Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    Today's challenge: Is there any merchant I can substitute for Amazon?
    OK, it definitely looks like the "Advertising-Nexus" tax language is going to be enacted as part of the California budget, as a pretext for adding $195 in phantom revenue to the budget (knowing that it won't ever be collected). And as soon as Governor Brown signs the legislation, Amazon will notify me that they are terminating our advertising relationship.

    I've been struggling to find a replacement for Amazon on my newest niche web site (launched January 1, 2011). As I documented in an earlier post, over the past five months, 26% of the site's advertising revenue has come from Amazon.

    The problem is that I can't find any merchants who appear even remotely suitable as replacements for Amazon.
    • Advertising Rate: Amazon pays me advertising fees of 7%, based on sales;
    • Product selection: Many of the products which Amazon currently advertises on my site aren't available from other booksellers or retailers (including B&N, Borders, Target, and Wal-Mart);
    • Clickthrough rate: Very few advertisers draw clickthrough rates as high as Amazon's 4.3%;
    • Conversion rate: Very few advertisers convert as well as Amazon (6.6% "conversion-to-items-ordered," though that's a difficult metric to compare with the more typical "conversions-to-orders").


    In the end, the metric that matters is revenue. Currently, I earn total revenue of about $7 per 1,000 pageviews (with Amazon's advertising fees contributing nearly $2).

    Of course, once California forces Amazon to stop advertising on my site, some of my other current advertisers will get more exposure, but overall I expect my site's total revenue (per 1,000 pageviews) to drop from $7 to about $5.25, unless I can find a suitable advertiser who offers more of the products that Amazon carries AND pays a meaningful rate.

    One option I'm definitely working on is BookCloseouts.com, but that will certainly require more automation and a faster update cycle for my site, since their product selection changes much more often (they are a remainder bookseller).

    I'm open to suggestions (and private offers).
    Last edited by markwelch; June 28th, 2011 at 06:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 22nd, 2007
    Location
    West Covina, CA
    Posts
    8,443
    Your question is too vague, unless you just want a bookseller, period.

    As it appears you want a niche replacement, it's hard to respond without an inkling of the niche.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    I don't think you'll be able to replace Amazon with any one merchant (except perhaps eBay, but do you really want to go there?). Nobody has the breadth of products that they do.

    What you'll have to do is to go through each individual niche that you're promoting Amazon in, and find replacements within that niche.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  4. #4
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound View Post
    Your question is too vague, unless you just want a bookseller, period.

    As it appears you want a niche replacement, it's hard to respond without an inkling of the niche.
    The products are all nearly all books.
    Last edited by markwelch; June 29th, 2011 at 12:20 PM.

  5. #5
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Posts
    17,328
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey View Post
    I don't think you'll be able to replace Amazon with any one merchant (except perhaps eBay, but do you really want to go there?). Nobody has the breadth of products that they do.

    What you'll have to do is to go through each individual niche that you're promoting Amazon in, and find replacements within that niche.
    Meg Whitman's eBay wouldn't get by the Calif tax collector as she scared the be-jesus out of the liberal dems THERE in the last election. Shame Amazon will be forced to close down Calif affiliates and others in Tax - nexus states. I get lot's of pressure calls from Amazon to allow them to be a fullfillment center for my ecommerce client who averages 1 sale per 15 page views there for years. I rather leverage Amazon's prime exposure in Google for product searches and hope the shoppers buy from the major merchant's own web site without the Amazon spiff.
    Last edited by ecomcity; June 29th, 2011 at 01:37 PM.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  6. #6
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 22nd, 2007
    Location
    West Covina, CA
    Posts
    8,443
    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch View Post
    The products are all nearly all books.
    For books, I will now use small niche sellers in some categories (depending on what I can find among CA-based merchants) and for the rest I will go back to the bookseller I used before Amazon (and which I did not totally abandon), Ecampus.com (they are on CJ and SAS). If you are not familiar with them, they carry books in all categories, not just textbooks.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Nunya, Business
    Posts
    23,684
    For books, I would go with Barnes and Noble. Besides having stores just about everywhere, physical presence, they're better than their competitors in other areas.

    Free shipping on $25
    Large selection
    Great prices
    And I get sales from them from my sites.

    I've recently become a bluray addict and Amazon is the best overall but Barnes is very good as well. Different product but I've been using the site more. But not sure how you like Linkshare because that's where they've opened up, closing down the GAN program.

  8. #8
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 22nd, 2007
    Location
    West Covina, CA
    Posts
    8,443
    B&N - having some bad financial problems, closing lots of stores, looking for buyout. Apparently Nook has kept them alive. I'd be wary.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  9. #9
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    As I mentioned above, B&N simply doesn't carry many of the items I've linked at Amazon.

    There's a secondary "matching problem" for products which B&N does sell, because B&N uses distorted product titles from distributors, instead of product titles from publishers.

    Of course, B&N also has lower advertising rates, clickthrough rates, and conversion rates (in my very limited experience with them).

    Oddly enough, I was very successful for several years with Calendars.com, which is a subsidiary of B&N.

    Finally, I remain very reluctant to send business to Barnes & Noble because of their longstanding spam policy -- they believe that they can cull email addresses anywhere and send email to anybody they want, period (yes, this dates back to 1997: here's my Perspective from then).
    Last edited by markwelch; June 29th, 2011 at 06:37 PM.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Nunya, Business
    Posts
    23,684
    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound View Post
    B&N - having some bad financial problems, closing lots of stores, looking for buyout. Apparently Nook has kept them alive. I'd be wary.
    Yeah, was just reading about some of that. The ebook stuff is doing great for them, still according to Internet Retailer, #41 on the list, 2010 Growth: 24.0%. I've never had problems with them but since they're out of the question anyway, and Borders, is even in worse shape.

    I see Alibris and Books A Million, the next book merchants on the top list. Amazon has the best, so it's tough.

    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch View Post
    Finally, I remain very reluctant to send business to Barnes & Noble because of their longstanding spam policy -- they believe that they can cull email addresses anywhere and send email to anybody they want, period (yes, this dates back to 1997: here's my Perspective from then).
    Are they still doing that? I can't recall getting spam from them but I haven't been looking closely for them either.
    Last edited by Trust; June 29th, 2011 at 11:31 PM.

  11. #11
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    FYI, the fact that B&N and Borders are closing local stores is really an argument in favor of working with them (though financial problems do create a risk of payment default; and perhaps if they close all stores in an "Advertising Nexus" state, then they might decide to terminate affiliates in that state so they could stop collecting sales tax there).

    The presence of convenient local stores is always a negative factor, since publishers earn nothing if the customer sees an item online and then just goes to the store to buy it (some merchants do pay for orders submitted online for "pick up in the store"). Frankly, that's less of a concern to me, since the niche products that Amazon advertises on my site aren't available in 99% of local and big-box bookstores.

    I don't know what B&N's actual email policy is today; I assume they assert compliance with CAN-SPAM, which doesn't preclude culling email addresses from web pages and adding them to email lists (it just requires valid unsubscribe instructions). Since they've repeatedly lied to news media about this issue (specifically, claiming that they've satisfied and resolved my concerns, which they've never tried to do), I can't really trust what they say. (The person responsible for the spamming was next put in charge of their affiliate program; I don't know if she's still in that role.)
    Last edited by markwelch; June 30th, 2011 at 12:13 AM.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Nunya, Business
    Posts
    23,684
    People go about this kind of thing differently. I'm not sure what they're doing is vastly different than a lot of merchants out there. I've always cared and thought about more about the shopper's perspective. BN is my second choice for books/blurays after Amazon. I like Amazon because of selection, price and I have prime, so free 2 day shipping. With BN, I've never had issues, as a shopper. And from the bluray forum I've kind of become addicted too, not really hearing any issues there as well. You can always find reasons not to work with a merchant. But I would just try different ones and see which ones work for you. There's really not much more you can do besides that except not trying and giving up on it.

    "Conversion rate: Very few advertisers convert as well as Amazon (6.6% "conversion-to-items-ordered," though that's a difficult metric to compare with the more typical "conversions-to-orders")."

    Spot on with that. Most people miss that, how Amazon does their conversion rate. Not by sale but by item, so it looks a little higher than it actually is.
    Last edited by Trust; June 30th, 2011 at 12:20 AM.

  13. #13
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 22nd, 2007
    Location
    West Covina, CA
    Posts
    8,443
    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch View Post
    FYI, the fact that B&N and Borders are closing local stores is really an argument in favor of working with them (though financial problems do create a risk of payment default; and perhaps if they close all stores in an "Advertising Nexus" state, then they might decide to terminate affiliates in that state so they could stop collecting sales tax there).

    The presence of convenient local stores is always a negative factor, since publishers earn nothing if the customer sees an item online and then just goes to the store to buy it (some merchants do pay for orders submitted online for "pick up in the store"). Frankly, that's less of a concern to me, since the niche products that Amazon advertises on my site aren't available in 99% of local and big-box bookstores.
    Closing stores is almost always a precursor to going out of business. Mervyns. Circuit City. CompUSA (eventually new co re-opened online). Wickes Furniture. Sharper Image (eventually new co re-opened online). Levitz Furniture. Bombay Company. Tower Records. the list goes on and on and .....

    Quote Originally Posted by Trust View Post
    "Conversion rate: Very few advertisers convert as well as Amazon (6.6% "conversion-to-items-ordered," though that's a difficult metric to compare with the more typical "conversions-to-orders")."

    Spot on with that. Most people miss that, how Amazon does their conversion rate. Not by sale but by item, so it looks a little higher than it actually is.
    A little higher? It makes it look considerably higher, and any comparison with typical per-sale rates is really impossible. My likely next-to-last (ever) sale from Amazon was for 7 items - no way to compare that conversion rate with other merchants.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  14. Thanks From:

  15. #14
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Nunya, Business
    Posts
    23,684
    Yeah, more like considerably higher I don't rely on that metric for anything. I just look at the clicks and how much I actually make and figure out my EPC.

  16. #15
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 22nd, 2007
    Location
    West Covina, CA
    Posts
    8,443
    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch View Post
    One option I'm definitely working on is BookCloseouts.com, ...
    BookCloseouts.com, another Canadian company, just sent out an email terminating CA affiliates.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  17. #16
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound View Post
    BookCloseouts.com, another Canadian company, just sent out an email terminating CA affiliates.
    WTF? I haven't received their notice, and did just spend time adding their links.
    ___

    Added: Sure enough, I logged in and the termination notice from BookCloseouts.com is there, along with a termination notice from PlanetShoes.
    Last edited by markwelch; July 11th, 2011 at 07:40 PM.

  18. #17
    ABW Ambassador I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    February 19th, 2011
    Location
    Rootstown, OH
    Posts
    1,096
    I've heard of the Canadians sending terminations, but I thought that was only due to the "CA" mixup... Has anyone followed that up directly and gotten any sort of response from the merchants? Seems like it should be as simple as "oops, nevermind".
    Matt Bidinger
    Online Community Engagement

  19. Newsletter Signup

+ Reply to Thread

Similar Threads

  1. Amazon down today?
    By amazonut in forum Amazon
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: June 9th, 2005, 02:02 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •