Thursday, May 25, 2006

Affiliate Marketing of the Past: Direct Promotion

When I initially read my first eBook (The Life Empowered System) about affiliate marketing, it spent a lot of time stressing the ease of direct promotion. Let me explain what I mean by direct promotion...You can go to an affiliate site and get a weblink that will direct whomever to a website selling products with your "tag" associated with it. If that person buys the product, you will receive a commission. In direct promotion, you will send the person who clicks your ad directly to the link that your affiliate tag is on. Therefore, no landing page. You bypass the middle man and go straight to the product.

What has happened? Why doesn't this work anymore? One big reason is that a lot of people were doing it (and making a fair some of money!). The only overhead costs and time came with promoting the link. The bigger obstacle came late last summer (2005) when Google announced that sponspered links can have only one link per search. Before, if you typed in "DishNetwork", you may find 10 or more affiliate links directly to the DirectTV website. The normal rules of high CTR and price applied...that was it! Now, we have to fight for that one position. I tried to actually promote DishNetwork this way and my ad was never seen! (I was not prepared to pay higher than the top bidder).

Believe it or not, it is all for the better! This new rule improves the quality of your searches and weens out a lot of the marketers who really are not that committed to the programs. Also, the greatest thing about eBooks is that they usually do update them regularly and once you buy it, you get the updates for free. The new version of the Life Empowered System no longer focuses on this type of marketing. It now focuses on more modern approaches such as blogging. Again, I highly recommend this program!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

PPC's and Click Fraud: A Growing Problem

When I started affiliate marketing many months ago, I bought an eBook and followed its instructions on promoting products using pay-per-click services. We have talked a lot about Google Adwords and, those of you who are trying it, are probably finding that it is not trivial to use (and requires a bit of guidance). That leads us to the "other" PPC services. Like Overture, most PPC's are pretty straight forward and the ad placement goes to the highest bidder. At the beginning of my affiliate marketing, these sites were quite the gold-mine! I got a lot of clicks and relatively cheap rates (usually about 0.05 per click). It seemed too easy and I did get a lot of sales because of it!

But things have changed over the last few months. My high click rates stayed where they are (or even grew!) and my sales diminished. What the heck is going on? After a lot of research and link tracking, I started to realize that these clicks were not of high quality...if fact, they are probably a form of click fraud. Click Fraud is where someone clicks your links purely for profit for themselves. With the introduction of blogs these days, I believe that more and more people are becoming aware of online advertising and taking this knowledge to do bad things.

So what do you do? For now, I have turned most of my PPC campaigns off (except for Adwords and Overture). Think about it this way: If I am paying 0.05/click and I get 100 clicks, but only 10 of these clicks are of any quality, you are actually paying about 0.5/click! That will give you quite a bit of leverage on Adwords and Overture (with much higher quality!).

What about Adwords and Overture? Of course, click fraud happens here, but both of these outfits are much more advanced than the smaller ones and can pin-point click fraud more easily. Also remember that any half-way experienced online money marketer needs Google to be successful and to piss-off the Google Gods usually means banishment from all Google services (both Adsense and Adwords).

I suppose we are back to the basics:

1) Google Adwords
2) Yahoo Overture
3) Search Engine Optimization

Hey, it keeps us honest, right?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Affiliate Marketing Online: Does It Make or Take Your Money?

Instead of an actual entry to today's blog, I decided to write a short article related to Online Affiliate Marketing. Check it out at:

Article: Affiliate Marketing Online: Does It Make or Take Your Money?