Associate-O-Matic Update, The Amazon Store Builder

Perhaps you have forgot about the affiliate tool known as Associate-O-Matic or AOM, but it hasn’t forgot about you.  The creators of the once popular Amazon store builder software has continued to update their software and offer some great new features.  Since I started using this affiliate script 2 years ago it’s gone through a number of updates and everyone has improved usability, features, and opportunities for commissions.

If you are not familiar with Associate-O-Matic, it’s a script that automates building a store from Amazon products based on your keywords.  AOM features a number of customization options, from design, searches, home page listings, and even custom pages.  The software itself is very diverse and can allow for unique niche store pages to be built.

On May 25th the Associate-O-Matic team released an update which enabled parts searching through Amazon automotive.  I’ve personally experienced an increase in conversions from this little widget that I enable on all my store pages.  You can see an example of the Parts Finder feature in Associate-O-Matic in my Key Ring Store.

Yesterday, on June 11th the AOM released yet another update which squashed a few bugs and enabled a new design function.  The AOM update allows options for rounded corners in your store.  But it’s not just cosmetic updates this time around, AOM version 4.4.1 also utilizes the latest Amazon API.

I’d recommend anyone download Associate-O-Matic and add it to your arsenal of affiliate site building tools.  There is a free version available, but 10% of your clicks will use the AOM Amazon affiliate ID.  The paid version of AOM is just $99 for the first year, then $20 thereafter, which includes all updates and added features.


Associate-O-Matic

List of 365 Social Bookmarking Sites

Burhan Khan has offered a great service by building a list of 365 Social Bookmarking sites to submit your content to.  Although not a big deal, you must download the XLS file and then open it in your spreadsheet reader of choice.  However, with advancements in Google Doc technology since the last time this was updated I decided to publish it online, so no download is necessary.

List of Social Bookmarking Sites

To view the link list of social bookmarking sites, simply follow this link: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0AgBfK31o2BjUdHM5OUJWVG5VWkFkSTYxMy0yWFV3UHc&gid=0

To use simply click on the links within the spreadsheet document.

Updating Social Bookmarking List

Throughout the next couple of days I’ll be combing through the list and removing sites that are no longer available.  Furthermore, I intend to update the social bookmarking list with other sites that I’ve found to keep the number high.  I am well aware that a lot has changed in since 2008, but I felt this was a solid building block for building a list and modifying to fit my present needs.  As I update the spreadsheet the link above will automatically be updated within 5 minutes of my edit.  So, bookmarking the Google Document link above will be suffiicient to stay up to date.

If you are looking to download the original XLS file, please visit Burhan Khans website.

Benefits Of Submitting To Social Bookmarking Sites

The number one benefit of submitting links to social bookmarking sites is traffic.  There is also a side benefit to SEO, which includes receiving  a backlink to your webpage.  Google and other search engines recognize this link as a type of ‘vote’ for your page and will help in raising your site’s visibility in the search engine results pages.

Niche Site Platform Coupon

September Coupon Code Update $20 Off: WIZARDSPECIAL

Simply enter ‘WIZARDSPECIAL‘ into the coupon code section at purchase to receive $20 Off.

Niche Site Platform Coupon Article

I’m a sucker for buying new tools to automate my affiliate marketing and site building, so you can see why Niche Site Platform appealed to me.  I just purchased the script today, but already I’m noticing how it can help diversify my affiliate earnings, at least from a phpBay and BANS perspective.  It has a lot of things in common, but it’s also providing me a new outlet to automate my CJ, Linkshare, and Amazon affiliate link building.

The normal price for Niche Site Platform is $79, which is supposedly marked down from over $100.  The Niche Site Platform just launched at the end of April, so I was surprised to find a working coupon code.  The coupon is good for $10 off the purchase price.

Niche Store Platform Coupon

$10 Off Niche Site Platform Coupon – A7BAA9090F

Those familiar with BANS will feel right at home using Niche Store Platform and for the price it’s hard to pass up.  Also, buying NSP now will allow you to get ahead of the curve of all the site spamming and the inevitable ding from Google in the upcoming year.  Be an early adopter and buy Niche Store Platform now, you won’t regret it.

As a reminder, I don’t promote any products that I don’t personally use.  Although I’ve just purchased it, I’m already pleasantly surprised with the possibilities.  Expect a full blown review of Niche Store Platform in the upcoming days.

[box type=”info”]New coupon code! $20 OFF Enter the coupon code WIZARDSPECIAL. Coupon code good only for a limited time, so buy now. I’ll update again when more or better coupons become available.[/box]

Chitika Premium Failuires With YPN

Chitika has skipped over the downward spiral and jumped right off the back of the slide.  I’ve been using Chitika for 1 year this month and never before have I seen such a drastic change in policy, earnings, impressions, and general contempt from support in dealing with issues.  On April 28, 2010 my Chitika Premium impressions dropped from an average of 2,700 per day to just 3.  You can guess what my earnings have done.

Domain Review and Approval

It all started when Chitika announced that they were taking on advertisers from the Yahoo Publisher Network, which then required all domains to be approved and reviewed.  This review process went above and beyond previous requirements to be a Chitika Premium publisher, although no guidelines have been published or responded to in support tickets.

In addition, even though I had already received Premium ad approval on 2 of my domains, the system now required me to submit every domain Chitika ads would be shown on.  This change in policy was ushered in via email and an automatic sign up to Chitika Select , which promised increased impressions and revenue.  Review of a publishers domains were not supposed to take more than 3 weeks, however that was more than 5 weeks ago and my domains have still not been reviewed.

Generic Responses To Drop In Impressions and Revenue

The worst part about this whole ordeal is the actual feedback and responses I’m getting form the Chitika team.  Originally in May of 2009 when I signed up with them, the support team was outgoing, easy to contact, and offered plenty of advice to get going and maximize my earnings.  However, lately it takes longer to get a response and even then most are canned copy and paste explanations that never really address my questions.

My last support ticket with them took 4 different replies before I could get anything close to an actual response from a real person.  Even after this, I was still left with more questions than answers, most dealing with what kind of guidelines are set for a domain to be approved for Chitika Premium.

Good Enough For Testimonial But Not For Chitika Premium

Another downfall with the latest changes going on at Chitika, which are closer relating to the eBay Partner Network, are that their testimonial pages are filled with publishers who used the old Chitika system.  One of the testimonials proudly displayed on their testimonial review page is one of my own, which is a far cry from how I feel now about the company and Ad network.  I’ve requested my testimonial removed, since its not an accurate representation of how I feel about Chitika anymore and I would encourage others to do the same.

It’s disappointing after a year of publishing for Chitika that now I’m thrown to the curb, without so much as an explanation.  Looking back I’m embarrassed at all the people I referred to Chitika and glorified the program as the next step in online advertising and earning potential for publishers.  Shame on you Chitika.

Conversion Failing of Their Own Design

It’s no secret that the success of Chitika ads were due to the image in place next to the text advertisement.  Many people were using this technique with Google Adsense, until it became obvious that such clicks converted far lower than normal display methods for advertisers.  Adsense was quick to change policies and prohibit the use of images next to their advertisements on a web page.

Chitika adopted and fleshed out the potential for higher traffic and higher earnings through volume clicks, with the help from the images next to ads.  But it looks like YPN has decided that they want higher converting traffic from a network of publishers molded and supportive of the way Chitika was.  Their own ad design allowed for lower converting traffic for advertisers, but now they are punishing the publisher for their mistakes.

Pending Further Review

Lastly, one of my sites is pending further review, which means they are looking into ways to bring my abysmal impressions back up.  Yet this domain is still not good enough for Chitika Premium ads, so what’s the point?  My automotive website has been good enough to draw advertising campaigns from large automotive companies from all over the world, who have continued to use my site as a way to advertise their product.  How is it not good enough for Chitika Premium?  How do I make it better and improve performance for Chitika Premium?  Without published guidelines it’s anyone’s guess.

I hate playing these types of games with advertising companies and the changes in Chitika remind me too much of EPN.  I’ve already removed the majority of my Chitika code from my sites, not that they will miss me, but I’m hurt, angry, and plan on letting everyone that I can know about what I’ve experienced.

Alternate Post Title1 year Chitika Review, Stay AWAY!

Use Chrome For Keyword Density

I’ve stumbled across a great function of Google Chrome to easily find out what kind of keyword density I’m putting into my posts. Actually, the function within the Google Chrome browser will provide feedback on exactly how many times a word is used on the open page and highlight where that word can be found.

To search the keyword, simply press Ctrl+F, which will bring a drop down in the top right of the browser to enter a search term. After entering the search term the keyword will be highlighted on the page. Within the drop down search menu will be a 1 of XX, displaying how many times the keyword was used on the page.

This neat little Chrome trick will help in increasing or decreasing the density of keywords being used on an article. Although it’s also a great tool to use when searching for specific information on a HUGE page full of irrelevant text.

Google Sites and Google Friend Connect

So Google has just released one of their better social networking applications and we can’t even use it on their official Sites pages?  As of this posting there is no way to integrate Google Friend Connect gadgets on Google Sites pages.

I’m working on a few pages that would greatly benefit from having their ‘Share This’ gadget, along with member signups, and newsletter confirmations.  However, the current state of Google Sites prohibits the use of any code that requires javascript, other than their Adsense which can be added into the sidebar.

The Google Friend Connect code can be added via the html function of Google Sites, but the user is greeted with a warning that the potentially dangerous code will be removed upon viewing.  A la, no more working Google Friend Connect on Google Sites.

I’m not the only one upset that Friend Connect won’t work with Sites.  A thread on the official Sites Forum has over 43 posts from people looking to add Friend Connect to their personal Google Site pages.  The reason it hasn’t been integrated yet, my best guess is that they were too busy copying Twitter to come up with Buzz!.

Pepperjam Network and AutoPartsWarehouse.com

Honeymoon is over PJN, time to start offering as many linking options as CJ in regards to the advertisers you carry.  I still stand behind my statements that the Pepperjam Network is one of the best online, but they are only as good as the tools they offer.  From where I’m setting, Pepperjam Ads just isn’t cutting the mustard.  Lastly, for the life of me I can’t get Pepperjam Store to convert, so what does work?

Currently on my automotive website I’m taking a much more proactive approach at attracting visitors for very specific products.  AutoPartsWarehouse.com seems to have plenty of products that can turn into a virtually endless amount of content for me to write about, but how best to link to what I’m trying to sell?  With Pepperjam my options are limited to banners, coupons, and some text links, however Commission Junction offers some fantastic Advanced Link options.

Specifically within AutoPartsWarehouse.com link catalog on CJ you are able to create interactive product searches.  More importantly there are figures published on CJ that prove these types of linking strategies work.  So why hasn’t PJN offered these advanced links yet?  Is it a problem with Pepperjam or with the individuals in charge of AutoPartsWarehouse.com’s affiliate program?

Chrome Conspiracy Theory

Maybe it’s the fact that AdBlock Plus has started cutting into my profits, maybe it’s the fact that I’m starting to like Chrome and faith that it will reach it’s full potential, or maybe it’s because I watched a 90 movie on the JFK assassination last night.  Either way, I’m starting to wonder if the Google Chrome Browser wasn’t created to preemptively stop add-ons like AdBlock Plus.  Why wouldn’t Google want to protect it’s paying AdWords users from a potentially dehabilitating browser add on that is growing in popularity?

As you know, as of now, there are no add ons for Chrome.  Sure, there are tweaks, and lots of options to configure, but no real meat and potatoes for add ons, which are available for FireFox.  Now, I strongly believe in a future version of Chrome there will be some opening up to 3rd party addons and stronger in house addons developed.  However, I think they will be tightly monitored and those that couldn’t potentially hurt Google’s interests will not be allowed.  The best way to nip this in the butt, to start gaining market share now, to control the flow of change progress interruption.

I hope I’m wrong, because the slippery slope means bad things for the open source community.  But I just get the nagging feeling that Google is attempting to control the browser market so that they can eliminate potential 3rd party threats to their business models.

WiredTree.com Launching Affiliate Program

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WiredTree.com is my new hosting provider and I absolutely could not be happier with the level of support and flexibility they offer.  I’ve made several posts stating this even before they announced plans to release an affiliate program.  So it’s obvious I’m happy with their hosting, at least the VPS package I’ve signed up with.  Even more impressive for a hosting company is that they’ve already upgraded my server package, for FREE.  I feel confident recommending them as a hosting provider to anyone interested in a step above shared hosting.

Alexis Babiarz has been charged with building and developing the affiliate program for the past few months.  From what I can tell from the beta release, it looks like time well spent.  The administration panel offers access to all the general tools for affiliate publishers, like banners, text links, and general information on becoming a better affiliate.  Of note are a few resources like a redirect tool for affiliate links.

The WiredTree affiliate program offers some very competitive commissions compared to other hosting affiliate programs.  The only thing that is missing as of this posting is the ability to accept a lower, reoccurring commission that benefits those referrals that become long time customers.  Below is a breakdown on the tiers of commissions currently available from the WiredTree program.

1 – 25 Referrals Earn 75% cash commission or 100% credit from each new
client’s first month total.

26 – 50 Referrals Earn 100% cash commission or 125% credit from each new
client’s first month total.

51 – + Referrals Earn 125% cash commission or 150% credit from each new
client’s first month total.

According to the announcement within the Grove Administrative Panel on WiredTree.com the affiliate program has not been released to the public as yet.  So for now only customers of WiredTree can sign up and then must be manually approved.  The official launch of the hosting affiliate program will be sometime in August, I’m guessing August 1st.

WiredTree.com Offers Free Upgrades

Start your own Web Hosting Company.  View this complete, step by step blue print to starting a web hosting company.

Just received a wonderful announcement today from my hosting provider WiredTree.com!  They will be bumping up everyone’s VPS plan for free.  So whichever tier you choose, the program you choose will automatically be upgraded to the specs of the tier above yours.

Dear Valued WiredTree VPS Client,

We are pleased to announce we are upgrading VPS resources for all existing customers! We will be phasing out our VPS384 plan and we will be introducing a VPS1024 plan as our new high-end VPS plan. Every VPS plan will be shifted up a step from the plan it is on currently. For example, if you have a VPS384 currently, you will be upgraded to our new VPS512. If you have a VPS768 you will be upgraded to our VPS1024. This “level up” will be occurring for all current VPS customers, and the best part? Your rates will remain the same!

We have invested thousands of dollars over the past few months upgrading our infrastructure to support these increased allocations to ensure you are getting the best value for your money. These upgrades will be performed throughout the rest of the month and you will receive a personalized email when your VPS has been upgraded letting you know your new resources. Nearly every client will receive a memory and bandwidth upgrade and some will receive a disk space upgrade as well. Again, you will receive a personalized email for each VPS you have during the next couple of weeks with specific details on what has been upgraded on your account. There will not be any downtime required to perform the upgrade either!

I can’t exclaim enough how much happier I am now that I’ve switched to them as a hosting provider.  WiredTree.com is heads and shoulders above the type of service and uptime I was receiving from ManageMyBox.com, good riddance.