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  1. #1
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    Hey Guys, I'm thinking about offering free hosting for our existing and new in-house affiliates.

    Is anyone interested?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    I would sign up for your program. Are there any limitations? Amount of storage, bandwidth, other products (non-competing)?

    Would you rather elaborate via e-mail?

    Fred

  3. #3
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    Well, I'm not sure about the bandwidth and storage. There won't be a hard limit.

    As far as other non-competing merchant's products - that's fine. It would also be fine to display AdSense or other ads. I do not want sites hosted with us be exact clones of our datafeed. So if you can mix something in to create some "uniqueness" - that's even better.

    The only requirement is to hide the links to our site for search engine spiders. You can either cloak pages or use a redirect script with robots.txt. Otherwise, the whole program with all affiliate sites might end up being blacklisted. I'm still considering options.

    There is no need for e-mail, I posted it here specifically to get some feedback.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Sounds cool. I like the anti-spam aspect.

    Fred

  5. #5
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    buy_online, what hosting features would you need?

    Guys, please add your feedback, don't just read the thread
    I really need your opinions here.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador CrazyGuy's Avatar
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    If you're not offering white label/turnkey type sites, why get involved in pure-play hosting?

    If you want to offer this to build traffic to your site:

    Advising everyone to cloak their pages is a) irresponsible b) too complex for most and c) ineffective - especially after suggesting it in public.

    Hosting is tough enough for full-timers, seems crazy for merchants and AMs to take it on. On top of the regular hosting problems, you probably don't want the hosting customers who want free hosting.

  7. #7
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    Take me and every site I ever made!
    I mean what is the point of promoting an merchant on an established site like mine when you can clone hundreds, to spam google!

    ps: to all sites with any content towards selling. waken up we are going under!

  8. #8
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Advising everyone to cloak their pages is a) irresponsible b) too complex for most and c) ineffective - especially after suggesting it in public. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    a) why?
    b) why?
    c) why?

    If I said you should display our products to visitors and some stolen articles about unrelated topics to spiders - that would be (a).
    What I'm suggesting, is to cloak the LINKS on your pages. So visitors see a link to teh merchant "Buy Now" while the spiders see exact same sign without it being a link.

    I'm sure my statement might be considered irresponsible by merchants that start affiliate programs for the sole sake of gaining link popularity, but I don't see how it can be considered irresopnsible by anyone else.
    Link popularity for a merchant is a nice "bonus."
    But when given a choice between having an incoming link or having an affiliate's site remaining safe in the index - I pick the latter.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Hosting is tough enough for full-timers, seems crazy for merchants and AMs to take it on. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I used to work as a cto of a web shop (managing techies), before that as a system administrator, before that as a server-side programmer. So I'm pretty sure I can manage a box better than most of the "professionals" out there.
    Still, I agree that it might get time-consuming.

    But ideally, those are not free hosting customers, they pay with the sales they bring.

    Besides, something like this:

    http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=tp...5&m=1326067735

    would be easier in a controlled environment.


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I mean what is the point of promoting an merchant on an established site like mine when you can clone hundreds, to spam google! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I completely agree with you here. But if you took a part in the Olympics where every athlete took steroids, you would have to start doing the same just to have a chance at a fair game. Unfortunately, this is a side-effect of affiliate marketing.

  9. #9
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    &gt;&gt;&gt;What I'm suggesting, is to cloak the LINKS on your pages. So visitors see a link to teh merchant "Buy Now" while the spiders see exact same sign without it being a link.

    How is that done? If you cloak, you cloak the page, how do you cloak links?. I assume by cloaking you mean IP delivering, or is it something else? Sounds suicidal.

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>How is that done? If you cloak, you cloak the page, how do you cloak links?. I assume by cloaking you mean IP delivering, or is it something else? Sounds suicidal. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It depends on the server-side technology you are using.

    The basic idea is to have some parts of a page with conditional statements like:

    ...content content...

    if user agent or ip or whatever matches then
    display this
    "your sign without link"
    else display this
    "your link"

    ...content content...

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador CrazyGuy's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bcc:
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Advising everyone to cloak their pages is a) irresponsible b) too complex for most and c) ineffective - especially after suggesting it in public. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    a) why?
    b) why?
    c) why?

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    a) if there's one thing that's guaranteed to incur the wrath of an SE, its showing its spiders something different from what the surfers get. Sure it gets done by lots of people, but advising it as an official way of working in public is - IMO - irresponsible.

    b) it just is - look around at the stuff people have problems with already. Yes there are lots of tech affs around, but they're not the ones that will take you up on this idea.

    c) saying out loud in public what you are doing to put one over on the SE algos means its only a matter of time before they filter it out.

  12. #12
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>a) if there's one thing that's guaranteed to incur the wrath of an SE, its showing its spiders something different from what the surfers get. Sure it gets done by lots of people, but advising it as an official way of working in public is - IMO - irresponsible. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think a lot of people confuse the tools with their possible uses. Guns don't kill people - people kill people.

    Cloaking is NOT bad - what some people do with cloaking is bad.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>b) it just is - look around at the stuff people have problems with already. Yes there are lots of tech affs around, but they're not the ones that will take you up on this idea. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The amount of technical expertise among affiliates varies. But it does not mean that we should concentrate on the lowest common denominator.

    Some people prefer PSC, and that's why it exists. Others like to use datafeeds with Webmerge - fine. Yet others create more complex sites with integrated search for multiple merchants.

    Cloaking is the same thing. If you know how to use it - use it. If you want to learn about it - great. If not, that's fine too. Nobody is forcing people to cloak.

    You are not required to cloak (or do anything you don't want to do for that matter) just to join our program.

    But if we are to host a lot of sites in one location - then it becomes a requirement.


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>c) saying out loud in public what you are doing to put one over on the SE algos means its only a matter of time before they filter it out. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    As far as publicly announcing something - I doubt I've said something other (interested) people didn't know before.
    Those who want to misuse cloaking have learned it all a long time ago. Search engines know it and try to deal with it; have been for a long time.

    As far as saying that what I'm proposing will lower the un-natural shift in the link populatiry towards merchant's sites - how exactly does it hurt search engines and their relevancy? Why would they be concerned?
    I said it before - cloaking articles under product showcases is wrong, but hiding links is not. At least I fail to see how it can harm anybody.
    The only reason it's done is to prevent automatic penalty (ie, not by a human editor).

    If anything, those search engine algos are meant to find and block sites that do the exact opposite - display a reagular page to visitors while feeding links to spiders.

  13. #13
    Sgt. Joe Friday frank3iii's Avatar
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    1. PHP & Mysql
    2. PhpMyadmin
    3. C Panel
    4. 300 Meg storage
    5. As much bandwidth as you can afford.
    6. Backup Generators
    7. Full system backup (tape preferred) at least weekly
    8. A friendly wave.

    Frank
    "Just the facts, Ma'am." Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet

  14. #14
    http and a telephoto
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    A) If you don't cloak links these days you don't make sales because 50% or more of your surfers can't see your links. Not for indies like this, but in general. So you might as well get used to the technology.

    B) What frankiii said, but with Plesk or Ensimn

    C) If a merchant wants to give me free hosting where I can put my own domain I am all for it. I can then make them a site without any risk to myself. Especially if they do not limit what I can do with it, as stated above. If I can create a gift site with GG and others mixed in so that my site is unique, we all win.

    The technically aware don't mind a few satellite sites off the main server.....
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador CrazyGuy's Avatar
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    Deborah

    The cloaking issue here is cloaking from SE spiders. The type of cloaking you refer to is certainly advisable, but the SE spider sees exactly the same as the surfer sees.

    I'm not going to hammer this to death, frankly it's self-evident to me.

    The relevancy of SE results is badly affected if their spiders index something different from what surfers see, so if a human being from an SE sees a site that differs from what their spiders see, they will take a very dim view. Announcing that as part of your policy in a public forum increases the chances of that discovery a millionfold.

    Konstantin, I fully understand what cloaking is and how it can be used, and the extent of that use. I also understand the risks and I'm just a little surprised to see its use being so publicly advocated by an Affiliate Manager.

  16. #16
    http and a telephoto
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    I guess I'm dense. I don't see the problem. All my links are accessed via a jump.cgi so anybody, spiders, surfers or the man in the moon see mysite.com/jump.cgi?link on my sites. No one sees qksvr or linkshare or bfast or genericgifts or shareasale, they click on a product link and go where the link takes them.

    This solves multitudes of old problems, are there new ones being created to convince me not to use a method that I find is working?

    Or are you talking about something else entirely?
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  17. #17
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    CrazyGuy, those who are against any form of cloaking (or think search engines will get them) you can use redirect scripts as loxly suggested, and place the file name of the script in the robots.txt.

    The point is not to hide the links from search engines, but to avoid tripping an automated filter.

    If your site gets attention of a human editor, then you are just as likely to get banned, regardless of the links. It might even help you if you do get banned and send a re-review request. You'll be able to rightfully claim that you are not a part of a web-ring designed to increase the link popularity of one site (the merchant).

    As far as
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Announcing that as part of your policy in a public forum increases the chances of that discovery a millionfold. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Announcing what?

    "DON'T BE A PART OF A LINK FARM!"

    That's what I'm announcing.

    If anything, search engines should start sending me thank you cards


    frank3iii, not gonna happen. PHP, MySQL and phpMyAdmin are fine, backups are done with rsync. But if we are to offer hosting, it won't be for people to use as a virtual server to

    oh wait, I just saw your sig. Nevermind.


    loxly, no control panels. I don't see a point in offering it to manage a single domain.

  18. #18
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Well I love your PSC mini showcase builder. Like your stats program and flexability to design landing pages. Your site is easy to navigate for 1st time shoppers and your pricing ....well it's a cheap nifty gift. I also love your taking the time to affiliate code promotional e-mail flyers if I wished to venture into e-mail Opt-In list marketing.

    Getting more traffic to you site is the least of my concerns or putting up a slew of SE cannon fodder domains even if they were free hosted. We'd both be embarrassed if I tripled the clicks to GG without getting one sale. Turn on the sales reporting and take this baby out of beta testing.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  19. #19
    Just 'N' Affiliate Naffiliate's Avatar
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    Don't forget the old saying..

    IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE...
    Getting There Is Half The Fun! Staying There Is Half The Battle!

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador CrazyGuy's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by loxly:

    Or are you talking about something else entirely? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yeah - all your links are "cloaked" in as much as the text on the page doesn't show where the link eventually goes. But we all see the same thing - you see the same as me, as joe surfer, as the googlebot. I do that a lot too.

    SE cloaking means having a script that discerns who is looking at the page (through the referrer environment variable). If it reckons its an average joe, it shows them one thing. If it reckons its a SE spider, it shows them something else. On a grand scale it means you serve up nice looking pages to humans and keyword optimized gobbledegook to the SE spiders.

    Konstantin is advocating only cloaking links, but to my mind the difference is minimal - SEs are building indexes for humans so they want their bots to see what the humans see. If they find out its different, they take a very dim view, and you can see their point. His last suggestion to use a redirect script and ban it in robots.txt is a different matter - that doesn't IMO count as cloaking and is probably safe.

    I guess my last word on the subject is that if you find yourself doing something to work around or "beat" an SE issue, good luck to you, but you have to ask yourself why it needs "beat" in the first place and you should be prepared for the fix to be temporary.

  21. #21
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I guess my last word on the subject is that if you find yourself doing something to work around or "beat" an SE issue, good luck to you, but you have to ask yourself why it needs "beat" in the first place and you should be prepared for the fix to be temporary. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That's the sad reality. I'm not saying you should do it to get better ranking (you won't anyway). The truth is, there are many people who set up hundreds of domains trying to increase link popularity, and search engines try to fight that with automated filters. This is just an attempt not to be a link farm.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Turn on the sales reporting and take this baby out of beta testing. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Mike, I give up This must be karma. I bet when you make sales, your check from us will get lost in the mail 5 or 6 times

  22. #22
    Sgt. Joe Friday frank3iii's Avatar
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    Konstantin, I wasn't trying to promote my hosting site. If I want to put up a site I can do so. Like Loxly said...for free do.

    I saw that none had posted what they would like to see in the free deal. So, I threw out some wants.

    What part of what I listed is 'never gonna happen'? Storage and bandwidth?

    Without a control panel? How do you intend for your affiliates to administer the site that they build?

    Really not trying to be quarrelsome, just like to know what you have in mind. You asked, I told you. Now I ask.

    Frank
    "Just the facts, Ma'am." Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet

  23. #23
    http and a telephoto
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    Yeah, no control panel = no site.

    If something comes available it would encourage me to set up a specific site, but I am not in need of additional hosting space.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  24. #24
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    Storage and bandwidth is not a problem, but what exactly would you administer with a control panel?

  25. #25
    Sgt. Joe Friday frank3iii's Avatar
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    Konstantin, I want you to understand. I think you have a good idea. I applaud you in your efforts to make a good thing better.

    You have the right idea in suggesting server side redirection. I believe more of us will be doing this (and pretty soon!).

    Back to the topic:
    Well I use a control panel to view my traffic stats, to download the server logs, to adjust and control my email accounts, add or delete directories, to log in to MySql, just to name a few.

    I know that all of this can be done from the command line, but a gui is much faster and less prone to errors on my part.

    Frank
    "Just the facts, Ma'am." Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet

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