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In July, the best-producing merchant on one of my sites was enjoying a clickthrough rate of 38.6%, and with a click-to-buy ratio of just under 4.5% I was enjoying an EPM of $174 :)
I was happy, and I assume the merchant was happy with the sales I was sending their way.
So far this month, clickthroughs have gone up slightly to 42%, yet the click-to-buy ratio is precisely 0%
The reason? The merchant removed the deep linking facility, so instead of surfers being sent straight to the order page, they are now sent to the site's entry page. Additionally, potential customers now have to register on the target site before they can view the products available.
Luckily, I have other revenue streams on that site, so if I can't persuade the merchant to mend their ways I can keep the site running while I look for a replacement, but I think this illustrates quite neatly that an affiliate site's income is ultimately at the mercy of your merchants... so hedge your bets!
amen to that. Up to now I've had all my eggs in one vitual basket and Google nailed me to the wall a couple updates ago and all of a sudden I'm scrambling to build new sites as well as find new niches to get into so I don't wind up with more outgo than income on my bank account.
What I wonder about though, is that there are a lot of sites out there doing well with product-specific domain names. Reading this, I wonder if it might not be safer, for the sake of not risking a domain name possibly going to waste, to use a generic domain name. Then if the specific product doesn't pan out for some reason the site can just be revamped for a suitable alternative.
Diversifying is painful and it creates a need for more maintenance but I see it necessary for long term survival. Sometimes I have to pass up putting to much effort into a high-dollar program to build diversification into my infrastructure.
First up, yes I agree with the other threads, you don't want to be reliant on a single merchant - this can get ugly. Its not just the investment in terms of buying a domain and hosting, but if you invested some time in building a quality site and they are the only merchant, if they pull the plug, thats gonna hurt.
Now for the other side, just because you want to have more than one merchant about for a give product/market, that doesnt mean you should push them all at the same time.
Why, well, sometimes the consumer can find choices confusing, resulting in no final sale, take the choice away and sometimes your conversions can rise. Another point, if the merchants actively manage their programs they should have a good idea which affiliates work well. As the affiliate webmaster, if you only have 1 or 2 merchants that you prmote you can squeeze your commissions higher by restricting your supply of ad space, eg another merchant may be willing to trump those you currently push. Or those that you currently push may offer you better rates to keep other merchants out. You might be surprised how many merchants are willing to double commission rates for exclusivity! If theres only one merchant in the market they dont have to worry about exclusivity!