Gaming Technorati

Now, for some of you this is not new information, but for me it was a ‘duh’ moment. I knew that people were (gasp) gaming technorati, but I didn’t know how.

The way Technorati works is that you end up, in a search, in order of when you most recently published. Now, that’s default. Some people change that preference when they search, but the vast majority don’t. This creates a very easy and very successful way to game the blog search engine.
So, if I do a search on ‘business blogging’, the blogs that come up *should* all have either just posted on the term or be generally about the term. However, what happens is people use press release feeds to auto-post to their site. Then, after a few minutes (however long the ping process takes to let Technorati know they’ve updated) they automatically remove the post.

That’s why you’ll often do a search on a term and the results won’t match even a tad. I’ve always wondered why that happens, but after reading this article at SEORockstars, now I know.

Popular RSS to Email Newletter Site/App, Zookoda, For Sale

Zookoda is for sale. Their reasons are that they are a 2 person company with limited resources and they feel they’ve taken it as far as they can. And an admirable job it has been thus far:

Zookoda has been a great success since its launch on 13th March 2006. Over 5200 blog publishers have adopted Zookoda as their blog marketing tool of choice with a total circulation in excess of 1.2 million. is ranked in the Top 1% of URLs across the net (according to and has a rolling 3 month average ranking of around 15,000. According to there have been over 700 articles written about Zookoda.

It appears to be an ideal acquisition for Yahoo, but they seem to be busy with their FaceBook convo. I can’t see Microsoft interested, but Google may want an addition to Blogger that would offer them even more real estate for Adsense (not putting that down, just commenting that it’d be a smart move). For any blog platform, this would be a great addition.

A smart VC could also do a great deal with this established app. I know I’d pay $5 a month to handle my few hundred subscribers. A subscription model would scale well. Or, how about a newsletter directory w/advertising on board? It could be the go-to place for deals newsletters, blog newsletters, parenting newsletters, etc. There’s so much you could do with this thing…
Check out more details here. (via)

Affiliate Advertising – Making It Work For You

In this last affiliate advertising primer I’ll give you some info on acceptable practices and email marketing. If you missed the earlier entries, you can find them here -> Affiliate Advertising – Publisher Sites and here -> Affiliate Advertising – It’s Up To You

Programs for affilates are often skewed toward the advertiser, which you can understand because they are created by the advertiser. Some common no-no’s in affiliate marketing:

Bidding on trademarked terms
Some affiliates encourage Adwords buys to increase sales to their site using your affiliate link. However, your bidding on their trademarked name increases their own bids so that, if they are not careful, they won’t rank even in the top 20 results for their own brand name. Due to this problem, many affiliates (and some search engines) have put controls in place to prevent your bidding on their trademarked name.

However, they often have no problem with your bidding on generic terms. If I’m offering an affiliate ad focusing on the Bombay Company, I might not be able to name them directly in the ad, but I can bid on keywords like home decor, save on home furnishings or even sofabed coupons.

affiliate advertising tipYou’ll raise your ROI by bidding on less generic keywords and focusing on the sale part. Don’t bid on widget but on widgets for sale, cheap widgets or no money down widgets. Ask yourself, “What would I search for if I was looking to buy a widget?”

Running an ad directly to their site:
There are several choices when running an ad as far as which page clickers will land on. The landing page can be your home site, a permalink to the actual deal, a landing page they create for you (very common) or even a direct link to the product on their site (an affiliate link). Some companies have strict controls on this as well. You’ll want to check with your affiliate manager to determine their rules.

affiliate advertising tipsAffiliate advertisers are focused on making money. They employ affiliate managers within their staff to oversee their affiliate program. Often these quasi-salespeople can be your greatest advocate when it comes to increasing your sales.

If you want to know what works best for other affiliates, just ask them. They’ll send you suggested bidding keywords, help you choose links for your target audience, help you understand what products are selling best and even can give you some pointers on landing pages.

Email Marketing

Another highly effective, but highly regulated marketing tool for the affiliate publisher is email marketing. I want to say right now that spam is evil. I won’t help you spam and I don’t condone it or use it to increase my affiliate income. Also, I regularly turn in spammers to their affiliate manager. If I see a deal for something that I am an affiliate for, I almost always send an email to the affiliate manager letting them know that I did not opt in. I know many other affiliate publishers who do the same.

But, opt-in email is different. I offer a Deals newsletter that I use to offer up the weekly deals from my deals site. The growth of that newsletter that is only 3 weeks old has been great. I already have more email subscribers than RSS subscribers to the site. Email is more popular than RSS and if you are not offering email, you’re missing out on a large portion of traffic. Cater to the people who don’t yet ‘get’ RSS and you’ll reach the people who click ads.

In addition to the fact that email newsletter readers are great for advertising your current deals, they’re also great for drawing attention to a particularly great offer. While I always offer direct links to current deals in the newsletter, I can also place a banner ad, a sidebar ad and a footer ad in the newsletter, really drawing the readers focus to a deal that may offer me a spiff or other promotional offer. Again, use your judgement here. If it’s not a great deal, don’t spotlight it. I don’t care how much money you get for a given product, if it’s bad it won’t matter because it will 1-not get clicked and 2-burn your respectability in your readers eyes.
email affiliate marketing tipsI use Zookoda to deliver my email newsletters. It takes the RSS feed from my site and inserts the post I created earlier in the week. It took me about an hour to set up, but it was well worth it. To send an email newsletter takes me about 15 minutes each week.

This is the last in the series of Affiliate Marketing: How To Earn Money Through Affiliate Marketing. Seeing how my subscriber base has jumped in the last week or two, I’m assuming that affiliate advertising is something you are hungry to learn more about. If so, please let me know in the comments.

Affiliate Advertising – It’s up to you

Content Sites

Affiliate ads can be a good option for a content site. Now, for someone who doesn’t understand what products would appeal to their readers, affiliate ads are not recommended. But, then again, if you don’t know what people who read your site are interested in, how are you pleasing them day after day? I’d bet if you really think about it, you can gauge what appeals to them. Of course, though, if anyone needs a hand with determining what might appeal to their readers, feel free to comment below and I’ll take a look at your site.

Now, a finance-based site may do well with an ad that offers a Quicken Loan ad (similar ads pay $5-15 per lead) or an ad that sells Franklin Covey products (which may offer a percentage of the sale). When these are compared to AdSense ads that vary widely from $.15 to $1.25 per click, the $5-15 per lead looks quite attractive.

The biggest delimma in a situation such as this is to avoid changing your writing in such a way as to recommend something because the spiff (bonus) is high. You may be tempted to do a post on Quicken Loans or spotlight a Franklin Covey product so you can raise your profits. However, if you don’t like the product, or haven’t even tried it, refrain from doing so. Nothing hurts your reputation more than knowing your blog or site is nothing more than a promotional tool. Respect your readers and steer clear of selling your soul for $5 a click.

If you are a product review site and you want to review a product that you happen to be an affiliate for, be sure to note it in the post. And, don’t go easy on it either. If the service stinks, tell your audience. If the product was great, but you had to deal with shipping headaches, be clear on that. Your readers will accept this honest review as fact and they still may go and buy it. However, if you gleam about it and it is horrid, your readers will know you just scammed them for a few measley bucks.

Ad Delivery Is Human
Affiliate ads are simply a more reliable ad-delivery option for some types of sites, especially ones who are all over the place in terms of content or ones that are highly made up of pictures/videos. As noted by Dan, sites that don’t consistently deliver the same types of keywords will deliver contextual ads that may be all over the place.

Dan’s site offers advice on all types of things. Therefore, one day he may be talking about a Hairless Cat and another day about Parenting. Can you just imagine the contextual ads he is delivered? Affiliate ads, for Dan, are a great way to target his demographic and serve them relevant ads. And, who better to pick out ads for your site than yourself?

Image Ads
As a bonus, affiliate ads look professional and they, because they are branded in the style of the advertiser, greater translate the feeling of the product, resulting in better click-thru experience in certain situations. Plus, studies have shown that images on a page (yes, even ads) increase the time a person will read, as does white space, by the way. I can believe it, because I spend more time reading very long articles via RSS that have images and ads than ones that are text only (I tend to skim them otherwise).

And, if your demographic is one that rarely clicks Google/Yahoo ads (ie any tech audience), they may be less likely to balk at clicking an ad on which you don’t get paid for the click but the sale. Of course, it pays to point out that many affiliate cookies last for 60 days so if someone clicks that Audible ad today and checks it out, I get nothing. However, if they type in the web address later this week to sign up for service, unless they’ve cleared their cookies, I’ll still get credit for the sale. CPC isn’t always better.

Again, this article is far too long. The final part of it will be published later this week. If you missed the first one, here is Affiliate Advertising – Publisher Sites.

Why Use Affiliate Ads Rather Than AdSense or YPN?

Over the last year I’ve become more and more jaded with Google Adsense and YPN. Both are very popular and Cinderella stories about the vehicles abound. However, for most, they are not the vehicle through which you can quit your day job.

I run a ‘deals’ site ( that gets a little traffic and pays enough to justify my time there. Of course, as you can see I don’t even update it daily (big no-no) and I *just* added a weekly email newsletter, so with effort this could certainly be a six figure earner for me.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that a common question many people have is “Why do people choose affiliate ads over Adsense/YPN?”

I think this case study will tell you:

One advertiser recently sent me an email reminding me of their current affiliate promotion. It was roughly (details changed to protect my hide):

1. 10 Subscriptions – Get $50 Home Depot or Best Buy Gift Card

2. 50 Subscriptions – 2G iPod Nano

3. 150 Subscriptions – XBox 360

4. 275 – Home Theater System ($1000 value)

5. 500 – Tickets to the Affiliate Summit, $500 airfare and 3 days lodging

6. 1000 – Serious renumeration

Now, this was for a service that costs between $10 and $20 dollars, depending on plan, and it’s a really popular service at that. And, remember, this is, in addition to the $15 lead spiff. So, in essence, for option #6 you would make around $5K for the above bonus and $15K for the lead spiff.
1000 subscribers to this sought-after service would yield you $20,000! The details are that you have a full quarter to participate (ie 3 months to get the 1000 subscriptions). I mean, can you imagine that spending $5K in Adwords would probably bring you 1000 subscriptions? That’s a profit for the affiliate of at the least $15,000.

Now, compare that to $1K a month in Adsense earnings on a popular blog…

Affiliate advertising pays, big-time.

Popular Affiliate Networks:

Commission Junction (easiest and largest)

Linkshare (great advertisers like Dell and iTunes)

Performics (less high-tech, but worthwhile and easy to navigate)

You can hover over the ad in my sidebar or over the Linkshare link above to see what affilate links look like. Feel free to ask me any questions on this one. I have learned alot this year, after running my own site as a publisher and helping clients investigate the advertiser role. And, wish me luck on the 1K subscriptions. LOL

Stay Tuned: I’ll be posting a few followups later this week that explain 1- How to effectively use affiliate advertising (three part) and 2- Why advertisers are interested in affiliate advertising at all.