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Confessions of an affiliate failure

Hello, my name is T.J. and I’m an affiliate program failure.

If you look at my latest earning reports, you can see that I’ve been making slow but steady progress at increasing my websites’ revenue through Google Adsense and eBook sales. I seem to be coming up short in affiliate programs, though. I’ve been running a variety of Commission Junction ads on a couple of our sites for just under a year now. In this time, there have been 222,059 impressions but only 276 clicks – for a CTR of 0.12% which is pathetic in itself. Even worse is that not one of those 276 clicks converted into a referral or sale so I’ve made a grand total of $0 for the entire year on CJ. I’m not sure if the advertisers I’ve been choosing aren’t a good fit for the websites they are on, or if I’m missing even more basic than that. I’m completely at a loss why my site visitors will click on AdSense ads for a topic on my sites, but completely ignore very similar affiliate ads in the same location.

Now you may be thinking – “there’s more affiliate programs than CJ, T.J.”…. Sure there are. Google has an affiliate advertising add-on to Adsense. Can you guess how much I’ve made off of them? If you guessed $0, you’re right! Last month I made I applied for several others: and they all told me the same thing: denied. Even WalMart!

I will admit that I’ve done a little better with WidgetBucks and Amazon averaging about $2.00 and $1.25 a month respectively. With WidgetBucks‘ $25 sign-up bonus, and a $50 minimum payout, I’m only 10 months away from my first payout, and two years after that until my 2nd payout. I think I’d be doing much better if I had a site that meshed better with one of the categories. I’ve got some sites in the works that may bring the monthly total up significantly. Amazon makes it a little easier to get payouts if you’re willing to take it in Amazon credit. The threshold there is a measly $10, meaning I’ll get paid in another 7 months.

Don’t get me wrong – I know there is money to be made in the affiliate business. John Chow made $6,579.67 from it last month, and it was his #2 moneymaker after private ad sales. I just think that the site needs to align better with an in demand big-ticket affiliate product. Web hosting, advertising networks, and expensive hardware and software all seem to lend themselves to the affiliate game than cute babies or gluten free recipes. I would imagine a site about AutoCAD or PhotoShop could make a pretty penny with an Amazon affiliate link to those high-priced products. John Chow obviously gets affiliate bonuses for people who sign up for advertising networks using his affiliate links. I’d love to have a site about Plasma TVs, but that market is a little saturated. I need a great product that is in demand, high-priced, under-represented online and has an affiliate program with high% payouts. I wonder if anyone has an affiliate program for dentures?

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