Craigslist Phone Authentication and Internet Marketing

It’s March 31st, 2010 and my stats indicate that nearly 40% of all my inbound traffic this month is related to craigslist phone authentication not working. It’s amazing how many Internet marketers or Craigslist users are trying to figure out to work around the phone authentication issue.

I’d like to propose one thought on why this is such a big issue¬† right now; Too many online marketers put all their eggs in one basket. Lots of folks discovered that Craigslist was a good marketing alternative to understanding how to use Google or some of the other major search engines, directories, blogs, classified ads, or other marketing tools.

Now, Craigslist has implemented phone authentication which for many does not appear to be working at all and I have not seen one valid work-around or a post that would indicate someone has figured out how to get around Craigslist phone authentication.

So where does that leave the folks that have staked their entire online business model with Craigslist? Time to try something different. I’m guessing that some creative folks out there will develop a Craiglist alternative or develop a list of really good classified ad sites.

It’s never good to put all your eggs in one basket, just as many marketers discovered when Google turned off their Adwords account for no understandable reason.

Marketers used numerous classified ad sites before Craigslist so why would they have stopped? Craigslist was too easy. If online marketing was easy, everyone would be doing it. Online marketing takes time, effort, and some good old fashioned hard work from time to time.

Here’s my advice if your business is crashing because you can’t authenticate your Craigslist account. Try something different. Don’t stand by and watch your business tank, and what ever you do in the future plan on being more diversified in your traffic sources.

See my original article and thread here: Craigslist Phone Authentication

Shameless plug for two classified ad sites:

Avoid Amish Shah Products

Thinking about buying into the Magic Bullet System, Hexatrack, or Google Goggles? My advice, don’t do it.

Every product I’ve tried from Amish Shah and company comes with lousy customer support. When I purchased a package from these guys last year it took weeks to deliver on promised bonuses.

My most recent experience has been with their Google Goggles product. It stopped working. When I contacted support they closed my ticket out twice without ever responding to my request for help. They didn’t mind taking my money or my monthly maintenance payment.

What’s my conclusion? If you spend $3,000 and a huge monthly support fee, they might take care of you, but as of this writing I have two products from Amish Shah that don’t work. Hexatrack is down for maintenance so you can’t run any new campaigns and Google Goggles doesn’t work.

hexatrack

If anyone else has had issues with Amish Shah products please reply to this post.

I’ll be starting a “Guru Reviews” section for visitors to post comments on how well or poorly the gurus support their products.

Google Affiliate Slap: You Can Bounce Back

I’m not sure I’ve read any reports of sites being able to bounce back from the Google Affiliate Slap, but I’m happy to report that we’ve conducted a successful test. (On accident of course)

In helping my son get started with some Internet marketing, he loaded a site that had initially held a #3-#5 organic position on Google with affiliate offers. The site was soon completely dropped from the Google index. My son removed the affiliate offers and we started the clock ticking to see if and when the site might show back up in Google’s index. I’m happy to report it took less than two weeks for it to bounce back from the Google Affiliate Slap and show up in the top 10 organic results.

Prior to my son adding additional affiliate offers, he had a few running on the site which had no negative affect on the organic SERPs. My bet is that Google has a formula that measures affiliate offers to the amount of content on a given page or the site in general. I’d be interested in hearing from others that have had an opportunity to test site recovery after getting hit by the Google Affiliate Slap.

Share your test results with our readers.

Affiliate Marketing Data

I thought I would post a follow up to a recent article I posted regarding Commission Junction performance. Over the weekend I ran a test on one of our own offers replacing a top performing Hydra Network offer. What was the result? A mind-blowing 59% conversion rate. Of all the traffic that hit our thank you page for our test site, 59% of that traffic converted on the thank you page offer. This beat out the highest performing affiliate offer to date that converted at 26%.

I will monitor results for the next couple of weeks and report back with findings and an averaged conversion rate over the duration of testing. What does this demonstrate? Affiliate offers may not convert as well as your own offer. While affiliate offers are convenient, you loose control of conversions and accountability if the affiliate partner will not let you put a tracking pixel on their site. We have seen affiliate offers swing between 3% and 26% conversion rates on average.

This is why many folks are exploring “licensing”. A term for contracting directly with a partner to generate leads, sales, traffic, vs. going through an affiliate management company such as Click Bank or Commission Junction. I’m not condemning Click Bank of Commission Junction because they surely have made many folks a bunch of money.

The bottom line is this. If you are not looking at and measuring your conversion rates, you are leaving money on the table.

What are your thoughts on affiliate offers through some of the major affiliate management companies? Share your thoughts and findings with our visitors.

Commission Junction – Affiliate Marketing

Commission Junction is joke unless someone can prove me wrong. After some split testing along with some CPA network offer tests, Commission Junction comes up a loser in every test.

We recently let a HydraNetwork CPA offer run its course. The first month it made over $5000 with our offer converting at over 25% for the month. For the month of August in which one of our offers expired, it closed out at a conversion rate of just over 21%. The offer paid out less than $10 for each conversion.

How’s that stack up with similar or identical offers on Commission Junction? We ran a CJ.com offer from the same company with a slightly different ad and it barely converted at 3%. After testing another offer from a major company we had ZERO conversions for our test on 8/28/09.

In yet another test, we bought some products for our office through a Commission Junction banner on one of our sites, and the order never recorded. Only after contacting the vendor directly did they give us credit for the purchase. CJ.com lists various reasons why a click or conversion may not register successfully. Our take is that most affiliate management networks are designed to break easily to reduce commissions paid out. (No hard proof, just a professional hunch)

In addition to our split testing, we track all of our outbound clicks to affiliate offers and those numbers don’t always match and some with startling differences in some cases.

Are you a Commission Junction marketer? What have your conversion rates been like? Are you a super affiliate or know of other programs similar to CJ.com that convert better? Share them with our visitors by responding to this article.

We will continue to test various offers through the Commission Junction network and report any success stories, but for now we remain disappointed with the poor performance of CJ.com offers we’ve tested against other successful offers on other networks.