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

TrailRunner 3.8.834 - Route planning for...
TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners, bikers, hikers, and all people wandering under the sky. Plan routes on a geographical map. Import GPS or workout recordings and journalize your... Read more
iFFmpeg 6.2.5 - Convert multimedia files...
iFFmpeg is a comprehensive media tool to convert movie, audio and media files between formats. The FFmpeg command line instructions can be very hard to master/understand, so iFFmpeg does all the hard... Read more
DaisyDisk 4.4 - $9.99
DaisyDisk allows you to visualize your disk usage and free up disk space by quickly finding and deleting big unused files. The program scans your disk and displays its content as a sector diagram... Read more
iFFmpeg 6.2.5 - Convert multimedia files...
iFFmpeg is a comprehensive media tool to convert movie, audio and media files between formats. The FFmpeg command line instructions can be very hard to master/understand, so iFFmpeg does all the hard... Read more
DaisyDisk 4.4 - $9.99
DaisyDisk allows you to visualize your disk usage and free up disk space by quickly finding and deleting big unused files. The program scans your disk and displays its content as a sector diagram... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.07 - Customize Multi-T...
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
BetterTouchTool 2.071 - 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
BetterTouchTool 2.07 - Customize Multi-T...
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
PDFpen 8.3.2 - $74.95
PDFpen allows users to easily edit PDF's. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Features... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 6.5.20 - Catalog your d...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast Finder-like intuitive look and feel Super-fast search algorithm Can compress catalog data for... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Pokémon GO Generation 2 evolution guide
At long last, Niantic Labs finally unleashed the Generation 2 Pokémon into the wild. Pokémon GO trainers are scrambling to grab up this new set of 80 Pokémon. There are some special new tricks required to catch all of these new beasties, though.... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week
It feels as though the New Year got off to a creaking start as far as mobile games go, but that's changed over the past few weeks. The last few days alone have seen the debut of a number of wonderful games, so we thought we'd take the time to... | Read more »
Recruit more scallywags and discover new...
Get ready to show off your sea legs all over again in Oceans & Empires’ new grand update, which aims to make the act of rising to the role of seven seas ruler even more fresh and appealing, thanks to a richness of new content on both iOS and... | Read more »
Mage the Ascension: Refuge (Games)
Mage the Ascension: Refuge 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The groundbreaking roleplaying game Mage: The Ascension manifests in our turbulent present with Refuge, an... | Read more »
Vampire: Prelude (Games)
Vampire: Prelude 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The classic roleplaying game Vampire: The Masquerade returns to digital games with a Prelude of things to come. Experience a... | Read more »
Digby Forever Guide: How to dig to the d...
Digby Forever is a sparkling homage to arcade classics, and while you may be tiring of the number of arcade games being thrown at you, this endless digger finds many ways to stand out from the rest of the pack. The game manages to be challenging... | Read more »
The best sales on the App Store this wee...
It's been quite the week in mobile games, but if the latest releases(there were some pretty darn good ones, in case you missed out) aren't really doing the trick, perhaps some of these discounted games will. Many of these premium games had their... | Read more »
Why the new Fire Emblem Heroes update sh...
It’s exciting to see Nintendo delving into the mobile sphere, regardless of whether it’s to give fans another platform to enjoy their fans or simply a sound business venture. Two of the company's announced mobile games have finally come to... | Read more »
New Fire Emblem Heroes update adds new h...
Fire Emblem Heroes received a sizeable update first thing this morning. The update features a batch of fresh content along with a few updates to the game's systems. [Read more] | Read more »
The Deep Paths (Games)
The Deep Paths 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: 25% off launch sale!!! The Deep Paths: Labyrinth Of Andokost is a first-person, dungeon crawling RPG, with traditional grid-based... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for up...
Amazon has 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2720.38 $79 off MSRP - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Newegg has the 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MMGG2LL/A) on sale for $1029.99 including free shipping. Their price is $170 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Choose Newegg... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
12-inch 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $1...
B&H has 12″ 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1149 $150 off MSRP - 12″ 1.1GHz... Read more
InTouch Health Expands iOS And Windows Produc...
Specialty telehealth enterprise provider InTouch Health has announced an expanded range of FDA Class I listed medical devices and software solutions for ambulatory, non-acute and non-emergent... Read more
iMobie Airs World’s 1st iCloud Manager with M...
iMobie Inc., an Apple-related software company, announced their newly-updated iPhone manager AnyTrans with exclusive feature to sync and manage contents across multiple iCloud accounts. With it,... Read more
New Proactive Apple Support Professional Cert...
Watchman Monitoring has announced Proactive Support Professional Certification at MacTech Pro. Watchman Monitoring is a premier Proactive Support Software as a Service (SaaS) tool for IT... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2015 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina Apple MacBook Pro on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (MF839LL/A): $... Read more
Back in stock: Apple refurbished 13-inch Reti...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $360 off original MSRP, starting at $1099. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Technician - nfrastructure (United S...
Let’s Work Together Apple Technician This position is based in Portland, ME Life at nfrastructure At nfrastructure, we understand that our success results from our 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
Manager *Apple* Systems Administration - Pu...
Req ID 3315BR Position Title Manager, Apple Systems Administration Job Description The Manager of Apple Systems Administration oversees the administration and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* macOS Systems Integration Administra...
…most exceptional support available in the industry. SCI is seeking an Junior Apple macOS systems integration administrator that will be responsible for providing Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.