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?

After Christmas Slump In Earnings

It has been a dry year so far in 2010, at least with my revenue stream.  Only thing I can come up with is that people have went on lock down with their typical spending patterns, now that the holidays are over.  Or, perhaps, I’ve been targeting the wrong products and niche for New Years resolutions. When all reality, I didn’t plan for the New Year at all, lesson learned.

In previous years I had niches that were under high demand, year round, but this year I’m not so fortunate.  My websites have remained constant with their visitors and actual statistics, unfortunately the buying has dropped off dramatically.  So it got me thinking about the next holiday coming up and how I can better prepare for what consumers will be after.  I just hope I’m not too late to the game because I’ve been setting on my laurels.

Thoughts On Twitter Business Solutions

I’ve been running a local blog for about a year solid and in the past 3 months I’ve integrated Twitter in hopes of driving targeted traffic.  Much to my surprise, Twitter has been great at delivering a few hundered extra views a week, but obviously not enough to start quitting other campaigns.  However, I have a few thoughts on what Twitter could do to better help businesses manage their profiles.

Referral Tracking

TwitterThis is the biggest problem I see facing Twitter as a measurable source of traffic.  In server logs the only indication you have that people are coming from twitter, is from either the Twitter.com/home domain or from your own Twitter.com/mybusiness domain.  I would love to see Twitter integrate some sort of referral indicator that showed who was actually following a link or reading my feed.

Currently an arbitrary number of followers does not really indicate how many people are actually reading your tweets.  Comments and stuff are great, but are only a small percentage of people that are actually reading tweets and interested in what your business is about.  Let’s get some actual analytics involved Twitter, show me who is actually reading and following my links.

Light Weight In House Tools

Please come out with some in house tools to make Twitter mor useful.  Tweet Deck is ok and other business solutions fill a void, but are not up to par with what can be produced in house.  I dont want bloated software, I want something light weight that I can update from my desktop on, get notifications of mentions, and accurately track those who are following me.  And while we are at it, make sure you support multiple twitter accounts, I will not use my business Twitter account for personal use and vise versa.

Allow Advertising Already

Lastly, come on Twitter, let us start advertising and target all your users.  Look to Google to see how to create unobtrusive advertising models that actually appeal and target your users.  It’s obvious that the traffic produced from Twitter is valuable, let us pay for that gold mine of outbound clicks.  While valuable, I’m not sure the time cost of me tweeting equals revenue earned just yet.

AdBlock Plus Collateral Damage

By now everyone has heard of AdBlock Plus, a small tool that effectively disables advertisements from loading within a web browser.  Slowly but surely this FireFox addon has managed to garner over 5% of the FireFox user base and growing.  While this may seem like a small percentage, it’s important to know who is being affected most.

In the past few months I have tracked a loss in total affiliate and Adsense revenue.  There are a number of reasons for this and obviously Adblock Plus is not the primary reason, but it still hurts.  I work very hard to create every website I own and therefore should be compensated for people using them.  When I’m fighting spammers, cookie thieves, bots, etc, why should I have to worry about legit visitors cheating me?

Apparently I’m not the only one that feels this way and Wladimir Palant has addressed the issue on the Adblock Plus blog.  Essentially, for the first time that I’ve noticed, Adblock Plus is suggesting an easy method for plugin users to opt-in to displaying ads on a website.  However, what he is proposing takes into consideration only a small portion of websites with repeat traffic, which relatively speaking is a small portion of the internet and affiliate websphere.

Adblock Plus will then check the browsing history to see whether the user frequents this site (this could be specified for example as “visited the site on three days of the last week”) and then display a notification like the following (unless a notification for this site was already shown recently):

Adblock Plus Filter

The majority of visitors to my websites are one time visitors, probably less than 5% return.  This is in regards to my affiliate sites and not my personal blog. 😉  It’s not because I have a bad website, a spammy website, it’s because the user finds what they want and complete a sale.  Or, the visitor searches on a specific question and then finds their answer.  So, what Adblock Plus is proposing will not benefit me in the slightest and only caters to the largest of affiliate and news sites.

This post is just a child of a frustration with the direction the internet is taking.  It’s an entitlement complex by users and a handful of programmers that think they should control whats being shown and published on the web.  The issue is growing, becoming it’s own beast, and slowly starting to resemble Net Neutrality issues.  After all, if Adblock Plus can effectively and accurately block ads, sure it’s on the radar of those that want to block other content.  Filter or not, Adblock Plus has no place on the internet in it’s current form.

Auctiva

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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.

ACRU TO CRU Ratio

Yes, I’m on an EPN kick this month and with good reason, since it’s currently one of my leading earners in the affiliate realm.  I’m getting a pretty decent number of bids, considering the limited traffic I’m pulling in, but what I feel I’m struggling with is converting CRU’s(When a new user registers to ebay) to ACRU’s(when said new user makes a winning bid or BIN).

Below are my stats so far in May:

CRU ACRU Bids Winning Bids

10                    4                       158                       56

Keep in mind that I’m not selling low priced items, so even at 56 winning bids my EPN earnings are fairly high. 😉  I guess I’m just greedy for those $25 ACRU’s, but they are just not converting.  Hopefully as the cookie carries over for the 30 days it will give them an opportunity to win one of the other 102 bids that were placed so I get that commission and ACRU commission.

Is anyone else having similar issues in the month of May?