Summary. Our advertisers come to us through a variety of ways. Sometimes we’re contacted directly by companies requesting advertising. Other merchants advertise on our site through affiliate brokers. This page describes where our ads come from.
Advertising Feeders. Services like Google AdSense provide context sensitive relevant advertising for bloggers and website owners. The advantage is that there’s a single signup, you paste some HTML code in your site, and everything else is automatic. We use Google AdSense sparingly in our site and continually monitor the ads that are served up. We choose image ads only (not text ads) because those presumably cost more and weed out some of the poorer quality advertisers. Disadvantages include:
- Lack of Control. With automatically served advertising is that you can’t pick a specific ad and promote that on a page or in an article. If you want to advertise a specific company, organization, cause, brand, product or service, you’ll need to use an affiliate broker (described below).
- Loss of Site Visitors. With Google AdSense, site visitors clicking on ads will be taken away from your site rather than opening up a new window. Returning using the go-back feature may not work to return if multiple jumps are made to reach the landing site.
- Manual Monitoring. You need to monitor the advertising to see if irrelevant or undesirable advertising is appearing and then opt-out of those ads manually by blocking specific advertisers. Category blocking is also available, but doesn’t eliminate the need to monitor ads. What’s legally acceptable in advertising may not seem fully honest or appropriate to you.
Affiliate Brokers. If you’re promoting your company, organization, cause, brand, product or service, you’ll likely want to consider using an affiliate broker. Affiliate brokers are agents who manage the details of advertising. Website owners and bloggers earn money when they signup with an affiliate broker and choose who they want to advertise for — placing ads where they make most sense. This relationship results in more contentious opt-in advertising. One drawback is that affiliate programs require some management, and seasonal ads need to be updated manually (unless the advertiser provides updated ads). We use the following affiliate brokers to seek out companies we would like to advertise for.
- Commission Junction (or cj.com) is a source of ads for nationally recognized brands and companies. Many advertisers with CJ.com are very selective about where their ads can appear and who qualifies as an affiliate. So, depending on your website, it’s sometimes difficult to find ads you can run.
- E-junkie.com is a small-scale affiliate broker with about 4,700 clients. Because they are more welcoming of small businesses and individual entrepreneurs, many people selling their own products and services online choose to use E-Junkie. They presumably charge less for their services and offer more money paid out to advertisers and website owners.
- LinkShare has about 800 advertisers including nationally recognized brands and companies such as Barnes&Noble, Gaiam, and even the Apple iTunes, iBookstore, and App stores for iOS and Apple Mac.
- ShopSquad is a very unique affiliate broker offering opportunities to interact with buyers and make commissions on sales. While most other affiliate programs have guidelines you must satisfy, ShopSquad has a pre-arranged list of nationally recognized merchants that you can begin earning commissions with immediately such as Amazon, Best Buy, Sears, and Target. A single signup with ShopSquad gives you instant access to a long list of merchants and very simple but powerful tools.
Brands We Promote. Given the above list of affiliate brokers, we’re able to promote just about any company, organization, cause, brand, product or service of our choosing. We generally select advertisements for nationally recognized companies, organizations, causes, brands, products, or services.
Direct Advertising Requests. Some of our advertisements are the result of direct requests. In such cases, advertisers typically make monthly, yearly, or one-time payments for one of our promotional packages. Some have their own affiliate system to pay commissions, or work with an existing affiliate brokerage (as described above).
Hybrid Store Model. A form of affiliate advertising that generates commissions is to have a branded storefront. For example, we have a ResourcesForLife.com Amazon store. We can promote and sell specific products through the store, and earn money from those sales. Shoppers can also use our store as a portal to look for other products available through Amazon, and we still earn on those purchases. Amazon has addition widgets, such as an Amazon search button that will apply your affiliate code and earn commissions on items purchased through the search widget.