I’ve had a few people ask me what I’ve been up to. Over the last year, I’ve been laying low in regards to Money-Code.com, but I’ve been pretty active in affiliate marketing in general. Granted this past year has been a busy one with my primary business, but every free moment has been devoted to tweaking.
For 2011 I decided to make some major changes in my strategy, and focus on tweaking vs. building. I really believe that a better user experience is the only way around Panda updates and the general ups and downs of traffic. To develop community and loyalty with your users is worth WAY more than the new tools, etc. Panda hit me hard, and I still feel the sting, but thickening sites, and creating loyalty, I’m starting to see some improvement, and I feel that these changes will really shine in 2012.
I have to say that in 2011, I did do some new site development, primarily in Amazon. I’ve had issues with Amazon for years as an affiliate. It’s definitely a hard egg to crack and to see consistent revenue can be challenging. I’ve been working on a few theories and so far they have been paying off nicely.. and more importantly, consistently. I believe in 2012, I’ll put a little more emphasis. Also, on the flip side, my Commission Junction earnings have been dipping. I ended up dropping PopShops, and I haven’t looked back.
It was interesting that Panda changes hurt, and developed a significantly lower amount of sites, yet 2011 will still be a record year for me. Again, keeping a foundation is very important to float you while you develop.
Plans for 2012 include much more Amazon sites, focus on direct advertising, and developing a web application for potential re-sale. I might be developing some mobile solutions for EPN sites as well, that is still in the brainstorming stages. Oh.. and to blog a little more on Money-Code.com!
As an programmer / affliate marketer servers are extremely important to me. Sure I do take advantage of HostGator share hosting servers, but usually with quick and dirty web sites. Anything that involves thinking outside of the box will require my own server since there are packages, centralization, globalization of code that I would like to use. I also like to use my own servers for security and managing the traffic that hit my web sites. But, I’m talking production.
I always test my sites and develop my sites on several development servers. Those servers are here in my office and are an extremely valuable asset to my business. I also use servers as file servers. I’m sorta freaky about backups. I love backups. I love incremental backups. For me to maintain these backups, I need to have disk and servers to manage them. So.. you probably get it.. servers are important.
The reason for this post, is that I buy my servers (development and file servers) from Dell. I always wait for specials that they run, and you can get crazy awesome deals for servers. I just was notified about a deal going on right now.
Here is a interesting video with Chad Wehrmaker discussing the Network Quality Team at EPN. Personally, I’ve been weary of my EPN account, and work extremely hard to send ‘quality’ traffic to EPN. Work on improving sites and my EPC. He provided some great insight on the ‘quality’, and mentions it’s not about EPC only. I thought this information was quite interesting. He mentions some additional factors – Transparency and Brand Association are also factors for quality. The way I transparency could be related to registered domains at EPN, tracking pixel and clear understanding of the flow of traffic to and from the site. If you have other suggestions of what transparency means, please comment below.
Now Brand Association is interesting. Clearly using registered trademarks or brand names in the title is a violation of the TOS so this should be a no-brainer, unless brand association is related to something else. Is this related to certain products on the site? Not sure what this fully means.
Chad mentions that there is also an appeal process if your account is terminated or suspended and to write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Threatening or harsh emails will not be responded to. Reading a blogs that have successfully appealed their account termination all mentioned that they would calmly AND continually write to the quality team. Persistence and patience seems to be the way.
I’ve been managing various dedicated web servers for a few years now. I do this for web development clients as well as some of my affiliate marketing efforts. One company that I’ve been with for a while is Rackspace and I’ve been nothing but pleased with their services. When I initially signed on with them about 6 years ago, their linux dedicated (unmanaged) servers were quite affordable, but since then, their prices have increased, so for new dedicated servers I’ve used other hosts. I’m not happy with those hosts, and always wished I could have additional servers at Rackspace.
Recently, my Rackspace server had a failing drive and a friend of mine told me that Rackspace offers cloud servers – and with the linux distro I prefer. I figured this would be a great opportunity to check out a new hosting solution, but something new that I have confidence in since it’s Rackspace. Additionally, looking at their price matrix, their pricing is great! They’ve changed the hosting payment paradigm by going with a hourly rate. I was a little hesitant of this, but after calculating their hourly rates.. it’s cheap. To calculate hosting, you determine how much RAM your server requires (includes disk space) and how much incoming/outgoing bandwidth is used. The other great thing, is that you can scale down or ramp up if needed. Since it’s in a virtual environment you can do this.
I think I would be hesitant to go with anyone except Rackspace for this, since their network is unbelievably good, and their support is second to none. I’ve never been on hold. And a *real* person answers the phone EVERY time.
I’m going to be migrating the failing physical server to the cloud server and seriously consider moving my other servers to the cloud as well. For those that are not familiar with cloud servers, here is a video explaining it:
If this sounds interesting to you, check out their pricing. I’m personally.. super psyched so far. If you’re looking for a web host and after you Buy domain names, please consider Rackspace cloud for your hosting solution!
I don’t hit the EPN blog that often.. and I should try harder. I saw that on January 13th, the posted Episode 11. I thought this was a good interview, since they addressed some of my ongoing issues with EPN. I appreciate that they acknowledged that they still need to improve in the customer service sector, and also that they’re aware of their issues with rolling out new code. Nothing like ‘new changes’ followed up by reporting issues, etc. A little unnerving, so I’m glad they they’re aware and plan to do better in 2011.