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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    Question Banner Farms
    The question of the Day!

    Do banner farms produce sales or send legitimate traffic to the merchants website? I recently received applicants that are determined to make huge banner farms and make it clear that this is their intent. Can an affiliate be successful with a banner farm? I feel that banner farms are sensory overload websites. What do you think?

    Jennifer

  2. #2
    Internet Cowboy
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    I would look at an applicant who makes an obvious banner farm very carefully. I would consider the possibility that this person might need a way to disguise how they are really sending customers to you.


  3. #3
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    One reason that I think they wouldn't generate much merchant traffic - is because the pages would take so long to load will all of the banners on them that most people would click the back button on their browser before the page ever got loaded to their computer.

    I know that is what I do.

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  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager
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    How do you find what your looking for with no directory! You just have to scroll forever I guess. I don't want my website lost among the throng of banners. I agree UncleScooter that they may be hiding something but how can we really know?

  5. #5
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    It's my opinion that if an Affiliate can't display or prove they have Web property that holds value (in other words plenty of unique and compelling content), they shouldn't even be accepted into a network... anyone can compile banner cut/paste code on an HTML doc..


  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager
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    Gary I agree, I beleive that content sites sell much more than banner farms. The response I got when I inquired about how they were going to market my site was a little desperate and vague offering me a better position and then they reference that other large websites were signing up. Has anyone been approached by something similar?

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    Banner farms are what people make before they know what they are doing and quite often just before they stop trying to be an affiliate because they are so hopeless at it.

    Either this guy is clueless or is putting up a smokescreen.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Mike O's Avatar
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    With a banner farm there'll be little or no relevant text for search engines to index. How do they intend to generate any traffic??
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  9. #9
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Jennifer, It's the est. content sites that rank favorably with (unique) contextual ads.. For example, a high PR site that is not using Aff links -that has existing content showing up in SERPs when people are shopping online- is a Gold mine. You can gauge the moment they 'get it'. One Affiliate took ages to convince but once a few 'buy now' text links were in place it took 12 hours for him to earn a paycheck.

    I should start another thread Sorry to ramble.

    GBM
    Last edited by GravityFed; January 9th, 2006 at 12:14 PM. Reason: was ramblin'

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager
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    This is great information! How can you find the page rank of the website if its not posted? Is there a way?

  11. #11
    Affiliate Network Rep Annabelle's Avatar
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    Banner farms may appear to newbies like a great idea, but in general they offer no reason for a visitor to come back. Successful sites have great content, which are attractive to visitors and compel them to keep coming back.
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  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    RockyMountainTrail - Download the Google Toolbar
    http://toolbar.google.com/?promo=mor-tb-en

    It will tell you in the Toolbar what the pagerank for each page you visit is..

    Good luck weeding out the bad apples...

  13. #13
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    The only banner farm that made any money is Alex Tew's. LOL.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  14. #14
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    Really tho in some ways all of our sites are banner farms. I do agree that just putting a banner up isn't enough. However if you add text to go with it or links under it it can be very effective.

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager inflatemouse's Avatar
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    There are definitly people out there who are content with the shotgun method. Draw traffic by any means necessary then take what every trickles across. In my experience there is low conversion, but link farms can create a lot of traffic.

  16. #16
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyMountainTrail
    The question of the Day!

    Do banner farms produce sales or send legitimate traffic to the merchants website? I recently received applicants that are determined to make huge banner farms and make it clear that this is their intent. Can an affiliate be successful with a banner farm? I feel that banner farms are sensory overload websites. What do you think?

    Jennifer
    If you mean a typical banner farm--that is, nothing but loads and loads of banners--99% chance it's a clueless newb.

    Such sites make me cringe majorly, but I let 'em in just in case they catch the clue train later.

    As for using a banner farm to hide illegitimate activity, I'd say this: If the site generates more than a couple of sales (one from the aff themselves, and one from a friend/family member that they stick into making an order) every few months or (or less often)--Be suspicious. Be very suspicious!

    If I saw any stellar-looking traffic stats or sales coming from one of those, I'd have my fine-tooth comb out in a hurry!


    "legitimate traffic"?
    Traffic can be bought, and flukes happen with SEs. When I first started, I had one banner farm page of contests. I sent cheap PPC traffic at it (at the time, GoTo had no min. bid). With contests, it worked okay--that's a free, impulse-action thing and people would just pick one. The somewhat Vegas-y mush actually fit the "contest" theme, too.
    Free SE Traffic:
    Under current SE algos, I'd say forget it. It used to be that it'd occasionally rank up, during the Google Dance (but not once it settled). But, Google doesn't dance right anymore, and hasn't for ages.

    Do banner farms produce sales
    Tried that at first, too (unfortunately, even I had a "newb" phase). For anything that costs money, a banner farm is a loser. I think I got 1 sale in a year from the banner-farm product page I ran at the same time as the contest one. When the visitor would actually have to pay, rather than signing up for a FREE chance to WIN, you can pretty much forget conversions from a banner farm even if targeted traffic is sent at it.

    Can an affiliate be successful with a banner farm?
    About as successful as a snowball at the equator! lol

    Contests probably would still work, (but they don't pay enough to consider that "successful"). I only killed that page because 90% of the contest places died in the dot-bust, and the page didn't get signups with only 2 banners left on it.

    But serious products? Nah not unless there's some really extraordinary circumstances going on (like it being an interstitial page in the way of some megasite that gets 1,000,000 hits/day, or something way-out like that)...
    Quote Originally Posted by inflatemouse
    In my experience there is low conversion, but link farms can create a lot of traffic.
    Link farms have spiderable text, at least. But a pure banner farm usually only has the banners (even my pages had text links. But most banner farms just have the graphics.), and possibly a title. That makes it very hard for them to rank...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  17. #17
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Banner farms can indicate a clueless newbie. But they are also favored by those engaging in bad behavior. If you have a banner farm site that as a PR 0 and is showing any significant amount of traffic (not necessarily even sales yet), then I'd run. They are probably up to something you don't want in your program.

  18. #18
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    When I started, I would "outline" a site, how the naviagtion was going to be, the topics I wanted to cover and so forth. Then, I would put in banners as place holders where the actual stuff was eventually going to go.

    This could be a site under development that has banners in lieu of empty pages where more is planned to go. The banners helped remind me which merchants I wanted to put in that spot. And, no merchant wants to be on a site that has a bunch of pages with "under constructuion" on them. So, you really do have to put something on those empty pages.

    Depending on how it is all set up, I wouldn't write it off right away. Today's banner farm may be tomorrow's full fledged site under construction.
    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!

  19. #19
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie
    If you have a banner farm site that as a PR 0 and is showing any significant amount of traffic (not necessarily even sales yet), then I'd run.
    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    If I saw any stellar-looking traffic stats or sales coming from one of those, I'd have my fine-tooth comb out in a hurry!
    Looks like we agree. In my other post, I just wanted to mention ways that it's possible to get traffic to them, not imply that it's common for them to have it...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  20. #20
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    I just launched a new merchant program through ShareASale.com, and was surprised to have 3 affiliate applications in the first 12 hours (not counting my own application or the SAS admin account). We don't even have any banners or buttons online, nor have we set up our datafeed yet, so I didn't really expect any applications so quickly.

    Alas, 2 of the 3 applicants are "link farms" -- sites that simply list a whole bunch of affiliate links without any genuine content. One carries so many slow banners-and-buttons that it took 20 seconds before anything appeared. (Both applicants appear to be "clueless" and not deceptive.) The third site appears legitimate, and I approved it.

    Like others who have posted in this thread, my attitude is that I will simply decline applications from "link farm" and "banner farm" sites. I will keep my eyes open for signs of experimentation (as an affiliate, I maintain my own "experimental farm" web site that could look like a "link farm" at quick glance [and yet I'm a fairly successful affiliate for several merchants], so I intend to take more than a superficial look before turning anyone away).

    I'm open to any feedback from other merchants who have seen sales generated from "link farm" or "banner farm" applicants, or any other insight that might lead me change my attitude.

  21. #21
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Question general question:
    so suppose you're looking at a site that has pages containing mostly banners, but each page is a single category with relevant merchant banners? and no undue activity.

  22. #22
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    I know it when I see it
    Quote Originally Posted by Herb ԿԬ
    so suppose you're looking at a site that has pages containing mostly banners, but each page is a single category with relevant merchant banners? and no undue activity.
    To quote Potter Stewart, "I know it when I see it." (He was writing about pornography in a US Supreme Court opinion.) While I can't articulate a set of rules to apply, I have little trouble deciding if a site is a "banner farm" or something more.

    I approved two sites this morning that were configured as "shopping malls," where there was some value added.

    To be honest, I may have responded more favorably because both were "full" members at SAS, while the applicants yesterday were not -- in other words, the folks today have each generated enough sales to get paid at least once.

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