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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Focus your Datafeed use
    We're moving into a new age of datafeed use. It used to be that we could throw up thousands of product pages and get most of them indexed by Google. There was a direct relationship between the number of pages and the amount of traffic you could get. If you had more pages, you'd get more traffic. Times have changed and it's no longer important to have hundreds of thousands of pages.

    Starting out, one needs to offer related products that cater to a very specific demographic. Think about a single person you know well and what they like to buy. Focus on this person and cater to them specifically. You'll find that there are thousands more just like your friend and if you cater to their specific needs, you'll be catering to thousands of people's specific needs. Focus sharply at first, build up some loyalty, and then you can begin to generalize your market. Just don't start generalizing until you're certain you've built enough loyalty. This could take years and is critical because expanding too early can destroy the loyalty you've begun to build. Wait until their loyalty is strong and established and find out from your customers where to expand.

    It's no longer useful to list Amazon's full catalog or form a site around a single datafeed. The search engines have gotten wise to us and we need to start focusing on the customers, not the spiders.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Thumbs down
    Nah, none of that, the biggest businesses make it by catering to the masses!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Nah, none of that, the biggest businesses make it by catering to the masses!
    I knew you would say that! That's why I put special care to explain how big businesses can get to the point that they can cater to such a large audience. You can't just start out catering to everybody because you won't develop any intimate loyalty.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  4. #4
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I wondered if that was a bait... after all any "you have to" type proclamation is just begging for debates!

    Seriously though I think that successful businesses DO start out catering to a much broader audience than you're thinking of, even if they didn't (and still don't) cater to literally "everybody."

    Take department stores, for example. They seem to decide to go after a certain income bracket. Any item that would interest a person within that target income bracket is eligible for shelf space.

    Higher brackets never want to buy stuff from a "lower" store. And customers of cheaper stores can't often afford to buy from the higher-end places. Also, people feel more comfortable using stores that are within their own "class." So there is a natural stratification.

    But beyond recognizing that basic fact, I don't think any further refinement is necessary.

    There was a direct relationship between the number of pages and the amount of traffic you could get. If you had more pages, you'd get more traffic.
    Logically this must still be true, and, as long as traffic is related to exposure, will remain so! 10 top listings for well-searched-on terms is better than 1; that's just a simple mathematical fact.

    Think about a single person you know well and what they like to buy.
    LOL No thanks--The people I know really well don't like to BUY anything, except clothes, and would rather wait for gifts to satisfy their needs and desires!! Definitely NOT who to cater to when trying to sell stuff! (Clothes do not sell well from my sites, either, so NO I'm not going to try to sell them clothes!)

    So I've always imagined what I thought a Wal-Mart shopper would buy. W-M's success tells me that they're aimed squarely at the biggest demographic, and I figure that it's dumb to aim at a quarter-sized target when hitting the barnside brings the best prize!

    Speaking of Wal-Mart, Sam Walton thought his customers wanted:

    Sam wrote in his autobiography. "And really, if you think about it from the point of view of the customer, you want everything: a wide assortment of good quality merchandise; the lowest possible prices; guaranteed satisfaction with what you buy; friendly, knowledgeable service; convenient hours; free parking; a pleasant shopping experience. ~From the Wal-Mart site's history page
    A Wide assortment of good quality merchandise is the first thing on his list.

    Even though they're on the merchant-side, I think the same basic principles--WIDE selection, convenience, good shopping experience--apply to affiliate sites as well.

    A good wide-angle feed site, with good merchants, has all of those. No need for the "parking" part though!

    I really think you have to get outside your own little box and NOT limit yourself. You're trying to put tight chains around yourself--and other people--where what's best is massive amounts of free-roamed acreage surrounded only by a small, symbolic lot-line fence at its very perimeter.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  5. #5
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    I appreciate this thread because tho I've not used a datafeed yet, when I do I'd like to do it selectively and customize as much as possible.

    >>Think about a single person you know well and what they like to buy.

    I've had that work in a case where I thought of my "typical" shopper, trying to figure what else someone looking for Product-A would be interested in shopping for. Surprise! I added sections/pages for those other things, and traffic, pageviews and clicks/conversions went all the way up - on the other things, not the Product-A line of merchandise, which is what the people were coming in for from the search engines.

    >>There was a direct relationship between the number of pages and the amount of traffic you could get. If you had more pages, you'd get more traffic

    That's what I experienced. The site improved from broadening out what was a narrowly defined merchandise category, which was not the most lucrative anyway.

    I think maybe it takes having a mix of specific and broadly general, with different sites. I dont know for sure, it's just a guess on my part at this point. But I would like to find out how to do customization with datafeeds before I start using them.

    >>Higher brackets never want to buy stuff from a "lower" store. And customers of cheaper stores can't often afford to buy from the higher-end places. Also, people feel more comfortable using stores that are within their own "class." So there is a natural stratification.

    I'm comfortable with promoting "bargains" but do believe it takes a different type of presentation to promote high end, more expensive lines. In fact, I was turned down for a program that's got luxury goods because the sites weren't appropriate. I'm sure, just from what I know of marketing and design, and primarily my own shopping tastes, that it takes a different type of "ambiance" for a high end online store.

    Actually, I'm trying to figure how I should do a new site for the high end - once I get the courage to try for what's harder.

  6. #6
    Internet Cowboy
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    Put it all out there, find what works and run with it. When that dies out, find something else. If it doesn't die out, still find something else.


  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scohaz
    Put it all out there, find what works and run with it. When that dies out, find something else. If it doesn't die out, still find something else.
    Why let it die out? Why not keep building upward instead of outward? If one of my sites dies out I don't abandon it, I keep adding to it to bring it to it's past glory and then some. I've found that if you really focus on one thing for a period of time you can really make it blossom rather than focusing on many small things at once.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Snib, you said in another thread you only have one website. You have more than one site?

    Fred

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I probably just referred to a single site of mine in another post. I actually have 6 total.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  10. #10
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Six???

    Cripes what do you do all day long?

    You're not half trying.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Gosh, I wish I had more time to work on all of them. I've been working on one for the past month. Before that I worked on another for about 2 months. I try to rotate my focus every month or two so I can give each site equal attention. Sometimes I think I have too many sites

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  12. #12
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    Scott,
    I don't intentionally let anything die out. I do try to keep things alive, but sometimes a particular program just doesn't work for whatever reason.
    I have a mall site for mainly one reason. I put everything on the mall site. When something takes off, I usually build a dedicated site around that item or program.
    I have sections in my mall site that I was sure would be a winner that have never made a sale. Likewise, I have sections that I had to force myself to put up because I didn't have much confidence in the product or merchant or program, that have taken off and made me some money.
    I learned a long time ago not to prejudge anything. My opinion is mine alone and will not be shared by everyone else. Although I still have a few sections utilizing merchants who parter with parasites, I no longer update these sections and am in the process of replacing all of these merchants with clean merchants. That is the only judgement that I make regarding who or what to add to my site. Otherwise, I am only limited by the number of hours in the day and the amount of non-work things I have going on in my life.
    I think we all need more hours in the day. I can't imagine any other job where there is SOOO much room for growth and one could work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for 20 years and still not complete the task. That is what I love about this business.
    Scott


  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I do have programs die out all the time myself, but I just won't let a site die out. I tried to pick enough general themes that I have enough merchants and room to move around. I like experimenting with merchants and finding a winner amongh the sea of duds.

    By this thread I'm trying to get more people to build sites of value. Too many affiliate sites are identical and it really gives us a bad name. I know I won't make a huge difference, but if I can just help one or two affiliates start putting some real value-generating energy into this I'll be happy.

    I want to see more than just empty shell websites.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  14. #14
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    I want to see more than just empty shell websites.
    Oh, what attitude *hurl hurl hurl*

    You don't KNOW any more than anyone else about what works--so Puh-leeze take it to DMOZ since you're drinking their Kool Aid!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  15. #15
    http and a telephoto
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    It's no longer useful to list Amazon's full catalog or form a site around a single datafeed. The search engines have gotten wise to us and we need to start focusing on the customers, not the spiders.
    Successful businesses have been doing this all along, you are just learning now? If you are customer focused you might as well give up now.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    Successful businesses have been doing this all along, you are just learning now? If you are customer focused you might as well give up now.
    Snib is on some sort of crusade...

    Fred

  17. #17
    Crazy Cat Lady Heidi's Avatar
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    a crusade to cut down on his competition or something.
    Heidi
    "Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true"

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    If you are customer focused you might as well give up now.
    What do you mean by this? I think if you're customer focused, you're doing what's best.

    a crusade to cut down on his competition or something.
    Quite the opposite. I feel with the general standard we have today there's no real competition for me. I'd love to see somebody do something that makes me feel competitive. All the sites I see in the SiteReview forum don't threaten me one bit.

    Bring on the competition! Show me your best

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  19. #19
    Not Verif-Lidated infoTim's Avatar
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    The way I look at it, if someone regurgitates a data feed and puts up an "empty shell" and it makes money, then there's really not much to criticize, right? It may annoy the beans out of somebody who works really hard on some other approach, but... :-)
    Tim
    consultant by day, affiliate by night

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Smile
    The thing is after a couple months Google will drop your site and you'll be left with nothing. I'd much rather have a site that produces 10x as much money consistently over the course of several years.

    Heck, wouldn't you like to own ABestWeb? I think Haiko charges $2,000 just to set up a merchant forum. I'd love to be able to charge that much to have somebody provide content for me.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  21. #21
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    I think Snib is suffering from something that most of us do. A lack of peer interaction.
    ABW is great, but it is limited in many ways. Some of us have friends in our area we meet with and talk with on a regular basis. Others of us do not have this luxury, and it is INDEED a luxury. As humans, we are social in nature even in our work.
    Based on a thread I started here months back on what we all say when someone asks what we do for a living, we all deal with the fact that our loved ones, neighbors and friends are mostly clueless. Therefore, we need interaction among our peers and I think that is what Snib is getting at here, and I applaud it.
    I would love to see an environment where members could meet, share information and benefit from what everyone brings to the table, but that will never happen because there is always someone in the mix who will steal your web site or something idiotic like that.
    I understand what you are saying, Snib. Iagree totally not to abandon a complete site, but I abandon programs fairly often after they have gotten traffic that simply does nothing. In my short time at AM full-time, I have even abandoned a program, saw a new AM on ABW that was full of piss and vinegar, then gone back to them and made some money. Those are rare, but they do happen.
    Last edited by UncleScooter; February 27th, 2005 at 08:06 PM. Reason: spelling...duh!


  22. #22
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    Successful businesses have been doing this all along, you are just learning now? If you are customer focused you might as well give up now.
    Should have read if you AREN'T customer focused you might as well give up now. Couldn't edit by the time I caught it.

    This isn't anything new as touted at the beginning of this thread.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  23. #23
    Not Verif-Lidated infoTim's Avatar
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    BTW, Snib, I agree with you...I would rather invest myself into a site and add some value over the long haul, but not everyone is up for that & there's probably money to be made either way.
    Tim
    consultant by day, affiliate by night

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    The thing is after a couple months Google will drop your site and you'll be left with nothing. I'd much rather have a site that produces 10x as much money consistently over the course of several years.
    Drop what site? If you are tossing up a datafeed and not creating a unique site, not marketing it and working it, then I guess you are right. You can't just build it and they will come.
    Heck, wouldn't you like to own ABestWeb? I think Haiko charges $2,000 just to set up a merchant forum. I'd love to be able to charge that much to have somebody provide content for me.
    Nope, Haiko can have the profits and the headaches. You sound a bit jealous?
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I'm not jealous, I just admire what he's accomplished here. I'm more interested in the accomplishment aspect of this business. Sure making money is a side effect of the accomplishment, but it's much more fun to do something crazy like quit a high paying job to move to an asian country to write programs and learn Chinese.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

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