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Microsoft Adcenter takes a stance on Trademark Terms and Bidding

3 People Speaking Their Mind - Put In Your Two Cents!

Posted on August 30, 2007 in Affiliate Information, MSN Search, PPC  

To my surprise and delight I got an email from MSN adcenter today concerning bidding and using trademark terms. (cough Google… I hope your listening) The stance from my point of view is in favor of publishers and puts the responsibility where it is back on the trademark owners and not using the Search engines to police their trademark for them. The Official email:

Microsoft adCenter is changing the way we manage our trademark policy starting September 10, 2007. While no change will be made to the trademark policy itself, this update aligns better with marketplace practices, speeds up editorial review to get your ads live faster, and ensures consumers see relevant ads.

Microsoft adCenter’s Trademark Policy

As stated above, we are not changing the trademark policy itself. You may still use trademarked terms
in your ads  when you, as the advertiser, are the owner of the trademark, an affiliate or reseller of trademarked products or services, or a site that uses the trademarked term in an informational,
descriptive, or non-competitive manner. Infringing use of trademark terms by direct competitors remains a violation of Microsoft adCenter policies. 

What’s changing?

It will now be the advertiser’s responsibility to obtain permission from the trademark owner to use a trademarked term in their ads. It will also be the trademark owner’s responsibility to address ongoing
incorrect usage of their trademark term(s) directly with third-party advertisers.  Microsoft adCenter will no longer intercede to obtain permission for the advertiser wanting to use a trademarked term. 

What does this mean for my search advertising?

Your ads may display next to other ads that contain your trademarked terms.
Affiliates, resellers, and third parties may show up against queries for your trademarked terms.
Competitor’s ads may show up in search results against queries for trademarks in certain scenarios, due to match types other than exact.

For example, if a generic term is included in the overall search query, advertisers who bid on the generic term may show up in the search results.

If you are a trademark owner and you believe your trademark is being misused in Microsoft adCenter, you can submit a report by following the instructions on our Trademark Concern Form.

Sounds like good news for publishers/affiliates when it comes to bidding on trademark terms. While I agree using trademark terms without persmission is bad but there is no reason that for instance a Target ad shouldn’t show up when someone is searching for Wal-mart.

Affiliate Account Managers a Dime a Dozen or Worth their Weight in gold?

8 People Speaking Their Mind - Put In Your Two Cents!

Posted on August 27, 2007 in Affiliate Managers, Affiliate Networks  

Anyone starting in Affiliate marketing or those that have been through the ringer know that there are some good affiliate managers and there are some bad affiliate managers. The key is when you find a good one hold onto them.  Personally Affiliate Account Managers (AM) can be well worth their weight in gold!

First, a good AM doesn’t just look out for the company they work for they find ways for you to grow and earn more. I mean common the more you earn the more they earn. This means they don’t just send you generic emails saying try this offer but try to find offers that will work well with what you are already pushing or even a new hot offer out the gates so you can jump on it.

Second, a good AM WILL bump your payout on an offer. Yes they have limitations as to what they can do but there isn’t a single offer that I have ever come across that I couldn’t get a bump on. A real good AM looks for ways to bump you even at times to help you succeed above the rest.  One instance is I was promoting an offer and doing well. It got completely pulled but the network had a similar offer from another company. To make up for the unexpected pull I got the top payout for that offer and in turn I slammed it hard and made the Network, the Merchant and Myself a nice chink of change.

Thirdly, a good AM will communicate with you. If you have had an am for more than two weeks and you haven’t gotten an email, aim or phone call you should worry. One of two things is happening. Either they are on coast and don’t care or they are working heavily with the affiliates they already have and don’t have much time for you. THAT MEANS REQUEST A NEW AM and do it NOW! 

Lastly, how do you know you got a bad AM? They rarely communicate with you. They rarely bump you without you asking or give you the run around when you ask for a bump.  You never hear about new offers that are out or ones coming up the pipeline. You gain no value from the relationship with them except more “spam” in your Inbox. THAT MEANS REQUEST A NEW AM and do it NOW!

Remember with Account Managers it is in the best interest for both you and them that you make more money. But remember it is a two way street, you can’t ignore an account manager and then expect them to give you a bump or some hot offers. 

A Revolution Coming to WordPress

3 People Speaking Their Mind - Put In Your Two Cents!

Posted on August 23, 2007 in Working Online  

A Revolution Theme has come to Word Press. Many of us out there love to utilize wordpress for our blogs but even our sites. Well this theme is kicking it when it comes to making your blog style and design look a “website”. While the theme isn’t free it is cheap $59.95 and you gain access to all the future updates of the design. Plus the design is taking requests for what people would like the theme to be, able to do and look like. Straight from the developers site:

Why You Should Use the Revolution Theme

Revolution is user friendly, customizable theme that is an ideal solution for online magazines, online newspapers, and other websites that wish to use WordPress as a content management system. Custom themes can easily cost you more than $1000, so the $59.95 is a steal!

So If you utilize wordpress then I suggest you check out the Revolution Theme. I will be putting it to use on a few future projects :) .

Why Not Tracking Your Campaigns can Cost you Money!

6 People Speaking Their Mind - Put In Your Two Cents!

Posted on August 22, 2007 in Affiliate Tips, PPC, Yahoo Search Marketing  

You can read everywhere that people suggest you track you campaigns and statistics, even on this blog. Meaning not relying on Google, Yahoo, Msn or other networks to rely on them to send you just the country or target traffic you are paying for.  There are many programs out there that you can pay for that will track the IP’s of your visitors and be able to tag to a certain campaign, or you can have one built. I personally had one built for me as the ones out there worked but I couldn’t get the information I wanted or get it in the way I wanted it. Yes this cost me a decent penny to get this tracking program built, but it has paid for itself already several times over.
Take this example. I am running a campaign on yahoo search marketing and I was checking my program stats and noticed that I was seeing a lot of traffic from foreign countries and my whole account is set to US only.  So I dig thru my stats for Aug 1 thru 13 and find that anywhere from 10 to 25% is from foreign countries.  So I log into my Yahoo search marketing account and contact them letting them know what I am seeing and attach a report for just one of the days and state that I am seeing this on all days Aug 1 thru 13. A day later I get an email stating it has been escalated to their click fraud department and I should get an email in a few days. Two days later I get this email:

Our investigation concluded that your account experienced one or more occurrences of the following situations:

?        Unusual end user activity or behavior
?        System issues

As a result, we have issued an adjustment to your account in the amount of $X,XXX.XX. This adjustment should post to your account within three to four business days. You can view your billing history through the Reports section of your account by selecting the Billing Transaction Detail Report.

To protect the integrity of our systems, we unfortunately cannot provide you with the specific details associated with the identified pattern of behavior. We want to assure you that we are always working to improve the quality of the traffic delivered to advertisers and as such we are taking the appropriate steps to help prevent these types of activity from occurring again in the future. Our sophisticated Click Protection System runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is designed to prevent advertisers from being charged for certain clicks. However, there may be instances, such as this one, where we make additional adjustments to your account.

As you can see they don’t come out and say we agree with you that you received foreign traffic, they did offer me a nice credit. With that said I was making a profit on the campaign even with this amount of foreign traffic being sent. So the credit is just icing on the cake, but this is something that is deserved by me as I am paying for US traffic not foreign traffic. This is just one example of why you need to track your campaigns by a third party software that tracks IP addresses etc. to monitor it for foreign traffic or even click fraud that you are billed for.  One other instance you can read about is from PepperJam Search and their $10,000 “Goodwill Credit” .

Leaving Your Day Job to Work Online

16 People Speaking Their Mind - Put In Your Two Cents!

Posted on August 20, 2007 in Affiliate Tips, Working Online  

Many people know that in October of 2006 I left my day job (Electrical Engineer) to work online full time, and i get asked all the time how i did it. Well today i am going to go over some things i did to prepare for that day but also how i came to the conclusion that it was worth the risk. ***

First thing I suggest to anyone is that if you are currently doing it as a hobby don’t use the extra money to just have fun, use it to pay off debt. When i turned in my resignation at my day job the only debt i had was my mortgage, no car notes, no credit card bills. I was able to do this because i planned ahead and used the extra money i was making online to pay off those debts. I would highly suggest this to anyone that is considering leaving, that is if you have debt at all.  (If you don’t already have one, build up a nest egg that you culd support your family for atleast 6 months, i recomend a year but 6 months will do.)

Second can i handle working from home or do i need an office. This is a tough call for many but was easy for me. I don’t have kids yet only my wife, so i know the distractions would be minimal. I chose to work at home and so far it has been great. If i had kids i would probably have to rent out an office or build a seperate building or something so that they would know Dad is going away to work.

Thirdly and most important can you handle the ups and downs that come with working online. Talk to any person making money online and they will tell you about the ups and downs. Server crashes, boots from google, hackers, Clients not paying, a fad dies off, the list goes on. With that you want to diversify your revenue streams and make plans of how you handle server outtages etc.. (if 100% critical there are companies that guarantee 100% up time but you will pay for it. ) Depending on how you plan to make your living online will vary your ups and downs greatly. For me i mainly do affiliate marketing, IF an offer gets pulled or cancelled that could mean hundreds or thousands of profit i won’t be getting anymore. Do i panic…. well maybe a little but then i gain composer and move on to the next thing. But with that i also have a baseline of normal websites earning revenue for me thru various revenue streams. so even when i “panic” my earnings online will still more than cover my bills its more of man that sucks that i am not making that anymore.

How did i decide it was worth the risk??? Well it came down to a conversation with my wife as i was basically working two jobs and i enjoyed both of them. One working as electrical engineer from 8 to 5, and from 6 to 10 as webprenuer. As you can see doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for family. So after much thought and discussion. I concluded i didn’t want to look back on my like 5 or 10 years from now still working as an engineer saying i wonder what would have happened had i gone full time working online. That is what sold it for me as i never want to live life with regrets… plus what was the worst case… my wife would have to find a job and i would have to find a job. Not so bad of a failing outcome as most families both husband and wife work 8 to 5 jobs.  So from there i took the plunge into full time online work.

I do have one regret after doing this for over 9 months, I wish I had done it SOONER!

*** Please note that these are my thoughts an opinions and I am not a financial advisor. You have to make your own decision on how you want to live your life and what you want to do with your money.

10 ways to make Money without Money Online

17 People Speaking Their Mind - Put In Your Two Cents!

Posted on August 15, 2007 in Working Online  

10 ways to make money without money online was inspired by friends and family asking how they could make money online without money. Of course I tell them you can make more even if you have just a little money like 100 bucks but most said they wanted to go the free route. So here they are 10 ways to make money online without money.

1. & 2. Write on a topic using blogspot or wordpress blog and then to monetize it use adsense or cpa offers to make money off the people that visit your site.  Blogspot and wordpress naturally rank well in search engines so it won’t take long before you get some traffic.

3. Find forums to post on that allow links in your signature and put cpa offer link in footer that would appeal to the visitors of the site. Then just get to posting, make sure your posts are good and on topic otherwise you will end up getting banned.

4. Get paid to post in forums. Many people are looking to give their forums a bump in users or to help kick it off so they will pay people to sign up and make posts anywhere from a few pennies to 30 cents a post. Again quality gets the higher pay.

5. Get paid to write articles, press releases, or blog posts. Many people are looking to outsource and will pay people to write their content for them. If you are a decent writer you can make some good money doing this (some people make a living at it)

6. Get paid to submit sites for directory listings. This one will not make you a ton of money and will take more time but you can make money doing this. If you decide to do this make sure you tout that you are HAND submitting to the directories, and make sure the first few people you do submissions for are 100% correct categories titles etc..

7. Build myspace friends list then sell account. People will actual buy your myspace account from you especially if you built it up yourself and don’t have bots auto inviting thousands (even if you do people will still buy but pay less)

8.Take surveys online and get paid (pinecone research is best). Never pay to join a survey club or site as most of those are scams. All the legit ones are free to join. You can get paid anywhere from .25 up to 100.00 dollars to take surveys and even test out products (I did this right after college just for fun and got some cool stuff to test out)

9. Build up post count on popular forums then rent out forum signature or avatar for a monthly fee.

10.  Get paid to build links for sites or manage link exchanges for sites. Basically you will track and solicit sites for new links for your client. This may mean you are doing just exchanges or maybe your client has money to spend on links so you can offer payment to these sites in return for a link. If you are good at using google for finding sites on topics this could be a good one for you.

So there you have it 10 ways to make Money without Money Online. All it takes is some determination and time. Now you can get started earning some money without money.

It is a great time to be a Online Merchant

5 People Speaking Their Mind - Put In Your Two Cents!

Posted on August 14, 2007 in Online Merchant, Working Online  

Right now is an awesome time to be a merchant, if you have a great product. Just think of it this way. Say you are a merchant and you have a good item. Let’s call this item billybobs. So you have a website where you sell billybobs and you are doing well selling them but want to sell more as you have a great profit margin. So you hear about affiliate marketing where you can have people promote your billybobs and give them a percentage for each sale or pay them per lead etc..  Since you are selling a product you would either go with flat rate or a percentage. For this instance lets say the Billybob’s sell for 30.00 and you have a great margin of 20.00.  So it would be worth it to you to pay an affiliate 10.00 of that margin to make the sale. So you join CJ or push your offer thru various Affiliate networks.

Here is the best part for merchants, you get free branding and promotion. Because you only pay out when you make a sale. Trust me there are many affiliates that will promote your product spend anywhere from 10 to a few hundred and maybe not even make a sale but got more of the word out on your billybobs. Plus you increase your sales from those affiliates that promote your product to areas and people you would have never thought to reach. The only downside is you need to clarify if there is any areas you don’t want your product promoted. Other than that have fun enjoying the rewards of being a Merchant on the internet.

Tips, Tricks, Making Money Online This Week

3 People Speaking Their Mind - Put In Your Two Cents!

Posted on August 13, 2007 in Affiliate Tips, Working Online  

This week I am going to play a little catch up on my blog and post some Tips, Tricks and talk about making money online. Last week I didn’t post much as i was out fishing with my dad catching a limit of speckled trout :) .  I have some posts in the works and will be posting a new one every day this week. I will discuss merchants, CPA Networks, Advertising Networks, Tips on making money online, and try to share a few tricks that work!

CPA Affiliates Top 5 CPA Networks

13 People Speaking Their Mind - Put In Your Two Cents!

Posted on August 10, 2007 in Affiliate Networks, CPA Networks  

I figure it is Time to update this post – CPA Affiliates Top 5 Networks.  As goals and time changes sometimes what was hot is no longer hot and what was non existent may be rocking. With that said i have decided to update my Top 5 CPA Networks List. Also note that just because a network is no longer listed doesn’t mean I stopped using them it just means that they aren’t in my top 5 anymore. These networks are here to stay and will be around for a long time. If you signup with these networks and stay with in their TOS you will get paid and paid on time!

Best CPA Networks:

1. Neverblue Ads 

2. CX Digital (Incentaclick)

3. Maxbounty

4. HydraNetwork

5. Azoogle
 If you have not signed up for any of the networks listed above you should click the banners and signup as you are missing out on extra money you could be earning from these CPA networks.

Expansion and Diversification is an Affiliate Marketers Best Friend

5 People Speaking Their Mind - Put In Your Two Cents!

Posted on August 2, 2007 in Affiliate Tips, Working Online  

Ok I know it has been a while since I posted. I apologize, I have been enjoying life too much…. Wait a second I don’t apologize, but I will be posting more. I wanted to give a little insight in this post and talk about Expansion and diversification in Affiliate Marketing.
First, if all you have had success out the gate congrats, but for most this doesn’t happen. BUT even people I know that have had good success out the gate (revenues of 100K a month), I know some that are back working their 9 to 5 or looking for 9 to 5 to pay the bills.  Why… basically they didn’t have any expansion or diversification plan… they banked one or two hot offers and they slowly died off. To really make it in this business you need to expand… try new offers outside your comfort zone.  Try diversification with other affiliate networks… whatever you do don’t just sit there and live the fat cat life for a few months only to find yourself working for the man again because you didn’t plan.  An old saying that I love is “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!” But I feel that if you plan to succeed you will succeed if you truly put forth the effort and don’t expect something for nothing.  A great example is Shoemoney…. He made and still makes money from ringtones, but the huge payout days have passed… but he had forethought and in turn created Auction Ads. Which was recently bought, for how much I don’t know, but I figure between 1 and 5 million. Of course he still runs affiliate campaigns and builds sites and he doesn’t want his online empire to die so he continues to look for the next big thing.  I encourage you to do the same not just what you are promoting today… but what are you working on today, that will still make you money a year from now ( 2 years, 5 years, etc..). If you don’t have anything that falls into that category you are just waiting for a bust or plan on killing yourself everyday to keep afloat.
1. Plan for Today
2. Plan for the Future.
3. In the Plans Diversify (Campaigns, companies and revenue streams)
4. Enjoy life!  (It’s no fun having a load of cash and not enjoying it)