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Archive of ‘affiliate marketing’ category

Project updates, affiliate tips and the shape of things to come

It’s been about 2 weeks since my last post and since I’m the one usually bashing on other bloggers not posting regularly enough, I’ve posting an interim update.

Why the delay?

Couple of things – I had a bout of tendonitis (you might’ve seen my wrist brace at January’s Affiliate Summit) that flared up pretty badly about a week ago. I went to see a orthodontics specialist and got a steroid jab in my tendon. Hopefully things improve, else he might have to cut open my wrist (in a good way) to fix the stuff in there. That might affect my reaction time when it comes to FPS games. oh well.

At the same time I got my steroid shot and my wrist started to recover, I played some ball games last week and it probably wasn’t a good idea to wear running shoes on a basketball court… The consequence? Twisting my right ankle (it was bend 90 degrees to the left with a nice “snap” sound). Now it’s about 20% larger than my left foot and I’m hobbling around like a hobbit. Keeps life interesting, right?


On the work front, I’ve taken up an editorial gig at a newspaper (remember those?) and it’s interesting to see what will appear in the newspaper a day before publication. Good fodder for trend research.


I’d been talking to a CPA network about a major project relating to Facebook (nothing to do with FB ads or affiliate marketing) and the deal is frozen for the moment. It’ll still be one of my major focuses this year (as soon as I get my taxes done), so there’ll be fewer twitter and blog updates till some of this backlog gets cleared.

I probably won’t be on AIM as much as I used to be, so to all the affiliate managers asking:

  1. Yes, I’m still in the industry
  2. Yes, I plan to promote the offers we discussed
  3. No, I probably only can do it after April 20th

In the meantime, you might like to check out MrGreen’s biggest loser CPA case study. It’s been about a month. How about an update, Lorenzo?


My friend, CarlRez has posted about some challenges he’s faced with his affiliate marketing biz. Check it out: one last hurrah.


On another note, one of my friends who’s a very successful affiliate, reports generating a couple of hundred bucks each day off one of the tier-2 PPC engines. I’ll be checking it out.


Last thing, the new April update to the Internet Marketing Cookbook has just come out. Check it out for strategies to improve your productivity and profits.

Life after the Death of (most) CPA Rebills…

A friend of mine had been generating 6-figs/mth consistently from rebill offers (using somewhat questionable landing pages) and had been banking pretty hard via media buys from early 2009 to around Oct. Since Wells Fargo and other payment processors have turned the tap off the rebill arrangement for many of these offers, the majority of them have gone down.

Are rebills gone for good? Not by a longshot, considering services like your utilities, sat TV, internet service and newspaper/magazine subscriptions all function on a rebill model. The offers that have gone to seed have primarily been in the weight loss, bizop, health/beauty niches. From about 5-10 offers in each niche, most networks are down to 1-2 “quality” offers. How long they’ll stay quality is anyone’s guess.

So back to my friend. He’s been doing tests focused on the US market and are seeing his campaigns at the marginal profit or break even levels. An even larger proportion are in red and chipping away at the nest egg he built over the last year. He’s been smart though, choosing not to blow his cash on a souped-up sports car or a pricey piece of real estate, so he could still coast by for the next 2-3 years even if he didn’t earn a single cent.


Going forward

It’s unfortunate that most affiliates will not have built up a stockpile of cash to (more…)

“You created your offer/product, now what?” promotion strategies

If you’ve taken the path I suggested to create your own product/service and have a product in hand, you might be wondering what to do next.

The first and most common option is to promote your own offer – via PPC, social media, media buys, contextual/PPV traffic. In particular, I’ve recently met some affiliate who are pretty experienced when it comes to PPC and PPV, but they’re increasingly going the SEO/social bookmarking route and are getting very satisfactory ROI on their efforts.

Another option is to recruit others to promote your product (ie affiliate marketing). It used to be your primary options were to list it at Clickbank, Paydotcom, both of which cost about $49.95 to set up, or a site like e-junkie. Or you could list it on one of the big networks like Commission Junction (CJ), ShareASale, Linkshare – incurring potentially substantial setup/listing/operating fees in the process. You could also buy one of those $50 affiliate management scripts or another option is to sign up for a 2Checkout e-commerce account (which includes autoresponders, affiliate management modules, but lacks a merchant account). You could also buy a high-end standalone hosted package like John Delavera’s JVM2/Fantasos or similar packages which generally cost $2,000 and upwards.

I’ve tried most of these options and haven’t got the results I was looking for. The full featured self-hosted script frequently took a week or more to setup and required a heavy commitment to maintaining the systems, while many of the cheap options just lacked critical tracking features for affiliates, such as pixel placement, postback and API support – essentially affiliates would be marketing into an analytics blackhole. This is certainly not a pro-affiliate move.

So having decided to eat my own dogfood and applying the product creation strategies to one of the new projects I’m working on, I’m evaluating 2 affiliate management platforms which are new to me.

The first is HasOffers, a web-based web2.0-ish affiliate/CPA network solution which the now defunct TriFoxMedia used to run on. It’s gaining popularity as a few CPA networks have decided to migrate from DirectTrack to HasOffers. Definitely an improvement in my view. HasOffers has several tiers of services from hosted, self-hosted to managed solutions. The free version gives you 10,000 clicks a month and the next tier up gives you 250,000 clicks at about $100 per month. HasOffers has a similar set of shareholders as the owner of Tatto Media. As the owners already operate a CPA network, it’s not hard to see why HasOffers has support for affiliates to place their own pixels and access comprehensive campaign stats.

The other options is JROX Affiliate Manager, it’s free up to 50 affiliates and has no limitation on the number of clicks. The analytics and pixel support are not as comprehensive as HasOffers’, and you’ll have to contribute a fair amount of elbow grease to set it up and keep it running. Then again, your running costs will likely be lower too.

My strategy is to recruit a group of top affiliates, who’re focused in the niche my products are in and work with them closely to increase sales for my product. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need thousands of affiliates in your program to make it work (been there, done that). You need just a handful of top affiliates to see your product sales fly.


For more info:

PPV Case Study – What’s Next?

As you can see from the last post, “PPV Case Study wrap up and conclusions“, things did not turn out as expected.

While some critics have chosen to say the case study was a failure, I consider it useful to have gained a couple of lessons in how Direct CPV works.

Yes, I’d stopped the campaign before the URLs had accumulated significant impressions – primarily because the URL targets were displaying content that would’ve been difficult for that particular offer to convert. The ones which were hypertargeted to the offer (about 1,000 from each keyword group) had impressions in the single digits.

In this case, it would have made more sense to switch to a different offer for the URLs which were getting traffic.

This is the first in a series of case studies, as they’re posted in real time, you’ll see situations of low impressions, high impressions with few or no conversions, as well as possibly a couple of winning campaigns. If you’re reading this and you’re hitting winners with every campaign, drop me a note and I’ll feature you in a future post.

Mike Chiasson posted recently about his keyword targeting trial on Direct CPV. You can check it out: here.

If you’re not failing often, you’re probably not trying hard enough.

PPV Case Study – Wrap Up and Conclusions

After running for about 14 days, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions about the PPV test campaign I ran, especially some conclusions which may be a revelation to you if you’re new to this form of traffic.

[Note: this is the last in a series of case study posts, to catch up, go to the beginning: PPV-to-CPA case study kicks off]

End of campaign stats:

Assigned daily budget: $10/day

Total views: 627

Total spend: $7.47

Average daily spend: $0.30


Total number of conversions: 0

Net profit/loss:  -$7.47


The offer as previously mentioned was a dating offer, specifically one of the niched forms of dating. It didn’t convert. Here’s why:

  • I loaded 6,000+ URL targets from scraping search engine results, bidding between $0.01 to $0.04 per impression. I was pretty surprised I was getting traffic from some URLs with a competing $0.12 top bid.
  • The higher traffic URLs were from the root domains of broader/more generic sites. The niche-specific domains get less traffic (about 10% of the total impressions). So a more general dating offer might have worked, especially since I was getting traffic from the other dating membership sites, a couple of About.com pages, ustream.tv, the Billboard.com charts, and a couple of general chat/discussion sites. Looking at the pages more closely, it clear that although these pages might have a chance at conversion, most of them were clearly way off-topic and would be better off pruned.
  • If you looked at some of the URLs I was bidding on, you would probably be ROFLing. I didn’t go through the list, although I have a clear idea of the URLs I want to prune before starting the campaign.
  • Direct linking was probably a bad idea, especially given the interruptive version of PPV/contextual traffic. Spending a couple of hours or bucks farming out engaging/eye-catching graphics as Finch has mentioned in his shock marketing tactics post would’ve increased user engagement. Even something like a pre-qualification poll, asking a question with a yes/no response (maybe with some geo-location/localization script) would have upped the user engagement, vs the likely scenario of a “Skip this ad” button click
  • On the subject of creatives, Lorenzo Green (a really sharp young dude from NZ) has been churning out some great posts since he was finally pushed off the edge and started his blog (outing a lot of media buy and ppv tactics in the process). Check out his “Pimping your PPV” page post. He’s also in the process of starting a case study documenting how he’s promoting the worst performing offer he can find on the CPA networks. It’s going to make for some engaging reading. Make sure you get your vote in for which offer he should promote.


What’s next for the case study?

  • I’m planning to install the various PPV ad serving applications on my test PC – vomba screensavers, gamevance, loudo, and the like, and look at some of the creatives that’re being served up. Unlike PPC, you can’t easily preview ads unless you have it installed in your machine.
  • Think up new angles to promote offers, especially given the interruptive/disruptive nature of PPV. Like Finch says, you don’t exactly have the same user behavior when you pop a 750×550 page, as when they’re typing “flip video coupon code” into google.
  • Keeping at it: Labelling PPV as ineffective if you’re used to PPC or SEO traffic is just silly. You need to work at the system. Looking at my Direct CPV referrer stats, some of you guys are spending $100/day in the network. It obviously has to be working. So if it’s already working for someone else, then why not you?

Here’s my thoughts on (more…)

Jonathan Volk Beats Finch to Release Affiliate Marketing Guide

So Finchie has a running tagline on his blog that says “If you are a newbie CPA affiliate marketer who doesn’t really understand what I’m chatting about but wants to, I have a “Guide to CPA Marketing” ebook coming out in December. Contact for details.”. The problem is since this first appeared on the blog last year, one would expect it to have come out Dec 2009. It’s now nearing the end of Feb 2010, and still no sign. Maybe he meant Dec 2010. Or even Dec 2011. Who knows.

In any case, experienced affiliate Jonathan Volk who bought a house last year, mainly off the back of his proceeds from Azoogle campaigns, has decided to expand his brand from merely the affiliate blogger game, to the affiliate product owner space with the release of his new affiliate marketing guide.

Will this make you a thuper, duper affiliate? Will you be buying your own house in June this year off of CPA commissions, following Jon’s recipe of 11 secret herbs and spices, wrapped in a sesame seed bun? Not likely, unless you include some elbow grease and long hours into the equation.

In any case, his guide gives you a couple of tips to get started, and he’ll be organizing a series of free webinars (the first will be a PPV webinar, I’m guessing by either AffPortal’s Corey Bornmann or PPV Playbook’s David Ford), but you’ll have to be on his list to find out.

There’s also a referral contest and the 2 marketers who send the most leads through their lists will win Apple iPads, plus another iPad will be given away in a random drawing. You need to be already on his list to join in the referral contest.


On to the content:

Here’s a listing:

Affiliate Marketing 101 Guide:

Section 1. Introduction
Section 2. What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Section 3. What Is An Affiliate Network?
Section 4. Recommended Affiliate Networks
Section 5. How Does All This Come Together?
Section 6. The “Pregame”
Section 7. The “Pregame” Pt. 2 – Know Your Demographics
Section 8. The “Pregame” Pt. 3 – Setting Up Hosting / Domain Name
Section 9. Setting Up A Simple PHP Redirect
Section 10. The Landing Page
Section 11. Affiliate Marketing Methods (Basic Overview)
Section 12. Social Media Affiliate Marketing Guide
Section 13. Pay Per View Affiliate Marketing Guide
Section 14. Pay Per Click Affiliate Marketing Guide
Section 15. Media Buying Affiliate Marketing Guide
Section 16. After Your Campaigns Are Ready To Launch
Section 17. Conclusion

I didn’t get any specific $100k/month tips from reading the content, although I got a few ideas for some of my existing campaigns.

To download the guide and join his referral contest, go to the: Jonathan Volk Affiliate Marketing Guide download page.