Sites that sell

Associate Programs Newsletter #28


CONTENTS:

1. Sites that sell
2. Software to help associates
3. Finding advice on doorway pages
4. Comparing merchant account providers
5. Getting started
6. Find out the rules first
7. Banners that work
8. Please remember the name
9. Merry Christmas! Free banner advertising for a year
10. Snippets

Thank you to all the kind people who sent me encouraging messages after I announced that I've quit my day job to concentrate on AssociatePrograms.com. I've deleted such details from the letters published in the newsletter today, but I really appreciate them. Thanks! Maybe now that I'm working only one job I'll be able to get a little more sleep and not fire out a newsletter full of typing mistakes at 1am.


==================
1. Sites that sell
==================

The Internet News Bureau has 1860 affiliates, says Assistant Editor Annissa Anderson. Want to know who sold most in the past two months? Here they are:

Lynch Consulting:
ipromote.com
A beautiful, professionally designed site. Lynch Consulting describes how it carefully chose the Internet News Bureau and says it works closely with the bureau to get the best results for clients.

Vision 2000:
successmall.com
A more strident approach - but it obviously gets results, no doubt with the aid of e-mail marketing.

Blue Ribbon Marketing:
blueribbonmarketing.com/services/promote.htm
(I received a Not Found message for that one)

CD Blvd:
cdblvd.com/links.html
Perhaps sheer traffic numbers win the day here - plus the prominent positioning of the Internet News Bureau ad. There's a button graphic on the main page saying: "Reach 2,000 Subscribing Journalists With One Press Release."

The Internet News Bureau provides an excellent, professional service. I've used it and recommend it. It's not cheap - you pay for quality.


==============================
2. Software to help associates
==============================

Linda Fisher writes:

Hello Allan,

. . . I am a current Amazon.com associate. Probably due more to my content site http://www.room42.com/nutrition/basal.shtml than anything else, I am doing well selling books on behalf of Amazon.com.

Very quickly my bookstore became large with numerous topic pages and sometimes even the same book being sold off more than one page. With the great weekly reports Amazon sends me, I wanted to know which of my pages were of interest to my visitors (selling books) and which I should abandon. As time went on, I also wanted to be able to find the books that were no longer in the Amazon.com catalog - so that I could remove them from my web pages.

I wrote a software program to help me. I can search for any keyword identifier and locate that keyword on any one of my 75 or so web pages. This tool is invaluable to me in both assessing my business and keeping my site current.

I have been offering this Windows 95/98 compatible software free to anyone who wants to use it - room42.com/store/web_inventory_tool.html . The free version will search for one keyword on one page, per execution of the program - so is fully functional. I have just begun selling the version that will search for any number of keywords on any number of pages (this is the one I use, of course).
I would like to see this program in the hands of all associates/affiliates, because I'm a techie and the program is so useful to me. Sure, I would like to sell a few copies also (entrepreneur wanna be).

Other then writing your email address, I haven't come up with any reasonable ideas for publicizing the availability of this inventory software tool to the other associates/ affiliates. So I am looking for a suggestion - idea from you, for sharing this tool. Can you help?

regards,

Linda Fisher
http://www.room42.com
Linda AT room42.com

I have no experience promoting software, but I guess all the hundreds of usual ways of promoting a web site apply to your case. Perhaps you could search http://groups.google.com/ for appropriate newsgroups and ask the question there?

You could tell the affiliate-l list about your software.

[UPDATE: The affiliate-l list has been discontinued.]

Perhaps you could do a deal with Amazon.com - getting the word out to 100,000 associates would be a nice start. You could offer a few copies as prizes in competitions.

Have you told LinkExchange Digest? Last I heard, it had about 75,000 readers.

[UPDATE: It's now called LED Digest.]

How about offering the free version to companies which produce shareware CD-ROMs?

Can you arrange reciprocal links with complementary sites? You could do a search in search engines for appropriate keywords, give complementary sites which rank highly a link on your site (give, then take) and write and tell them you've done so. Offer them a ready-to-paste link to your site, and suggest exactly where in their site it would be appropriate for the link to go. (Make it as easy as possible.)

Perhaps you could offer some webmasters a free copy in exchange for a mention in their newsletter? Find newsletters here: http://www.e-zine-list.com

You could search forumone.com for appropriate message boards where you could mention your software.
[UPDATE: This site has changed.]

Need more ideas? Hunt through Dr Ralph Wilson's excellent site http://www.wilsonweb.com . That site alone should keep you busy with marketing ideas for a long time. His Web Marketing Today newsletter is excellent.

Good luck!


==================================
3. Finding advice on doorway pages
==================================

Steve Braun writes:

Allan,

...I've been following with keen interest the recent discussion of doorway or gateway pages. I constructed some of my own with knowledge gained from "Unfair Advantage" published by http://www.searchenginehelp.com/signup . I had mixed results and it is VERY labor intensive. I jumped on the doorway page creation service at searchpositioning.com and have had very little luck getting pages into search engine indexes after submitting. I've been reading some of the messages at the Engenius software forum at pegasoweb.com. Descriptions of the software sound good but forum entries have kept me from jumping on to that bandwagon. I've emailed some of the message posters and will be interested in what they have to say about the Engenius software and their results from using it.

Any more information on doorway/gateway pages in your newsletter would be of great interest to me.

Thank you,
Steve Braun

You can find an excellent, detailed description of how to create doorway pages in the December 1998 edition of MarketPosition newsletter published by FirstPlace Software http://www.firstplacesoftware.com . It doesn't seem to be archived at the site, but if you subscribe now perhaps they will send you the December edition. To subscribe to MarketPosition, simply email: subscribe AT webposition.com

Other excellent sources of information on ranking well in search engines:

Danny Sullivan's
http://searchenginewatch.com

I-Search Discussion List
[UPDATE: Closed.]

VirtualPROMOTE message boards
http://www.virtualPROMOTE.com

Web publishing techniques to avoid
infoseek.com/Help?pg=spam.html

FirstPlace Software also offers a complete report on search engine positioning entitled "Secrets to Achieving a Top 10 Position". This 110+ page report compiles all the latest information about the major search engines and how you can improve your positions in each. Currently, as a special bonus offer, this $79 report is included FREE when you buy WebPosition - http://www.AssociateProgams.com/webposition.


=======================================
4. Comparing merchant account providers
=======================================

Last week I said there was a crying need for someone to research the companies that provide merchant facilities for people wanting to accept credit cards on the Net. Well, someone has started doing it.

Allan

. . . we just launched . . . MerchantWorkz.com. We have sent surveys to hundreds of merchant account providers and have started to summarize the data at the site. Also have pointers to articles and other resources. We are working on expanding the site and would love any ideas or suggestions from you or your readers . . .

Regards,
David.

Looks a good start. However, I hoped to find an overall conclusion, a sort of summary of your summary, but didn't find one. You have a huge job ahead of you collecting the information and keeping it up to date. Good for you for tackling it. Looks as though you'll have an extremely useful resource - one to bookmark.

[UPDATE: This site closed.]


==================
5. Getting started
==================

Every now and again I receive questions from people new to the Net and associate programs. Here's a sample:

Q: How do I build a web site?

A: See Marty Foley's article "Crash HTML Course: How to Start Creating Your Own Web Page in 3 Minutes or Less." It's temporarily available on his Biz-Gold Discussion Board:
profitinfo.com/discuss/marketing/?read=905

Q: Do I just go out and "grab" any old program, and do I put up only one program on my site? Or do I put up two or three or four or five or...?

A: A good one to start with is Amazon.com. The instructions are easy to follow and creating a bookshop which matches the theme of your site provides a useful service. I think it makes sense to stick with programs which match your theme, but some people say you should experiment and see what sells. Try to start with good, solid reputable companies which have been recommended by people whose opinions you trust. Bill Prackup says: "I only market affiliate programs, software, classifieds, links, etc., that I actually own and use."

Q: Do I need to have a unique theme?

A: Maybe a "unique" theme isn't necessary, but I believe every site ought to have a theme and a purpose - other than simply trying to make money. How else are you going to attract people to your site, get them to remember you, and return? I like web sites which provide useful, helpful information. That's the kind of site I visit. If you can build one of those, you should be successful. The details are up to you.

Q: Should the associate programs be on separate pages?

Some people pile a dozen or so one page. I think two or three is the maximum acceptable number of banners per page. But maybe you don't need banners. Descriptive text and testimonials are likely to work much better anyway. None of this is gospel. Make up your own rules.

Q: Where do I get reliable info that I can update often?

A: From your own first-hand knowledge and experiments; from interviewing experts; perhaps from journalists you hire to write for you . . . Ira Pasternack's Marketing Tip of The Day (MTOTD) has been running a series of tips to help you find free material, write your own material, work with an editor, and work with a writer. A searchable archive of MTOTD is available at: list-archives.com/cgi-bin/miva?list/mtotd/

[UPDATE: MTOTD has disappeared.]


===========================
6. Find out the rules first
===========================

Mark Kassar of http://www.cyberbounty.com who wrote the following useful advice is an advertiser in this newsletter. (Jim Reardon of http://www.freecenter.com says he has tried CyberBounty.com and it pays.)

Allan

> In the case of Cybergold, the company will pay $1.00 per
> lead vs. WebSponsor's $0.25 - $0.40 per lead. In reality,
> Cybergold will pay $1.00 per lead, up to 30 leads. The limit
> is mentioned nowhere on their site and is strictly arbitrary.

In response to the article concerning Cybergold's restriction on payments, I'd also recommend that people read their client agreements very carefully when signing up with such services. We operate http://www.cyberbounty.com , paying webmasters on a cost per action basis and we would never restrict the revenue in such a way! If somebody brings us 10,000 registrations, they receive payment for 10,000.

I don't like to boast, well okay I do, we like to think we offer the highest payouts on the Internet. So you might want to check out the site. All information is perfectly clear. You can check out our current sponsors along with how much they pay before even attempting to sign up. When you sign up you receive an immediate emailed copy of the client agreement which clearly states all the operating terms.

. . . Of course there's much more to consider . . . For instance, we don't carry as many programs as other companies but there's a good reason for that. We only offer sponsors that offer a respectable conversion rate, rather than fill our site with offers that look good, but actually chew up lots of your impressions giving little response, in other words free advertising!

No names mentioned but there's a particular sponsor that is currently all over the Internet and is not paying for each and every registration, they are only paying if the registration is unique to their database. As the database grows, your revenue consequently goes down because you may be capable of sending tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people to the site, but a diminishing percentage are unique! These impressions would be better spent elsewhere.

(Sounds as though Mark is talking about a sweepstakes offer.)

Well that's my two cents worth, all I'm saying is, be careful what you get into, always read the client agreement, and if they don't have one, and/or you don't receive a copy of one, think very hard if this is the type of company you want to deal with! Find out what the rules are *before* you play the game.

Mark Kassar
http://www.cyberbounty.com


====================
7. Banners that work
====================

Mike Scanlin writes:

Allan

. . . as long as you're doing site reviews, how about ours?
Mike Scanlin
Four Corners Effective Banners
whitepalm.com/fourcorners

Mike has an excellent example of a well organized site, offering excellent, useful information (which banners are more effective). It is extremely easy to navigate and Mike offers the free, useful Banner Tips email list:
whitepalm.com/fourcorners/joinlist.shtml

Mike insisted I criticize his site. OK. I found one thing wrong. I have trouble remembering your URL.
whitepalm.com/fourcorners

How about getting a more memorable one? Maybe:

BetterBanners.com?
Sorry. That one has been taken.

EffectiveBanners.com?
It was still available today.

BannersThatWork.com?
It was still available today.

[UPDATE: The site became BannerTips.com and eventually disappeared.]


===========================
8. Please remember the name
===========================

Todd Ebersviller writes:

Allan

...You have one of the best marketing moves I have seen. No one else has used it that I have noticed. You say: "Remember the name: AssociatePrograms.com."

It may not be much, but I would say 4-5 months ago I saw that page and because of that text I never did forget it. I didn't even have it bookmarked for a long time, but whenever I wanted to surf AssociatePrograms.com came to mind.

Todd Ebersviller
usa.hyperbanner.net

Thank you! It's nice to know the idea worked. If you like the "Remember the name: AssociatePrograms.com" idea, feel free to adapt it for your site.


======================================================
9. Merry Christmas! Free banner advertising for a year
======================================================

I usually announce one winner each month of free banner advertising for a year on AssociatePrograms.com. Here are three winners drawn from my mother-in-law's old gardening hat:

Australia's The Well Bookshop
thewell.com.au

The Resume Store International
http://www.resumestore.com

Webmasters Mall
promotips.fsn.net/mall/mallmain.html

If you're one of those winners, please contact me at
allan AT AssociatePrograms.com
and tell me where I can find your banner to place on AssociatePrograms.com for a year.

If AssociatePrograms.com is helping you make money - after all, that's my aim - how about giving me a link? Just cut and paste the following (or reword it any way you like):

<A HREF="http://www.AssociatePrograms.com"><B> AssociatePrograms.com</B></A><BR> You can earn commissions by referring customers to other web sites. This directory gives you thousands of programs to choose from.<BR>

Tell me you've done it, and you'll go in the draw for a chance to win free banner advertising for a year.

[UPDATE: I'd still love a link, but this contest has closed.]


============
10. Snippets
============

Another little milestone
The Associate Programs Newsletter now has more than 5000 subscribers. Thank you for telling your friends about the newsletter. I try to help you, in the hope that you'll help me - seems to be working!

Extraordinary web hosting
Bill Prackup of marketitnow.com says: "Extraordinary web hosting for $19.95 - $24.95 (US) a month can be found at webhostlist.com, a FREE service. I found my two hosting services there."

Hey, Mr Advertiser!
I'm sure you have doubts about the number of subscribers claimed by some newsletter publishers. Want to see if I really have 5000 subscribers? It's easy. You can now send an e-mail to a special address at OakNetPublishing.com with SEND SUB COUNT in the body of the email. A friendly little robot will zap back the latest subscriber count.

[UPDATE: This newsletter is now distributed by Dundee.net.]

They paid me too much
Through some weird little error at the Internet Marketing Center I received too much money from Corey Rudl for a couple of months. I was being paid $75 for each marketing course sold so that's what I told you the commission is. Nope. The correct figure is $65 (US). And, yes, it's still my best money earner - by a long way. You can sign up here: http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/coreys

David sends more spam
David Gikandi, who sent me spam to promote Searchpositioning, has followed up by sending me spam to promote his Access Global Business Toolkit. If sending spam is a useful form of marketing, David won't need a link in my directory. I try to avoid helping greedy, selfish, inconsiderate people. You may choose to do business with them - that's your choice. However, please don't recommend them to me.

I-Sales how to:
I mentioned I-Sales mailing list last week. I should have told you how to sign up. Subscribe at
adventive.com

[UPDATE: The I-Sales list was sold, and then died.]

Good neighbours
A few thousand miles from home this week, I discovered that I DIDN'T have all my files safely transferred to my new notebook computer. Fortunately, we had left a house key with a neighbor. Over the phone late at night, I gave him instructions on how to e-mail the files from my computer to me. As he left our house, he was accosted by two other neighbors armed with a spade and hammer. They thought he was a burglar. It's nice to have good neighbors.

Good friends
It's nice having good friends on the Net, too. There may be hundreds of ways to promote a web site, but some of the best publicity I've received has come from new friends giving me a helping hand. Thanks! I've mentioned some of you at Creating buzz 1998 style


*************************************************************
CLASSIFIED ADS (I charge $US50. Subscribers: over 5100.
I keep the price high to make sure there aren't many ads.
The circulation is verifiable by a trusted third party.)
*************************************************************

>>>>>> An Internet Marketing Specialist? You? <<<<<<
They laughed when I told them I was an Internet Marketing
Specialist - until I let them read the latest issue of "Advance
Consultancy News" - that is! Guess who's laughing now?
Email - sub-aim AT advance.to - For Latest Issue!
>>>>>> Subscribe TODAY while it's still FREE! <<<<<<
[UPDATE: This newsletter has been discontinued.]

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earn up to $5.50 per action!
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- State of the Art web site, full control panel, with live stats
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Join now! http://www.cyberbounty.com?id=2001
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CreditNow Associate Program
We invite you to become a CreditNow associate. CreditNow offers 3
sub-prime credit cards (FDIC insured bank), 3 types of credit
reports (triple merged, subscription, online report), debt
consolidation services, and a mortgage finder service. Commissions
for these 8 high demand products are: credit cards - $15 per sale,
credit reports - 1$, $4, $6 per sale, completed debt consolidation
request - $5 , completed mortgage finder request - $5. We provide
you with a well designed, clear and concise, easily navigated web
site. Track your sales with your online stats page.
creditnow.net/d/400

*************************************************************WILL YOU BE READY?
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You may backup your PC regularly, but half of all conventional
backups never work. Now, you can reliably backup your
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*************************************************************


11. Articles at AssociatePrograms.com

The good stuff: Two-tier programs
AssociatePrograms.com/search/two-tier.shtml

How to set up an associate program
AssociatePrograms.com/search/howto.shtml

Corey Rudl's marketing manual reviewed
AssociatePrograms.com/search/newsletter005.shtml

Top 10 associate programs
AssociatePrograms.com/search/favourite.shtml

Newsletter archives
AssociatePrograms.com/search/newsletter.shtml


All the best

Allan Gardyne

December 11, 1998

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