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Need advice on affiliates / monetizing a site

Trust, affiliates, forwarding info and control over commissions

10:13 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm currently confused on how to monetize this site of mine and how affiliates works (mostly how to deal with these). I will appreciate your opinions.

So I have this site built around a passion of mine where I share key info and pics. I get asked many questions a month and we engage discussions - sharing info via email. Even as my site is clear on its mission, not offering any service and being free, I get this emails from people asking me for professional services "take me on a tour to the land of widgets". (I guess as some here give advice on WebmasterWorld eventually get asked by others to build a site and send a quote) Just imagine yourself sharing all the info you already share here and being asked to build sites (but not being interested on it) but having friends who could do it, but you want a commission :)

I've been helping my visitors for free but now is clear there is a business opportunity there, which BTW I don't want to get involved in or work on it for several reasons... I have other passions and making my life out of them. I know ZERO about affiliates so I face this challenge on how to monetize this site:

  • Adsense... I already put adsense as a beta on the site but I see is not the right model. as ONE deal with a visitor will mean more than what the site makes a month with AS.

  • Selling ad space. I could talk to professionals in the field to advertise on the site so they can sell the services my visitors are asking for.

  • Partnership. I could make a partnership with someone in the field (commercially) to deal with this emails and give me a commission. BUT, how do I know how many emails ended up on a sale? The problems is the client getting away from my hands, so I have no other choice but to trust the partner on how many sales have been made.

  • Affiliate links. I could put some links for $$$ to forward visitors to their site. BUT visitors end up OUT of my site and will LOSE interest reading a clearly commercial site of my affiliate. (marketing issue)

  • Forwarding info-partnership. I could "sell" the services of my partner on my site, receive the emails and get my partner to deal with that. BUT I won't know how many sales were made, so I could charge a monthly fee instead.

Please note that I don't offer any services or products, still people are asking me to sell them some professional services (as a sign of trust on my site and my knowledge I guess). I'm pretty sure that if this is happening just as it is now, if I put an obvious section of "buy X or Z and services for *creating your widgets* my Search engine positioning will grow on this and bring more business... so, yeah, there is candy for me!

* Excuse me the long explanation. I'm confused on how you guys deal with such things (having to "trust" your partner and not being able to track the sale). I'm not interested on getting into this business.

I guess is clear that the trust this site generates makes it easier for me to sell this service instead of my partner himself.

I thought of writing a script to READ the received emails and then SEND the info to my partner with a tracking code. Then as I receive the answer I will forward it to my client being able to track everything, avoiding my partner to have direct contact with my client. This can be done, I already know how but I don't feel like putting more work on it.

I guess a monthly fee means less hassle and it seems the best way out, even as negotiating the amount will be tricky as I have no knowledge (and won't have it) on how many transactions ended up on a sale.

Please share.

11:37 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Depending on what kind of website you have, you can target various affiliate programs -
1) Merchandise (books/electronics etc) - amazon, buy.com, ebay.com ...
2) Travel - tripoutlook.com, ian.com, expedia.com, hotels.com ...

If you are in a lead business e.g. loan/mortgage/car sales lead business, you can forward emails to relevant companies and they will pay you on a per lead basis.

In any case, you should join CJ/linkshare and other affiliate networks and see what is out there ..

2:18 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 30, 2006
votes: 88

thanks rajatgarg, I just signed up for CJ and I'm currently learning and reading. Kinda confuse about the system but learning. I tried other affiliates yesterday but found a dead end (I'm not a us resident) and the sign up process asked me to fill a form and found a broken link (dead link) nothing happens.

Lets see what happens with cj. Thanks

3:45 pm on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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joined:Apr 24, 2007
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A lot of the American affiliate networks will require you to fill out a tax form basically saying you have no actual business assets in the US. It's a bit confusing and affiliate networks won't always help, because they don't always know what to put in there. That might be the form they were trying to get you to fill in. It's actually a lot less complicated than it appears (assuming the link works!)
6:50 pm on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Shimrit, the problem is it tells me to fill "the following form" but is a dead link... I click on it an nothing happens :(

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