Sumantra Roy disappoints

Associate Programs Newsletter #212
 
If you have your own affiliate program, today's tip by Wayne Yeager will intrigue you. It describes a new way to use affiliate links to boost your link popularity.

I learned the tip in SuperTrafficology, a special newsletter restricted to only 200 people. I paid big money to join. (No, it's not accepting any new
subscribers.)

This tip was too good to keep secret, so I persuaded Wayne to allow me to share it with you.

On a sadder note, I describe a service I recommended that has failed to deliver.


CONTENTS:

1. Nice guy Sumantra Roy disappoints many
2. Converting affiliate links to boost link popularity
3. How to host 200 mini-sites for only $29
4. This is disgusting: You could be attacked next
5. Are your ClickBank commissions falling?
6. The "brightest and best" ezines
7. You can get a panel of experts - and more - for $1
8. Free resource: How to get free publicity
9. Thought for today: Climbing mountains


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=============================================
1. Nice guy Sumantra Roy disappoints many
=============================================

In March, search engine optimizer Sumantra Roy, who had earned a good reputation for optimizing clients' web pages and for paying affiliates promptly, launched a 5c per click service.

It seemed a sweet deal. We might have to wait a few months for our traffic, but we would pay only for the traffic we received.

As I said in the Associate Programs Newsletter in March - Cheap targeted traffic - "It sounds too darn good to be true."

At that time, I asked Sumantra a long list of questions and he answered all my concerns.

After weighing up the risks, I decided it was a fantastic bargain. In fact, it WAS too good to be true.

I'm very sorry I recommended it.

The demand was so strong that Sumantra quickly raised the minimum size order from $150 to $500.

Unfortunately for Sumantra and his clients, things rapidly went downhill. He now has many unhappy clients who have received minimal or zero traffic.

Highly embarrassing for a search engine optimizer, in recent months Sumantra's own site - 1stSearchRanking.com - has had a Google PageRank of zero and today is "not ranked". That looks like a clear sign he's done something to displease Google.

Seeing things going sadly wrong, I asked Nathan Power, who runs
http://PayPerClickSearchEngines.com for me, to invite readers of his newsletter to comment on the 5c per click service.

Of the six people who replied, no one was happy.

For example, Kerri Mackenzie of http://www.sunnycreekfarms.com/
paid Sumantra $500 in March and says:

"After reading a recommendation from Allan Gardyne of AssociatePrograms.com - someone whose opinion I value and trust - I became very interested in this offer. After visiting 1stSearchRanking.com,
Sumantra Roy's web site, I was sold. I paid $500 for the service.

"That was in March. It is now October, a full seven months later. Yet, there has been absolutely NO traffic whatsoever generated..."

One of the challenges Sumantra faced was that he was flooded with orders. His staff had a mammoth job. They were building a separate mini-site with its own domain name for every client, and then waiting for the search engines to list the sites.

Sumantra says a major change in search engine algorithms is the main reason things went wrong.

However, my guess, judging by the site he created for AssociatePrograms.com, is that search engines penalized him for using an optimization trick - hidden links using transparent gifs.

Perhaps a competitor reported him to the search engines.

Sumantra is a genuinely nice guy who works hard for his clients. I have no desire to harm his business. I'm still giving him the opportunity to send me the traffic I paid for.

I haven't asked for my money back.

However, with search engines and competitors scrutinizing his every move, he now faces a task that is tougher than ever. To solve the problem, I think he needs to teach his staff how to turn those mini-sites into high-quality sites.

Let's hope he can climb this mountain.

You can see the six letters from upset clients and read Sumantra's side of the story here:

http://PayPerClickSearchEngines.com/5c-ppc-package.shtml


======================================================
2. Converting affiliate links to boost link popularity
======================================================

By Wayne Yeager

When your affiliates use third-party affiliate codes to link to you, such as ClickBank, Commission Junction, etc., you're losing out on all the link popularity benefits you COULD be getting if they were linking DIRECTLY to you.

In other words, if you use ClickBank, and an affiliate links to your site, the link will look like this...

http://hop.clickbank.net/?affiliatecode/yourclickbankid

Even if you have 10,000 affiliates, a link like that doesn't do anything to boost YOUR link popularity because it's actually a link to ClickBank, not you.

But here's a little trick that performs the same function ... and if you give this code to your affiliates (instead of the typical ClickBank code), you'll earn link popularity benefits from EVERY SINGLE ONE of your affiliates!

Again, we'll stay with the ClickBank example, although this principle will work with any third-party affiliate processing system. Let's say your website is Trafficology.com and your affiliate's ClickBank code is "howtomm".

Ordinarily, the ClickBank link you would give your affiliate would be...

http://hop.clickbank.net/?howtomm/trafficolo

But if you'll add a few lines of Javascript to your website, you can give the affiliate the following link...

http://www.trafficology.com#howtomm

It's simply your website, followed by a number sign, followed by their affiliate ID. (Search engines ignore the number sign and anything after it.)

Any time someone clicks that, they'll come to your site, AND THEN the javascript will redirect them to the appropriate ClickBank link.

Here's the code to make that happen for ClickBank, but again, the same principle will apply to ANY third-party affiliate processing system:

s**cript language="javascript">
var loc = location.href;
var numsign = loc.indexOf("#");
if (numsign != -1) {
var affiliatecode = loc.substring(numsign+1);
location.href="http://hop.clickbank.net/?" + affiliatecode +
"/yourclickbankid" }
/s**cript>

(You'll have to remove the asterisks. They were inserted to keep the script from executing in your email inbox.)

So if all your affiliates are using links like...

http://www.trafficology.com#howtomm

.... instead of traditional affiliate links, Google, and the other search engines that consider link popularity, will score you higher. (Again, the # sign and all that follows is ignored by the search engine.)

I don't think anybody's doing this, but if you've got a lot of affiliates, it could have a major impact on your link popularity!

---
Wayne Yeager publishes SuperTrafficology and Trafficology. In two years he has assembled the world's largest brainstorming session in the history of web marketing. With more than 200 unique ideas and contributions from 188 leading Internet entrepreneurs, this collection of highly original tricks and schemes is a MUST HAVE. Check it out:

[UPDATE: Wayne sold Trafficology to the smart guys at Nitro Marketing - http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/nitro
To increase the chance of having those links work in all browsers, you need to add a forward slash after the .com, like this http://www.trafficology.com/#howtomm]


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==============================================
3. How to host 200 mini-sites for only $29
==============================================

(Save this article in your file called
"Cheap web hosts". If you don't have
such a file, why not start one right
now? You'll need it one day.)

If you've been thinking of creating a cluster of experimental affiliate mini-sites but you're worried about the cost, here's some good news.

There's a multiple domain name hosting plan by NewWebsite.com where you can have...

* 200 sites hosted for only $29 a month.

* No set-up fees.

* Unlimited disk space.

* You can redirect these domains to affiliate programs or other websites.

* You can have email for each of these sites forwarded to your current email address.

* Each site gets its own statistical information produced by Webalizer.

* You can even have 1,000 sites hosted for only $49 a month.

That's a wonderful bargain, but is the company any good?

Larry Wentz, who owns a cluster of affiliate sites, says it is.

"I have been hosting multiple domains with NewWebsite for two years now and finally convinced the owner to launch an affiliate program," Larry says.

One thing that bothers me about the idea of having 200 or 1,000 sites with one web host is that some search engine optimizers advise you to choose a variety of web hosts with different IP blocks. If search engines aren't checking IPs, surely they will soon?

So I asked Larry about that.

"I've heard a variety of different opinions regarding this matter but I have never had any problem," Larry says. "IP addresses are harder to come by so I feel that search engines won't penalize sites that use the same IP address.

"My experience tells me there is no problem and comments from the Director of Technology at Google, Craig Silverstein, seem to verify this. At http://interviews.slashdot.org/interviews/02/07/03/1352239.shtml
you will see a Q & A with Craig...

"Anonymous Coward: Why in this day and age does Google continue to penalize sites that are virtual hosted? With IP addresses becoming harder to get/justify every day why does Google discount the relevance of links that don't come from a unique IP address? Please don't just deny it, I think the Internet community deserves an explanation.

"Craig: I can't just deny it? What are my other choices? [:)] Actually, Google handles virtually hosted domains and their links just the same as domains on unique IP addresses. If your ISP does virtual hosting correctly, you'll never see a difference between the two cases. We do see a small percentage of ISPs every month that misconfigure their virtual hosting, which might account for this persistent misperception - thanks
for giving me the chance to dispel a myth!"

So there you have it, straight from Google. It's OK to have all your web hosting in one place.

For mini-sites, I can't imagine a better deal than $29 a month for 200 sites.

That works out at only $1.74 a YEAR for each site!

Check it out here...

http://AssociatePrograms.com/cheaphost

* If you want to experiment with affiliate mini-sites, I recommend Phil Wiley's "Mini Site Profits" [UPDATE: No longer available.]

* For long-term affiliate success, I strongly recommend you build sites that are interesting or useful enough to earn links from popular sites, as described in the Action Guide that comes with Site Build It! - http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/buildit . In my experience, that works beautifully. No smoke, no mirrors, SBI! works.


======================================
4. This is disgusting: You could be attacked next
======================================

What I'm going to tell you is really disgusting.

There's a company suing little companies, alleging that they're infringing its patents. Believe it or not, the patents apply to any web site that both: (1) contains a combination of text and graphics, and (2) is capable of obtaining credit card or other financial information from the user.

Read that again. That applies to just about every ecommerce site out there!

Instead of going after large companies that can afford to fight this, the company, PanIP, is picking off the little guys. Apparently two have caved in already.

I know this sounds like a bad April Fool's joke. It's not.

You can read articles on it here...

http://internetnewsbureau.com/archives/2002/july02/dickson.html
http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20021020S0002/
The "Next" link was faulty when I looked. Page 2:
http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20021020S0002/2

You can see a list of the companies being sued. Have your say on a message board, and learn clever ways to fight this here...

[This link no longer works]

By the way, in case you're ethically challenged (surely no readers of this newsletter!) and don't understand what's wrong here... just because something is legal, that doesn't necessarily make it right.

(Please spread the word. Any company being sued by PanIP needs to know that there's a place to turn to for advice.)


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==================================
5. Are your ClickBank commissions falling?
==================================

Several affiliates have complained that their ClickBank-tracked commissions have declined severely.

On the Associate Programs Message Board, various theories have been suggested to explain this.

Here's a new theory: Perhaps widespread publicity about commission theft and ways to stop it have actually INCREASED commission theft. Perhaps many people who didn't know commission theft was possible are now involved in it.

Have your say on the message board:

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/discus/index.php


=============================================
6. The "brightest and best" ezines
=============================================

Looking for good newsletters to read? Here's an article to help you, by Internet marketer Merle:

"The Absolute Best and Brightest Ezines Online Today"
http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2002/nov/1.html


===============================================
7. You can get a panel of experts - and more - for $1
===============================================

Successful Internet marketer Neil Shearing of Scam Free Zone has taken an innovative route with his new Private Site...

There's no affiliate program for it.

You can try it for only $1.

I recommend you scoot on over, pay $1, and look for the "Expert Help" link to the panel of 14 experts who are willing to provide free help by email.

Copy those details before Neil changes his mind.

Now that you've received about 100 times your money's worth, you can explore the rest of the site at your leisure.

You can read more than 300 articles and interviews, take a newbie tour, arrange joint ventures, study advertising test results, see original videos, and more.

Check it out here...

http://www.scamfreezone.com/privatesite/


===============================================
8. Free resource: How to get free publicity
===============================================

Here's a tip from I-PR Discussion List, published by
[This link no longer works]

George McKenzie has more than 30 years experience as an award-winning radio and TV journalist.

He offers free tips, techniques and tactics for using the media to attract new customers and drive up sales without spending cash on advertising.

http://www.get-free-publicity.com/articlelist.htm


===============================================
9. Thought for today: Climbing mountains
===============================================

"Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down."
- Robert M. Pirsig
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

 

All the best

Allan Gardyne

November 8, 2002

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