What Is Affiliate Marketing – A Simplistic View ?

This post is mainly aimed at those who have never heard of “affiliate marketing” ever in their lives.

All you super affiliates and affiliate gurus may chide the simplicity of the post.

But, it is not meant for the pros.

Affiliate marketing consists of three kinds of participants namely – merchants(vendors), affiliate programs(mediators) and publishers(authors).

Affiliate Merchants

Merchants are in simple terms, sellers. Merchants use affiliate marketing as a medium to “sell” their products or in other words “enhance” their sales.

In other words, any entity that sells goods or services online (directly through an online channel) is a merchant.

Most merchants are online shopping portals, online gift solution portals, online domain hosting providers, online service providers.

Most merchants will have a payment gateway on their site which will allow you to directly buy products online using credit card or any of the online wallet services like Paypal as the payment method.

Some big merchants in India are Make my Trip, Yatra, Cleartrip, Ferns and Petals to name a few.

What do affiliate merchants get out of affiliate marketing?

Well in two words, increased sales.

If a merchant has many sites which advertise their products, it will naturally get enhanced traffic as the “entry points” to the merchant site increases with every site that promotes the merchant’s products.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs act as mediators (middlemen) between publishers and merchants.

They act as focal point of interaction between merchants and publishers.

A merchant signs up with the affiliate program and offers variety of links, banners and visual aids for publishers.

A publisher also signs up with the affiliate program to gain access to the merchants’ banners.

One question that might arise is – Why do merchants need affiliate programs?

Can they not have a direct affiliate system on their web site?

It all boils down to “leaving it to the experts.” If you have a tooth ache,  you’d prefer going to the dentist rather than using a pincer to pluck it out.

Affiliate programs have great experience of handling merchant accounts and merchant sales.

They have access to advanced tacking systems and added expertise which might not be available to the merchant “in-house”.

Hence the need to rope in affiliate programs.

Affiliate programs usually charge a fixed fee for a merchant to register with them.

Some might even work on a revenue sharing basis depending on the sales made through the program.

An affiliate program does not charge the publisher, it makes all its money from the merchants.

Some big American affiliate programs are Commission Junction, NeverBlue Ads, Click Bank, Webgains USA

A complete list of affiliate programs in India is available on this very site.

Publishers

Any person running a blog/site is a publisher like affiliate tips which is itself a publisher.

A publisher uses affiliate marketing to monetize his site/blog.

As mentioned earlier, a  publisher promotes products of various merchants (through an affiliate program) and earns a “commission” for every sale that the merchant makes through the publisher link.

A publisher tries to leverage his traffic into sales, thus earning commission on every sale the merchant makes through his referral.

The entire process from the point of view of a publisher can be summarised as:

1. Register with an affiliate program.

2. Browse all the banners, links and aids provided by various merchants registered with the affiliate program.

3. Select relevant links and display them on your web site/blog.

4. If a user clicks the link to visit merchant site, a visit is recorded by the tracking system of the affiliate program.

5. In case of a purchase made by the visitor from the merchant side, a fixed commission (ranging anywhere from 5-50% ) is credited to the user account at the affiliate program.

6. Affiliate programs have a fixed payout threshold. If the user commission exceeds the payout threshold, the affiliate program pays the publisher via Check or online wallet systems like Paypal.

This is just enough to get you started.

eCash Opinions Review : Is It Legit or a Scam?

eCash Opinions was one of the most inexpensive survey sites we found.

Registration and navigation was a breeze, but unfortunately the site ultimately confirmed the old adage “you get what you pay for.”

The homepage of the site contained a lot of information in one location.

The left-hand side of the screen had a series of testimonials from satisfied customers.

Buttons along the top of the page included Home, Join Today, Testimonials, Members Log-In, Affiliates, and Get Help.

Directly below these buttons was a short sales video selling the benefits of the site and completing surveys for money.

Further down the page was a sales letter containing similar information, and then a list of bullet points touting the benefits of joining the site.

This was followed by a checklist of basic requirements to get started, including internet access, a computer, and an opinion.

Finally, at the very bottom of the page was a large Get Started button.

To register for the site, however, we followed a shortcut.

The quickest and most efficient way to register for eCash Opinions was to select the Join Today link from the row of buttons along the top of the homepage.

This link skipped the unnecessary sales jargon common on many sites and took us directly to a membership processing page.

The standard membership fee listed was $34, but we were pleasantly surprised when we hit the back button and were then offered a discounted, one-time rate of $19 payable by credit card or PayPal.

Our total cost with taxes came to $19.55.

We quickly discovered that the sales jargon we skipped at the beginning of the registration process still made its way onto our screen.

After reaching the registration confirmation page and completing our order, we navigated through three lengthy sales pages on getting paid to search Google, complete with voiceovers.

The fourth page took us to a membership details form letting us know a confirmation link was sent to our email address.

Once we confirmed our registration, we were issued our username and password.

This was one of the few sites we have found that included this added security feature.

With our username and password in hand, we dived into the Member’s Area and came across more of the most popular feature with eCash Opinions – the voiceover video.

We found one on three of the seven tabs that made up the Member’s Area.

The Voiceovers were poorly done, but were easy to stop.

This feature helped diminish the annoyance factor that accompanied their automatic play feature.

The tabs in the Member’s Area included:

  • Intro, with a basic welcome video to the site;
  • Getting Started, the default Member’s Area homepage;
  • Survey Database, the location of the actual survey site links;
  • Collecting Earnings, with general information on payment methods and procedures used by survey sites;
  • Earning Tips, with four tips for earning more money;
  • Get Help, including a link to the customer support email and a place to submit support tickets;
  • and Bonuses which had links to five members only success packages.

Our attention was immediately drawn to the Survey Database tab.

Each entry in the database included a logo with the name of the site, web link, a brief quote from the website, countries the websites accept panel members from, and a Join Now button.

The database included 55 total links, 15 of which were different language versions of the same site.

This brought the list down to 41 unique sites, five of which were not open to participants from the United States.

The final count of survey site links that were active and available came to 36, all of which were common survey sites easily accessible through a basic internet search.

Overall, the site was affordable and easy to navigate, but the minimal links in the survey database were a disappointment.

Ultimately, the cost we paid per survey site was more than we would have paid on an expensive site with a more extensive database.

Are Web Directory Submissions Worth the Effort?

The Importance of Web Directories

When it comes to link building, web directory submissions are very important.

Aside from the fact that it can drive traffic to a website through the help of direct referrals, web directories also provide one way links to a website– this results to a boost in popularity and better ranking in major search engines.

That being said, SEO has begun to take advantage of article directories as well.

How It Works

In web directory submissions, the human editor plays a vital role– it can either make everything easier or harder.

Basically, the submissions will be checked manually and the editor will determine the relevance and uniqueness of your website.

If you have passed this screening process, then your site will be included in the directory.

Then, this can automatically establish the reliability of a website.

This can also help you get a better ranking in major search engines.

Aside from that, some directories also also collaborate with other directories, as well as search engines, and there are several factors that determine the popularity and relevance of a site.

Directory Submission or Quality Links?

Although directory submissions aren’t really the best way to promote you site, they can still be your stepping stone.

Types of Web Directories

There are several types of web directories and each has its own feature. Here are some of them:

– Completely free web directory: This type of directory is free of charge. No need to pay for anything at all.

– Reciprocal link submission web directory: Here, you’re required to put a link back somewhere on the submitted website in order to get listed. It’s a link exchange process.

– Paid submission web directory: A one-time fee is asked for the links that are being submitted.

– No reciprocal link web directory: It’s a web directory where you can submit your links for free and there’s no need to put any back links on your website either.

– Affiliate links: Here, the directory earns a commission every time a customer is referred from the listed websites.

Here are some of the reasons why web directory submissions are worth the effort:

1. It Is One of the Best Ways to Get High Quality Links

Web directory submission is considered to be one of the best ways to get high quality links.

Likewise, it’s also the most effective and simplest method to link and connect your website on the word wide web.

Links from several directories can help you reach your target audience and customers as it also improves the search engine ranking.

2. To Get the Website Indexed

Search engines, such as Yahoo! and Google send out ‘crawlers’ to search the web for new sites created every day.

So, if you have created a website and you want the search engines to know that it exists, then the easiest way to do that is to inform the search engines through the help of web directory submissions where your link will be visible.

3. One Way Links: Better Search Engine Rankings

A lot of web directories offer one way links. This can be advantageous from the SEO aspect of a website.

Why?

Search engines pay importance to the number of inbound links to the site when raking it for a specific position.

Thus, one way links are more valuable than reciprocal links.

4. Great Way to Target Specific Words and Phrases

Several directories allow websites to provide a link with keywords that describe a site.

Although it’s not easy to get links for a website, with the help of keywords and directories, you’ll be able to do that with ease.

Likewise, getting links with specific keywords and phrases can result to search engines favoring your site over others.

5. Most Directories Are Free

Fortunately, most directories where you can submit your website to, are free of charge.

However, you ought to know that finding the best one would also require a bit of effort and time as well.

Overall, web directory submissions can be a time-consuming and difficult process.

You have to find the right one to ensure that all your effort would be worth it.

Though, it’s also a great way to promote your website because it gains global recognition on the Internet.

It’s a useful strategy that wouldn’t only help you gain traffic, but it can also help your site to be at the top and get very popular.