Associate Programs Newsletter #29


1. Want to make $1 - or $1000?
2. How The Net One tempted me to buy
3. Can we trust Commission Junction?
4. Barnes and Noble versus
5. Doorway pages? No, INTRO pages
6. Auto Repair Rip-Offs Exposed! two-tier program
7. They won't bomb Cromwell, will they?
8. Snippets

1. Want to make $1 - or $1000?

My copy of Jaclyn Easton's book " Profiles of 23 Incredibly Successful Websites... That You've Probably Never Heard Of" finally arrived. Apparently I pushed the wrong button when I ordered it from and it took about seven weeks to travel by surface mail to Australia.

It was well worth the wait. It is undoubtedly the most useful Internet book I've read all year. You'll learn, for example, how a tightly targeted information site, Ask the Builder, charges an amazing $330 CPM (cost per 1,000 views) for ads. Before reading that, I had thought $70 CPM was brilliant, and about $20 much more likely. I've heard of one site which charges $5 or $6 CPM.

How would you like more than 4,000 links to your site from complementary - and complimentary - sites. Imagine all that wonderful free publicity. The book describes how Steven Kane of Gamesville hired a team of college students to surf the web, hunt out likely sites and ask them to link to Gamesville. About 10,000 individual requests sent out resulted in 4,000 links to Gamesville. The most amazing part? The links are NOT reciprocal.

Want to offer vacations on your site? Well, you could sign up with Travelocity and earn $1 when someone buys an air ticket. That's OK. However, The Knot, a weddings advice site, has a much more profitable way of doing things. It partnered with Honeymoon Magazine, did deals with resorts around the world, and launched The Aloha Travel Auction, where people bid on trips to romantic resorts, such as a Fiji resort vacation for $2,300. The Knot usually makes 50% on each sale.

It is in-depth examples like these which make "" fascinating and useful.

If you want to be gratefully remembered for years, one of the best gifts you can give a budding entrepreneur - or a struggling one - is a gift which will help the recipient make money.

My wife, Joanna, thinks I'm crazy recommending that you put "" at the top of your buying list - or your Christmas wish list. Why? Because it's a "real" book sold by and all I'll earn is a tiny fee when I could recommend you buy other excellent books and courses which will make me $10, $15, or even $65 commission.

So why am I advising you to put this book at the top of your buying list? Simple. I know that when you've read it you'll agree with me that it's the most useful Internet marketing book you've read all year. Here's my cunning plan: You'll learn you can trust my advice. One day I'll be able to sell you something good that earns me a larger commission.

Why not buy yourself a Christmas present?

You can buy "" from Amazon at 30% off the normal retail price. For $17.47 (US) it's a fantastic bargain. (Usually ships within 24 hours.)

I've put other gift ideas for entrepreneurs on the main page at

2. How The Net One tempted me to buy

The Net One, a search engine which says it receives more than 2,000 site submissions a day, has launched an associate program which tempted me to join this week.

The site has a neatly designed main page with a large number of category headings just begging to be clicked. Here's my theory: Because The Net One has an associate program, it will be given a lot of excellent free publicity around the Net. Curious people will do what I did - click and have a look. They will see the list of categories and will check to see how their site ranks or how their competitors' sites rank. Then they will pay to improve that ranking.

The Net One search engine accepts free listings, and also allows people to pay for top 10 rankings, other enhancements, banners and classified ads. I think a lot of people will be tempted to pay for a top 10 ranking - especially when they read "First in first served." If they don't buy, their competitors may.

I know some people strongly oppose the concept of search engines like which serve up rankings according to how much people pay. I disagree. As long as competing fair, free search engines still exist, I don't see any problem. If they all started charging, I'd be worried.

The Net One search engine pays commissions of at least 15% on advertising orders. Total commissions could vary from a few dollars to $US75 or higher.

I could be wrong, but I think the associate program will have a snowball effect, drawing a lot of attention to The Net One, where the list of subjects will tempt people to click, pay for top 10 rankings, and join the program. You can link using text, buttons or banners. Tracking is by Commission Junction.

I took a gamble and bought some advertising at The Net One

The money-earning URL is ridiculously long - not suitable for a newsletter. Rather than using it, newsletter publishers could provide a link to a web page which contained a banner.

The popularity of The Net One will no doubt be enhanced by a cute, brightly colored, animated button graphic. You can see it on the left hand side of the main page at

[UPDATE: This was a poor investment.]

3. Can we trust Commission Junction?

I've received letters from Lex Sisney, President, and Mark G. Ryan, Business Development Manager, introducing a new revenue sharing network, Commission Junction -

Lex says: "Basically, Commission Junction is designed to make pay-per-sale/lead programs more easier and more efficient for affiliates.

"When affiliates join more than one merchant program, they normally deal with each merchant separately. With Commission Junction, monthly payments are consolidated into a single check, representing total sales from multiple merchants. Affiliates also manage all of their sales and earnings reports with a single ID and password.

"For our merchant partners, in exchange for 15% of the commission payout, we handle associate sign-ups, track all contributing sales/leads, create customized reports detailing what each associate contributed to a business, and actually pay the associates."

Mark says that for the past year GoldRush has been developing a new, better technology for affiliate tracking and GoldRush has now merged with Commission Junction to provide that technology through Commission Junction.

"One such advantage for affiliates using CJ is that they can manage many affiliate accounts with ONE master account and password. When someone is signed up they can see the activity (clicks, sales and impressions) of all the ads they have placed separately or all in one report. Affiliates are paid by Commission Junction and can check out (get paid) at any time via funds transfer or check. This not only makes it so that there is no more waiting for your money but also so the merchant does not need to write out a billion checks each month."

I had adopted a wait and watch attitude to Commission Junction, but I'm now receiving recommendations for companies which are using CJ for tracking, so I asked Mark:

> One thing bothers me about the Commission Junction
> system. It puts you in a similar position to a bank,
> presumably eventually handling huge sums of money.
> How do companies and associates know you can be trusted?

Mark's reply:

"There are 3 ways to answer this.

"1. How do you know to trust the merchants you are currently dealing with? At least this way affiliates don't need to worry about that. Merchants put money into an account with us so that it is always readily available to their affiliates."

(That's a non-answer. We don't know we can trust other companies. Therefore we should trust a new one that handles other companies' money?)

"2. Commission Junction is fairly large with 20+ employees and lots of investors. We have a very robust financial tracking system on our back end so there is a paper trail a mile long. We have been appearing at the shows such as Beyond The Banner and will also have a booth at Internet World in spring. On top of that we have 3 international sites going up owned and operated by people overseas. In other words, we plan to be the best in this industry for a long time and would never risk our reputation/future scamming anybody."

(Most of that is a non-answer. Trust us. We're large?)

3. Talk to our clients. See what they have to say.

(Mark supplied a recommendation from Phil McFarland, Affiliate Co-ordinator of SportingAuction, which uses Commission Junction.)

The trend towards having one company putting a lot of small commissions into one check certainly offers a big advantage for associates, but now I've gone from wondering whether we can trust individual companies to wondering whether we can trust these new "bankers". I hope a few investigative reporters are arranging teams of colleagues to buy goods and services and track the results.

4. Barnes and Noble versus

Jenny Richard writes:


Just wanted to comment on the two biggest book sites and their affiliate programs. I'm torn between the two. Linking with Amazon directly to books my readers are interested in is so easy I have it memorized - all I had to know is the ISBN. But Barnes and Noble have these nifty link generators which will allow you to link to specific areas of B&N, like Oprah's Book Selections. They also have a new feature called Automerchandizer which is a banner rotation system in which you get to choose the ads that are displayed.

PROS of Amazon
15% commission (on direct links)
easy linking technique
able to link to videos, gifts, and music in the same way as books
generally lower prices for your customers
really goes out of its way to improve your commissions with tips and suggestions

CONS of Amazon
not able to link to sections of Amazon

a variety of ways to link
extensive, professional looking banners

image as a large corporation forcing out the competition
lower commissions
less support (I couldn't get into the affiliate's password- protected page for a month after I signed up)

While both sites have their pros and cons, I've made money only from one: Amazon. I haven't made A CENT with B&N. Part of this may be due to the fact that I promote Amazon more, but I also think many consumers see Amazon as "the little guy" or the "underdog" with B&N as this massive corporation that is trying to crowd Amazon out.

Jenny Richard
Webmistress, Romance Galore

(Last time I looked, Barnes and Noble had an exclusivity clause, so you can't legally promote both on one site. I like It does everything well.)

[UPDATE: B&N dropped the exclusivity clause.]

5. Doorway pages? No, INTRO pages

Dave Denig writes:

Hi Allan

I am responding to your recent comments about the use of doorway and gateway pages to improve one's position on the search engine results pages. We do NOT advocate the use of these pages, but we do suggest to visitors that they consider "Intro" pages, and we provide several suggestions on how they should be created . . .

...the search engine game is changing almost daily. The suggestions we have provided may be entirely inappropriate in a few weeks.

Dave Denig
agents AT

"Intro" pages? That's exactly what I meant when I mentioned intelligently crafted gateway pages.

6. Auto Repair Rip-offs Exposed! two-tier program

Remember Car Secrets, which has made a lot of money for Corey Rudl? Now there's a competitor, Auto Repair Rip-offs Exposed! It tells you how to avoid getting ripped off by mechanics and avoid repair scams. The book, written by Sal Fariello, who has experience both in auto dealerships and on the legal side of things, costs only $18.99 (US).

It's a two-tier program (you earn commissions on THEIR earnings as well as your own.) It pays $5 for each sale from your own site, and $1.25 from sales of associates who sign up under you. Anyone can join and immediately receive a free web site. I joined.

I've added it to the list of two-tier programs at

Best two tier affiliate programs

[UPDATE: This affiliate program has been discontinued.]

7. They won't bomb Cromwell, will they?

(If you're in a hurry, you can safely skip this section.)

This edition of the newsletter comes from Cromwell, a sleepy, former gold-mining town of about 4,000 people nestled among the mountains in New Zealand's South Island, where I'm on "holiday". It's a long way from the Middle East and the southern summer weather is glorious.

Visiting American tourists drool over the prices here. I go online via which costs me about $25 (US) a month for 50 hours. I can use the same free call phone number from wherever I am in the country. Little cottages within walking distance of the lake and golf course, and within easy driving distance of skifields, are on sale for under $50,000 (US). The little cottage I'm in today is available to rent long term for the equivalent of $US65 a week. Yes, I'm related to the owner :-)

For my mother-in-law's 80th birthday the family took her up in a gondola to the Skyline Restaurant on a mountain high above Queenstown, about 45 minutes' drive from here. It was great to see the surprise on her face when she saw her brother and five sisters, who had travelled hundreds of miles to surprise her.

The gondola ride with stunning views of Lake Wakatipu, a multi-course meal which included oysters, smoked eel, fresh salmon and a free glass of wine cost about $17.50 (US) a head.

And, as my brother-in-law says, "They won't bomb Cromwell, will they?"

8. Snippets

TeknoSurf improves again
TeknoSurf AdWave, a pay-per-click banner network, pays up to 20 cents per click. When someone you refer joins the network you earn $5. You also earn $2 from their referrals. If you refer people now, you will also earn 1 cent for every click from a referred webmaster. Teknosurf was a little behind schedule introducing the latest improvement, but John Ferber says the extra earnings will still count from December 1.

[UPDATE: TeknoSurf is now]

Doorways advice via autoresponder
I mentioned that the December MarketPosition newsletter had excellent advice on doorway pages. Rick Bier has set up an autoresponder to send it to anyone who wants it. Send any email to:
marketposition AT

Doorways done properly
"People are typically using AUTO CREATION programs and complaining they don't work," says Bill Prackup of . "Doorway pages work when done properly, by the webmaster not an automatic program, for altavista, excite, hotbot, infoseek, aolnetfind, northernlight. Each page is aimed at a specific engine. Also most importanly, you MUST have a product or service that people want and are surfing/looking for."

Search engine optimization
But what keywords do you optimize your pages for? Now we can *know* what terms people use in their searches. "I have a page of search terms that people actually use when they search for topics in three of the major search engines," says Rick Bier. It's free (Warning: and uncensored!)

Web hosting list bias
Bill Prackup praised However, Matt Mickiewicz of disagrees: " is VERY influenced by advertising dollars. Most of the companies listed are mediocre. I signed up with the #2 rated company on their list (CIHOST) and had nothing bad but experiences with them. After writing about them in my newsletter I was flooded with people who have had similar experiences. The lesson learned, you get what you pay for. I now pay $50/month for Zarcrom to host my site. So far so good . . ."

Tips via Java applet
Back in newsletter #19 I described how clever e-marketers dream up clever ways to get their logo on other sites. Stefan Ruettinger has adapted that idea and created a Java applet called "Making Money Tip", displaying on the user's site short notices about some of the best affiliate programs. The content changes dynamically every 20 seconds. Users are paid one to six cents per click.
Looks attractive, but I suspect many of Stefan's visitors will do nothing more than I did - check to see what he thinks are the best programs.

[UPDATE: The applet has been discontinued.]

Stolen list
Mark J. Welch of reports that someone has stolen a list of affiliates from Be Free's database and sold it to Jonathan Lack at CompuBank, which is using the list to seek affiliates. Naturally, Compubank is not recommended.

Free autoresponder
Simon Grabowski says Get Response! has started giving away Smart Responders. " . . . we offer advanced autoresponders that deliver personalized follow up messages. I believe that it is an effective, non-spam form of e-mail marketing." The idea is you try a free autoresponder, and are so impressed that you will sign up for the paid services.

Building effective banners
Banners that look like a Windows pop-up window have good click-throughs. To help you build such banners, Adam of has written a program to create such pop-up windows and buttons. You can use it direct from the web at . Adam says every webmaster should learn CGI. His tutorial is online at recently improved its online stats. Months ago I made the mistake of persuading 200 people to join this program. The commission system is ridiculously complicated, disguising the fact that you probably won't earn much. My online stats show owes me $1.12.
[UPDATE: This one was a dud.]

I keep receiving recommendations for Engenius. Sandra Gant says: "It's fabulous! I've been testing it out for 4 weeks and love it."
[UPDATE: This product disappeared.]

Higher commission is permanently raising its commission rate on all affiliate sales to 15%. It will also continue to pay an additional 2% "over-ride" commission for 90 days, on sales made by new affiliates who were referred to by your site.

Out of business
Greeting Cards by Cool Greetings is going out of business, says Kevin Luttrell.

Selling fruit
Still wondering if it really is possible to sell fruit on the Net? Barry W. Gainer of The Indian River Gift Fruit Company told E-Tailer's Digest: "It really is unreal this year! I have 22 phone operators and we are still putting people on hold!" Yes, he has an associate program.

Swamped as usual
I probably won't put out a newsletter next week. I'll read some of my backlog of emails instead. Yes, I know businesses should answer emails promptly, but I'm swamped, as usual. There just aren't enough hours in a day. Sorry about that. Merry Christmas. I hope next year is happy and prosperous for you. Talk to you again in the new year.

CLASSIFIED ADS (I charge $US50. Subscribers: over 5200.
I keep the price high to make sure there aren't many ads.
The circulation is verifiable by a trusted third party.)

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.

When a computer disaster happens to you, will you be ready?
You may backup your PC regularly, but half of all conventional
backups never work. Now, you can reliably backup your important
files without the burden of extra equipment such as tape or zip
drives. Earn $5 for every download of our free trial software.

I use and recommend
"Excellent prices, excellent service, excellent reputation.
Easy to join. Adds a useful service to your site."
-- Allan Gardyne,


All the best

Allan Gardyne

December 18, 1998

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