Skip to content

The Industry Review

One Guy's Thoughts On Technology, Social Media, Internet Marketing, Artificial Intelligence, and more

Archive

Tag: PPV

What's next?

 

I’ve been doing internet marketing for quite a while, and I can say, I’ve never seen an industry that changes so quickly. Every month there is something new, every month brings a big – sometimes a game changer – event.

 
Unsurprisingly, there is always a wave of internet marketers, product creators, that attempt to benefit from it. Although many marketers create products that genuinely provide value, there are the others who just create something, often without any meaningful understanding of the topic, in order to benefit from the wake of the fad.

 
What both frustrates and excites me is that these changes tend to affect the behavior of online marketers, and in turn, this usually affects the market itself… which affects marketers once again. This is probably why these new fads emerge in the first place. (Ok, I don’t want to lose you now, but this actually relates to my Ph.D. thesis which dealt with interactions that take place between various levels of complex systems… in this case, the market is a hierarchical complex system. But never mind..)

 
Forgive me if I got the time-frames slightly wrong.

 
In October 2009 it was all about PPV (CPV – cost per view) advertising. I don’t know how many courses and products were released in a short span. The result? Not only a large number of people started doing PPV advertising, but also, the biggest PPV network, TrafficVance, became extremely selective about accepting new advertisers, despite the fact its policies already required that new advertisers bring 2 referrals (!) and a minimum of a $1,000 deposit. It’s funny when one thinks about it: they’re literally saying no to advertisers who are willing to pay at least a $1,000. It’s been a while since then: as far I know they are not as strict anymore.

 
Then in December 2009 it was all about site flipping. In the span of three weeks I must’ve seen or heard of at least five products, each suggesting people build quick sites and flip them for a quick buck. I’m sure this could work, but not after releasing all these products… there’s a limit as to how many people can sell sites simultaneously, after all, the number of buyers did not change. Supply and demand and all that.

 
In January 2010 it was Facebook advertising. I don’t remember the exact phrases used but “Facebook loves affiliates” and “a goldmine” got stuck in my head. This resulted in many people trying Facebook advertising, and not long afterwards (April 2010), Facebook coming down with very, very strict guidelines that effectively eliminate most affiliate products from its network.

 
In February-March 2010 it was all about mobile. Mobile advertising. Mobile sites. Pay per call courses. A few courses created by very big marketers in a short span of time. Now, I don’t think mobile is a fad. I think mobile will just get bigger. But it was interesting that these were released at such a close proximity.

 
April-May 2010 were the months of local advertising. I saw several classes touting that “these are the biggest markets left unexplored” or so. Some of these classes seemed like the real deal, but others seemed almost like a scam (at least in one case, I’m pretty sure it IS a scam). What’s going to happen as a reaction to that? I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out very soon.

 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of trying some of these as well. I’m not trying to say “look at these idiots, trying one fad after the other” since often I was once of “these idiots” ;-) . I’m also not trying to say that none of these forms of advertising worked. In fact, I believe all of them worked prior to the release of the courses/products… by then the market had reacted and it became considerably harder, and at times, impossible, to benefit from the lessons taught.

 
While I love these dynamics, it’s virtually impossible to predict what will be next. What will be “the next big thing” in June? August? October? I don’t know. From an intellectual perspective I am really curious, though I know that whatever is promoted then, now is probably a good time to do it because by the time we hear of it, it will most likely be too late.

 
Edit: by the way, any guesses? Obviously Plenty of Fish (POF) is becoming increasingly popular as well as other traffic methods. I’m curious what you think.

 

 Mail this post

Popularity: 7% [?]

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Share/Bookmark

Resources for Affiliate Marketing

This Wednesday I’m giving a two hour introductory talk about affiliate marketing. This is following my plan to start doing more speaking engagements which I enjoy (as mentioned in my post about my talk at Social Media 201).

 
Preparing my Powerpoint deck was fun although it was somewhat time consuming. I also prepared a resource page for the audience.

 
I don’t know exactly the demographics of this blog’s visitors (clearly Alexa is untrustworthy, as I’ve joked about): I would estimate that at least a quarter are seasoned affiliate marketers, another quarter is friends, and the rest are people I meet through Twitter or people who Google for certain topics I’ve written about – Twitter Jail being the most popular (of course, it’s possible to be both a friend, an affiliate marketer, and know me from Twitter :) ).

 
Since I took the time to make this resource list, I figured, why not share it? If you’re an affiliate marketer, you can stop now because at least 95% are things you know, and know well (however, I AM sure most marketers aren’t familiar with the Mobile CPA Network I joined, for example). But if you’re not… proceed.

 
I think I will make more of these introductory posts, explaining resources for building links and other things new affiliate marketers require. But that’s for another time.

 

“Standard” Affiliate networks

These are networks dedicated to physical products or eBooks.
Clickbank Sign up page – eBooks, eCourses
ShareASale sign up page – physical products
Linkshare sign up page – physical products
Linkconnector sign up page – physical products
Commission Junction sign up page – physical products

 

CPA networks

Here are some of my favorite CPA networks: harder to get into than other networks, and normally require a brief phone interview before being approved.
Neverblue sign up page
Marketleverage sign up page
Azoogleads sign page
Clickbooth sign up page
Copeac sign up page

 

Mobile CPA networks

This is a CPA affiliate network dedicated to mobile offers. I am aware of two more such networks, but since I have not used them myself (yet), I’m not listing them.
Sponsormob sign up page

 

Offer directory

An excellent resource for finding offers and comparing commissions across networks.
Offervault

 

PPC: Keyword spying tools

If you’re doing any PPC at all, you really need a keyword spying tool. I used PPCBully 2.0 and thought it’s great.
PPCBully 2.0
Affportal – has a lot of useful tools for PPC campaigns

 

SEO/Blogging: Keyword research tools

If you’re creating search engine optimized niche sites you must do your keyword research.
Micro Niche Finder: superb tool, and even has a ‘brainstorming’ function which just finds good niches for you on its own.
Market Samurai: superb tool which just gets better.
Google Keyword Tool: a good place to start

 

SEO: Link building

eZArticleLink: If you need links, this is a good resource – there’s even a free version!

 

Pay Per View Networks

I included only some of the PPV networks I use.. since this is an introductory talk, I’m not sure I would recommend on PPV being the starting point. However, I didn’t want to leave this out.
DirectCPV
AdOn Network
MediaTraffic

 

Pay Per View Resources

If one does do PPV then Affportal is a must. An absolutely fantastic – and mandatory – resource for PPV which just gets better.
Affportal

 

Email marketing Resources

Here too I only mentioned the one tool I use. Yes, there are others, but this one is the best.
Aweber – best email marketing tool

 

Twitter resources

This is probably better phrased as ‘Twitter monetization resources’.
Ad.ly
SponsoredTweets

 

Media Buying resources

This is useful for anyone doing demographics research for the purpose of media buying. Most definitely not for new or even intermediate affiliates!
Alexa
Quantcast
Compete

 

Domain registration

I registered more than 60 domains with Namecheap and don’t have a single complaint. They’re also the cheapest. In fact, I’m going to register one, possibly two, domains right after I finish this blog post…
Namecheap

 

Domain hosting

Unlike domain registration, I’ve had my share of hosting accounts and was very unhappy with most. However, Hostgator is excellent: very good service, high reliability, quick and friend customer support. Definitely better than the other accounts I used. Even their pricing is competitive!
Hostgator

 

Facebook advertising resources

Since it’s hard to do split-testing with Facebook because there is no way for the average user to get a bulk upload tool, the Facebook Ad Manager is a must in order to do any serious Facebook advertising.
FB Ad Manager

 

 Mail this post

Popularity: 7% [?]

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Share/Bookmark

My Summary of 2009


 
Originally I intended to write a summary of “my 2009″. But after reevaluating this, I decided to make it shorter.. or better phrased, easier to digest. Just share some of the lessons I learned this year. I’m mixing both the personal and the professional here, though items are generally grouped together.

 
Overall, 2009 was a great year. There were some rough moments, both personal and professional, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.

 
In 2009 I learned:

  • That as suspected, having no boss and being self employed would result in (easily) more than twice the amount of hours that I worked when I had a boss. Even when considering investment banking (notorious for demanding a lot of hours).

     

  • That even though I am smart, an excellent planner and a hard worker… I sometimes lack focus. And focus matters more than I realized. This one was a very valuable lesson.

     

  • That working insane hours but having much more time to spend with your family is SOOOOOOO worth it.

     

  • That working after 4am can cause you the equivalent of a hangover. Since then I try (and often fail) not to do so.

     

  • That “Do No Evil” is just something that Google says, but nothing more than that.
  • .. and that things can change in a way you’d never expect: Who knew I would ever be rooting for Microsoft?

     

  • That twitter is not just about sharing “what I just ate” (admittedly, I used to think so too) but rather a wonderful, albeit addictive, medium for meeting friends and making business connections.
  • …yet sharing “what I just ate” occasionally results in the most fascinating discussions.

     

  • That Twitter includes the entire range of the human spectrum: the best, kindest and most wonderful people you’ll ever meet, and also some of the worst. And that “Block” is a wonderful option for the latter.

     

  • That Twitter allows one to find many people who need help but don’t know how to ask for it.
  • … but also that it’s wise to draw lines, otherwise you may get pulled in and (at times) blamed for some of their troubles. A lesson I learned the hard way.

     

  • That some celebrities are extremely friendly, and yet other people at times act like the worst celebrities regardless of the fact they’re no different than you and I (often less, actually).

     

  • That being a Twitter ex-con makes you tougher… kind of. Okay, it just makes you less talkative which may make you appear tougher (see my blog post on Twitter Jail).

     

  • That blogging about “professional subjects” leaves enough room for humor and self expression (until this year I’ve only had personal blogs).

     

  • That some spammers have a well honed sense of humor (see my two posts on spammers: spammers types, and spammers jokes).

     

  • That a good affiliate manager is worth his/her weight in gold (and if we’re talking about a really thin one, then platinum).

     

  • That sometimes you really need to listen to your instincts, but other times you really need to ignore them. Both professionally (in this case, talking CPA offers/Landing pages/Ad copy), and personally.

     

  • That due to the secretive nature of affiliate marketing, the good ideas usually stay with you, while the bad ideas get rehashed, repackaged, and resold.
  • …and I wish I could say more about the former…

     

  • That PPV is just awesome.
  • … but other times it’s not fun watching your entire budget evaporate in 20 minutes without any positive results.

     

  • That the most successful people – at least in affiliate marketing – are usually the most modest ones (or the most silent ones – sometimes it’s easy to confuse the two).

     

  • That it’s hard finding people who truly want to collaborate as a team. But when you do… it’s the best thing.

     

  • That quotes are a great way of saying what you want to say without saying it. And that sometimes this is very important (yes, being cryptic is part of the point here ;-) )

     

  • That some friends don’t even give the tiniest of warnings before they decide this world is not for them. Kaya, I wish I got to know you better before you left us. I hope you are at peace, wherever you are. (I intended for this to be the last item, but I don’t want the last one to be sad… and the next one relates in a way Kaya would have found amusing, I think).

     

  • That being deprived of cupcakes is extremely dangerous (more about that in future posts).

     

  • That I can survive on my own cooking (who knew?).

     

  • That having a character named after you in a book is, like, the coolest gift ever.

 
Can you believe it’s already 2010? I feel it was just 2000 maybe 2 years ago… how did a whole decade pass so quickly? Personally, I think 2010 is going to be fantastic – I just know it.

 
Happy new year everyone!

 

 Mail this post

Popularity: 2% [?]

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Share/Bookmark

The Wannabe Guru

The Wannabe Guru

I just returned today from the Lightweight Startups meetup. Overall, an excellent meetup, though frankly, our 202 Affiliate meetup is much better (not to mention the fact that we win free items every time). During the meetup I noticed that the attendees tend to be very different from those who attend our affiliate meetups, who in turn, are quite different from the people who attend the tech meetups (which I occasionally attend as well). It is then that I realized that I’ve attended enough affiliate meetups to be able to categorize affiliate marketers into several distinct groups. Ah, a challenge! I’ve decided to do so in this blog post.

 
Note that if you’re not an affiliate marketer, you may not understand what I’m talking about, though I’m sure you’ll see some analogies to a domain you are familiar with. We are dealing with human nature here, so the same/similar patterns will emerge in various circumstances.

 
Let’s begin. I’ll start with the lowest of the low.

 
The Newbie: he comes to the meetup with bewilderment in his eyes. Someone told him that he could make tons of money very quickly, and he wants to know how. Sometimes he knows a bit (“you can advertise on Google with CPO, right?”) and sometimes he knows virtually nothing. Usually despite the best efforts to help him all you can really say is “take a good class or do a lot of reading on the subject, as you need to be familiar with the basics before you can do anything productive”.

 
The Struggling Affiliate: usually this type knows his stuff but hasn’t had great success so far. It might be because he doesn’t know some crucial bit of information, or he simply hasn’t gotten his lucky break yet. Sometimes he admits this, sometimes by talking enough with him you’ll be able to tell.

 
The successful affiliate: you can recognize this type by the calm assurance he handles the meetup and the occasional slip-up of large expenses he mentions. You can also tell that he is generally not interested in either the Newbie or the Struggling Affiliate because they have nothing that he needs (he may throw a bone in their direction, but nothing beyond that).

 
The Bullshitter: this type of affiliate has done it all and made a lot of money. He won’t say anything specific. Just that he’s done PPC, SEO, Media Buys, PPV, on all the affiliate networks, and promoted all the hot products (he can name every single one as if his life depended on it). He also knows all the gurus, every single one (he’s been to Gauher’s house and is fact the godfather of his child!). Yet when you really try to get some facts from him, you see that his knowledge is skin deep and basically what he does best is talk. One final bit: the bullshitter knows he’s a bullshitter. He’s not self deluded.

 
The super affiliate: a super affiliate is what we all aspire to be. Those are the guys that make the big bucks. From my experience, the real super affiliate tend to be rather shy about it (“I do well” they answer when asked), and in fact, that’s how I usually recognize them. That doesn’t mean there aren’t super affiliates that are the bragging type, there’s definitely a lot of those.

 
The Guru: I’ve met only a handful of those, but these are the legendary people. We all know their names. We all get emails from them. We all know who they hang with. They’re gurus, and they’ve earned this status. Usually they don’t come to meetups unless they’re invited to give a talk. Why should they? They don’t need to anymore. They’re beyond that. We all bask in their glory. If you look really hard, you’ll be able to see that some have a green aura around their heads (because of all the money they have, you see).

 
The wannabe Guru: the wannabe guru is a successful affiliate (possibly a super affiliate) that genuinely believes he is a guru and constantly talks about this, how much money he’s made, and how his life is the life of a rock star. But when you do some research he can never be found online! How mysterious! And no one knows his name! This type is easy to recognize because he talks more than everyone else, usually about how successful he is. The nice thing about the wannabe gurus is that there’s no chance they will ever read this post. Their time is too valuable to waste on mere blog posts (let alone from someone as lowly as myself – wait a moment, everyone are lowly to the wannabe guru, except for other gurus perhaps). Why waste their time when they could be hanging out with President Obama, Bono or even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (they know him too and are at times eccentric, so you never know).

 
The lackey/minion: you’ll see him hanging around whoever he thinks is higher in the ranks than he is (usually the successful affiliate, the super affiliate, the wannabe guru, or the guru). He’ll laugh at all the right moments, never interrupt mid-sentence, do whatever is asked/commanded to do. He lives to serve, all for the precious knowledge that he may gain (and who knows, he might – I’ve never been one myself so I don’t know).

 
The scammer: fortunately, I haven’t seen any of those in our meetups, though I have been in contact with some (through other means). They masquerade as gurus/super affiliates when in fact most of their income comes from scamming YOU. They do courses which are overpriced, promise the world yet offer nothing new. During the course they constantly try to pitch in offers (always with some excuse “I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but this is too good for me not to mention”) and often try to sell their own products as well, which tend to be overpriced junk. A quick visit to some of the affiliate forums will give you names, though you probably can think of some already.

 
Note that the categories are not mutually exclusive, that is, a person can be in more than one: for example, a successful affiliate may be a lackey of a super affiliate and a wannabee guru may be a bullshitter (though it’s not necessarily the case – he may truly believe he’s a guru).

 
Have I forgotten anyone? I have considered adding more types such as The Blackhatter, The Porn Affiliate, but decided this goes in a different direction to what I have in mind.

 Mail this post

Popularity: 2% [?]

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

  • Share/Bookmark

Enticing People to Visit Your Blog

Here’s a common scenario: It took a few months where you kept telling yourself “I’m going to start a blog soon, I promise” and you finally have. You put some effort and created several state of the art posts. But no one visits. You look at the traffic logs, and there are two visitors, one is Google (spidering your website) and the second is you.

 
This is a common problem for new blogs: no one knows you or your blog, and they don’t have any reason or interest in visiting your carefully crafted blog. How do you get them to give you a chance?

 
I’ll classify my answer to this issue into two categories: the technical way and the non-technical way. I’ll begin with the non-technical way which will be covered shortly. The second part will be posted tomorrow.

 
In many ways, the non-technical way can also be called the ‘common sense’ way, though some aspects are quite subtle, particularly if you’re very new to the world of blogging.

  1. Quality: write good content. As I wrote in an earlier post (which actually does not even reside on my blog but rather in Murray Newlands’ interview of me… I should copy some parts into my own blog!), you should not be blogging if you don’t find this activity at least somewhat enjoyable. If you enjoy the process, then you are more likely to produce quality content. If you produce quality content, you are more likely to attract people who enjoy it. If you attract people – well, that’s the goal, isn’t it?

     
    A necessary condition, in my opinion, is being passionate (as well as knowledgeable) about what you’re writing about. Don’t try to write about something that you don’t like – as it will be apparent in your writing. If you’re using blogging as way to reach a goal and don’t find the subject matter interesting, then there is probably a better way to achieve what you want other than blogging. Although this may seem obvious, some people just blog for the sake of blogging. Perhaps so they could also say “I have a blog”. It’s very easy to identify these blogs. They’re simply boring. Dull as hell. Sometimes you can even sense the suffering that went into producing a specific post.

     

  2. Consistency: write consistently. Suppose you wrote three very good posts in the span of a week and have started getting a group of people who show interest in your blog, but then stopped for two weeks. Don’t be surprised if these people figure you’ve abandoned blogging and go away (as this happens more often than not – just visit the random blog on blogspot). Particularly at first, it’s crucial that you maintain consistency. Even if it means posting only once a week.

     

  3. Show interest in other blogs. In the past, I’ve participated in blog networks where people visited your blog because the framework was a vast network of blogs and you couldn’t avoid other blogs even if you wanted to. Once you started getting visitors, you felt compelled, sometimes out of curiosity, other times out of politeness, to visit their blogs. It was considered very impolite not to at least express some interest in the blogs of people who used to visit your blog (though there were a few people who never did). These days since most professional blogs are located on their own domains it’s a bit different. Yet when we think about it, it’s not that different. If you consistently visit other blogs, leave interesting and insightful comments with your blog address, you are much more likely to get the blog owner to visit your blog, as well as his own visitors. This is particularly true when using the ‘CommentLuv’ plugin, but I will discuss this tomorrow.

     

  4. Differentiate yourself: find the aspect you’re good at, or particularly interested in, and focus on it. Not only it’s very educational to see what other bloggers in your field are writing about, but you also don’t want to write articles such as “introduction to PPC”, “Introduction to Affiliate Marketing”, “Introduction to CPA” when every single blogger in your field (assuming, in this case, is affiliate marketing) has written a similar post.

     

  5. Know your audience: some people are targeting a very specific audience they aren’t familiar with. This is a recipe for disaster. For example, it would be very difficult for me to write a blog about makeup, as I literally know nothing about it. Even if I use a woman’s name, even if I try and somehow succeed at emulating a certain writing style (assuming one exists – I genuinely don’t know), I believe it will be very obvious to the readers at some point that (a) I have no idea what I’m talking about and (b) I am not even a woman.

     
    If you do this, slip-ups are bound to occur, and then you’ll lose the faith of your bloggers. Once you lose that, it’s over – they won’t give you a second chance. You’re dishonest and can’t be trusted.

     
    Note that – in case you don’t remember – I am an ex-academic. Often I’d read papers of people who would try to write a professional article about a certain subject, and within 5 minutes I’d spot a slip-up. For example, they’d use the wrong terminology. Or treat a fundamental aspect as a novel discovery of their own. Whenever I spotted something like this I immediately stopped taking anything he or she wrote seriously. If one does his research properly, this can’t happen. My conclusion: it’s better to stick with what you know even if you don’t know certain things, than claim to be an expert on something and be caught. I advise you, the kind reader, not to do that.

     
    On the other hand, it’s important to mention that some fields really don’t require a lot of effort to master. Perhaps makeup is a bad example, but I’m sure if I spent 2 hours reading about dog grooming, I can easily write a blog that will at convey enough expertise to be convincing. I have a website about auto insurance, and when I started, I really didn’t know much about it. However, I’ve done so much research when writing articles than now I’m really somewhat of an expert on the topic. It’s not rocket science, after all. However, not all fields like that, particularly fields that require passion (i.e. makeup) or professional knowledge (i.e. health issues). Keep this in mind.

     
    Of course, you can have a wide range of topics you’re willing to cover (i.e. a very wide audience), and – in my humble opinion – that is fine too. This blog, the Industry Review, is about Affiliate Marketing, Social Media, Technology in general, and all that is related. It covers quite a lot of fields, but at least so far, hasn’t really focused on any of those (i.e. I haven’t written a post about “How to use PPV effectively” until now. I could if I wanted to, and maybe I will, but there’s so many other things I want to write about, at least now I haven’t gotten to this point yet.

 
In the second part of this post, I will cover the technical aspects of enticing people to visit your blog. Check this blog tomorrow! Please leave comments of things I have forgotten or omitted.

 Mail this post

Popularity: 2% [?]

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Share/Bookmark
Get Adobe Flash playerPlugin by wpburn.com wordpress themes