Best money earners

Associate Programs Newsletter #92

This week I write about an interesting guy I met at the E-Commerce conference in Hawaii, Scott Dieken, who succeeds while breaking just about every rule I've read on how to make money on the Net.


1. Scott breaks nearly all the rules - and succeeds
2. What are your best money-earners?
3. Question marks in affiliate links
4. You get paid in two ways
5. You don't HAVE to update copyright notices
6. Who wants
7. Newsletter ad spots disappearing fast

Register as a new customer at and we'll give you
a $25 store credit that you can use to save up to 50% off any
purchases before 1/31/00. We think that once you've experienced
the fun, excitement, and savings at Mercata, you'll join
Mercata's We-Commerce Affiliate Program and TELL ALL YOUR
join, and once you set up the links, we do all the tracking. All
you have to do is take your commission check to the bank!
Learn all the details and sign up at
[UPDATE: This link no longer works.]

1. Scott breaks nearly all the rules - and succeeds

You've read the advice by now and figured out that it's excellent: If you want to succeed on the Internet, find a topic in which you are passionately interested and build a website around that theme.

Dana Blankenhorn tells how to do this here:

He could also have added that it makes good sense to do these things: add lots of useful, original content, provide a message board, write a newsletter, think of ways to make your site more interactive, build credibility and trust, organize reciprocal links, do things to get your site talked about, and make sure you aim for repeat visitors . . .

Affiliate programs consultant Declan Dunn (I hope you've carefully studied his article on the seven keys to success for affiliates) tells affiliates:

"Give your visitors a reason to return to you. Many use affiliate programs to simply send traffic to someone else's site. The key is to get them to leave their name and e-mail so you can follow up with them and remind them to buy from you.

"Email: opt-in lists are crucial. This means that your main goal should be to give a free report, or free bonus, to every visitor in exchange for contact information. Be sure to e-mail this list and develop your name, and your site," Declan says.

If you want to succeed on the Net, and especially if you want to succeed with affiliate programs, all this advice is first class.

It works.

So it was fascinating meeting Scott Dieken at the E-Commerce conference in Hawaii.

Scott's websites include and . He breaks almost all those rules, and yet he still manages to have great success with affiliate programs.

He doesn't want to give figures, but when I first interviewed him - How Scott Dieken made $11,000 - he was achieving a very healthy net profit and has refined the process since then.

If you examine Scott's sites you'll see that he doesn't appear to be aiming for repeat traffic, he doesn't have a message board, he doesn't have a newsletter, and doesn't even have any sort of opt- in e-mail list.

In short, you might be tempted to say that he's doing it all wrong - except that he's earning a nice full-time living.

His affiliate programs-based sites have a tight focus, a professional image, and his carefully targeted traffic comes from the search terms he buys at

"I'm still hopeful that I will be contacted by affiliates who would like to share value per visitor (VPV) data with me," Scott says. "It costs me about $500 or more to test an affiliate program and I find that a majority do not make me any money. So it would really be helpful to get some value per visitor numbers."

Scott is also interested in exchanging information with affiliates who are earning more than $500 a month with any programs.

His e-mail address is
highsurf AT hawaii.rr DOT com

2. What are your best money-earners? Explain why and give details

For a long time I've had a topic on the Associate Programs Message Board: "What are your best money-earners?"

Unfortunately, many of the posts have been not much better than spam, and Wally Morgan, who monitors the board, deletes them.

However, I figured out my question wasn't precise enough. Since I added: "Explain why and give details" suddenly much more USEFUL messages have begun appearing on the board.

For example, Wayne Porter of reported having some success with the iFreedom program (free Net access).

"Since I started running it a couple of weeks ago I have come up with the following stats," Wayne says.

Total click-throughs:

Raw clicks: 1283
Leads generated:159
Net $238.50

"If you have extra inventory or you're a freebie pusher this one seems to have good conversion rates," Wayne says.

Jim Reardon of followed up with his stats:

Clicks: 3010
Leads generated: 307
Earned: $460.50

"Not too bad!" Jim says. "This is almost all from ads on SiteGadgets, which are broadcast to almost every type of visitor you could imagine - meaning this is a program that would work not just on "free stuff" sites . . ."

Scott Dieken supplied some of his stats for December.

"My conversion rates tend to be lower than average because I am not as targeted," he says

Adult FriendFinder 6,500 clicks, 121 sales, $165
Autoweb 1950 clicks, 58 sales, $137
Net Detective 5400 clicks, 52 sales, $520
One and Only 7170 clicks, 114 sales, $609

"The problem with One and Only is I can not separate the renewals from the new sales," Scott says.

It's good to see website owners exchanging useful stats. However, such raw data tells only part of the story. A trustworthy, professional looking site such as which uses personal endorsements to promote products can achieve astounding click-through rates of about 50%, as I described in this interview:

Amazing click-through rate

[UPDATE: is no longer online.]

There's a big difference between selling and pre-selling. Those who get it wrong may have conversion rates as low as 1% or worse. Correct pre-selling can boost conversion rates to as high as 20% - or even more.

Ken Evoy has been explaining the difference to his affiliates in a must-read series of newsletter articles, which are archived, so all his new affiliates will have access to them.

How about sharing info on some of your good click-throughs and sales statistics?

Associate Programs Message Board
What are your best money-earners?

The ConnectCommerce(tm) Network is a hi-performance affiliate
partner program. You can enjoy 10-15% commissions and extended
durations (up to 60 days). Even better, get on-time payments and
enjoy low minimums. Our stable of merchants will make a sig-
nificant difference in your $$$ potential. Partner with these
and other blockbuster marketers: Spiegel, Ultimate Outlet,
The Home MarketPlace, bluemercury. Click Here to start today!
[UPDATE: This program has closed.]

3. Question marks in affiliate links

Last week I upset the President of Kowabunga Technologies, Todd Farmer, when I implied that his affiliate tracking software requires a "?" in the affiliate links, and therefore will not help the link popularity of merchants using the software.

That's not the case. The company's Unix software does not require the usage of a "?" in the URL to track affiliates.

The misunderstanding occurred because of an old page on the company's website which said the tracking "will work in the following manner" and gave as an example a fictitious link containing a question mark.

When I questioned Todd about that example, he didn't realize that I was asking him about the example given on his own site.

Todd has now rushed to have that long-forgotten page corrected.

To show how his software is being used without question marks, he gave me these examples of a few of the company's clients:

"We offer our clients the choice of any or all of the following linking methods," Todd says.

(Don't bother clicking on these.)
"cookie tracking" (cookie written to browser)


Short URLs

Sub domains (That link is real.)

Self-replicating pages - which can be indexed by search engines, and found in search engines)

"Although this was obviously not the point of the article, I want to mention this. We have recently released an ASP version of The Affiliate Program, for merchants hosted on NT Servers. Due to the restrictions many NT servers have with running PERL, the use of a question mark in affiliate links may be required."

Todd says The Affiliate Program is complete, comprehensive and extremely flexible affiliate tracking and management software that is completely configured on the client's server.

"The program offers merchants and their affiliates a reliable, automated and easy-to-use referral marketing solution, with real- time reporting," he says.

For a full description of The Affiliate Program's features, see:

For a description of Corey Rudl's AssocTRAC software see:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>SPONSOR<<<<<<<<<< is fast becoming THE portal site for Engineers,
Consultants, Software Merchants, Students and more. Our affiliate
program pays 10 cents for every visitor that clicks through from
your site. Build a following, and we'll up your pay. Provide
superior content and we'll up your pay. As we grow, so will the
commissions you can make. If you've got a site catering to our
audience go to
[UPDATE: This link no longer works.]
to sign up.

4. You get paid in two ways

As more and more affiliate programs pour on to the market, merchants are having to work harder to catch the attention of affiliates.

A good way of doing that is to pay in TWO ways - a commission and a pay-per-click component.

Cathy's Cookie Baskets - - now does that. It pays 17% commission on sales of its "delicious, gorgeous and affordable cookie baskets", which sound good for Valentine's Day, and also pays 5 cents per visitor.

Another company which is standing out from the crowd is Steven Rothberg's

I made a point of mentioning at the E-Commerce conference in Hawaii because it not only pays an extremely generous 33% commission - an average of about $125 - it also pays 5 cents per click.

Working hard to help affiliates achieve good results, Steven added a search box which affiliates can paste into their site.

He found it produces fantastic results - a click-through rate of 57%. That's right - 57%.

"For affiliates used to earning 5 cents with a 1% click-through, the change to the search box has had the same effect as increasing their payout from 5 cents to $2.85 per click," Steven says.

The average earnings for affiliates who are running the search engine on their websites is more than $16 per 1,000 impressions, which is well above the industry average.

You can join both these programs at Commission Junction - which also pays out in more than one way:

[UPDATE: In April 2001, College Recruiter changed its payout to $100, and extended the life of its cookie to one year.]

5. You don't HAVE to update copyright notices

Last week I dashed off a reminder about updating copyright notices on pages. I've updated mine with 1998, 1999, 2000. (I'm hoping that will deter the odd thief.)

As several readers have pointed out, there's nothing wrong with having a 1998 copyright notice on a page - except that it makes the page look old. Copyright notices reflect when material was written, not the current year.

Here are two of the letters I received:

   Hi Allan.

   Great newsletter but I have a concern about your comment of
   updating copyright dates.

   If your intention is to remind people that a website with last
   year's copyright date gives the impression that it has not been
   updated and perhaps is neglected, then, yes, we should update
   the copyright date. (And, for that matter, make a habit of
   regularly changing something such as a date in a meta tag, in
   order to give a recent date for anyone who cares to check the
   info on the upload dates.)

   However, if you mean to say that you have lost your copyright
   _rights_ (of ownership) to the material by having an old date
   on it, then you are wrong. Copyrights are good from the date
   the work is created (that's the date with the copyright mark)
   for the life of the owner (and, I think for another 40 years to
   those who inherit the estate.)

   Technically (I think) to update the copyright date you should
   have changed something. (How much and what, I don't know.
   Besides, even this could be defined as a "derivative work".)

   Just my two cents (equivalent to a "click" in some places).


   Dr Jamie Love
   Editor of Science Explained, where you learn the science behind
   the excitement!
   and find monthly astronomy lessons at


Copyright dates should reflect when the content was written, not the current year.

Content that was written and posted in 1999 should keep its 1999 copyright notice. If however, the content has been modified, the copyright should be changed to Copyright 1999, 2000 Joe Blow.

There is nothing wrong about having a 1998 copyright on a page - except that it may make the page appear dated. Making a small change to it so that you can add the year 2000 to the notice to it implies that it was great information that's been around and useful for a while, but we've updated it to be current.

Darhl Stultz
Information Technology Guide for AT

6. Who wants

Silicon Alley Daily - - said this week that owns more than 300 geographic domain names, such as,,, and

That made me wonder if anyone had grabbed the simple domain name for the town where I was born, Oamaru, New Zealand. So I had a look at . Surprise! is still available.

It would make a great name for anyone operating a town directory.

I wonder how many other opportunities like that are still out there?

7. Newsletter ad spots disappearing fast

Because I accept no more than three ads for each newsletter, the ad spots in the Associate Programs Newsletter sell quickly.

The only ad still available in the first three months of 2000 is one on March 30, so I've started accepting bookings for the next three months, up to the end of June, 2000.

If you're planning to advertise in this newsletter, please don't leave it until the last minute or you'll be disappointed.

However, ads are sometimes postponed because merchants' affiliate programs aren't ready in time. If you would like to go on a waiting list, let me know:

adverts AT AssociatePrograms DOT com

Full details are on an autoresponder:

classads AT AssociatePrograms DOT com


All the best,

Allan Gardyne

January 27, 2000

Comments (1)

Said this on August 8, 2010 At 05:18 am
It is good opertunity

New comments are currently disabled.

Newsletter Sign-up

Sign-up Now!

How to make $1000 a month from scratch

Sign-up for our newsletter and receive our 77 page eBook "How to make $1000 a month from scratch".

Best of all it's FREE!

Your Host

Learn from an affiliate veteran.

Your host, , has been earning a good living from affiliate programs since 1998.

Want a BETTER article writer? We will write good articles just for you.

Content Kingdom