Website Monetization Guide – Part 1

This is the first installment of the sterkly website monetization guide where you can find monetization options or alternatives to your current revenue generating efforts. Below you will find a short summary of the suggestions previously made by Michelle in the website monetization quick start guide and a few others to consider as you begin monetization of your website or reassess the effectiveness of your current monetization methods.

Quick Start Guide Recap:

Banner Ads / Advertising:
Advertisements are still one of the most common revenue models that websites use to monetize. They can be a great method to get your name out there, drive and increase traffic, and ultimately result in conversions. Consumers see hundreds to thousands of banner ads a day so it is important that yours stand out. The placement of the ads is just as significant. The ads should be relevant to the sites they are on and should appeal to the demographics or niche you are trying to reach. Lastly, be sure to consider where these ads will take the consumer after they click on it. You can have a great banner but if your landing page isn’t optimized for conversion, you’ll lose out on a visitor/customer.

Data Monetization:
If you have insight into markets, products, or other valuable data, this may be a great opportunity for you.

Selling Ad Space:
This is a great option if you have a popular website with hundreds of thousands of visitors. You can sell your ad space to others who have users or consumers with demographics similar to your visitors.

Paid Memberships:
Offer basic and premium plans to not only offer different versions of your product but monetize in the process as well.

Donations:
Providing value to your users for a suggested donation is another way to go. This model may only work for particular websites. If you have loyal followers or simply offer an amazing service that people would gladly pay a small donation for, then this might be a great solution.

Paid Reviews:
Whether it be a product or software you are promoting, paid reviews can be a great source of revenue. Many countries including the United States have disclosure laws regarding payment for endorsements or reviews so be sure to check them and follow them.

New monetization models:

Captcha ads:
Captcha ads are becoming the new trend. It is a method that people are just beginning to tap into and I’m willing to bet that soon it will be all over the internet. If you are not yet familiar with captcha ads, what they are is essentially a display ad with the captcha component. Similar to the traditional captcha, you will see an image and have to identify what it is in order to proceed. You may have to answer a question about the image or complete a task to prove you are human. In the original captcha, you tend to see letters or numbers which you then have to enter before proceeding. See the example below.

In addition to increasing your revenue, ad captchas can also have other benefits like keeping your website clean and free of spammers and bots, save you time from irrelevant and fake inquiries, protect your brand, and secure your website from hackers and other trespassers.

Picatcha ad

 

Pay-per-Install:
Pay per install is a way to monetize existing website traffic. Advertisers pay publishers when an install happens. It is a top model for software distributors and developers and one of sterkly’s specialties. Depending on your product, this may yield better results than banner ads, which are based on PPC or CPM models and don’t guarantee an actual conversion. See how pay-per-install works.

Inline Text Ads:
You may already be familiar with inline text ads as I’m sure you’ve come across them during your own browsing. Inline text ads are hyperlinked words on websites, blogs, and other written content online. The words are often underlined to denote they are links. This model is based on pay-per-click. Your website’s keywords become text ads and when your visitors click on them you get paid. Partnering up with an inline text ads company like InfoLinks or Kontera may even add to the value you provide your visitors if the text ads are relevant. Monetizing and enhancing your users’ web experience at the same time, not bad right?

InfoLinks inline text ad


Apps We Love!

Here at sterkly we are passionate about software. Good software enables us to do twice the amount of work in half the time. It enables us to perform tasks with the help of tools that make us wonder how we ever survived without them. Our passion for software is fun! Our office commonly shares software recommendations with one another to help increase our productivity and simplify tasks. It is always a great feeling to discover a new product that enhances your work flow, and I would love to share this feeling with you! Here are the apps I just can’t live without:

 

Jing

Not only is Jing an amazing screenshot and screencast tool, but its sharing settings make this impossible to live without. Being able to share screencasts with a quick and easy hosted link has changed the way I communicate. It is great to be able to demonstrate a process or share an experience with the simplicity of Jing conveniently located on my desktop.

 

Cirrus Insight

Cirrus Insight has spread around our office like wildfire as more and more of us are seeing how this product has helped each other. I remember the first time I saw a coworker using Cirrus, I literally walked straight back to my computer and downloaded the application. I have never felt the same love and passion for Salesforce that others in my office; In fact, I have had a hard time aligning Salesforce with my email and other task management tools. I now realize that I felt that way because I was constantly logging items into Salesforce after the fact. If I just had Cirrus from the start, I would have really felt the benefits of Salesforce as a key component to our account management and business development processes.

 

Evernote

It’s funny that Evernote’s logo is an elephant because ever since Evernote has come into my life, it’s like all of a sudden I have a great memory! This is a tool I use all day, every day. It syncs my notes, tasks, projects and ideas between my laptop and cell phone. It also has great search functionality, sharing settings, and a easy user interface.

 

Balsamiq

This product is a must have for wireframing! Balsamiq is a fun and easy tool to create professional, clean mockups in minutes. The UI library contains relevant and good looking features, making the completed mockup an accurate portrayal of my ideas. It is also very easy to share and modify your mockups with others.

 

Fiddler 

Fiddler is a web debugging proxy tool that tracks all incoming/outgoing browser-to-server communication. It is a super helpful tool to monitor traffic, identify errors, and gather statistics on the performance of any given application. Fiddler is a staple of troubleshooting software in our office.

 

Hide My Ass

HMA is one of the best VPN programs on the market. If you need to check webpages or offers in different geos it is a must. It has a very easy to use interface with 30,000+ IP addresses in 50+ countries. There are many VPN programs out there, but HMA is one of the easiest programs to use with the most secure VPN servers.

 

EasyInline

EasyInline saves me so much time searching for relevant information on a specific topic or keyword. It’s as easy as highlighting the word or phrase I want to look up and Easy Inline instantly offers me a convenient way to search for that word in a new tab on Google, Wikipedia, Youtube, or other popular resources.

 

Boomerang

If I could have the luxury of Boomerang installed on every facet of communication in my life, I absolutely would! This plugin allows me to schedule my emails to come back to me at a later time, send out at a specified time, or remind me to check in on a thread if no one has responded. Boomerang is a must have for those with constantly flooded inboxes as it allows you to prioritize your messages without leaving even the least important message overlooked.

 

F.lux

Everyone should know about this if they work at night! Headaches caused by spending hours working on a tingly eye-burning LCD are a thing of the past! F.lux adjusts your computer’s display to compliment the time of day. This is a great tool to lessen the strain on your eyes and thus enhance your time spent on the computer.

 

 


6 Tips to Increase Work Productivity

Do you ever feel like there are not enough hours in the day to complete your work? Do you wish you could be more productive and efficient because all of the tasks you have going on? This is the case for several business professionals, and especially for people working in fast-paced industries like digital marketing.  Here are 6 helpful tips that I am confident will help increase your overall productivity and make you feel more accomplished on a daily basis at work.

1. Set attainable goals.  “Can I accomplish this? Yes!”

We all want to be ambitious when setting goals for ourselves, which is great, but we also need to be mindful of how our days, weeks and months are planned out. A great way I have found to stay on track is by setting monthly, weekly, and daily goals. I set monthly deadlines and goals, and break the bigger projects up into tasks on a weekly basis. Then I break up those weekly tasks into daily tasks, and create a daily to-do list. I always leave time each day for my daily tasks, and for last minute projects that may take priority over others and are time sensitive.   There are many resourceful tools out there that you can utilize to help streamline your tasks and help keep you on track, like Evernote

2. Time chunking . “I will make time for you!”

It is important to block off times during the day when you can commit to completing certain tasks (checking your emails, working on a project, meeting, etc.). This is the best way I have found to structure my day.  I know it can be hard sometimes, but it will truly help you increase your overall productivity. I use Google Calendar to block off hour chunks during the day, and have alerts to remind me that I have a time committed to something 10 minutes prior. This helps from jumping from one task to another and getting distracted. Try it out, and really try to stick with it!

Continue Reading


Customer Service In A Social Media World

What customers aren’t telling you

How often have you texted somebody about your latest negative experience at a restaurant or a store? Have you ever tweeted or messaged somebody about it? Did you take your beef to the company itself and complain?

“58% of twitter users who have tweeted about a bad brand or product experience never receive a response from the offending company”
Continue Reading


10 Awesome Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Data Aggregation

I receive a lot of reports in excel, and the data is not always in the format I want it in. Whenever possible, I don’t like to use the mouse. Here are my favorite shortcuts for moving around a worksheet and getting the data in the format you want.

1. CTRL + arrow

This will move you to the last cell with the same formatting. For instance, if you have a range of values, ctrl + down arrow will take you to the last cell with text in it, if you were to ctrl + down arrow again, it would take you to the next cell with text in it.

2. CTRL + SHIFT + arrow

The same function as above, except this will highlight the cells as you move through the worksheet

3. CTRL + Home

Takes you to cell A1

4. CTRL+ End

Takes you to the last cell in a worksheet

5. CTRL + PageUp/ Page Down

Moves you through the different tabs in a workbook

6. CRTL + Alt + V

Everyone knows CTRL + V, the paste function. CRTL + Alt + V is for Paste Special. If you want to keep data in the same format as your worksheet is in, copy it, then hit CRTL + Alt + V, and select text from the dialogue box. This will keep your formatting.

7. CTRL + space bar

Highlights and entire column

8. SHIFT + space bar

Highlights an entire row

9. CTRL + “-“/ “+”

Deletes or adds a cell, row, or column. If you hit CTRL + space bar and highlight an entire row, you can easily add or delete a row by using
CTRL + “-“ to delete, or “+” to add.

10. ALT + A + E

Text to columns
Often times, I receive CSV (comma separated values), so I have to get the data in the format I want. The texts to columns wizard will help separate any text you have. Highlight a column of data, hit ALT + A + E, then select Delimited (in most cases), then next, then you can separate the data by tabs, semicolons, commas, spaces, or any other character.

Try using these simple excel shortcuts to navigate around your workbook. You should be able to do almost anything in excel without using the mouse. The more you practice these shortcuts, the more time you will save in the long haul.


The Best Place to Work in San Diego…

Everyone on the team here at sterkly knows it is an awesome place to work; now, the rest of the San Diego business community has confirmed this by awarding us the “2012 Best Place to Work in San Diego”. Here is a picture of the award:

sterkly Best Place to Work award
Continue Reading


Monetizing Browser Extensions

Browser add-ons (or “extensions”) are something that every consumer of the internet should know about, if they don’t already.  Add-ons allow you to custom tailor your browsing experience to fit your specific needs.  For example, Skype’s Click to Call extension in Firefox allows me to make calls directly from my browser. This isn’t a feature that would make sense for Mozilla to add to Firefox as not every user utilizes Skype, but it saves me a ton of time when speaking with clients.

These useful, time-saving features are why add-ons are typically built; developers design and build products which provides the user some form of inherent benefit.  Being feature-based products, not many add-ons are initially designed to earn revenue.  If a developer’s product becomes incredibly popular, there is more demand for updates and maintenance to the add-on.  At this point, many add-on developers face a problem where the work outpaces their available time.  For developers wishing to make money from their product (and maybe quit their day job while they’re at it), the following add-on monetization models come into play..
Continue Reading


Getting Green With Sustainable Business

As part of our commitment to social responsibility, sterkly has started a green initiative to promote and lead a sustainable business. We pride ourselves in being conscientious citizens, caring of our society and surroundings. As such, we have committed to working together to promote a more sustainable and healthier lifestyle for ourselves and our families by creating a wellness program and implementing a few simple green systems within the company. This program focuses on the individual- feeding both the body and mind in healthier ways; the community – learning and giving back; and the planet – conserving it through active participation. We know that we still have a long way to go to become a fully sustainable business but we are proud of this effort and that progress we’ve made and invite you to implement some of these ideas in your own company.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

We have recycle bins labeled for paper, plastic, aluminum and glass throughout the office to reduce the amount of waste.  In addition, we have also reduced paper products, plastic bottles and cans altogether by using glassware. In fact, each employee has personal coffee and water cups to avoid having to use plastic or styrofoam cups every time they grab a cup of coffee. Instead, they can each wash their cups (carefully to not to waste too much water) and reuse them as many times as they want. We also use silverware to reduce the use of disposable utensils.
Continue Reading


Incent Traffic: A Closer Look

Since my last post on incent traffic, I wanted to revisit the discussion of not only where Incent traffic is today, but also site examples of successful marketing tactics involving incentivized techniques. Companies from gaming to coupons are instilling reward based advertising to help engage, increase, and ultimately monetize their users. There is limitless potential as advertisers look to monetize in this manner, and the growth of portals and in-game/online currency become more and more successful. Here are some examples of successful execution of Incent traffic that can be models to follow for your own marketing efforts.

Points and Rewards based Virtual Currency

One of the pioneers of maximizing a user base with incent traffic is Zynga. Zynga made a big splash with Farmville, and many wondered how they were able to make such profits off a free game. One of the answers is virtual currency. In one of Zynga’s games, CityVille, users can refuel their energy levels by having an interactive experience with advertiser ad placements. When your energy level decreases, ads are shown with an attached task, and once completed you reboot your energy. While it may seem like a small thing, this model of gaming where you achieve rewards or boosts for completing tasks, is becoming one of the base strategies for in game monetization.
Continue Reading


How Does Pay-Per-Install Work?

Step #1: User begins installation of desired software program.</p>
<p>Step #2: User is prompted with the opportunity to download related software program(s) in addition to the initial program. Typically, the additional software offered is determined by a sophisticated technology that pairs complimentary products, while taking into consideration the user’s “profile”, the advertiser’s needs, and the publisher’s restrictions.</p>
<p>Step #3: Advertiser pays publisher each time the advertiser product is installed in within the publisher’s installation path. This closes the


Are You Sacrificing Game Play for Money?

The landscape of gaming today presents game developers and distributors with many unique challenges.  Building a successful game takes a lot of hard work and dedication.  Behind the hopefully creative marketing lurks great designs, challenging mechanics, and demanding players.

The gaming space has never been more crowded, and common monetization methods are getting stale and tired. Gamers, such as myself, encounter countless games offering two paths to success: “run the treadmill” or “instant gratification.” Most have experienced these monetization tactics, probably while playing mobile games. Don’t believe me? Run this simple test:
Continue Reading


sterkly’s Paintballing Adventure

When you picture a team outing with your co-workers you probably see yourself at a baseball game, a music event or enjoying a relaxing picnic in the park.  You wouldn’t imagine yourself diving, rolling and crawling in dirt while avoiding getting shot with a paintball gun by your office mate.  Well, we do things a little different here at sterkly. There are few ways better to build camaraderie than pitting your team against each other in war games.


Continue Reading


What Yoga Teaches Us About Marketing


As part of our benefits package, sterkly introduced free Yoga classes twice a week for employees.  Aside from Yoga being a good practice to strip away the layers of stress (and fat) accumulated from even a day’s work in a marketing firm, the lessons it teaches are relevant to our mission as a marketing network.

So what exactly does a 4000 year old system of Patanjali sutras have to do with marketing?  Yoga’s Sanskrit definition literally translates to “yoke”, meaning “to join”, “to unite” or “to attach”.  What better way to describe the assemblage of publishers and advertisers in the marketing funnel?
Continue Reading


Google I/O 2012 Highlights

Every year thousands of the most innovative and entrepreneurial minds in the digital landscape make the pilgrimage to San Francisco for the Super Bowl of developer conferences; Google I/O. The topics and discussions range from Google’s latest updates on mobile, to the newest features in Chrome. There are endless takeaways from the keynotes and new releases, but here are a few highlights from the past few days.

Google Now

Google Now, Siri and Nostradamus mixed in one convenient service. Google now takes aspects of the Google Voice Action Platform as well as Google Knowledge Graph into an all-encompassing system. It provides amazing information, but is heavily reliant on the user constantly feeding data into Google Now to give you relevant restaurants that have the type of food you enjoy, or where to spend your time in a new town. The bases for these decisions are directly tied to the information saved in the Knowledge Graph, meaning you must use all Google products from checking in to search queries.
Continue Reading


How Batman Delivers an Awesome Customer Experience

Where is Batman when we need him?

I’ve been seeing the trailers for the newest Batman movie coming out and thinking about why the Batman mythos is so popular. Batman decides to take a stand against foes in his crime filled city not only to avenge his dead parents and to blow off the steam that surely comes along with being a billionaire, but also to stand up for the people in the city that are constantly being taken advantage of by some crook or villain. The people of Gotham City need somebody to take a stand for them. Gotham needs somebody who can put their best interests into effect quickly without trudging through the red tape of warrants, courts, and juries. We as movie goers and consumers love this stuff (usually to the tune of $500M+ worldwide box office sales and a slew of toys and games.)
The Dark Knight Rises
Continue Reading


Incentive Traffic Keys To Success

In the vast and ever-changing digital marketing landscape, everyone is trying to find a new avenue for success. As in any industry, providing a quality service or product at a lesser price will allow you to gain crucial advantages over your competition. In the CPA marketing world, incentive traffic has come from a fledgling and often looked down upon traffic source, to a viable means of connecting consumers to businesses. Incent Traffic is usually driven in any of the following ways:

  • Points and Rewards based Virtual Currency
  • Content Gateways / Content Unlocking
  • Social Incentives
  • Co Registration / Offer walls

Incentive Traffic in Games

Many online businesses have been fueled by success with virtual currency to drive their user base up, and continue to get more interested consumers. The ability to purchase virtual goods and get access to virtual worlds has been the backbone of the online gaming industry. This allows users to stay intrigued and motivated to keep playing, all while giving advertisers a larger base to market to on a more consistent basis.
Continue Reading


YouTube Strategy For Success

With the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and now Pinterest, we might be seeing ourselves forgeting and/or ignoring one of the most revolutionary social media channels of our time, YouTube. We are aware of its enormous reach and indisputable potential as an avenue for virality. However, for many businesses, integrating YouTube as part of their social media marketing strategy is still a bit of a challenge. Regardless of what kind of company you are, YouTube can definitely enhance your presence in the business world. The simplicity and creativity of a YouTube video has the power to demand the immediate attention of the viewer and to engage them longer than what the actual video lasts.

Below are a few things to keep in mind as you work on optimizing your YouTube strategy.

Create Content

Okay, this one may be a given but it’s very important to remember. The more content you produce on YouTube, the better. It keeps your subscribers active and elicits repeat visits and video views.
Continue Reading


Keyword Research Tools Roundup

So you’ve got a real winning product, a great offer, and amazing ideas, but maybe the traffic just isn’t rolling in the way you had hoped. It is common to believe that we already know how to target our desired users, and what brings them to our site. This can lead to a narrow perspective, alienating individuals unfamiliar with your industry jargon. How can you predict changes in demand, cater to your audience, and help users find your content? Keyword Research – its time to find out what your consumers are actively seeking! Permit me to highlight a few of many wonderful tools that will help you do just that.

Google AdWords: Keyword Tool -

Cost: Free

Google’s keyword research tool compiles search activity across its search engine, globally, and provides users with valuable keyword search statistics. This tool suggests related terms and phrases. Perhaps one of the most useful features is the ability to organize keyword phrases by their distinguishing characteristics, such as Geo or category.
Continue Reading


Getting Started with PPV Traffic & Networks

Pay per view is a type of advertising where you display your ad and pay each time your website or landing page is shown to a potential visitor.  PPV networks are a popular source with affiliate marketing. Traffic typically comes from adware where users have downloaded and installed on their computer to gain access to free content or games. Some of the top PPV Networks out there are the following:

Direct CPV – A safe place to start is Direct CPV, because it is a great network for beginners. They require a low minimum cost, $100 deposit and the traffic quality is good.

TrafficVance is a well known and popular PPV network. Their traffic comes from people who have installed their Game Vance software. They have access to a ton of traffic and require $1,000 to open an account. Since they are popular, many affiliates are bidding which causes traffic to be a bit more expensive.
Continue Reading


12 Airport Hacks To Fly Through Security

12 Airport Security Hacks to Fly Through Security

 


E3 Expo 2012 Recap & Photo Gallery

The sterkly lions came out to play at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 Expo) in Los Angeles and had a fabulously stimulating time! The exhibitors at the E3 Expo presented phenomenal displays and experiences for video game enthusiasts and business partners alike. This expo is known for debuting soon to be released products including software, hardware, and consoles and its invigorating displays of the past, present, and future of gaming. Check out some of my favorite experiences from E3 below!

Megan MacDonald, Michelle Tacawy, Hello Kitty, E3 Expo 2012

Megan and I with our favorite kitty!

 
Continue Reading


AdSense Alternatives

Google AdSense has become the market leader in terms of pay per click advertising. Due to its strict terms and conditions, many web publishers are denied or blocked from Google Adsense, sometimes for no good reason. If you are looking for sources outside of AdSense, there are several alternatives to enhance your ad portfolio and generate revenue on either a per-click or per-impression basis.

1. AdBrite

AdBrite is a good alternative for all publishers including bloggers, which often have a tough time gaining access to these types of programs.  Along with their more relaxed terms and conditions, AdBrite is also known for their competitive payouts. Publishers using AdBrite are able to set their own bid prices on their inventory which is then put up for auction on the AdBrite exchange. You can then optimize results with full transparency and control.
Continue Reading


Understanding Affiliate Traffic Sources

This post explains the different traffic sources/types that are common in the affiliate space and highlights the offers that typically use those sources.

Search Traffic:

Affiliates can promote landing pages or websites by actively bidding on keywords with an aim to increase visibility in search engine results. It is one of the most targeted traffic sources, since it allows anyone to bid on keywords used by people specifically searching for a product or topic that is related to a campaign.

Therefore, search traffic works very well for campaigns with a defined target market or niche. Because it’s so targeted you may not see as much volume as you would with other traffic sources that hit larger masses. It’s recommended as an advertiser to provide affiliates and networks with a list of popular keywords for your offer,  which also eliminates the problem of bidding against each other’s keywords (especially if you do your own SEO in-house as well).

Examples: usually offers with high payouts (dating, finance, business opportunities)
Continue Reading


Hacking Las Vegas


Lions in the Lone Star State

Tech Cowboy

Next week our sterkly lions will head down to the land dubbed “the best” city for jobs, hipsters, craft beer, tech growth, and live music for this year’s Affiliate Summit Central. Our pride is pretty excited for #ASC12 as we have been mapping out our agenda via Vivastream and getting excited to network, learn, and party. We will be rockin’ our sterkly swag at Meet Market Table #21 and will enjoy the opportunity to spend time getting to know the other attendees.

I am looking forward to attending Mike Nunez’ “The 7 Mistakes Killing Your Affiliate Program” and Kellie Stevens’ “The Nitty Gritty of Affiliate Marketing Compliance” among many other sessions on driving traffic, reputation building, and helpful tactics to optimize and thrive. Session Q&A channels have now opened up pre-session submissions, SMS, Twitter, browser submissions, and as always, live mic grabbing. Beyond keeping attendees engaged, opening up the opportunity for interactive feedback is such a cool way to ensure attendees are able to fully take advantage of the rich knowledge and tools they can soak in from these sessions.

I am also pretty stoked to check out The Hangar Lounge at the ShareASale Under the Stars Party and at some point on this trip, meet a cowboy.

Please contact us to schedule a meeting at affiliates@sterkly.com – I would love to meet you there!


PPC Beyond Google

Pay per click (PPC) is a search engine marketing technique and a great way to bring quality web traffic to your site. It is an advertising model where advertisers only pay when a user actually clicks on an ad to visit the advertiser’s website. This can be either a text or banner ad and is used on websites, advertising networks, and search engines. An advertiser will use platforms such as Google Adwords and Microsoft Adcenter to run traffic to their selected list of keywords in which they bid a Max CPC (Cost Per Click).  When a user types a keyword query that matches one from the advertiser’s keyword list, the advertiser’s ad may appear on the search results page depending on how competitively they are bidding on their keywords. These ads that appear on the search results page are called “sponsored links” or “sponsored ads” and usually appear next to or above the organic results.

When it comes to the realm of PPC (pay per click) advertising, there are options other than Google. Popular secondary options include Facebook, Yahoo!/Bing, Adbrite, and Advertise.com.

Facebook –  Facebook’s PPC program is known to have great targeting options because of the data they have on their users; Age, gender, marital status, past and current employment history, connections, business/books/movies they like, etc.
Pricing model, both CPC and CPM.
Continue Reading


Deceitful Tricks of Dark Affiliates

“You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

It can be difficult to get started in the affiliate space, the competition is rough and the industry changes rapidly. Putting your hard earned money on the line in hopes of a return has caused more than a few hearts to skip a beat. For this reason, more than a few good affiliates have gone astray and tried their hand at a few dirty tricks to increase profits.

While some tactics may seem successful on the surface, others can come at high risk to your campaign. Here we find a breakdown of some of the dirty tricks that may threaten the health of your offers, and methods for identifying and avoiding them.

Falsifying Conversions

Of Conversions tracked by affiliate networks, an average of 11.4% are believed to be fraudulent. Although this statistic will vary greatly from one network to the next, fraud accounts for millions of dollars annually across the industry. The best thing you can do to arm yourself and your offers against fraudulent conversions is to gain an intimate understanding of how your system functions and monitor it closely. Some networks rely heavily on third-party fraud and risk detection services. If you are not an internet guru, this may be the option for you!
Continue Reading


Facebook Timeline Guide for Brands

Facebook has done it again. The infamous timeline that slowly started taking over your friends and your own Facebook profiles was officially rolled out to all business pages recently. Facebook’s new timeline although a little confusing at first and even a bit overwhelming has potential to positively impact your brand. Many brands already started testing the new timeline with promotions and new designs. Red Bull, Coca Cola, and Virgin America to name a few are in full effect with the timeline and seem to be taking advantage of every new or enhanced feature. If you’re not so amused with the new changes, we strongly recommend acknowledging it, try it, and see where it goes.

To help you understand the timeline for brand pages a little better, below you’ll find a summary of what each new feature is as well as a few suggestions on how you might want to adjust them to maximize their effect.

1. Cover Photo

The cover photo is one of the biggest changes with Facebook’s new timeline. It replaces the smaller real estate that was available for your profile picture. The cover photo allows for a bigger and more aesthetically engaging image providing an extra opportunity in promoting and growing your brand identity. You may create as many cover photos as you’d like. They will all be available as part of the cover photo album in your images.

*Note that there are limitations on what you can promote in this cover photo space. Facebook has strict guidelines for the cover photo that may limit your marketing efforts/messages on the cover photo. These guidelines can be found on https://www.facebook.com/help/search/?q=cover+guidelines

Cover Photo Image dimensions: 851 x 315
Continue Reading


Online Media Buying 101

What is media buying?

Buying space on sites across the internet or on ad networks to place banner display ads to promote a product, service or business whether it be for direct response or branding purposes.

Standard banner ad sizes for online media buying

Below you will find samples of the most common banner sizes used in online media buying today; the examples are some of sterkly’s own branding ads.

728×90

Continue Reading


Affiliate Management Days San Francisco 2012

AM Days 2012

I was lucky enough to attend the very first Affiliate Management Days (AM Days) last month in San Francisco. It was a unique experience to engage in a professional forum of peers of all facets of affiliate programs. Attendees included a range from super affiliates to networks to Fortune 500 merchants. I think this type of face to face collaborative education among such a diverse group of peers is imperative to an industry that mostly relies on online forums and blogs to stay current. This conference was essentially a crash course in innovative topics in online marketing paired with the opportunity for intimate collaboration and discussion. It was great to hear both experienced viewpoints and fresh outlooks from people of so many different roles in our industry. In comparison to many of trade shows such as Affiliate Summit or Ad:Tech, the structure of AM Days as being primarily a professional forum and secondarily a networking event was very refreshing and beneficial to me.
Continue Reading


21 Household Uses For Vodka

21 Household Uses For Vodka


Top 10 Ways to Promote Offers to Gamers

The computer and internet gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar giant, worth around $74 billion in 2011. If you have ever wondered why anyone would be willing to spend their hard-earned money on a video game, the reasons are simple… and yet, complex.

Primarily, games are fun! This is why in the US alone, 83% of people play video games. Additionally, as platforms, graphics, and mechanics evolve the games we play are ever more immersive and psychologically gratifying. Gamification is a very powerful motivator which has left its own unique mark on nearly every industry. With computer gaming monetization models constantly being revolutionized, ever more gamers are brought into the fold finding great reward in unsuspecting tasks.

So what does all of this mean to the affiliate marketing world? Massive earnings potential! These ten simple tips will help you find favor with gamers.

1. Identify who plays online games.

BlizzCon 2011
Continue Reading


sterkly Goes Kayaking

My idea of a good time at the beach usually involves a lounge chair and a blended drink with a little umbrella.  However, kayaking ended up being one of the coolest things I have ever done in San Diego!  Here is a look back on sterkly’s kayaking adventure:

We assigned partners at random and I was paired with Michelle, who lucky for me, had actually kayaked before.  After some brief instructions and safety tips, our team was ready to embark on our voyage along the La Jolla Shoreline.

Check us out below just before heading out past the break:


Continue Reading


10 Affiliate Marketing Groups to Join on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Corp. operates the largest online professional network. LinkedIn makes it easy for business professionals to share their professional background and identity, build business relationships, find job opportunities, and access shared knowledge. One of the best ways to connect with other professionals in your field and use LinkedIn as a tool for knowledge is by joining Groups. I have joined several professional groups on LinkedIn and found them to be extremely helpful when I want to connect with other business professionals, share ideas, stay up to speed on industry news and find out information about marketing events.

In particular, I would like to highlight 10 LinkedIn groups for anyone in affiliate marketing to join:

1. Affiliate Marketing Masters: Community for experienced Affiliate Marketers, Affiliate Program Managers, and all interested in the art of internet marketing.

2. Affiliate Marketing Professionals: This is a group for Affiliate Marketing Professionals to expand our network of people and ideas.
Continue Reading


Top 10 Seasonal Trends for Huge Checks

Achieving long term and sustainable revenue from Affiliate Marketing can be a daunting task. There is no exact formula for success, and often times staying ahead of the game is the only thing that keeps you in it. Many affiliates hope on banking off the next big “hot offer”. While this can certainly work and achieve initial success at some point the offer is either going to become too saturated, or will face potential changes due to regulations or advertiser adjustments to make it back out. This is certainly not the most sustainable business model, and leaves too much out of control of your hands. To combat the inherent risks involved with affiliate marketing, developing different niches will allow you the options to push “hot” verticals based off the marketing seasons. Establishing multiple verticals allows you to maximize your traffic sources, while reaching a higher volume of your targeted audience. Below are some verticals to seriously consider adding into your rotation. Using the seasons as a research tool allows you to work smarter, not harder. The goal is to add these verticals into your rotation in addition to your tried and true campaigns.

1. Spring Holidays

Spring is nearly upon us, and the floodgates will soon be opening for affiliates on multiple fronts. Easter and Mother’s day both provide ample opportunity for any gift related offers. Flowers, chocolates/candy, and gift card based offers will be overflowing with fresh leads for advertisers, so make sure to do your diligent research now. Know your demographic base, and cater the products by testing multiple offers across the board. When trends start to show, it’s time to maximize your efforts towards those results.

2. Summer Holidays

The summer season is somewhat different than taking advantage of holidays in the Spring. The main distinction between the two is the inherent gift purchasing associated with the Spring holidays. Independence Day and Labor Day bring about more feelings of patriotism, than urges to make purchases online. Be creative and tap into the wallets of your consumers with easy submits and quiz offers. There will be a big increase in users on the web, so make sure to capitalize.
Continue Reading


Sweet Sixteen March Madness Spirit Contest

Congratulations to the sterkly Sweet Sixteen March Madness Spirit Contest Winners!

You’ve got mail. Check your e-mail because we have drawn four winners from those who voted for the University of Kentucky Wildcats, the 2012 Men’s NCAA Basketball Champions! The winners have 3 days to respond at which point if a winner has not responded a new winner will be drawn from the entries and contacted. Once we have received responses from all the winners we will post the winner’s names here.

Voting Results

Thank you to everyone who participated in the sterkly Sweet 16 March Madness Spirit contest; here are the results of the School Spirit contest:
Continue Reading


Affiliate Marketing Success Mindset

Have you ever met an affiliate, in real-life or online, and heard them say “I only got into this industry because I wanted enough money to go partying this weekend”?

The Internet attracts all types, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you have actually cross-paths with this guy. However, I’d bet the majority of affiliates get started because they’re interested in things like being self-employed, the very high (unlimited?) earning potential, the ability to work from anywhere they can find an Internet connection, controlling their own future, etc.

Unfortunately, way too many people jump into the affiliate space wanting all the benefits but approaching it with a mindset similar to the weekend partier described above. They expect things to be easy, they use their business as an ATM, and they are shocked when all the low-hanging fruit has been picked and they’re broke, working on resume’s again. On the other hand, every highly successful affiliate I’ve ever met shares two basic traits: they treat their affiliate marketing like a legitimate business and they very clearly understand that it takes a lot of hard work; there are no quick fixes. This is the affiliate marketing success mindset!
Continue Reading


The Life Cycle of an Affiliate Offer

Knowing the life cycle of a particular niche offer can give you a real advantage as an affiliate. Many times affiliates find a particular niche offer that is extremely profitable for them, but eventually the offer dies out. It is important to understand the common life cycle pattern for a niche in affiliate marketing. You want to be able to diversify if something may be falling off soon or if there is a new “hot” offer you should get your hands on soon. If you are able to understand what stage in the cycle the offer is at, it may be easier to get in, you will know if it is time to shift focus to another offer, or if the niche is long term and profitable start testing other offers in that niche.

Here are some common life cycle patterns for offers in affiliate marketing. Of course, this is subject to the offer and niche, but these patterns should be helpful in spotting the stage of the cycle for several affiliate offers out there:

1. Offer comes on to the scene.
2. Top affiliates get their hands on the offer and start running successful campaigns across several traffic sources
Continue Reading


Mobile Marketing Trends For 2012

High-end devices such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, iPads and gaming consoles are going to play an even more important role in the affiliate marketing space. Everyone has been saying that for a few years now; however, there will be many new developments in 2012 and the space keeps growing so rapidly that this might be the most important year for mobile affiliate marketing.  ComScore recently published the “2012 Mobile Future in Focus” report, which highlights important trends in the mobile world.  Smart affiliates and advertisers jump into the opportunities of mobile affiliate marketing early to stay ahead of their competition. This post sums up the most important online mobile trends, and what it means for the affiliate world.

Surge in mobile app usage

More mobile devices have overcome limitations as memory capacity and processing power, there are better high-speed networks and WiFi is increasingly available. All these factors have caused a rapid adoption of cloud applications such as Netflix, YouTube, Pandora  and Spotify. The number of mobile apps is expected to grow 3.5 fold by 2015. For affiliates, it’s important to know what type of mobile traffic converts. The top mobile conversions are downloads, enrollments (zip or email submit) and videos. It’s important for affiliates to test different promotional methods. Having success with mobile conversions will require a good amount of trial and error. More important than the fact that the amount of mobile app usage is growing, is knowing what and where people use their mobile apps.
Continue Reading


How To Survive a Banned Account

There is nothing more frustrating than building out a campaign from split test to scaling, only to receive an auto response email saying your account has been banned. Without warning you are not only stripped of your account access, but face the wrath of your ad trafficking platform. There are multiple ways to address this issue, but none are more effective than having the foresight to avoid a ban. Insulating your business from major harm and changes can be a daunting task in an ever-evolving industry, but one that will separate a flash in the pan marketer from a long term affiliate business.
Continue Reading


Website Monetization Quick Start Guide

You’ve put your passion to work and built up a loyal following, what now? Well, it’s time to reward yourself for all the hard work by monetizing your website!

Website monetization is the act of generating revenue from existing website traffic via advertising, data monetization, and/or the development of a valuable asset.

You’ve already made it to our site, so I think you ought to know that the sterkly affiliate network and software bundling program can help with your monetization efforts. We have a full-service hands on team that can help you determine which advertising methods in the affiliate space would be the best fit for your website.
Continue Reading


How Can I Capitalize on Valentine’s Day? A Guide to Promoting Valentine’s Day Offers

Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is rolling around again and people everywhere will be looking for that special event or gift to show their loved ones they care.  This V-Day nearly a fifth of consumers are expected to do their shopping online, so advertisers, prepare those e-marketing campaigns!  Impulse shoppers, methodical planners, the madly-in-love… and those of us on the couch in our jammies alike, we all have someone special in our lives.   So even if you aren’t in the business of gift cards, chocolate, flowers, or jewelry there is no reason to leave your site lonely on Valentine’s Day.  Use this opportunity to increase awareness of your business, drive traffic, and capitalize on this payday.  If you haven’t started promoting yet, there is no time like now!
Continue Reading


Top 10 Mobile Affiliate Networks

Top 10 Mobile Affiliate Networks

2012 is the year for mobile affiliates. Millionaires will be made, so now is the time to learn the ropes. One reason is because even today there isn’t a huge amount of competition yet, so this is the perfect opportunity to get ahead in the mobile market.

There are a load of new exciting players operating in the mobile ad market. Here is a quick run down of some of the top mobile advertising networks out there today (in no particular order):

Offermobi:

Offermobi is the first affiliate network focused on the mobile web. They provide the ability to drive high quality, high volume acquisitions with no risk, as their entire network is on a CPA model. They have a variety of offers, from big brand names to exclusive offers.
Continue Reading


Top Ten Affiliate Marketing Paydays

One of the key ingredients of successful affiliate marketers is their ability to recognize and quickly act on opportunities as they arise day in and day out. It doesn’t take long to notice there are some recurring events that happen every year that result in some of the biggest paydays for smart affiliates. Here is a list of annually occurring events to help you bring in spikes of cash from impulse buyers.

1. New Years – January 1

Every year people all over the world commit to personal self-improvement and self-development goals for them to embark on this year. This creates a gold mine of emotionally-driven purchase decisions that affiliates can capitalize on in a very short time frame. Some of the best offers to promote revolve around the health & relationship niches; particularly, weight loss, exercise, getting out of debt, quit drinking & smoking, education, etc.

2. Valentine’s Day – February 14

Whether you have a significant other or just hoping to hook up for a romantic night out; nothing brings out the credit card faster than buying gifts to show appreciation & impress the love of your life. Flowers, chocolates, restaurant gift cards & dining reservations are all hot offers for the first two weeks of February. You can even target the single men & women out there with dating sites and relationship advice offers.
Continue Reading


Weekly Roundup: January 27, 2012

Every week our team scours the web to bring you a condensed version of stuff that matters to affiliate marketers and software bundlers. Most of the articles are newly published while others are resources we have found useful in our daily work over the past week.

More Facebook Ads Coming
Facebook blurs the lines of ads with the roll out of Featured Stories.
MSN Money
Continue Reading


Affiliate Marketing for Startup Companies

You have a product or service that is ready to sell and you created a website. Now what? The biggest barrier to growth for early stage startups is figuring out how to attract customers and how to build brand awareness. Cold calling and aggressive sales techniques are not effective anymore, at least not in most industries.  If done correctly, affiliate marketing can help startups attract targeted customers quickly. Take Groupon for example; They were made popular almost exclusively through affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is revenue sharing between online advertisers/merchants and online publishers/affiliates.  Compensation is based on performance measures, typically in the form of sales, clicks, registrations, or a hybrid model. An affiliate network functions as an intermediary between the two by connecting advertisers and publishers. Advertisers provide the product or service, and publishers  supply the customer. It is a mutually beneficial agreement in which both parties earn income. However, there are a few key elements that need to be in place in order for affiliate marketing to make sense for a startup.
Continue Reading


Top 10 Landing Page Mistakes

As simple as landing pages may seem, there is a science and psychology behind their creation. These single-paged, lead capturing pages are very common, but not all are made with best practices in mind. Below is a list of the top 10 landing page mistakes that you may have seen before or perhaps have made yourself.
  1. Including navigation links - The sole purpose of a landing page is to convince the visitor to take one specific action, whatever your call-to-action (CTA) may be. Don’t give them the option to leave the page! Instead, provide the value proposition and the actions needed to gain what you are offering.
  2. No clear value proposition –  If a visitor stumbled upon your landing page and asked “How does this benefit me?,” would the answer be absolutely clear? The truth is that most people are not interested in you, me, or any of our companies; They’re interested in valuable content that will benefit and enhance their life. So make it known that this is your goal. The value proposition should be so clear that it will take a visitor no more than three seconds to read it and know exactly what it is.
  3. Continue Reading