28
Aug

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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4
Jul

Google Censors Water4Gas.com And Gas Saving Ebooks

Gas PumpsI wonder if Google is as green and carbon friendly as they would like you to think. With their latest move in censoring Water4Gas.com and ebooks and web sites promoting any such product that uses water to give your car better gas mileage, they look rather suspect. Believe it or not I received and email the other day from the powers that be at Adwords letting advertisers know that they will no longer be allowed to run these types of ads in their pay per click network.

What’s the reason given for this business hampering move on Google’s part? The email stated they won’t be allowing this kind of advertising because of customer feedback and “business considerations.” What!? Business considerations? Who is Google in bed with on this one? What about the business considerations of the people trying to make a living selling ebooks and information such as this now that they don’t have access to approximately 25% of the world’s online advertising market?

This is exactly why I have a problem, as do thousands of others, with the way Google operates. They have their tentacles into nearly everything that has anything to do with being “on the grid” and they can just arbitrarily decide they don’t like your product and immediately 25% of all online advertising is no longer available to you. And you have absolutely no recourse. I don’t know what percentage of their business an operation like Water4Gas.com gets from Google Adwords, but I assume it’s a lot since they are a product sold through Clickbank. Any way you look at it, Google’s decision will have a devastating impact on this business and others like it.

As with any product, there will be people who think something like this is an outright scam and others that benefit from it. Products like this one are legitimate and after talking with an engineer friend of mine who has actually built some of these systems, he assures me they do work. I can understand where people may have a problem with Water4Gas.com because what you are actually buying is an ebook showing you how to build one of these systems, not any physical parts as the landing page kind of makes it look. You have to get the parts and assemble the kit yourself, but it does work.

Regardless of what you think of water for gas type products, a decision such as this from the mothership Google should trouble the hell out of you. Now that Google is in the affiliate business with their acquisition of DoubleClick, what product, advertising strategy, ad network or affiliate network is next on their hit list?

In 30 seconds anyone can go to ClickBank.com and find several products that are ripoffs, but look them up by searching with their domain name and you will find plenty of ads on Google. Or look up anything related to making money in real estate, mlm’s, online, trading stocks, whatever, you name it and I’ll bet you can find someone running a scam and advertising it via Adwords. We all must have some discernment in the purchases we make. If you don’t know that by now I have some swampland in Florida I’d like to show you. Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

Google has way too much power. When are they going to protect us from themselves?

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3
Jul

June 2008 Affiliate Income Report

It’s time for another income report here at AffiliateConfession.com and it’s a record month for affiliate earnings mainly due to some nice contest winnings in May which lets me cook the books a little. I didn’t report that I won $750 in cash from the Webmaster-Talk.com contest and I’ve used that to cover $543.66 worth of advertising expenses this month. When the $750 has been spent I’ll again take off advertising from the revenue total.

Google Adsense and the Microsoft Affiliate program contributed significantly to the record this month as well. The breakdown of earnings this month is as follows:

Google Adsense – $1,492.96
Commission Junction – $50.37
EPN – eBay – $778.60
Meal Planner Ebook – $119.00
TripAdvisor – $222.83
Clickbank – $189.95
Private Advertising – $105.00
AzoogleAds – $17.30
Microsoft – $400.00
Other Affiliate Programs – $103.60
 
Total Revenue – $3,479.61
 
Total Income – $3,479.61

You may have noticed that Commission Junction revenue is down by a large margin and that’s because most of what I was earning through them was from eBay who has now moved over to their own private program management and Pepperjam Network. Also, I was earning some decent money through generating leads with Apartments.com and had been up in the range of $200-$250 per month, but their landing pages stopped converting and now the same amount of clicks sent their way is earning me $40 rather than $200 per month.

I’m continuing to work on PPC and have had some limited success and with earnings this month I’ll have an even bigger advertising budget than last month, so things are looking up.

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2
Jun

May 2008 Affiliate Income Report

Another income report for Affiliate Confession shows a significant increase over last month to the tune of about 22% even though expenses were the highest they’ve been this year. Total expenses including advertising, PPC and outsourcing to Elance.com came in at $304.73. PPC advertising is paying off for my BANS stores and my single best store earned $658.44.

Significant gains were made this month at eBay and Clickbank and total earnings for May were $3,334.72 and after expenses, net earnings came in at $3,029.99 for the month. The breakdown of earnings is as follows:

Google Adsense – $1,375.97
Commission Junction – $150.47
EPN – eBay – $893.54
Meal Planner Ebook – $102.00
TripAdvisor – $191.97
Auction Ads – $43.50
Clickbank – $399.24
Private Advertising – $70.00
AzoogleAds – $46.85
Other Affiliate Programs – $61.18
 
Total Revenue – $3,334.72
 
Advertising & Expenses – $304.73
 
Total Income – $3,029.99

Commission Junction sent out an email last month stating that some past due and under reported eBay member sign-ups as far back as February were to be paid this past month, but I have yet to see any revenue from that.

The month of June should turn out well as I have $750 from the Webmaster-Talk contest winnings to spend on PPC or other advertising plus I’ve budgeted anything over $2,500 in earnings to go to advertising as well, giving me a total of $1,279.99 to spend. As long as I keep earning that back the advertising budget should be very nice. Most of that will be spent towards pay per click.

The Black Ink Project continues this week with the first session being taught by Amit Mehta entitled Pay Per Click Mastery. With all the money I have to spend on PPC, I will be especially interested in today’s class. With another 22% increase in affiliate income in June that would be an all time record.

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2
May

April 2008 Affiliate Earnings Report

It’s time for another affiliate earnings report and income was down a little bit from last month mainly because expenses were about $200 higher this month. I’ve been doing a little more advertising, experimenting with PPC and paying for some services over at Elance.com. Hopefully these things will produce an increase for this month’s earnings. I also discovered that Microsoft Adcenter affiliate program is now run through the Microsoft Partner Program as it has been for some time, so I signed up for that again and that should increase revenue as well. Currently Microsoft AdCenter is offering $75 in free clicks for new sign-ups. It’s a great way to start off learning how to do ppc without risking your own money.

April total earnings came in at $2,602.64 and after much higher advertising and other expenses, net revenue was $2,352.31 for the month. The breakdown of earnings is below:

Google Adsense – $1,298.93
Commission Junction – $335.99
EPN – eBay – $361.56
Meal Planner Ebook – $136.00
TripAdvisor – $183.68
Auction Ads – $77.19
Clickbank – $164.29
Private Advertising – $35.00
Other Affiliate Programs – $10.00

Total Revenue – $2,602.64

Advertising & Expenses – $250.33

Total Income – $2,352.31

I did get an email from Commission Junction earlier in the month stating that they were going to include a make good adjustment in our next check for ACRU’s (new members) earned through eBay because of reporting problems that go back as far as February. We’ll have to wait and see how much that might increase income at $25 a pop. I have no idea whether I’ll get several or none.

Combined earnings from CJ and the new eBay Partner Network came in better than just CJ did last month, so it looks like the new EPN is going to be a good thing although myself and others are still seeing some anomalies in EPN reports.

This month will continue to see expansion of my Build A Niche Store network as there are 10 stores now online and more content is being worked on by writers hired through Elance.com as I write this. The Black Ink Project with Jeremy Palmer starts on Monday and I continue to work my way through Aaron Wall’s SEOBook learning much about SEO, PPC and other marketing info. If I get nothing more than a better education on how to build successful PPC campaigns out of these 2 courses, I’ll consider that a success.

Looking forward to a busy month of May.

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