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Volume 1 Issue 11 6-23-06

For those who would like to read this in HTML format, this issue of Boomer eZine is posted at http://www.boomer-ezine.com/V1I11_062306.htm.

 By the fact that Linda and I are publishing this issue of the eZine, we did survive the kayak instructions that we took last weekend.  We both enjoyed it, and we will try kayaking again.  

I stand just under 6’ 4’’ and weigh 225.  The boat that the instructor assigned me was a bit small for me and thus was unstable (at least that what I blamed for giving me a dunk in the lake).  If I chewed my gum in the center of my mouth, I could stay up straight, but if I chewed it on the side, I had to be very careful of tipping over.  

We have attached a picture of me in a kayak so you can get a good laugh.  http://www.boomer-ezine.com/John_Kayak_Page.htm.  

We babysat for Allison on Friday evening, and I changed my first diaper in 22 years.  It was like riding a bicycle, it comes back quickly.  These new style diapers have Velcro type fasteners and do not require the peeling of a covering tape on the side tabs.  What will they think of next?  If you want to see the cutest granddaughter in the world, go to http://www.boomer-ezine.com/Allison_Bonnet_Page.htm.  

Enough personal rambling.  The main theme of this issue covers affiliates.  This is one of the most interesting business models on the Net.  If you understand affiliate programs and use them wisely, you can make reasonable income without having to pay constant attention to your programs.  

Affiliate Programs  

Editor’s Note:  This article about affiliates is long and detailed, but it contains important detailed information about how to become an affiliate and how to sign up for Commission Junction.  If you do not read this completely now, save it for a time when you can sit down and follow the instructions and join Commission Junction.

The affiliate program is probably the best return for your effort with the least demand on your tim e.  This has an appeal to the Boomer Entrepreneur since we want to run the business and not have it run us.  We want to have tim e to “kick back and smell the roses”.

The attraction to this model is that it is virtually risk free except for your time.  It costs you nothing to sign up as an affiliate.  You recommend the product and send your visitors to the website where the product is sold and if the customer purchases the product, you are paid a commission.  Amazon.com is credited with being the first businesses on the Net to fully develop the affiliate concept and now all the major companies have affiliate programs.

How does it work?

When you sign up as an affiliate, you will be given an affiliate number, and a special link to use for linking to the affiliate website.  This link will send your visitor to the business site and at the same tim e tell the business that you sent the visitor so you will receive the commission in the case of a sale.

As an example, hover your cursor over this link (www.ebay.com ) and look at the URL in the bottom left corner of the browser screen (Using Internet Explorer).  The link has a bunch of numbers in it and does not even reference eBay.  This link is called a “hop link” since it goes to an intermediate website that does the accounting for the affiliate program.  It records the affiliate ID which is one of the numbers in the link and then passes the visitor on to the proper eBay page.  It takes place so fast that the visitor is not aware that the intermediate step has taken place.  Pretty slick, don’t you think?

Who does all this accounting?

There are companies that do the accounting and act as the coordinator between affiliates and the companies they represent.  These are called affiliate program providers (APP’s).  One of the major sites for handling affiliate accounting is called Commission Junction.  It handles eBay and others.  The major site for electronic products is ClickBank.  Other sites are BeFree, Linkshare, and Performics.  A German APP is Affili.net.

How do I get paid?

The reason that we are working to be entrepreneurs is to ul tim ately have money flowing into our bank account, Right?  When you set up your account with your chosen APP site, you specify your business bank account.  On the designated payment dates, an electronic funds transfer will occur and the funds will be deposited in your account.  When you set this up properly, it is almost on autopilot.

How do I find affiliate programs?

When you join Commission Junction (“CJ”), you will be able to view the thousands of companies that are in its affiliate program.  I suggest that you sign up at CJ and look for affiliates there.  You will be able to see who the companies are and the commission structure of each.  You can then join the program right in CJ without having to go to each company and apply.

Some of the approvals in CJ are immediate and some will notify you later if you have been accepted.

I suggest that you join CJ and study the many companies that are represented.  Take note of a few that you feel might be ones that you would like to represent.  Don’t join the affiliate program yet, but go to Google and research the company website.  See if they sell themselves well and will support the sales effort that you are going to expend to sell their products or services.  Also, from CJ, you can link to the landing page in the company website.  Go there and check it out to see if it sells well.  We had a funny experience on one site.  While we were writing sales copy for the program that we had joined, I clicked on the link to the landing page and it was not the same company name as the ad copy.  I found that it was a subsidiary.  It is important to know what your customer will see when they first meet your affiliate company at its website.

You almost don’t have to find affiliate programs, they will find you.  That statement may be a little far fetched, but if you go to Google and type in “affiliate programs” you will be inundated with selections of every possible affiliate under the sun.

Step by Step Start

When you are operating in the Commission Junction site, you are referred to as “Publisher” and the company you are representing is referred to as “Advertiser”.

Click to https://signup.cj.com/member/publisherSignUp.do and you will land at the page where you can join Commission Junction (www.cj.com).  Select your language, country, and currency.  Click to the next page.  After swearing to abide by the rules and regs, you will be asked for information about your newsletter or website (URL).  If you have a website, you can enter it.  If not, make up a name for the eZine that you may plan to publish.  For this application, you must make up a newsletter name if you do not have a website (URL).  Be creative!

You will then be asked about your promotional methods.  Enter Website/Content and Search Engine Marketing.  Next click “NO” on the radio button that asks if you donate any proceeds to charity.

Next you will be asked to enter all the information needed for setting up your account.  You may have to attempt this page a couple of tim es since you might not have all the info you might need the first tim e.  Some key items you will need are social security number or tax ID if you are registering as a business.  If you want to have your payments direct deposited, get a blank check so you will have the info to set up the banking information.  This is a secure, safe site so you can divulge this information without concern.

When you finish giving CJ your entire pedigree, click “Accept” and you are on your way.  Check your Inbox for an email from CJ with your acceptance message and password.

Sign In

Log in to www.cj.com and use your password to enter.  Some tim es when the log in page comes up, it appears that there is no place to enter your email address and password.  On the right side of the page under “Client Login”, click on “CJ Account Manager” and the form will be presented.

When you are logged in, you will be on your CJ Home Page.  Look around on it.  It shows your account status and basic accounting info.  It also shows the new advertisers.  You might see if any of these look appealing since you can jump right on them and get a head start.

Near the top of the page next to Home, click on “Account”.  This is where you can update the information that you entered on your application.  At the top right in small letters is “CJU Online”.  This is the link to Commission Junction University and is full of good info about how to use CJ.

Now down to business.  Click on the “Get Links” tab near the top and you will be presented the page where you can find advertisers.  There are several ways to view it:  By category, by advertiser name, by Smart Zone, and by relationship which will list all the accounts with which you have an established relationship.

As an example, to find a company with which you are familiar, select the “General Category” tab and in the left column under “Commerce”, click “Auctions”.  The page that is presented will contain various auction sites, but you will recognize most of them as the various eBay sites for the USA and other countries.

Joining as an Affiliate of a Company

To join an affiliate, click on the “View Links” in the box with the affiliate name.  You will be presented with the various banner ads and links for the affiliate.  Pick one and click on it.  If you are not a member of the affiliate program, you will be presented a page describing the program and at the bottom of the page is a button “Join Program”.  Click this and wait to see the response.  Some tim es you will be accepted immediately and some tim es you will get a message that you will be notified after your application has been reviewed.  My longest review took two weeks.

The sequence of “Get Links” and “Join Program” is how you sign up for the affiliate programs that you want to join.  It is all in CJ and it makes it very easy for you.  Linda and I hope you pick good, lucrative ones.  

Get Links

We recommend that you use text links rather than banner ads.  Most of the research says that text links embedded in your copy convert better than the banner ads.  People smell a sales pitch when they see a banner ad and tend not to click on it.  A subtle text link to the advertiser’s site is more appealing to most readers.

If you keep searching the various links for the advertiser, you will find one that says “Text Link”.  Click on it and if you are a member, you will see a page that gives you information about your program and the link.  A key item on this page is “View Destination Page”.  Click here to see where your viewer will land when they click your link.  This will help you with the presale copy that you will write to encourage your reader to click your link to the advertiser.

If you are satisfied that the text link is the one you want, click on the “Get HTML” button at the bottom of the page and a new page will open with information about the link.  I am not going to go through the entire explanation about this.  Read about it in the CJ help.  At the bottom of the page is a box with the HTML code in it for your link that contains your identification information.  Click the button “Highlight Code/Copy Code”.  The HTML will be highlighted.  Place your cursor over it, right click your mouse, click “Copy”, and you have your code on the clipboard ready to copy into your sales copy in your newsletter, your blog, or your website.

It is fitting that you are reading this information about CJ today.  CJ is changing its policy on the links that it provides for you to use.  Since you start today, you will not have to worry about the old links that you might already have in content on the Net.  Starting today all links will be Java based.  This does not really concern you since all you do is copy the link that CJ gives you for a given advertiser and paste it into you web copy or into your ad for the advertiser’s site.  Read the notice on the CJ home page about this topic.  

Site Build It #5  

Our development of our Site Build It site www.retirement-jobs-online.com continues as we have time to devote to it.  We added a Resource Page and an About Us Page.  

We are planning to add some information this weekend that covers the basic business models on the Internet.   Linda has edited my creation and is proofing it for upload.  

I am also going to use Front Page editor coupled with the Site Build It web structure and see how it works.  You really do not need to use an HTML editor with Site Build It, but since I am experimenting with this to be able to report back to you, I am trying all of the features.  

The more I work with Site Build It the more impressed I am with it.  

Boomer-MarketPlace.com  

Our new site, www.Boomer-MarketPlace.com, is up and live.  It is a site that has the entire ClickBank online catalog on it.  ClickBank is where most of the digital products on the Internet are sold.  If you know of an eBook or script about which you want more information, go to www.Boomer-MarketPlace.com and search for it.  There is also a wealth on knowledge about eBay.  Look for the links on the left side of the page.  I especially like the information on the eBay Resources link http://www.boomer-marketplace.com/resources.php.  This site is full of helpful information about “The World’s Online Market Place ”.  Also, check out the eBay articles.  The link is on the left side of the page also.  

Well, that wraps it up for this issue.  I encourage you to join Commission Junction and learn more about it and the affiliate programs that it handles.  There is a good living to be made on the Net as an affiliate.  

Until next week, stay tuned.

 

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