Recently in Affiliate Programs
New feature in my in-box this morning about being able to tweet Amazon products using your Amazon Associates account... sounds ripe for all kinds of bad stuff to happen:
Today we are excited to announce the launch of a new feature called Share on Twitter. You can access Share on Twitter from the Site Stripe and post to your Twitter account from Amazon detail pages in just two clicks.
The Share on Twitter feature is easy to use. Simply log in to your Amazon Associates account and then visit any detail page on Amazon.com. By clicking on the Share on Twitter button in the Site Stripe, a new window will open and an Amazon-generated message is pre populated in the 'What are you doing?' text area of your Twitter account (you may be asked to log in to your Twitter account). That message will include a shortened URL that already includes your Associates ID. You'll have the option to edit this message or simply hit the 'Update' button to post to your Twitter account. When Twitter users click on the link in your post and make a qualifying sale, you'll earn referral fees. That's it.
And I guess Amazon doesn't see any issue with the new FTC rules?
Something I am seeing a lot of lately and not liking is travel affiliates cutting their programs - sometimes cutting things out all together (like cruises), shortening cookie length from 45 or 30 days to 7 days or less (one well know regional travel site recently cut their cookie life to one day!), to of course lowering commissions.
I know travel is hurting, but when you take a content partner blog or website, and suddenly give them no reason to promote your sales - well - you are going to do even less business, and anything you might think you are saving is actually going to disappear. Plus it leave a very bad taste in the publishers mouth going forward. In mine anyway...
Have you been seeing your commissions or terms decrease in value? Leave a comment and let us know.
Amazon sent out an email today and announced inside their affiliate program pages the following:
Change to Amazon Associates program
After careful review of how we are investing our advertising resources, we have made the decision to no longer pay referral fees to Associates who send users to www.amazon.com, www.amazon.ca, or www.endless.com through keyword bidding and other paid search on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other search engines, and their extended search networks. If you're not sure if this change affects you, please visit this page for FAQs.
There is more to it but I am sure you can find the rest in the news. It may not seem like a big deal, but I am sure that it could put a certain number of people virtually out of business. Key word bidding on certain retail items is both science and art - and Amazon's decision, at this stage of the recession, is pretty curious. Do they feel the Google has their merchandise covered well enough that they are throwing money away paying these affiliates? Or do they plan on advertising themselves more? Either way I am sure it came as a shock to some SE marketers who may have seen a big chunk of their business disappear in an instant. I am sure lawsuits will follow.
I just wrote a response to a post over on IFB (http://independentfashionbloggers.org) that I am going to re-publish here (in slightly edited form) since it covers a lot of basics very briefly. It is skewed a bit for fashion bloggers, but really would hold up for almost anyone looking to monetize a blog with advertising or affiliate sales.
I have worked with Commission Junction (CJ) as both a publisher and an advertiser for years. Personally I find the system somewhat confusing, and the GUI outdated - but - it does work, especially for certain types of affiliates/products. Here is the first in what I hope is a series of real world examples for publishers and advertisers.
As a publisher, I often want to link into specific products or services of an advertiser - not just their homepage or a generic topic page. Some advertisers make deep linking possible - and some don't. For those who do, these steps should help you out: