Saturday, August 23, 2008

Are You Ready For Changes At ePN

If you use EBay or ePN to monetize websites this past week as been very stressful and hectic. This week EBay announced that more changes are coming to the auction site. Lower upfront fee's and a huge change in search. But I'm not going to get into the changes on EBay auction though.
The biggest happening in the SEO & SEM community is ePN closing accounts arbitrarily. This is a though one. EBay affiliates with years with the program simply dropped Via Email and there CPanels being locked to 7 day warnings. These are trying times for those of us who use ePN for monetizing our sites. This work building websites isnt easy and takes lots of time to learn and implement. Now we are all waiting to see if ePN will be doing these, as they say "expiring" regularly. I think it will happen again, but when is the question.
Protect you ePN account is the 1st thing users should be doing. If you are a total newbie I do not recommend signing up for a ePN (Ebay Partner Network). Beginners really need to know exactly what they need to use ePN and keep there accounts.
A few things I am doing to protect myself from the axe is archive non performing campaigns. You will not get commissions from any sales, but this needs to be done. I don't know the metrics EBAY/EPN use in there decisions, but they have used statements like "tier is based at a publisher level not a campaign ID level" take what they say to heart. That quote is from the manual under value based pricing. Even though this is for value based pricing it would appear as they are possibly using it to evaluate users. If you have 25 campaigns and just one is not performing it will lower the quality rating of all the sites for that publisher. ePN says this is only for ACRU's but I'm taking no chances. As someone who has been with EBay for many years I know how valuable accounts are, so even if I have to archive all my campaigns to fell safe I will.
Remove all links to the sign up page. ePN said that they do no not want low performing new active registered users. This meaning users who sign up and only purchase one item then never come back or doesn't buy enough. Like today I checked my account and on one site I had 2 ACRU's but the fees Ebay charged the seller for the items sold was under $50 (2ACRU's). This scares me because if these people don't come back and spend more money I haven't generated income for the company (ebay). So I have decided to pull all the links to the sign up page on all my sites.
Last but not least make sure you engage your users with tons of content. Any site that is lacking should be archived as well.
All the ePN campaigns I have or will archive will be converted in one way or another. Some I will move to pepper Jam and some I will completely drop from ePN and find other ways to get items to my customers.
Once all this is done I will build specific sites that meet or beat ePN's mission. That is if I last that long. I could get the axe any minute. Doing all this may not protect me. After all some user are truly real SEM professionals with 10's of thousands of readers. I think I'm up to 50. Thanks for that you guys.
If you are archiving ePN Campaigns I can honestly recommend the affiliate programs in the sidebar. I use them all. Pepper Jam is the most important one for ePN now. That could change ! We all need to get backup if you haven't, start now !!!!. Sign up for some other affiliate programs NOW.

Friday, August 15, 2008

In Depth Review Of US Free Ad's Free Classified Service

Hello everyone. Thought I would write about US Free Ads today. I have been using the US Free Ad Classified Service for about 8 months now. Seeing I promote the site here a review of my experience is in order. One thing to always keep in mind when you place a promotional item on your site is to use it. You will never see me recommend or promote that I haven't used first. This is very important for any web master. You want readers to trust you. If you recommend something that is costly and you haven't used it then a reader feel they have been riped off then you the blogger trust and authority arnt worth dirt.
Like I said I have been using US Free Ads for some time now. I have found it to be a tremendous benefit to getting Websites indexed fast in the search engines. Google loves the site. Probably because they demand you keep thing relevant and post your ads and articles in the correct / relevant area. This is good for us because we want every thing about out site to be relative. Posting on US Free Ads is a whole other post. For now I want to show some stats.
First off I use a premium account. I do this mainly for the advance capabilities. The premium service dose not get you preferential treatment with ad placement. The Free Classified Service does the same thing when it come to SEO. Your links are picked up by the search engines just as a premium account.
For the purpose of this post I will pick out 2 sites to look at the numbers. One featured & one not.
Site 1's ad was placed 48 days ago in featured listings and has been viewed 1677 times. The site has been visited from the classified 572 times. according to awStats. I use Pepper Jam as my affiliate provider for site #1. PJ earning are at $240.00 to date. Now there is no direct way that my abilities allow me to draw a direct correlation between any of the numbers. I can say that the site is less than 2 months old and the only promotion I have done is US Free Ads and some signatures in forums and blog comments.
Site 2 is a site that was put up a few day earlier than site one. Both sites target the same product. Site 2 is a regular classified ad. Site 2 has received 432 visitors to the classified and 55 users went on to the site. Site 2 made $73.00. Site 2 is a ePN based site.
All in all I think these are good numbers for two sites that are about the same age. 60 days at most ! What I get out of the numbers is the site I spent a little extra money on the feature ad and made more than 3x more. But as I said the only direct correlation is the fact that the only promoting I did was US Free Ads and a couple of forum signatures and blog comments. Nothing major and all natural SEO. No PPC, Spam, or Black Hat methods. PPC is gambling to me and spam and black hat are to risky. There are certain ways to layout and present your ads and I will cover them over the next few days.
I hope this helps anyone who needs it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

All New Build A Niche Store Mission & Forum

For those Web Masters who use Build A Niche Store Software you are probably aware that the BANS website was turned off 8/10/08 for upgrading. The developers of BANS only said that they where updating the forum software and improving the way support is handled. The site was scheduled to re-open 8/13/08.
On 8/13 the BANS developer's sent out a Email stating they are finishing up the updates and plan on being up and running as planned.
The BANS Developers have also given us a preview of the changes users will see when the site opens back up.
Heres a quote from the pdf sent via email: "
We want this forum to be a positive place for moving forward with BANS...whether that be getting over the initial learning curve, expanding your understanding of the capabilities inherent in the software and how you can use them in your own site building projects or getting to grips with core development and marketing principles that will bring targeted traffic to your sites and revenue into your eBay affiliate accounts"
(1) First they have given a very firm reminder that the forum is for everyone. In my eyes meaning anyone who has paid for the software. Whether the user is a novice or expert webmaster everyone deserves respect in all posts. Basically no more RTFM, or some frivolous statement that dose no good for the community. Users are not obligated to reply. A similar situation to Web Master Forum Politics post. I totally agree with giving this warning because if it wasn't for the BANS Forum I wouldn't know half of what I know without it. Actually I would probably still be making ZERO $. It really comes down to this, don't respond to any posts if you don't have anything good to say, or your out. Here another quote "
Questioning and hence learning is an acceptable (necessary) part of making progress and posts which aim to attack, belittle, undermine etc other BANS users will not be tolerated and there will be no second chances given to people who post with such attitudes " & "
Such forum members will simply be deleted and BANS life will continue on without them".
(2) Secondly the forum has become overwhelmed with advertisements. The ability to have a signature in posts is being removed. As part of the continued development of BANS and it's authority of the Niche Store concept advertisements are bad. By removing the signatures and disallowing links in posts and responses will give more authority to the responses themselves. To many users on forums hide behind a rouse of a "Have You Used This Tool" thread when all they want is to promote the product they are asking about. Or try this LINK. The days of marketing on the BANS site is over.
No discussion of competing products like PHPBAY and the like. Well that kinda falls into the above category and fair INMO.
The Build A Niche Store Forum is being rebuilt into 13 sections with Sub Sections.
If you are a new member or established user of BANS it would be wise to read through the entire BANS News and Community Rules threads before posting. It's a good time to get familiar with the forum before posting.
In closing the changes announced today should make BANS a even more valuable piece of software that will only get better. Learning how to build websites and become a proficient webmaster isnt easy. If you have never heard of BANS and are looking for a place to start for learning how to build websites Build A niche Store is the place and always was. Its just written in stone now. So if you have debated about giving bans a try now may be a good time. Try BANS