Hunger Games Coming to Big Screen

I read a ton, unfortunately my wife would disagree.  If I don’t have my head stuck in a book, I’m not a reader.  It’s very convenient for her to ignore the countless hours spent reading blogs, forums, and online news articles.  So, to appease my wife I agreed to read some non-fiction last year, my first assignment was Hunger Games.

Hunger Games is a young adult book (YA), targeted at the same generation responsible for Twilight.  Thankfully, the quality of writing is far superior to anything vampiry and even as a 30 year old male I was entertained.  What’s not to enjoy?

Continue reading “Hunger Games Coming to Big Screen”

Unlimited Income From Referrals

Have you been looking for an affiliate network that would pay you a percentage of commission based off the revenue earnings of your referral?  Motive Interactive is one of the leading edge affiliate networks that focuses on CPA programs.  Imagine, being paid a commission because a referred visitor entered their zip code into single field submit website and BAM you earn a whopping $3.75.  These types of programs exist on the Motive Interactive network and most importantly they pay handsomely for referred publishers.

How it works is, for every publisher you refer to Motive Interactive, you will earn a 2% commission off of their revenue.  For example, if you refer a publisher that earns $100, you will net $2 for doing nothing.  As you can see, the more you refer, the more you earn for setting on your bum.  These are life time commissions, no end date like other affiliate networks.

It’s a win-win referral.  You help someone find a quality affiliate network to start generating revenue off of and Motive Interactive pays you for your efforts.  Start earning money with Motive Interactive now and as usual I wouldn’t bother with a positive review and affiliate link if I didn’t use the program myself.

Motive Interactive Affiliate

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

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!

Conversion Tracking With Affiliate Programs

The number one problem with CPC advertising of Affiliate Programs is that it can be very difficult to do tests(specifically split tests) on conversions.  I’ve began to see a growing trend amongst digital goods providers that allows an affiliate to add their tracking code to the vendors ‘Thank You’ page.  Let’s look at why this is necessary and how this one simple action could seal the deal on choosing a product to affiliate for.

Out of the box digital product conversions on cost per click advertising cannot be tracked.  You can of course setup an affiliate landing page and track your own CTR’s and even how many outgoing clicks your links generate.  However, often times visitors do not complete a purchase, click the link multiple times, etc.  To properly track a conversion a tracking code needs to be attached to a linking page and on a transaction completion page.  Since the affiliate doesn’t own the product the tracking code can not be placed on the final transaction page.

Some companies are working closer with affiliates by allowing an affiliates tracking code to be placed upon their final thank you transaction page.  One digital product of note is the wildly popular MoviesCapital on Clickbank.  They openly accept tracking codes to be placed on their pages, which can help you fine tune your Adwords campaigns.

Tracking and testing to an affiliate is priceless.  Helping with tracking, to me, is the #1 thing an affiliate program manager can do to help their affiliates.  Although on certain scales this is not possible, coming up with a method to allow this interaction could pay off in spades to the right affiliate network.

Chitika Review, First Impressions

Well, it’s been just around 24 hours since I began testing the Chitika Premium Ads on my automotive site.  Currently, my automotive blog is receiving around 3,200 page views per day, with the majority of traffic coming from Google search.  This should spell a winning combination, considering how Chitika Premium works.  Let’s look at my first impression, downsides first, then lets look at what’s coming UP.

Initial Downside

Slow reports, which require at least till 10:00 AM the next morning before clicks are computed.  New users must also wait up to 3 days before earning are reported, so other than clicks and impressions, no other figures are provided.  When compared to Google Adsense, this is a huge short coming, but not something that will send me packing.

The reports, even once they are updating every 24 hours, require a audit.  This means that you will not be paid your reported earnings, rather a audit, based on quality of traffic, that usually amounts to a 10% drop in what is indicated.  I’ve never had this with other PPC programs, only on CPA traffic, so this is throwing me for a loop.

Last downside is the review process to start even using Chitika ads.  They require a detailed application, which is reviewed by a human and can take up to 3 days to be completed.  Thankfully, my review took less than 4 hours, I’m wondering if that’s the norm.  But again, only in CPA programs have I ever had to set through a review process, when I’m ready to start using a new program, let me start on my terms!  Nothing to scare me off just yet though.

Initial Upside

So easy to generate code and the wizard is self explanatory for customizing size, colors, and ad-variations.  I was very pleased to hear that Chitika could be used next to Adsense, so without sacrificing too much web real estate to try a new program, I can test placements.  Which also brings up the fact of having an alternate ad shown, even on another network, when there is no search term found or unqualified traffic views the page.  I’m using a Google Adsense block of the same size, so earning comparisons should be spot on.

Great referral program!  That’s right, Chitika has a great referal program that will pay you 10% of whatever your referral earns for up to 15 months.  This is what you earn per publisher, but make up to $25 for every $100 spent for referring an Advertiser.  Easy to see why so many guru’s have the Chitika banners plastered all over their posts, coupled with long winded multiple part review posts. (hmmmm)

In 3 days I will happily give a report of my published earnings.  I’m hoping to at least compliment my Adsense placements without subtracting from their current earnings.  Right now I’m making some pretty impressive bank from tried and true Adsense, I will be a tough nut to crack.

Why Sign Up To PepperJam Affiliate Network?

Why sign up to another affiliate network like PepperJam, when there is already a ton of other options available?  Competitors like Commission Junction and LinkShare have been around a lot longer and provide a larger number of programs to pull from.  But what makes PepperJam special or why would someone suggest joining another affiliate network, even if to use the same programs?  I’ll tell you why I choose to sign up with PepperJam and how it’s made my online marketing life a lot easier.

Customer Service

First things first, the PepperJam Network provides the absolute best customer service of any affiliat network I’ve ever signed up to.  All of their employees have been extremely nice, helpful, and if they dont’ have the immediate answers they have called me back within a reasonable time.  Furthermore, every time I’ve called I’ve been greeted with a real person, not an answering machine service.

I’ve also found that their employees, which specialize in specific programs have a stronger grasp of individual programs.  So isntead of talking to a catch-all employee, specific questions about a program are routed to the person in charge of that program.  Companies like CJ have this to an extent, but not on a level I’ve experienced while working with PJN.

Payment Options

The faster I get paid, the better and PJN offers payments every 2 weeks on locked commissions.  This means that my PPC campaigns aren’t left out to dry over a month while I wait on a commission check.  After an initial hold on new accounts (30 days), if you keep your plate full its possible to receive payments twice a month.  Also, the Pepper Jam Network pays out through PayPal, which I prefer.

Program Tracking And Functionality

To be honest, I feel a little intimidated when I do searches on Commission Junction, looking to create a relationship with programs.  It’s a bulky system with small popout windows, PepperJam just does a better job.  Their system is easily searchable, contains all relevant information, and provides links and banners is an easy to read fullsize window.  Searching for specific banner sizes, advanced links, and text ads is a breeze and doesn’t require endless scrolling for the one that’s  ‘just right’.

Their tracking appears to be spot on, especially when working with some of their larger affiliate programs like eBay.  Generally the tracking is done by third party systems, which are cross checked against PJN’s stats.  My only complaint is that their SID reporting sucks (at least for the ebay program) and they don’t offer a domain level report system.  This is more of a problem for me, since I setup multiple sites with multiple stores that causes confusion within their tagging of SID transactions.

All in all however it’s a great tracking system with easy to read reporting.  Compared with competitors like CJ it feels light weight and easy to use, not nearly as daunting to get a quick read on how your programs are doing.

Conclusion

I originally signed up with PJN becuase I was looking for an alternative to the mess that was the Ebay Partner Network.  But what I found was a full service, easily approached, and functional affiliate network that I intend to grow with.  It’s going to take some time, since I primarily focus on stores for eBay, but they offer enough variety that I can fill any niche I will come across.  I’m sure they will have something for you too, just check them out and see if they aren’t one of the top players in the Affiliate Network business today.

Sign up to PepperJamNetwork today and get $10 FREE! I can’t think of a better incentive to join a network that will help you grow your affiliate business.

PJN Promo

An Honest Affiliate Espionage Review

This is a completely honest and straight forward review of the latest affiliate FireFox plugin, Affiliate Espionage.  This review will assume a few things about the reader,  so as not to wear down on the finer details of affiliate marketing.  First assumption is that you use FireFox and understand the plugin process.  Second, you are somewhat familiar with affiliate marketing and traffic generating methods. Lastly, you have a decent grasp on the workings of Adwords and are already familiar with the process of trial and error keywords to get the best ROI through your Adword campaigns.

My History Of Affiliate Tools

I’ve used my fair share of affiliate tools or plugins to help at least research and automate some of the research process.  Some of my favorite tools in the marketing process are SEO Quake, Rank Checker, and KeyWord Explorer.  This being said, I have never purchased a plugin or even purchased from a typical landing sales pitch page.  Yes, Affiliate Espionage is the first exception I’ve made to buying into the hype, no matter how well founded.

Experience With Adwords

At least one of my websites have had an active Adwords campaign going on at any given time for the past 2 years.  Generally I spend the majority of my time figuring out long tail keywords, low bid terms, or looking for new angles on creating a campaign.  It takes some time to build up enough research, not to mention money on wasted keyword campaigns.  This wasted time and money is what led me to search for an alternative, a way for me to gauge how well a keyword will convert, without me having to waste my own money on it.

This is not typical information you will find on webmaster forums, obviously the highest converting keywords are always kept a secret.  And in the past few months I’ve been trying to diversify my affiliate revenue portfolio, so testing has been the bulk of my time online.  Generally research starts with brainstorming, then to see what Google Keywords tool has to say, and finally throwing together a low budget campaign.  The problem is that these low budget campaigns can quickly add up over a few days and tweaking can take even longer to develop enough of a track record to know if it’s(Adwords Campaign) really working or a fluke.  Affiliate Espionage is a FireFox plugin to help solve these problems and help me focus on only keywords that are converting.

Buying Process

The Affiliate Espionage landing page is just like every other over hyped product on the market, it’s flashy and full of look how cool I am pictures.  Personally, those are enough to turn me off, but it’s function is what really brought me in, so I had to put blinders on to the marketing aspect of it.  As usual, the nuts and bolts of the sales process can be found at the bottom of an extremely too long page, Add to Cart for just $9.97.

Affiliate Espionage accepts PayPal and is a straight forward purchase, followed by the necessary ‘Limited Time Offer’ to upgrade to a keyword version of the plugin.  This upsell didn’t interest me in the slightest bit, especially since I came after this plugin KNOWING what I wanted.  After I clicked off ‘No Thanks’ it was straight to the startup page, where I setup my account information, downloaded the plugin, go the PDF Manual and had access to the how-to videos.

I’ve picked the manual appart and it’s very well put together and straightforward answering any and all immediate questions.  Also, the download is simple, only requiring an extration of a zip file and then typical FireFox plugin install.  Affiliate Espionage requires one verification process, which checks your license key and email.  No problems there and I have tested installing Affiliate Espionage on multiple computers, no issues there either.

Getting Started With Affiliate Espionage

My first reaction to using the Affiliate Espionage plugin was, ‘This was a dud.’  For some reason, in my head, I thought that an existing database of keyword history campaigns would come with the plugin. No, there is no Affiliate Espionage database to download, import, or steal from, you have to make your own from your own set of keywords.

This makes sense, now, that in no way would I want others to have my keywords.  Furthermore, it’s a discovery tool, a research aid to help me figure out what keywords I need to be competing with.  What good would the tool be if it gave everyone the same information.  Also, could you imagine how big that database of keywords and Adword campaign history it would be?  Too big.  My initial reaction was quickly alleviated once I realized that setting up my own automatic affiliate espionage campaign was simple.

The plugin works by utilizing individual keyword searches you make in Google, providing you with all the necessary stats that are presented on the Affiliate Espionage website.  However, to really get the most out of the plugin you need to do batch processing setup on a set schedule, that way you can really tell if a keyword is working for an affiliate.  Taking a snap shot of ad campaigns for just a few days is not enough,  this plugin needs weeks, a month, or more to get accurate data that you can start building affiliate sites and Adword campagins around.

Once these campaigns and automated keyword lists are setup, the rest is a breeze and the majority of the research is done for you.  It really is a wonderful tool, that keeps me from feeling guilty for not doing more manual research, and allows me to focus on more important different things.  Say for example, link building, writing bad ass plugin reviews, or just wasting my time on Reddit.

Ease of Use

Affiliate Espionage is really easy to use, once you get used to the acronyms used.  Basically after you performa  Google search you are presented with highlighted fields next to each individual ad.  Each highlighted area contains a plethora of information about the Ad campaign, such as length it’s been used, keywords used, landing page url, and even has the ability to find out which advertisers are using affiliate links on the landing page.

Setting up your keyword list to run weekly can be a little daunting at first, but really is simple after you do it just once.  Much like figuring out the acronyms, after you know what they mean, it’s a great tool to use at a glance.  No need for advanced usage here, what you see is what you get, it’s just a matter of how often you search for valuable keywords.

Support for Affiliate Espionage

So far I haven’t needed any support for the plugin, however it appears that they have an advanced ticket system if it’s needed.  Also, they provide plenty of helpful videos and a through FAQ page that covers any basic questions or problems you might have getting started.

In Conclusion

I would strongly recommend the purchase of Affiliate Espionage to any affiliate marketer, at any level.  Even if you’ve been doing online marketing for years, the automatic process of pulling Adword campaign information is well worth the measly $9.97 you will spend on this Fire Fox plugin.  And if you are new to online marketing and looking to get your feet wet with Adwords, this tool could save you countless dollars, wasted on finding the best converting keyword combination.

If you found my review useful, please use my affiliate link when purchasing Affiliate Espionage.


*Disclaimer

I don’t refer or affiliate any products on my blog that I don’t personally use.  Even then I’m hesitant to recommend products or tools because mileage may vary on any digital product.  When you see a recommendation here, it is unsolicited, and comes from my own experience.

PJN Stats Are Horendous

Whomever talked PepperJamNetwork into using SID reports instead of domain reports must have been one smooth talker.  It’s cumbersome, difficult to read, specifically in regards to the eBay affiliate program when running multiple BANS and phpBay stores.  To Pepper Jam’s credit however it is the only issue I have with the company.

Anytime I’ve called the fine ladies over at PJN they have been quick to answer the phone, helpful, and always seemed to talk with a smile on their face.  Hell, just tlaking to a real person at a company feels like an exercise in futility and rarely does the person ansering the phone know the answers to my questions.  Thank you Pepper Jam for providing GREAT customer support.

But please , PLEASE, PLEASE fix your reporting to offer some sort of solution other than SID tracking.  A simple way to analyze my stats via domain would provide me much more useful information than the crap SID reporting shows.  Perhaps this is only a problem for those using BANS or phpBay, but I know it’s a pain in the ass because I can never tell specifically where the sale is coming from.

Furthermore, as a message to the boys managing the eBay affiliate program, FIX BOTS BEING COUNTED AS CLICKS.  Here we are months after release and bots are still being counted as clicks on my reporting methods through Pepperjam, which is destroying my EPC.  Figuring ROI through my ad campaigns is difficult enough on it’s own, without having to comb through worthless reports and ‘guess’ at what my real EPC is.

Pepper Jam Network
Pepper Jam Network

Alternative To CPA Premium Content Gateway

CPALead offers a great tool to affiliates that provides a popup announcing to the visitor that they are accessing premium content.  In this popup it offers ways to access the page by filling out a few forms and generally submitting an email.  Of course these forms are affiliate links, which payout to the site owner, making the operator some cash by being paid per lead.  I needed an alternative to this, one that I could modify myself and add other offers and tweak to my hearts desire.

After some searching I found a free alternative to teh Premium Content Gateway script provided by CPALead, which is completely independent of any affiliate network.  I used the code from Dynamic Drive and their DHTML Window Widget to create my own content gateway.

The widget provides code that you must add to the pages of your site where you want the window to popup.  The widget actually works by opening a preexisting html page that you create.  Therefore it’s possible to add any text, images, or affiliate links you want.  The html page can of course be modeled directly after the CPALead gateway if you wish.

View an example of my Premium Content Gateway to a MySpace resource site.  Happy affiliating!