All About Content

Affiliates and Landing Pages

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 11:41 pm

Ran across an interesting post yesterday from a person who had attended PubCon and raved about the session where panelists talked about landing pages. Her only point of contention, she said (and I can’t find it now), was something to the effect of:

… but what these experts aren’t considering when they tell us to perform SEO is that we sometimes have no control over what’s on those landing page. I’m an affiliate for InPhonic and they have these terrible landing pages that don’t provide any information about the product. They’re nothing more than a form where you have to input a ZIP code.

Wow, those do sound like horrible landing pages.

Except it turns out that those zip code form pages aren’t landing pages. Their purpose is not to convert potential customers researching the product… their purpose is to collect ZIP code information in order to show the customer if a particular product is available in their area. (InPhonic sells cell phones with service, so product availability depends on carrier coverage.)

My advice to affiliates in this type of position — those trying to encourage buying behavior by customers who need some convincing: go do some marketing.

Since the ZIP entry box is a technical necessity before the customer gets dropped into the shopping cart, nothing more, the customer should find this great landing page (copy that the poster despairs InPhonic is not providing) on the affiliate’s site. Successful affiliates need to do more than simply place an affiliate link on their site; they should prime the customers for conversion.

In a case where the affiliate link goes directly into a shopping cart, that requires creating the landing page yourself; once the customer clicks through, it should only be a matter of logistics. If the affiliate creates compelling, targeted copy, not only does that provide obvious SEO benefit, but it makes it all the more likely the customer won’t abandon when they hit the form.

The message from the PubCon panel wasn’t simply: good landing pages are important — it was “it’s important that you create good landing pages.” So go build your own. Be creative, provide added value.

It’s All About Content!

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Category: Monetizing,search marketing

Marketing Writer Needed

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 8:32 pm

I need to hire another marketing writer. This is a new position to manage an online content strategy for a major consumer electronics brand. This person will be responsible for the launch, maintenance and promotion of several e-commerce microsites. Any tips on where to recruit? Favorite places to advertise jobs?

View my advert for this Marketing Writer position on LinkedIn.

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Category: Uncategorized

My Unpaid "Paid Posting" for Blogsvertise

Posted by Melanie Phung on Friday, November 24, 2006 at 9:40 pm

Everyone except Blogsvertise staff, please go ahead and ignore this. (Or not. Who am I to tell you what to do.)

I signed up for and blogged about ReviewMe last week while I was at PubCon. About 5 days later I got a message in my dashboard that my review was approved and that I’d be getting $30.

Today I signed up for Blogsvertise, both as a publisher, and then as a blogger. Blogsvertise is also a paid blogging service like ReviewMe and PayPerPost, but it differs quite a bit in how it works.

Here are the (terribly written) Blogsvertise rules:

  • You do not have to necessarily endorse the advertiser’s website products or services, just mention them in your blog.
  • You will be assigned tasks by the administrator to write about in your blog.
  • Within your entry you must include 3 links to the website url in your blog.
  • At least 1 paragraph of approx 50-60 words or more is required for blog entry approval.
  • The task/entry must be completed within 1 week of being emailed to you.
  • Your blog entry must remain online and be a permanent entry in your blog.
  • And of course the usual “we can decide not to pay you if we don’t feel like it” rule.

Blogsvertise vs. ReviewMe
Only the first rule above applies to both services; after that the two services differ significantly.

  1. ReviewMe requires the blogger to disclose that the posting is paid for. Blogsvertise operates more like Pay-Per-Post (read my entry called Pay-Per-Shill), in which bloggers can decide whether to reveal that their post is, in effect, paid publicity.
  2. As an advertiser on Blogsvertise, I indicate how many posts I’d like to buy (with the default level being $20) and then Blogsvertise staff will assign items to various bloggers at their discretion. So, for two hundred bucks, Blogsvertise will get 10 bloggers to write about your site. From what I understood talking to the guy manning the booth at PubCon, this is a manual editorial process.

    I’m not signed up as an advertiser on ReviewMe, but from what I can tell, the advertiser on this service can choose which blogs they want their ads to appear on, based on a catalog of blogs organized by level. Some blogs (based on their Alexa rankings and inbound links) can command $250, whereas smaller blogs cost $60. Pay-per-Post, where I also don’t have visibility into how the advertiser side of the program works, is described as an RFP system, where you post an item, and bloggers “apply” to do those jobs.

  3. An obvious difference to me, as a blogger, is that ReviewMe paid me $30 for my ad about them. Blogsvertise isn’t giving me bupkis; I had to write this entry as part of an application to join their blogger network. Payout is supposed to be $5 to $10 per entry for new members, much lower than ReviewMe. At that rate, a person would need to do a lot of these before she saw any reasonably sized checks.
  4. As an advertiser, this is probably the model I’m going to prefer. For one, it’s cheaper. Two, Blogsvertise requires three links in each entry, unlike ReviewMe, which didn’t appear to require any links. That’s a major bonus if you are looking at these types of services from a link-building perspective. True, the blogger can choose to use completely irrelevant anchor text to link to you, but they probably won’t. Unless they just trying to be a pain in the ass. (Ahem.)

With all of these services, there is some danger of a backlash. We don’t yet know how this paid content model is going to be received by the general public (when and if they really figure it out), and it will be easy to find detractors who will try to use this against the advertisers, accusing them of astro-turfing.

I certainly wouldn’t want the Blogsvertise administrator to assign something to a blogger who is already known to be a passionate and vocal critic of my company. But I wouldn’t know. Worst case scenario, lots of people write about your site, but not one has anything good to say and they aren’t linking to your site with relevant anchor text.

Once I see what sort of results I get as an advertisers, I’ll update.

Click Here to Advertise on My Blog
Click Here to try Blogsvertise Advertising

Comments (2)

Category: Monetizing,Paid Content

Back to the Real World

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 12:11 am

And I’m back from PubCon. It was nice being surrounded by other people who got this SEO thing, for a week at least. As I was cleaning out my week’s worth of messages, here are 3 of the new messages that popped up in my inbox this morning … no joke:

Boss man: “It’s a one page site – it can’t be that hard to SEO it can it?” (About a completely Flash-driven application.)

Usability guy: “Just wanted to give you a heads up that I’m submitting an IT request to append unique URL strings onto every link in the new content sections. The Analytics team wanted us to use different URLs that all go to the same page so we can track which link from within the site someone used to get there.”

IT guy: “Is there a difference between a 301 redirect and a 302 redirect? Is the distinction really that important for SEO?” (After a year of getting IT project requirements from me insisting on proper redirects from hundreds of duplicate pages and then following up those requests with: and these are 301s not 302s, right? Right? Right?!)

Aughhh. Please repeat after me: content is important, duplicate content is bad. I’ve been explaining this over and over for a year and a half. Think I should try to convince the search engines to change their algorithms, rather than keep writing IT requirements documents that apparently no one is reading? Hah!

Okay, I’m done ranting now. All better.

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Category: Navel-Gazing

Paid Posting: ReviewMe’s Pay-Per-Post Service

Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at 4:27 pm

One of the topics being covered in the PubCon session I’m attending is reputation management and the ethics (I’m fighting the urge to put “ethics” in quotation marks) of paying people to blog about your company.

Last week I signed up for ReviewMe, a competitor to PayPerPost, which is paying bloggers to blog about them. At the time I was told I had 48 hours to post my review. Afraid that I missed my chance to earn a whopping $30, I logged in to see if I could find some way around that time limit. Here we are half a week later, and I’m told I still have 48 hours to post my review. I like the false sense of urgency they created here.

I don’t see this business model becoming very powerful until it reaches a certain level of scale (i.e., these sites become large enough to act as an advertising marketplace). But once the concept of pay per post ads are recognized by the general web population, I think people will get really good at simply ignoring them — akin to the “banner blindness” phenomenon.

However, while I wouldn’t become an investor in something like ReviewMe, I don’t think they are wasting their time. Review me is asking advertisers for $60 for a post on sites like mine — blogs are evaluated in terms of traffic and number of inbound links — but only paying the blogger $30. They make 50% on the transaction and their own costs are minimal.

I can see plenty of D-list bloggers like myself flocking to try this once or twice, but the money is going to be in getting advertisers to return. So the question is, would I, as an advertiser, pay $60 to have someone like me write some mediocre content about my company? Actually, probably. The advertising ROI is questionable, but in terms of SEO value, sixty bucks for a permanent, crawlable link to my commercial site isn’t bad.

As a blogger, however, you can’t ask to write reviews; the advertiser needs to approach you. So what do you want to bet that this is the only ReviewMe paid posting that I’ll ever do?

So there ya go. That was my $30 opinion on ReviewMe. Sound interesting? Sign up with my affiliate link.

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Category: Monetizing,Paid Content