Can’t Get Into The eBay Affiliate Program, Try This

Can't get Into EPN?It seems like the powers that be at eBay are making it more and more difficult to get into the eBay Partner Network as of late. Even those that have substantial web sites are having their applications rejected. While it may certainly seem unfair to those just getting into affiliate marketing, since eBay can make you quite a bit of money, eBay is just trying to protect themselves and the quality of the traffic going to their auction sites.

Gone are the days when a new affiliate can join EPN, put up a few links on their blog or site and start making money from eBay. In the offline world when you want to buy a franchise, having the money to do so isn’t going to guarantee you get the MacDonald’s you’ve been wanting. Franchisers want their name, image and complete system protected because that’s what makes that particular system work. So why should you expect eBay or any other large online company to be any different?

With Google not looking favorably on thin affiliate sites, article directories such as EzineArticles.com not letting you link to BANS type site pages with auctions on them and other factors, it is evident that the affiliate game is changing. It has been some time coming, but a few years ago the search engines were clogged with sites that featured every affiliate banner imaginable, Adsense arbitrage sites and so much garbage it took some time to find the results you wanted.

The point is, eBay is obviously one of the players demanding affiliates clean up their act. You saw it several months ago when they let several affiliates go who were sending them junky traffic and you see it now in the way they are selectively letting new affiliates into their program. So what’s a new and potential eBay affiliate to do who wants to join up? I’ll list a few things below, but they won’t be quick and they won’t be easy, because that’s not what eBay wants any longer.

These tips are all speculative as I don’t have a hot-line to the head honchos at eBay, but some should be pretty obvious they would help you get into the program.

1. Join eBay as a seller first and sell something – I would be willing to bet that eBay sellers will have a much easier time getting into eBay’s affiliate program than will non sellers. If you have been through the motions of selling through the auction format, you obviously understand the process and that can only translate into a better affiliate business for yourself. If you own a restaurant and want a MacDonald’s franchise, you have a better chance of getting one than if you run a lawn maintenance business or something else unrelated to burgers and fries.

I probably sold 50 things on eBay before joining as an affiliate and I’ve only had 1 item that didn’t sell the whole time while being a member. I was pretty familiar with what people wanted and how the business of eBay worked before the first affiliate sale was made.

2. Join eBay as a seller in your country of origin – As an addition to point number one, it’s probably a good idea to already be an eBay seller and have sold things on the site in your nation.

3. You should own the website you submit to eBay – this should be a no brainer, but people do submit really nice sites to eBay that they don’t own hoping that this great site will better their chances of getting in. If you don’t think eBay can figure this out, you probably don’t deserve to be one of their affiliates.

4. Don’t submit a BANS site as your only url – If you think you’re going to get into eBay with a BANS site and nothing else, it isn’t going to happen. Build a substantial niche site first selling other products from merchants besides eBay and once you get accepted you can add a BANS store to your existing site.

5. Build Your BANS site with content before you submit it – you can always use BANS as your content management system and build a substantial site before you put a single auction page on it. If your niche is cell phones for example, why not put up 40 or 50 pages of info about different phones, review and accessories available before you set up the site with auctions? You can always use Adsense and other affiliate programs to monetize your site even if you never get accepted to eBay.

6. If you have a make money site and that’s your niche, forget it! – Make money online sites and blogs are done, the niche is saturated and the party is over. If your only reason for building a site is to make money by telling people how to make money, do something else. eBay doesn’t want people selling scammy ebooks any longer (they got rid of those categories) on their site and if your an affiliate thinking there’s an EPN business there, there isn’t. Really, build something else, it’s done.

7. Make sure your niche is product related – I doubt very seriously eBay will let you in their affiliate program if your business is all about service even if you get a million visitors a day. eBay is a product driven business and they want affiliates that understand that. You stand a much better chance of being accepted into the EPN program if you have that cell phone site mentioned earlier than you do if your specialty is teaching people to speak in public or doing teleseminars.

The bottom line is that whoever is approving new eBay Partners now is going to want to be impressed by what they see you’re doing. They obviously want affiliates that understand the business of eBay, not people who are going to give it a try and see what happens.

Yes, doing the things listed above will take a substantial amount of time for you as an affiliate if you aren’t already somewhere along in the game. If you have some of these things in place just adjust and tweak where necessary and resubmit your application at a later date. Even if you never get accepted to be an eBay Partner your business will still benefit. eBay isn’t the only deal in town, it should just be an addition and another stream of income in the whole scheme of things.

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Sound The Alarm, BANS Is Dead! Oh Really?

Occasionally I see blog posts declaring the death of Build A Niche Store (BANS) and receive comments on the blog here predicting the same. Many times when this happens I head over to the BANS forums expecting to see Hiroshima type devastation and read about all its users calling for some of Obama’s stimulus handouts. Funny though, that just doesn’t seem to be the case.

What I do find is BANS users complaining somewhat about Google’s unfairness (who doesn’t complaining about that?), but an equal or larger amount of users gleeful about new records their network of stores or usually just one or two stores are setting month after month. At least once a week some new user testifies about making it into the $1,000 per month club (Not a real club, just a serious achievement users like to point to) or some other record such as $2,000, $3,000 or $4,000 per month. Apparently BANS users making $500 to $4,000 per month don’t realize it’s no longer a good way to make money.

Where there is a problem with BANS there is a problem with just about anything else you do on the Internet. Saying BANS is dead because of what is happening to a few users is like saying WordPress is dead, or Amazon is dead, or Azoogle, Neverblue and Pepperjam are dead. Just because some affiliates spam forums, build horrid looking sites, misrepresent products or steal commissions and gets caught doesn’t mean whatever affiliate programs or tools they’re using is dead. It means those affiliates need to get into and understand, really understand the game or get out and work in a cubicle or go flip burgers for a living.

On the other hand, yes, BANS is dead. It is dead for those that put up crummy sites that have nothing but auctions, pages and pages of auctions with no content. It is dead for those that build one site with nothing but auctions and expect to get accepted into eBay’s affiliate program. It is dead for those affiliates that create 20 sites that have 1 paragraph on the home page and nothing else. It is dead for those that build a site with every category and try to make it look just like eBay. It is dead for those that build sites with 30 different categories totally unrelated to each other. How anyone can believe they can throw up, in other words, barf out, a BANS site with zero content and make money is beyond me. Have you not been reading the news that Google wants relevant and useful information in its index?

Get a grip, how do you feel when you run across crap sites when you’re looking for something? And you want visitors to your equally crappy BANS site to spend more than 1 second window shopping at your Expensive-Watches-With-No-Content-And-An-Ugly-Header.com website. Am I missing something here? Google certainly isn’t.

If you want to build a business on the net and are committed to putting together a quality portal with information for visitors in your particular niche then Build A Niche Store is still for you. However, if you just want to make a quick buck and plan on creating a network of spammy BANS sites to match your splog network, please, don’t clog up the system.

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5 Reasons I’m Done With Acai Berry & Green Tea Diet Scams

I’ve been messing around with these ridiculous Acai Berry Diet and Green Tea diet scams for some time now and I’m finally done with them for several reasons, but I’ll limit the reasons to just 5 for the sake of brevity. Honestly, a lot of stuff available on the ad networks aren’t good for the consumer because of the cost, but these things are the worst.

1. These Diet Programs Are Scams– Have you ever taken the time to read the terms of service for these supposed free trials of whatever diet pill you’re thinking of promoting? That’s where you read what these weight loss supplements will end up costing you. The fact is, they are rip-offs of the worst kind. When someone orders a free trial and types in their credit card info, their 14 or 15 day free trial begins immediately even before their supplement has been shipped. So, by the time they get their free Acai Berry diet pills in the mail, the ordering individual has just a few days to try this new weight loss deal.

Then Mr, or more likely Mrs, Desperate Dieter starts getting billed on a monthly basis for a bottle of pills. And this ends up being quite expensive because when you actually read the fine print in the terms (usually hidden at the bottom of the page) you see that the cost is somewhere between $59 and $89 and sometimes there’s even a monthly newsletter or advice forum that’s an additional $15 to $30 per month added to the bottom line. I’ve seen charges as high as a total of $129 per month when you add everything up. Does that seem like a good deal for anyone except for the people selling this garbage?

2. All of The Acai Berry Scam & Review Sites, Are Scam Sites – Have you tried googling acai berry scam? What you’re going to get on the first page of results are nothing but results, except for one, and ads that lead to sites that supposedly review these products and give you the straight facts, when in reality they’re just trying to sell you these products. So much for Google being able to guess the intent of what people are searching for.

If you want to find out the true number of people that are ticked off about these scams you have to head over to ComplaintsBoard.com and read the 30 pages of complaints about acai berry diet pills. This should tell you that these supposed free weight loss trials do little more than just piss people off.

3. Google Hates These Products Because They Are Scams – Have you tried running any of these things lately on the content network? Google must be letting long time advertisers get all the advertising space available because you still see lots of these ads (the ones that make Google lots of money), but many, including myself, have had their entire ability to run any ad on Google’s content network because we have used the words free and acai berry or green tea in our text ads.

That’s just when the trouble started with with me. I was happily getting some killer traffic from the content network, but when I started running diet type ads about 3 to 4 months ago everything started getting squirrley and just before Christmas things really started to go downhill. While I thought I recovered after Christmas, it was only for a short while as the content network one day sends me a little traffic and the next it barely even trickles in.

Oh yea, try running one of these offers on Facebook now. It ain’t happening there either.

4. Diet Pills Aren’t A Good Way To Lose Weight – Losing weight isn’t about taking pills, it’s about changing your lifestyle and changing what you put on the end of your fork. I don’t believe in taking most diet supplements so I shouldn’t be trying to make money with them.

If you want to learn how to lose weight, check out our healthy diet website.

5. Neither Oprah Winfrey Nor Rachael Ray Endorses Any Of These Products– Seeing some of the landing pages of these offers you think the queen of cooking and the queen of daytime TV must own stock in them. Their pictures are all over the place when it comes to acai berry supplements, but I’ve seen several warnings from affiliate managers not to associate these two individuals with diet offers such as this. Funny, then why do they keep showing up on banners and landing pages?

And why do we see offers being discontinued on what seems like a weekly basis and new offers showing up at nearly the same rate? And why do the landing pages look the same, but only with different names? And why do the bottles have similar labels, but different names? My theory is that Oprah’s lawyers find one acai diet offer and shut that down and all the manufacturers do is change the name, get a new domain name, change their landing page and boom, you have a brand spanking new Acai berry diet or green tea patch or diet offer.

The way Google and Facebook have been treating advertisers of these products lately just shows how decpetive they really are. It should also be a warning to affiliates that these diet offers will soon be revamped because of regulation by the FTC, or some other alphabet soup government agency that Obama creates, just like what happened with ringtones some time back. Look for payouts to drop, serious issues to crop up from using Oprah and Rachael Ray in your advertising and probably these offers to be regulated out of existence soon.

There are just too many opportunities and too much to do to get caught up in the latest diet fads. There are also too many real products to promote that offer long term money instead of promoting scams that just end up taking money from people in a deceptive manner. As for me and my business, I’m done with them.

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Over $41,000 In Affiliate Earnings For 2008

I’ve had a couple people ask me to post my earnings for the entire year over 2008 so I though I’d add everything up and see how it came out. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the total came in at just over $41,000.

There are a lot of affiliate marketers out there that make way more than this amount, and they do it every month, and then there are also a lot of wannabe affiliate marketers that never earn their first $100 and end up doing something else, like mlm or surveys (Does anybody really make money doing that?). I guess I’m somewhere in the middle of the big bucks and the nothing, but the most important thing $41,777.32 for a years worth of affiliate earnings brings me is freedom, and I’d rather have that than just about anything.

The monthly totals are listed below and you can click on the name of the month for a breakdown of the earnings for that specific month.

January Net Earnings – $3,211.68
February Net Earnings – $2,439.62
March Net Income – $2,746.44
April Net Income – $2,352.31
May Net Income – $3,029.99
June Net Income – $3,479.61
July Net Income – $4,312.31
August Net Income – $3,818.06
September Net Income – $4,740.63
October Net Income – $5,315.48
November Net Income – $3,324.31
December Net Income – $3,006.88

Total Net Income for 2008 – $41,777.32

My consistent money makers over this past year have been Adsense and the eBay Partner Network by using Build A Niche Store although my BANS store earnings have dropped off quite a bit since the middle of the year. However, I’m not giving up on my most profitable BANS stores and have a plan to bring them back to life with added content and article marketing.

Don’t fret if you’re not making the big cash of the top affiliate marketers because you have to start somewhere and there is plenty of room in the affiliate marketing space for lots of people to make $41k a year. This is just a stepping stone though and hopefully this year will push that total even higher.

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Planning For A Sabbatical At 50

Sometimes it’s appropriate to take a serious look at what you’re doing in life and plan accordingly. I had wanted to be retired by the time I was 40. That didn’t happen. And now just 2 days ago I turned 49 and exactly 1 more Earth trip around the sun, and providing that Barack Obama isn’t the anti-christ, I’m looking at the big Five Ohh No!

With that in mind, on my birthday I implemented the plan to allow for my wife Jean and I to take a year off from work and set a new direction for our lives. Where the year 2010, and beyond, will take us I’m not quite sure yet, but in 2009 I’ll be working like a mad dog to raise the funds needed and set in place a business that keeps on working even when I’m not working at it.

As a little aside, don’t think when I mentioned retirement in the opening paragraph that means you go and sit on your backside, smoke a pipe and drink powdered lemonade while playing checkers with the rest of your retiree buddies all day long. That’s not living. Retirement is living life and filling in best where the good Lord can use you, but not having to worry how you’re going to pay for it. By the time I’m 50 I don’t want to be worried about how I’m going to make the money needed to spend my next 50 years here.

I’m not saying I’ll never put out any effort in the money making department of life after 50, I just don’t want that to be the main focus of my endeavors as it has been for the last 35 years or so.

What makes up the plan for this year and what is different than how I’ve conducted business in the past is that I’ll be outsourcing almost all my content writing. Right now I’m looking at getting about 50 articles a month written for the 3 main sites that have generated the bulk of my income for some time now. Two of those sites, one being a blog, are travel related, one of them focusing on a specific city or area of the United States and the other site is a BANS site that has at its highest income level produced over $1,000 a month.

The content I’m outsourcing will be used as articles for the sites and blog posts, but the majority of it will be used for article marketing and getting those all important incoming links pointing to your site. I’m hoping by the end of this year, or actually my 50th birthday next year, that I’ll have an additional 600 pages of content, blog posts and articles working for me making the elves at Google happy.

So, with the business side of life covered, what are Jean and I going to do on our year long sabbatical you may be thinking? While that isn’t 100% carved in stone just yet, we do have several ideas we’re kicking around. First, we have to have our house taken care of because by this time next year we’ll have probably 50 to 60% of our available yard covered with gardens so we will need someone to make sure all of that doesn’t die.

And for locations we’re looking at, right now we’re thinking of somewhere in Montana where it’s dark and I can play amateur astronomer on about 40 acres of land, a cabin somewhere in the Smoky Mountains or northern Georgia or on some sort of farming co-op in Costa Rica. As far as what we’d actually be doing, well for the farming co-op, that’s fairly obvious, but for the other locations we have a few book ideas rolling around in our brains. For me I’d like to turn Affiliate Confession into a book about how to make money through all the opportunities on the web. Heck, I already have 340 pages of affiliate marketing info online already with this blog, it would probably be useful to someone in a book format. And Jean has a couple ideas for books related to her Christian counseling work and healthy eating.

And when we’re done with the year long sabbatical, what then? One thing I know for sure, life will not return to normal, normal being spending 50 to 60 hours a week in front of the computer writing, doing research, learning more about what everyone else is doing and spending way too much time following rabbit trails originating at the Drudge Report.

Depending on what we may learn in Costa Rica or what we come up with pursuing a book we could either be teaching people how to turn their yards into mini farms or promoting our books in various venues. We’ll also get back to working our yard / mini farm that we hope to get to produce 40 to 50% of our food someday.

Right now, I have to get back to working on the main goal because I’ve spent way too much time writing this blog post.

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