New affiliate network QuinStreet

Associate Programs Newsletter #139

THIS WEEK:

A new affiliate network and
Researching affiliate mini-sites (Part 4)


CONTENTS:

1. New network offers premium products, high commissions
    - earn commissions while buying your Christmas presents
2. One way affiliate mini-sites pay for traffic
3. How to warm up your visitors
4. GoTo.com relaxes its rules for affiliates
5. Why CompuBank is popular with affiliates
6. Useful resources for online banking affiliates
7. How to avoid paying too much for clicks
8. Affiliate mini-site was "too successful"
9. Connie's coupon site earns nearly $1,000,000
10. Managers: how do you measure your affiliate program?
11. CJ to pay $2 for referring new affiliates
12. Learn while having a vacation in Hawaii
13. Dreamweaver helps you replace links quickly
14. Case study: Setting up an affiliate program


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Get pre-release details about the book and about the new affiliate opportunity at
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[UPDATE: This site has vanished.]
___________________________________________________________


===========================================================
1. New network offers premium products and high commissions
- earn commissions while buying your Christmas presents
===========================================================

If you've haven't bought your Christmas presents yet, here's an idea to consider.

Join the new QuinStreet affiliate network, choose your Christmas presents from a range of quality products from 21 merchants, and you'll earn generous 8% to 25% commissions on your own purchases.

Andrea Durrell of Quin Street says the merchants include well- known, established market leaders, such as:

Hooked on Phonics - "best brand in home learning".

University of Phoenix - "world leader in distance learning".

Northpoint - "leader in high speed access". You can earn $4 per qualified lead, plus commissions and bonuses.

Rainbow Light - "top brand in nutrition".

Kiss My Face - "best in natural personal care", and more...

There's a broad selection with great Christmas appeal, such as:

American Red Cross, which offers emergency kits that everyone can use.

Balducci's, which has the "biggest and best" in specialty food from fresh fruit, gift baskets and candy to fully prepared gourmet meals.

QS Direct, selling "appealing, affordable" gifts.

Premier Membership and Buying Clubs offer "fantastic value" with up to 50% discounts on a wide range of travel needs, Quin Street says.

Other categories of products available for affiliates to promote include health and fitness and 24/7 tech support.

The affiliate program is two-tier.

Merchants in the Quin Street network pay 8% to 25% commission, plus you receive ongoing revenue, which varies from merchant to merchant, for referrals and $1 to $75 for leads generated by your site.

To find out what commissions individual merchants pay, members can click on "Merchants" and then Select Merchants/Terms.

Quin Street appears to be working hard to make the new network attractive to affiliates, providing marketing tools and a variety of incentives.

For example, some merchants also offer referral bonuses and some offer profit sharing:

"We will take a percentage of sales for each month and divide it pro rata among all members based click-throughs for that merchant. If you had 1% of the click-throughs, you'll get 1% of the profit sharing."

For a limited time, you can also earn a $5 bonus for every new member you refer who sells any Quin Street merchant product.

Commissions are paid monthly, provided you are owed at least $5. If not, the money is rolled over to the next month.

"The links we provide have generated up to an 8% click-through rate," Quin Street says.

It's not necessary to own a web site to participate. You can promote the products and services via e-mail.

Buying your Christmas presents here - and earning commissions on the purchases - would be an excellent way to check out the program. Looks good to me.


__________________________________________SPONSOR__________
TO SUCCEED ONLINE YOU NEED TO...
...learn from the Internet Experts.
(that's why you're reading Allan's newsletter, right?)
So when "Nothing But Net" author Michael Campbell says
"...read this before you buy anything else"...
...you may want to click... http://scamfree.com/isb2001/
___________________________________________________________



===============================================
2. One way affiliate mini-sites pay for traffic
===============================================

So far in this series of articles on affiliate mini-sites
Affiliate mini-sites Part 1
Affiliate mini-sites Part 2
Affiliate mini-sites Part 3
I've examined:

Mini-sites on free servers.

Mini-sites which try to be found in search engines.

Mini-sites designed to be bookmarked.

A mini-site which bundles offers and buys traffic.

A mini-site which offers powerful add-ons and is promoted via a newsletter.

Here's another popular category:

Affiliate mini-sites promoted via pay-per-click search engines.

This is a FAST way of buying traffic and quickly testing whether the affiliate program you've chosen provides a satisfactory conversion rate. If it hasn't, and you're sure your pre-selling isn't to blame, dump the program and try another one.

You can also use pay-per-click search engines to test your headings, graphics, page design, and text. You can find out what achieves the most sales before broadening your promotion.

If you haven't tried pay-per-click search engines yet, you're in for a treat.

Here's how they work.

At Goto.com...

[UPDATE: It's now called Yahoo! Search Marketing.]

...you bid for search term positions. Every time someone clicks through to your site from the search engine, you are charged the amount you bid. Bidding starts at 1 cent per search term. The more you bid, the higher you are likely to be ranked.

Choose your heading and description well, and you'll attract cost-effective, highly targeted visitors to your site.

For good articles telling you how to get the most out of these pay-per-click search engines, see the page of articles listed at http://www.PayPerClickSearchEngines.com .

If you're creating affiliate mini-sites, you'll want to investigate other mini-sites first. You'll find a wide variety of tactics used on mini-sites.

Some offer pages of useful information and links. Others simply publish a brief advertisement and one link. With them, you're given two choices: Either click on the link to the merchant or hit the Back button.

One of the easiest ways to find affiliate mini-sites is by doing searches at GoTo.com - one of the Net's top 10 search engines.

If you keep an eye on GoTo.com, you'll see that month after month some affiliate mini-sites are prepared to pay well for click- throughs.

The conclusion you can draw:

Either these people are throwing away money (not very likely now that the dot-com craziness has disappeared) or they have built a mini-site which works - and found an affiliate program with a high conversion rate.

For example, do a search for "online banking" at GoTo.com. You'll find a wide variety of sites willing to pay for clicks.

You'll also see that clicks are fairly expensive - the site in the top spot is paying 95 cents per click.

When you do a search for "online banking" use the search engine exactly the way you normally would. Quickly scan the links and see which headings and descriptions catch your eye.

Although someone is willing to pay 95 cents per click for the top spot, you may find more tempting - and much cheaper - links down the page.

For example, here's a tempting one in 12th spot:

Earn $60 From CompuBank
Open a free checking account & get a free $20 deposit added to it! Min.opening deposit only $100. No monthly service charge or minimum balance. Get $40 for each person you refer. Affiliate.
208.50.16.36/NEW_PAGE/compubankx.html (Cost to advertiser: $0.23)

It's a very simple page in a shopping mall.

Now here's a totally different one:

Links to Free Online Banking
Comparisons, hints, tips and resources on online banking.
http://www.bankbranchonline.com (Cost to advertiser: $0.24)

Instead of one page, this is a professional looking mini-site and offers exactly what the description says - "comparisons, hints and resources on online banking". It adds credibility by including an "About Us" page which provides a company name and a person's name.


===============================
3. How to warm up your visitors
===============================

Getting the click from the pay-per-click search engine to the affiliate mini-site is only the first step.

You have TWO more steps to go.

Next, you have to entice your visitor to click through to the merchant site AND you have to warm up the visitor, putting him or her in a buying mood.

Here's a site which does it well.

The listing is way down in 36th spot, but it's well designed to catch the eye. It offers a powerful BENEFIT - free cash:

Free Online Banking
Sign up for your free online checking account now and $20 cash will be deposited into your account, free for spending any way you want! Affiliate.
www.shoppingguru.com/feature/free_online_banking.htm
(Cost to advertiser: $0.01)

When you click through to the affiliate site, the first thing you see is a good reason to trust CompuBank:

"CompuBank has been rated the #1 Bank Online by SmartMoney.com's Online Banking Survey."

By the time the visitor reaches CompuBank, he or she should be pleasantly warmed up, ready to sign up - and earn the affiliate a well earned commission.


============================================
4. GoTo.com relaxes its rules for affiliates
============================================

If my memory is correct, the GoTo.com advertiser guidelines once warned advertisers about affiliate links.

The warning isn't there any more.

Competition from dozens of new pay-per-click search engines - http://www.PayPerClickSearchEngines.com now lists 56 such engines - appears to have encouraged GoTo.com to relax its rules.

The rules say: "Relevancy is of the utmost importance to GoTo and to our advertisers . . . Our goal is to create a fair and open marketplace in which both our consumers and advertisers benefit."

It also says: "Advertisers may bid on a search term if their Web site has content that is clearly and obviously reflective of the search term, and their line listing (title and description) accurately describes why their Web site is listed for the search term."

Some affiliate sites submitting listings to GoTo.com are adding the word "Affiliate" to their description. I assume they want to ensure they obey GoTo's advertiser guidelines, which insist that a description must be accurate.

However, other affiliate sites which don't make it clear they are affiliates are accepted for listing.

Here's a bold affiliate who has gone one step farther. If you do a search for "online banking" you'll find this listing.

6. Bank Online with the #1 Online Bank
Bank online with CompuBank - the #1 rated online bank! Save time and money every month - 4.07% interest. Free online bill pay, free direct deposit, free Visa debit card - and more!
www.winacert.com/gotocompubank.htm
(Cost to advertiser: $0.34)

No messing around here.

That link AUTOMATICALLY redirects to Compubank via this referral URL: compubank.com/cbe_appl.htm?affinity=25895

So 100% of the clicks from GoTo.com go to the merchant, via the affiliate's referral URL. How's that for a click-through rate!

Winacert.com is also using an automatic redirect on another pay- per-click search engine, http://www.FindWhat.com .

I e-mailed GoTo.com to ask if this was acceptable behavior. I didn't receive a reply.

You can form your own opinion on what that means.


===========================================
5. Why CompuBank is popular with affiliates
===========================================

CompuBank, the #1 online bank rated by SmartMoney, pays $20 per customer referred - or $40 per customer if you open an account and have your commissions paid into your account.

Unfortunately for me, to be eligible to be a CompuBank affiliate, you must be a United States citizen or permanent resident and have a U.S. Tax I.D. (SSN or EIN).

Looks good to me.

Feel free to tell them Allan Gardyne sent you - but it won't do me any good ;-)

[UPDATE: CompuBank closed down.]


=================================================
6. Useful resources for online banking affiliates
=================================================

If you're thinking of writing about online banking, here's a good source of background info:
dothingz.com/main/banking.htm

It has links to articles and reviews of online banks.

DealDude.com - http://www.DealDude.com - has obviously done a lot of research on online banking deals:

dealdude.com/financialdeals.html [UPDATE: THis link is obsolete.]

It also offers online coupons, deals, discounts, freebies and cool sites. It's well worth a visit for affiliates seeking ideas - and for bargain hunters.

Here's another useful source for research: Epinions.com - http://www.epinions.com/ - offers over one million reviews and comments and covers over 200,000 products and services to help you make better buying decisions.


==========================================
7. How to avoid paying too much for clicks
==========================================

Some advertisers are paying a LOT more than necessary for clicks on GoTo.com and other pay-per-click search engines.

For example, this week Bank United - http://www.bankunited.com/ - was paying 89 cents for the "internet banking" top spot. However, in second spot Juniper Bank - http://www.juniperbank.com - was paying only 58 cents.

Bank United could pay only 59 cents and still retain top spot, so it's paying 30 cents too much for EVERY CLICK it buys.

I wondered how much money Bank United is throwing away each month, so I searched for "internet banking" using GoTo.com's "Search Term Suggestion List" tool - http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/ .

The tool shows that more than 5,000 searches were made at GoTo last month for "internet banking". Bank United will have bought a large proportion of those - all at 30 cents per click TOO MUCH.

United Bank could save hundreds or thousands of dollars by using a handy little tool - Keyword Bid Optimizer (KBO) - which: saves you time and money by managing your GoTo.com listings, identifying opportunities and making sure you don't pay too much.

You can get it here:

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/kbo
(Occasionally I've seen an error message when visiting this site. Hitting "Refresh" seems to solve the problem.)

[UPDATE: This link no longer works.]


===========================================
8. Affiliate mini-site was "too successful"
===========================================

Affiliate sites can be TOO successful, says Nils Risheim. About six months ago, Nils launched an affiliate mini-site, http://www.euebersetzung.de . It offers AltaVista's free translation service. You type in the URL of a web page and it is translated from German to English, or vice versa. He was counting on financing the site through AltaVista's affiliate program, which is administered by Be Free.

"The AltaVista translation services were so successful that my visitors did more than one click through per visit on my page," Nils says. "Due to this AltaVista cancelled all my accumulated commission.

"AltaVista promised to look into this, so I sent them my log file information a couple of weeks ago. I have still not got any answer from them.

"I would like to know if it is only AltaVista/Be Free programs that are cancelling affiliate commissions for sites that have clicks exceeding impressions."


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===============================================
9. Connie's coupon site earns nearly $1,000,000
===============================================

Connie Berg of FlamingoWorld - http://www.FlamingoWorld.com - says she expects to earn about $1,000,000 from affiliate programs this year.

Her site is deceptively simple.

If you take a quick look, you might mistake it for a banner farm. However, it's a lot more than that.

Connie has published a directory of merchants which have sales, specials, coupons and rebates. She works about 10 hours a day on the site, making sure it's always up-to-date.

Navigation isn't brilliant. If you click on a category, for example "Electronics", and then want to find another category you have to click back to the Home page.

But the business model works beautifully, with a lot of help from people who tell their friends about Connie's site.

"Now I have over 10,000 subscribers to my newsletter and I get about 350,000 visitors a month lately, but rising fast as the holiday season approaches," she told Ryan Lee in an interview - http://www.refer-it.com/main.cfm?screen=articles&id=94 .

About 30 programs work well for Connie and she says she receives a lot of $5,000 to $9,000 checks each quarter. Good earners over the past year include Amazon.com, Drugstore.com, Babygear.com, Freeshop. and KBKids.com.

Connie says she created the site just for fun and escape at first - and it took her eight months to receive her first check.

She spends several hours a day answering e-mail.

"By being friendly, people don't think of me as a business, they think of me as their friend who has a coupon site."

http://www.FlamingoWorld.com



========================================================
10. Managers: how do you measure your affiliate program?
========================================================

Affiliate Metrix is gathering data for its Merchant Report 2001. This report will combine analysis of data gathered from affiliate managers who participate in the survey, as well as documentation of the best practices for the industry. Please take the survey at affiliatemetrix.com/survey.php3 and get 20% off the price of the report.

If you have any questions, contact the Affiliate Metrix team (Shawn Collins: scollins AT clubmom-inc.com, Keith Kochberg: keith AT imarketingltd.com) - http://www.affiliatemetrix.com/.



=============================================
11. CJ to pay $2 for referring new affiliates
=============================================

As you've probably heard, from January 3, Commission Junction will double its payout for sign-ups but drop its per-click commissions.

Affiliates participating in the CJ merchant program will earn $2 for every new affiliate referred. Plus, you'll earn 5% of that affiliate's earnings for the duration of your program as long as that affiliate is active.

No doubt this will make things easier for CJ because it won't have to waste time checking for per-click frauds in its own merchant program.

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/cj



===========================================
12. Learn while having a vacation in Hawaii
===========================================

I hope you've booked your tickets for the E-Commerce 2001 Conference & Exposition, March 8-10, on Hawaii's Big Island.

Thom Reece, who is organizing the conference, keeps adding fascinating new speakers: John Audette, Rob Frankel, Allan Gardyne (yes, that's me), Thom Reece, Dan Janal, Brad Waller, Randy Conrads, Matt Mickiewicz, Peter Luo and Raleigh Pinskey.

We had a lot of fun and learned a lot at the 2000 conference. Read the rave reviews from attendees:

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/hawaii

I hope I'll see you there.

[UPDATE: This seminar is over.]


===============================================
13. Dreamweaver helps you replace links quickly
===============================================

Steve Huober of 512design.net has a hint for affiliates who want to replace many links:

"Dreamweaver also has a search and replace function, like the Frontpage 2000 function which you mentioned . . . With it you can also easily replace old links. You can do this sitewise, or just on selected pages. Go to Edit and select Replace (Ctrl+H) then you will get the Replace dialogue box. You can also choose to find invalid links, if you want to do that, with the Find option. To access the Find dialogue box select Edit and then Find (Ctrl+F). Dreamweaver also has the handy Library option which would help you easily change future links. I won't go into the details of the Library option but I am sure you can find out about it in Dreamweaver's help or on the Dreamweaver newsgroup (news:macromedia.dreamweaver)."

For hard-coding web site owners, TextPad has a useful search-and- replace function, too.


===============================================
14. Case study: Setting up an affiliate program
===============================================

Veronica Yuill, Development Manager for Archetype IT, a web development company with offices in France and the UK, describes setting up an affiliate program for HistoryBookshop.com - http://www.HistoryBookshop.com - a new online bookshop with 200,000 titles.

http://www.archetype-it.com/english/affiliate.htm



========================================
Thought for today: Knowledge ISN'T power
========================================

"Knowledge is not power. That's right, knowledge is not power. Knowledge alone does nothing. Knowledge alone is like gasoline in a can - lots of potential power, but until some action is taken, that power cannot be realized. So the real equation should be: Knowledge plus action equals power." – Kim Wingate, avidsurfer.com


All the best

Allan Gardyne

December 14, 2000

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Comments (1)

Said this on July 9, 2010 At 09:17 am
"Knowledge is not power. That's right, knowledge is not power. Knowledge alone does nothing. Knowledge alone is like gasoline in a can - lots of potential power, but until some action is taken, that power cannot be realized. So the real equation should be: Knowledge plus action equals power."

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