2009 offered a great earning year for online entrepreneurs. Personally, I’ve amassed a heftier bounty from the various web initiatives I side-manage than the migraine-inducing brick and mortar business I also nurture. Not everything did well though. A few forays crashed and burned. Here’s what really worked- and what merely wasted my time.
The Good Stuff
CLICKBANK AFFILIATE MARKETING. With Clickbank’s new system that allows impregnating webpages with dynamically updating ads, my webpages have tripled clickbank income. In the past, Clickbank limited affiliate marketers to static hoplinks that didn’t change. This posed a drawback. Regular visitors eventually got tired of the same static link. Ad blindness ensued. The new Clickbank method remedied this by allowing the publisher to plug in code which changed ads according to content. Clickbank’s ads then greatly resembled Adsense! And with payouts going up to $97 because of 70% commissions… who wouldn’t smile?
EBAY AUCTIONS. I have one powerseller account at auction giant Ebay. In the beginning I sold high priced items like DVD Players and TV sets which I got from local appliance stores. The margins where poor and logistics a nightmare. But when I moved to promoting zero cost, high margin info products such as “How To Manuals”, things looked up. It became an automatic cash machine. I’d sell 10 or 20 such manuals costing $5 to $10 a piece- incurring no COGS! Then later on, I forayed into the branded realm, selling Louis Vuittons and Hermes picked up from pawnshops. A brand new Hermes may cost $10,000. But snap a few pix of a Birkin at a pawnshop- and you can close an ebay deal for $5000 without any initial cash out!
WELLNESS TOOLS. Everyone loves to improve one’s lot in life. That’s the reason I launched various sites that offered wellness tools and self-help books. With products like the Qlink and Binaural CDs, this remained to be a strong earner.
REVIEW SITES. What I love about review sites is that they not only earn affiliate or adsense income, they also send free stuff my way. Build review sites that hit PR 4 or PR5 and manufacturers throw complimentary items your way for a good review. Right now, my office has all kinds of electronic doodads from Heatseekers to USB vibrators, some never fully utilized.
DIGITAL POINT. DigitalPoint forums is one monster marketplace that charges nothing for the trade of products- whether intangible or not. I’ve successfully promoted e-products, sold services and found affordable labor from this mega site that caters to SEO Experts, online money makers and the occasional hacker.
FACEBOOK and TWITTER MARKETING. Social networking is all the rage these days. People beyond their teens have made it a habit to check facebook more than twice a day- with the iPhone making it easier to know what’s up with friends and business partners. The explosive popularity of facebook opened a new field of online marketing for me. With over 4000 friends from various circles, I’ve found that dropping an honest comment about some (ahem) affiliate product readily leads to sales (and commissions).
Don’t have that many friends? No sweat! Just join one of several facebook groups. Before you know it, you’ll have hundreds. And more than a handful of them may jut click your wallpost links!
(By the way, Facebook also offers an ad system!)
The Bad Stuff
LINK SELLING. I totally scrapped this revenue model as of 2006 when several sites tanked in PR as a penalty. Still, some of my associates persisted and suffered a great deal when Google deindexed their sites. Stay away from link brokers like Tnx.net or text-link-ads.com . They claim that their link exchange system is undetectable but that is a lie. Search engines easily find their php code, then punish the site accordingly. I should know- one site I had years ago dropped from PR5 to PR1 because of Tnx.net
RIVAL AD NETWORKS. Several ad networks like Tribal Fusion and Kontera made almost zero income acr0ss my network of sites- despite the regular traffic each one received. I no longer recommend implementing these as they detract from stronger money makers like Adsense or Clickbank hoplink units.
AMAZON ASSOCIATES. Amazon may be the biggest bookstore in the world, but their affiliate system failed to earn a single dime- after 3 years of deployment. That led me to believe that the affiliate model they propose fails to lend itself well to web publishers like you and I.
Promising New Money Makers
MONEYFISH. Now here’s an odd one that recently came through the door. Moneyfish is something that looks like MLM (in that it comes with several hot info products that can be promoted to downlinks) but isn’t (because it doesn’t follow the traditional downline formula.) The founders refer to it as a $9.95 franchise that grows on automatic pilot. All you do is refer 10 signups then sit back and count checks. Big ones. Moneyfish works by tabulating who else comes in after after you- potentially giving you up to $22,000 a month in earning. What if you can’t find 10 people? No sweat. Any other person who joined PRIOR to you who located beyond ten members isn’t permitted to retain more than ten. The extra goes to you. And that brings cash. So far, things are looking rosy from where I sit. Sure hope Moneyfish doesn’t blow in my face!
EBAY AFFILIATES. Having started on Ebay Affiliates just last year, I’ve seen small but stable revenue growth. If you have a website that lends itself well to ebay’s various products, this one is for you. Simply plug in code and ebay auctions stream live right next to your content. Just because of Ebay Affiliates, I started a fashion blog managed by a full time writer because I wanted ebay’s high margin branded auctions to entice the occasional visitor. It’s working. Last year saw about $1000 net for the whole year. I do hope to increase that though.
What about you? Has 2009 lined your coffers?
Here’s a toast to 2010!