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NY-based MediaWhiz has merged their AuctionAds product into their newer ShoppingAds product. This makes sense and I knew it was coming as soon as ShoppingAds launched several months ago. It makes sense because now publishers can show more than just eBay ads as was the case with AuctionAds. Check out our previous AuctionAds coverage.
From the blog announcement: ShoppingAds is a hybrid product that serves both CPA (cost per action) ads provided by eBay and CPC (cost per click) ads provided by our shopping comparison engine partners. The other significant change is the ability for you to become a Premium Publisher. By becoming a premium publisher you will have the opportunity to be paid on a CPC (cost per click) basis for all your US and Canadian traffic while you can monetize your international traffic on a CPA (cost per action) basis. Standard publisher’s traffic will be monetized 100% on a CPA basis.
From what I’ve seen using ShoppingAds on some of my sites, the key is to get others to signup as you earn a percentage of their created revenue as well. The one thing I’ve mentioned a bunch of times is that they need to add a link to signup inside of the widget. This would drive more signups I believe.
Here’s a live widget from ShoppingAds:
WidgetBucks launched last evening and when Jim Kukral sent me the press email about the program, it just seemed like another widget affiliate program. Some of the A-list has written about it including Erick, Rafe and Darren. Darren has a lengthy review about the program which you can earn revenue from placing shopping widgets on your blog or Web site.
I thought rather than look at WidgetBucks alone, I could provide some commentary of WidgetBucks vs. AuctionAds.
First a sample ad from each:
The initial issue I have with WidgetBucks is the same issue as with AdSense. They don’t tell you how much you are making and can tweak it at anytime to increase the WB income statement. AuctionAds promises to pay out 100% of the eBay affiliate income.
Rafe makes a good comment which can actually apply to both services, " If you run a site about products, it’s certainly worth a shot." I have found that AuctionAds doesn’t work that great on CN but works better in the reviews section of HTMLCenter.
WidgetBucks can scan the page the widget lives on and serve up relevant products directly; AuctionAds uses only a keyword system (which you can easily hack to use the keywords on a page).
WidgetBucks pulls listings from multiple stores and pays out on a CPC model while AuctionAds uses eBay only and pays out on whatever eBay pays out on.
WidgetBucks is offering 10% affiliate referrals for 1 year; AuctionAds offers 5% for 6 months.
WidgetBucks is much more interactive with fancy hover effects and a scrollbar.
Side note: I noticed that the payment form on WidgetBucks requests your Tax ID and a lot of personal information and it’s not secured! Also I wonder how WB pays you on a click model to Amazon when Amazon pays out on a CPA model?
From my perspective both programs could work very well on a gadget or reviews blog. On a content-based blog, a reader is not thinking of a purchase so it’s a stretch to imagine a purchase. Of course if you can get signups from your affiliate code on either program, you can make money without doing anything. And any passive income is a good thing.
The key is to try and test and tweak and test until you find the best secret sauce. Please report back with your results after trying both programs!
Patrick Gavin is one smart marketing guy. Patrick is one of the founders of Text Link Ads and after TLA was acquired by Media Whiz, Patrick joined their team. Most recently, Patrick was co-founder of Auction Ads, an eBay affiliate monetization option and it too was acquired by Media Whiz recently. Media Whiz is a NY-based company located in the financial district of Manhattan.
I first came across Text Link Ads in early February 2005 at the SES Conference in NYC. My buddies Till, Darshan and I were walking around the expo when a sign called out to me. It read, "$100 in free text links" and since I had sold a few text links in the past on my properties, I thought I would go speak with them. They had offerings for both the site publisher and the advertiser. The publisher would make 50% on any ads they sold (net-30!) and the advertiser would receive $100 in free text links (minimum purchase $125). As a publisher, if an advertiser uses a coupon, you would receive the net-after coupon amount.
Till, Darshan and I left and headed for lunch and I kept talking about how smart of an idea this is. They didn’t have tons of publishers or advertisers yet but they had a great infrastructure built with plugins. What does offering new customers $100 off $125 really cost TLA? Let’s take a look:
- Customer orders $125 in ads and pays $25
- Assuming the $125 went to one site, TLA pays the publisher $62.50
- So the net loss for TLA is $37.50
- Most customers order more than the minimum $125 and if they order at least $160, TLA loses nothing and gains a customer and a publisher
- In month two, they are already a profitable customer for TLA – and in the two years I have used TLA, most of the ads have remained for at least a year if not longer
Now let’s take a look at Auction Ads. Auction Ads launched earlier this year and is a very simple way to become an eBay affiliate. They offer lots of options and are geared towards the blogger. They pay 100% of the earned commission from eBay. So how does Auction Ads make money if they pay out 100%? Easy. eBay pays bonuses to their affiliates based on total volume and since all Auction Ads publishers appear as one affiliate to eBay, they make money on the bonuses. And so far the Auction Ads growth has been exponential. I wouldn’t be surprised if they offer programs with other companies in the near future.
Ok so Auction Ads can help me generate revenue from my blog, great. But what makes Auction Ads even smarter than your normal affiliate program? Two things: referrals and bonuses. They offer 5% (just raised from 2%) on anyone who signs up through your Auction Ads ad. For me, this is how I have been able to generate revenue through the program. It hasn’t worked well on CN, a bit better on HTMLC, but way better on the referrals. And last week they announced a $25 bonus to any new publisher. Sounds like they start in the negative, right? Think again! They changed the payout minimum to $50 and so it should be a wash once someone gets to $50 and since the more sales a site makes, the larger a bonus they receive from eBay. Smart!
I share this with you because sometimes the easiest route from A-B is not always the smartest route. Patrick has been able to create two great companies that not only generate revenue for him and Media Whiz but also for his publishers and creates great value for his advertisers. As you create your startups, clear the whiteboard and think about creative ways to generate revenue and also make your publishers and Web site visitors happy and more importantly, loyal.
Editor’s note: Text Link Ads is a Mixer sponsor.
I am always looking for ways to increase the income that is generated from my Web sites. I have used a variety of affiliate programs over the years including Commission Junction and Amazon. Amazon has always worked best for my sites but the income has dropped from the late 90s. When Patrick Gavin from TextLinkAds fame launched AuctionAds earlier this year, I didn't think such a program would work well on my sites. I don't know many techies who really use eBay a lot so I left the program behind. Then I gave it a try and here are my results.
First a brief overview about AuctionAds (AA). The program is very simple. Basically you are using AA to become an eBay affiliate. You signup and then create units in the same style as Google Adsense. You can also link to any page on eBay which makes the system even more powerful. There are many options for creating the ad units and there is no limit on how many you can place on a page. Quoting from the FAQ on revenue generation, "When your site's visitors click on an Auction Ad listing and take an action on eBay you earn cash. Actions are defined as a Winning Bid, a Buy-it-Now or a confirmed user registration." What's great about Auction Ads is that you can also generate revenue on affiliates as well. If someone clicks the "Ads by AuctionAds" link below the ad and registers, I earn 2% of all revenue generated by that user for the first 6 months. Pretty spiffy indeed!
Here is an example ad:
To create this ad, I used the term iPhone and selected a standard 468 sized ad. Total time to create/post was less than 30 seconds.
Here are my results for June, my first full month using Auction Ads. And it is important to note that the ad was placed on ONE page only. I used the iPhone cost page as my test for this program. So the revenue earned in June came from this one ad on this one page plus any affiliates I sent (which is not reported currently).
Total revenue earned: $35.35 with a 1.91% clickthru rate. Pretty impressive. Frankly I was shocked to see such a high amount and inquired if it was correct! I received confirmation and did a big Yahoo! While I know that pushing the program out to more pages might not provide the same benefits overall, I am certainly excited at the potential. $35 might not seem like a lot but when you think about the fact that it was generated on one page with one ad unit, it certainly looks rich to me. I know I did not generate $35 from the other ad programs I used during the month on this page.
I am excited about the potential of testing AuctionAds on more pages, especially on my web development site HTMLCenter. I will report back in several months with an update on earnings to confirm how the program is working over a longer time period. If you are looking for a potential new revenue stream for your blog or Web site, AuctionAds might be worth a try.
Note: This review was not paid in any regard, however for proper disclosure, if you click the "Ads by AuctionAds" link in the ad above, I will receive a commission on any transactions made through your use of AuctionAds. That said, feel free to click the direct AuctionAds link if you are not interested in the affiliate deal.