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SAve the date: Affiliate Summit West 2011 - January 9-11 in Vegas The Official Magazine of Affiliate Summit

Issue 12 | October 2010

Biggest Affiliate  Conference Ever in NYC Affiliate Summit East 2010 Recap Page 9

New Marketing Based on Location By Lisa Picarille Page 3 www.affiliatesummit.com

Bloggers Beware: FTC Warns, Then Fires By Tom Cohn Page 19

How to Deal with Micro-hoo By Kate Morris Page 28


Table of Contents

03 New Marketing Based on

Location, Location, Location

By Lisa Picarille

14 Demystifying Local Search Campaign Setups

Karen Varecka

04 Grow Your Audience through 15

05

Podcasting II: Recording

5 Ways To Improve Your Facebook Ads

Daniel Clark

7 Tips for Selecting Affiliate Offers Stuart Hochwert

in Online Marketing

Keith Posehn

16 Getting Started in Email

Marketing – First Steps

Kacy Manning

09

Affiliate Summit East 2010 Recap Shawn Collins

13

To Cloak or Not to Cloak

25

Minimizing Legal Risk in the Affiliate World

26 Respect the Intelligence of

Your Email List Vinny O’Hare

19

Bloggers Beware: FTC Warns, Then Fires

Thomas A. Cohn

20

The Affiliate Triathlon: Racing for Gold

Le Michelle Nguyen

21

Why Standing Out at Conferences is Key

Blair Williams

Patrick Cooper

George Hansen

Properly Pitching Your Network at Affiliate Summit Robert Adler

23

James Borzilleri

Greg Hoffman

E-Commerce Website

22 Affiliate Network Success – From $0 to Millions Chad French

06 Importance of Landing Pages 17 Evaluating Your Merchant’s

08 Mobile Marketing for the Rest of Us

Photo by Drew Bennett of BenSpark.com

27

Affiliate Opportunities with APIs Christopher Calvi

28 How to Deal with Micro-hoo

Kate Morris

Ryan Zimmerman

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 1


Issue 12 | OCTOBER 2010

STAFF

FeedFront Editors’ Note – 12th Issue

It’s Not Show Business, It’s Show Friends

Co-Editors in Chief Missy Ward, Shawn Collins

Co-Publishers Missy Ward, Shawn Collins

Contributing Writers Robert Adler, James Borzilleri, Christopher Calvi, Daniel Clark, Thomas A. Cohn, Shawn Collins, Patrick Cooper, Chad French, George Hansen, Stuart Hochwert, Greg Hoffman, Kacy Manning, Kate Morris, Le Michelle Nguyen, Vinny O’Hare, Lisa Picarille, Keith Posehn, Karen Varecka, Missy Ward, Blair Williams, Ryan Zimmerman

Graphic Design

Shawn Collins

Lynn Lee Design

Magazine Coordinator Amy Rodriguez **Please note new address** Affiliate Summit 522 Hunt Club Blvd. #366 Apopka, FL 32703 tel (417)-2SUMMIT (278-6648) fax (908) 364-4627 Articles in FeedFront Magazine are the opinions of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine, or its owners. FeedFront Magazine always welcomes opinions of an opposite nature. For more information, visit: www.FeedFront.com Interested in advertising? Please visit http:// feedfront.com/advertising/ or email us at: contact@feedfront.com © 2010 Affiliate Summit, Inc. and Individual Authors.

The movie Jerry Maguire is stocked with quotable lines. One of my favorites was, ‘It’s not “show friends.” It’s show *business*’, from Bob Sugar, the cutthroat protégé of Tom Cruise’s character, played by Jay Mohr. That’s sort of like the “Greed is Good” of the 90’s. Everybody continues to say it, but it’s a jerky sentiment at the core. Personally, I prefer show friends over show business, and I was reminded of this when I became part of a string of nearly 200 emails started by Jim Kukral on August 10, 2010 with the subject, “Affiliate Super Friends.” Jim sent that initial email to ask a couple dozen friends from the industry to help spread the word about the launch of his bestselling book, “Attention! This Book Will Make You Money.” Lots of goofy banter followed, and a day after the initial email, Karen Garcia, Partner & Co-Founder of GTO Management, shared a new site she’d created at affiliatesuperfriends.com. The site featured each of the people from the email with their faces and names on super heroes. Karen has stayed up late into the night to put the site together as a fun thing for a bunch of friends. The emails continued with friendly jabs and

setting plans when we’d all be hanging out together in person soon at Affiliate Summit. Along the way, Jim was cut out of the emails, so a plan could be hatched to surprise him as he delivered his keynote address at Affiliate Summit East 2010. Again, Karen Garcia stepped up and created colored capes for all of the affiliate super friends. I have no idea how she knocked that out right before flying across the country for the conference, but it was a nice act of a friend to pull it all together. If you were at Jim’s keynote, you probably saw how the crowd of super heroes strolled into the room with capes and masks as Jim was about to speak. It was a show of support for a big moment in Jim’s career by a bunch of his friends. The photo on the cover of this issue was taken after Jim’s keynote by Drew Bennett of benspark.com. At the end of the day, business is a whole lot more fun when you do it with friends. If you don’t get that, you’re doing it wrong.

Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine.


New Marketing Based on

Location, Location, Location By Lisa Picarille

People everywhere are using their smartphones to check into stores, parks, restaurants, offices, and more using a location-based service (LBS) called foursquare.

of American wireless subscribers used a smartphone. However, Nielsen expects that to reach 50 percent by the end of 2011. There is also “badge fatigue,” a concept referring to the lack of user motivation once they have stopped earning points for checking into new places and have acquired all the designated badges.

foursquare is part game, part status updater. Users sign up, follow friends and check-in via their smartphones (currently available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry) to earn points and unlock badges for trying new places and revisiting old favorites. Users can also leave tips for others. “Don’t miss the pork tacos” might be a tip for a local Mexican restaurant. Visiting a location frequently earns users “mayor” status and perhaps, free goodies or discounts. Being mayor is a competition and often drives customers back to businesses to earn or maintain their reign. Like Twitter, foursquare has opened up its API to developers and there are some apps embracing the “mayorship” concept by informing users how many check-ins are needed to become the mayor of a location. foursquare is not the first LBS, (remember Brightkite, Loopt, Gowalla and Dodgeball?), but it is growing. foursquare officials claim - as of August 31, 2010 - it has more than 3 million users, with over 18,000 new members joining every day. Facebook recently added a similar service - Places. However, initial privacy concerns over the ability for others to check users into places without their consent, along with having to opt-out of Places, has turned some off. Many foursquare users already link to Facebook and Twitter accounts to automatically update their status.

Lisa Picarille

Broadcasting status across social media platforms also enables users to brag a little (“I’m at the sold-out baseball game”). Users can also create private locations, allowing them to check into their own living rooms, home offices and backyards. However, a recent study by Advertising Age shows only about 4 percent of people have used LBSs and only 1 percent regularly publically shares their status. Many cite privacy as the issue. If people know where you are, they also know where you’re not – fueling fears about home robberies. There are also personal safety concerns about strangers randomly approaching users at any given location.

Despite the challenges, online marketers should be on foursquare – as a user and to look for new marketing methods. Some physical locations present coupons for online businesses or direct users to blogs with relevant content. As an affiliate you can push offers to users and use foursquare’s tools to track most frequent visitors, check-in times, unique visitors, gender, and portion of check-ins broadcast to Twitter and Facebook. So, as you move forward with marketing efforts, consider the importance of location.

Lisa Picarille is an online content strategist specializing in online marketing, branding, and social media. www.lisapicarille.com

But LBSs require a smartphone, and according to a study from March 2010 by market researcher Nielsen, as of the fourth quarter of 2009, only 21 percent

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 3


By Daniel M. Clark

Growing Your Audience through Podcasting II: Recording In the last issue of FeedFront (issue 11, August 2010), I discussed the reasons why you should be podcasting and the planning stages of getting your show off the ground. Since then, you’ve chosen a topic; set aside 30 minutes a week and have a microphone/ headset. You don’t necessarily need a script, but it would be helpful to have a general idea of what you’re going to say. Now that we have a plan in place, let’s talk about the tools you’ll need to get your voice to your listeners. You could go out and buy the most expensive microphone, the killer mixing board and the state-of-the-art software, but unless you really feel like wasting $50,000, please don’t. Until you’re comfortable with podcasting and you’re sure you’d like to do it long-term, there is no sense in spending any more money than is absolutely necessary. Hardware Plan on spending $50 or less on a USB headset. The style you choose is not a critical consideration just now–one ear, both ears, full-coverage–doesn’t matter. What’s important is that they fit your head and that

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they’re USB-style. Look for headsets from brands like Logitech and Plantronics. I use a Plantronics Audio 655 headset. Software If you don’t have it already, Audacity is available for both PC and Mac, and it’s free at audacity.soundforge.net. The program is simple to use and I recommend it for beginning podcasters. Later, you may graduate to advanced software like Sound Forge, Audition or Logic, but let’s keep it simple to start. Recording/Editing To reduce the breathy pops from spoken p’s (called plosives), when using a headset/mic combo, position the microphone either at chin height or nose height, whichever is more comfortable. Do not place it directly in front of your mouth. In Audacity, click the red Record button near the top left of the window. Start talking. When you’re done, click the yellow Stop button. Congratulations, you just recorded your first podcast! If you want to edit what you’ve recorded, Audacity has great documentation that explains how to remove unwanted bits,

introduce fades and adjust the volume if it’s a little quiet or too loud. If you’d like to have royalty-free music for an intro, musicalley.com is a resource I use and recommend. Before you export your finished MP3 file, check Audacity (Mac) / Edit (Windows) > Preferences > File Formats tab > MP3 Export Setup. The Bit Rate should be 64(kbps) for spoken word. Any higher is overkill. Click File > Export As MP3, follow the prompts, and you’re done! Next Steps See how easy this is? What made you wait so long to start podcasting? Now that you have your first episode, you’ll want to share it with the world. Next comes uploading and posting your episode to your site as well as submitting it to iTunes and other podcast directories.

Daniel M. Clark is a co-host of the Geek Dads Weekly podcast (geekdadsweekly.com)


TIPS

for Selecting Affiliate Offers

By Stuart Hochwert

Many well known bloggers have recently switched to email newsletters for reader engagement. Email content newsletters have a captive, more committed audience where open rates can be 50% and click to send (CTS) rates can be 10%. Additionally, newsletters can be monetized with sponsorship or brand dollars. These are campaigns that run on a CPM basis. However, like most magazines and TV stations, newsletter publishers often have unsold inventory each week. Careful selection of general or niche products on a CPA or CPC basis can be an additional revenue source. So, how does a content publisher select performance based offers? Here are 7 tips: 1. Networks: it is important to select offers from many different affiliate networks. We have found that one network may have an exclusive offer that another network does not have. We select offers from about nine networks each week. 2. Testing: if your subscriber file is large enough you should test an offer before rolling out to the entire file. An A/B test to 25,000 circulation will give you statistically valid results. 3. Blog Intelligence: some blogs have huge followings and more than 1 million visitors per month. We tend to ignore blogs that show 25 different ads at once, since

they likely don’t track what works. But, when we find a top blog that is highlighting just a few offers, we tend to locate the affiliate program and test. How to find top blogs? Go to Google and type the topic such as ‘frugal’ and in the left rail select ‘Blogs’. You will then see a list of top blogs. Look at comments as an indicator of how popular a blog is and also check traffic on an analysis site like compete.com. 4. Niche Offers: in general, select offers from within your niche for better effective CPM’s. A cooking offer to a cooking newsletter, a crafting offer to a crafting newsletter. 5. General Offers: niche offers can be limited, so how do you select a general offer? Our readership is primarily female, so we look for typical ‘Mommy Blogger’, ‘Female’ or ‘Frugal’ type offers. Our audience may like to cook, but they like coupons, likely have families, drive cars, etc. 6. Brand Names: in general a brand name offer will outperform a private label or nonbrand offer by a factor of 200 – 1000%. A non-branded insurance offer may do poorly in our newsletter, but a branded insurance offer will often make the cut. 7. Selection: be careful what you run. Consumers look at an ad in your newsletter as an implied endorsement. So, a business opportunity offer may work well, but do you want to present that to your audience?

Stuart Hochwert

Looking for great performance offers is fun, challenging and exciting. Each week, we compile our results from every network into a spreadsheet and calculate our eCPM (effective cost per thousand) by tracking revenue and dividing by circulation to get the eCPM metric. Bad offers are dropped, good offers get more circulation.

Stuart Hochwert is President of Prime Publishing LLC (www.primecp.com).

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 5


By James Borzilleri

Importance of Landing Pages in Online Marketing

James Borzilleri A landing page is where people “land” after clicking on an online ad, doing a search, clicking on an email link, or entering a URL that they heard about. Is there such a thing as a perfect landing page? Probably, but they are few and far between, and even then, the people behind them are still testing to see if they can improve them just a little bit more. Unfortunately most marketers don’t have landing page optimization (LPO) on the top of their list. It can be time-consuming and often inaccurate. Interestingly enough, landing pages often end up being the least considered element of the campaign. Marketers tend to focus on ad copy, media

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buys, subject lines etc., and then just throw up a few landing pages, so they can start sending traffic to them.

landing pages.

Elements of an Ad Campaign Launch You have an ad campaign that gets your prospects to click or type a URL into their browser. Your ad did convince them to click, but really it only takes a second to make that decision and it’s more of a “whatever, sure I’ll click this” decision.

Your website has 100,000 monthly visitors with a 2% conversion rate at $45.00 per conversion.

Your landing page is where you have to, within seconds, convince your prospect to stay and perform your “call to action���. They will probably have to do some reading about your offer, enter some personal information, including their email address (SPAM-risk), and finally pull out a credit card to pay for something.

That gives you a $9000.00 increase in monthly revenue.

And you just threw up any old landing page? No wonder landing page conversion rates hover around 2-3%, according to Forrester Research. You are seriously wasting your money getting visitors to your site if you’re not optimizing your landing pages for conversion. The truth is most marketers are using intuition, instead of data, to build landing pages. As a June 2009 study titled “Guesses vs. Data as Basis for Design Recommendations” by the renowned Jakob Nielsen showed, professional website designers who used their personal opinions about website usability were only right 25% of the time. That means they were wrong 75% of the time, and illustrates how critical using landing page optimization (LPO) is when determining design factors such as font size, layout, and navigation. So what’s the answer? Testing, testing and more testing. No matter how you drive traffic to your website, you MUST determine what your customers like and dislike about your

Let’s take a look at some numbers:

(2000 x $45 = $90,000.00) Let’s say that, through testing of various factors on your landing page, you improve that rate by 10%.

A 10% increase isn’t unreasonable in the least, so let’s look at another 10% increase. An $18,000.00 increase in monthly revenue! All of this “found” money can be yours with the same amount of visitors if you commit to using LPO.

James Borzilleri is CEO of ConversionDoubler.com, which offers free landing page optimization (LPO) software.


FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2009 | 7


Mobile Marketing for the Rest of Us By Greg Hoffman Greg Hoffman

Waffle House, the historic Southern late night eatery, used to have a saying, “Who’s looking out for the poor old cash customer.” For 50 years, they only accepted cash. But they started accepting credit cards a few years ago. They had to evolve to survive. The same can be said for traditional affiliates in 2011. The demand for mobile sites is here and it’s time for affiliates with sales based on SEO, coupons, datafeeds and blogs to add another layer to their efforts. Many affiliates are currently testing mobile CPA offers, mobile pay per click and SMS list building, but for those who are not, they need to answer the following questions about their future strategy: • Are your sites mobile friendly? • Have you viewed your sites through a mobile device? • Have you seen your mobile search rankings? • Are your competitor’s sites mobile friendly? • How can you capitalize on mobile traffic in your niches? Kim Dushinski, author of “The Mobile Marketing Handbook,” says the emergence of

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mobile shopping today is similar to how the Internet was in the mid-1990’s. It may seem like the wild west out there, but many early adopters have started to blaze the trails. They have already published best practices for mobile marketing and it’s all waiting for you to find in books, downloadable courses and white papers. Affiliates should not assume what works on their existing site will work to convert mobile traffic, she said. They will have to educate themselves and test their landing pages regularly to find the right formula. One essential service to research is transcoding, according to Dushinski. “This is essentially a tool that strips a website to its basics and integrates the important items in a mobile friendly format whenever it is accessed via a mobile phone.” Webmasters can do this themselves or outsource to mobile programming experts. For a WordPress site, Michael Martin, Owner of Mobile Martin, suggests the WP-Touch plugin as the best solution to render a blog on mobile devices. Martin is an affiliate with his hand on the pulse of the emerging industry. He says one opportunity for affiliates is to begin building mobile coupon aggregator

sites tailored to mobile search and targeting the current demographic for mobile use: men under 30. According to InsightExpress, Get Ready for the Mobile Shopper, July 2010, “males 25-34 are using their mobile phones to confirm/ justify purchases of products (getting reviews, checking for better prices, looking for coupons, using coupons they have already received).” MillennialMedia’s July 2010 S.M.A.R.T. Highlights shows in its findings that “28% of survey respondents requested wanting to find mobile coupons on their own using an App - reinforcing the mobile consumers’ demand for a richer mobile experience.” The opportunities for mobile marketing are endless for affiliate marketers. Just as affiliates did in the last 10-15 years, it’s time for them to be innovative and ahead of their competitors. Think mobile!

Greg Hoffman is a blogger and outsourced program manager (greghoffmanconsulting.com).


By Shawn Collins

Affiliate Summit East 2010

Recap

The final numbers are in for Affiliate Summit East 2010, which took place August 15-17 in New York City, and we ended up with 3,527 attendees – the biggest Affiliate Summit East to date.

We are very excited about the sustained growth during such a fragile economy – it’s a testament to the strength of the affiliate marketing space, even during a recession.

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Day 1 I started off the first day of Affiliate Summit East 2010 with a 10 AM session geared towards folks attending Affiliate Summit for the first time. I wasn’t sure if I’d be speaking to a sparse crowd as I headed down, and I was delighted to have a large, packed room of conference attendees looking for advice on how to make the most of Affiliate Summit. My session was followed by the opening of the Meet Market and a series of breakout sessions that covered all sorts of topics, including SEO reviews, outsourcing, podcasting, and WordPress.

I really liked the way our new method of Q&A via SMS, Web and Twitter worked out. While the action was taking place in the Meet Market and sessions, the exhibit hall was being built out for days 2 and 3 of Affiliate Summit East 2010. In the evening, I headed to ShareASale’s “Under the Stars” Party on the Empire Hotel Rooftop to continue the networking and good times. Four hours of sleep, one 5-Hour Energy drink and two 20 oz. Diet Dr. Peppers later and it’s on to day 2.

Day 2 Day two of Affiliate Summit East 2010 started off with the keynote address from Frank Luntz, author of one of my favorite books, Words That Work. I was really looking forward to this talk and it didn’t disappoint with facts, figures, examples, and ideas for molding a message. After the keynote, Frank Luntz signed copies of his books for an hour. The exhibit hall also opened on the morning of day two of Affiliate Summit East 2010, and there was a nice flow of affiliate marketers throughout the two floors of the area. Breakout sessions during the day covered a wide array of topics, including Facebook, Google slaps, legal issues, SEO, social media, and the Android platform. There were a number of other networking and educational events throughout the day, such as the Affiliate Showcase, Vertical Exchange, and Ask the Experts roundtables.

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Affiliate Summit East 2010

Recap

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2009 | 11


Affiliate Summit East 2010

Day 3 The final day of Affiliate Summit East 2010 started off with the keynote address from Jim Kukral, author of the bestselling book, Attention! This Book Will Make You Money. Jim gave a really inspirational talk that focused on building a business around a lifestyle. Jim Kukral signed copies of his books for well over an hour after the keynote. The second day of the exhibit hall at Affiliate Summit East 2010 had nice crowds on both floors in the morning and afternoon. Breakout sessions during the day covered a wide array of topics, including paid search strategies, curation, sports marketing, blogging, and marketing to women. Thank you to all of the folks that came out for Affiliate Summit East 2010 – see you January 9-11, 2011 at the Wynn Las Vegas for Affiliate Summit West 2011.

Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine.

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Recap


By Robert Adler

The one aspect of an Affiliate Summit that always gets brought up is the gifts and/or items, commonly known as “schwag,” that companies give out in the exhibit hall. This is usually what will be discussed for at least a week after the show, and will be remembered until the next show. However, one aspect that is overlooked is how the affiliates were treated when they approached the booth. Here are a few simple tips that will be helpful for both new and seasoned affiliate managers. 1. Do not look at someone’s badge right off the bat. Try asking for their name, instead of immediately looking for a first name and color on the bottom of their badge. It usually helps when you consider that they are an individual, instead of just “person number 384.” Sometimes, I walk up with my badge turned around backwards just to prompt them to ask me who I am. Just a quick side note to the person with the bar-code gun trying to snipe me as I grab one of your business cards... nice try.

2. If you are in the middle of a conversation with an affiliate, and see someone behind them, please do not walk away, mid-sentence, to talk to that person. It is extremely rude, and the affiliate will spend the rest of the day telling how “they walked away mid-sentence - forget about them,” when asked what they thought of your company. 3. Never judge a book by its cover. This may sound like common knowledge, but I chuckle whenever I see affiliate managers give more priority towards someone wearing a suit and tie over a person wearing a t-shirt and shorts. This tip does not just apply to clothing. I am going to go out on a limb here, and say that if you have been to a conference before, you have, more than likely, spoken to a drunken attendee, who is so far gone; they have forgotten their own name. A good rule of thumb is to talk to them sober, before you consider whether they are an asset to your company.

the payouts, the only thing that matters to me is the quality of service by my AM (Affiliate Manager) and the company. When you are willing to help me, my loyalty resides with you, and that is the bottom line. If you want to hook affiliates for long-term, instead of just having them run one offer and then drop you, make sure you stress the point that you will actually help them make their business more successful. Remember, loyalty is important in business practices and works both ways. If the examples above sound familiar, I’d highly recommend you change the way you deal with affiliates. You’ll find it’s better for your paycheck and your network.

Robert Adler is an envisionist, following his passion into multiple verticals and blogging on Business Caffeine (BusinessCaffeine.com).

4. Every network swears that they “have the highest payouts and most exclusives.” At the risk of going off on a tangent, I do not care if you are brokering the offer. If the conversion rates are comparable, and so are

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Demystifying Local Search Campaign Setups By Karen Varecka Karen Varecka

As local search queries increase online and on mobile devices, it’s important to know how to target your marketing dollars effectively and efficiently. Luckily, search engines give you multiple ways to target your audience based on geography. I recommend focusing on four campaign types specific to local search, based on your targeting tactics and search terms: Geo Modified, Internet Protocol (IP) Targeted, Zip Codes and Neighborhoods. Geo Modified campaigns incorporate a geographic modifier in the search query (ex. florists in Baltimore). You’ll want to target these keywords nationally, so your ad will appear for someone outside the indicated market looking for your company’s services. A perfect example of this would be someone in Chicago looking for a florist to deliver to their grandmother in Baltimore. IP Targeted campaigns target a user based on their IP address. You can select a city, state, metropolitan area or zip code via your campaign’s location settings. The terms in IP campaigns should be both generic and geo modified. There is a chance that geo modified terms within both IP and Geo Modified campaigns will compete against each other,

but this will guarantee coverage and allow you to bid differently. The rationale is that a user with a Baltimore IP address, who’s looking for “florists in Baltimore” will be more relevant to your business; therefore allowing you to bid more aggressively than in your Geo Modified campaigns. One important thing to note: IP targeting’s accuracy is not guaranteed. The engines cannot differentiate between someone whose IP address is being proxied (such as a VPN (virtual private network) connection or a proxy server) vs. someone who is physically located in the defined area. In these instances your ad may appear outside your defined area, but volume should be low. Zip Code searches are not as common, but they are increasing as searchers become savvier, meaning there isn’t a lot of competition here… yet. They’re similar to geo modified terms; however, a zip code is used to define the location. An example of these terms would be “florists in 21230”. Neighborhood searches such as “florists in Federal Hill” are also important to include, since engines cannot map neighborhoods back to a city.

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When it comes to bidding you need to consider which segment is most relevant to your business, your business’ regional sales goals and what campaign type drives the best performance. Whatever you do, make sure your ad copy is tailored to your ad group’s theme. When ad copy is specific to the user’s search query, the user is more inclined to click. This will yield a higher CTR (click through rate) and quality score and in turn will lower your CPCs (cost per click).

Karen is an account manager at buy.at, and is the founder of The Marketing Click, an online marketing consulting firm.


5

By Keith Posehn

Ways

To Improve Your Facebook Ads target, the better your profit margin. 2. Test your images and headline: people don’t always connect with what you expect. The mass of World Cup ads was a great example. People clicked on a flag more than a soccer ball, as they identified with a country rather than the sport. Expand on successful themes to find what works best. 3. Make your ad flow with your landing page: a great example is the cupcake ad for LivingSocial. If you click the cupcake, you get a great, big picture of a cupcake on the landing page. Remember, you are distracting them from what they were doing; make the ad consistent with the page to lower your bounce rate. 4. Switch offers around: if you are promoting something relatively cookie-cutter, test different offers. For example, with online dating, you may find some ages and interests work best with one offer than another. One way to test is to take 10% of your traffic and send it to other offers to determine which earns the highest EPC. What you may find may surprise you. Keith Posehn

Facebook Ads have overtaken Yahoo in total impressions after only a few years in operation. In that time we’ve seen the platform mature and bids have skyrocketed. With all the competition now on the platform, how do you stay competitive? I have learned several methods to maintain a high ROI over the long term with Facebook Ads. Here are five of my favorites: 1. Learn about your users: try to understand what it is about your offer that appeals to people. What interests does your target audience have and whom do they follow online? Where are they in life and what do they think about? Remember, you are bidding on people, not a search term. The more you understand about your

5. Try the soft sell: if you are getting into email, forums, Facebook apps/pages or blogs, then entice users with a freebie of some sort. Give them something, and don’t make them feel like you’re selling to them. They will reward you with likes, shares, and traffic. You can sell them later. These are some of the ways I’ve been able to stay in the game and grow with Facebook Ads. The key is to not get frustrated and quit. Don’t overbid or overspend. Facebook is still a gold mine, and with hard work, and patience it will pay off for a long time to come.

Keith Posehn is President of Zorz, a mobile & social media marketing and application company.

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Getting Started in Email Marketing– First Steps By Kacy Manning

Kacy Manning

Taking the leap into email marketing can seem daunting to a beginner, but here are some basic steps to help you break into this time-tested marketing medium to drive results and revenue. Step One – Build Your List. Building your list starts with creating a website or blog on a topic that interests you. Offer site visitors a weekly newsletter, industry white paper, or other information that you will send them if they opt-in to receive emails from you. If you want to create a double opt-in list, send a welcome email requiring recipients to confirm their interest by clicking on a link in the message. These lists are typically more responsive then single opt-in lists. Make sure the privacy policy and terms and conditions on your website clearly state that you will be sending subscribers email communications which may include third party offers. This lets you include affiliate marketing offers in your emails. Step Two – Select an Email Hosting Service. Most email hosting companies charge on a per-email sent basis with price breaks for sending larger quantities of emails. You may want to test a few providers to select the one that provides the best deliverability (the percentage

of emails sent that reach the recipient’s inbox). You can test deliverability by creating email accounts with all of the major ISPs, sending an email through a hosting service to each address to see if the message lands in the inbox or junk folder of each account. Step Three – Learn the Rules. Familiarize yourself with the CAN-SPAM Act, a law outlining the rules for sending commercial email messages to U.S. residents. Getting up to speed on the law will be a key to your long-term success. A CAN-SPAM violation can cost thousands of dollars per email sent, so it’s important that every message is compliant. You can find information on the CAN-SPAM Act at the Federal Trade Commission website (ftc. gov). Step Four – Creating your First Email. Make sure your email contains information that will be of interest to your recipients. Your subject line should be short, clear and relevant to the content inside the body of the email. You should also construct HTML and text versions of your email. Some ISPs may block images embedded in the HTML version, so it is helpful to the recipient to see text explaining what the email contains.

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Step Five – Tracking. Most hosting services provide detailed reporting that contains information on the number of emails delivered, emails opened and links clicked. If you are sending out affiliate marketing offers, make sure the tracking is set up correctly to track every lead or sale you generate for the advertiser. Monitor all of this information on every email you send. While there are many factors in creating successful email campaigns, these initial steps can help get you on the road to developing a successful email marketing program.

Kacy Manning is the Supervisor of DataOverdrive, a division of Media Breakaway, LLC.


Evaluating Your Merchant’s E-Commerce Website By George Hansen You’ve been there; you see a product online and click the buy now link, but then you’re taken to a cart that you just don’t trust. The originating landing page may have looked professional, but the cart does not pass the security test.

merchant’s website. The most important elements for an affiliate are the product detail pages. Check to see if each product has a dedicated page and determine if the page is inviting, professional and sales focused.

This is an all too familiar situation. If you’re the affiliate, imagine the number of sales you have dropped and the revenue you have lost.

Notice the page layout and if the product picture, description and call-to-action are located above the fold of the website. Look to see if consumers are provided with enough information to make an informed buying decision, such as independent references and user-generated feedback.

The quality of a merchant’s shopping cart, and more accurately the quality of an e-commerce website, should not be overlooked when evaluating which products to promote. As an affiliate, you invest too much time and money to support sub-par merchants and their products. You should expect merchants will have a world class e-commerce solution to help convert the clicks you deliver into paying customers. After all, as an affiliate that’s the core of your business. So, before partnering with a merchant, you should evaluate the merchant’s e-commerce website. The first step is to evaluate the merchant’s homepage. Ask yourself if the page is inviting? Does it feature an image of the product? Does the page look professional? Is the navigation intuitive and are all requisite elements included? Are global elements included and if so for which locals? Is the page translated? Are localized versions of the products available? Next, look at key elements that are critical to the e-commerce portion of the

Ensure the product detail page layout is well merchandised, clear and actionable. Consumers should be able to scroll through the featured details for more information about the product and again be prompted to take action. Shoppers who are ready to buy should be able to make an immediate purchase without further navigation, while those in the information gathering stage should be able to read through the product features and once fully informed make a product purchase.

George Hansen

George Hansen is the Director of Sales and Business Development for Digital River oneNetworkDirect.

The final step is to look at the actual cart itself. Determine if the cart page is intuitive and simple to use and if the products are accurately represented. Walk through the purchase process itself – and in some cases actually make a purchase. The ultimate litmus test is trust – do you trust the cart? By following these steps, you will be informed before making your decision to support a merchant and their products.

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By Thomas A. Cohn

Bloggers Beware FTC Warns, Then Fires The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) “closing letter” to AnnTaylor Stores was like Gunsmoke’s Marshall Dillon shooting a warning at online marketers and bloggers: you’d better take FTC’s revised Endorsement Guides seriously. They require advertisers to disclose “material connections” with endorsers.

This issue arises often in affiliate marketing, where a company’s affiliates endorse its products in their blogs. FTC’s closing letter demonstrates that marketers should have a written policy governing disclosures by affiliates, and monitor them to determine whether the policy is observed or ignored.

between endorser and advertiser. Now that FTC has followed its warning with action, there will likely be further enforcement affecting blogs. And FTC clearly is targeting advertisers and their agents, not individual bloggers, for failing to disclose compensation and other connections between endorser and advertiser.

The Guide’s examples include a manufacturer who sends a new video game to a blogger, who reviews it favorably. The Guides say “the blogger should clearly and conspicuously disclose that he received the gaming system free of charge.”

The FTC message was clear: “Companies, including public relations firms involved in online marketing, need to abide by longheld principles of truth in advertising,” said Mary Engle, Director of FTC’s Division of Advertising Practices. “Advertisers should not pass themselves off as ordinary consumers touting a product, and endorsers should make it clear when they have financial connections to sellers.”

FTC investigated AnnTaylor because it gave gifts to bloggers who attended the review of its summer 2010 collection, and some of them failed to disclose that when they blogged about it. FTC didn’t investigate the individual bloggers, but examined whether AnnTaylor had taken sufficient steps to prevent or correct their failure to disclose this “material connection.”

Thomas A. Cohn is of counsel in Venable’s NY office, www.Venable.com, and a former FTC Regional Director.

Only 31 bloggers attended the preview, and each was promised a gift card worth up to $500 if they posted coverage of the event within 24 hours. FTC closed the investigation without making AnnTaylor sign a consent agreement, because: the preview was the only one AnnTaylor ever held; only a few bloggers were involved, and some of them did disclose they had been given gift cards; and AnnTaylor later adopted a written policy stating that it would never again give gifts to bloggers without first telling them they were expected to disclose this in their blog. In its closing letter, FTC said it expected that AnnTaylor “will both honor that written policy and take reasonable steps to monitor bloggers’ compliance with the obligation to disclose gifts they receive.”

Thomas A. Cohn In August 2010, FTC moved from warning to enforcement. In a settlement with a PR agency that used its employees to blog positive “customer” reviews for the video games of the agency’s client, FTC signaled that it will hold advertisers and their “hired guns” responsible for postings that do not disclose thePearson blogger’s connection with the Ward, Schaaf, Missy , Brook Chris company whose products are touted. Theidge Lynette LaPlante, Kevin Strawbr agency did not have to pay money, but it agreed to an administrative order against endorsements promoting advertisers without disclosing material connections

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The Affiliate Triathlon: Racing for Gold By Le Michelle Nguyen they’ll keep coming back. If you are an affiliate who has created some great content, but has not yet managed to get anyone to your site, it’s time to investigate SEO techniques. There are techniques that can be initialized on your Web pages, like using keywords relevant to your subject matter. Also, there are techniques that take place off the page, including other sites linking to yours to boost your site’s visibility, which also helps your ranking in search engines. The cycling stage of the race is where you’ll start to see competitors working together, riding in packs, absorbing wind resistance in turns. Like triathletes, affiliates, while competitive, can be very helpful in many ways, including link building and knowledge sharing. It is worthwhile to develop relationships with other affiliates and be a part of a resourceful community.

Le Michelle Nguyen

As affiliate marketing grows ever popular, the amount of people getting started in the affiliate marketing business continues to increase. In fact, the last AffStat Report indicated that, of those who had been surveyed, the largest number (16.7%) got started in 2009. Everyone’s experience level is different when starting out. Like every other form of marketing, there is competition, and the competitors require certain skills in order to stay at the front of the pack. Similar to triathlons, there are three essential skills that affiliates should possess in order to stay in the race. Start out strong with great content, push forward with proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques, and improve design and Webmaster skills to get you over the finish line. The triathlon starts out with swimming. Strong swimmers can set the tone for the event by using their swimming skills to get out ahead of the pack early. For new affiliates, starting out with great content will supply you with the momentum you need to stay in the race. Content is the reason that people come to a website, and if it’s great,

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Having completed the swimming and cycling stages, it’s now time to finish with the run. To win a triathlon, competitors need to have trained themselves to the extent that they have the stamina to finish this final, grueling part of the race. It’s all about proper training and preparation. Affiliates who have taken the time to find out about what makes a website tick, have learned best practices for design, and have studied webmaster tools and programming languages, will have a stronger likelihood of finishing, and finishing strong. There are a lot of intricacies to web design, database management and programming, and if you take the time to study and learn, you have a chance at being one of those affiliates who stays in the race long term. There are many resources for affiliates to learn about how to create great content, optimizing sites for search engines, and learning webmaster and design techniques. Ask your affiliate manager to point you to further resource materials to help you succeed.

The Share Results Network Manager, Le is responsible for helping affiliates successfully engage their audience.


By Ryan Zimmerman Ryan Zim

merman

See that crazy picture of me? Well, crazy as it may be, it was also one of the best moves of my marketing career. I came to realize that in order to truly stick out amongst thousands of my peers, not only would I have to be the best in my profession, but I would have to be just as memorable. So, prior to attending Affiliate Summit a few years back, I took a similar photo and used it on my business card. To this day I still have people recognizing me for that card alone and they confess how it vividly stuck out in their minds. I continue to use it on my LinkedIn and instant messenger profiles for that reason. I’ve somehow managed to “brand” myself by simply being cheesy. I knew that I had to make my card get noticed by each and every person who had it in their pocket, so I gambled with “goofy” and am truly glad I did. Affiliate marketing is often measured by success in the number of leads and the amount of dollar signs, and I can’t argue that formula. However, we know that this business grows exponentially each year with newcomers or veterans expanding into new roles and new companies. It is important to stay fresh with ideas and continue promoting yourself. Case in point: At Affiliate Summit East in New York this past August, you may have seen me walking the floor with my bright blue LED scrolling name tag. I honestly couldn’t pass by a single person without them noticing it and reading it as I maneuvered through the crowds. I wanted to ensure that all the people at that conference that didn’t know Ryan Zimmerman before would definitely know me by the time the show concluded.

and impressive. What better way to show you are a good marketer than to effectively and cogently market yourself? That alone can clearly define you and your career expertise and is not just important; it is vital. There are three things I focus on prior to attending a conference: 1. Avoid being mundane and “normal”. It’s that “Pop!” and that energy that will leave an impression. 2. Don’t overestimate your audience and assume they’ll remember you. Give them a reason to do so and solidify a permanent spot in their memory. 3. Smile and have fun! If you’re making this your career, enjoy it. Your positive vibe will be infectious and will attract all those around you. With Affiliate Summit West 2011 just around the corner, now is the time to start brainstorming on ways to make the conference your own. Normally what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas….but this time, try and hitch a ride home in the minds of your colleagues and customers.

Ryan works for Credit.com and has been involved with interactive marketing for over a decade.

The main theme here is that it is imperative to be extraordinary. Avoid blending into the crowd and develop a plan to achieve the goal of being momentous

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By Chad French

Affiliate Network Success I’ve been involved in different aspects of Internet marketing virtually since the day my Dad brought home our first family PC in 1999. A rather nostalgic time, prior to the dot-com bubble, when sites like AllAdvantage (now defunct) paid me to watch ads as I surfed the Web. By 2002, I had already taught myself how to build websites, and in 2007 I achieved some success in the online rewards space. It wasn’t until the summer of 2008 that I realized a change was needed in the performance marketing industry. I knew there were already dozens of CPA (cost-per-action) based affiliate networks out there, but they were all cookie cutter; running on the same third party hosted platforms, brokering the same offers, and making the same promises. With my combined experience in Web development and Internet marketing, I thought it was time to build what affiliates truly wanted; something unique and built by affiliates. I wanted to develop and launch an affiliate driven network but there was one small obstacle, money. My wife lost her job earlier in the year, and we were just getting by on her unemployment and some small niche marketing I was doing at the time. Although broke, I persevered and spent the rest of 2008 building a basic platform from the ground up using nothing but a Web editor and a cheap hosting account. Unlike most affiliate networks, I had no investors, no employees, and absolutely no startup capital. I named the network after a domain name I purchased a year earlier that had nothing to do with this industry because I couldn’t afford a $10 domain name at the time of development. Fortunately, I already had trusting relationships with other networks at the time and was able to white label a few offers and launch with a small inventory in January 2009. Profits were slow at first, and until they grew to a sizeable amount, I reinvested everything back into the network. I migrated to new servers, hired my first employee, and advertised for free with some of the well-known affiliate bloggers by taking advantage of a 5% lifetime publisher referral program we created. Fast-forward almost two years later and we’re bigger than ever. As any affiliate knows, performance marketing has its rollercoasters, but we’ve thrived and survived. We have no headquarters. Our team of six works remotely from

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Chad French

the comfort of home offices and we meet up several times a year at conferences like Affiliate Summit. This has allowed us to save huge money on overhead and we pass those savings directly to our publishers. I wanted to share this brief account of our beginnings, because when it comes to anything in life, you can do whatever you set your mind to. Don’t let popular perceptions hinder or completely impede your goals. If you truly want something – you will achieve it no matter the hurdles.

Chad is the President/CEO of PeerFly Affiliate Network.


By Blair Williams

Blair Willi

ams

Affiliates frequently ask me if they should cloak their links. The answer to this question can vary based on the affiliate program you’re promoting and the strategy you’ve chosen for your campaign. Big Fat Affiliate Links When you sign up for an affiliate program, you’ll usually receive a long URL with plenty of seemingly random numbers, letters, and other characters unique to you. These links are critical because most programs use them to attribute clicks, leads, and sales to your account. However, you can run into problems when using affiliate links directly: 1. Many affiliates I’ve worked with feel like affiliate links look unprofessional and lack credibility with end users 2. If you have a number of affiliate links with different affiliate programs, they can be difficult to manage 3. Affiliate links can be too big to paste into emails and social networking sites 4. If your affiliate link contains your affiliate id, it can be altered by the end user, which prevents you from getting credit for sales Luckily, there are techniques you can use to clean up and manage your affiliate links.

To Cloak or Not to Cloak Redirection Redirection is the simplest way to create an alias of an affiliate link on your domain name. This is the most reliable form of aliasing, but once the link redirects, the original affiliate link can be visible in the user’s address bar.

cloaking, here are some guidelines: • Check the terms and conditions of affiliate programs to see if they allow cloaking. Some affiliate programs and networks frown on cloaking. • Test your cloaked aliases with your affiliate links to make sure it doesn’t interfere with the tracking and the landing page doesn’t interfere with the cloaking.

Affiliate link redirection can be setup easily by adding redirects to your .htaccess file, creating simple redirection scripts (ASP, CGI, PHP) or by utilizing redirection software on your server.

• Be good – don’t use cloaking to deceive users.

Cloaking This is a more complex form of aliasing. Like standard redirection, cloaking redirects to the affiliate link, but the alias URL continues to appear in the browser’s address bar even after the redirect has completed. This method can offer good branding for the affiliate, but can also cause problems. This type of aliasing can interfere with the merchant’s tracking software. Also, cloaking is sometimes associated with deceptive practices and can confuse end users.

When used correctly, aliasing can help your brand and increase commissions. So, if you aren’t aliasing yet, you may want to get started today.

Blair Williams (http://blairwilliams.com) is an Internet Marketing consultant and creator of the Pretty Link redirection plugin for WordPress.

Cloaking can be setup easily by creating simple cloaking scripts (ASP, CGI, PHP), or by utilizing cloaking software on your server. When to Cloak? If you’re going to setup aliases for your links, I’ve found that simple redirection provides good protection for them and avoids all of the issues with cloaking. But if you insist on

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By Patrick S. Cooper

Minimizing Legal Risk in the Affiliate World Operating in today’s legal environment carries risks. Here are some issues that routinely result in litigation, and a few suggestions about how affiliates can minimize their risk. Copyright. It is tempting to use an image or other content from the Internet in your own advertising, but using someone else’s content without permission comes with much risk. If the owner has copyrighted the material, you could face liability of $150,000 per infringement plus attorney fees, even if you do not profit from your use of the content. This type of lawsuit is becoming more common. There are limited situations where you may quote or copy someone else’s material, but those exceptions rarely, if ever, apply to an affiliate who is using the content for commercial gain. Trademark. You should also be careful about using someone else’s trademark. This often comes up in keyword advertising. Generally, you may use a trademark as a keyword if you do not mislead or confuse consumers about whether you are the trademark owner or are endorsed by the owner. Using the trademark in the text of your ad copy is particularly risky, because this is generally where the trademark owner can argue your use of the trademark confused consumers. Keyword advertising litigation has increased dramatically in recent years, and the law is still evolving in this area, so it is recommended you seek legal advice before implementing a campaign using third party trademarks. DMCA Notice. If third parties are allowed to

a wide variety of topics including limitations of liability, choice of applicable law, and the location of any lawsuits related to the web site, among others. Entity Formation. It rarely makes sense to operate without forming a corporation or limited liability company. The formation of an entity is relatively inexpensive and can limit your personal liability in many ways. According to Troy Meyerson, a corporate lawyer at Fraser Stryker in Omaha, Nebraska, “affiliates should give careful consideration to the type of business entity under which they choose to operate because the type of entity can also have tax consequences.”

Patrick S. Cooper

post content on your website (e.g., online blog, forum, or chat room), it is important to post a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice on your site and register for DMCA protection with the United States Copyright Office. If you fail to take those steps, you can be sued for copyright infringement if someone posts copyrighted material to your site.

Have you taken adequate steps to minimize your risk in the affiliate space? A little forethought can help you avoid costly problems down the road.

Patrick S. Cooper is an attorney at Fraser Stryker PC, LLO in Omaha, Nebraska.

Website Terms and Conditions. Your web site should also contain a carefully drafted set of Terms and Conditions. This is not a “one-size-fits-all” type of document, so you should not simply adopt Terms and Conditions you find on someone else’s site. Properly drafted Terms and Conditions can help you if a dispute arises with respect to your site. Terms and Conditions can relate to

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By Vinny O’Hare

Respect the Intelligence of Your Email List You have probably heard the saying that the money is in the list. While I believe this is true, it is also important how you use your list, which is where the money really comes in.

them to buy a certain brand of tires. While I didn’t sell any tires through the list, I did learn that 99% of my subscribers found this email worthless, as they preferred another brand.

Sure, you can use your list and spam people all day long, but knowing how to market to the list can be the difference between making some money and making big money.

It showed that I didn’t know about my list or niche for that matter. I must have received 1,000 replies to that email, and they were not very nice. But it taught me a valuable lesson.

The people on your list are smart, and they like what you are publishing. Don’t waste that opportunity by misreading your audience.

In my next newsletter, I simply asked what type of car cover they used and literally 100% said they used the same brand. So I joined the affiliate program for that brand and sent out the next newsletter with an ad for them.

You can optimize the monetization prospects of your list when you ask for feedback and then actually listen to it. A few years ago, I ran a website for an automotive fan club. Every time I sent out a newsletter to the list, I would get back five suggestions and tips on things like changing the oil, driving in snow etc. These would be incorporated into the next newsletter. After a while I started to find out that these drivers all used a certain type of oil, car wax, and brand of tires. So, I got it in my head that I could send out an ad for

That ad sold over 1,000 car covers, and made me a nice profit. Now, I could have sent out an email with any type of car cover, but I listened to the list and the intelligence of my readers. This paid off very well and I have done the same thing with car wax and other car related products. Your readers know more about your niche than you think. You see them as a name and an email but you should be thinking about them more on a personal level.

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Vinny O’Hare

Before you drop your next email, stop and think about the people who will read it. Put yourself on the receiving end. Odds are you will gain insight, make more money, and gain the respect of your list now and in the future.

Vinny O’Hare is the president of Vincent O’Hare Consulting and his site is Vinnyohare.com.


Affiliate Opportunities with APIs By Christopher Calvi Tools that advise you on the clothes to wear based on the weather outside; sites that list the latest promotion codes found on Twitter; meta-comparison shopping experiences; travel guides that pull from Yelp, Flickr, Google Maps, and include the latest hotel deals. What do these web tools have in common? They all use APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to quickly create a new and unique user experience, and generate affiliate earning opportunities for their creators. So what’s an API? In a nutshell, APIs allow a client application (i.e. your website) to connect to a host and exchange data completely automated in real time. The client typically makes a request and the API returns the results in (usually) XML or JSON format. The client application can then display or use the data in a custom way. There’s much more to it, but this the big picture. Many Internet companies (including affiliate networks) have APIs available to developers who are interested in using their company’s data. Amazon makes their product, reviews, and pricing data available; Google makes YouTube and Maps data available; and Commission Junction opens up visibility into offers, pricing, and deep links to merchants. Each of these companies offer substantially more API capabilities than this, but these are a few examples of the real-time data that is available to crafty developers. So you may be wondering what you can do with all of this? The truth is, you are only limited by your imagination (and the terms and conditions of each API, of course). Ample earnings opportunities await those who create truly useful mashups by combining data from several APIs. Take, for instance, Club Coupon Code (clubcouponcode.com), developed by Eric

Christopher Calvi

Nagel. Mr. Nagel uses the ShareASale and CJ APIs to fetch deals (coupons) and offer stats, then automates ad buying on Google AdWords using its API.

platforms to create an entirely new beast. Also consider that there is burgeoning opportunity to be found in mobile apps and browser extensions.

He ties it all together with a custom reporting application he built to monitor the campaign, and will soon be integrating with the LinkShare API and Google Affiliate Network API to get even more offers.

If you are relatively familiar with PHP, it’s not too difficult to get your feet wet with APIs by starting with the SimpleXML extension.

Another excellent example is CouponFollow (couponfollow.com) by Marc Mezzacca. This site pulls in the latest coupon codes using the Twitter API and monetizes them by matching the codes with the appropriate affiliate links pulled from various affiliate network APIs. The goal of this article is to get you thinking about how you can take functionality from one platform and merge it with other

And if programming is not your forte, you may opt to hire a skilled developer on sites like Elance or oDesk, in order to take your brilliant idea into production. For inspiration, I highly recommend browsing the Web’s premiere API website, ProgrammableWeb (programmableweb.com). Good luck!

Christopher Calvi lives in New York City with his wife, Katie, and works for Adknowledge.com.

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How to Deal with Micro-hoo By Kate Morris Kate Morris, Photo by

Rudy Lopez Photogra

There are changes every day in the search world, and it’s hard to keep up on a normal day. What is not normal, however, is when one of the oldest search engine properties on the net changes over to another search provider to power their results. Yahoo recently made the big switch to Bing powering their search results, as well as starting the changeover to the Microsoft AdCenter PPC platform. As an affiliate, you are impacted in many ways. Any website owner needs to understand that you will still see traffic from Yahoo; the results are just powered by Bing’s technology now. From 2001 until 2004, Yahoo was powered by Google for search results. So, while Yahoo has been around for years, this change in search platform is not new. The major change on the organic side will be the tools available to webmasters. Most SEOs relied on Yahoo’s Site Explorer and commands like linkdomain: to give us insight to links on sites across the web. With Yahoo jumping back out of the game, we are losing many of these tools now and will lose Site Explorer for real in 2012. This means the ability to see and explore your backlinks will rest on third party providers like Majestic, Raven Tools, and SEOmoz. When it comes to PPC, the migration has

phy

begun. It is unclear if the change will have a positive impact on advertiser’s accounts in terms of sheer traffic and quality of that traffic, but we can hope for the best. The main thing you need to know is that Microsoft AdCenter is now going to power all of the ads on Yahoo. The transition will continue now through 2011, depending on the impact of the transition on holiday traffic. Yahoo has set up a transition center to aide you in correct incompatibilities and full transition. The full change over should occur in midOctober, and that is when all advertisers will only log into Microsoft to make modifications to ads. With all of this change, keep a few things in mind: 1. Yahoo is still sending you traffic, don’t completely count them out. They still have a large user base that you might need to be targeting. 2. Optimizing for Yahoo in SEO is not necessary anymore. Focus your attention to Bing and Google. 3. Be sure your site is registered with Bing Webmaster Center and Google Webmaster Central. This will give you the best in depth

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look to what the two key search players are seeing on your site. 4. Work with Yahoo now to transition any ads to the AdCenter network if you aren’t already advertising there. 5. Sign up with a link tracking tool like Majestic, Raven Tools, and SEOmoz to track your current links and any you might be looking to build in the future. In the end, focus on your end user. It’s your target market that matters, and developing the right site and content for them will beat out any change in the market.

Kate is an SEO Consultant at Distilled Consulting and has done many site clinics at Affiliate Summit.


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FeedFront Magazine, Issue 12