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Old 04-12-2004, 11:47 PM   #1
DougM
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Default Amazon vs CJ - No contest, why?

I have been using affiliate links in a couple of websites. Some from Amazon and some from Commission Junction. Recently I have focused on CJ links much more to see if I can profit from them.

After a one week trial I have logged about 1200 clicks through CJ without a single sale. Statistically the same clicks through Amazon would have landed me several sales and about $15. All other factors are fairly equal: similar ads, similar products, similar prices, etc. I have selected a variety of sites from CJ. I expected Amazon to perform better but not by this much.

If anyone has a different story to tell then please do. Is 1000 clicks just a drop in the bucket? Should I not even bother with other affiliate programs until I can log 10's of thousands of clicks per week?

I think I can achieve 1000 clicks per day with my current setup and traffic when I decide what program to focus on. Why shouldn't I just send them all to Amazon and live with the 90-day cycle & 5%?
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Old 04-13-2004, 09:13 AM   #2
LaWizard
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I would think you would get more sales from amazon because so many people already have accounts set up with them, so it's an easy sale. But I could be wrong...
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Old 04-13-2004, 09:53 AM   #3
DIYRoss
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Default Parasite Programs

You could also be losing sales to 'parasite' programs such as Gator/Gain or WhenU. Many of CJ's merchants work with these companies. They (may) overwrite your CJ cookie on your visitor's computers, causing you to lose the sale. You can check to see if any of your CJ merchants work with these companies on this site:

http://www.cleanmerchants.com

(Not my site, just a great resource for affiliate partners)

1000 clicks is not huge, but you should be showing at least a few sales! You may also want to look into datafeeds, they will cnvert at a much higher rate. CJ offers feeds for a one time $250 fee , but many merchants offer a free datafeed privately.

Some affiliate programs are parasite free and will market themselves as such, but many programs who claim to be parasite free actually are not! (Ours is 100% parasite free!)

Ross
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Old 04-13-2004, 02:32 PM   #4
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I wouldn't compare Amazon to CJ. The comparison I would use is an individual CJ merchant to Amazon. It is true the vast majority of merchants on CJ are in fact worthless to affiliates as they either do not understand affiliate marketing or don't care to provide a good deal for affiliates. However, there are some true gems in CJ that can make you a great deal of money. You just have to figure out which ones are worthless and which ones are priceless. The merchant EPC number can help you figure this out (though don't go just by this as there are some low EPC merchants that make me a nice amount).

Last edited by Jack; 04-13-2004 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 04-13-2004, 06:42 PM   #5
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Good point. Comparing Amazon & CJ is apples to oranges. I did take some care to select merchants I liked but more than that I selected merchants who carried products which fit my content, not a lot to choose from here, 5 or 10.

Also most of the products purchased through Amazon were not the ones I linked to. Other merchants cannot offer this wide a range of products.

I had not really paid much attention to EPC's before. I think I will now. I cannot imagine getting over $100 per 100 clicks (as a few average) but then getting 100 clicks on a financial services link may be quite a challenge.

I may let the whole Japan thing just coast for a while and work on something with dollars in mind. This is main goal now. I am hoping to somehow leverage the traffic I have built though. It is the one asset I have.

Thanks for the tips.
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Old 04-13-2004, 06:43 PM   #6
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1000 clicks and $15 is pretty bad. Can't pay the mortgage at only 1.5 cents per click!

For the love of God, take that same traffic and send it to CPA campaigns with free sign ups (sweeps, freebies, free dating sites, eductional offers, loan applications, etc)! I'd be surprised if you're not making 3-4 times more. Some affiliates make 10 times more, easy. Some rare affiliates literally earn 20 times that per click.

There are 2 common misconceptions with affiliate marketing.

1 - Just because Amazon is such a powerful brand (or similar web properties), it doesn't mean YOU the affiliate will earn a ton. (Plus they actually charge you $8 to cut a check just so you can get paid! That's pretty sad.)

2 - You don't have to actually SELL something to earn money in the affiliate world. My personal experience is just the opposite. Most of the money we've earned, literally more than a millon dollars in the past few years, has come from free sign ups.
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Old 04-15-2004, 08:02 AM   #7
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If you take a general audience site - entertainment, news, etc - and a random sampling of CJ banners (say 100 different merchants) and show the ads 1 million times I'd expect you to earn somewhere between $0 and $10.

The vast majority of offers on CJ don't work for the vast majority of sites.

Take a targetted audience and the right CJ merchant and integrate a small text link on the site and you can make a boatload of money.

The right CJ offer, presented in the right way on the right site works well.

The trick is how to do number 2 and not number 1. The right ad isn't very obvious. I found that about the worst way to find the right ad is to say "Hmmm I'm a TV site so lets look at TV related advertisers". You need to abstract it a step - who are my site visitors, what are they interested in buying - for a Japan site it might be travel, language learning, japanese foods, anime, etc.

Once you found the right offer the trick in finding which ad/creative works. I've found that banners are pretty close to useless. They're about the easiest to implement so I've put up lot of them over the years and they generally don't work at all. Text on a prominent spot on the page works well. If you can get a datafeed or otherwise integrate actual products into the context of the page its even better.

Finding CPA programs that work is time consuming and takes lots of upkeep - with offers changing and advertisers disappearing, etc. One of these days CJ will realize that they can put the same sort of technology that Google AdSense uses to work and make a fortune. Until then it's something of an art.

As for free sign-up offers - I find they don't work anymore. They seemed to work better 2 years ago. Now I guess most people are more reluctant to give up their e-mail address and get spam. I think more and more reader realize that they're going to get junk mail if they give out their e-mail to pretty much any offer.

Oh, and on the CJ vs Amazon - don't underestimate the value of Amazon's brand name in your customer's mind. I know I've personally followed an affiliate link on some site to a book from a seller other than Amazon and then popped over to Amazon to actually buy it. If Amazon offers it I'm going to buy it there. I personally don't care if bn.com or whoever offers it for a couple cents cheaper.

Last edited by jnestor; 04-15-2004 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 05-13-2004, 01:52 PM   #8
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Amazon.com work brilliantly if you open a pop-under window to their "Deals of the Day" page, or any page which is relevant to your reader's particular interest.

I did the math for the first quarter and it worked out at an effective 5.76 CPM. The difference with Amazon and some ad network is that you know Amazon will pay you and are not going to scrub your stats... as seems to be rife among networks. In fact, my general expereince of ad networks is such that I regard the majority as little more than crimimal organizations. <shrugs>
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Old 05-17-2004, 12:34 AM   #9
joma
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Hate to be a party pooper but that is a violation of the Amazon's Operating Agreement. I don't know how strictly they enforce it, but surfers are ONLY supposed to be sent to Amazon as a result of clicking on what they call their "special link".

I confess I've considered doing something like that myself just because Amazon generates so many secondary purchases, but if it were allowed it would eventually lead to duelling popups, where every site tries to overwrite every visitor's tracking cookie.
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Old 05-17-2004, 01:04 AM   #10
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I don't know if it violates Amazon's TOS or not. I haven't been using them this quarter due to other pops. Can't say I checked it out, anyway.

One question: if a cookie can only be read by the domain that sets it, how can another site overwrite it? That doesn't make sense.
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Old 05-17-2004, 01:21 AM   #11
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Because you are popping the amazon page yes? That sets the amazon cookie...

Chet
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Old 05-17-2004, 01:43 AM   #12
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Not really. Joma's point was "...it would eventually lead to duelling popups, where every site tries to overwrite every visitor's tracking cookie."

My question was how another site could overwrite the cookie of the other site that sets it. If Amazon sets the cookie, only Amazon can overwrite it, not another site or "every site" as claimed. Unless there is some exploait that Joma knows?

Anyway, the idea of popping a window to Amazon could still be done by inserting the item which you wish your visitor to purchase into an iframe with the targeted URL served from your domain. Of course, you'd need to check it with Amazon's TOS...
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Old 05-17-2004, 02:01 AM   #13
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Huh? You said you popped an amazon daily deal page - you mean to tell me you didn't call that page with your affiliate code? You called it plain, then hoped out of the goodness of their heart, your users went back to links on your page and clicked your links to set your cookie?

I find that hard to believe.

Chet
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Old 05-17-2004, 02:16 AM   #14
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I believe Amazon sets 24 hour cookies (which is actually pretty short). So if I send a visitor to Amazon, a tracking cookie is set (by Amazon). But if that visitor subsequently visited your site or any other site that generates popunders, you would cause a new cookie to be set and effectively 'steal" my commission.

If enough sites used the same tactic, cookies from merchant sites would be constantly overwritten and the whole concept of return days would start to become irrelevant.

As for the iframe... interesting concept, but Amazon also have text in the agreement explicitly preventing an affiliate from putting their site into a frame.

Last edited by joma; 05-17-2004 at 02:50 AM.
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Old 05-17-2004, 06:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by cheznoir
Huh? You said you popped an amazon daily deal page - you mean to tell me you didn't call that page with your affiliate code? You called it plain, then hoped out of the goodness of their heart, your users went back to links on your page and clicked your links to set your cookie?

I find that hard to believe.

Chet

I'm not surprised that you find what you surmised hard to believe. It's utter gibberish concocted in your own mind and not remotely related to what I wrote.

Do try reading the written word and desist from wild delirious imaginings...lest you spend you life in a perpetual state of "Huh?" It's not that hard if you focus and take deep breaths between any words you initially find difficult to grasp.
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