TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Aug 99 NetProLive

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 8
Column Tag: NetProLive

Becoming an Associate

by Todd Stauffer

It's more than just Amazon, you know

You want to make a little money on your Web site, don't you? Many of us do, even if we aren't getting the sort of hits that Excite, Netcenter and iVillage are getting on a daily basis. You may have already signed up as an associated for a service like Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble's online site, since they've been advertising their associate services for quite some time. But did you know that there are many other associate services and banner exchange programs that can make you money?

What It Means to Associate

Before we get deep into them let's talk a little about what it means to be associated. In most cases, associate status means you're granted a commission on sales that occur through some online venue. The idea is for you to creatively and uniquely advertise a particular product or a specific e-commerce site. Take Amazon.com, for instance. In that case, you're asked to advertise particular books on your site, then link to Amazon.com for the sale. If readers click your link to Amazon, then buy the book, you'll make money.

Why offer associate programs? Two reasons. First, it's free-to-low-cost advertising for many of these e-commerce sites. After all, they've just convinced you to place a link or banner on your site and they haven't promised you a dollar up front.

The reason this works, though, is that your Web site may be uniquely situated to sell a particular product. If you run a site about health and beauty, for instance, you may have a decent amount of traffic that would be interested in buying cosmetics online. But if you're only getting a few hundred unique visitors a day, the e-commerce site doesn't really have time to visit the site, decide on the correct amount of advertising banners to buy from you, then check the click-throughs, call you to renegotiate, etc.

If they offer an associate program, though, then you're responsible for getting signed up - they just create the program and track your progress. Like any distributed marketing scheme, the e-commerce site now has hundreds or thousands of sites pouring thousands or millions of hits into their e-commerce site. In return, they pay about 3-5% in commissions - not bad for what might amount to most of their entire advertising budget.

Not that it's a bad deal for you, either. If you don't run a Web site that gets 250,000 hits a day - but it's still a good site with a nice design and good info - then you deserve a little action, too. If you repeatedly send buying customers toward the e-commerce site, the small kickbacks can start to add up.

Are there any rules? Usually each individual program will have stipulations. Some associate programs may require you to run their own artwork, others may require that your site be reviewed for good design and ease of use. Most programs don't want to be associated with adult or inflammatory content (although there are certainly associate programs designed for adult sites) and some will require a minimum of unique visitors - maybe 500 a day. Otherwise, it's usually pretty easy to apply.

Signing Up as an Associate

One of the easiest is the Amazon.com Associates program (Figure 1), which you can usually get into with a minimum of hassle. They just need to know who you are, where to send the checks, what your site is about and get you to agree to their legalese. Then you'll be taken to a page that helps you pick out the Amazon.com logos and get started. Amazon pays 15% on many titles that you link to directly, and usually pays 5% for any sale that results from a link from your site.

MISSING FIGURE 1!!!
Figure 1. Amazon.com Associates.

Why partner with Amazon? If your site covers a particular topic, if you're offering your own reading list or if you know of some books that support your site and might interest your readers, then an Amazon.com link directly to those books might entice buyers into an impulse purchase. You can also link to music and videos. Maybe your site is specifically designed as a front-end to Amazon - I've seen people try it. Better yet, though, come up with a hook for selling your books. Offer readers an advantage - like tips, reviews, or related content - that will help you push the books.

MISSING FIGURE 2!!!
Figure 2. Barnes and Noble Affiliate network.

Barnes and Noble offers an Affiliate network (Figure 2) that allows you to build your own bookstore, link directly to topic areas or even add the Barnes and Noble search engine to your site. Commissions are 5% for every sale, but all sales generated by your links are counted. And, if you sell a ton of books, music, videos, software, etc., some of the percentages can go as high as 7%. In this case you can link to the entire B&N "Fiction" front-end and get a percentage. If a lot of your visitors are bookworms, this might be a good way to go.

MISSING FIGURE 3!!!
Figure 3. LinkShare.

Want to sell something other than books? In that case, you're ready to check out LinkShare (Figure 3). LinkShare offers information and management of affiliate programs for over 100 merchants that are searching for relevant affiliates. Sign onto the system (you'll need to provide a little information to get signed on) then go on a merchant hunt. Through this service, you'll see offers from merchants in subjects from automotive to magazines to cigars to consumer electronics to gardening products. Deals range depending on the merchant - some offer 20% commissions, others offer 3%. Some offer both commissions on sales and payment for click-throughs - for instance, you might get $.05 every time a reader clicks a banner ad and visits a merchant's site.

The entire LinkShare system is very impressive if you run a Web site but don't have the wherewithal to drum up advertising. Want to sell Brookstone, FAO Schwartz or Outpost.com products on your site? Check out the programs and see what they're currently offering. There aren't too many caveats - most of the offers don't extend to pornographic, inflammatory or poorly designed sites. In many cases you'll need a minimum of unique visitors - usually between 250-500 a day. (That's not always the case.) In almost all cases you'll need to qualify - your site will be reviewed by the merchant. You'll learn about that and other things through the information center maintained by LinkShare where you can get news, search for new sites and even read mail from merchants.

MISSING FIGURE 4!!!
Figure 4. LinkExchange's Revenue Avenue.

A similar service is offered on Revenue Avenue of the LinkExchange program (Figure 4), which happens to offer an impressive number of merchants - a quick search on "writing" which is the topic of one of my sites, offered an unprecendented seven different advertising opportunities. (Before this site I'd been stuck with Amazon.com.) With LinkExchange, you begin by adding the text for the ad to your site while your request for membership in that particular site's program is pending. Up until then, you don't make money. Once you're approved, hopefully, you'll make money and get checks. The deals vary wildly from a percentage to a flat fee per new customer to money for click-throughs.

Want more ideas? The single best site I've come across for reviewing the various ad banner programs and pay-per-click offers is Mark J. Welch's Web sites. There you'll find links to many, many different programs, as well as pages that offer even more conglomerations, reviews and link list for still more programs.

Seller Beware

The only admonition I'll mention is one you'll find often on Welch's sites - be wary. Not all of these affiliate programs pay on time, some don't pay at all, some could go out of business quickly. Stick with the known quantities unless you're a gambler, and review your earnings regularly - using your own visitor logs, be aware of how much business you think you're sending. If you don't get updates, quit the service and try something else.

What's the worst that could happen? Convert your mid-sized Web site into a revenue machine, even if you're only filling in around your paid banners. Who knows - your associates could pay off. After all, it's who you know that counts.

Amazon.com Associates program http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/subst/partners/associates/

Barnes and Noble Affiliate program http://www.barnesandnoble.com/affiliate/

LinkShare http://www.linkshare.com/

Revenue Avenue http://revenue.linkexchange.com/

Mark Welch http://markwelch.com/


Todd Stauffer (online@netprolive.com) is online editor for NetProfessional, as well as a book author, magazine writer and Web magazine editor. His latest books, “Mac Upgrade and Repair Bible” and “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Mac OS 8.5” are available at better bookstores everywhere. Visit him at http://www.mac-upgrade.com/.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Parallels Desktop 13.0.0 - Run Windows a...
Parallels allows you to run Windows and Mac applications side by side. Choose your view to make Windows invisible while still using its applications, or keep the familiar Windows background and... Read more
Mellel 4.0.0 - The word processor for sc...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard for long form documents since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical... Read more
Adobe Muse CC 2017 2017.1.0 - Design and...
Muse CC 2017 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $14.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous Muse customer). Adobe Muse 2017 enables designers to create websites as... Read more
WhatsApp 0.2.5862 - Desktop client for W...
WhatsApp is the desktop client for WhatsApp Messenger, a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for... Read more
WhatsApp 0.2.5862 - Desktop client for W...
WhatsApp is the desktop client for WhatsApp Messenger, a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for... Read more
Things 3.1.3 - Elegant personal task man...
Things is a task management solution that helps to organize your tasks in an elegant and intuitive way. Things combines powerful features with simplicity through the use of tags and its intelligent... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.292 - Customize Multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Things 3.1.3 - Elegant personal task man...
Things is a task management solution that helps to organize your tasks in an elegant and intuitive way. Things combines powerful features with simplicity through the use of tags and its intelligent... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.292 - Customize Multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Bookends 12.8.3 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more

KORG iMono/Poly (Music)
KORG iMono/Poly 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $19.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: *** Special Sale for a limited time to celebrate the debut of KORG iMono/Poly (33% OFF) until Sep 30! *** Reviving a... | Read more »
Super Phantom Cat 2 beginner's guid...
Super Phantom Cat 2 presents a whole new world of fun platforming challenges and perplexing puzzles. It's a well-designed platformer with a bright, neon aesthetic that brings the genre up to date. [Read more] | Read more »
Shadow Fight 2 Special Edition (Games)
Shadow Fight 2 Special Edition 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: ** New story chapter! **** No Ads! **** No energy! ** The best fighting series on mobile has returned and... | Read more »
4 RPGs like Final Fantasy XV that deserv...
Square Enix announced another Final Fantasy XV spin-off today - Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition. This mobile, episodic version of the hit RPG gives the game a chibi-fied makeover. The first episode will be free, followed by 9 more premium episodes... | Read more »
Guild sieges and soul gems in latest upd...
Webzen’s MU Origin hit app stores last year, giving fans of fantasy hack-n-slash MMOs like Diablo a new fix to fixate on. This latest update introduces a competitive guild battle, a fresh dungeon challenge, a mini-game and some elemental gems to... | Read more »
Little Red Lie (Games)
Little Red Lie 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ARE YOU MORE AFRAID OF POVERTY THAN DEATH? Little Red Lie is a narrative-focused, interactive fiction experience that reduces... | Read more »
You can now apply to be Clash of Clans...
Earlier this month, word got out that the Builder, the trusty handiman who tirelessly built every single building inevery singleClash of Clansbase had called it quits. Sick of seeing his work destroyed endless, the Builder has set out for our world... | Read more »
Meshi Quest beginner's guide - how...
Meshi Quest is Square Enix's newest free-to-play release, and it's a real charmer. You start off as the head of a sushi restaurant, upgrading your food and equipment as you serve visitors heaping helpings of your delicious meals. As you progress,... | Read more »
BUST-A-MOVE JOURNEY (Games)
BUST-A-MOVE JOURNEY 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: BUST-A-MOVE Features:- Shoot bubbles and match 3 or more bubbles of the same color to make them pop!- Complete your... | Read more »
The best card combos in Clash Royale
Clash Royale is all about building a deck of units that synergise well. To help you get off to a flying start, we've put together a list of unit combinations that are incredibly effective. Looking for some choice 2v2 combos? Check out our guide. [... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Clearance 2016 13-inch MacBook Airs, Apple re...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $809. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: – 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $... Read more
2017 13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 of...
B&H Photo new 2017 13″ MacBook Airs on sale today for $100 off MSRP, starting at $899: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $100 off MSRP – 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A... Read more
Sale! 13-inch 2.3GHz MacBook Pros for $100 of...
B&H Photo has 13″ 2.3GHz MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $100 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (MPXQ2LL... Read more
2016 MacBook Pros, Apple refurbished, availab...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros available starting at $1189. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: – 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar Space... Read more
Apple offers Certified Refurbished iPhone 6s...
Apple has Certified Refurbished unlocked iPhone 6s’s and 6s Plus’s available starting at $449. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each phone, and shipping is free: – 16GB iPhone 6s: $449, $... Read more
Apple offers Certified Refurbished Pencils fo...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Apple Pencils available for $85 including free shipping. Their price is $14 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a Pencil. Read more
2016 15-inch 2.6GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro ava...
B&H Photo has clearance 2016 15″ 2.6GHz MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $500 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: – 15″ 2.6GHz Touch... Read more
21-inch 2.3GHz iMac on sale for $999, save $1...
Amazon has the new 2017 21″ 2.3GHz iMac (MMQA2LL/A) in stock and on sale for $999.99 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more
Free Instant Translator 2.0 App For iOS Relea...
Mobile application development company, Neoappz has announced the release and immediate availability of Instant Translator 2.0 for iOS devices. Instant Translator is a user-friendly application which... Read more
2017 15-inch MacBook Pros on sale for $200 of...
Amazon has 2017 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2199.99, $200 off MSRP – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Silver: $2296, $103 off MSRP – 15″... Read more

Jobs Board

Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
Frameworks Engineering Manager, *Apple* Wat...
Frameworks Engineering Manager, Apple Watch Job Number: 41632321 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jun. 15, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Summary Read more
Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
Frameworks Engineering Manager, *Apple* Wat...
Frameworks Engineering Manager, Apple Watch Job Number: 41632321 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jun. 15, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Summary Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.