Tips, Tricks & Notes for LinkWorth Affiliates
LinkWorth Exhibiting at SXSW Interactive
Sunday, March 9th through Tuesday, March 11th, we will be exhibiting at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. This is our first trip to this conference, but not our first trip to Austin. We’ve heard great things about this conference and we’re really excited to have such a big conference so close to home.
For those unfamiliar with our state’s capitol, Austin is rightly named the “Live Music Capital of the World”. It is a great city with the University of Texas parked right in the middle. 6th street is lined with live music venues that will satisfy the musical taste of just about anyone looking. I think it will definitely be a fun conference to attend.
When I first heard of people in our industry going to SXSW for a conference, it was very confusing to me. Anyone that has been involved with music in some shape or form, you probably know of the annual SXSW Music Festival. I know back in my band days it was such a goal to shoot for; get an invite to play at SXSW! The festival showcases hundreds of bands throughout 68 different venues over the course of 5 days. So naturally, when I heard SXSW, I thought people were going to the music festival. Little did I know they have a conference right up our alley that precedes the music festival.
If you’re in Austin while we’re there, please stop by our booth. You can’t miss it. It’s the beautiful blue that jumps out and grabs you!
LinkWorth Affiliates – Link Wisely
If you participate in our affiliate program, this post should be beneficial to you. It’s how to link with your affiliate code but conceal your affiliate link.
Affiliate links are usually not search engine friendly, so making them a bit more friendly is always beneficial. There are FOUR EASY STEPS to setup your affiliate links and this can work for any affiliate links you might have.
This not only helps you make the links friendly, but if the affiliate link ever changes, it’s as simple as changing one line in your affiliate link file and it’s updated on all of your pages.
Regarding what to name your affiliate file(s), I originally said to name it unique to your own site. After thinking further, I realized that a lot of webmasters want to completely hide who they’re working with from the search engines. If this is something that is a concern for you, here are two additional steps to add:
- Name your affiliate file with common words found on all sites. Example names: file.php, html.php, page.php, add.php
Or make it even tougher and use their names: google.php, search.php, yahoo.php, googlebot.php
- Now prevent search bots from following your links. Use the rel=”nofollow” when linking to your affiliate file. For example, if you name your affiliate file “google.php”, link to the file like this:
You can also use your robots.txt file to block them from reading your affiliate file(s).
Of course, the last two steps are only necessary if you want to disguise who you’re affiliated with. I am seeing more and more affiliate links in the SERP’s ranked really well, so if you don’t need to hide things, shoot for being ranked. Having your affiliate link ranked well translates into more money in your pocket!
A Friendly 2007 Farewell and a 2008 Outlook
Here we are, the office has skipped out a little early to prepare for their big night to welcome in the New Year, Matt and I are still working and 2007 is about to be gone in the blink of an eye. Something tells me that in my mind, I’ll be making another post just like this in what will seem like a couple months, asking, “what happened to 2008?”
Overall, 2007 was a great year for LinkWorth. Sure there were bumps in the road here and there, but what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. Luckily the business of online marketing is going nowhere, so that means we’ll continue to morph into a better marketplace for our advertisers and for our partners. We definitely want to thank “ALL” of our customers that continue to make LinkWorth one of the biggest and best ad networks in our industry.
To keep this interesting and not so sappy, because that is so not my style, I wanted to send a few 2007 farewell’s in bullet style:
- Farewell to: All of the conferences we attended: SES, SMX, Pubcon and Affiliate Summit. . .
- Farewell to: All of the cities that put up with us: Seattle, San Jose, Vegas, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, D.C. . .
- Farewell to: American Airlines and their HORRIBLE delays, the special emergency landing, decent 1st class and pitiful coach seats. . .
- Farewell to: Our departed staff: the good, the bad and the greedy. . .
- Farewell to: The almost $2mm in payouts our partners earned!!. . .
- A special thanks to: All of our wonderful advertisers who helped LinkWorth continue on. . .
- Farewell to: Greg “The Hammer” Williams, aka Motorcycle Greggo, aka Sweet Greggo, aka Robot Greggo, aka Common Man. . .
- Farewell to: The horrible scoring system known as PageRank. . .
As we send 2007 out the door, let us welcome 2008 in along with a few bullets for what to expect here at LinkWorth:
- 08 Outlook: More blogging with tips, tricks and secrets to making LinkWorth work even better for you. . .
- 08 Outlook: Create new ways for partners to gain more exposure to Advertisers. . .
- 08 Outlook: Improve our daily spider check to cut down on “not found” messages (already in progress). . .
- 08 Outlook: Introduce new advertising products with a focus on vintage methods. . .
- 08 Outlook: New contests with new prizes. . .
- 08 Outlook: The purchase of Google and Yahoo with my next few saved paychecks. . .
- 08 Outlook: Growing the LinkWorth staff with new smart and exciting people. . .
- 08 Outlook: Spread the LinkWorth brand to new markets attracting new advertisers. . .
- 08 Outlook: Making 2008 better than 2007 and having a great time doing it. . .
Obviously, both lists can have loads more bullets, but this is what came to me before I walk out the door for the evening. 2007 was such a great and big year for our customers and our company, anything short of what we’ve already experienced isn’t really an option.
Directly from the LinkWorth crew, we wish everyone a very safe and happy new year!
Stop By Our Booth At Pubcon in Vegas
LinkWorth will have a booth at the big Vegas Pubcon show next week (Dec 5th & 6th expo hall dates). Pubcon is always a great show to attend for the following reasons:
- It’s in Vegas
- It’s reasonably priced
- LinkWorth will be there
- Did I mention it’s in Vegas?
- We’ll pay to get our logo tattoo’d on you (Ask Dave & Matt!)
- Gambling, Live Shows, Great Hotels
- Pubcon has a great turn out
- And the obvious reason, VEGAS!
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Obviously the 25% will be first come first serve. We hope to see everyone there. Please try to stop by and say “Hey”.
Google vs Bloggers – eWar of 2007 – Bunker Down Pilgrims!
There’s definitely no doubt that the eWar of 2007 between Google and Bloggers has taken a new turn. It appears that Google has targeted the bloggers who are part of the loud and proud company of payperpost. It sucks for the bloggers because their system offers work based on their PR and now Goog has taken that away, but I’m sure they’ll dig their way out of it. This move definitely gives the goog troops the false apparent upper hand. But the word is they’ve hit others too.
What does this mean for you? Well it’s no secret that people who use them more than likely use LinkWorth and many other money making networks, other than Google. Since Goog is trying to perform a public abortion to other ad networks and taking the bloggers with them, I figured the bloggers should go into their battle well prepared. I’ll come back towards the end of this post and give my two cents on those who wave the white flag, but first, here’s my checklist for anyone who uses any of these networks Goog is trying to bully into a slow death:
- Clean Your Tracks
Search engines, although they have huge amounts of resources, still have to use their algo’s to spot issues. Or they rely on the brown nosers to squeal on others and report their fellow competition. That means you must do your best to clean your tracks. What does this mean? Remove all of the outbound links pointing to ad networks you are using that Google probably isn’t that fond of. Consolidate them to point to a single redirection script that resides on your site. Let that script send your affiliate code and block the bots from indexing that redirection file.
Also, make sure you are not so flamboyant with your promotions. A lot of bloggers I come across have badges thrown across their site promoting a handful of ad networks, which just makes it very easy to spot when a human review is performed by the pesky opposing enemy. Try to move your promotions to their own page. For example, write a post about whoever you’re promoting and on your sidebar where you list affiliate links, link your sidebar to the individual pages rather than directly to the affiliate site. Even on these pages, use the redirection script mentioned above to prevent bots from following the links. Here is a redirection script and I would name the jump.php to a unique name you create, then each link sent to that file, add the rel=”nofollow” so bots will not follow. You can go even further to add the meta noindex,nofollow underneath the script.
- Disclose On Your Terms
Disclosure is usually something you want to lean towards, but since the enemy is attacking people who do disclose, it might be best to not disclose at all. For this example, I’ll give suggestions for both ways. It is always good to let your readers know when you are giving a live spot and when you’re speaking from the heart. Most readers are smart enough to figure this out on their own, but the “know-it-all’s” who make the most noise feel it’s polluting the net when bloggers do not disclose paid vs non paid. I would like to see them be in the shoes of the common blogger that works their asses off to write clever and great selling points for advertisers, only to get bitch slapped because of someone else’s agenda. I’ve actually read some of the best blog posts from bloggers doing it for money.
Anyhow, do what you need to do to cover your expenses and bills, but if you can do it and disclose, more power to you. But when you disclose, keep each disclosure unique from others. This eliminates patterns, which is what the enemybot looks for. For each post, make the title unique, but with the same message. For example: “Today Company X has paid me to review Product Y“; or… “A quick Review by Company X who paid for it“. The more unique you make each post, the better chance you have to make your readers trust you and keep the enemy off your ass. If you choose to disclose using an image, make it an image you pull from YOUR site, not from the ad network. I would download the image, save it to your desktop, rename it to something unique, then put it in the images folder of your host. If using the ALT tags, use keywords related to the post rather than calling it “disclosure” or the adnetwork you’re using. Make sure they don’t all use the same, as well. Otherwise, don’t use images for disclosure.
- Refuse Public Mugshots
A lot of ad networks like to showcase who is part of their inventory. They’ll use your name, company or url to plaster all over their site in hopes of bringing in new business. In a normal happy world, this is an awesome way for both sides to get more pub. The problem is, with Goog going after anyone who participates in these networks, it just isn’t the best thing to do. If you give a testimonial, ask to be anonymous. The ad network isn’t out to wrong you, it just makes you a sitting target.
Also make sure the ad network doesn’t reveal all of your information to any visitor that stops by. Someone pointed out the reason PPPost was popped is because their entire inventory is available to the public on their site. In their defense, they’re catering towards potential advertisers and had no idea it would be used against them. If you make it easy to spot, the self appointed net god will do what they want to penetrate the opposing side. If you are part of a network that makes everyone public knowledge without your consent, make a strong case to remove that feature or at least remove your listing.
- Host Your Affiliate Images
Most affiliate programs will serve up affiliate banners/images from the suppliers website. The advantage to this is if images change, you’ll always have the most current version. The disadvantages would be slow load times if there is a connectivity issue, the image being removed from host and you are not told, size of image changing and I’m sure there are other little issues with it. The most important disadvantage is you’re telling the bots where you are pulling the image from. So if you are pulling an image from adnetwork.com/images/img21.jpg, they know you’re probably part of that site. It’s easy to spot it and you’re busted. The way to bypass this is to right click the image and save it to your computer. Then upload to your own site and pull the image from your own site. Don’t add the ALT tags with the network name either. Throw a good keyword that relates to your site.
- Try Acronyms Instead
- More Bang For The Buck Over Ads That Just Suck
2-3 years ago, everyone wanted Pagerank because it mattered in search results. If you had a PR 7 or above, you were damn near guaranteed to be the top player in your market. Things have changed, so we must also change and get over the PR thing. It’s like going to the music store and demanding a Van Halen cassette, they probably exist somewhere, but it’s so outdated and who has a cassette player!
Do you want to attract advertisers? Then give them more bang for their buck! Don’t shove their ad over in the sidebar or foot with your blogroll or list of 10 other advertisers. Stick them in your content so your readers actually see the ads. Footer and sidebar ads pretty much suck if you want to give value to your real estate. Let’s say a huge parade was coming down your street and a street vendor asked to lease a small spot in your yard to solicit to people walking by. Would you offer them up a tiny space in the middle of your backyard? No. And they probably will not be interested. Show potential advertisers that you want people to click their link and put ads inside your content and you’ll see people will want to spend money with you. (Like our LinkInTxt product – quick plug)
- NEVER Let ‘Em See You Sweat!
I’m amazed at all of the noise bloggers are making over this. Obviously bloggers are writers and it’s a way to speak their minds, but all you’re doing is bringing attention to yourself. The enemy’s goal is to create Google FUD (< --Great Article to Read). The craziest thing is people that are giving up thousands of dollars and waving the white flag. And for what? "Hope"? Hoping their PR comes back? And what happens if it never does? Think of all the important green (moola) thrown away for some meaningless green (PR). Ok, back to this point. All of these blog posts you're making on your site is letting them know you're sweating. If you're sweating, you're probably guilty. Today I came across someone that not only made a post about how they would get their PR back, but they pointed out ways to spot paid ads. My suggestion is to keep things on the happy and positive note. Don't let the enemy or potential advertisers see you sweating. You'll lose the fight and you'll lose the sale. Keep your path and act as if nothing has happened. Make necessary changes but keep them to yourself. And if you are part of a network that has a possible flaw, send that network a direct message and let them know about it. See if they have any plans to correct it. Don't give the enemy the gun to shoot you.
To sum things up, just be smart, think ahead and don’t overreact because everyone else is. Pick your poison and learn to co-exist. No one owns the internet which means no one can dictate how you monetize your website. If you have suggestions to add to our list, post them below and we’ll include them.
Hypothetical – Let Us Say Google Penalizes People
A hypothetical I feel is worth a mention. Everyone is so worried about Google and their idiotic pagerank changing, but lets look at the big picture here people. It’s all about where you’re listed in the search results. Lets say your company name is TechCrunch and you’re selling or buying text links. According to the “official confirmation” Google is cracking down on people. Right now it’s just the lowering of Pagerank and some are worried it will result in where they’re listed in the SERPs.
With that in mind, think about how many people have been hit with this change. Imagine all of these sites, Problogger, TechCrunch, John Chow, Weblogs Inc and so on then get penalized as people are worried about. Think about how horrible the search results will be for Google. They are aiming to make their search results better? If I search for a specific company name and they don’t show up in the first page, what is so great about their results? Just because they are crying about webmasters trying to make their online businesses better? I can guarantee you the search results will produce what you’re looking for at Yahoo, MSN or Ask. They don’t seem to be bullying webmasters and pulling money out of their pockets.
I forgot to leave this example. If you go to Google and search for “John Chow“, look at the results! Not quite what you’re looking for, right? How does that make results better?
LinkWords – Let Us Pad Your Pocket!
We’ve been briefly mentioning that our LinkWords program has had an injection of ads into the program by a third party in addition to our own advertisers. What does this mean? It means high payouts per click on high competitive terms which turns into even more money you can make.
MIVA is now feeding their ads and their additional networks through our LinkWords program. For bloggers, you can start writing blog entries immediately on the top paying verticals and earn high click earnings. Currently we have the limit set to 10 ads that can be shown on one page, which we recently moved up from 5. What we found by doing this is rather than showing more ads, it just gave the publisher more options to show ads. Our system tries to match the highest paying keywords on your page and increasing the number increases your chances of grabbing those high priced ads.
We are absolutely excited to be working with MIVA and after our meeting last night with Chris from MIVA, we’re even more excited now. We’ll work with him to maybe get a listing of the top paying verticals so you guys will know good topics to write about.
Want to score points with LinkWorth Account Managers? Read more . . .
Our account managers like to read about great write ups about LinkWorth. Why? Because it helps bring more business to us, turning into more business for our Account Managers. More business for our Account Managers means more money for their pockets.
I came across a superb blog post about LinkWorth that I feel is exactly what a perfect example of this is. This type of blog post will alert our Account Managers to send more business to them. Kind of a ‘I do for you if you do for me’ situation. Just be sure if you get a request, publish it fast. Account Managers prefer to work with people that publish ads immediately. It saves time on their job and gets the campaign in the process faster.
Important Update to Payouts & Affiliate Program
We have two very important updates to announce!
- Payout minimums are changing with most payout methods. We are increasing the minimum to $100 for all payout methods except Paypal, which will remain at $25. The number of payouts have exploded and we’re having a hard time getting them done by the 10th. This change will allow us to get payouts down on time and it will also help us keep costs down.
- NEW AFFILIATE PROGRAM! We briefly explained a new program to those participating but now we are making it official. I think everyone will be delighted to see our payout potential. For those of you that know Joeychgo, you can thank him for talking me into the higher number. The program is tracking all referrals and has been since June 1st; Advertisers, Partners and Combo’s. We’re almost finished with all of the development, but it’s more visual. The important part of tracking and recording what you are sending is working and has been working for months.
Along with the new affiliate program, once things get going, we’ll start rewarding the best affiliates and having contests. Maybe something amazing like lunch with Matt Stoddart. Look at how much fun he is!. We’ll have all kinds of fun games. I’m not opposed to Twister. 🙂
We Need You! Please Help Us Help You . . .
I’m not here to say this is right or that is wrong, what I would like to do is reach out to those who have problems and see if we could maybe address common situations that our customers might have problems with. Now do understand that we are still set to launch a second version of our control center by year’s end. This means there are many areas that need to be upgraded, and will be, but we may not get to them right away. We DEFINITELY want to hear from our customers with suggestions that would make your experiences better.
One big addition that we’re working on is tutorials on how to do most common functions. We’ll have written instructions that will go up first, then we’ll be adding video tutorials for those who like watching how things are done.
Please add your comments below and we’ll do our best to add your suggestions. If it is something that we might not get to right away, we’ll let you know, but we’ll do our best to make everyone happy. 🙂
PS. Did I mention GO COWBOYS!!!!! GIANTS WHO?