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Adsense verses Affiliate Programs
Jon12345




msg:525371
 11:42 am on Oct 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Which is best? Are we allowed to discuss this in here?

 

gethan




msg:525431
 3:27 pm on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> ^ * Lost Traffic * ^

Great point - so many adsense publishers seem to be unaware of this, focusing on CTR as opposed to earnings and unique visitors.

The way I see it though is that if someone disappears via an adsense ad within one page of a site they probably weren't looking for the widget information on my site but wanted to buy widgets anyway.

europeforvisitors




msg:525432
 4:04 pm on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

One item I have not seen anyone touch upon is lost traffic. With the affiliate programs, your visitor can leave your site in a new window.

Yes, but that's bad design. IMHO, a linked page (affiliate or not) should never open in a new window unless the user has been warned.

With Adsense, once the visitor clicks on the ad, they are gone! Chances are they may not come back, especially if the ad is on the first few key pages.

They'll come back if your site is any good. Google Search is a perfect example--it sends users away by design, and those users come back again and again. On my own site, I get a considerable amount of return traffic, because visitors use my site as a resource throughout the travel-planning cycle--from researching destinations months ahead of time to booking hotels, cars, rail passes, etc. in the days or weeks before departure.

How much is a return visitor worth and what impact does it have on the growth of your site?

That depends on the site (e.g., whether it's a community site, a reference site, an e-commerce site, etc.).

cabbagehead




msg:525433
 9:30 pm on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is a good thread but it seems to me that one of the most relevent factors hasn't even been discussed yet: niche.

It seems highly likely to me that when some people find tht affiliate links are better than ad sense and vice versa ... niche must have something to do with it. I mean, are we talking about travel sites (i saw one reference to a travel site). How about gambling? prescriptions? finances? others?

I also think a seocndary factor is the nature of the site we're talking about. Is it a primarily information site? or a commerce site? etc.

kwngian




msg:525434
 3:56 pm on Oct 28, 2004 (gmt 0)


I second the fact that there's quite a few affiliate programs (especially common among big boys) out there that use AM to promote their name for free. Buy some AdWords, and you'll find those parasites in a day or two instead of wasting months and months of time and valuable web page real estate.

Hello Aleksl

Could you further explain how what you actually meant above?

I have just started and have so far send up to 500 clicks but not a single sale.

So would be glad if you could share your experience so that newbies like me would waste too much time going around in circles.

StupidScript




msg:525435
 11:28 pm on Oct 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

When y'all talk about the "risk" involved with using affiliate programs, what do you mean?

"Risk" generally implies that you could lose something.

Are you using that term to mean that you are getting less than you could, or are you actually losing money that you already had?

Also, some have indicated that there is a "risk" of Google banning you for being "too successful". I should mention that Google bans no one from the SERPS for being too successful, rather some get banned because of the means they took to that end. (click click click <sigh ... move to the next machine in the library> click click click)

ken_b




msg:525436
 11:46 pm on Oct 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

RE: Lost Traffic

Sometimes this is more of an illusion than a reality.

If visitors are not going to find what they are looking for on your site, but end up there anyway because of the search terms they use (not specific enough, for instance), then having them leave promptly via a click on an Adsense ad may be a reasonable situation. That's as opposed to browsing around your site looking for what's not there.

darkmage




msg:525437
 4:07 am on Oct 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

'Risk generally implies that you could lose something'

That's right, and what they are talking about is opportunity cost. Not getting as much income as you could means you have lost some of your earnings.

As I said earlier, making a choice comes down to eCPM of affiliate versus Adsense. Also, you can have both and that is frequently the best strategy.

yorkcity




msg:525438
 8:10 am on Oct 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Have just read through this v interesting discussion.

Got to say for me adsense is a defo - cos at leasr you get paid for every click.

Affiliate program wise - you can generate thousands of clicks and only get a couple of sales.

MovingOnUp




msg:525439
 2:00 pm on Oct 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Affiliate program wise - you can generate thousands of clicks and only get a couple of sales.

Or, you can generate hundreds of high-earning sales out of thousands of clicks. It all depends on the affiliate program and how well targeted your traffic is.

steverose




msg:525440
 5:53 pm on Oct 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Depends on what sort of affiliate program you are talking about. I have been in tons and always broke even or made a little and yet am in a single tier one now where I make six figures in less than a year. I run adsense on every page of my personal -- multi themed -- site and make enough to go to Starbux five days a week and buy a Vente.

StupidScript




msg:525441
 10:59 pm on Oct 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Not getting as much income as you could means you have lost some of your earnings.

Some of your potential earnings. ANY earnings are a win. "Not getting as much" implies that there is some sort of expectation the site owner has for how much they should be earning based on ... what? Best guess? Stories told in forums? Promises made on the affiliate site to get the owner to sign up?

Based on what I'm reading here, it seems like you're not doing it right if you're not in the six-figure income range. Anything less than that would be less than I would expect.

On a side note, searching Google for "affiliate programs" turns up hundreds of affiliate program sites cross-linked with each other ... getting revenue just by keeping their little web rings together. Not much value, there. Yeah, a couple of the sites are selling their little affiliate program books or whatever, but there's not much there besides links to other sites exactly like them. It portends the end of the glory days for affiliate programs, when the top results are filled with looping sales pitches but few products.

Before you go telling me how much you're "earning" as an illustration of how very much "alive" affiliate programs are, remember that the heart beats right up to the moment of death. A fatal illness is a little harder to diagnose than whether one is "alive" or not.

MovingOnUp




msg:525442
 12:28 am on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

You can declare affiliate programs dead. I'll continue to make a fortune with them. I've earned over seven figures (profit, not revenues) in the past five years through affiliate programs. Things have changed during that time (more in 2000 than now) but affiliate programs are still very much alive. I've started new sites in the past 18 months that are making well over five figures per month with virtually no expenses. I have over half a dozen new sites planned in the coming years that I think have just as much potential. All of them are based on affiliate programs.

androidtech




msg:525443
 4:41 am on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

MovingOnUp,

(Great, can't get the song to the "The Jeffersons" out of my mind now. :)

Do most of your affiliate programs come from brokers like CJ, LinkShare, etc.? Or are they direct deals with various product vendors that you conctacted directly?

Also, do you know of a web site where I can find out where the reputable affiliate programs are? I've had some bad experiences a lot of the existing affiliate programs (unpaid commissions, "missing" commissions", etc.)

Thanks.

StupidScript




msg:525444
 5:30 am on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

direct deals with various product vendors that you conctacted directly

THAT's what I'm talking about. That's what will live on.

MovinOnUp, y'know, power to you. I'm looking at this because ... I mean ... what the heck? If someone who is currently raking it in takes the time to share some of their knowledge, then that's a very cool thing.

I apologize for my election year fear-mongering. I do see the value in the "good" affiliations. I just don't want to encourage the link-mill mentality. Gaming the system isn't good for the system.

I think we can agree on that, yes?
:)

MovingOnUp




msg:525445
 12:38 pm on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Most are through the big three: Linkshare, CJ, and BeFree (now a part of CJ). Some are independent programs (like Amazon.com) or are through smaller networks (like Performics). A few are with companies who contacted me directly that don't have public affiliate programs.

I've never found a web site with an accurate, complete list of reputable affiliate programs. There are tons of affiliate directories. There are places that claim to list good and/or bad affiliate programs. I've never found a list I agree with, though. I've had great success with programs that others consider bad and poor success with some programs that others rave about. Doing your own research and testing them yourself seems to be the only way.

I've found that the key to a successful website is to provide a service, utility, or function that can't be found anywhere else. My sites have usually things that I would want to use myself. Kind of like Google's concept of organizing the world's information. People will copy you, but you have a huge "first to market" advantage and as long as you stay ahead of the curve, you'll continue to grow. Most people who use affiliate links just put up links. That accomplishes very little, which is why I think most people have bad opinions of affiliate programs. It just doesn't work that way.

I've found that another huge key to success is to automate everything you can. That will let you build more and more sites without taking more time.

androidtech




msg:525446
 2:33 pm on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

You like CJ?

I used to, then I got proof of several large commissions never being reported or paid to me. Went to a few affiliate forums and saw others complaining of this. I completely lost faith at that point.

BTW, do you use mostly PPC campaigns to get your traffic, or do you get mostly organic search engine traffic (traffic coming from position in unpaid search results)?

Lastly, do you build an e-mail list from your traffic or not?

Thanks.

MovingOnUp




msg:525447
 3:20 pm on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't really care what network a merchant is at. The network doesn't natter. It's the merchant that matters. CJ is fine. With any network, you'll miss a few transactions here or there due to technical issues, parasites, or other issues. If you were in a brick and mortar business, you wouldn't shut down your business if you had problems. You'd do what you could to limit the problems and consider it a cost of doing business. Online is no different.

Most of my business comes from word of mouth and natural search. My PPC expenses are about 10% of revenues. I know people who are entirely natural search, entirely PPC, and everywhere in between. Both work, so I do both.

I used to offer newsletters, but quit this year when CAN-SPAM went into effect. CAN-SPAM has more implications for legitimate newsletters than for most spammers. Newsletters are a good marketing practice, but I didn't think it was worth the risk and effort anymore.

androidtech




msg:525448
 6:44 pm on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

MovingOnUp,

Yes CAN-SPAM has been a complete fiasco.

Thanks for your input. How do you do word-of-mouth over the Internet? If it's a trade secret, ignore the question. I think there's a book by that title ("word of mouth").

Thanks.

MovingOnUp




msg:525449
 6:57 pm on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

No trade secret. Just build a site that people find useful or interesting. They'll tell their friends, link to it from their sites, mention it on forums, write about it in newspapers and magazines, etc.

androidtech




msg:525450
 8:18 pm on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

MovingOnUp,

Thanks again!

Last two questions. How would you rate the level of keyword competitiveness for your average site (distance from the most competitive keyword areas).

On a scale of 1 to 10 in increasing levels of competition if:

web hosting = 10
quilts = 5
transylvanian light bulbs = 1

What value would you give to your average site? I hear people on these forums saying that they are doing well for some "very competitive keywords", but that is about as vague a description as one can muster. I think a better measure would be, "what is the average cost for an AdWords keyword for you most general keywords?".

Also, what is the average number of pages for your sites?

Thanks.

camper




msg:525451
 8:34 pm on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maybe some nice moderator will change the "verses" in the title of this thread to "versus"? Just so people won't be wondering why we're discussing poetry in the Adsense forum :)

elguapo




msg:525452
 8:52 pm on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

How would you rate the level of keyword competitiveness for your average site

Look at the Google SERPs. If your keyword only has 50M results, then you know that you are in a tougher competitive market than if your keyword only has 1M results.

MovingOnUp




msg:525453
 10:09 pm on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

How would you rate the level of keyword competitiveness for your average site (distance from the most competitive keyword areas).

On a scale of 1 to 10 in increasing levels of competition if:

web hosting = 10
quilts = 5
transylvanian light bulbs = 1

I think a better measure would be, "what is the average cost for an AdWords keyword for you most general keywords?"

I would rate it as an 8 or 9. There are over 100 million results for my main keyword and up to 10 million for some specific widgets. The maximum CPC is over $2. I don't bid on the general keyword. I pay anywhere from $0.05 to $0.75 depending on the keyword.

Also, what is the average number of pages for your sites?

5,000 pages.

androidtech




msg:525454
 10:50 pm on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

MovingOnUp,

5,000 pages? I assume then you are using a vendor's data feed to create many of those pages?

Or did you hire an army of cheap writers? (Something I've heard of others doing but I have no idea if it works).

Thanks.

FromRocky




msg:525455
 11:03 pm on Oct 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would like to remind everyone that "this is an AdSense forum".

annej




msg:525456
 1:35 am on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Word of mouth can be through friends emailing friends or even telling local friends and relatives about your site. It can also be through newsletters, mail lists, online message boards, as well as mention in hardcopy newsletters and such in your field. it's amazing how the word spreads if you have a good site in a specific area of interest.

I love doing well in Google's serps but I think sometimes we overestimate how much of our traffic comes from search engines. Only about half my visitors arrive through search engines. The rest come in through website links and direct address or bookmarks. What is interesting to me is that the people who come in by direct address or bookmarks stay on the site much longer. They probably aren't the ones who are earning me most of the money though. I suspect those that drop in through a search engine may be clicking on Adsence more. OTOH it could be more of my affiliate sales may be the regulars as mostly I sell hard to find books in my niche topic. So including both affiliate and Adsense may be a way to profit from both kinds of visitors.

This has been a great topic on using both Adsense and affiliates. I've been inspired to work a little harder on my affiliate stuff for example finding links to products that my niche readers would be especially interested in. Thanks everyone for your ideas here. I'm also adding a couple new related affiliates.

Even though this is the AdSense forum I think it's good to be looking at diversifying our profit sources instead of just depending on AdSense.

webmastertexas




msg:525457
 2:17 am on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

5,000 pages? I assume then you are using a vendor's data feed to create many of those pages?

I have over 5,000 pages on my main site as well. ABout 2,000 of original content page, and 3,000 "support" pages i.e. pictures gallery, etc.

androidtech




msg:525458
 8:50 am on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's a lot of work. Didn't you say you were going to make quite a few more sites like the ones you have? How can you do that if they're going to be a few thousand pages each?

I must be slower then I think.

Thanks.

asianguy




msg:525459
 3:17 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>You like CJ?
I used to, then I got proof of several large commissions never being reported or paid to me. Went to a few affiliate forums and saw others complaining of this. I completely lost faith at that point. <<<

I have the same experience. CJ had reversed many of my commissions because they said they were not valid transactions like CC billings. However, i became suspecious because the commissions were usually bigger than the valid transactions. Anybody with the same experience?

NoClue




msg:525460
 4:38 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Holy moly 5000 pages...
I'm only just starting in the affiliate marketing field, Just got my site up I'll be happy to have 70 pages; and it took 2-3 months to get there woa!

I'm aiming for a nice adsense income since I've got some nice worthwhile content, supported with pages from a small datafeed. I guess I'll only be able to measure real results when the site has matured some more...

But 5K pages, how's that possible in a short period of time?

DamonHD




msg:525461
 4:57 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I have a gallery site for (free) Web multimedia.

Each item has its own catalogue page, plus there are various synthetic views so you can look (say) at all GIF icons. I must have 20,000 pages+ given that I have 12,000+ different items in the Gallery. (I used to group items together but it was kinda difficult to understand and scroll through.)

But then, this has taken since 1997 and 30+ generous contributors to build up! B^>

Rgds

Damon

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