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/.

 
AAPL
$97.67
Apple Inc.
+0.00
MSFT
$43.63
Microsoft Corpora
+0.00
GOOG
$511.17
Google Inc.
+0.00

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Autopano Giga 3.7 - Stitch multiple imag...
Autopano Giga allows you to stitch 2, 20, or 2,000 images. Version 3.0 integrates impressive new features that will definitely make you adopt Autopano Pro or Autopano Giga: Choose between 9... Read more
MenuMeters 1.8 - CPU, memory, disk, and...
MenuMeters is a set of CPU, memory, disk, and network monitoring tools for Mac OS X. Although there are numerous other programs which do the same thing, none had quite the feature set I was looking... Read more
Coda 2.5 - One-window Web development su...
Coda is a powerful Web editor that puts everything in one place. An editor. Terminal. CSS. Files. With Coda 2, we went beyond expectations. With loads of new, much-requested features, a few... Read more
Arq 4.6.1 - Online backup to Google Driv...
Arq is super-easy online backup for the Mac. Back up to your own Google Drive storage (15GB free storage), your own Amazon Glacier ($.01/GB per month storage) or S3, or any SFTP server. Arq backs up... Read more
Airfoil 4.8.10 - Send audio from any app...
Airfoil allows you to send any audio to AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, and even other Macs and PCs, all in sync! It's your audio - everywhere. With Airfoil you can take audio from any... Read more
Apple iMovie 10.0.6 - Edit personal vide...
With an all-new design, Apple iMovie lets you enjoy your videos like never before. Browse your clips more easily, instantly share your favorite moments, and create beautiful HD movies and Hollywood-... Read more
Tunnelblick 3.4.1 - GUI for OpenVPN. (Fr...
Tunnelblick is a free, open source graphic user interface for OpenVPN on OS X. It provides easy control of OpenVPN client and/or server connections. It comes as a ready-to-use application with all... Read more
OnyX 2.8.8 - Maintenance and optimizatio...
OnyX is a multifunctional utility for OS X. It allows you to verify the startup disk and the structure of its System files, to run miscellaneous tasks of system maintenance, to configure the hidden... Read more
Parallels Desktop 10.1 - Run Windows app...
Parallels Desktop is simply the world's bestselling, top-rated, and most trusted solution for running Windows applications on your Mac. With Parallels Desktop for Mac, you can seamlessly run both... Read more
Apple Keynote 6.5 - Apple's present...
Apple Keynote makes it simple to create and deliver beautiful presentations. Powerful tools and dazzling effects bring your ideas to life. You can work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Hay Ewe Review
Hay Ewe Review By Campbell Bird on October 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SAVE YOUR SHEEPLEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Pave the way for your flock in this line drawing puzzle game from the creators of Worms.   | Read more »
My Very Hungry Caterpillar (Education)
My Very Hungry Caterpillar 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Care for your very own Very Hungry Caterpillar! My Very Hungry Caterpillar will captivate you as he crawls... | Read more »
Dungeon Dick (Games)
Dungeon Dick 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Dungeon Dick is a fantasy adventure where you must discover the wicked plot to destroy the lands . 'Fling' at your foes and land... | Read more »
Here’s How the Apple Watch Could Transfo...
With the Apple Watch’s generic release date of, “early 2015” hovering on the horizon, it’s only a matter of time before gamers begin to ask “What’s in it for us?” The obvious choice would be to place entire games directly on the face of the watch,... | Read more »
Republique Episode 3: Ones & Zeroes...
Republique Episode 3: Ones & Zeroes is Available Now Posted by Rob Rich on October 17th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Loot Raiders Review
Loot Raiders Review By Campbell Bird on October 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: PRESS BUTTON, GET LOOTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This menu-based loot game is suitable to compel those with pretty extreme loot lust.   | Read more »
There’s Something Strange in Fruit Ninja...
There’s Something Strange in Fruit Ninja’s Neighborhood Posted by Rob Rich on October 17th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Cars: Fast as Lightning Review
Cars: Fast as Lightning Review By Nadia Oxford on October 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SMOOTH RIDEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Cars: Fast as Lightning is a good city-building/racing game, though it’s probably too... | Read more »
Angry Birds are Crashing Puzzle & Dr...
Angry Birds are Crashing Puzzle & Dragons Next Week Posted by Rob Rich on October 17th, 2014 [ permalink ] Next week, Puzzle & Dragons is getting a little angry. Because, you know, Angry Birds. It’s a… a pun. I thought… never mind. | Read more »
Incandescence Review
Incandescence Review By Andrew Fisher on October 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ALL TAPPED OUTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Incandescence promises intense tapping action, but isn’t particularly fun.   | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

2013 15-inch 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro availa...
B&H Photo has leftover previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $400 off original MSRP. B&H... Read more
Updated iPad Prices
We’ve updated our iPad Air Price Tracker and our iPad mini Price Tracker with the latest information on prices and availability from Apple and other resellers, including the new iPad Air 2 and the... Read more
Apple Pay Available to Millions of Visa Cardh...
Visa Inc. brings secure, convenient payments to iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3as well as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Starting October 20th, eligible Visa cardholders in the U.S. will be able to use Apple Pay,... Read more
Textkraft Pocket – the missing TextEdit for i...
infovole GmbH has announced the release and immediate availability of Textkraft Pocket 1.0, a professional text editor and note taking app for Apple’s iPhone. In March 2014 rumors were all about... Read more
C Spire to offer iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3,...
C Spire on Friday announced that it will offer iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, both with Wi-Fi + Cellular, on its 4G+ LTE network in the coming weeks. C Spire will offer the new iPads with a range of... Read more
Belkin Announces Full Line of Keyboards and C...
Belkin International has unveiled a new lineup of keyboard cases and accessories for Apple’s newest iPads, featuring three QODE keyboards and a collection of thin, lightweight folios for both the... Read more
Verizon offers new iPad Air 2 preorders for $...
Verizon Wireless is accepting preorders for the new iPad Air 2, cellular models, for $100 off MSRP with a 2-year service agreement: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi + Cellular: $529.99 - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi... Read more
Price drops on refurbished Mac minis, now ava...
The Apple Store has dropped prices on Apple Certified Refurbished previous-generation Mac minis, with models now available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Refurbished 2013 MacBook Pros available for u...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros available starting at $929. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (4GB RAM/... Read more

Jobs Board

Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** The Apple Store is a retail environment like no other - uniquely focused on delivering amazing customer experiences. As an Expert, you introduce people Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** As businesses discover the power of Apple computers and mobile devices, it's your job - as a Solutions Engineer - to show them how to introduce these Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…Summary** As a Specialist, you help create the energy and excitement around Apple products, providing the right solutions and getting products into customers' hands. You Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.