Yahoo Advertiser Closure Fees

Ok, so I know I haven’t used the Yahoo Advertising service in forever, but actually closing my account and taking my money?  Apparently, if you don’t use your Yahoo Advertiser account for so long, they close it down and steal whatever money you had setting in the account, up to the $25 closing fee.  Not a lot of money, but considering how awful the return was, I’d suspect Yahoo is making more money from closing accounts than retaining customers.

Somehow, according to the email correspondence from Yahoo, the account had remained inactive for about 24 months.  2 years!?  Hell, had no idea I even had an advertising account for that long.  However, goes to show how much potential the Yahoo advertising network had for me, personally.

I understand the need to close the account, but I was given no notice of the impending doom.  Perhaps 30 days or so to let me spend my remaining few dollars would have been nice.  It’s frustrating, because unlike Google Adsense you are required to preload your advertising account at Yahoo, instead of being billed every month.  So, add funds, stop a campaign halfway and BAM, dollars resting in an account you forget about for 2 years.

Lesson learned and a warning to others.  Empty that old Yahoo advertiser account.

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?

Pulled From Both Sides, Affiliate Marketing

I just got done having a brief discussion with a coworker explaining the problem I’m being faced with as an online affiliate marketer.  In the short and sweet I’m being pulled by the bad economy, meaning visitors are not converting as high as normal.  On the other side I’m being pulled by affiliate programs, which are tightening the reins and becoming more exclusive.  Being pulled from both sides puts a huge strain on my already dwindling bank account.

Consider that just a few years ago it was possible to get into almost any affiliate program.  Also, once in these programs there were huge incentives with arguably low ceilings.  eBay is a perfect example of this, with their EPN program switching from CJ to in house and providing lots of easy commissions to affiliates.  Now, they have made it to where they aren’t accepting everyone and are booting you for having low conversions.

Is this a trend likely to continue through the end of the year?  I had hoped that we would see an increase in incentives from affiliate programs as we near the holidays.  There haven’t been seem to been any ramp of that I’ve seen, but they could be waiting until the latter part of November.

Without question, this holiday season will directly make or break online companies.  If this is a slow buying Christmas, then some companies will simply shut the doors.  However, if there is an uptick, like others are predicting, then these same companies will be relying on the sales from Christmas to pull them out of the red in 2009.

P.S. Just a friendly reminder, remember to diversify so that one failing affiliate program doesn’t bring you to your knees.

Best Article Writing Tip

The start of my article writing career, as a means of link building and advertising, has been met with simply the best tip EVER.  This article writing tip is straight from the pros over at EzineArticles.com and can be found within their free Article Writing Training series PDF.

Keep an Ace Up Your Sleeve: Alway skeep a tidbit of important information in reserve to make your readers want more.  Remember, your article can generate traffic, so use the Resource Box to entice your readers to click on your website link.

This little gem just struck me to the bone and really rang true in between my ears.  Furthermore, I wonder how many comments I’ve made on blogs, threads in forums, or just general blog posts where I didn’t keep this tip in mind.  I could have been losing all a lot of traffic over the years, mainly because I’ve been primarily focused on ‘content’ content, content.  I think my composition needs to be reworked, proofed, and a specific goal with each article that I write.

Starting with this simple blog post, can you spot or guess the Ace Up My Sleeve?

Marketing Christmas, After Christmas

I’m faced with an unusual question this year, which is how do I continue to market a Christmas affiliate site after Christmas has ended.  My Christmas site focuses on a specific niche, but is heavily dependent upon Christmas, so basically now my traffic has dropped out and I’m faced with deciding on the amount of time and energy to invest in a site I won’t see hardly any returns on until a year from now.

The good news is that my niche focuses on a specific aspect of Christmas that people may be searching throughout the year, think collectible decorations.  This will allow me to get some return on residual income until Dec 25th 2009, but hardly the revenue I would expect from devoting time to wider project.  Furthermore I would expect that time spent earlier on in the year will pay off 10 fold come the holiday season next year, which will allow me to recoop some time spent now.  Therefore I’ve came up with the following plan of action.

1. Updating Semi-Frequently

The niche I’m covering allows for plenty of content creation, so I intend to update about half as often as I was before the holidays.  Basically this should work out to 1-2 posts per week, thus creating a nice archive of pages come next Christmas.  I dont’ think it would benefit me revenue wise over time spent to devote anymore time than that, in regards to content creation.

2. Link Building

The bulk of my link building will be focused on article marketing, since direct link purchases and exchanges will more than likely wear off by the time they would do the most good.  I hope to create some great articles to the tune of a few a month that will remain permanent on database sites.  Continually building links will keep my site seeming fresh in Google’s eyes even though visitors may not be plentiful, helping keep my site in good favor with Google.

3. New Sub-Niche’s

Fleshing out new sub niches will also benefit me throughout the year and I’ll have time to focus on the smaller niche’s that I was too busy to focus on during the launch.  Building up to Christmas 08 was kind of a rush and I just didn’t have time to find smaller sub-niche’s that would have been profitable, but now I can plan for that traffic next year.  Also, I have an edge over the 08 Season because I already have a pretty good keyword list built up from Google Analytics that will allow me to be more focused.

4. Focus on Deal Seeker’s

After the holiday’s the internet, just like traditional stores, are ripe with deals.  Consumers are aware of this and will be looking to get their hands on inventory for a discount.  I hope to capitalize on this thirst for savings by checking out what kind of offers my current affiliates are offering to liquidate.  These items will be the focus of my content creation for at least the first quarter of 09.

Outlook

The US economy, like a lot of the world, is in trouble and hopes to pull out of a recession in 09.  However, not all is bad news considering Amazon.com posted a record holiday season, so buying on the internet has not slowed.

Another side benefit to keeping a seasonal site fresh in Google’s eyes is that hopefully I will gain some PR and link juice.  While I don’t focus my marketing entirely on these factors, many people do and it can make for some great link sales starting around Halloween next year.  So, I better start marking my calendar now to anticipate what the holiday will bring in 2009.  Hopefully money.

EPN Announces ACRU Tiers

Let me start by saying I’m very, very excited about the new program eBay Partner Network will be putting into place, which will promote quality registrations and help weed out the thin affiliates.  Their plan, which will effect new signups but not existing EPN members until November 1st, is to not pay a flat $25 for all ACRU’s in the US.  Instead, EPN will give payouts at the end of the month based on the quality of traffic sent and how eBay views the new registration, in terms of longevity and potential revenue to eBay.  If you derive most of your EPN affiliate revenue from winning bids, then this won’t really effect you because those tiers are not changing, only ACRUs.

The tiers for the new ACRU system is wide and I mean wide, meaning that you could earn as little as a dollar for sending crap traffic or as much as $50!  I’m hoping to be at the latter end of the scale, since repeatedly my new signups purchase multiple items throughout the eBay cookie length.

To aid in the shock of this new system EPN will be providing parrallel stats until November 1st which will show you what affiliates would be making and will be making on the new system.  However, actual payouts on the new tier ACRU will only take effect in November, so if you are a thin affiliate sending craptastic traffic it will give you an opportunity to bail out and find something else.  On the flip side, it’ll be hard to stomach those bigger numbers when you know you can’t get them till later on in the year.

Big Question

There is still talk that EPN is having trouble tracking ACRUs and even winning bids and on a large scale if you believe the official EPN forums.  Will they be able to accurately track this new level of data?  I would expect some serious discussions going on between now and November 1st, most likely very heated discussions.

It was just last month that eBay announced that they would be hiring an outside firm to help test EPN tracking.  Would be nice if they would at least publish these results fix or state things are running smooth before rolling out a completely new revenue system.  But, I’m just a worker bee, not a thinker bee.

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Programs I use to generate EPN ACRUs are phpBay and Build A Niche Store. Two great scripts that I highly recommend to any affiliate marketer new or experienced with eBay.

Add Amazon Affiliate Links To Blog Posts

I’m always game for finding a way to simply my work and currently I’m using a number of helpful scripts to get my job done. Often times finding a script that makes adding affiliate links to Word Press blog posts is just what the Dr. ordered, which is why I utilize phpBay. I’ve also discussed the benefits of using phpBay, how it can also help with unique content and getting search traffic for long tail keywords.

Today I came across a new plugin that I’m hoping will make my life easier, WP-Amazon. This neat little plugin makes configuring my Amazon Associates ID and searching items to add to posts a breeze. WP-Amazon adds an Amazon search bar to the side of your ‘Write’ post screen, where you can find an item, select options and automatically add it to your posts. I’m eager to see how this will save me time and convert visitors to affiliate sales.

Perhaps the maker of WP-Amazon should look into creating a similar plugin for big CJ affiliates as well. There is no doubt I could find a use for a similar wp plugin for NewEgg and others.

See below for an example of what an Amazon product added to a blog post with WP-Amazon looks like.

The E-Code: 33 Internet Superstars Reveal 43 Ways to Make Money Online Almost Instantly---Using Only Email

The E-Code: 33 Internet Superstars Reveal 43 Ways to Make Money Online Almost Instantly—Using Only Email

I’ll be coming up with a full review of this plugin, along with other suggestions in the next few days.  After my first post I’m noticing a few bugs that screw with my display, but no big deal.  Furthermore, having a nice template print out instead of a drag and drop image and title would be beneficial as well.  I’ll do some searching and be back later.

Auctiva

[original content removed]

First, thanks to the CEO of Auctiva for having a pair and calling me direct on this, it does say something about the character of the owner.  Second, this post will be reserved for further insight into the Auctiva business practices that have been reported to me, with the hope that case studies will become available so that I’m not considered just a blogger spouting lies.  Lord knows I don’t have the pocket book for that and also have what some would consider morals.  If what I find is completely contrary to what was originally reported on Auctiva, yes, an apology will be written.

Lastly, to whom it may concern, threatening a person willing to work and listen to you is just bad business practice and frankly makes you look like a dick.  Check in your support department, I’m the one who called you back.

EPN Announces Problems and Fixes

It looks like the eBay Partner Network is finally addressing some problems that date back to the beginning of April, unfortunately it doesn’t look like problems that most are concerned with.  You can find a list of fixes and bugs that they’ve squashed on the EPN Blog.  Judging by the EPN discussion forums and other webmaster forums most people were concerned with actual ACRU and revenue reporting issues.  Personally, I’ve not experienced any problems.

According to the EPN blog they have addressed issues like Customer Support downtime, confirming registrations, API Id’s and the like.  These issues do not discuss anything to do with their possible reporting errors with a small percentage of their publishers.  I’m still assuming that the ones having problems are just not use to the swing cycle of online marketing, especially on a garage sale affiliate network.  Guess what, people are outside this time of year and they don’t have any money anyways.

I think Yoda knows what he is talking about, ‘Patience’.

Check out the full post for the list of fixes on the EPN.

Continue reading “EPN Announces Problems and Fixes”

Finding The Holy Grail of Adwords

I’ve been involved in the online marketing game for a little more than 2 years and in those 2 years I’ve improved exponentially almost daily.  It amazes me at just how much free and valuable information is available, if you can spare the time to educate yourself.  But don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, taking valuable information and applying that same knowledge is two different things and that is often where the breakdown happens.  I myself have just recently been able to break the Google Adwords conundrum, after playing around with it for almost 1 year.

Time in the past could have been better applied to perfecting the balance between on-site optimization and attention to page quality score.  Just now, in the past 2 months I’m realizing the benefit of optimizing my page score and finding the right balance to get my bid on keywords to an all time low.  This my friends is how it’s done, this is how people are becoming profitable, and this is how you turn a costly investment into a comfortable daily expense.  In a matter of months I’ve been able to turn keywords I would normally pay $.36-.45 per click for, into $.06 per click opportunities. Apparently my optimization in regards to getting cookie credit was not the problem…it was the cost of getting those visitors to my site.

In the grand scheme of Pay Per Click advertising I’m still a little fish, but what I’ve learned these past few months is opening up more doors than ever.  Furthermore, it’s knowledge that is freely available IF you teach yourself how to apply it.  Thankfully I have some capital built up in my business, so trial and error while costly, did not break me.  Perhaps that is the key, not going upside down in the quest for lower paying keywords.

Could I tell you exactly how to do this for your site and niche? No. I’m not being elitist when I say this? No, because there are so many factors, that no one could possibly write out a step by step scenario to answer your woes.  No one is feeding you bull when they tell you to study your niche, focus on lower competition keywords, and start optimizing your site.  It works, but it takes time and dedication to be done right and consistently.  The payoffs for when you do find the right combination however is enormous and nothing hardly a thing feels better than watching that affiliate revenue rack up throughout the month.

Let this be my motivational post for the month.  Good luck.