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12/14/2006
  Shoemoney on Affiliate Marketing
Shoemoney (Jeremy Schoemaker) did a great show, answering affiliate questions on Net Income webmasterradio.fm (mp3) show this week. This show was like listening to a Ph.D on affiliate marketing. Insanely valuable information if you do any lead generation or affiliate business.

Overall theme of this show is growth in affiliate activity, and Jeremy had his buddy Todd (aka Stuntdubl) collect a bunch of affiliate questions. I transcribed / paraphrased his Q&A below.

Q: What do you look for in affiliate programs? Terms?

A: Word-of-mouth from other people. Payout is important, determining conversion ratios depends on testing over time.

Shawn said: "Trust" - wants to trust the program and know the people - how do they treat other affiliates, how do they convert, do they pay on time.

Contact the merchant / affiliate broker - if you are doing something shady / 'innovative' / in the gray area. Check it with them, so you don't get banned and lose commissions. Stay in communication with the affiliate manager.

Q: As a publisher is it sufficient to just create landing pages for particular products or better to create a unique site or domain?

A: It really depends on the product - on ringtones, you want a high quality landing page. Doing more work and more research makes it easier to develop something unique. Use tools and track. Mentions crazyegg.com as a service that collects good stats. Owning your own domain lets you do tracking better.

Q: How do you negotiate a better deal or find "private" affiliate program?

A: Every company has leeway. They always can pay you more, if you get what's advertised you need to press. (He encourages you to be aggressive - especially if you have the volume). "Never show all your cards". He kinda emphasizes "the squeaky wheel gets the oil."

But he gives great advice - don't ask a question which is an easy no. Don't ask: "Can I get a pay raise?". Easy no. Phrase as: "What can you do for me, I need to get bumped for this volume."

Most of the time when Shoemoney talks about "affiliate" companies, he's talking about CPA places like AzoogleAds, CPAEmpire, XY7. He talks about Commission Junction as well.

Q: Do you sell leads to multiple programs?

A: Shawn answers: make sure it's ok with the partner companies if you do it. He's partly talking about advertising multiple offers on the same page, versus say mortgage leads, which can be sold to multiple places.

(Ad Break - there's a funny spoof ad in here with Shoemoney rapping/beat boxing some X-mas songs )

Q: Affiliate links and commission hijacking

A: Shoe brings up cookie blocking in Spyware Search & Destroy. Which could prevent DoubleClick and AzoogleAds leads from getting credited. Shawn adds that the toolbar / spyware world can over-write cookies - taking credit for affiliate sales. Stuff to watch out for... more awareness is needed... Flash Games, DRM video, Zango, certain toolbars do this, and the affiliate companies aren't doing much about it.

Best way to protect yourself now: Watch your stats / ROI.

Q: What do you use for tracking?

A: Shoe uses Webalizer (log analysis) and in-house stuff reporting on ROI. Also crazyegg to improve landing pages. Mentions click fraud tracking from enquisite.com. Clicktracks gets a vote from Shawn.

Q: How does he target typos via ppc ( strategies etc.. )? How does his typo strategies differ from engine to engine ?

A: Shoe doesn't do typos on MSN, since traffic is so cheap. Mentions the MSN limit of 40k keywords per MSN account. On Google he does almost nothing but typos - mentions Syndk8 forum has tools for generating "one-off" keyboard typos. On Yahoo - quality control makes it painful to do too many typos. He brute forces it on Yahoo.

Q: Can you explain what incentivized offers are? How do you make money and keep fraud down?

A: Incentivized offer: you can give people an incentive for completing the offer(s). Like a free iPod, or a free TMX Elmo, or a gift card.

There's a ton of fraud since people can put in worthless lead info. Leads get rejected by the affiliate manager.

Shoe says you have to maintain a database of email farms and he filters out those bad leads.

It's a differentiator if you can keep the quality of your leads up. Shoe advises communication with the affiliate managers, again.

Q: If I get a hot chick to write your name on her chest and take a pic, will you link to me?

A: Yeah. He'll totally link to it. Maybe with a link condom... (I KNEW the answer to this one... :)

Q: Besides PPC, what are some of the best way to drive & increase traffic to a real site for affiliate links?

A: Could use Myspace, Digg, social sites - "Ten ways to make money online" and you add your affiliate links. Digg users will click on certain affiliate links, but not adsense.

Use forums. Start a thread, and drop your link in...

3rd tier PPC like AdBrite, Kanoodle - take a lot of experimenting.

Cloaking is OK by Shoe in some cases. I.e give Digg users other stuff than AdSense, because you know they aren't gonna click on that. Show them something else!

Q: If he lost everything (his websites, partnerships, etc) today what would his actions be tomorrow?

A: He pretends like this happens everyday! What to do now? Keeps him hungry. Come up with new ideas.

If he could go back 5 years, he would have done more social media, more ringtones, more community driven sites around music.

Personally, I would have bought a lot more good domain names if I could go back :)

Also Shoe would've started his own affiliate company. He would've pushed the gray areas oriented. Wouldn't have listened to the nay-sayers.

He thinks it's a great time to be in this business. Place to be.

Q: What does he feel is the single biggest mistake most people make that keep them from making more money?

A: He's emphatic here: People think of reasons why stuff won't work, they talk themselves out of it. Jeremy, says "JUST START WORKING ON IT". You'll learn. Don't sit on it. Just do it.

Basically: it's Yoda: "There is no try, there is only do..."

(For more info, check the forums that Shoe checks on: he reads ABestWeb.com, DigitalPoint, and he's got his own forums)

 


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