Gotta Get it On eBay

Google Chrome Comic BookGoogle Chrome, there it was, a copy of the same comic book announcing THE search company’s foray into the browser market, was for sale on eBay. Not only was this rare find, only given to Google employees or special contest winners, up for sale, the auction was scheduled to end some time around 11:30 on a Saturday evening, traditionally a low traffic time meaning lower final value on eBay.

While some copies of Google Chrome had fetched over $1,500, this one, only 6 hours from auction end when discovered, had a current bid of only $34. Thus began the mental process of valuation, and eventual profit, in my mind. After thinking about it for a while and waiting to hear back on my inquiry to the seller, I put in a bid of $105.03 bringing the current bid up to only $35. I was sure to get this one. As I checked the counter at the bottom of the auction, only 65 people even knew about this item and it was ending at a time when most people would either be out partying or asleep for an early rise to make it to church on Sunday morning, they certainly wouldn’t be doing business on eBay.

I went to bed about an hour before auction end, confidently thinking I would be the proud owner of this new rarity when I woke in the morning.

Come Sunday morning I was a bit short of breath as I raced to boot up my laptop and see how much Google Chrome ended up costing me. Zero…what?…OUTBID! Son of a biscuit-head, how did that happen? Someone bid $150 when I wasn’t watching.

I sat in stunned silence for a few minutes. My hopes of owning a rare piece of Internet history, for a steal no less, were dashed. Someone else now owned my Google Chrome comic book!

After several more minutes my blood pressure returned to normal and a barley visible smile broke out on my face that was quite a bit larger on the inside when the realization struck, so this is what eBay does to people.

I headed off to church that morning happy to be an eBay affiliate.

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Better Category Stats At eBay Partner Network

Good news for eBay affiliates, the eBay Partner Network will be expanding their stats starting next Wednesday October 22nd so you will now be able to see the specific categories where your sales are being generated. Not only will you be able to see the top level categories, but you will be able to see down to the 3rd sub category level.

An example report screenshot is below:

eBay Categories Report

This is great news because many sales that eBay affiliates generate are not always in the categories or products they’re targeting. Since an eBay cookie lasts for 7 days once you send over one of your visitors, they can end up buying either closely related products to what you feature on your site or they may buy something not even remotely related.

This will now allow you as an eBay affiliate to see if your visitors are making purchases of related items and armed wth those stats you can now start to target items you may not have thought about in the past. For instance, maybe you have a BANS Store featuring model trains and in your research looking at the new category report you see that you are getting several sales in the antique model ship category, whodathunk? You can now include this category on your site or build a out a completely new site featuring these items.

You can also use the report to see the related categories that are already doing the best for you and likewise expand your efforts in that area. Maybe your model trains site specializes in HO scale Tyco trains, but you find many visitors are buying HO scale Lionel trains once they get to eBay, you can now put more emphasis on that category to feature it more prominently on your site.

At the present time you can download your eBay reports and see some of this information already, but the new category report coming out on October 22nd will allow you to get a quick look at the specific categories, in neat charts and graphs, where your sales are really happening. You can then act accordingly and tweak your Build A Niche Store site or whatever other kind of site you are using to take advantage of the eBay affiliate program.

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eBay Affiliate Earnings Bounce Back

September was an awful month for my eBay affiliate earnings. It was one of the slowest months in a long time, down from a high of just under $1,200 in July. In the first 19 days of September, affiliate earnings were only $179.13 or $9.43 per day which had me seriously concerned. In the same time period in July, earnings were at $694.95. That works out to $36.58 per day. What makes September even weirder is that eBay affiliates received an email on Sept 12th stating that revenue had accidentally been over-reported on Sept 5-9. Fantastic, I thought, I was having a terrible month and eBay has actually overpaid me.

However, as bad as September was, earnings for October seem to be back on track. As of the 4th of this month, revenue is already at $176.74 or $44.19 per day. Of course, this seriously makes me wonder just what the heck was going on at eBay in September.

I’ve read many a complaint on the eBay affiliate forums, but have never experienced anything remotely like what others have. I remember reading about someone who had been sending 10,000 people a day to eBay and saw that drop to something like 1,000 to 2,000 a day after eBay brought their affiliate program in-house. I didn’t follow up on that, so I don’t know what happened to this individual, but that was an obvious problem. I’m not sure that’s the case with my issue. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes with affiliate earnings. Traditionally Saturday is the slowest day for Adsense earnings, but one Saturday in August was nearly a record and the next Saturday was right there well below average.

Large swings in income from one source of revenue to the next is nothing new. I’m not terribly alarmed, but I will be posting at the eBay affiliate forums and BANS forums to see what others are experiencing.

Thankfully my highest earning Build A Niche Store is leading the revenue race as usual with another store in the same niche, only much wider in scope, running a close second. So far October is looking good and it would be nice for a couple of stores to be doing well instead of just one providing 80% of my eBay income. We’ll see how it all pans out at the end of the month, that is provided we have anything that resembles an economy left in the United States.

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Record Affiliate Earnings Over $500 Yesterday

On the heels of Monday’s PPC earnings of over $200, yesterday was a significant milestone in my affiliate career as I realized a record profit of over $500, of which $446 came from pay per click. The two PPC campaigns that are the most profitable for me more than doubled in volume and earnings from the previous day.

The last few days of nice profits have been a really great way to end the month, however I don’t think it will be a record overall for the entire month. I got hammered this month on eBay earnings and Adsense income suffered a bit because of the slowdown during this time of year in the travel industry. I make the bulk of my Adsense earnings from travel. While earnings from PPC is up significantly this month, combined Adsense and eBay income is down by more than $1,000.

While it is great to earn this much in a day, and do the bulk of it from PPC, it’s not really where I want to be with by online endeavors. The earnings from paying for traffic are very tenuous and could go away tomorrow. One of the campaigns is a little more stable than the other and should be able to  make a profit for the next few months, but I don’t expect the other to last that long.

This is why it’s so important to diversify your income as an affiliate and why I sometimes harp on this point. You just never know where your income might come from month to month. It has been the story of my affiliate career to do really well with one source of income only to have another source drop significantly or even completely dry up. I used to make $200 to $300 per month producing $1 leads for Rentalo.com from my travel sites, but no longer use their program.

It’s nice to make $500 in one day, but at this point I’m only considering it bonus money. I’ll get really excited when I make that kind of money every day for a month. 

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Make Money With StoreStacker Affiliate Store Builder

 Visit StoreStacker.com

For the last few weeks I’ve been toying around with a new store building script called StoreStacker that I believe has potential even though I had quite the adventure installing it. Yes, StoreStacker has potential, but if you don’t have the right hosting that includes Zend Optimizer and the ability to easily run cron jobs, this could be one seriously frustrating install for you.

StoreStacker is a script that you upload and install on your server that grabs products and feeds from eBay, Amazon, YouTube, Clickbank, Overstock, RegNow, HotelClub and any RSS feed that mashes everything up into a nice little store that could have anywhere from 50 pages to 1,000’s of pages. With the exception of  products featured on your home page, StoreStacker creates an individual page for every single item in your store. For instance, I created this digital camera deals web site with products from eBay and Amazon, photography videos from YouTube and photography books from Clickbank and Amazon, with every product having its own page.

As you go to each product or video page, StoreStacker grabs the product description, tags and other pertinent info along with automatically mashing up different products, books and videos related to the content on the page, giving you unique content for search engines to index. I installed the digital camera site as a test only 3 weeks ago or so and as of this post I have 11 pages indexed by Google so far.

While StoreStacker does create a lot of content for you, I would never suggest you just throw up one of these stores and not add any of your own original content. There’s just too much garbage on the net today and we certainly don’t need to add to the cyber-landfill that spammers and spolgs have created. StoreStacker allows you to add content to any page just by navigating to each one and adding your own product description or whatever you want and I suggest you do this to as many pages as you can (my store still needs a lot of work).

Since your store will change over time because of updating you will do through a cron job, you probably aren’t going to want to add content to your individual eBay pages. They will obviously change once your store updates. What you can do is add content to your home page, each individual category page and to pages that will be permanent such as product pages from Clickbank, videos from YouTube and some Amazon pages.

Now for hosting StoreStacker. I have to be totally honest with you because that’s why I call this blog Affiliate Confession. Installing this script was a huge pain, no joke. It’s probably more the fault of my hosting company 1and1.com rather than StoreStacker, but it took me 3 days to get this thing working correctly and I was almost to the point of dropping the entire project. However, I see the potential of something like this to make some decent cash and I decided to stick with it.

I think the problem is that 1and1 doesn’t have Zend Optimizer installed and doesn’t use cPanel as as the default interface once you log into your hosting account. Most hosts either have Zend Optimizer installed or will do it for you because it is not something most companies want you to try on your own. After trying to install Zend with no luck on my own and a few emails to tech support pleading with them, they finally installed it for me and I was able to complete the installation of StoreStacker.

Another obstacle I ran into was the ability to run cron jobs at 1and1. Amongst many other things, cPanel allows you to easily set up cron jobs which will automatically update your StoreStacker Store with new products as eBay, Amazon, Overstock and other sites update their products (of course it is especially important for you to be able to update eBay at least once a day). Since 1and1 doesn’t have cPanel, it is a little more complicated process to run cron jobs there. You can still update your store without running a cron job by going into your store interface and updating each category page by hand.

I think StoreStacker can be a nice product for building a quick affiliate store or 2 or 3 (actually you can build as many stores as you want for the price of admission), but you definitely don’t want to host with 1and1 if you decide to use it. If you do get StoreStacker, make darn sure you write to tech support at your hosting company and ask them if Zend Optimizer is installed (or if they will do it for you, for each store) and ask if they use cPanel or have a way to easily set up cron jobs.

Pricing for StoreStacker is $97 for the script and includes the Amazon and eBay plugins. Additional plugins for Clickbank, Overstock, YouTube and others are $25 each. However if you are one of the first few customers some of the plugins will be free, but I’m not sure how many.

Check out StoreStacker and see if it’s for you.

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