Getting Back into the Game

Hey guys,

It's been a while since I posted, I realize. As you probably imagined, I've been focusing on other things -- life, for example. Work, mainly. But just recently, I've had the chance to check up on my old flames. And by flames, of course, I mean my aging domains that I'm not doing anything with -- the ones I've decided to hold on to, anyway.

Checking up on my AdSense earnings the other day, I found out one of my sites was still earning money from the occasional click, even though I hadn't touched the site in literally years. That sparked my interest, because I thought of what that kind of site could do if I actually put effort into it.

Play it Again, Carl
The time for learning to play piano is meow.

As it turned out, the site was Piano By Heart and it's been silently ranking for all kinds of fun keywords behind my back! The nerve.

So being that the site was initially ported over to Drupal from a general static implementation, I thought it wise to move everything over to WordPress and get rid of the crappy marketing angle. Instead, I plan on making this site a full-fledged information site -- something actually useful to people (crazy idea for someone keen on Internet Marketing in general, right?).

I've already made an outline of posts that I'll be filling out this month. Luckily, my daughter has been learning to play piano for the past few years, so I have plenty of material to go off of. I figure if I can put out a couple posts per week, I'll do just fine with this site. I'm monetizing it with some out-of-the-way ads (AdSense up top and in the footer, some ClickBank ads in the sidebar) because I really would like to make this site into something useful -- a methodology I've planned on following after being burned by the Big G so many times in the past for grey hat activities.

Basically, I'm trying to focus on the kind of thing Matt Cutts would praise -- writing quality content for my readers, not for search engines. I'm still making sure things are in place for SEO, but Google and the other search giants are no longer my focus.

I just want to help people and get paid (at some point) in return.

I'll try to remember to come back and update you all on the way it's going, but I just wanted to let people know I've got the bug again. And I intend on staying bitten for a while.

It's good to be back!

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The Content Network: Sure, Why Not?

I started affiliate marketing at the beginning of 2007 but it didn't really take off until I started pushing, as you might guess, ring tones. It took me from a few sales a day totaling about $50-60 on Clickbank to a couple hundred per day on Azoogle.

Starting ring tones wasn't my idea. It was my friend Paul's idea and one of the things he told me he'd done to be successful with ring tones was to stay away from the content network as the conversion rates were extremely low. At the time, I had very little experience so I wasn't about to test the waters against the good advice of an established marketer. Well, needless to say, I started to do very well and here I am.

But, what I've learned lately is that I should have taken the affiliate marketer philosophy a little more seriously. When we say split test everything, we mean split test everything. Everything you can, anyway. The content network (Google, Yahoo or otherwise) is definitely one of those things you should split test on every offer.

The stigma with content matching fall along the lines of:

  • Publishers trick users into clicking, which wastes your money
  • People aren't technically searching for something when they click, so they're theoretically less interested
  • It's difficult to track which keywords or sites convert using the content network

So it's not difficult to see why people would steer their campaigns away from content-based ads, but along with the bad, you should always consider the good:

  • The content network is cheaper to place ads on
  • You can use site-targeted ads right down to a specific ad placement, which also makes conversion tracking easier
  • You can use text, banners and more to advertise to people
  • Sometimes you'll receive a larger volume of traffic on the content network

Aside from the good and the bad, there's the reality of the situation. Until recently, I honestly hadn't even touched the content network. Crazy, I know. That was until I found out that the mega affiliates are doing tons of business there and preaching about how it's a terrible place to convert. A-ha! It was a classic "IIIIII'm dumb" moment but a welcomed one.

My advice to you is that you should take nothing for granted when it comes to your business. Split test the search network and the content network. Learn how to track specific sites/ads and you'll be fine. Also, check out Google Lady's post "Adwords Content Network Tip."

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Offer Vault: Compare Offers .. and Free!

Offer Vault

As of this morning, I received an email from the people at Affiliate Radar, announcing that Offer Vault is now free. Yeah, that's right. You can now cross-compare offers from multiple affiliate networks for free.

Here's the email they sent out:

Dear Scott Weaver,

After much heated debate between my partner, Raakesh, and I, we have
decided to allow free access to OfferVault.

In case you are not aware, OfferVault is a research tool for
affiliate marketers that contains a database of over 10,000 offers
from the top CPA and affiliate networks, updated daily.

You can sign-up at http://www.offervault.com

With this powerful tool you can:

Compare offers and payouts between networks

Research niches

Receive optional email alerts based on your own search criteria to
stay on top of new offers as they come out

Preview landing pages (this is huge!)

Quickly sign up for new networks

This tool was formerly available only as a component of our paid
membership site, Affiliate Radar. Now you have the opportunity to
access it free at www.offervault.com, so don't pass it up!

Get your free membership now at http://www.offervault.com

What does that mean for you? It means you no longer have to log into each different network to see where the highest payout is. What it also means is that yet again, I've increased your profit margin. But hey, that's what I'm here for.

Now you can see what networks are offering before you even bother signing up. Apparently, all that OfferVault is asking in return is that, much like on my blog, you sign up using their referral links to new networks you join.

Just this morning, I've found several higher paying offers than the ones I'm currently running and those are the default prices. Not even the negotiated prices.

If you're worried about a product monopoly (even though it's free), don't worry. I'm aware of another site that is whispered to have a similar product coming out soon.

For now, Offer Vault takes the cake as the cat's pajamas. Incidentally, if you want to go right to registration, click here.

You're welcome.

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Need To Get A Hold Of An Affiliate Manager?

Just a quick note, for those of you who want to get in touch with an affiliate manager at any popular affiliate marketing company, check out the Affiliate AIM List (www.affaimlist.com). My Azoogle affiliate manager is listed on there along with some of the other best in the industry.

Incidentally, you can also view the Skype list, which as you might guess, lists all the affiliate managers who use Skype.

I've noticed a lot of people asking how to get ahold of someone at X company as they are trying to get approved. Well people, here's your chance.

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NeverblueAds.com – Diamond in the Rough?

When I originally signed up with AzoogleAds, I had been with ClickBank for about a month and immediately, I was drawn to Azoogle's cleaner interface and the idea of having a personal affiliate manager. Not that I'd ever stop using ClickBank as they do provide a customer experience that is unique, but I was definitely more impressed with Azoogle. What I found most impressive about Azoogle was that I was able to tap into their reports remotely with their API (a secure way of interfacing with their server).

Fast forward eight months and I joined ranks with NeverblueAds on the advice of a friend. Immediately, I had that familiar feeling of being impressed. They were prompt with my confirmation phone call to activate my account and my new affiliate manager was friendly and open to intelligent banter. My Azoogle manager will forever hold a place in my heart, but I figured it wasn't a bad idea to broaden my horizons.

Once my account was activated with Neverblue, I logged in and right away felt as if it were a design I would come up with, so as you might imagine I was very comfortable. There was a search box right before my eyes and a handy graph on the right to tell me how my monthly sales are doing, plus up to the minute updates. Very slick.

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How Much Should You Bid?

When setting your max bid price on ad networks like Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing or Microsoft AdCenter, it's best to know how much you're getting in return (profit) before you settle on a number. If you bid too high, you might get more sales but still be in the red. If you bid too low, you might make an okay profit but less conversions. The trick is to find just the right number and that takes time and finesse but here's a quick way to determine what your max bid should be.

In general, the formula I use for determining max bid is basically this:

((ecpc * (1 - bounce rate)) - 0.01)

So if your ecpc is $0.75 and your bounce rate is 40%, that means you really generate $0.45 ecpc. Subtract $0.01 from that ($0.44 ecpc) and you'll have a very safe maximum to set your keyword bids at. (more…)

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Quick Tips for Maintaining Your Affiliate Marketing Business

Affiliate marketing programs (where you share revenue with affiliate networks while promoting their partner websites) are a great way to make extra money and crucial business connections in the Internet business world.

A common scenario with affiliate programs is early success, followed by a bust. There are always unpredictable scenarios that can occur, even though you have been participating successfully in an affiliate program for what seems like forever.

While there are a great deal of positives involved with running an affiliate business from the comfort of your own home, there can also be problems for someone who is less experienced. Luckily, this article will point you in the right direction to avoid such pitfalls.

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