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  1. #1
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    Good Article in WSJ about web content
    I found this very Article very interesting.

  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Good that Gomes actually recognized the essential fact behind the game, rather than just being self-righteously judgemental about things:

    In fact, search engines are more like a TV camera crew let loose in the middle of a crowd of rowdy fans after a game. Seeing the camera, everyone acts boorishly and jostles to get in front. The act of observing something changes it.
    I agree with him on that. No matter what the SEs do, it will cause websites to warp themselves to try to fit.

    But, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, when they demand "original content" from every site, and end up with the kind of crap Gomez is talking about. How many real writers does G think are out there?! Many people can't write worth a darn as it is, and the cockamamie idea that people will only sell things covering subjects they've spent ages researching, is just nuts. Very, very few people can just walk down the hall to quiz their collegues who have already done articles about bird flu!

    IMO the fundamental problem is the continuing push to try to force sales sites to look like what they're not (namely, like content sites). The sooner G realizes that the two genres need seperate standards, the better! What they are doing now is akin to requiring dolphins to dance on land. It's no wonder the results are less than stellar!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I know it's hard but sometimes we as affiliates need to know where to draw the line. Of course we can make money by throwing crap on the walls, but what value does this provide in the end? What service are we providing visitors? It's really about quality control and those who focus on quality will always do better over a longer period of time.

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

  4. #4
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    My only thought after reading that is damn that guy is cheap:

    " I would have to write 50 articles, each 500 words long. Topics to be assigned. Pay: $100. For everything."

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    IMO the fundamental problem is the continuing push to try to force sales sites to look like what they're not (namely, like content sites). The sooner G realizes that the two genres need seperate standards, the better! What they are doing now is akin to requiring dolphins to dance on land. It's no wonder the results are less than stellar!
    It's not Google that's forcing sales sites to improve their service. It's the visitors. These are the people linking to and bookmarking our sites. If they aren't impressed, they don't link to us. We just need to step it up and start impressing these customers so they're more likely to give us bookmarks, links or diggs.

    Content can be sales based.

    I think a sales site needs to have valuable content to rank well and get return traffic. For example I saw a really nice buying guide for Dell computers on a coupon site the other day. This article has been bookmarked by 87 users on del.icio.us and the coupon site itself got nearly as many bookmarks mostly due to that article. I'm sure that article alone introduced a huge new surge of traffic to the site. Not only that, but they're probably selling a lot of Dell computers.

    Bottom line, content and sales go hand in hand. There should be no division because a good sales site is also a good content site.

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

  6. #6
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Bottom line, content and sales go hand in hand. There should be no division because a good sales site is also a good content site.
    I 100% disagree. That's been tried by several others, at least since 1999--and there's no need to re-try the concept of the squared wheel yet again.

    Content has as much place on a sales site, as a library has in a grocery store! And that's to put it charitably.

    Sales sites are for those ready to buy. Content sites, are a convenient place to dump dud traffic to, and sell flat-rate or CPM ads on.

    This article has been bookmarked by 87 users on del.icio.us and the coupon site itself got nearly as many bookmarks mostly due to that article. I'm sure that article alone introduced a huge new surge of traffic to the site.
    Goodie for it. P*rn gets lots of traffic too, so what.

    Burger King near me used to be able to get 400 teens to loiter in its lot. Plenty of "foot traffic" you might say.
    Their response? To call the police and throw 'em all out--they were scaring away the REAL customers!

    My opinion of content moochers is the same. Pitch 'em all out on their ears. They're a waste of resources.

    Not only that, but they're probably selling a lot of Dell computers.
    I HIGHLY doubt it. (as if a cheap-commish Dell is worth bothering with selling at all, but that's another thread...)

    People who are still looking for articles, are NOT buyers yet. People who've decided to buy, have moved beyond the info-seeking stage, and are now looking for the *store* to do their buying from!

    I aim at what I want to hit: Buyers. Not "maybe," not even "probably," but real bona-fide BUYERS who have their CCs out and their minds made up. Buyers who just need to know *where* to buy (of course, my sites answer *that* question).

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    I can't hold my virtual tongue any more: Your pro-content stuff does not make sense, especially from one who was pitching what amounts to an engine-spamming script in another thread (a thread I can't be bothered to find, to post this there instead of here). The point of putting an aff feed into a cart, is to pretend to be a merchant. There aren't many whitehat uses for *that.*

    Your high horse is missing a shoe...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  7. #7
    Newbie gsantore's Avatar
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    well put, leader.

  8. #8
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    I'm new to this game, but I'd have to side with Leader here. I can spot an affiliate site camouflaged by content a mile a way. I find them to be a turnoff. They are the TV equivalent of an infomercial. I find the content to be disingenuous at best. I have more respect for a site that gives the impression, "I'm trying to sell something, and here it is", than "I'm trying to help you, buy this."

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Some of the most successful sales based sites online rely on content. Just look at Bizrate which focuses on their merchant reviews. These reviews are solid content that drive sales to their merchants. Look at www.tomshardware.com which sells computer components. It's a very in-depth content site that has been extremely successful for years. Look at Pricegrabber.com which offers price comparison content with product reviews. This content drove the sale of the site for almost 500 million. Take a look at www.engadget.com and their million dollar blog. And let's not forget Google who has billions of links which when made searchable are also content. They're the most successful media company online and it's all due to their content. I can go on and on, but I think these are enough to prove my point.

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

  10. #10
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    I know it's hard but sometimes we as affiliates need to know where to draw the line. Of course we can make money by throwing crap on the walls, but what value does this provide in the end? What service are we providing visitors? It's really about quality control and those who focus on quality will always do better over a longer period of time.

    - Scott
    Well, maybe the service is getting them to the merchant who sells the product they are hoping to buy.

    To me that is a service.
    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
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I'm 100% with Snib here. It's all about providing value.

    Whether it's hasily assembled, outdated "product showcases"; mirror images of merchant sites; pages full of scraped data; useless articles full of "unique content"; banner farms; or whatever, if it doesn't provide value to both the site visitor and the merchant, you're fighting an uphill battle. They're all spammy and rely on SEO techniques to get all of their traffic. Search engines don't want useless pages in their index.
    Michael Coley
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  12. #12
    Newbie gsantore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundancekid
    "I'm trying to sell something, and here it is", than "I'm trying to help you, buy this."
    to paraphrase Sundance, the successful model (to scott's point) is more like: "I'm trying to help you buy this." as scott's examples illustrate. content that focuses on that premise --> legitimately assisting the consumer in making an informed purchase does add value. don't think anyone would argue that.

  13. #13
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    I could talk about this article all day but I choose not to since it was one writers experience. I wish he would of talked to me before he made the article, His prices are way too high My writer only cost me 18 cents for 500 words.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  14. #14
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    Oh no, another sales site vs. content site thread

    I thought we already established that they both can work and you can find examples of both and everything in between.

  15. #15
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Content has as much place on a sales site, as a library has in a grocery store!
    We all take our analogies to the edge and imagine just two sides. While Leader's analogy is obviously true to me, she's forgetting that some shoppers in a grocery store might want to carry a calorie calculator (content?) as they shop or a coupon booklet (content?) or a virtual tool (content?) that makes the word MSG glow brightly on the side of the package so it can be avoided or a list of brand names offering organic ingredients (content?)...

    And when I see Snib and MC disagree with her, I see them not clearly separating what is "value" and what is "content" either. Content does not necessarily add value to the shopper's experience. And value (to the shopper) is not always conveyed via content.

    But hey, we all know this conversation goes nowhere, usually with people planting firm stakes on their chosen (and imagined) "two" sides of the content versus sales argument.

    So for fun, I'll just say I disagree with Trust.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    And when I see Snib and MC disagree with her, I see them not clearly separating what is "value" and what is "content" either. Content does not necessarily add value to the shopper's experience. And value (to the shopper) is not always conveyed via content.
    I think you've hit the nail on the head Donuts. When I refer to content I mean content that adds value and is sales focused, but when Leader refers to content she's talking about content that isn't sales focused. We should really be discussing value rather than content. Lots of sites have content that don't earn much money, but we want to have sites that provide content that earns the big bucks.

    The word "content" is just too ambiguous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    So for fun, I'll just say I disagree with Trust.
    I disagree with your disagreement with Trust!

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

  17. #17
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    No the article is about keyword stuffing, via cut-n-paste content, to hijack traffic to shove cookies or Adwords clicks up some potential consumers butt. Key element is I need it quick, and cheap, and I can't speak Hindu or Russian. Basically a call from some affiliate or duper SERP spammer running disposable template sites based upon newsworthy keywords.

    As a longer term solution I watch my most popular steady content/sales landing pages (300-500 daily visitors) and seek out a great niche merchant.... WITHOUT any affiliate program .... and build them a ecommerce enabled site. Sure I build up their existing site with SERP friendly relevent content. I find them meaningful receprocal links for their targeted shopper, even if it means I build each linking partner a tasteful showcase page as a targeted traffic funnel. Google et all love both parties pages regardless of alogo changes.

    You might ask why don't I just populate the EcomCity page getting 700 clicks per day with a few related network merchants? Because the merchants/AM's/Networks, who did convert well there, just data mine that page and use the success secret to pad their own pockets ..not mine. Within months the network merchant(s) go from a 1/25 conversion ratio to maybe 1/400. As a carrot for the non-network merchant I place some creatives and links to them and immediately they see a 1/25 conversion ratio from that pages traffic. Seals the deal quick!

    Leader is not full of content crap ...she just understands the affiliate game. The last thing most AM's doing a 1/25 conversion ratio on my content/sales page is to protect my work, or commissions. They pass out the success keywords to mass traffic cookie cannons- issue POS attack dog keyword +coupons -entice BHO's and other incenters to jump the 700 daily natural SERP visitors to thousands. Meanwhile the related product AM's just ignor my e-mails about falling conversion ratios Like I don't see what they're doing. Properly done the page(s) still pull natural SERP traffic years later with no SEO changes.

    Anyone not adding meaningful original content to their link filled sites are just plain too lazy or relient upon tricks for clicks. They always have perminent natural traffic if matched with merchants willing to protect return day cookies and guard the success stories. Everyone can remember my network challenge... TD verses Linsjhare and CJ. I built content/sales pages for TigerDirect and made 1100.00 + in commissions. Even Befree's Scott threw out some Kudos and turned on the BF data mining switch. The replacement AM and HitBox did the rest, making sure I never had another 2 months over $1000...lucky then to make a hundred bucks/month till fired for whining...
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  18. #18
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Snib, great post - we understood one another and made a lil progress and you made me laugh!

    Ecom/Mike - dude, you been drinking? That was one of your worst posts ever. I could barley read through it. Barley... get it?

  19. #19
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Ecom, i've been drinking... dirsegeerd my lsat psst...

  20. #20
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Ecom, i've been drinking... dirsegeerd my lsat psst...
    OK Donuts. I'm probably ahead of you as I completely read and digested the article.

    I just responded to a merchant e-mail where I challenged last month they got 23,000 clicks from one of my content/sales pages, getting 700 uniques a day. I earned 54.00 in commissions for those clicks at CJ last year. Their suggestion is frontpage exposure and more links from non related interior pages. Basically add in some PPCSE traffic and they'll guarantee I go bankrupt pushing targeted traffic to them. Time to find a merchant I can cream them with who doesn't have an affiliate program.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    I just responded to a merchant e-mail where I challenged last month they got 23,000 clicks from one of my content/sales pages, getting 700 uniques a day. I earned 54.00 in commissions for those clicks at CJ last year.
    I guess this proves Leader's point. You can load your pages with content that attracts visitors just who aren't interested in buying. Mike was nice enough to demonstrate to us exactly why quality content is important. Sorry Mike, but you need to step things up if you want to improve your earnings.

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

  22. #22
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    OK ... I'll speak out as a content site owner trying to make a buck by selling stuff...

    What draws people to my site is the content. Luckily, it's original. Luckily, I can write easily and spit out relevant articles to my niche with little brain power. However, this isn't making me sales, which is what I have to do to stay in this game. So, I develop "sales" pages and/ or sites that COMPLIMENT my content and that I think my visitors will want to buy, considering the content of the page and/or site. I THINK I'm creating value with my content (hell, it's all my OPINION and ADVICE ... but people seem to like it) so the added value to my visitors by creating SALES pages is that I'm offering what they MIGHT want to buy. My judgment on what they MIGHT want to buy is based on the same judgment (intuition?) of what I think they want to READ or discover (as in CONTENT). A pure sales site is just that and works great if people are looking to buy the featured products on the pages. BUT ... another very HUGE aspect of affiliate (or ANY marketing) is TRAFFIC. Such as having a store front on Rodeo Drive as opposed to a small, non TRAFFICKED side street in a bad neighborhood. (LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION) So, IMO, the COMBINATION of QUALITY content and pertinent sales pages is what will ultimately have staying power and maintain SE ranking without going through hoops or heart attacks every time the great Goog decides to fart.

    Leader has said (in other posts) "stay out of the way of the customer trying to buy something" and she's 100% accurate. A bunch of useless, non-related or inane content ABOUT what one is trying to sell (or guide a visitor to) is as useless to making sales as tits on a bird. BUT ... if one has the NICHE TRAFFIC, one can convert said traffic into sales by offering NICHE product to these visitors. One GETS said NICHE TRAFFIC by attracting visitors in that niche. What attracts visitors? EITHER they're looking to BUY something or they're looking for INFORMATION. Information can LEAD TO buying stuff ... Example: A man is surfing the web, looking for information on his new passion, golf. He finds a very cool, INFORMATIVE golf site, content laden with articles, product reviews (whatever) he devours due to his passion for golf. As he reads and absorbs the INFORMATION in the CONTENT, he is led to RECOMMENDED PRODUCT by the (supposed) source who has just filled his head with great new information on how to improve his freaking golf swing (Lead him to RECOMMENDED golf CLUBS/BALLS, arm implants, steroids ...) and how to dress appropriately for the sport (lead him to golf CLOTHES) or maybe a list of all the golf courses in his city (more content) and incorporate a GOLF STORE (pro shops are found at most golf courses for a reason ... SALES) into this CONTENT site where he can click after reading all this great golf information and buy what he's NOW got a hard on for. Sorry ... that analogy just worked too well. ;-)

    So, VALUE in CONTENT would be good informative writing that leads to the sale. As for Leader's statement about "turning salespeople into writers" - yep, it's been my experience and observation that those who can write well WILL find it easier to create and maintain web sites where much of the work is either writing information content or SALES COPY. Writing good sales copy is an art in itself and there are people who are paid big bucks to do this because it SELLS the product better than just throwing up a link and/or banner and hoping someone will click on it and then praying your merchant has good sales copy on his/her site ( think conversion).

    The linked article at the top of this thread talks about writing basically useless content "just to create content" which is a whole different animal than writing valuable, well-though out content or at least PASSIONATE content. Passion can take the place of being able to write well because it's usually HONEST.

    There's room in the affiliate hotel for both sales sites and content sites, just with a different floor designation or a different view of the surrounding scenery. It's not cats and dogs or apples and oranges. It is and can be hybrid fruit and mixed breed pets. OR it can be a purebred dog or cat hotel with mixed breeds on one floor and the pure bred on another. Either way, it's all PETS.

    That's my attempt to make sense of this never ending topic ...
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  23. #23
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    It's not Google that's forcing sales sites to improve their service. It's the visitors. These are the people linking to and bookmarking our sites. If they aren't impressed, they don't link to us. We just need to step it up and start impressing these customers so they're more likely to give us bookmarks, links or diggs.

    Content can be sales based.

    I think a sales site needs to have valuable content to rank well and get return traffic... article has been bookmarked by 87 users on del.icio.us ...

    Bottom line, content and sales go hand in hand. There should be no division because a good sales site is also a good content site.

    - Scott
    Excellent observation.

    How should webmasters encourage visitors to place our sites on de.li.cious, diggs et al. ?
    Is there a form on those sites that will generate a button that we can place on our sites?

    A bunch of ads on a site is not going to stimulate the visitors to click.
    Content can add interest and that sizzle that will generate the click and hopefully the sale.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Great post Rexanne! I think you've about wrapped up the past year of argument over content vs sales.

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

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    How should webmasters encourage visitors to place our sites on de.li.cious, diggs et al. ?
    Is there a form on those sites that will generate a button that we can place on our sites?
    Emily Chang does it on her blog:

    http://www.emilychang.com/go/weblog/...hupcamp-day-1/

    Notice the links to add to Blink, Digg and Del.icio.us.

    These work best for blog posts or articles.

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

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