like CJ, they don’t support the publishers. Instead, they tell you that you have to work directly with the companies, which failed me when Finish Line refused to pay me my commission, then dropped me because they said I didn’t make enough sales. This seems to be a major failing with some of these affiliate networks; they put a lot of affiliates together, but can’t make any of them treat you right. I’ve probably only made $200 in total over a 4-year period, most of that from the sale of books and DVDs.

The final affiliate network I’m going to mention is Linkshare. They’re like the other two networks I’ve already mentioned, the newest one, and they’re starting to add more companies to the mix. They’re the company that Barnes & Noble just moved to, and one of my other former affiliates also moved to. That might mean that Linkshare is the up and coming affiliate network for everyone, or that the terms are better for these companies.

The problem here is that I’ve yet to see a single sale from any of my affiliates, although once again I have to say I think this is probably my fault. Initially I only belonged to 5 programs and haven’t marketed them all that often, and now I’m only up to 9 programs. However, with the move of B&N and the fact that I like mentioning books and movies and thus putting links into some of my posts (in case y’all don’t remember, if you see a blue link that’s an affiliate link of some kind), and I do tend to sell some books and DVDs here and there, I hope that I’ll start making a sale or two over there. Because I haven’t made any sales I can’t say how well they pay.

Something you have to know for all of these is that the companies you link to will kill those links without your knowledge and, unless you’re always checking your old blog pages or your websites, you’ll have no idea unless someone notices one of your pages looking weird and contacts you about it. That’s kind of depressing, as I’ve seen many things go missing from older pages, but there’s really nothing you can do about that.

Three more down, and lots more to come.
 

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Why Do I Have So Many Problems With Commission Junction Affiliates?

It must be something with me because I don’t see all that many other people complaining about these things, although I bet they are and I’m just missing them. Once again I’m having an issue with a Commission Junction affiliate that won’t pay me and another affiliate that’s dropping me; sigh…

The one that won’t pay me is called NothingButSoftware, which of course means they’re all about technology. I purchased a LCD projector from them for one of my local organizations, a non-profit, and I should have gotten a very nice commission from them. Instead I’ve gotten nothing. I’ve sent them 5 emails, 3 regular emails and 2 through CJ, but I’ve not heard a thing.

Here’s the other side of this, though. CJ states that the best they can do is contact their affiliates and ask them to respond to their publishers. That’s the response I’ve gotten every single time from them. That and their standard “if we haven’t heard from you in 3 days we’re going to assume the problem has been taken care of.”

What the hey? You know, I’ve had this love/hate thing with CJ. Some of the affiliates they’re hooked up with have been wonderful. I would easily recommend 123inkjets because they usually pay you within hours. I had that one issue with GoDaddy but once they learned about it they took care of me. Once I had an issue with FootballFanatics, a sports apparel company, but once I provided them proof they paid me (well, eventually anyway). But some others, like these NothingButSoftware people and 101Phones (which still shows me as an affiliate even though I yanked them over a year ago) are horrible. I did have a problem with Finish Line as well but that was through Google Affiliate Network.

I can’t be the only one who believes that if a company signs an organization to help push their products that they should establish some standards for how they’re supposed to work with you. I get the impression that each advertiser is running things their own way and CJ is just the puppet intermediary. That’s a shame, and they probably wouldn’t like the association, but I keep getting cheated by their publishers and it’s not fair. And if it’s happening to me consistently then it’s happening to others as well.

I did say I have another affiliate dropping me, right? This time it’s a company called Organize.com, and they’re dropping me because I live in New York, and our state has decided that these companies are supposed to be tracking any commissions I might have and paying taxes on anything I make. And Organize.com has decided I’m not worth it; okay, all New York publishers aren’t worth it.

I have to admit that years ago I didn’t like any of this, and now I’m siding with the companies against the state. Sure, states need money, but what gives them the right to pretty much take money out of my pocket, money that I’d be spending in the state and paying taxes on the stuff I purchase, to try to get funds that, for the most part, I’m not really earning anyway? I can imagine the trouble it must be for some of these web companies to try to track all these different state rules; I’m not mad at them for this. At least they didn’t drop me because supposedly I wasn’t making them sales like Brookstone did. And get this; even PokerStars hasn’t dropped me, although I pretty much can’t do anything with them for now since I can’t advertise to an American audience and thus it pretty much kills what I can do with them.

Affiliate marketing isn’t supposed to be this difficult. You make a sale, you get paid, you move on. This type of thing keeps coming up, not having affiliates pay you, and then it destroys the confidence we have in the process. It’s no wonder we’re always writing and worrying about scams.

Except this isn’t a scam; it’s just bad business practices.

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