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.

How To Find A Niche Market

The first problem that needs answering for affiliates is how to find a niche market.  Sure, there may be plenty of affiliate programs out there, but finding a niche market, accessing it’s ability to generate revenue, and then contemplating how much traffic you can generate stems from just one thing.  Which niche market you choose.

What’s Important

Traffic is probably number one on the list of requirements for finding a niche market.  Whether you are looking for a high traffic niche or focus on building sites around a lot of low traffic niche’s, traffic is your concern and how it molds your website.  The amount of traffic you intend on receiving will dictate if you build a store, blog, forum, or combination of all.  Furthermore, depending the niche market you find, developing a thin site just might not cut the mustard.

Competition is the next point to access.  It doesn’t matter how broad the niche market is if there are thousands of competitors.  Any piece of the pie will eventually be divided up, but a low competition niche will allow you to control a bigger market share.  Of course this is assuming you know how to properly market, promote, and then convert that traffic.

Are search visitors in this specific niche looking to buy or just browse.  Some niche markets have a lot of traffic, but the majority of hits are just people looking for info on an item they will never buy.  This typically will apply to very high dollar items or products that need a lot of tire kicking before being purchased locally.  To find a profitable niche market, try to find that widget that people are actually buying online or at least stem off side products to support the primary niche.

Find A Niche Market

The first place I start when looking for a market I’d like to compete in is eBay Pulse.   eBay Pulse will provide the top 10 watched items on eBay, broken down by category.  eBay is the largest online auction website in the world, so it’s a safe consider these results relative to what people are searching for on Google and other search engines.

Next, take this information to the Google Keyword Tool, which can even be used if you don’t have an Adwords account.  Here you can enter the general popular product you found on eBay Pulse and be given a mess of similar searched phrases and keywords.  More importantly the keyword tool will also give you the estimated amount of searches done Globally for the month and even Local searches.  This is the most important tool for judging traffic.  In addition, a rough estimate is given on ad competition, which does not necessarily represent the competition in the SERPs.

I regularly utilize the Google Keyword tool to find a niche market.  Usually I’ll enter a broad niche keyword, then follow the lower searched keywords and phrases to find a market I may not have previously been aware of.  Then I give a lot of attention to searching the keywords and phrases on the actual Google search engine.  After accessing the competition on the first page of results, I see if I judge if I’ll actually be able to compete.

Usually I’ll shy away from a niche market if I don’t already have a website with some sort of authority in the field.  Not a stead fast rule, but it allows me to jump right into a niche market and start competing immediately, but building off links from my already popular website.  Of course, my portfolio of websites would never grow unless I ventured out of my comfort zone, but still provides a good starting point.

Online tools to convert the traffic you receive from your Niche Market:

Associate-O-Matic – Recently updated Amazon store builder.

eMotive Interactive – Affiliate network that focuses on CPA commissions.

Niche Site Platform – Store builder that pulls products from Commission Junction, eBay, Amazon, and more.

Niche Site Platform $15 Coupon

September Coupon Code Update: WIZARDSPECIAL

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

Still haven’t had a chance to review the new piece of affiliate software I purchased a few weeks ago, but Niche Site Platform has released another coupon code.  This Niche Site Platform coupon is good for $15 off.

In addition, buy the product and become an affiliate, because Ben Johnson is paying out an amazing 50% commission on all of his products.  Which also means, do me a favor and buy this alternative to BANS, so I can earn up to $43.50.  Consider it a thank you for turning you onto this coupon code.

$15 Niche Site Platform Coupon Code : E47C6846F0

As mentioned in my previous post with a working $10 NSP coupon code, there will be a full review coming soon.  I’m just working out how I want to approach such a diverse, multi-use, tool.

Also, keep in mind I do not refer any product that I don’t personally use to make money.  So thank you in advance for using my affiliate link to purchase the Niche Site Platform product.

About Niche Site Platform

Niche Site Platform ExampleNiche Site Platform (NSP) is an all-in-one store building solution for multiple affiliate networks.  NSP is able to build stores based on keywords you enter to automatically link to products from Amazon, eBay, Commission Junction, Link Share, and more.  If you used Build A Niche Store, then you will be familiar with the layout and the method to build store pages.  It’s a great replacement for BANS, since it allows you to build off of other networks, instead of putting all your eggs in the eBay Partner Network basket.

In addition, the NSP script is installed as easily as any WordPress blog and comes complete with an administrator panel back end.  No experience is necessary to start building professional looking affiliate stores.

That’s the short and the sweet, expect a full Nails Blog review soon.

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!

Is Chitika Select Right For Your Site?

More impressions. More Revenue.

Hard to pass up a tag line like that, but maybe Chitika Select ads aren’t right for your site.  There have been many discussions surrounding the costs and benefits of utilizing the new Chitika Select addition to Premium ads, which bring up great points, regarding missed opportunities and not just revenue.  Feel free to follow the discussion on the official Chitika Blog’s Chitika Select post.

Darren, from Pro Blogger, made some very important points regarding return visitors.  The temptation of using Chitika Premium ads came from being able to place blocks of advertising to only be shown to search engine visitors, without disturbing normal readership.

Also, the addition of Chitika Select is setup as an Opt-Out instead of an Opt-In, which means if you weren’t paying attention these ads are being served whether you want them to or not.  Luckily, it’s a simple fix and is quickly being made public that the change needs to be made if you don’t want advertisements always being shown to your visitors.  Keep in mind, these ads will most likely be a lot less targeted, since arrival from a search engine is not required to trigger the impression.

I left the Chitika Ads Select run on my automotive website and after a little bit of tweaking on location I managed to increase my revenue by 50%.  My impressions were up a full 30%!  I’ve yet to see the result after Chitika’s dreaded audited report, but for now it looks like I’ll be leaving Select ads running.  I’d also recommend to almost anyone to leave  them running as well, just understand what you are doing. 😉

Paid Off, Exiting Debt

Last summer I paid off my F150 pickup truck and then last month I paid off my Jeep Grand Cherokee.  Well, yesterday I went and made the second to last payment on my Dodge Durango.  It feels amazing and without a doubt I wouldn’t be where I am without the affiliate income I earn on the internet and the motivation my 18 month daughter brings.  Of course, also, I would be lieing if I didn’t give credit to Dave Ramsey.  But more on that later in the post.

In total, in just vehicles, not including other debt, my wife and I have paid off more than $30,000 in debt.  Every check I wrote felt like a stone had been lifted from my shoulders.  The vehicles feel different when I drive them now and they look just a bit more shiny setting in my drive way.  Never again do I want to go back to a vehicle payment, to become a slave to the bank.

My wife is in agreement with me, we will never go into debt to purchase a vehicle ever again.  Furthermore, we have been working to remove ourselves from debt all together and the goal is within sight.  Other than the mortgage on our house, we intend to be debt free by the end of 2009.  This long journey started with the planning of my first child and has now continue 18 months later into a way of life.  As mentioned previously, listening to Dave Ramsey and reading what he suggests has been a great motivation and inspiration.

What I’m Currently Reading

Last week I went to the library and checked out Richest Man in Babylon, per Dave Ramsey’s recommendation.  Although I will typically only read nonfiction, this book has been a great way to solidy ideas I already have.  It’s an easy read, straight forward, simple sentence structures, and everything written holds true today as the day it was written.

Are you looking to get out of debt?  Do you want to know how others became successful or why those who win the lottery almost always eventually go into bankruptcy?  This book will get you started on how to build wealth, by eliminating debt, and keeping what’s rightfully yours…your income.

This post was not meant to gloat, because I know how fortunate my family is.  But now more than ever, it pays off to be frugal and focus on eliminating that slave feeling to your lenders.  I’m proof positive any happy spender can turn over a new leaf and become debt free.  Hell, I haven’t even used a credit card in more than 18 months.  It’s a lesson that has made my work life that much more rewarding and my wallet smile.

How To Find Your Adwords Quality Score

Adwords is a phenomenal and arguably the best PPC advertising medium currently available.  It’s easy enough anyone with 5$ can get started, but advanced enough to meet any veterans needs.  Adwords operates on auction style pricing, meaning those who bid the most for keywords get highest placement, more visability, etc.  However, an individual ads pricing may need to be higher based on an ads quality score.

The qualitys core is described by Google as a dynamic variable, which takes into account many on page factors (your ad landing page) to determine keyword relevancy.  The more relevant the landing page is to the keyword you are bidding on, the lower your bid must be to gain placement.  There is an easy way to find out what your Adwords Quality Score is, for each individual keyword within your Adwords campaign.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Select the campaign, then select the ad group for which you’d like to see keyword Quality Scores.
  3. Click Customize columns at the top of Keywords tab in the ad group table.
  4. Select Show Quality Score from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click Done when you’re finished.

For more official tips on maximizing your Google Quality score and finding out the official Google word, please view their Quality Score Help Page.  Getting a high quality score is extremely important to get low cost bids on keywords to maximize the ROI for any campaign.

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.

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”

Nails Escrow.com Review

Recently I sold off one of my websites for a substantial amount of money, at least for me. Now, I’m not a stranger to selling websites, since that’s originally what I started off doing over a year back. However, those sites were not established and generally sold in the neighborhood of $300-$400, something easy enough to receive through PayPal and not require contracts. This site was different, it was in the upper $x,xxx range and I was not willing to give PayPal any of it, AND I was worried about protecting my ownership until the funds were verified.

The process was simple and the transaction painless, mainly in part to the great communication the buyer had and because I’m such a charming bastard. Anyways, we agreed to a set of terms, negotiated final price, and both decided to protect our interests we should make sure it was legally binding. eBay was our first choice for such a transaction, since the auctions were considered binding and everything would be in writing…nothing hidden.(I hate he said, she saids) The auction was setup as a Buy It Now and the buyer was notified immediately after posting, so no one else would jump in and ruin a perfectly good transaction. 😉

Then, we both setup Escrow.com accounts, which was quite possibly the most painless thing I’ve ever done. Initial setup required only the basics and I opted to wait on revealing my financial details until I was sure the transaction would go through. Escrow was used for the domain ownership and as such Escrow.com had a simple sales template that I filled out using the predetermined details we discussed earlier. Within 15 mins the details were mailed to the buyer, where he was required to accept or decline.

After accepting the rest of the process was almost completely automated. The buyer was required to choose a payment option and in this case Wire Transfer was the only option for the dollar amount. Afterward Escrow.com kept in contact with me, notifying me when payment was selected, payments received, and payments verified.

After verification of monies, I was required to transfer the domain. After doing so I notified Escrow.com and then they checked to see if things had changed with the whois. Essentially it took about 48 hours for the process of money transfer to verifying domain transfer took place. After that it was as simple as me choosing a payment method.

Getting My Money

It’s as easy as entering your banks routing number, account number, and making sure you have your Bank’s address on file. But here is a TIP, ACH transfer and Wire transfer are not the same thing. Banks have a different Wire transfer routing number than the routing number found on the bottom of your checks, which is the correct routing number if you plan on doing an ACH transfer. I goofed, but caught it in time before batch processing had taken place.

Escrow.com Customer Service

Simply fantastic customer service! Not once did I feel like I was being left on hold too long, going through irritating automated messages, or getting the runaround. All I received was polite customer service attention and assurance that my problem was going to be fixed.

Thanks Escrow.com!

This was NOT a paid posting, only my honest to goodness opinion of a quality service. Because it was so painless, I may end up using it on smaller transactions now as well, just to play it safe.

Continue reading “Nails Escrow.com Review”