In a bold and seemingly smart move, Linkshare announced that they have inked a partnership with domain name giant GoDaddy.com to add affiliate tracking capabilities to GoDaddy eCommerce storefronts. This would seem like a really great idea because it will get more merchants involved in affiliate marketing and open up some new niches that affiliates can participate in. But, at the same time, it’s going to push a lot of clueless merchants into the space with most likely little direction. And what are the set-up fees and monthly minimums? If the program doesn’t grow very fast, the merchants will be in a state of bewilderment and confusion. I have seen many merchants whose affiliate programs, where ever they were placed, languished and didn’t grow. And certainly not reach their fullest potential that comes with good affiliate management. Another aspect is a lot of these Godaddy eCommerce sites aren’t brilliantly designed, so affiliates could be working their butts off with little to no conversions. Nothings worse than that! We’ll have to see what happens with this one.

Guest Blog by Josh Todd

We’ve all had them. A month comes along where all of your top converters are in the mud, you’ve created 2 brand new landers for some hot new campaigns, just to get an email from your AM telling you that they were “paused for tracking reasons”, and to top it all off, the almighty Google has decided to ban you from AdWords again. What’s a troubled affiliate marketer to do in times like this?

The temptation at this point is to despair. “Why me?”, you might ask yourself, “I’ve worked so hard to get where I am, don’t I deserve some time to kick back and relax?”. You can justify it any way you want, but the bottom line is, if you aren’t creating new campaigns every single week (or even every single day), you are putting yourself in harm’s way. It’s not 2002 anymore, and we all have to work just a little bit harder to keep on top of our game.

Does this mean that you should give up and quit? Accept the 9 to 5 for the web development firm and give up your dreams of owning an island shaped like Australia off the coast of Dubai? Of course not! What you need to do is take a closer look at what got you into this mess in the first place.

In the affiliate marketing game, you need to follow the ABC’s. Always Be Creating. That’s right folks, coffee is for content creators. So you’ve just launched a campaign? Pat yourself on the back and get started on the next one right that very second. Even if you don’t get very far, starting is the hardest part, and once you are over that mental roadblock it’s easy to pick up where you left off. What’s that you say? You don’t need to create any new campaigns because you are doing five figures daily already? Bingo. We have just identified your problem.

When you work for yourself, there is a tendency to congratulate yourself for success with laziness. I’m not saying that you just quit working altogether, it’s more like the focus of your day gets a little blurry. You are still in the office working on your computer, but now it’s posting on forums about your success and refreshing your stats every 5 minutes instead of creating content. Almost all slumps in this business are caused by the lack of fresh content to fill the gaps. It’s not going to matter if one of your campaigns takes a hit if you’ve got 3 more ready to take its place.

So how do you break out of the rut? How do you beat the slump into oblivion? Simple. Your job is creating campaigns, testing, testing, and testing some more. Set a goal for yourself on how many new campaigns you will launch every single day. It doesn’t matter if it is 1 campaign or 10 campaigns. You know how much time you have to devote to your business, so set a goal and stick to it. I guarantee you, if you do this, you will be ahead of 95% of affiliate marketers. There is no possible way for you to know which campaigns are going to be winners and which ones are going to be losers. The best way to beat the odds is through sheer volume, and some good ol’ fashioned dumb luck. When you get a few conversions on one of those new campaigns, then you know what to focus on with your optimization efforts.

Follow this simple plan, and you will break the cycle and get back into the game. I promise.

About: Josh Todd is an Affiliate Manager at 365 Ad Solutions, serial internet entrepreneur, musician, gamer, and armchair film critic. As an internet marketer, he has done everything from creating niche stores to sell products on eBay Partner Network to promoting CPA offers in competitive verticals such as Ringtones and Dating. As an Affiliate Manager, Josh has helped dozens of affiliates realize their full potential and grow their part-time hobby into a full-time business. For more affiliate marketing tactics, check out Insideaffiliate.net.

Attention all marketing professionals in South Florda! March 11th, 2009 there will be a meeting of the American Marketing Association featuring a presentation and panel called: “Innovative & Creative Marketing Practices That Breed Success.” We hope you can come to the event so you can learn and interact with the tremendous panelists that will be in attendence. Here is the break-down on the event courtesy AMASouthFlorida.org website:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 Dania Beach

Our March General Membership Meeting will bring together representatives from International leader MTV/VH1 LA, Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, the top innovative advertising agency in the country featuring Burger King and Office Depot to speak on innovative marketing strategies that breed success in a good and down economy. The event will be held on March 11, 2009 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Sheraton – Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel where these experts will share their insights on innovative marketing ideas and answer questions from attendees.

The panelists for this event include:

Sean Saylor, VP of Creative for MTV/VH1 Latin America. In this role, Saylor is responsible for managing the creative vision and creative services for each brand. He leads a team of designers, visual artists, copywriters, producers and audio engineers in Argentina and is responsible for creating MTV and VH1’s advertising, collateral materials, special events and contests.

Mason Reed, VP Account Director Burger King US with C, P & B (Crispin, Porter & Bogusky.) Mason has led a diverse group of clients at CP+B including Virgin Atlantic Airways, Slim Jim, method home cleaning products and Nike. He currently manages the US efforts for Burger King. Prior to his arrival at CP+B, Mason worked at regional shops in Washington, DC and San Francisco.

Lynne Hopkins, Former Office Depot (NYSE: ODP) Director of Marketing Communications, recipient of two Office Depot Innovation Awards, strategic planning & running B2B, B2C and national sales, re-positioned one of the top three market research firms globally (NFO/TNS-subsidiary of Interpublic Group – NYSE: IPG), developed the financial software products brands used by Wall Street and world-wide markets that was sold to Value Line NY. Lynne will discuss innovative marketing practices and dealing with transitions when it affects your own career in a down economy.

Moderated by Margo Berman, award-winning creative director, author of two books, and recognized leading advertising professor and a Kauffman Faculty Scholar at Florida International University.

Her first book, Street-Smart Advertising: “How to Win the Battle of the Buzz,” was picked as the June 2008 book of the month by Delta Sky Magazine and her two, 6 part webinars won a National Clarion Educational Reference Award. Her advertising book, “The Brains Behind Great Ad Campaigns” will be released in summer 2009. She is now working on her third book “The Copywriter’s Arsenal.”
Ms. Berman will lead panelists in discussing their overall marketing strategies for innovation and success on some of their top executed campaigns. Attendees will have time to ask questions and to learn how to develop their own successful marketing strategies that breed success. Attendees will also gain insight on solutions that work in any market and tips for dealing with transitions in the marketplace and with their own careers.

We hope you can attend this great event! Click Here to Register.

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Must read on affiliate marketing’s real value in the sales chain during these tough economic times from Scott Jangro (aka Jerry Maguire).

Be warned… this is not a cheerleading piece.

The Year Affiliates Saved Christmas, Really? | Jangro.com: “As affiliate marketing gets a larger and larger percentage of retail sales, and taps more and more into ‘already had’ customers, it becomes devalued. For the health of this industry and channel, these things need to be understood and addressed.”

Way to go, Jangro.

FeedFront 4

December 16, 2008 by

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The next episode of FeedFront is up and ready for your viewing pleasure via PDF. Or you can wait to get it in your mailbox or at the Affiliate Summit next month…

Affiliate Marketing Blog by Shawn Collins: “Issue 4 can now be downloaded in PDF format.”

Glad to see the magazine is doing so well. Hats off to Missy, Shawn and all the contributors for making it better every month.

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It puzzles me that “online ad spending” and “online marketing” are seen as one large homogeneous block by pundits and analysts.

Surely, this sort of thing is true for the Madison Ave crowd that relies on display and CPM advertising/marketing for their bottom lines:

eMarketer Cuts 2009 Projection for Online Ad Spend to Single Digits | Epicenter from Wired.com: “The revised projection data puts online ad spending at $25.7 billion in 2009 — a mere 8.9% over the $23.6 billion that will be spent this year and down from the 14.9 percent estimate it made only three months ago. In 2010 eMarketer estimates growth will barely return to double-digits — 10.9 percent — and that it will not be until 2013 before it hits 13.5 percent.”

However, what about performance marketing?

I have a feeling that as the economy continues to sour with no end in sight, performance marketing will increasingly be the “goto” for large companies and advertising agencies seeking shelter from the storm.

Nonetheless, I’m daily puzzled at why this isn’t happening sooner.

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I frequently mention Loa Power Tools on podcasts, but I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about it.

I’ve been a subscriber for the last six months or so and I can’t tell you how frequently Loa saves my rear when trying to send an email from a wifi hotspot, airport, university building, etc that doesn’t want to work well with my email client.

Or if you have an AT&T DSL line at your office space like I do, you know the frustration of trying to send out through an SMTP other than AT&T’s designated one. Loa solves that.

Yes, I do love and use GMail, but there’s the whole business aspect of not looking professional when you have the “sent from GMail on behalf of CostPerNews.com” in the header. Sure, I could go with Google Apps, but I’ve got 4 years of mail archived in my personal GMail account. Loa solves a huge problem there as well (and there’s a special plan for GMail users).

And that’s why I like Loa Power Tools. It’s a problem solving application for power email users that you don’t notice running in the background because it does what it needs to do quietly.

Just thought I’d plug the service (no, this is not a paid advertisement, I’m just a fan) because it’s an unsung hero of my daily work flow. Go read more and give it a shot if you need this sort of a solution (and who doesn’t with the ubiquity of wifi hotspots these days?)…

Tell me more about Loa PowerTools: “Loa PowerTools is a tiny utility that lets you send email from any internet connection anywhere. Once it is installed, you don’t have to change your life at all. You can use whatever email software you prefer: Outlook, Mac Mail, Thunderbird … it doesn’t matter, but Loa PowerTools will send your mail out through the Internet in a way that can’t be stopped by any but the most aggressive firewalls. And by ‘aggressive’ we mean firewalls in secure places where you wouldn’t expect to be able to have much Internet contact with the outside world.

It’s particularly useful for laptops. Without Loa PowerTools, when you travel from connection to connection, you never know what mail server to use to send mail. You often have to spend a lot of time fumbling around to find the address of an SMTP server that will let you connect. Even if you can find one that would let you connect, more and more often these days the network you use won’t allow any mail at all. The provider of the connection deliberately blocks all outward-bound mail. The detective work you have to do is exhausting and often fruitless! You never know from one trip to the next whether you will be able to send email when you are at your destination hotel, in a conference room or an airport lounge or using some other publicly available network. And as the number of malicious exploits around the Web increases, the problem is only getting worse: network operators are being forced to become more and more protective of their networks.”

Plus, they take PayPal. Can’t beat that. Tell ‘em uncle Sam sent ya.

Ben Walker’s Twitter song has gotten lots of coverage in the blogosphere this weekend, but it’s worth watching if you haven’t caught it yet…

BTW, check the comments on the videos YouTube page if you need a good laugh.

BearHug Camp Today

September 12, 2008 by

For all those interested in the wild-west world of micro-blogging (Twitter, Identi.ca, TWiT Army, etc), BearHug Camp starts at 9am PST today.

Strange name, but this really looks like it will be a very important day for the future of the web…

TechCrunchIT » Blog Archive » BearHug Camp is here: “Friday, September 12 at 9 am, BearHug Camp begins. The brainchild of Dave Winer, BearHug is based on a tactic Winer used to great effect in bootstrapping coincident work by Netscape and Winer into what we now know as RSS. Recently, we’ve seen the emergence of similar strategies in the so-called micro-blogging segment that has grown around Twitter.”

You can follow along live from Leo Laporte’s stream at TWiTLive.TV

Branding on Twitter Study

August 18, 2008 by

Jeremiah Owyang continues his insightful series on branding and Twitter with this piece about how brands are succeeding on the Twitter platform.

If you’re at all interested in how microblogging will shape the future of direct performance marketing (it will) and corporate communications (it will), make sure to read this:

Web Strategy: The Evolution of Brands on Twitter: “Last week, I listed out 9 reasons Why Brands Are Unsuccessful In Twitter, and other microblogging technologies. Companies are caught between the minutia of the discussions and their willingness to be human or add value to the conversations. Although a one-sided view of what’s going wrong, now let’s focus on what’s going right.”

It’s amazing to see how much the perception of Twitter has changed in 2 short years. So many people I speak to now see the business application of Twitter (or microblogging in general) whereas a year ago, I was being laughed at for bringing Twitter up in such conversations!

Robert Seidman guest-blogs on social media guru Louis Gray’s blog on the topic of how the Goog has made the playing field of web publishing much more accessible for anyone (rather than just an arena for A-Listers):

louisgray.com: Google Has Leveled the Internet Playing Field: ”
I know a lot in the tech blogging circles will opine on whether Google is good or evil. For now in my mind, Google is still good. It leveled the playing field for us. We have little in the way of expense overhead (almost $0, really) and sure, it may work out that I’ve made about eight cents per hour, but that’s the subject for another blog post. From my perspective, we are allowed to compete, and compete fairly without spending anything on marketing. It’s hard for me to find fault with a system that provides that sort of level playing field.

Organic Google search (including Google News) is our number one traffic source. This leads to a lot of referral traffic from other sites and a good bit of the direct traffic.”

The question of whether or not Google is “evil” or not is about as subjective as any subject you can imagine. For all of its occasional (or sustained) “big-brotherness,” Google does allow for a plethora of voices on topics. The key to ranking well in Google is not to rely too heavily on the mysticism of SEO, but to make good (and easily discoverable) content.

GoFish for Big Revenue Jump

August 17, 2008 by

GoFish is an advertising agency aimed at the “tween” market and their associated parents. The company page explains:

GoFish is a leading entertainment and media company with a focus on reaching kids, teens and moms. We specialize in aggregating, and distributing premium content on a large network of quality sites for which GoFish is the exclusive brand advertising monetization partner. We reach more than 20 million users domestically, and over 66 million worldwide, currently ranking as the third largest youth opportunity and a top five ‘mom’ opportunity for blue-chip advertisers.

PaidContent is reporting that the company had a very successful Q2 of 2008:

Revenues were $1.28 million, a huge jump over revenues of $31,686 in Q207.

That’s a big jump for a niche specific publisher network. So, if you’re a publisher or affiliate in these troublesome economic times, there is a market for you somewhere.