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Does anbody make any money out of Amazon books?
I know this has been asked before but wanted up to date info
surfgatinho




msg:537154
 10:57 am on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Compared with all my other afiliate schemes Amazon seems like a bit of a loser.
I run it on several sites with around about 1,000 UVs per day and make practically nothing at all out of it.

The possibilities I'm considering are:
a) No one buys books anywhere except directly from Amazon
b) I don't know how to market books
c) There is something wrong with the Amazon reporting/comission system

 

hunderdown




msg:537155
 11:41 am on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am making $150-200 month with Amazon. In my experience, pages with detailed reviews (by me, not from the Amazon feed) do the best.

surfgatinho




msg:537156
 1:03 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am making $150-200 month with Amazon

Is this just from books or Amazon in general?

hunderdown




msg:537157
 1:34 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's almost entirely books. I have some general links to Amazon, but they don't get used much, so have considerably reduced their presence on my site. I'd estimate that 90% (or more) of my Amazon sales are books, with almost all of those purchases going to Amazon via text links to specific books. I also see some CDs, DVD, and electronic items being bought, which seem to be items added on to a purchase or a purchase by a regular who wants to give me the commission.

As I said, detailed reviews convert best. I only have a few such pages--I wish I had time to do more. But even lists of recommended books with a few lines about each one do better than banner ads.

surfgatinho




msg:537158
 1:54 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the info. I'll have a look at concentrating on handpicking some titles and writing a bit about them.

hunderdown




msg:537159
 2:18 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

And as a bonus, detailed review pages also do well with AdSense....

ska_demon




msg:537160
 3:37 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Adwords direct to merchant.

Does alright for me.

I make few Amazon sales from my sites but I have some success with the above strategy. Trouble is the campaigns fizzle out after a few weeks so you have to keep writing ads for a new product every now and then.

Ska

Beagle




msg:537161
 4:03 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

My experience is about the same as hunderdown's if I average the months out. For some reason someone bought multiple copies of a relatively expensive (expensive for my site) item a few months ago, which upped the average.

I have an advantage in that my site is very targeted, and people who come there are already attuned to books and movies on specific subjects. My sales are about evenly divided between books and movies, and not much else. Because I have a niche site in a niche with much bigger sites, what has helped me the most is staying on top of things at amazon.com to pick up what's just been released, what's available for pre-order, and even when some used copies become available of something that's been out of print for a long time. As a "one-person" operation, I seem to be able to grab onto these more quickly than the bigger sites and can often sell a number of copies before the others link to the item.

But, again, it's a niche with very focused "followers" and I know what they're looking for because I'm one of 'em. I keep a large selection of topic-relevant books and movies in my "store" and reviews sections all the time, but when I really sell something is when I catch it early and slap it on my "What's New" page with a direct product link and a short explanation of why they should want to buy it. Especially good if it's hard to find or controversial. I also do some regular reviews, which help more after a book/movie has been available for awhile and all the "quick reflex" buyers have bought it already.

So, I don't know if your site is as targeted as mine, but just about every field (and even the general public!) has books and movies that "everyone is talking about." If you can give your visitors a review, or even a quick run-down of why everyone's talking about it, you might be able to generate some real interest.

BTW, I'm just in the process of launching a new, much less targeted site, and plan to try some amazon links on it; I'm very curious to see how well they'll do.

Edited to add: After re-reading the other posts, I'll add that virtually all of my sales are through either direct product links or keyword-targeted recommended product links (although the customer will often buy other things at the same time). I can't remember ever having a sale reported through a banner ad--the only one I still run is on the home page.

surfgatinho




msg:537162
 4:18 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

What I've been using is the Amazon API. So I have a page with a list of keyword related books.

So maybe what I need to do is hand pick the books as the conversion rate I get is appaling!

Beagle




msg:537163
 4:50 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)


So maybe what I need to do is hand pick the books as the conversion rate I get is appaling!

This is definitely a YMMV area. For people who have a variety of affiliate programs on less-targeted sites, or who have sites in niches that aren't based on books, amazon probably wouldn't be worth the amount of time and effort I put into it. But because of the nature of my site, it's essential. OTOH, it'd be useless for me to spend any effort on getting, say, mortgage leads. So much of it depends on who your visitors are and why they come to your site.

rfung




msg:537164
 6:35 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have a book price comparison engine and I make about $400/month exclusively with books.

MarkWolk




msg:537165
 7:13 am on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have tested Amazon book links because I liked them. They were highly relevant to my travel pages' content; i.e. my page about travel to Paris had 2 books about Paris, the New Zealand pages offered books about New Zealand etc. I must admit I did not write my own reviews; I just used Amazon's supplied code and image.

It has been pretty disappointing: not one sale in a month. During the same time, I made some $600 out of Adwords placed on the same sites.

So, to my regret, I removed Amazon's links.

weeks




msg:537166
 1:00 am on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hunterdown: How much traffic do you get each month?

rogerd




msg:537167
 3:40 am on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

My experience with Amazon is that it can supplement site income, but would be a really hard way to make a living (unless, perhaps, you have an incredibly popular literary site or similar).

When commissions were 15%, you had a better chance at good income. As it is, Amazon is an OK way to monetize very relevant pages, like book reviews. For a given inventory of ad space, Adsense or other affiliate programs are likely to do better.

hunderdown




msg:537168
 3:41 am on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

How much traffic do I get? Not a lot. I'm averaging around 1,000 unique visitors per day, who view 1 or 2 pages. Many may not hit a page with Amazon links on it, so traffic to Amazon pages per se is probably less than that....

Beagle




msg:537169
 1:14 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

My experience with Amazon is that it can supplement site income, but would be a really hard way to make a living (unless, perhaps, you have an incredibly popular literary site or similar).

Agreed -- I started using the links more as a service to visitors (here's a link to the book I'm talking about, so you don't have to go search for it) than a money-maker and I still think of it much that way. But it's fun to make a little money from it, too.

hunderdown




msg:537170
 3:06 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

As it is, Amazon is an OK way to monetize very relevant pages, like book reviews. For a given inventory of ad space, Adsense or other affiliate programs are likely to do better.

That would be true in most cases, but I just checked back on results since January on one specific type of pages on my site--the detailed book reviews. These have "buy at Amazon" links and a block of AdSense ads. Since the beginning of the year this handful of pages has earned just over $400 from Amazon, and somewhat less than that from AdSense (can't say how much due to AdSense TOS).

Overall, I'm doing much better from AdSense than from Amazon, but those pages, at least for me, do well with both.

wrgvt




msg:537171
 3:23 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have a books related site which has links to the amazons in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and France. For the month of July, I sold 400 books in the US, 80 in the UK, and a smattering across Canada, Germany, and France. All through amazon links, and July was a slower than average month.

My site has over 1000 pages, with a page dedicated to each book and I add approximately 6 new books per week with unique content for each. It's a lot of work, but I figure I might as well work hard at something I like.

Also, while the books don't make me a ton of money, all the book sales push me into a higher amazon tier where I make more money off other web sites where I feature more expensive amazon products.

ronin




msg:537172
 8:08 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Heh.

Amazon was the first affiliate program I ever joined - way back in 1999.

I just got my first Amazon payment at the end of last month.

Beagle




msg:537173
 10:00 pm on Aug 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Gee, ronin, it only took me about 3 years. ;-)

wrgvt, I have site visitors from Europe, mostly the UK and Germany, and I've thought about becoming an affiliate to those amazon programs but have never jumped in. Do you just use general links to their sites, or do you put up specific links to each of them for each book? Have you run into any major difficulties involved with going international?

wrgvt




msg:537174
 1:24 pm on Aug 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Every book I put on my site has links to all those international amazons if the book is available in that country. For example, if I add a new book to my site that's just been released in the US, the individual page for that book will have links to allow any visitor to buy that book from amazon in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and France. I also have a special page for books released in the UK, and often they only have links for the UK, Germany, and France until the book is generally available in the US and Canada.

You do have to stay on top of things in terms of the amazon ASIN (which is based on the ISBN) for any book. A book may have one ISBN in the US, another in the UK, and another in Canada. Often times they will all share the same one. Many times if a book is released first in the US, amazon.co.uk will stock the same version with the same ISBN. When a UK publisher releases a version of the book, amazon.co.uk will stop stocking the US version and start stocking the UK version, which means you have to change the ASIN in the amazon.co.uk link for that book.

Like I said, it can be a lot of work.

Beagle




msg:537175
 1:28 pm on Aug 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks, wrgvt. That's all very helpful to know.

dibbern2




msg:537176
 3:48 am on Aug 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I run about 20 pages with multiple book listings & reviews on each page... each page is directed to a single travel topic. Each page gets 30 to 50 views/day.

Started in April, grew to about 20 sales a day by the end of July, and it looks like it will keep growing. Its worth about $150 a month.

Its a lot of initial work, but if you look at it from the view that each page should keep generating income for a year or so with minimal upkeep, the longterm pay-back is okay. Not great, but each book page does quite well with AdSense also. In addition, I've hit the top 5 serps for my book topics on G, and that brings extra traffic which feeds into my main AdSense pages. A little residual benefit, I'd say.

I tried Amazon products (instead of books) and utterly bombed. That page is still much more popular than any of my book pages (about 10X the daily traffic), but I have never made a sale.

So I'll keep on doin' what I know will work...

Beagle




msg:537177
 7:16 pm on Aug 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I tried Amazon products (instead of books) and utterly bombed. That page is still much more popular than any of my book pages (about 10X the daily traffic), but I have never made a sale.

I've tried some seasonal things -- jewelry and gourmet food leading up to Valentine's day, Amazon's top gift lists before Christmas -- but have never had anyone click on a non-niche-related ad. Funny thing is, people will often add non-niche items to their shopping cart after following a link, but it takes something niche-related to get them to Amazon in the first place. [Edited to add: And, as mentioned earlier, I don't think I've ever sold anything through a general Amazon banner or search ad.]

berto




msg:537178
 10:26 pm on Aug 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I make money from selling books at Amazon.com, not as much as I would like, but some. Here is my experience.

Site #1: Entertainment site. Besides books, sell (or try to sell) also CDs, magazines, videos, and other Amazon.com stuff. About 6% of visitors click on Amazon ads. On average, each visitor clicks on 1.4 ads. Over the course of a year and a half, the average conversion ratio was 2.2%, although for the current summer quarter, it's a very disappointingly low 1.0%.

Site #2: Technology site. Sell only books. About 2% of visitors click on Amazon ads. On average, each visitor clicks on 2.0 ads. Over the past year and a half, the average conversion ratio was 2.2%, was 3.5% last quarter, and is 0% this quarter. (Amazon-wise, summer stinks.) (I owe much of last quarter's stellar conversion ratio to a single site visitor who bought over a dozen books on just one visit.)

On both sites, I run Google Adsense. On the entertainment site, I also sell sheet music (doing relatively well at it), and try to sell (with limited success) posters and art prints.

On the entertainment site, Amazon ads line the left and right sidebars. On the technology site, Amazon ads tend to run on one sidebar only, with the opposite sidebar devoted to Adsense skyscrapers. On both sites, I run horizontal AdLinks.

My preferred Amazon ad is a home-brewed combination of image above, title just below. Oftentimes, I will show a "vertical banner" of two, three, or more such combos. I have tried "recommended product links," but with limited success.

On the entertainment site, I have many text links pointing to Amazon products interspersed throughout the site.

I do about equally well with the Amazon image ads as I do with the text links. I have a plan, soon to be implemented, to display another home-brewed Amazon ad type, much like the vertical and horizontal AdLinks types. This will be great for placing Amazon text links in each page's "heat spot".

I should do product reviews, but I don't have the time for it. I plan to do reviews in the future.

NOTE: Ala Google AdSense, I make sure to match displayed books (CDs, magazines, etc.) to each page's theme. So, for example, on a page about "reggae", I show only books about "reggae". Matching Amazon products to each page's theme is key. When I began matching products to page keywords (which I specify for each page in my CMS), my CTR shot up by 10X.

I maintain a database of books (and CDs, etc.). Books are selected at random from this database (but again matching the page keyword(s)), so from day to day pages show different books.

I also keep track of what books (CDs, etc.) get clicked on, and how many clicks. I have had good success with giving prominence (more frequent, and better positioned, ad displays) to "bestsellers" (i.e., books with the most clicks). But matching books, etc. to page theme gives better success than displaying "bestsellers". I repeat, contextual sensitivity is key.

I don't yet have an automated mechanism in place to track click popularity. Until now, I have done this by hand. The keyword matching and randomization of ad displays is all automated, however, a feature of my home-brewed CMS.

It's not as easy as Adsense, but--yes--I make money from selling Amazon books. (On the entertainment site, books outsell CDS, etc. by a significant margin. My best revenue earner is sheet music.) It takes creativity and hard work, but it can be done.

SAHover




msg:537179
 4:53 pm on Aug 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've been selling books, too, for the past three years. Like many people, Amazon was my first "toe in the water" with affiliate marketing.

I just wanted to add to Berto's post, that I also use "home brewed" links - avoiding Amazon's iframes. The reason is that their links load slower than my pages (which are very lean), and when this happens an ugly generic amazon ad will show instead (this is true for individual product links, recommended links, etc.).

Visitors will not think to refresh the page so the proper ads show. Adsense, on the other hand, seems to "hold up" the entire page until it's ready to load, which can be slow, but at the least the ads appear.

So, you may want to consider keeping or reverting to the simplest of the old amazon text and image links. The amazon affiliate forum will have examples.

onlineleben




msg:537180
 6:46 pm on Aug 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

berto,
very inspiring post. Made me revisit my amazon setup and thinking up new ideas.
One question I have to berto and SAHover:
Did you find a way to implement the ref=nosim tag into the recommended links ( iframes ) in such a way, that they really work and the clickthrough gets counted as yours?
Any advice/hints are very much appreciated.

berto




msg:537181
 10:14 am on Aug 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

I just wanted to add to Berto's post, that I also use "home brewed" links - avoiding Amazon's iframes. The reason is that their links load slower than my pages (which are very lean), and when this happens an ugly generic amazon ad will show instead (this is true for individual product links, recommended links, etc.)...

So, you may want to consider keeping or reverting to the simplest of the old amazon text and image links. The amazon affiliate forum will have examples.

I, too, observe the aborted image ad loads from time to time. (Why does Amazon display that awful-looking orange ad?) It's on my to-do list to scrap iframed Amazon ads and substitute yet another home-brew type.

berto




msg:537182
 10:22 am on Aug 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Did you find a way to implement the ref=nosim tag into the recommended links ( iframes ) in such a way, that they really work and the clickthrough gets counted as yours?

I wasn't aware of the problem, so haven't devised any solution. Anyway, I don't use recommended links, as the recommendations too often highlight best-selling, but off-topic, junk that clashes with my sites' themes. In effect, I give recommendations based on context sensitivity to the page, or based on click popularity. (I don't have the time, or the money to purchase the products, to give recommendations based on my personal experience.)

SAHover




msg:537183
 10:05 pm on Aug 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Regarding the ref=nosim - as I said in my earlier post, I don't use their iframes.

But I do incorporate the ref=nosim in the basic links, between the ASIN and my tracking id. This has always worked fine.

This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35 ( [1] 2 > >
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