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Old 08-03-2001, 05:38 PM   #1
harry
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Cool They Call Them "Affiliate Mini-Sites!"

Hi Folks

You have either heard or read about them. They say those Affiliate Mini-Sites are not bad in generating revenues.

An Affiliate Mini-Site is mostly a one page site promoting one or few affiliate programs. Usually these sites are hosted on free webspace providers servers.

Successful Mini-Site affiliates have managed to get such sites listed on search engines. And more or less dependent on the traffic generated that way.

I have just started testing few Mini-Sites of my own, but its much too early to write about them yet. Maybe I need 3 months or so to be able to write a qualified conclusion.

Meanwhile I wish to ask whether any of you geeks have tried such Mini-Sites as part of your affiliate marketing efforts?

Thanks!

All the best,

Harith
http://www.danex-exm.dk
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Old 08-03-2001, 06:32 PM   #2
emmzee
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I made one of these once ... this is back when MyPlay was paying $1.50 for each free registration. Man those were the days.

I used www.f2s.com as my free webspace provider, because they don't put any ads on the site, they give you a subdomain (www.yoursite.f2s.com) and they let you run your own ads. Their server isn't the fastest but hey it's free.

I targetted the site well, and was listed on some search engines ... it basically just had a big MyPlay affiliate link, plus a short write-up about the MyPlay service, and then a searchbox at the bottom. At the peak it was earning about $20/day, of course that slowly faded away after MyPlay changed their payout to $1, then changed the lead requirements ...

Um, there I go getting longwinded again. All this to say, yeah, these sort of pages can work ... but you have to find a good program and target the page well so it will be listed high on search engines.
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Old 08-03-2001, 07:21 PM   #3
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I have a few mini-sites. Actually my first money-making site was a mini-site (two pages) :-)

That one made me about $5000 in the last 15 months or so, and I haven't touched it once during that time :-)

I spent about 2 hours building it + submitting to the search engines, and the search engines have been kind to me ;-) (I think its traffic has decreased over the last month or so, though)

Anyway, I agree that mini-sites can work well.

(I personally prefer to put them on their own domain)

Last edited by Knut; 08-03-2001 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 08-03-2001, 07:26 PM   #4
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Question

Would someone be kind enough to post a URL for one of these 'affiliate mini-sites'? I think I know what you're talking about...but I'd like to have a peek at one that's well made and successful.

Muchos!
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Old 08-03-2001, 07:39 PM   #5
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When I work with PPCSEs, I create mini-sites to promote a product/affiliate program. When I design these pages, I attempt to get as many people over to the merchant's sales letter and possibly warm them up to the offering a little in the process. At this time, I do not attempt to optimize mini-sites for search engine placement (mainly because it seems a bit too doorwayish to me). Due to all these factors, I normally spend less than an hour working on one of these mini-sites (I just created one yesterday in about 30 minutes).

I can tell you they definitely do work and do produce commissions as long as you know what products to promote.

Here's some links to a wonderful description of mini-sites for anyone wanting to learn more about what they are and what they look like:

http://www.associateprograms.com/sea...etter136.shtml
http://www.associateprograms.com/sea...etter137.shtml
http://www.associateprograms.com/sea...etter138.shtml

This is from a 3 part feature done on affiliate mini-sites.
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Old 08-03-2001, 08:02 PM   #6
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Jack:

I was just about to put up those exact same links! :-)

Anyway,

I agree that it's a little "doorwayish" to optimize for the search engines with mini-sites, and frankly it has become much harder to get good ranks if there are no/few external links pointing to a site.

In other words, if someone is aiming for free traffic to mini-sites these days I'd recommend trading links (or get it linked somehow) from other sites. The less content you have, the less likely you are to accomplish this - thus making mini-sites less effective than they were earlier, except if you enhance them enough to make them a "real site" OR if you pay for visitors (ppc engines, etc).

Rhea: The thing about mini-sites is that most people prefer to keep them to themselves, because they are so extremely easy to copy (which hurts income because of increased competition - either on the SE's or on the ppc engines). If I remember correctly there are several good examples in those links Jack gave you, though :-)
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Old 08-03-2001, 08:08 PM   #7
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Alright, I'll go.

I created this page for an affiliate program from Sierra Bank. They were recently bought by American Express and have since closed down their affiliate program. In the past, they offered 2% commission on small business loans they closed that came from an affiliate site. I purchased several search terms and type-in domains related to business loans and pointed them to the page below. Raw numbers were somewhere around $3,000 in total commissions and about $700 in money spent in PPCSEs over about 5 months time. I should note this is a very good conversion ratio. Usually I spend about half of what I make on these mini-sites.

Here's the URL:

http://www.aquamarinetechnologies.com/business.html

Now notice how the page is extremely short. In my opinion, the point of a mini-site is to get the click over to the merchant site while possibly warming up the surfer in the process. The site is of course not going to win any design awards however it does its purpose.

There is also another type of site that I believe is very important. This is the mid size content site that promotes the affiliate program. The point of these sites are to get listed on search engines/directories, provide useful information to the consumer, and finally to get the affiliate commission. I was going to provide a link to one that promoted the same merchant but sadly that affiliate has taken down that site (with good reason -- the program has ended).

If you do plan to create mini-sites, make sure you read those newsletter articles posted above. Also make sure you read the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. Of particular interest is this one:

"Building anonymous little sites doesn't build TRUST and CREDIBILITY - two factors vital to your long-term success. It's more like working for a wage than building a business."

Mini-sites are a good way to supplement your income but should not be your primary source of income.

Last edited by Jack; 08-03-2001 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 08-03-2001, 08:18 PM   #8
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Excellent stuff, Jack. :-)

I'm building a couple of "mid size content" sites as we speak. :-)

A tip for others who wants to learn more about this approach: Go to sitesell.com, join their affiliate program, enter their members area and download their "Make Your Site PREsell" ebook (It's free).

Last edited by Knut; 08-03-2001 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 08-04-2001, 10:30 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info, Jack, Knut, MZ and Harry. Funny thing is, I stumbled on an affiliate mini-site today...totally by accident. I do appreciate the need for, um, secrecy, Knut. Folks do seem to like to 'borrow' stuff, don't they?

One of my sites (which ranks well with both Altavista and Google) is getting hits from folks who are searching for a vendor that I had a text link to on my home page. Pretty amazing to find that my site ranked higher for the vendor's name than the vendor's site did. Bizarre.

Anyway, I thought I might take advantage of that fluke but then the vendor cancelled their affiliate program. Problem is, I have no idea what to promote and I don't think I have the time right now to invest in puzzling this all out. I'm a plodder and a ditherer...always a furlong behind the rest of you guys.
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Old 08-05-2001, 03:09 PM   #10
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Friends!

Thanks for feedback. Much appreciated.


Wish you all a great day,


Harith
http://www.danex-exm.dk
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Old 08-06-2001, 06:32 AM   #11
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I make almost all my affiliate income from mini sites.

I have a content site, but people visit it to see the content, not to buy stuff.

Mini sites are easy to set up, they have good conversion rates, require virtually no maintenance and can provide income for months or years from just a few hours work.

The key to making a success of mini sites is to find a product or service that will sell, and can be promoted by getting free or cheap traffic from search engines.
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Old 08-09-2001, 11:46 PM   #12
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Last year, i had a mail-bits ezine mini site, Pure search engine leads, I was only reciving a hundred or so visitors a day, however that alone was pulling a 40% conversion, that worked out to be $200 CPM ($.50 per lead). This one mini site made me thousands of dollars. So yes, it works
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Old 08-10-2001, 12:38 AM   #13
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I’ll be the lone thumbs down on this idea. If you’re going to do a mini-site forget about doing anything with a Linkshare, Befree or a CJ program because as soon as you establish a successful mini-site for one of those programs 100 other people will do the same thing and your mini-site won’t have much value. You will see bids in the PPCSEs climb to the point were it is not profitable to list the mini-site any longer. So from a financial aspect I think if you want something that is going to be profitable for more than a month I suggest a very unique program that the average Joe webmaster doesn’t have access to.

The Bigger Issue
I think the mini-site devalues the web to the end user. If someone does a search for say “second mortgage” and the top 20 listings are all one-page doorway style mini-sites people are going to be turned off to the entire Internet experience. Repeat that process 20 times or so for different terms over the course of a month and the average surfer will come to the conclusion that search engines and the Internet may be a good source of entertainment and a laugh, but not a source of information, research, and serious buying information. The long term proliferation of mini-sites will leave the average surfer to formulate the same mental image of the Internet that Internet porn currently occupies. That is a ton of poorly constructed doorway sites that try to trap you into visiting another site. Once there are so many mini-sites and revenues start to decline, it is only a matter of time before mini-site owners try to force the user into going to the end site by spawning pop-ups, using scripts to make the mini-site the user's home page and so on.

Last edited by malibber; 08-10-2001 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 08-10-2001, 02:16 AM   #14
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Hi Malibber

Thanks for feedback.

The Mini-sites which I have in mind are actually a PRE-Selling pages. I mean pages with contents and which add value to the selling process. Thats how I understand a Mini-Site.

Its my firm belief that PRE-Selling is the most important factor in affiliate marketing. In fact Affiliates are not supposed to SELL but to PRE-Sell.

Its true that you can create a Mini-Site within 30 minutes or an hour. But Affiliates forget to tell how long did it take them to research and find a super selling product. Thats for sure could take several hours or days!

We need to make available for affiliates more and more ethical marketing tools, and creating and promoting a Mini-Site is one of them, IMHO.

On the other hand, we should discourage affiliates of spamming people mailboxes. I'm sure most geeks here recall the junk mail they received from affiliates "promoting" programs such as GOING ........ or SIX ...... INCOME. If the merchants of these program have taken the time to educate their affiliates and provide them with ethical marketing tools, we wouldn't have been bombarded with spam.

"Doorway" might sound negative and indicates a page with links or a duplicate page aimed to trick the search engines. And yes, I have seen pages listed on search engines but only to redirect (using metatags redirecting coding) prospects to the merchant site or only contain banners and links, and this I consider doorways and to some extent a spamming of search engines.

BUT if a surfer is searching for example under keywords "discount vacations" and end up at a Mini-Site of an affiliate with contents promoting european discount vacations to several european countries. Would you consider that a doorway or a PRE-Selling page? I mean wouldn't that surfer be glad to find several discount vacations offer on one page?

However I agree that Mini-Sites aren't the way for long-lasting business model. Its always best to promote your own domain. This way you are independent- of which merchant you are dealing with and which product you are promoting at any given time. Your domain will always be there and you don't lose visitors and your promotion efforts just because a merchant disappear or a product doesn't exist anymore.

All the best,

Harith
http://www.danex-exm.dk
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