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  1. #1
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    An Affilate Marketing Project/Experiment
    I guess it's no secret that of late I've been critical of our industry and it's long term and short term problems. During my attempts to discuss those issues I've met with some agreement and some disagreement, which, in a social world and a forum environment, shouldn't come as a surprise.

    So, to that end, I've started this thread, which I will update from time to time based on the experiment I will outline below. Consider this thread a blog, in a way, since that term is as esoteric as any other.

    Here's the premise of the experiment:

    1.) I have a domain I've been sitting on for 3 years. It's not keyword rich, but it has a lot of marketability for the niche I intend to target. It's set to expire in 2011.

    2.) I intend to install Wordpress, and a decent, but free, SEO friendly WP theme.

    3.) I intend to reach out to merchants once I have a goodly amount of content, and describe my plans for the domain.

    4.) The domain sits in a good niche for e-commerce, unlike my sig link, which while it has the possibility to sell related items, understandably won't convert well online for the big term "kayaks".

    5.) I intend to report back here from time to time and tell stories about the experience. It will most likely be in generalities, as I don't want to ruin the "sample set", or garner back links to the site based on the fact that it's an affiliate marketing experiment. It's a "closed beta"

    6.) FWIW, the site currently has Zero PR in Google.

    7.) I intend to make money. Not bash or praise any merchant, network, or competitor.

    At the onset, I already have some merchants I'm approved for in the target niche. So I will have some affiliate links to post from the beginning. I'll try different versions of those links (text, banner, interactive, video) and try to say which works the best.

    What we all should know going in is that different methods work best for different sets of visitors. My niche may not show the same results as your niche. But merchant experiences might remain the same. Network experiences might remain the same as well. Only you will know, if you choose to compare your own results to mine.

    I also should say that I am doing this as much for myself as I am for the "public". While my "is the sky falling" thread was meant as an open letter to the community, this thread is meant as a closed ended observation of a blogger looking to take advantage of the tools networks and merchants provide us. It's not done out of ego, but rather out of love for an industry that deserves better than it gets.

    So, pull up your and have a look if you have the time. The names will be changed to protect the innocent. I set out to prove nothing, but simply to observe. We'll all draw our own conclusions.

    Enjoy!
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Generate more fake news.

  3. #3
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I should add I'm a NY resident. I'm hoping that doesn't play a big role in the experiment, but it sure might. I have NOT researched the availability of niche merchants willing to work with NY'ers prior to going into this. We can assume many newbies wouldn't either.

    Either way, it will show whether or not it's possible to find lucrative affiliate arrangements if your State has been targeted under affiliate/nexus tax laws.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    Cool, as someone who is just starting out with Wordpress, should be interesting.

    "I intend to install Wordpress, and a decent, but free, SEO friendly WP theme."

    Have you picked one out yet or are you looking for one?

  5. #5
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    I enjoyed following along with Trust and am looking forward to the same here. Let it rip.


  6. #6
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Have you picked one out yet or are you looking for one?
    Yup. Initially I'm going to run with a free theme from Blog Oh Blog. Will test my art skills a bit, but we'll see
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  7. #7
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi Kevin

    Happy to lend any support you need from our end to make this a success for you

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
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  8. #8
    Network Rep & ABW Ambassador Carolyn - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Ah, but you get to build on already established relationships with such wonderful folks such as Chris and I. Maybe, in order to keep the test completely pure, Chris and I should go out of our way to not help you *grin*

  9. #9
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    With you, Tang, that's par for the course...... Chris, on the other hand, I'm not sure I've worked with directly in the past. I'll have to have a look.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador John Kruger's Avatar
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    Good luck, it will be an interesting thing to watch. I believe you will do well, and restore your faith in this thing we call AM.
    Respectfully,

    John

    ----------------------------------------------
    work = Initiate Demand
    passion = Global Ground Work

  11. #11
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    If your art skills are lacking, check out fotolia dot com, inexpensive resource....
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

  12. #12
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Thanks EC. I'll have a look. I've actually forced myself to become competent in GIMP. I won't win awards, but most of my stuff doesn't induce reverse peristalsis. What I need is the time to do it, and fotolia may save me some of that.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  13. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carolyn - ShareASale
    Maybe, in order to keep the test completely pure, Chris and I should go out of our way to not help you *grin*
    Hmmmm not so sure that'll work "Dear client we know this great guy who's working hard and so we've chosen to ignore him!!!"

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  14. #14
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    A quick note on yesterday.

    Settled on an initial theme, and installed it.

    Generated my list of Top 20 keywords I plan to optimize for, built my category structure, and set up a few tags for them so I have a direction to work at.

    Hope to get some design elements done tonight, and start aggregating pictures for my initial posts. Some of the pictures will involve "semi celebrities", so I'll have to do some research on how I can legally obtain pictures of those folks over the long term. That's a new path for me, so that's my biggest hurdle in this project so far.

    By the way, I use WebCEO to track my rankings for keywords. There are better solutions out there, but it's a piece I bought a professional license for way back in the day before I knew any better. It will, however, develop trend charts for how I rank for those Top 20 over time. That's info you need to know, no matter how you get it.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  15. #15
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Good luck Kevin!
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  16. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager Sarah Bundy's Avatar
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    Thanks for making your experiment public for the rest of us to enjoy / learn from. I'll be watching too

  17. #17
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Minor Roadblock.

    I've researched and researched (about 10 hours I'd say) getting the images that would play an important, but not entirely mission critical, role in the development of the site.

    I'm not finding any way to get the images of the people I want to use without paying through the nose, so I'm developing a way to link to them without violating any copyright laws. It's interesting though, as the websites that host most of these pictures even preclude LINKING (not hot linking...just plain old linking) to them without showing them on my own blog if I'm a commercial endeavor.

    While this isn't an affiliate marketing specific issue, it's a challenge for any webmaster that is attempting to use images of known people to sell products. We all know you can't make it look like someone endorses a product that doesn't, but even incidental references through images seem to be a big headache.

    Plan B!
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  18. #18
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi Kevin

    Granted your aim is to have the site set up and on the way to getting traffic before you start signing up with merchants, but, wouldn't it make getting graphics easier if you could approach merchants at this time and request to use their graphics for setting up the site?

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  19. #19
    Outsourced Program Manager Ashish Selarka's Avatar
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    Thanks for making your project public and sharing it with us. I will be definitely watching and learning.
    [B]Ashish Selarka[/B]
    Outsourced Program Manager (OPM)
    [COLOR="Red"][B]Programs Managed[/B][/COLOR]: Coming Soon.

  20. #20
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    @ Chris: If the merchants had the images I was looking for, then yes. One of the things I'm working on now is finding out if there are merchants that do. So far, no luck. The site will essentially show folks how to A and B like their favorite A and B'ers do in the real world.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  21. #21
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    Thanks very much for letting us "peek" over your shoulder as you work through the issues as you confront them. It is very helpful to those of us who are working through some of these same issues.

  22. #22
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Just got a great suggestion from a member here to help clear my roadblock. Since it was sent in confidence, I can't rightly post it here, but if I will fill you in in generalities if it works out.

    Thanks "member"!
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  23. #23
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    @ Chris: If the merchants had the images I was looking for, then yes. One of the things I'm working on now is finding out if there are merchants that do. So far, no luck. The site will essentially show folks how to A and B like their favorite A and B'ers do in the real world.
    Yes I guess it will vary from merchant to merchant.
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
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  24. #24
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Another quick note: Don't out niche yourself.

    I've been amazed at the apparent lack of good websites in support of my intended theme. Tells me 2 things:

    1.) I've stumbled upon a potential gold mine.
    2.) I'm going to have to mine the gold myself!

    Finding a unique niche is great. As an affiliate however, make sure you not only have the merchants to support it (I do), but also resources that make the job easier. That one has not been as easy for me.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  25. #25
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    A quick update on this:

    I had mentioned that I was considering powering up a previously owned domain. And I had run into issues getting my semi celebrity photos I would have needed to really drive some of the traffic I wanted. (Feel like you're tuning into a show on the Science channel late? Re Hash after every commercial).

    Anyways. While you are doing your research, sometimes you find a niche within your niche that looks even more appealing.

    So! Re tooling. Getting a new domain, and I have a better idea. G Trends backs it up, and I'm going to plow forward. Sometimes it pays to be stuck in your ways. Will this be the case here? I sure think so. There should be PLENTY of misunderstood traffic for me to grab.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

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