27
Jan

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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26
Jan

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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14
Jan

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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1
Dec

Long Term Thinking In Your Affiliate Business

While earning money through PPC marketing is great, as an affiliate you also want to be thinking long term. When you get the hang of it, PPC is great for the quick buck, but you have to be constantly churning out new ideas and campaigns because old ones lose momentum and when you shut off your traffic, or lose it, there goes your cash-flow.

Yes, it is nice to make those fast dollars, but maybe you might not want to keep chasing the ever changing Google Adwords carrot or keep putting in the constant work that it takes to maintain your income. Are you setting up your affiliate business now for long term payoffs months or even years into the future?

Just the other day I put up a page on one of my BANS sites and will put up 2 or 3 more pages this week for a very desirable collectible with a fairly high price, but I don’t really expect to cash in on this work until probably the end of 2009 and long after that. This collectible is in a very narrow niche and won’t be released to the public until the spring of next year. For some time it probably won’t show up on eBay, but even when it does later in the year it won’t be at a premium price because these items will still be available from the manufacturer.

However, at the end of 2009 these collectibles will cease to be made and will only be available from aftermarket dealers and yes, you guessed it, from eBay as well. That’s when I expect to start earning nice commissions for these items because of increased prices and limited availability. And what’s a bonus is that these products will be sought after for years to come by the people in this particular market. If all goes as planned, and of course there are no guarantees, the pages I’m putting up now will have been indexed for more than a year and have high rankings for keywords related to these items. And while PPC traffic can be good if you find the right keywords to buy, nothing beats free organic traffic.

I learned about these items only by reading blogs in this niche and trying to stay somewhat current on what’s happening in this field. It’s not something I have tons of time to devote to, but it is an area of interest that I’m somewhat familiar with and along with reading blogs online I pick up magazines at Barnes & Noble every 3 weeks to a month just so that nothing really interesting or important passes me by.

There are a lot of things I read about such as this that I try to add to my network of sites on an ongoing basis because I want to be earning money way down the road without having to put in the effort again and again. Not many items are as suited to bring future ongoing profits as these collectibles will be, but this served as a great example of what you should be looking for to build a stable business and have an income many months and years down the road.

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25
Nov

BANS As A Landing Site & Google’s Schizophrenic Nature

Want to build yourself a landing site that gets a good quality score? Try using Build A Niche Store as as your content management system and see how much Google love you get. I recently started another site strictly for sending Adwords traffic to using the BANS script and for me, it’s working like a charm, but this apparent love for BANS from Google on the advertising side points out a bit of their truly schizophrenic nature in their artificially intelligent mind.

BANS Diet Keyword Quality Score

I say Google has this schizophrenic nature because on the one hand they seem to have no problem giving my landing pages for a diet product built on a BANS template a good quality score as seen from the above pic, but on the other hand they don’t seem to like BANS when it comes to organic rankings. While I still do have several BANS sites ranked and indexed by Google, three of my BANS sites have been completely removed from their index.

One of those sites was the air purifier auctions site I used as an example for my Build A Niche Store Tutorial series and another is a drums and percussion site that I had been working on and the third will remain nameless. These two cases are bizarre because while both of these sites could be better, they feature content and product descriptions on most pages and in the case of the air purifiers site, there are more content pages than there are auction pages and there is zero advertising on that site. I can’t for the life of me figure out why that site would have been de-indexed, unless the air purifier company EcoQuest International complained to Google because I was outranking them for some of their own product keywords.

In the case of the BANS websites for organic results I’m screaming at Google asking, “What do you want from me?” but in the case of my diet product site when it comes to Adwords advertising, I’m saying “Thanks!” to Google. Does it make any sense that Google would say, “No we don’t want your BANS site in our index, but if you’d like to advertise and spend some money with us, we’ll certainly let you do that”? Well, actually that does make a lot of sense.

Honestly, I just wish Google would get their act together and show a little more consistency. I will never think it’s a good thing to let Google have as much power as they do.

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