May’s Progress Report

First off: It Stuck. So far ;).

I have mixed feeling about last month’s performance for affiliate commissions. Did I smash, beat, whip all previous monthly records? Yes! By $97. Here’s my story and why I’m not all-that ecstatic (don’t get me wrong though, I’m loving the increases!):

I experienced one of my routine CJ constipated months. Going days without sales–even a new merchant that was rocking the house with conversions went *MUTE*, choked, died, for days!

Although I thought I finally had this site perfectly tuned for maximum conversions, I had to switch things out again and move CJ stuff around and replace with other merchants/networks into the prime areas on my website. They picked up the pace at a good clip, but it wasn’t enough to meet April’s $/unique visitor numbers.

In the middle of May I was down to 8 cents/unique before the changes were made. With the change to network/merchant placement, I was able to get that bumped up to just under 12 cents/unique by month end. Not quite enough to meet May’s record of 14 cents/unique.

I don’t know why CJ plugs up randomly for me. I don’t know why I can put another network in the same spot for the same merchandise (different merchant of course) and it performs on par. This is one of those Bad CJ Mojo Moments that just happen for me. I try not taking it personally. I try not imagining this Wicked CJ Employee laughing wildly and pushing the Big Red Button on and off for my account. It’s not healthy.

Whatever.

So yeah. Mixed emotions. When CJ is performing and sizzly, it’s a whole bunch of fun and giggles! But CJ was stinky-ish for me when I look at the numbers over the entire month–yet I was still able to hang on and kick butt!

Here’s the blow by blow for the Affiliate Site Focus project site:

Traffic: 4024 unique visitors

Up 500 unique visitors from April

Affiliate Earnings: $477.96

Down $7.33 From April

Earnings Per Unique Visitor: 0.12 (rounded up from .118)
Down 0.02 From April

Discouraging? Not really. Stuff happens. I realize the progress is slow, but it’s still progress. Traffic is the hardest thing to draw, and I’m succeeding with that at least. If I shake that money tree hard enough, something’s bound to happen!

What’s it look like for this month so far? CJ’s still not the #1 Hotty for me, but everyone else is hanging on and performing at their regular pace. Not sure if I’ll beat last month’s numbers or not, but it looks good so far :).

That S.O.B. Shoemoney Just Spammed Me

I’m pulling a late one (around 3 a.m. here), and I get not one, but *two* pieces of spam from that spin-meister shoemoney. How the hell does this guy get away with his stunts?

He’s like this self-promotional PR cyclone that everybody just eats right up. Even when he spams them.

Well I happen to luvs me some shoemoney just as much as the next person–I’ll let him off the spam hook. This time. And even do as he asks me to. Sonofa!

As per Shoemoney’s request:

Heads up, reminder about this week’s Shoemoney show on webmaster radio, tonight (Tuesday) at 5pm CST 6pm EST:

This Week’s Show – How To Monetize Community Websites Traffic with Lee Dodd

This show if you have not guessed already is how to make money from community driven sites like forums and other social network type sites.

If you’re struggling to monetize your forum, here’s your chance to find some answers.

PEACE

The Apprentice Blog Up For Sale on Ebay

Sometimes I’m smart as a whip. And sometimes I’m not. Here’s something I came across that gave me a big AHA! It’s so simple and common sense that I can’t believe I never thought of it before.

I noticed that The Apprentice Blog is up for sale. It may be a good time to buy, or not. That’s not what caught my interest. Take a look at the link to the eBay auction–it’s an affiliate link!

How fuggin smart is that! Blog about your auctions–but link to them with your affiliate link (eBay is a merchant in the CJ network). You make money both from the eBay sale as well as earn a commission from the affiliate link pointing to it. That’s a nice double dip!

I think The Donald himself would be impressed ;).

Note: The top bid is sitting at $560 as I write this, I hope he does well with it

Plan of Action: Commission Junction LMI

I’m going to be honest with you about something that I shouldn’t be too proud of. I’m not an activist at heart. I’ve probably been beaten down over time by the various government jobs (municipal and provincial) and various Big Business I’ve worked for over the years. My resume is all over the map–but heck that makes me interesting on paper at least! :P.

When I see the Steamroll Train toot tooting, I feel there aint nothing one can do but jump the hell off the tracks and move on before you get run over.

I’ve been spoon fed too many times the ‘we care’ and the ‘we listen’ and ‘we want your feedback’ and ‘we really are proactive’ so often that I know better. They don’t care. They don’t listen. And they just want your feedback so that they can scoop one or two gems (from management or wannabe management) to post on the corporate blog or inhouse propaganda (newsletters, bulletins, whatever).

When the Steamroll Train starts chugging…it means one thing. They (head office) are on a self determined one way track that they *will not* veer from. There’s a hidden agenda at the end of the track that they’re focused on and have a FULL DETERMINATION to reach that. Regardless of the noise and chatter that may create from within.

That doesn’t mean one has to tolerate it though. You shake hands, smile and say thanks, it was a blast, and carry on your merry way. No whining. No crying. No temper tantrums. No burned bridges. They won’t look back and neither do you. It’s just the way it is.

With Commission Junction’s new LMI announcement, I immediately saw what I perceive as the “Steamroll Train”. The fact that it wasn’t an option, that it was presented as a “must”, for something so archaic and user unfriendly as javascript, was the giveaway. That pretty much explains my ho hum reaction. I have no personal or emotional investment in CJ and can pull out at any time. And will do when necessary.

I *personally* think that no matter what is said or done at this point, even with an extension or a temporary pullback, CJ is determined to carry this out in the fullest way possible. And at the end of the day, we’ll see that realized.

Maybe some of you see things this way too. Maybe you’re like me, and you are the type of person who walks out and focuses her energy in a way that better suits your goals and personal path and direction rather than using that focus and energy to try changing the direction of the Steamroll Train.

What can we do to look out for our best interests in regards to CJ’s new plan?

Here’s one way of self preservation:

Go and sign the petition: The Commission Junction Javascript Link Petition. If you think this recommendation is contrary to what I’ve stated above, keep reading.

First I’d like to address concerns of ‘WTH is this Jangro and why sign his petition’. My answer: I don’t really know, I’m not that connected with who is who. But I do know that ABestWeb has the best BS & Shenanigan Busters on the planet, and if they are encouraging the petition be signed and that Jangro’s alright, I trust that judgment.

If you’re not interested in signing the petition (for whatever reason), consider contacting CJ directly and voicing your concerns.

At least do one or the other or both.

Why am I encouraging the petition be signed if I do believe that at the end of the day, after all the games and time outs are played, CJ will be 100% javascript? Because you can use it to give your merchants a wakeup call.

Contact every merchant that you are serious about working with and want the relationship to continue. One on one.

Example:

I’m concerned about CJ’s new Link Management Initiative and I’m informing you that it is not an option for me to use the new javascript links on any of my websites.

Many affiliates are publicly voicing their concerns here:

http://www.jangro.com/cj-petition.php

And many more affiliates have contacted CJ directly. I want to contact you on a personal level because I do value our business relationship and want that to continue.

eBay, one of the most successful and largest online ecommerce sites today, has listened to the concerns of its affiliates and has implemented a new HTML workaround for its affiliates (read: eBay response to CJ LMI Initiative).

I’d like to know what your plans are. Will you consider implementing another option for your affiliates?

Some ideas:

  • Move to another affiliate network
  • Continue working with CJ, but also work with another affiliate network (you don’t need to work with CJ exclusively)
  • Create an inhouse program separate from CJ tracking
  • Request CJ implement the same tracking and linking options for your affiliates that it has done for eBay

I would prefer to continue doing business with you, but I cannot work with javascript links and need another option.

Please advise me on what your plan of action is with CJ’s new initiative.

Thank you,

Super Affiliate

My plan of action is somewhat contrary to the purpose of Jangro’s petition. He’s interested in working with CJ to create a fair middle ground for all concerned (make the javascript links optional).

This plan of action I propose deals directly with the merchants and has a self interest of continuing a business partnership between merchants and affiliates–regardless of what CJ ends up doing.

CJ can do whatever it wants to do to get where it wants to go. It’s their business. Their battle plan. Their train.

Forget about all that.

Do what you have to do to preserve your profitable relationships. Regardless of what CJ does for awhile, temporarily or long term.

Today’s Plan of Action Recap:

Sign Petition

Contact merchants directly, make them aware of the petition and what the public response is. Show them the ‘noise’. Tell them what your expectations and needs are.

Then await feedback and plan/act accordingly to best suit your business goals.

Right now, half an hour to an hour signing a petition and emailing merchants. Cut and paste emails. And you’ve made your best effort to assure your current business relationships will continue.

The thing merchants need to remember is that CJ can more easily afford to lose 25%+ overall of their affiliate base. They get a piece of the whole pie. They have some room to play with and can put at risk.

But can an individual merchant afford to lose even 10% or 20% of their own personal affiliate base? That’s a lot of coin.

Sidenote: Read This Scary Concern

Flickrpreneur: Using Affiliate Programs on Flickr

I received a note from Ozgur about one of his blog posts that readers here may be interested in:

Flickrpreneur: New opportunities to make money with Flickr

This little idea may big impact for users, brands and flickr itself. Let me explain, users of flickr or uploaders may use their affiliate programs on flickr. For example, if you take a picture of Threadless tshirt, just add note links of how to buy it.

I think it’s a great idea that some here may want to pursue! I’ve added Ozgur’s blog to my feed reader too, it looks good so far and anything to help with marketing and business trends baby!

Sidenote: Spamming my blog comments gets you ~*nowhere*~ here. But privately contacting me with something worthwhile for readers like Ozgur did–you’ll have better luck ;).

The $100 Commish Teaser

Nonstick SprayYou login to your aff account and see whoa! a nice big juicy commish. For me a big juicy commish is anywhere from $75 up. That gets my attention.

Heck who am I kidding. Anything above $10 a pop brings a smile to this pretty face ;).

And then…you dig a bit deeper to see which merchant the deal was done through…and you see it’s THAT MERCHANT.

[swear word]

That merchant is ok and can clip a good rate of sales, but never has a commish stick over $30 or $40 bucks. Dang it. It has plenty of big ticket items. And you have small amounts of traffic specifically looking for that particular big ticket item.

But. It’s never to be, they’re all unstickable for whatever reason (the big dollar ones). It’s like Affiliate Marketing Pam – the nonstick spray.

As I’m typing this, I see a juicy number sitting in my account that popped in today. It’s so darn close to $100 that I’m just going to say and pretend it is.

I think 48 hours was the last stretch of time it took for that merchant to pull back a biggy, but sometimes it’s within hours. I’ll start my stopwatch now to see how fast this one gets ripped.