Affiliate Marketing in June: Dads and Grads

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Although the lazy days of the summer ‘sales slump’ are just about upon us come June, don’t give up your affiliate marketing efforts too soon.

dads-grads
June is the time to pick up revenue from Father’s Day, graduation season sales and other holidays.

Holiday Observances in June 2016 include:

  • 1 Dare Day
  • 1 Flip a Coin Day
  • 2 National Bubba Day
  • 2 National Rocky Road Day
  • 3 National Doughnut Day always the first Friday in June
  • 3 Repeat Day (I said “Repeat Day”)
  • 4 Applesauce Cake Day
  • 4 Hug Your Cat Day
  • 4 National Trails Day First Saturday in June
  • 4 Old Maid’s Day
  • 5 World Environment Day
  • 6 National Gardening Exercise Day- Get out and exercise with your plants.
  • 6 National Yo-Yo Day
  • 6 Ramadan – date varies
  • 7 National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
  • 8 Best Friends Day
  • 8 Name Your Poison Day
  • 9 Donald Duck Day
  • 10 Iced Tea Day
  • 11 National Corn on the Cob Day
  • 12 Red Rose Day
  • 13 Sewing Machine Day
  • 14 Flag Day
  • 15 Smile Power Day
  • 16 Fresh Veggies Day
  • TBD Nursing Assistants Day – First day of National Nursing Assistants Week
  • 17 Eat Your Vegetables Day
  • 18 Go Fishing Day
  • 18 International Panic Day
  • 18 International Picnic Day
  • 18 National Hollerin’ Contest Day – third Saturday in June
  • 18 National Splurge Day – Oh yeah!!
  • 18 World Juggler’s Day – Saturday closest to June 17th
  • 19 Father’s Day – third Sunday
  • 19 National Kissing Day
  • 19 World Sauntering Day
  • 20 Finally Summer Day- Summer Solstice, date varies
  • 20 Ice Cream Soda Day
  • 21 Go Skate Day
  • 21 International Yoga Day
  • 22 National Chocolate Eclair Day
  • 23 National Columnists Day
  • 23 National Pink Day
  • 24 Swim a Lap Day
  • 24 Take Your Dog to Work Day Friday after Father’s Day
  • 25 Log Cabin Day
  • 25 National Catfish Day
  • 26 Beautician’s Day
  • 26 Forgiveness Day
  • 27 Sun Glasses Day
  • 28 Insurance Awareness Day – Now who do you think invented that!?!
  • 28 Paul Bunyan Day
  • 29 Camera Day
  • 29 Hug Holiday
  • 29 Internatioal Mud Day
  • 29 Waffle Iron Day
  • 30 Meteor Day

From years past, here is a list of topic ideas and titles to consider in June:

  • Top gifts for Grads
  • Top gifts for Dads
  • (Merchant name) Offers Smart Gifts for Dads and Grads
  • Dads and Grads June Special
  • Celebrate Dads and Grads
  • Top Tech Gifts for Dads and Grads (or just Dad, or just Grads)
  • Top 10 (product) for College Students (think laptops, cellphones, etc.)
  • Top 10 Tools for Dad in 2011
  • 10 Excellent (product type) Gifts for Your Dad or Grad
  • Dad’s and Grad’s Gift Guide
  • Greener Gifts for Dads and Grads
  • Personalized Gifts for Dads and Grads
  • Unusual Gifts for Dads and Grads in (year)

My personal preference is always to promote the unusual as well as stuff folks really want, and here’s my list of gifts suggestions for Dads and Grads this year. :-)

  1. Microbrewed Beer Delivered Every Month
  2. Salsa of the Month Club
  3. Pizza of the Month Club
  4. Beer of the Month Club
  5. The Roll Up Drum Kit.
  6. BBQ Sauce of the Month Club
  7. Multiple-Gadget Charging Stations
  8. The Stainless Steel Wallet.
  9. Gaming Chairs
  10. Emergency Roadside Kits
  11. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (I LOVE this book!)
  12. Fogless Shaving Mirrors
  13. MP3 Speakers & Docks
  14. Leatherman Multi-Tools
  15. BBQ Tools
  16. MBA Degree in a Box
  17. Life.doc: Your Life Buttoned Up
  18. MOVA Globe

OK, so maybe that’s MY list of wants. :-) Actually, I have the MOVA Clouds Satellite globe in my office and it’s too cool. It rotates without batteries or wires. Of course, it sits beside my Sony Digital Photo Frame that flashes pictures of all the places in the world that I’ve visited over the past half century (plus). :-)

Tips for Promoting Grads and Dads

Promote the 2 separately if your niche allows it. With different needs and interests, it’s best to target the markets separately.

In the USA, UK and Canada – Fathers’ Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday in June since being made a national holiday in 1966. In Australia and New Zealand, fathers are honored the first Sunday in September. Other countries celebrate fathers throughout the year.

Graduation ceremonies typically are held throughout the month of June in North America.

Make your blog and email subject lines enticing, i.e. “No shipping fees for Graduation gift purchases.” NOTE: Avoid the word “Free” in your subject line to make sure your message doesn’t get caught in a spam filter.

Speak to your potential buyers – not recipients. If you are addressing parents of graduates, avoid ‘hip’ terminology.

Present an array of options. If your niche is fishing, promote everything from cheaper lures to boats. Don’t underestimate the willingness of people to spend big money online.

In 2010, Internet Retailer reported that among the consumers celebrating Father’s Day:

  • 36% will spend less than $25 on a Father’s Day gift.
  • 27% will spend between $25 and $49.
  • 15% will spend between $50 and $74.
  • 22% will spend $75 or more.

The top three Father’s Day gifts are hobby-related items for golf, running and baseball (43%), entertainment gifts such as music, video games and movies (30%), and outdoor items such as barbecue tools (26%).

Last but not least, give your readers the option of purchasing a gift certificate, in case the buyer isn’t sure what the dad or grad will like.

Did you find this post informative and useful? If so, please share it with others! If you have a comment, question or suggestion, please leave a comment below!

Cheers,
sig-ros


The post Affiliate Marketing in June: Dads and Grads appeared first on RosalindGardner.com.

May 31st 2016 affiliate marketing

Affiliate Agreements: Make Sure You READ Them!

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Affiliate Agreements

Affiliate agreements are typically long-winded legal documents, often making them tedious and difficult to read, let alone understand (without multiple reads).

But as affiliate marketers, we must read and understand those agreements!

Case in point…

One afternoon about a year ago, I spent a couple of hours logging into affiliate accounts to look for products I hadn’t actively promoted in quite awhile.

One of those was A Foreign Affair, a dating site that I market on 101Date.com. A Foreign Affair runs their own affiliate program, independent of affiliate networks.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that I had earned $5000 in commissions and that the money had been languishing in my account for a LONG time.

‘Finding’ $5000 was a very nice surprise, but it wouldn’t have been a surprise had I remembered this clause from their affiliate agreement / FAQ:

HOW DO AFFILIATES GET PAID?

You can cash out your account at any time (minimum $50 due). Simply login to your affiliate interface and click on the cash out option and we will mail you a check normally within 3 business days. We can also pay by wire transfer and very soon will offer a PayPal payment option. It’s a simple process, and pays a generous commission – with LIFETIME PAYOUTS AND TRACKING!

Indeed, their Terms and Conditions specifies the same information:

Affiliate may make a request for pay out of commissions at any time regardless of the amount of commissions earned.

Sadly, most ‘surprises’ related to not reading (or forgetting) the terms of affiliate agreements aren’t very happy at all. Many of them can result in account closure and even commission forfeiture.

To avoid these nasty surprises, pay particular attention to the important clauses noted below.

Affiliate Agreements: Important Clauses to Note

Commission Structure

This is just a portion of Amazon’s associate agreement regarding Advertising Fees (section 7).

Qualifying Purchases exclude, and we will not pay advertising fees on any of, the following:

  • any Product that, after expiration of the applicable Session, is added to a customer’s Shopping Cart, is purchased by a customer via our 1-Click feature, or is streamed or downloaded by a customer, even if the customer previously followed a Special Link from your site to the Amazon Site;
  • any Product purchase that is not correctly tracked or reported because the links from your site to the Amazon Site are not properly formatted;
  • any Product purchased through a Special Link in a Mobile Application that was not an Approved Mobile Application or where the Special Link in an Approved Mobile Application was not served by the AMA API, Product Advertising API or other linking tools that we make available to you;
  • any Product purchased through a Special Link by you or on your behalf, including Products you purchase through Special Links for yourself, friends, relatives, or associates (e.g., personal orders, orders for your own use, and orders placed by you for or on behalf of any other person or entity);
  • any Product purchased through a Special Link that violates the terms of this Agreement;
  • any Product purchased for resale or commercial use of any kind;
  • any Product purchased after termination of this Operating Agreement;
  • any Product order that is canceled or returned; and
  • any Product purchased by a customer who is referred to the Amazon Site through any of the following:
    • a Prohibited Paid Search Placement; or
    • a link to the Amazon Site, including a Redirecting Link, that is generated or displayed on a Search Engine in response to a general Internet search query or keyword (i.e., in natural, free, organic, or unpaid search results), whether those links appear through your submission of data to that site or otherwise.

Did reading that make your head hurt?

Note that you need to know the terms Special Link, Prohibited Paid Search Placement and Qualifying Purchases, to fully understand that clause.

Here’s an example from Bing Ads. If you though you were getting paid for account signup leads, you’d be sadly disappointed.

Bing Ads Program Terms

Affiliate Payments

Many affiliate programs offer different payout options (as discussed in the opening paragraphs of this article). But did you know that accepting a particular type of payment could actually end up costing you money?

Here’s an example from the Amazon Associate’s Program agreement:

Payment by Check. If you select payment by check, we will send you a check in the amount of the advertising fees you earn, but we may accrue and withhold advertising fees until the total amount due to you is at least $100. We will deduct a processing fee in the amount of $15 from the advertising fees payable to you for each check we send to you.

In other words, opt for either direct deposit or an Amazon gift card!

At least Amazon gives their affiliates different payment options. I deal with one dating service that charges me $15 every time they do a direct deposit to my bank account. NOT nice!

Affiliate Site Content

Here are requirements posted in different affiliate agreements regarding what is, or is not, acceptable content on an affiliate site.

  • Any page that contains shareasale.com links, banners, or code must be written in English.
  • X-rated sites and sites that contain or promote sexually explicit materials; Sites that promote violence or discord; Sites that promote discrimination based on race, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; Sites that promote illegal activity, including hacking; or Sites that violate intellectual property rights.

Affiliate Links

Some affiliate programs do not allow URL shortening or redirected links by affiliates.

Affiliate Account Promotional Activity

Here is ShareaSale’s take on affiliate account activity (or lack thereof):

Affiliate accounts that are left inactive will be removed from our system if their balance is equal to or less than $25. If an abandoned affiliate account has a balance between $25 and $50, a $25 fee will be assessed once per calendar month, until the balance is equal to zero dollars – and is closed. At no time will an affiliate ever owe monies to Shareasale.com, Inc. based on fees – the account will simply be closed. An abandoned affiliate account is defined as any account that has not been logged in to for a period of 6 months, nor have any transactions been posted to that account. If one or the other of those conditions are true – the account will remain in an active state.

Email Marketing

The first issue affiliate programs and network have with email marketing by affiliates, is SPAM. Every affiliate agreement I’ve ever read contains a warning about SPAM, similar to this one from JVZoo:

SPAM. SPAM, OR UNSOLICITED COMMERCIAL E-MAIL, IS ABSOLUTELY PROHIBITED. We will terminate Your Account and immediately dismiss you from the Affiliate Program if We determine that You have sent SPAM or Unsolicited Commercial E-mail, whether in connection with the Affiliate Program or otherwise, and You will not be entitled to any payment or reimbursement for funds remaining in Your PayPal Account. Further, You agree to comply with all U.S. state and federal SPAM laws, including, but not limited to, the Federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. You also agree to indemnify Us from any liability connected with SPAM or unsolicited e-mail transmissions by You or connected to You.

Programs vary in what they allow in terms of sending to a subscriber list. For example, Carbonite’s terms specify that “You may NOT send dedicated email blasts to contact lists unless you receive prior permission from the Carbonite Affiliate Program Manager” while 99Designs allows it provided the subscribers have opted into the list.

Search Engine Marketing

Here are 2 clauses from Carbonite related to HOW you may promote your affiliate merchants on the search engines.

  • Carbonite does NOT endorse the practice of optimizing for competitor keywords within natural search results (SEO) in order to mislead users into landing, either directly or via a redirect on the Carbonite signup page. Such promotional tactics will result in automatic reversal of commissions and immediate expiration from the Carbonite Affiliate Program.
  • You may NOT apply to register any domain name or trademark incorporating the Carbonite brand (or any part of it including misspellings as outlined in the Protected SEM Bidding Keywords section of this agreement) without Carbonite’s prior written consent.

Social Media Marketing

Most of my merchant partners do allow promotion of their products via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and some provide stipulations beyond just being ‘Allowed’. Indeed, the Amazon Associates program has a FAQ devoted entirely to acceptable Social Networking by its affiliates.

For example, Amazon places its social media affiliate link share buttons directly into the Site Stripe as shown in the graphic below.

Amazon Social Media Affiliate Links

Paid Search Placements

Here are some typical ‘do-nots’ regarding paid search placements.

  • You may NOT bid on any of our trademarked terms, including any variations or misspellings thereof for search or content based campaigns on Google, MSN, Yahoo, Facebook or any other network without prior written consent from the Carbonite Affiliate Program Manager.
  • You may not direct link to our website from any Pay Per Click ad or use redirects that yield the same result. Affiliate links must be directed to an actual page on your website.
  • Publishers may use “eHarmony” in ad copy, but you may not use “official site,” misleading information or derogatory information.

I hope this article has motivated you to start reading the agreements posted by your merchant partners. When you’ve done it often enough, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for and they become a lot simpler to read.

Did you find this post about affiliate agreements informative and useful? If so, please share it with others! If you have a comment, question or suggestion, please leave a comment below!

Cheers,
sig-ros

P.S. This article is part of the Affiliate Marketing Mistakes series.


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May 23rd 2016 affiliate marketing

Affiliate Links Allowed Again on Pinterest

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Pinterest Affiliate Links

On May 12th, Pinterest announced that they will be allowing affiliate links on their site once again.

In the past, we removed affiliate links from Pinterest because spammers were abusing them. Now that our spam detection system is so much stronger, we’re ready to allow affiliate links again. To make way for these changes, we’re making minor updates to our acceptable use policy. We’ll start rolling out all affiliate networks today and over the coming weeks.

Read the full press release here.

Affiliate links were banned from the site back in February 2015, much to the dismay of bloggers and affiliate marketers who had concentrated their marketing efforts using Pinterest and suddenly lost their ability to generate revenue. When the ‘Power Pinners’ left, so did a good portion of Pinterest’s traffic.

Allowing affiliate links should motivate Power Pinners to return to the site — a win-win situation for both the pinners and Pinterest.

For more information on how to use Pinterest, see their acceptable use policy.

Will you be monetizing with Pinterest? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Cheers,
sig-ros


The post Affiliate Links Allowed Again on Pinterest appeared first on RosalindGardner.com.

May 21st 2016 affiliate marketing

How to Cloak Affiliate Links (& Why You Should)

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I always run my affiliate links through redirects – also referred to as cloaking affiliate links – for several reasons: Running them through my redirects means I have a click count to match up to the one the merchant is reporting. Affiliate links are usually ugly and impossible to remember without doing a copy/paste. Redirects… Read More

The post How to Cloak Affiliate Links (& Why You Should) appeared first on Sugarrae.

May 4th 2016 affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing Mistake #10: Not Paying Attention to Affiliate Program Emails

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affiliate-marketing-mistake-10

Over the past almost 20 years, I’ve used a multitude of different email addresses to sign up for affiliate programs and affiliate networks.

In 1997, I used the address linked to my first Internet service provider, which became unusable when I left Prince George, B.C. a couple of years later and signed up with a new provider in Calgary, Alberta.

I then picked up an online email account with Bigfoot because I was traveling a lot and could access it anywhere at anytime. However, their service went by the wayside pretty darned quickly. Fortunately, I hadn’t signed up for many affiliate programs or networks, so changing the email address on those accounts wasn’t too tedious.

Not long afterward I started using CPanel, and got the bright idea to use a different email address for each affiliate program, i.e. clickbank@rosalinds.com, cj@rosalinds.com and so forth.

That setup worked especially well while I was using Eudora, a computer-based email client. I created separate mailboxes for each program, which would ‘light up’ when a new email had arrived.

Sadly, Eudora went the way of the dodo, and I signed up for my Gmail account which I’ve now had for over a decade.

It took awhile to change all those affiliate-program@mydomain.com email addresses to my Gmail account email address.

Then, during one of my server moves, I decided to ‘clean up’ the ‘extraneous stuff’ on the server and deleted most of those affiliate-program@mydomain.com forwarding email addresses.

BIG mistake.

When you are working with a lot of programs and different networks, you might not notice if you don’t receive an email from one of them for awhile — months even. This is especially true if you don’t do much business with a particular program and don’t check your stats regularly.

And when you’re not receiving the affiliate program emails, you might miss one or more that can affect your affiliate relationship status with that program… to the point of termination.

Imagine the surprise / shock when you finally log in to an affiliate account that you’ve had for years and read a statement:

“This account is closed and will not generate referrals. Access to this site is for historical purposes only.”

Yup, that’s what happened to my Amazon account.

Duh.

Apparently, back in October 2015, the Amazon Associates Program sent out a number of emails requesting affiliates to confirm that they were in compliance with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which is mandatory for participation in the Amazon Associates Program.

I didn’t get those emails, so my Amazon Associates Program account was closed on November 1, 2015, which I didn’t know, because I still wasn’t getting any email from the Amazon Associates program.

Between then and now, I created a number of affiliate links to various products on Amazon, such as books I was reading and products I’d purchased and did NOT see a notice that those referrals wouldn’t generate commissions. Their bad.

It was only when I went into the associates program interface that I say the notification about the account being closed.

I sent a few queries through the a portal asking why the account had been closed – with no reply. It was only when I phoned that I got some answers and action.

Unfortunately, the original account couldn’t be re-instated, so I had to re-apply for a new account (and a new ID) in order to participate in the Amazon Associates Program again.

And THAT is why I spent my weekend changing links…

TWO Moral to this story:

  1. Use ONE email address for your affiliate programs and affiliate network sign ups.
  2. READ the emails those affiliate programs and affiliate networks send!!

Did you find this post informative and useful? If so, please share it with others! If you have a comment, question or suggestion, please leave a comment below!

Cheers,
sig-ros


The post Affiliate Marketing Mistake #10: Not Paying Attention to Affiliate Program Emails appeared first on RosalindGardner.com.

May 1st 2016 affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing Mistake #9: Being Afraid of Email Marketing

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9How many emails do you get everyday day by result of having signed up for newsletters about topics in which you are interested?

Ten, 20, 50… 100? (I get WAY more than 100).

Are you often curious enough about the topic discussed in certain emails to click the link and visit the website?

If you answered “yes” to the last question, you already KNOW that email marketing works.

I KNOW it works too, because I click many of those links everyday and while I may not buy anything, I learn LOTS and may purchase something from/through those people at a later date.

Why then, haven’t you tried email marketing in your own affiliate marketing business?

Having taught tens of thousands of people about affiliate marketing, getting involved with email marketing seems to be a sticking point for a lot of people.

They’re willing to go to all the effort of building a website, blogging regularly about a topic and promoting products on their website – but for some reason or another, they won’t build a list of potential customers whom they can contact regularly.

YES, as an affiliate marketer with decades of experience, that reluctance baffles my brain considerably. :-)

Let’s consider some the reasons why one might be afraid to start email marketing.

  1. Email Marketing is Spamming and You’ll Get in Trouble

    This is SUCH wrong thinking!

    Whichever autoresponder service you choose will encourage you to set up your lead capture form in such a way that subscribers must double opt-in, meaning that once they sign up on your blog, they receive an email to which they must respond, therefore confirming their desire to receive the emails.

    Here’s the standard set-up form…

    Email Marketing Confirmed Opt-in

    Your subscriber clicks the link in that email and afterwards can’t complain of having received spam.

    Oh, they might try, but you have PROOF that they elected to receive the newsletter, so you’re on the good side of the CAN-SPAM law. :-)

    Granted, if you provide great information every time you send them an email, they’ll NEVER mark your emails as spam.

  2. Email Marketing is Too Much Work

    If spending 15 minutes once to setup a ‘blog broadcast’ that delivers an email to your subscribers every time you post an article to your blog is too much work, then maybe you shouldn’t be doing business online.

    Granted, I spend about 15 minutes each time I write an article to craft an email newsletter for my subscribers that looks a little better than what the automated blog broadcast sends out.

    Fifteen minutes isn’t too big a drain either, considering you set up a template once and can use it over and over and over again.

    Here’s the template for the email I set up in my autoresponder to send out to my subscribers for THIS article.

    email-marketing-this-message

    I’ve used the simplest template available (Plain) and made it left-aligned.

    The Footer was set up long ago and repeats itself in every email I send. So, in effect, I’ve only had to write the first four lines of the email, add a link to the new article and Poof! my work is finished.

    Considering you’re probably smarter than I am, it’ll only take you 5 minutes to write those 4 lines.

  3. Email Marketing is Too Expensive

    I’ve used Aweber’s autoresponder service for almost 2 decades and believe me, the benefits (pay back) of using an autoresponder service FAR outweigh the costs.

    Aweber offers a free trial on each of its package plans, and then depending on whether you choose a monthly, quarterly or yearly plan, their service costs $19 per month, $49 per month or $194 annually.

    Seriously, for less than $200 per year, you get unlimited emails, integration, segmentation and a lot of other bells and whistles.

    Cost is NOT a reason to be afraid of email marketing.

    Email Marketing is Worth its Work in Gold

    Let’s do a little math on the potential returns for investing a little bit of time and money in email marketing…
    Let’s say you have 1,000 subscribers.

    When you send them an email informing them of your latest article, 80% of them look at the email and 50% click through to your blog.

    Of the 50% (500) who click through to your blog, 5% (25) of them buy the product that you are promoting which costs $100 and earns you a commission of 25%.

    DO the math.

    25 X $25 = $725.

    SEVEN HUNDRED and TWENTY-FIVE bucks for sending out ONE email and my estimates are conservative based on my experience.

    That MORE than pays for your annual subscription to Aweber and leaves you with more than $500 in the kitty.

SO… the question remains… WHY are you NOT email marketing?

Autoresponder Providers

I’ve listed Aweber as my provider of preference, but here is a list of autoresponder services if you’d like to look at more options…

Did you find this post informative and useful? If so, please share it with others! If you have a comment, question or suggestion, please leave a comment below!

Cheers,
sig-ros


The post Affiliate Marketing Mistake #9: Being Afraid of Email Marketing appeared first on RosalindGardner.com.

April 24th 2016 affiliate marketing

How to Create a Clickable Affiliate Ad as a Backup for an AdSense Unit

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Sometimes an AdSense unit won’t display an ad to a user for whatever reason. When an AdSense unit doesn’t show an ad, it leaves an odd amount of space within the content, and reduces my ability to monetize those pages – and I find that unacceptable. This used to be a much more significant problem,… Read More

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April 5th 2016 affiliate marketing

Using Google Alerts to Find New Affiliate Programs in Your Niche

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Google Alerts is a free service offered by Google that will alert you to new content Google finds on the web that contains keywords you specify. Google Alerts is most commonly recommended as a way to monitor your brand – and your competition’s brand – online. But I also use Google Alerts as a way… Read More

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March 30th 2016 affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing Mistake #8: Copyright Infringement – Using Content and Photos without Permission

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Readers often ask me questions regarding the acceptable use of photos and content that they’ve found on other websites and I’m SO glad that those folks take the time to ask the question!

My Experience as a Copyright Infringer

Thankfully, I learned the most important lesson about copyright infringement very early in my Internet marketing career.

I’d pulled a picture of a scantily-clad, very good-looking guy draped in an American flag from a dating site (like Match.com) to use on my affiliate dating service review site at 101Date.com.

As it turned out, that wasn’t copasetic (legal) in the least.

The good-looking guy was a model and the picture was owned by his agency. The pictures shouldn’t have been posted publicly by the model himself. His modeling agency’s legal representative contacted me by email and demanded I pull the picture immediately or suffer legal consquences for copyright infringement, i.e. theft.

NOTE: The legal penalties for copyright infringement are that an infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits. The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed AND the infringer pays for all attorneys fees and court costs.

Quaking in my boots and never having been on the wrong side of the law, I pulled the picture immediately.

Since that incident, I’ve always either used photographs I’ve taken myself or purchased from a stock agency like iStock.

Becoming the Victim of a Copyright Infringer

After publishing the Super Affiliate Handbook in 2003 and gaining much more publicity for my website, copyright infringers descended on my sites, stealing content and photos that I had purchased.

Although finding copyright infringers is frustrating and represents a huge waste of my time, catching and taking them down is a game of cat and mouse I’ve now played for years and thoroughly enjoying winning… as I always do. :-)

Just recently, a site that stole a complete article and feature photo of mine came to my attention through a trackback link. I love STUPID thieves. Here’s a screen capture of my original article about

Here’s a screen capture of my original article about 3 Fabulous Food Bloggers.
copyright infringer

Now here’s a screen capture of the stolen article.

copyright-infringment

Yup, no doubt about where they (Wybin.com) got that photo and content. I’d purchased the photo through a stock agency and added the text to the graphic.

I immediately looked up the domain name through Whois.net and got the name of their hosting service (fastdomain.com) to whom I sent a copyright infringement report. The stolen article was removed shortly afterwards.

This particular thief was tenacious, however.

How to Take a Copyright Infringement Thief Down

Every time I posted a new article, he copied it to his website. Sometimes the articles were published ‘as is’ and other times they were run through an article spinner, with results that would have made the most basic reader of English cringe.

I sent 2 more infringement reports about articles which were taken down, but then the thief moved his site.

He wasn’t stealing only my articles, he was stealing 100’s of articles every day. In one month alone, he’d published over 3,000 articles on his brand-new website. WOW! And the site wasn’t ‘curated’ as such, it was all just stolen material.

I discovered the new host was BlueHost as follows:

Domain Name: WYBIN.COM
Registry Domain ID: 1995310921_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.bluehost.com
Registrar URL: http://www.bluehost.com/
Updated Date: 2016-02-09T02:18:23Z
Creation Date: 2016-01-18T14:28:41Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2017-01-18T14:28:41Z
Registrar: FastDomain Inc.
Registrar IANA ID: 1154
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: abuse@bluehost.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1 801 765 9400
Reseller: BlueHost.Com
Domain Status: ok (https://www.icann.org/epp#ok)
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: SIVA BANU
Registrant Organization: HITMAXZ
Registrant Street: POINT PEDRO ROAD, KOPAY JUNCTION
Registrant City: JAFFNA
Registrant State/Province: JAFFNA
Registrant Postal Code: 40000
Registrant Country: SRI LANKA
Registrant Phone: +94.768034687
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: NISANTHAN@EMAIL.COM
Registry Admin ID:
Admin Name: SIVA BANU
Admin Organization: HITMAXZ
Admin Street: POINT PEDRO ROAD, KOPAY JUNCTION
Admin City: JAFFNA
Admin State/Province: JAFFNA
Admin Postal Code: 40000
Admin Country: SRI LANKA
Admin Phone: +94.768034687
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax:
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email: NISANTHAN@EMAIL.COM
Registry Tech ID:
Tech Name: BLUEHOST INC
Tech Organization: BLUEHOST.COM
Tech Street: 1958 SOUTH 950 EAST
Tech City: PROVO
Tech State/Province: UTAH
Tech Postal Code: 84606
Tech Country: UNITED STATES
Tech Phone: +1.8017659400
Tech Phone Ext:
Tech Fax: +1.8017651992
Tech Fax Ext:
Tech Email: WHOIS@BLUEHOST.COM
Name Server: ERNEST.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM
Name Server: MEG.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM
DNSSEC: unsigned
URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System:

http://wdprs.internic.net/

Last update of WHOIS database: 2016-02-09T02:18:23Z
For more information on Whois status codes, please visit

https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/epp-status-codes-2014-06-16-en

Same thief, different host.

I sent BlueHost 2 copyright infringement reports on the 6th article stolen as follows:

Attn: Copyright Agent

Pursuant to 17 USC 512(c)(3)(A), this communication serves as a statement that:

I am [the exclusive rights holder | the duly authorized representative of the exclusive rights holder] for the pages created at;
http://rosalindgardner.com/blog/affiliate-marketing-mistake-3-bad-writing/

These exclusive rights are being violated by material available upon your site at the following URL(s):

http://www.wybin.com/affiliate-marketing-mistake-3-bad-writing/

I have a good faith belief that the use of this material in such a fashion is not authorized by the copyright holder, the copyright holder's agent, or the law;

Under penalty of perjury in a United States court of law, I state that the information contained in this notification is accurate, and that I am authorized to act on the behalf of the exclusive rights holder for the material in question;

I may be contacted by the following methods (include all): (my address, phone and email);
I hereby request that you remove or disable access to this material as it appears on your service in as expedient a fashion as possible. Thank you.

Regards,
Rosalind Gardner

P.S. This is the 2nd copyright infringement report I've filed with you about this site and other complaints have been dealt with directly with the site owner. ALL the material on this site appears to be stolen from other bloggers... and it would be prudent simply to shut him down and delete the content.

THAT message finally got the job done.

Here is what Wybin looks like today…

wybin

Gone, gone, GONE! The idiot wasted a few months of his time stealing from others, trying to make money. I doubt he made a cent. He had all the social networks in place and I never saw a single Facebook like.

Anyway, the moral of the story is NOT to take content or pictures that don’t belong to you.

How to Avoid Copyright Infringement Lawsuits

Stay on the right side of copyright infringement law by:

  1. Writing your own content.
  2. If you like an article and want to share it with your readers, write a short paragraph about what you found interesting and then link to the article. Don’t reproduce more than a sentence or very short paragraph of anyone’s work without their permission.
  3. NEVER use a picture from another site unless you either have permission, or permission is granted for use on the site. For example, you can often use pictures posted on Wikipedia without having to request permission. Check out Wikipedia’s Image Use Policy first, though.
  4. Some sites providing ‘free’ images require that you post a link back to their website. Be sure to add that link.
  5. Take your own pictures using either your phone or a digital camera. I do this all the time. If you’re promoting a product that you use, take a picture of you using the product. That adds a lot more weight and credibility to your review. Here’s an example of how I reviewed my Vitamix food processor on my personal blog.

Did you find this post about copyright infringement informative and useful? If so, please share it with others! If you have a comment, question or suggestion, please leave a comment below!

Cheers,
sig-ros


The post Affiliate Marketing Mistake #8: Copyright Infringement – Using Content and Photos without Permission appeared first on RosalindGardner.com.

March 29th 2016 affiliate marketing, News

Fake Reviews: Affiliate Marketing Mistake #7

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fake-reviews

I hate having to sort through fake reviews to find honest reviews, don’t you?

Here’s a real-life example…

While playing my daily $20 allotment of video poker and quaffing a complimentary Heineken in the hotel nearest the RV park where we staying in Vegas a few nights ago, I asked the bartender, Tom, what he thought of the food at the steakhouse in the hotel.

I asked the question in part because we’d already eaten at a few of the hotel’s other dining facilities and hadn’t been impressed, i.e. gourmet fare they definitely were NOT – failing at French Toast amongst other equally simple preparations.

Tom provided factual details regarding the steakhouse, i.e. its years of operation, Zagat rating, that the menu was inclusive as opposed to a la carte and an average dinner cost of $70 per person without beverages.

Tom then stated that “the steaks are amazing” and added so many other superlatives that I started thinking of becoming a food blogger simply to extoll the restaurant’s virtues.

My next question for Tom was, “Have you eaten there?”

Tom’s reply, “No.”

You can guess what I thought of his review at that point. Put it this way – I judge his review as fake owing to his allegiance to his employer and we chose not to eat there.

Consumers react likewise to unsubstantiated, or fake reviews posted by affiliate marketers.

In other words…

Fake Reviews Ruin Affiliate Marketing Sales

The posting of fake reviews is one of the reasons that affiliate marketing has garnered a somewhat unsavory reputation over the years. Newbie affiliate marketers, in particular, and others who hang on to the false notion of quick riches, have a tendency to disproportionately highlight benefits while neglecting to include any product disadvantages in the reviews that they write, believing, I suppose, that because people want the best, they also tend to believe the best when is presented to them.

WRONG!

Consumers aren’t stupid.

OK, most consumers aren’t stupid. :-)

When someone who is doing product research gets the impression that a reviewed product is too highly touted, they can easily go to another site for a less biased (more honest) opinion, and you can guess which affiliate gets the sale.

Right! The affiliate who posts an honest, detailed review of the product.

Yes, it takes more time and effort to fully assess a product and then write a real review. Sometimes it takes months to fully evaluate a product’s efficacy, but while you’re doing that, you can be writing other posts.

For example, I started using Grammarly many months before I even mentioned it in one of my posts about how bloggers could improve their writing.

Having said all that, I do occasionally recommend products that I have not personally evaluated.

That only happens when a marketer I’ve known for a long time and whose integrity I trust has a new product that isn’t relevant to my business, but could be useful for a large segment of my audience. At those times, I’ll provide simple factual details about the product. Moreover, I’m always honest about such situations and say that I’ve never used the product myself and tell my readers that a refund guarantee is available should they not be satisfied with their own testing of the product.

Here’s Amazon’s corporate stance on fake reviews posted in October 2015 – they’re suing 1,000 people for posting fake reviews. While those are Amazon review posters, don’t think that stance doesn’t affect the whole industry.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry or simply honest to avoid litigation and build a real affiliate marketing business with REAL product reviews.

My successful affiliate marketing business is proof – 18 years of real reviews and still happily counting. :-)

Did you find this post about fake review informative and useful? If so, please share it with others! If you have a comment, question or suggestion, please leave a comment below!

Cheers,
sig-ros

P.S. Here’s an article about this topic that you will find helpful. How to Write a Product Review


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March 21st 2016 affiliate marketing