Google Affiliate Network Launches New Interface

Today the recently announced Google Affiliate Network (formerly DoubleClick) launched a new interface to publishers. You can access it at Connect Commerce.

The look and feel of the site is very ‘Googlesque’ and at a first look it all seems fairly straight forward to use.


Ultimately the interface is secondary to performance so we’ll see how it goes in the coming weeks.

Are you promoting any products from the Google Affiliate Network?

Amazon Video Widgets – Earn Money From the Amazon Affiliate Program and Video

Amazon have launched a new handy Video Widget that will interest many bloggers wanting to combine the use of video and the Amazon Affiliate program.

The widget allows you to make a video and then upload it to Amazon to be hosted where you can add little pop-up product links and pictures that appear throughout the video.

You can choose which products appear and then time the product appearances to the moment in the video that you mention the product you’re talking about.

This video widget will be most effective when you’re reviewing products and I think could convert well.

Here’s a quick video that I just made – excuse the quality of the video (it’s jumpy and out of sync). It’s not Amazon’s hosting but is my fault as my laptop was doing too many things at once as I recorded it.

The video was shot in 1 minute and it only took me 3 minutes to upload and a further 2 to add the products. Not bad for 6 minutes work.

Want $10? Sign Up for the Pepperjam Affiliate Network Today

pepperjam.pngOne of the innovative new affiliate networks to hit the market in the last 6 months is Pepperjam Network – and today they are offering you $10 as a signup bonus for becoming one of their publishers.

If you want to earn money by recommending products from companies like eBay, Cartoon Network,, Jelly Belly, Sesame Street, Net Shops, SEOMoz, igourmet and many more (they seem to add new ones every day or two) then PepperJam is a network that you’ll want to test run whether you get the signup bonus or not because they are one of the fastest growing online marketing networks going around (according to MarketingSherpa).

To get the $10 signup bonus you just need to

Not bad – PLUS you’ll then have access to a wonderful new range of affiliate programs to promote to help you make more.

AdSense Retire their Referrals Program and Launch the Google Affiliate Network

logo.gifToday AdSense announced that they are drawing their ‘Referrals’ program to a close and are relaunching a new Google affiliate network. In actual effect the new affiliate network is not ‘new’ – but a rebranded version of DoubleClick’s Performics Affiliate Network which they acquired in March.

This is news that many of us expected – particularly since Google bought DoubleClick earlier in the year. It’s also not surprising as most publishers that I know have had very little success with the Referrals program within AdSense. In fact I’m one of the only people that I know who made much from it – and that almost dried up when they changed the referrals program for AdSense.

If You Promote AdSense Referrals Products…

If you’re a blogger promoting some kind of AdSense Referrals product it’s time to remove the ad and replace it with something else. You can still run the ads but they’ll stop working in the last week of August.

It is not clear whether the referrals that you’ve made that have not converted will also become void in the last week of August also. This is something I’d like to see AdSense clarify as some of their programs have quite long lead times for those that you refer to ‘convert’ and therefore to earn you money.

Google Affiliate Network

The new Google Affiliate Network does not something that everyone will be able to use. They say that they are targeting sites with largely US based traffic – I’m yet to see any clarification on how they’ll be filtering publishers, whether there is a traffic based minimum to get in etc. Time will tell as publishers start applying. At present I know that Performics has accepted me as a publisher (I was previously using it) so it’s not too hard to get into I hope!

No More Google Affiliate Products

Those of you promoting ‘Google Products’ through the current ‘Referrals’ system should know that there are no plans at this point to have these products available to promote through the new affiliate network. They may come later but my sources at Google say that these programs are coming to an end and there will be no immediate way to make money by sending them new AdSense publishers, AdWords advertisers etc.

Making Money from 2nd and 3rd clicks with the Amazon Affiliate Progam

Yesterday Jeremy Shoemoney Twittered to tell me that the review that he wrote of the ProBlogger book generated 38 sales of the book through his Amazon affiliate link. He went on to say that he made money money from the other things that people then went on to buy after clicking through on the link.

The great thing about the Amazon affiliate program is that you not only make commissions on the item that you link to from your blog but any item that your referred reader might buy after clicking your link.

I wrote about this previously in a post on The Power of Getting People In the Door at Amazon where I showed an example of when I linked to a photography book in a review on DPS. That one link generated over 160 sales – 100 of which were not items that I linked to in the review. Together those items were worth around $500.

This is my experience over and over again. The money in using the Amazon Affiliate program often doesn’t come from that first click – but the 2nd, 3rd (etc) ones once people are in the door at Amazon.

Related Reading on Amazon Affiliate program:

Amazon Associates Introduce MP3 Clips Widget

If you have a blog with a music focus the Amazon Associates program have today announced a widget that you’ll want to check out – it’s an MP3 Clips Widget that lets your readers listen to clips of music live on your site.

You can hand select songs to be included on the widget or pick categories of songs. Any sales generated by the widget earn you 10% of the sale as an associate. Just be aware that only those in the US can buy music from Amazon (or at least they seem to need a US credit card). All of your readers will be able to see the widget – just not actually convert with a sale of an MP3. Widgets

Let me know how it goes if you decide to give it a go!

How to Use Social Decision Making To Increase Your Affiliate Sales

Almost a year ago I started experimenting with a new technique (new for me at least) of creating ‘Best Seller Lists’ as a technique to drive more sales at Amazon’s Affiliate Program.

The concept was simple:

  • Analyze the things that customers have bought previously from your affiliate links to Amazon (they give you this information in their reporting area)
  • Pull together a list of the top selling items (those that are relevant to your niche of course) and list them in a post
  • Link to these items again with affiliate links

I wrote up the technique here.

Today I was looking through my Amazon statistics and realized that this technique has been responsible for around 40% of my earnings from Amazon over the last 4 months. A lot of the success comes from one page, the example I gave in my original post – Popular Digital Cameras and Gear but there are three others (Top 10 Point and Shoot Digital Cameras, Top 20 DSLR Models and Best Camera Bags).

Why does it work?

I give a few reasons in the post about the technique that I’ve linked to above but increasingly I’m convinced that it’s got something to do with our social nature as human beings and the way that we often make decisions as groups rather than as individuals.

I see it in my own ‘real’ life also. Among my friendship group four couples have purchased the same car, most of my good friends shoot with the same brand of camera to me, we’re all talking about sending our kids to the same schools…. the list goes on.

Social Proof and Affiliate Marketing – Two More ‘Techniques’

This idea of social decision making is powerful – particularly when it comes to affiliate marketing on blogs.

Reader Reviews – The other time I’ve seen it’s power is when I’ve posted a reader’s review of a product on DPS.

I have posted quite a few photography book reviews over on that blog – most of which I’ve written myself. They tend to convert quite well (depending upon the quality of the book) but the thing that I’ve noticed is that they convert up to 100% better when it’s a regular reader of the blog who posts the review and not me. For example this simple reader review of the Digital Photography Book did better than my own review of the same book!

I don’t think it’s because I’m not a convincing writing – I think the reason is that readers trust the opinions of other readers. Social decision making at play again!

When ‘Join Me’ Converts – Let me share one more example of this social decision making. Earlier in the week I posted here at ProBlogger that I had enrolled myself in a course to learn to make better videos for the web. This was a genuine post – I’ve enrolled in WebVideo University (it’s early days but it’s quite good so far). Of course the post contained an affiliate link (I’d like to pay for a new video camera for my videos somehow).

A number of ProBlogger readers signed up for the course (I think it’s around 10). It wasn’t a massive conversion but in talking to 3-4 of those that signed up I found that they were not only motivated by the course topic – but also by wanting to do something with me, to share the experience.

I didn’t use the ‘join me’ approach to the post to get more people to sign up and increase my earnings – but it did.

Now the course doesn’t give a lot of interaction between participants – but there’s still something about doing something that someone else is doing that I think comes into play here. The course is good and will fulfill a need but perhaps it’ll become more special to those doing it for the knowledge that others like them are also participating.

A quick aside – while I’m talking about ‘joining’ – if you’ve got a spare $8.62 check out a great book called ‘Join Me!‘. It’s about a guy who started a world wide movement of people simply by placing an ad in a local newspaper inviting people to ‘Join Me’. It’s one of the funniest yet also insightful books I’ve read in years.

What Do You Think?

I’m thinking out loud a little with this post – but have you experimented with these ‘social decision making’ ideas in your own affiliate marketing?

PS: Social Decisions Making and Blogging

OK – now I’m thinking out loud a little more (forgive me, it’s late on a Friday night… and I may just have had a couple of beers…) but I the more I think about it the more I realize that this social behavior goes beyond the purchases that we make and comes into play in a variety of areas of our blogging

  • It’s probably behind the way that many big blogs with their RSS counters on their blogs grow so much faster (people want to be a part of a blog that others are obviously a part of).
  • The same thing is probably true for blogs with lots of comments (people are more likely to interact on a blog where others are already doing it)

I’m sure there are other examples – looking forward to you adding to my list. Come on – think out loud with me my friends!

Amazon Associates Program Introduce Carousel Widget

The Amazon Associates program have announced a new widget in the last day or two – it’s called the Carousel Widget. You can see one in action below with six blogging books. Widgets

The unit above is a ‘carousel’ format (horizontal) but they also have a ‘ferris wheel’ format (vertical). Each come in different size options.

Do You Tailor Your Affiliate Program Messages?

Affiliate-SpamOver the last couple of weeks I’ve had 109 emails through the contact form on my two main blogs that all start with exactly the same words:

“I represent a company that specializes in a new form of Internet advertising that guarantees that you will get a 100% conversion rate on 100% of your website traffic….”

The email then goes on to tell me that this new type of advertising ensures I will get paid for everyone who visits my site…. it’s better than ‘Google ads’….. that they’d like to fill me in on more details and that I should email the person for more information.

I’m so annoyed by these emails that I’m not even going to mention the product on ProBlogger at this point (and I’ve complained to the person behind the company – although with no response).

The fact is that the 109 people who emailed me are not ‘representatives’ of the company in that they are employed by it – they are affiliates hoping to make a commission by getting me to sign up.

Now I don’t have anything against signing up for quality products with affiliate programs to reward the person who puts me onto them – however the last few weeks have illustrated to me just many people are lazy in their internet marketing.

I can just imagine how it happened – the company with the affiliate program probably has a page with some suggested emails that people could send out prospects – those signing up for the affiliate program simply copy and paste the email into my contact form expecting to get rich.

  • The problem is that the emails lack any compelling reason for me to respond to them.
  • They completely lack anything personal.
  • They give no real or useful information.
  • They don’t tell me a story.
  • They are spin.

Couple that with the fact that I’ve had 109 of them and I’ve become deaf to their message, annoyed by the company (and by the people sending them) and I’m further away from being involved in the service than the day it launched. For all I know the service could be good – but I’m completely put off by the marketing of it.

Interestingly a post over at Lost Ball in High Weeds illustrates that it’s not just the small time internet marketer who engages in this type of practice. They received duplicate emails from two well known internet marketers today promoting an affiliate product.

So what can we learn from this. I want to suggest a few things:

1. If you have a product or service that you’re involving affiliates in the promotion of encourage them to do so in their own voice, with their own personality and giving their own testimonial. I know that internet marketers do a lot of testing around what copy works and doesn’t work – but I think people are increasingly becoming suspicious of spin and if your product gets associated with it you can end up doing your brand more harm than good.

You need to understand that while you might product suggested copy that works in your testing – that when put in the hands of people who are just out for a quick buck that it’ll be spammed, reposted and used in ways that don’t do anything to help your brand.

2. If you are promoting an affiliate program, whether it be via an email to your list or on your blog – inject some individuality, creativity and uniqueness into it. Nothing makes me delete and email or skip over a blog post more than reading something that I’ve seen before or reading copy that is obviously spin. Sure – sell me something, but tell me why YOU think it’s relevant to me. Tell me a story of how YOU used the product. Explain to me how I might benefit from it (and not as though you’re speaking to a room of android robots).

Don’t ignore the suggested copy that they give you with the sales pitch (it will have some useful information) – but make it your own, make it personal, make it stand out from the crowd.

You need to understand that you can actually hurt your brand by engaging in ‘copy and paste marketing’. When you post or email something that every other internet marketer and their dog are spamming the web with then your personal brand becomes aligned with the product that you’re promoting. This makes you a less credible, trustworthy and authoritative voice in future.