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  1. #1
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    Smile Hard-working newbie looking for wise words..
    First of all, I LOVE this forum.. I've been completely engrossed in it since I joined 2 days ago... reading everything, the ups & downs... so a big thanks to everyone for sharing all their experiences, and words of encouragement.

    I'm a newbie.. but a proper hard-working one. I realize it takes time & effort & committment (not "easy money" as someone recently had the audacity to suggest to me!).. and I bow to all those who have succeeded; you've earned it.

    Now to my question... I launched a site in January 2006, and mainly through PPC & SEO, draw 1500 unique visitors/day now. I seem to have targeted traffic (carefully monitor all stats), have received many invites from merchants, also have been contacted by stores looking for link exchanges (thank you, but no), and so far feedback from readers has been good.

    Now.. my clicks to merchants in March were (as I saw it) quite high. Four of them had 3000 clicks each from my readers.. and these are mostly product links. I'm trying not to be discouraged at a very early stage, but I've seen a total of 12 sales.. across 8 merchants. Although that first sale was VERY exciting!

    Should I just continue to be patient & hard-working.. and fine-tune my site as I learn more about my reader preferences..? I never would have imagined it possible to draw 1500 visitors, and send 3500 clicks to each of 4 stores in a month... but my transaction reality is very different from the published EPC seemingly experienced by others.

    So.. what was my question.. I forgot.. ok, it's not really a question, I think I'm just looking for some wise words from all the people who have been doing this for years..

    And thanks again for the wonderfully entertaining reading!

  2. #2
    Newbie TheHoff's Avatar
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    How does your EPC compare to the merchants' posted EPCs in the network? You can't really compare yours to someone else's in a different niche, but yes, it does sound rather low if your traffic is focused. Since you have 8 different merchants, it is tough to pin it on lack of conversion on their end. What is the niche?

  3. #3
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    Good point, thanks. Published EPC on my CJ merchants is quite a bit higher than mine (can't find LinkShare stats).. and weirdly every merchant has converted into at least one sale. It's feels like a teaser... I have some very good names represented as well (fashion).

    My sensible self says that 2 months isn't a long enough stretch... but my emotional self is asking "but why not more sales???"

  4. #4
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    Do those merchants have coupons? Do you list them? Are all the product links going to the right pages?

  5. #5
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    Update: just did a spyware scan (should be automatic!)... found BHO Webdir under IE.

    Now I'm paranoid as I was in the parasite forum..!

    This might be a dumb question (please note I'm a newbie!).. if someone is stealing my affiliate code.. would clicks still appear in my network account?

  6. #6
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    What merchants are they? It would help.

  7. #7
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    Merchants are Nordstrom, Yoox, Bluefly, etc.. mainly women's apparel. All the links are tested. I've been in web design for years, just new to my own site (spent years creating them for others!). All the content is original as well (I'm old school.. "content is king"!).

    Thanks for the replies by the way.. I'm still reading other sections of the Forum. This stuff is fascinating... no one in my real world understands this kind of biz...

  8. #8
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    Nordstrom does great for me. Bluefly has coupons available, I would put them up, can only help conversions, available in the creative when you go to get links. The clothing merchants like YOOX and Bluefly have more designer end stuff so the conversions are not as great as some of the other clothing merchants, but I do get sales with them.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for that, I feel much better (or less impatient!). On a much smaller scale, Nordstrom is my best.. and the others are trickling in... which seems to be the right pattern.

    I think I need to add this forum to my daily morning read...!

  10. #10
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    It helped me the most when I was first starting out.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Trying to Win's Avatar
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    What are the search terms that your visitors are using to find your site? Do they relate to the merchants your are promoting? Your low epc could be due to your traffic, Bad CJ reporting or stolen commissions. Each one a possibility.
    Just a squirrel trying to get a nut, in the Internet jungle.

  12. #12
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    Good points, thanks... the traffic appears to be well-targeted (so far), and that's one area that I will continue to work on.

    Stolen commissions... I know this may be a naive question.. but would my clicks still appear in the account..? And why would someone do that, it's terrible!! OK, that does sound naive... but I've always believed hard work pays off. I'm a little suspicious now as I had NO sale on CJ, but a few sales on each of the other networks.

    Is there any way to figure out if this has been happening...? I already contacted my highest CJ merchant to discuss performance, no response yet...

  13. #13
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    ... doing a bit more reading now.

    Is there a generally accepted way to cloak affiliate links..? I'm seeing lots of protection apps (using standard google search), but prefer an expert opinion!

    Thanks

  14. #14
    Animal Lover
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    You can use a redirect script which is commonly called a 'jump script' or I believe Chet has a thread somewhere which does it using CSS.

    Oscar
    My DataFeed Scripts - php datafeed scripts for your site
    Shareasale datafeed scripts - to display Shareasale datafeeds
    Linkshare datafeed scripts - for multiple Linkshare merchants

  15. #15
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    Update: last night, thanks to the replies to my post, I saw there were 200+ exposed products links on my site (please note the word "newbie" in the title of this post!)

    I started researching ways to cloak (not a programmer), and also quickly subscribed to Linkshield, just to get links protected immediately. Basically I threw $20 at the problem, but figured peace of mind for a few days was in order, plus it would give me time to ramp up the learning curve (sigh.. again)

    Within 1 HOUR of cloaking more than half my links... a sale appears in my CJ account.. that account which had been dormant for FIVE weeks after 3500 clicks.

    OK it could be a coincidence, but right now I feel like Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory..

    To be honest, I'm not sure if instant cloaking protected the links that have been on my site for a month, but I had no idea this was such a significant problem. If any newbies are reading this, don't think it can't happen to you! And keep reading this forum, I can't say enough kind words about the few people who helped me!!

  16. #16
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    I like to get a test purchase once in a while if a cheap product can be found that I can use. Some times a family test purchase at another IP gives me confidence. It also lets you see how the merchant handles the sale.

    Another angle is your tracking information. I'm sure you have thought of going over that. The server log has a lot of info.


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