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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 Bloggers Beware:


Based on Location FTC Warns, Then Fires
By Lisa Picarille By Tom Cohn Page 19
Page 3
How to Deal with Micro-hoo
By Kate Morris Page 28
www.affiliatesummit.com
Table of Contents Photo by Drew Bennett of BenSpark.com

03 New Marketing Based on 14 Demystifying Local Search 22 Affiliate Network Success –


Location, Location, Location Campaign Setups From $0 to Millions
By Lisa Picarille Karen Varecka Chad French

04 Grow Your Audience through 15 5 Ways To Improve Your 23 To Cloak or Not to Cloak
Podcasting II: Recording Facebook Ads Blair Williams
Daniel Clark Keith Posehn
25 Minimizing Legal Risk in the
05 7 Tips for Selecting 16 Getting Started in Email Affiliate World
Affiliate Offers Marketing – First Steps Patrick Cooper
Stuart Hochwert Kacy Manning
26 Respect the Intelligence of
06 Importance of Landing Pages 17 Evaluating Your Merchant’s Your Email List
in Online Marketing E-Commerce Website Vinny O’Hare
James Borzilleri George Hansen
27 Affiliate Opportunities
19 Bloggers Beware: FTC Warns, with APIs
08
Mobile Marketing for the
Then Fires Christopher Calvi
Rest of Us
Thomas A. Cohn
Greg Hoffman
28 How to Deal with Micro-hoo
20
The Affiliate Triathlon: Kate Morris
09
Affiliate Summit Racing for Gold
East 2010 Recap Le Michelle Nguyen
Shawn Collins
21 Why Standing Out at
13
Properly Pitching Your Conferences is Key
Network at Affiliate Summit Ryan Zimmerman
Robert Adler

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 1


Issue 12 | OCTOBER 2010
FeedFront Editors’ Note – 12th Issue
It’s Not Show Business,
STAFF 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

Shawn Collins
Graphic Design
Lynn Lee Design

The movie Jerry Maguire is stocked with setting plans when we’d all be hanging out
Magazine Coordinator quotable lines. One of my favorites was, together in person soon at Affiliate Summit.
Amy Rodriguez ‘It’s not “show friends.” It’s show *business*’,
from Bob Sugar, the cutthroat protégé of Along the way, Jim was cut out of the
**Please note new address**
Tom Cruise’s character, played by Jay Mohr. emails, so a plan could be hatched to
Affiliate Summit surprise him as he delivered his keynote
522 Hunt Club Blvd. #366 That’s sort of like the “Greed is Good” of the address at Affiliate Summit East 2010.
Apopka, FL 32703 90’s. Everybody continues to say it, but it’s a
tel (417)-2SUMMIT (278-6648) jerky sentiment at the core. Again, Karen Garcia stepped up and
fax (908) 364-4627 created colored capes for all of the affiliate
Personally, I prefer show friends over show super friends. I have no idea how she
Articles in FeedFront Magazine are the opinions business, and I was reminded of this when I knocked that out right before flying across
of the author and may not necessarily reflect the became part of a string of nearly 200 emails the country for the conference, but it was a
views of the magazine, or its owners. FeedFront started by Jim Kukral on August 10, 2010 nice act of a friend to pull it all together.
Magazine always welcomes opinions of an with the subject, “Affiliate Super Friends.”
opposite nature. If you were at Jim’s keynote, you probably
Jim sent that initial email to ask a couple saw how the crowd of super heroes strolled
For more information, visit: www.FeedFront.com dozen friends from the industry to help into the room with capes and masks as Jim
Interested in advertising? Please visit http:// spread the word about the launch of his was about to speak.
feedfront.com/advertising/ or email us at: bestselling book, “Attention! This Book Will
contact@feedfront.com Make You Money.” It was a show of support for a big moment
in Jim’s career by a bunch of his friends.
© 2010 Affiliate Summit, Inc. and Individual Lots of goofy banter followed, and a day
after the initial email, Karen Garcia, Partner The photo on the cover of this issue was
Authors.
& Co-Founder of GTO Management, taken after Jim’s keynote by Drew Bennett
shared a new site she’d created at of benspark.com.
affiliatesuperfriends.com. At the end of the day, business is a whole
The site featured each of the people from lot more fun when you do it with friends. If
the email with their faces and names on you don’t get that, you’re doing it wrong.
super heroes. Karen has stayed up late into
the night to put the site together as a fun
thing for a bunch of friends. Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit
and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront
The emails continued with friendly jabs and Magazine.
New Marketing Based on
Location, Location, Location
By Lisa Picarille
People everywhere are using their of American wireless subscribers used a
smartphones to check into stores, parks, smartphone. However, Nielsen expects that
restaurants, offices, and more using to reach 50 percent by the end of 2011.
a location-based service (LBS) called
foursquare. There is also “badge fatigue,” a concept
referring to the lack of user motivation
foursquare is part game, part status updater. once they have stopped earning points for
Users sign up, follow friends and check-in checking into new places and have acquired
via their smartphones (currently available all the designated badges.
for iPhone, Android and Blackberry) to earn
points and unlock badges for trying new Despite the challenges, online marketers
places and revisiting old favorites. Users should be on foursquare – as a user and
can also leave tips for others. “Don’t miss to look for new marketing methods. Some
the pork tacos” might be a tip for a local physical locations present coupons for
Mexican restaurant. online businesses or direct users to blogs
with relevant content. As an affiliate you can
Visiting a location frequently earns users Lisa Picarille push offers to users and use foursquare’s
“mayor” status and perhaps, free goodies tools to track most frequent visitors,
or discounts. Being mayor is a competition check-in times, unique visitors, gender, and
and often drives customers back to Broadcasting status across social media portion of check-ins broadcast to Twitter
businesses to earn or maintain their reign. platforms also enables users to brag a little and Facebook.
Like Twitter, foursquare has opened up its (“I’m at the sold-out baseball game”). Users
API to developers and there are some apps can also create private locations, allowing So, as you move forward with marketing
embracing the “mayorship” concept by them to check into their own living rooms, efforts, consider the importance of location.
informing users how many check-ins are home offices and backyards.
needed to become the mayor of a location.
However, a recent study by Advertising
foursquare is not the first LBS, (remember Age shows only about 4 percent of people Lisa Picarille is an online content strategist
Brightkite, Loopt, Gowalla and Dodgeball?), have used LBSs and only 1 percent regularly specializing in online marketing, branding,
but it is growing. foursquare officials publically shares their status. Many cite and social media. www.lisapicarille.com
claim - as of August 31, 2010 - it has more privacy as the issue. If people know where
than 3 million users, with over 18,000 new you are, they also know where you’re not –
members joining every day. Facebook fueling fears about home robberies. There
recently added a similar service - Places. are also personal safety concerns about
However, initial privacy concerns over the strangers randomly approaching users at
ability for others to check users into places any given location.
without their consent, along with having to
opt-out of Places, has turned some off. But LBSs require a smartphone, and
according to a study from March 2010
Many foursquare users already link by market researcher Nielsen, as of the
to Facebook and Twitter accounts fourth quarter of 2009, only 21 percent
to automatically update their status.

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 they’re USB-style. Look for headsets from introduce fades and adjust the volume if it’s a
2010), I discussed the reasons why you should brands like Logitech and Plantronics. I use a little quiet or too loud.
be podcasting and the planning stages of Plantronics Audio 655 headset.
getting your show off the ground. If you’d like to have royalty-free music for an
Software intro, musicalley.com is a resource I use and
Since then, you’ve chosen a topic; set aside If you don’t have it already, Audacity is recommend.
30 minutes a week and have a microphone/ available for both PC and Mac, and it’s free
headset. You don’t necessarily need a script, at audacity.soundforge.net. The program Before you export your finished MP3 file,
but it would be helpful to have a general idea is simple to use and I recommend it for check Audacity (Mac) / Edit (Windows) >
of what you’re going to say. Now that we have beginning podcasters. Later, you may Preferences > File Formats tab > MP3 Export
a plan in place, let’s talk about the tools you’ll graduate to advanced software like Sound Setup. The Bit Rate should be 64(kbps) for
need to get your voice to your listeners. Forge, Audition or Logic, but let’s keep it spoken word. Any higher is overkill.
simple to start.
You could go out and buy the most expensive Click File > Export As MP3, follow the
microphone, the killer mixing board and Recording/Editing prompts, and you’re done!
the state-of-the-art software, but unless you To reduce the breathy pops from spoken p’s
really feel like wasting $50,000, please don’t. (called plosives), when using a headset/mic Next Steps
combo, position the microphone either at See how easy this is? What made you wait
Until you’re comfortable with podcasting and chin height or nose height, whichever is more so long to start podcasting? Now that you
you’re sure you’d like to do it long-term, there comfortable. Do not place it directly in front have your first episode, you’ll want to share
is no sense in spending any more money than of your mouth. it with the world. Next comes uploading and
is absolutely necessary. posting your episode to your site as well as
In Audacity, click the red Record button near submitting it to iTunes and other podcast
Hardware the top left of the window. Start talking. When directories.
Plan on spending $50 or less on a USB you’re done, click the yellow Stop button.
headset. The style you choose is not a Congratulations, you just recorded your first
critical consideration just now–one ear, both podcast! If you want to edit what you’ve
ears, full-coverage–doesn’t matter. What’s recorded, Audacity has great documentation Daniel M. Clark is a co-host of the Geek Dads
important is that they fit your head and that that explains how to remove unwanted bits, Weekly podcast (geekdadsweekly.com)

4 | OCTOBER 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE


TIPS
for Selecting Affiliate Offers
By Stuart Hochwert
Many well known bloggers have recently they likely don’t track what works. But, when
switched to email newsletters for reader we find a top blog that is highlighting just
engagement. Email content newsletters have a few offers, we tend to locate the affiliate
a captive, more committed audience where program and test. How to find top blogs?
open rates can be 50% and click to send (CTS) Go to Google and type the topic such as
rates can be 10%. ‘frugal’ and in the left rail select ‘Blogs’. You
will then see a list of top blogs. Look at
Additionally, newsletters can be monetized comments as an indicator of how popular a
with sponsorship or brand dollars. These are blog is and also check traffic on an analysis
campaigns that run on a CPM basis. site like compete.com.

However, like most magazines and TV 4. Niche Offers: in general, select offers
stations, newsletter publishers often have from within your niche for better effective
unsold inventory each week. Careful selection CPM’s. A cooking offer to a cooking
of general or niche products on a CPA or CPC newsletter, a crafting offer to a crafting
basis can be an additional revenue source. newsletter.

So, how does a content publisher select 5. General Offers: niche offers can be Stuart Hochwert
performance based offers? Here are 7 tips: limited, so how do you select a general
offer? Our readership is primarily female,
1. Networks: it is important to select offers so we look for typical ‘Mommy Blogger’, Looking for great performance offers is
from many different affiliate networks. We ‘Female’ or ‘Frugal’ type offers. Our audience fun, challenging and exciting. Each week,
have found that one network may have an may like to cook, but they like coupons, we compile our results from every network
exclusive offer that another network does likely have families, drive cars, etc. into a spreadsheet and calculate our eCPM
not have. We select offers from about nine (effective cost per thousand) by tracking
networks each week. 6. Brand Names: in general a brand name revenue and dividing by circulation to get the
offer will outperform a private label or non- eCPM metric. Bad offers are dropped, good
2. Testing: if your subscriber file is large brand offer by a factor of 200 – 1000%. A offers get more circulation.
enough you should test an offer before non-branded insurance offer may do poorly
rolling out to the entire file. An A/B test to in our newsletter, but a branded insurance
25,000 circulation will give you statistically offer will often make the cut.
valid results. Stuart Hochwert is President of Prime
7. Selection: be careful what you run. Publishing LLC (www.primecp.com).
3. Blog Intelligence: some blogs have Consumers look at an ad in your newsletter
huge followings and more than 1 million as an implied endorsement. So, a business
visitors per month. We tend to ignore blogs opportunity offer may work well, but do you
that show 25 different ads at once, since want to present that to your audience?

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 5


By James Borzilleri

Importance of Landing Pages


in Online Marketing
buys, subject lines etc., and then just throw up landing pages.
a few landing pages, so they can start sending
traffic to them. Let’s take a look at some numbers:

Elements of an Ad Campaign Launch Your website has 100,000 monthly visitors with
You have an ad campaign that gets your a 2% conversion rate at $45.00 per conversion.
prospects to click or type a URL into their (2000 x $45 = $90,000.00)
browser. Your ad did convince them to click,
but really it only takes a second to make that Let’s say that, through testing of various factors
decision and it’s more of a “whatever, sure I’ll on your landing page, you improve that rate
click this” decision. by 10%.

Your landing page is where you have to, within That gives you a $9000.00 increase in monthly
seconds, convince your prospect to stay and revenue.
perform your “call to action”. They will probably
A 10% increase isn’t unreasonable in the
have to do some reading about your offer,
least, so let’s look at another 10% increase. An
enter some personal information, including
$18,000.00 increase in monthly revenue! All of
their email address (SPAM-risk), and finally pull
this “found” money can be yours with the same
out a credit card to pay for something.
amount of visitors if you commit to using LPO.
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 James Borzilleri is CEO of ConversionDoubler.com,
James Borzilleri which offers free landing page optimization (LPO)
optimizing your landing pages for conversion.
software.
A landing page is where people “land” after The truth is most marketers are using intuition,
clicking on an online ad, doing a search, instead of data, to build landing pages. As a
clicking on an email link, or entering a URL that June 2009 study titled “Guesses vs. Data as
they heard about. Basis for Design Recommendations” by the
renowned Jakob Nielsen showed, professional
Is there such a thing as a perfect landing page? website designers who used their personal
Probably, but they are few and far between, opinions about website usability were only
and even then, the people behind them are right 25% of the time.
still testing to see if they can improve them just
a little bit more. That means they were wrong 75% of the
time, and illustrates how critical using landing
Unfortunately most marketers don’t have page optimization (LPO) is when determining
landing page optimization (LPO) on the top design factors such as font size, layout, and
of their list. It can be time-consuming and navigation.
often inaccurate. Interestingly enough, landing
pages often end up being the least considered So what’s the answer? Testing, testing and
element of the campaign. more testing. No matter how you drive traffic
to your website, you MUST determine what
Marketers tend to focus on ad copy, media your customers like and dislike about your

6 || OCTOBER
OCTOBER2010
2009 | | FEEDFRONT
FEEDFRONTMAGAZINE
MAGAZINE
FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2009 | 7
Mobile
Marketing for
the Rest of Us
By Greg Hoffman

Greg Hoffman

Waffle House, the historic Southern late night mobile shopping today is similar to how the sites tailored to mobile search and targeting
eatery, used to have a saying, “Who’s looking Internet was in the mid-1990’s. It may seem the current demographic for mobile use:
out for the poor old cash customer.” For 50 like the wild west out there, but many early men under 30.
years, they only accepted cash. But they adopters have started to blaze the trails. They
started accepting credit cards a few years ago. have already published best practices for According to InsightExpress, Get Ready for
mobile marketing and it’s all waiting for you the Mobile Shopper, July 2010, “males 25-34
They had to evolve to survive. The same are using their mobile phones to confirm/
to find in books, downloadable courses and
can be said for traditional affiliates in 2011. justify purchases of products (getting reviews,
white papers.
The demand for mobile sites is here and it’s checking for better prices, looking for
time for affiliates with sales based on SEO, Affiliates should not assume what works on coupons, using coupons they have already
coupons, datafeeds and blogs to add another their existing site will work to convert mobile received).”
layer to their efforts. traffic, she said. They will have to educate
themselves and test their landing pages MillennialMedia’s July 2010 S.M.A.R.T.
Many affiliates are currently testing mobile Highlights shows in its findings that “28%
regularly to find the right formula.
CPA offers, mobile pay per click and SMS list of survey respondents requested wanting
building, but for those who are not, they need One essential service to research is to find mobile coupons on their own using
to answer the following questions about their transcoding, according to Dushinski. “This is an App - reinforcing the mobile consumers’
future strategy: essentially a tool that strips a website to its demand for a richer mobile experience.”
basics and integrates the important items
in a mobile friendly format whenever it is The opportunities for mobile marketing are
• Are your sites mobile friendly?
accessed via a mobile phone.” endless for affiliate marketers. Just as affiliates
• Have you viewed your sites through a did in the last 10-15 years, it’s time for them to
mobile device? Webmasters can do this themselves or be innovative and ahead of their competitors.
• Have you seen your mobile search outsource to mobile programming experts. Think mobile!
rankings? For a WordPress site, Michael Martin, Owner
• Are your competitor’s sites mobile of Mobile Martin, suggests the WP-Touch
friendly? plugin as the best solution to render a blog
on mobile devices. Martin is an affiliate Greg Hoffman is a blogger and outsourced
• How can you capitalize on mobile traffic with his hand on the pulse of the emerging program manager (greghoffmanconsulting.com).
in your niches? industry.

He says one opportunity for affiliates is to


Kim Dushinski, author of “The Mobile begin building mobile coupon aggregator
Marketing Handbook,” says the emergence of

8 | OCTOBER 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE


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.

2010 | 99
FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2009
Day 1
I started off the first day of Affiliate Summit I really liked the way our new method of
East 2010 with a 10 AM session geared Q&A via SMS, Web and Twitter worked out.
towards folks attending Affiliate Summit
for the first time. While the action was taking place in the
Meet Market and sessions, the exhibit hall
I wasn’t sure if I’d be speaking to a sparse was being built out for days 2 and 3 of
crowd as I headed down, and I was Affiliate Summit East 2010.
delighted to have a large, packed room of
In the evening, I headed to ShareASale’s
conference attendees looking for advice on
how to make the most of Affiliate Summit. “Under the Stars” Party on the Empire Hotel
Rooftop to continue the networking and
My session was followed by the opening of good times.
the Meet Market and a series of breakout
sessions that covered all sorts of topics, Four hours of sleep, one 5-Hour Energy
including SEO reviews, outsourcing, drink and two 20 oz. Diet Dr. Peppers later
and it’s on to day 2.
podcasting, and WordPress.

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.

10 | OCTOBER 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE


Affiliate Summit East 2010 Recap

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2009 | 11


Affiliate Summit East 2010 Recap

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.

10 | OCTOBER 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE


By Robert Adler

The one aspect of an Affiliate Summit that 2. If you are in the middle of a conversation the payouts, the only thing that matters to
always gets brought up is the gifts and/or with an affiliate, and see someone behind me is the quality of service by my AM (Affiliate
items, commonly known as “schwag,” that them, please do not walk away, mid-sentence, Manager) and the company. When you are
companies give out in the exhibit hall. to talk to that person. It is extremely rude, willing to help me, my loyalty resides with
and the affiliate will spend the rest of the day you, and that is the bottom line. If you want
This is usually what will be discussed for telling how “they walked away mid-sentence to hook affiliates for long-term, instead of just
at least a week after the show, and will be - forget about them,” when asked what they having them run one offer and then drop you,
remembered until the next show. However, thought of your company. make sure you stress the point that you will
one aspect that is overlooked is how the actually help them make their business more
affiliates were treated when they approached 3. Never judge a book by its cover. This may successful. Remember, loyalty is important in
the booth. sound like common knowledge, but I chuckle business practices and works both ways.
whenever I see affiliate managers give more
Here are a few simple tips that will be priority towards someone wearing a suit and If the examples above sound familiar, I’d
helpful for both new and seasoned affiliate tie over a person wearing a t-shirt and shorts. highly recommend you change the way you
managers. This tip does not just apply to clothing. I am deal with affiliates. You’ll find it’s better for
going to go out on a limb here, and say that your paycheck and your network.
1. Do not look at someone’s badge right off if you have been to a conference before, you
the bat. Try asking for their name, instead have, more than likely, spoken to a drunken
of immediately looking for a first name and attendee, who is so far gone; they have
color on the bottom of their badge. It usually forgotten their own name. A good rule of Robert Adler is an envisionist, following his
helps when you consider that they are an thumb is to talk to them sober, before you passion into multiple verticals and blogging on
individual, instead of just “person number consider whether they are an asset to your Business Caffeine (BusinessCaffeine.com).
384.” Sometimes, I walk up with my badge company.
turned around backwards just to prompt
them to ask me who I am. Just a quick side 4. Every network swears that they “have
note to the person with the bar-code gun the highest payouts and most exclusives.”
trying to snipe me as I grab one of your At the risk of going off on a tangent, I do
business cards... nice try. not care if you are brokering the offer. If the
conversion rates are comparable, and so are

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 13


Demystifying
Local Search
Campaign
Setups
By Karen Varecka
Karen Varecka

As local search queries increase online and on but this will guarantee coverage and allow When it comes to bidding you need to
mobile devices, it’s important to know how to you to bid differently. consider which segment is most relevant to
target your marketing dollars effectively and your business, your business’ regional sales
efficiently. The rationale is that a user with a Baltimore
goals and what campaign type drives the
IP address, who’s looking for “florists in
best performance. Whatever you do, make
Luckily, search engines give you multiple Baltimore” will be more relevant to your
sure your ad copy is tailored to your ad
ways to target your audience based on business; therefore allowing you to bid more
group’s theme.
geography. I recommend focusing on four aggressively than in your Geo Modified
campaign types specific to local search, based campaigns. One important thing to note: When ad copy is specific to the user’s search
on your targeting tactics and search terms: IP targeting’s accuracy is not guaranteed. query, the user is more inclined to click. This
Geo Modified, Internet Protocol (IP) Targeted, The engines cannot differentiate between will yield a higher CTR (click through rate) and
Zip Codes and Neighborhoods. someone whose IP address is being proxied quality score and in turn will lower your CPCs
(such as a VPN (virtual private network) (cost per click).
Geo Modified campaigns incorporate a
connection or a proxy server) vs. someone
geographic modifier in the search query (ex.
who is physically located in the defined
florists in Baltimore). You’ll want to target
area. In these instances your ad may appear Karen is an account manager at buy.at, and is
these keywords nationally, so your ad will
outside your defined area, but volume should the founder of The Marketing Click, an online
appear for someone outside the indicated
be low. marketing consulting firm.
market looking for your company’s services. A
perfect example of this would be someone in Zip Code searches are not as common,
Chicago looking for a florist to deliver to their but they are increasing as searchers
grandmother in Baltimore. become savvier, meaning there isn’t a lot of
competition here… yet. They’re similar to geo
IP Targeted campaigns target a user based
modified terms; however, a zip code is used
on their IP address. You can select a city,
to define the location. An example of these
state, metropolitan area or zip code via your
terms would be “florists in 21230”.
campaign’s location settings. The terms in IP
campaigns should be both generic and geo Neighborhood searches such as “florists in
modified. There is a chance that geo modified Federal Hill” are also important to include,
terms within both IP and Geo Modified since engines cannot map neighborhoods
campaigns will compete against each other, back to a city.

14 | OCTOBER 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE


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
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.
Facebook Ads have overtaken Yahoo in total impressions after only a Give them something, and don’t make them feel like you’re selling to
few years in operation. them. They will reward you with likes, shares, and traffic. You can sell
them later.
In that time we’ve seen the platform mature and bids have
skyrocketed. With all the competition now on the platform, how do These are some of the ways I’ve been able to stay in the game and
you stay competitive? grow with Facebook Ads.

I have learned several methods to maintain a high ROI over the long The key is to not get frustrated and quit. Don’t overbid or overspend.
term with Facebook Ads. Here are five of my favorites: Facebook is still a gold mine, and with hard work, and patience it will
pay off for a long time to come.
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 Keith Posehn is President of Zorz, a mobile & social media marketing and
people, not a search term. The more you understand about your application company.

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 15


Getting Started in
Email Marketing–
First Steps
By Kacy Manning
Kacy Manning

Taking the leap into email marketing can of emails sent that reach the recipient’s Step Five – Tracking. Most hosting
seem daunting to a beginner, but here are inbox). You can test deliverability by services provide detailed reporting that
some basic steps to help you break into creating email accounts with all of the contains information on the number of
this time-tested marketing medium to major ISPs, sending an email through a emails delivered, emails opened and links
drive results and revenue. hosting service to each address to see if clicked. If you are sending out affiliate
the message lands in the inbox or junk marketing offers, make sure the tracking is
Step One – Build Your List. Building folder of each account. set up correctly to track every lead or sale
your list starts with creating a website or you generate for the advertiser. Monitor
blog on a topic that interests you. Offer Step Three – Learn the Rules. Familiarize all of this information on every email you
site visitors a weekly newsletter, industry yourself with the CAN-SPAM Act, a law send.
white paper, or other information that you outlining the rules for sending commercial
will send them if they opt-in to receive email messages to U.S. residents. Getting While there are many factors in creating
emails from you. If you want to create up to speed on the law will be a key to successful email campaigns, these initial
a double opt-in list, send a welcome your long-term success. A CAN-SPAM steps can help get you on the road to
email requiring recipients to confirm violation can cost thousands of dollars developing a successful email marketing
their interest by clicking on a link in the per email sent, so it’s important that program.
message. These lists are typically more every message is compliant. You can find
responsive then single opt-in lists. Make information on the CAN-SPAM Act at the
sure the privacy policy and terms and Federal Trade Commission website (ftc.
conditions on your website clearly state gov). Kacy Manning is the Supervisor of
that you will be sending subscribers email DataOverdrive, a division of Media
communications which may include third Step Four – Creating your First Breakaway, LLC.
party offers. This lets you include affiliate Email. Make sure your email contains
marketing offers in your emails. information that will be of interest to your
recipients. Your subject line should be
Step Two – Select an Email Hosting short, clear and relevant to the content
Service. Most email hosting companies inside the body of the email. You should
charge on a per-email sent basis with also construct HTML and text versions
price breaks for sending larger quantities of your email. Some ISPs may block
of emails. You may want to test a few images embedded in the HTML version,
providers to select the one that provides so it is helpful to the recipient to see text
the best deliverability (the percentage explaining what the email contains.

16 | OCTOBER 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE


Evaluating Your Merchant’s
E-Commerce Website
By George Hansen
You’ve been there; you see a product online merchant’s website. The most important
and click the buy now link, but then you’re elements for an affiliate are the product
taken to a cart that you just don’t trust. The detail pages. Check to see if each product
originating landing page may have looked has a dedicated page and determine if
professional, but the cart does not pass the the page is inviting, professional and sales
security test. focused.

This is an all too familiar situation. If you’re Notice the page layout and if the product
the affiliate, imagine the number of sales picture, description and call-to-action
you have dropped and the revenue you are located above the fold of the website.
have lost. Look to see if consumers are provided with
enough information to make an informed
The quality of a merchant’s shopping buying decision, such as independent
cart, and more accurately the quality references and user-generated feedback.
of an e-commerce website, should not
be overlooked when evaluating which Ensure the product detail page layout is
products to promote. As an affiliate, well merchandised, clear and actionable.
you invest too much time and money Consumers should be able to scroll through
to support sub-par merchants and their the featured details for more information
products. about the product and again be prompted
to take action. George Hansen
You should expect merchants will have a
world class e-commerce solution to help Shoppers who are ready to buy should
convert the clicks you deliver into paying be able to make an immediate purchase
customers. After all, as an affiliate that’s the without further navigation, while those in
core of your business. So, before partnering the information gathering stage should be George Hansen is the Director of Sales and
with a merchant, you should evaluate the able to read through the product features Business Development for Digital River
merchant’s e-commerce website. and once fully informed make a product oneNetworkDirect.
purchase.
The first step is to evaluate the merchant’s
homepage. Ask yourself if the page is The final step is to look at the actual cart
inviting? Does it feature an image of the itself. Determine if the cart page is intuitive
product? Does the page look professional? and simple to use and if the products are
Is the navigation intuitive and are all accurately represented. Walk through the
requisite elements included? Are global purchase process itself – and in some cases
elements included and if so for which actually make a purchase. The ultimate
locals? Is the page translated? Are localized litmus test is trust – do you trust the cart?
versions of the products available?
By following these steps, you will be
Next, look at key elements that are informed before making your decision to
critical to the e-commerce portion of the support a merchant and their products.

2010 | 17
FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2009
By Thomas A. Cohn

Bloggers Beware FTC Warns, Then Fires


The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) This issue arises often in affiliate marketing, between endorser and advertiser.
“closing letter” to AnnTaylor Stores was where a company’s affiliates endorse its
like Gunsmoke’s Marshall Dillon shooting a products in their blogs. FTC’s closing letter Now that FTC has followed its warning
warning at online marketers and bloggers: demonstrates that marketers should have with action, there will likely be further
you’d better take FTC’s revised Endorsement a written policy governing disclosures by enforcement affecting blogs. And FTC clearly
Guides seriously. They require advertisers affiliates, and monitor them to determine is targeting advertisers and their agents, not
to disclose “material connections” with whether the policy is observed or ignored. individual bloggers, for failing to disclose
endorsers. compensation and other connections
between endorser and advertiser.
The Guide’s examples include a
manufacturer who sends a new video game The FTC message was clear: “Companies,
to a blogger, who reviews it favorably. The including public relations firms involved in
Guides say “the blogger should clearly and online marketing, need to abide by long-
conspicuously disclose that he received the held principles of truth in advertising,” said
gaming system free of charge.” Mary Engle, Director of FTC’s Division of
Advertising Practices. “Advertisers should not
FTC investigated AnnTaylor because it gave pass themselves off as ordinary consumers
gifts to bloggers who attended the review touting a product, and endorsers should
of its summer 2010 collection, and some make it clear when they have financial
of them failed to disclose that when they connections to sellers.”
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 Thomas A. Cohn is of counsel in Venable’s NY
this “material connection.” 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 Thomas A. Cohn


AnnTaylor sign a consent agreement,
because: the preview was the only one
AnnTaylor ever held; only a few bloggers In August 2010, FTC moved from warning
were involved, and some of them did to enforcement. In a settlement with a PR
disclose they had been given gift cards; and agency that used its employees to blog
AnnTaylor later adopted a written policy positive “customer” reviews for the video
stating that it would never again give gifts to games of the agency’s client, FTC signaled
bloggers without first telling them they were that it will hold advertisers and their “hired
expected to disclose this in their blog. guns” responsible for postings that do not
disclose thePearson
Chris blogger’s connection
, Brook with the
Schaaf, Missy Ward,
In its closing letter, FTC said it expected company whose products are touted. Theidge
Lynette LaPlante, Kevin Strawbr
that AnnTaylor “will both honor that written agency did not have to pay money, but it
policy and take reasonable steps to monitor agreed to an administrative order against
bloggers’ compliance with the obligation to endorsements promoting advertisers
disclose gifts they receive.” without disclosing material connections

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 19


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.

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
Le Michelle Nguyen
preparation.

Affiliates who have taken the time to find out about what makes
a website tick, have learned best practices for design, and have
As affiliate marketing grows ever popular, the amount of people studied webmaster tools and programming languages, will have a
getting started in the affiliate marketing business continues to stronger likelihood of finishing, and finishing strong.
increase. In fact, the last AffStat Report indicated that, of those who
had been surveyed, the largest number (16.7%) got started in 2009. There are a lot of intricacies to web design, database management
and programming, and if you take the time to study and learn, you
Everyone’s experience level is different when starting out. Like every have a chance at being one of those affiliates who stays in the race
other form of marketing, there is competition, and the competitors long term.
require certain skills in order to stay at the front of the pack. Similar
to triathlons, there are three essential skills that affiliates should There are many resources for affiliates to learn about how to create
possess in order to stay in the race. Start out strong with great great content, optimizing sites for search engines, and learning
content, push forward with proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization) webmaster and design techniques. Ask your affiliate manager to
techniques, and improve design and Webmaster skills to get you point you to further resource materials to help you succeed.
over the finish line.

The triathlon starts out with swimming. Strong swimmers can set the
The Share Results Network Manager, Le is responsible for helping
tone for the event by using their swimming skills to get out ahead
affiliates successfully engage their audience.
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,

20 | OCTOBER 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE


By Ryan Zimmerman
merman
Ryan Zim

See that crazy picture of me? Well, crazy as it may be, it and impressive. What better way to show you are a
was also one of the best moves of my marketing career. good marketer than to effectively and cogently market
I came to realize that in order to truly stick out amongst yourself? That alone can clearly define you and your
thousands of my peers, not only would I have to be the career expertise and is not just important; it is vital.
best in my profession, but I would have to be just as
memorable. There are three things I focus on prior to attending a
conference:
So, prior to attending Affiliate Summit a few years back,
I took a similar photo and used it on my business card. 1. Avoid being mundane and “normal”. It’s that “Pop!”
To this day I still have people recognizing me for that and that energy that will leave an impression.
card alone and they confess how it vividly stuck out
in their minds. I continue to use it on my LinkedIn and 2. Don’t overestimate your audience and assume
instant messenger profiles for that reason. they’ll remember you. Give them a reason to do so and
solidify a permanent spot in their memory.
I’ve somehow managed to “brand” myself by simply
being cheesy. I knew that I had to make my card get 3. Smile and have fun! If you’re making this your
noticed by each and every person who had it in their career, enjoy it. Your positive vibe will be infectious and
pocket, so I gambled with “goofy” and am truly glad I will attract all those around you.
did.
With Affiliate Summit West 2011 just around the corner,
Affiliate marketing is often measured by success in
now is the time to start brainstorming on ways to make
the number of leads and the amount of dollar signs,
the conference your own.
and I can’t argue that formula. However, we know
that this business grows exponentially each year with Normally what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas….but
newcomers or veterans expanding into new roles and this time, try and hitch a ride home in the minds of your
new companies. colleagues and customers.

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 Ryan works for Credit.com and has been involved with
me walking the floor with my bright blue LED scrolling interactive marketing for over a decade.
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.

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

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 21


>
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 Chad French
industry because I couldn’t afford a $10 domain name at the time of
development.
the comfort of home offices and we meet up several times a year
Fortunately, I already had trusting relationships with other networks
at conferences like Affiliate Summit. This has allowed us to save
at the time and was able to white label a few offers and launch with a
huge money on overhead and we pass those savings directly to our
small inventory in January 2009.
publishers.
Profits were slow at first, and until they grew to a sizeable amount,
I wanted to share this brief account of our beginnings, because when
I reinvested everything back into the network. I migrated to new
it comes to anything in life, you can do whatever you set your mind to.
servers, hired my first employee, and advertised for free with some of
the well-known affiliate bloggers by taking advantage of a 5% lifetime Don’t let popular perceptions hinder or completely impede your goals.
publisher referral program we created. If you truly want something – you will achieve it no matter the hurdles.
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. Chad is the President/CEO of PeerFly Affiliate Network.

We have no headquarters. Our team of six works remotely from

22 | OCTOBER 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE


By Blair Williams

To Cloak
Blair Willi
ams
or Not to Cloak
Affiliates frequently ask me if they should Redirection cloaking, here are some guidelines:
cloak their links. The answer to this question Redirection is the simplest way to create
• Check the terms and conditions of
can vary based on the affiliate program an alias of an affiliate link on your domain
affiliate programs to see if they allow
you’re promoting and the strategy you’ve name. This is the most reliable form of
cloaking. Some affiliate programs and
chosen for your campaign. aliasing, but once the link redirects, the
networks frown on cloaking.
original affiliate link can be visible in the
Big Fat Affiliate Links user’s address bar. • Test your cloaked aliases with your
When you sign up for an affiliate program, affiliate links to make sure it doesn’t
you’ll usually receive a long URL with plenty Affiliate link redirection can be setup easily interfere with the tracking and the
of seemingly random numbers, letters, and by adding redirects to your .htaccess file, landing page doesn’t interfere with the
other characters unique to you. These links creating simple redirection scripts (ASP, CGI, cloaking.
are critical because most programs use them PHP) or by utilizing redirection software on
• Be good – don’t use cloaking to
to attribute clicks, leads, and sales to your your server.
deceive users.
account.
Cloaking
When used correctly, aliasing can help your
However, you can run into problems when This is a more complex form of aliasing. Like
brand and increase commissions. So, if you
using affiliate links directly: standard redirection, cloaking redirects to
aren’t aliasing yet, you may want to get
the affiliate link, but the alias URL continues
started today.
1. Many affiliates I’ve worked with feel like to appear in the browser’s address bar even
affiliate links look unprofessional and lack after the redirect has completed.
credibility with end users
This method can offer good branding for
Blair Williams (http://blairwilliams.com) is an
2. If you have a number of affiliate links the affiliate, but can also cause problems.
Internet Marketing consultant and creator
with different affiliate programs, they can This type of aliasing can interfere with the
of the Pretty Link redirection plugin for
be difficult to manage merchant’s tracking software. Also, cloaking
WordPress.
is sometimes associated with deceptive
3. Affiliate links can be too big to paste practices and can confuse end users.
into emails and social networking sites
Cloaking can be setup easily by creating
4. If your affiliate link contains your simple cloaking scripts (ASP, CGI, PHP), or by
affiliate id, it can be altered by the end user, utilizing cloaking software on your server.
which prevents you from getting credit for
sales When to Cloak?
If you’re going to setup aliases for your links,
Luckily, there are techniques you can use to I’ve found that simple redirection provides
clean up and manage your affiliate links. good protection for them and avoids all of
the issues with cloaking. But if you insist on

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 23


24 | OCTOBER 2009 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE
By Patrick S. Cooper

Minimizing Legal Risk


in the Affiliate World
Operating in today’s legal environment a wide variety of topics including limitations
carries risks. Here are some issues that of liability, choice of applicable law, and the
routinely result in litigation, and a few location of any lawsuits related to the web
suggestions about how affiliates can site, among others.
minimize their risk.
Entity Formation. It rarely makes sense to
Copyright. It is tempting to use an image operate without forming a corporation or
or other content from the Internet in your limited liability company. The formation of
own advertising, but using someone else’s an entity is relatively inexpensive and can
content without permission comes with limit your personal liability in many ways.
much risk. If the owner has copyrighted the According to Troy Meyerson, a corporate
material, you could face liability of $150,000 lawyer at Fraser Stryker in Omaha, Nebraska,
per infringement plus attorney fees, even “affiliates should give careful consideration
if you do not profit from your use of the to the type of business entity under which
content. This type of lawsuit is becoming they choose to operate because the type of
more common. There are limited situations entity can also have tax consequences.”
where you may quote or copy someone
else’s material, but those exceptions rarely, Have you taken adequate steps to minimize
if ever, apply to an affiliate who is using the your risk in the affiliate space? A little
Patrick S. Cooper
content for commercial gain. forethought can help you avoid costly
problems down the road.
Trademark. You should also be careful post content on your website (e.g., online
about using someone else’s trademark. This blog, forum, or chat room), it is important
often comes up in keyword advertising. to post a Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Generally, you may use a trademark as a (DMCA) notice on your site and register Patrick S. Cooper is an attorney at Fraser
keyword if you do not mislead or confuse for DMCA protection with the United Stryker PC, LLO in Omaha, Nebraska.
consumers about whether you are the States Copyright Office. If you fail to take
trademark owner or are endorsed by the those steps, you can be sued for copyright
owner. Using the trademark in the text of infringement if someone posts copyrighted
your ad copy is particularly risky, because material to your site.
this is generally where the trademark
owner can argue your use of the trademark Website Terms and Conditions. Your web
confused consumers. Keyword advertising site should also contain a carefully drafted
litigation has increased dramatically in set of Terms and Conditions. This is not a
recent years, and the law is still evolving “one-size-fits-all” type of document, so
in this area, so it is recommended you you should not simply adopt Terms and
seek legal advice before implementing a Conditions you find on someone else’s site.
campaign using third party trademarks. Properly drafted Terms and Conditions can
help you if a dispute arises with respect to
DMCA Notice. If third parties are allowed to your site. Terms and Conditions can relate to

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 25


By Vinny O’Hare

Respect
the Intelligence
of Your
Email List Vinny O’Hare

You have probably heard the saying that them to buy a certain brand of tires. While Before you drop your next email, stop and
the money is in the list. While I believe this I didn’t sell any tires through the list, I did think about the people who will read it.
is true, it is also important how you use learn that 99% of my subscribers found Put yourself on the receiving end.
your list, which is where the money really this email worthless, as they preferred
comes in. another brand. Odds are you will gain insight, make more
money, and gain the respect of your list
Sure, you can use your list and spam It showed that I didn’t know about my now and in the future.
people all day long, but knowing how to list or niche for that matter. I must have
market to the list can be the difference received 1,000 replies to that email, and
between making some money and they were not very nice. But it taught me a
making big money. valuable lesson.
Vinny O’Hare is the president of Vincent
The people on your list are smart, and In my next newsletter, I simply asked what O’Hare Consulting and his site is
they like what you are publishing. Don’t type of car cover they used and literally Vinnyohare.com.
waste that opportunity by misreading 100% said they used the same brand. So I
your audience. joined the affiliate program for that brand
and sent out the next newsletter with an
You can optimize the monetization ad for them.
prospects of your list when you ask for
feedback and then actually listen to it. That ad sold over 1,000 car covers, and
made me a nice profit. Now, I could have
A few years ago, I ran a website for an sent out an email with any type of car
automotive fan club. Every time I sent cover, but I listened to the list and the
out a newsletter to the list, I would get intelligence of my readers. This paid
back five suggestions and tips on things off very well and I have done the same
like changing the oil, driving in snow etc. thing with car wax and other car related
These would be incorporated into the products.
next newsletter.
Your readers know more about your niche
After a while I started to find out that than you think. You see them as a name
these drivers all used a certain type of oil, and an email but you should be thinking
car wax, and brand of tires. So, I got it in about them more on a personal level.
my head that I could send out an ad for

26 | OCTOBER 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE


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 Christopher Calvi


networks) have APIs available to developers
who are interested in using their company’s
data. Amazon makes their product, reviews, Nagel. Mr. Nagel uses the ShareASale and platforms to create an entirely new beast.
and pricing data available; Google makes CJ APIs to fetch deals (coupons) and offer Also consider that there is burgeoning
YouTube and Maps data available; and stats, then automates ad buying on Google opportunity to be found in mobile apps and
Commission Junction opens up visibility into AdWords using its API. browser extensions.
offers, pricing, and deep links to merchants.
He ties it all together with a custom reporting If you are relatively familiar with PHP, it’s not
Each of these companies offer substantially application he built to monitor the campaign, too difficult to get your feet wet with APIs by
more API capabilities than this, but these are and will soon be integrating with the starting with the SimpleXML extension.
a few examples of the real-time data that is LinkShare API and Google Affiliate Network
API to get even more offers. And if programming is not your forte, you
available to crafty developers.
may opt to hire a skilled developer on sites
So you may be wondering what you can Another excellent example is CouponFollow like Elance or oDesk, in order to take your
do with all of this? The truth is, you are only (couponfollow.com) by Marc Mezzacca. This brilliant idea into production. For inspiration,
limited by your imagination (and the terms site pulls in the latest coupon codes using the I highly recommend browsing the Web’s
and conditions of each API, of course). Ample Twitter API and monetizes them by matching premiere API website, ProgrammableWeb
earnings opportunities await those who the codes with the appropriate affiliate links (programmableweb.com). Good luck!
create truly useful mashups by combining pulled from various affiliate network APIs.
data from several APIs.
The goal of this article is to get you thinking
about how you can take functionality Christopher Calvi lives in New York City with his
Take, for instance, Club Coupon Code
from one platform and merge it with other wife, Katie, and works for Adknowledge.com.
(clubcouponcode.com), developed by Eric

FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2010 | 27


How to Deal
with Micro-hoo
By Kate Morris

phy
Rudy Lopez Photogra
Kate Morris, Photo by

There are changes every day in the search begun. It is unclear if the change will have look to what the two key search players are
world, and it’s hard to keep up on a normal a positive impact on advertiser’s accounts seeing on your site.
day. What is not normal, however, is when in terms of sheer traffic and quality of that
one of the oldest search engine properties traffic, but we can hope for the best. The main 4. Work with Yahoo now to transition any
on the net changes over to another search thing you need to know is that Microsoft ads to the AdCenter network if you aren’t
provider to power their results. AdCenter is now going to power all of the ads already advertising there.
on Yahoo.
Yahoo recently made the big switch to Bing
5. Sign up with a link tracking tool like
powering their search results, as well as The transition will continue now through
Majestic, Raven Tools, and SEOmoz to track
starting the changeover to the Microsoft 2011, depending on the impact of the
your current links and any you might be
AdCenter PPC platform. transition on holiday traffic. Yahoo has set
looking to build in the future.
up a transition center to aide you in correct
As an affiliate, you are impacted in many
incompatibilities and full transition.
ways. Any website owner needs to In the end, focus on your end user. It’s your
understand that you will still see traffic from The full change over should occur in mid- target market that matters, and developing
Yahoo; the results are just powered by Bing’s October, and that is when all advertisers will the right site and content for them will beat
technology now. From 2001 until 2004, Yahoo only log into Microsoft to make modifications out any change in the market.
was powered by Google for search results. to ads.

So, while Yahoo has been around for years, With all of this change, keep a few things in
Kate is an SEO Consultant at Distilled
this change in search platform is not new. mind:
Consulting and has done many site clinics at
The major change on the organic side will be
1. Yahoo is still sending you traffic, don’t Affiliate Summit.
the tools available to webmasters. Most SEOs
relied on Yahoo’s Site Explorer and commands completely count them out. They still have
like linkdomain: to give us insight to links on a large user base that you might need to be
sites across the web. targeting.

With Yahoo jumping back out of the game, 2. Optimizing for Yahoo in SEO is not
we are losing many of these tools now and necessary anymore. Focus your attention to
will lose Site Explorer for real in 2012. This Bing and Google.
means the ability to see and explore your
backlinks will rest on third party providers like 3. Be sure your site is registered with Bing
Majestic, Raven Tools, and SEOmoz. Webmaster Center and Google Webmaster
Central. This will give you the best in depth
When it comes to PPC, the migration has

28 | OCTOBER 2010 | FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE


FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2009 | 29

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