Coding For Online Success




In my constant search for finding ways to monetize sites, I started hearing the buzz about PopShops. Okay, I’ll bite. Basically, PopShops is a aggregator of datafeeds from multiple affiliate networks out there. Basically, they take in datafeeds from merchants within affiliate networks and gives you the ability to add products (across networks) and present that within your web site. They currently offer a “free” plan which gives you 10 pages/store/showcase, whatever makes sense to you. Also the free account only gives you javascript delivery method. Immediately, I didn’t like the free account, since I want bots to be able to read my pages, and javascript won’t cut it.

I upgraded to “Pro” which costs $5/month. I thought I’d give this a shot. With this option, you have unlimited store pages and most importantly, you can deliver the products via PHP (or other scripting languages). My first concern was related with security. I didn’t want any type of url fopen() type code, where potential PHP could be embedded into my site auto-magically. I was glad to see that they’re using cURL to send a created URL and return a HTML content block back from their server. This block is basically your theme (defined at PopShops) in raw HTML. This is great since this will be easily read and indexed. If you do not have cURL functionality on the server they provide a initial check for cURL and next it will fall back to fread() to fetch/receive the HTML content.

Currently, they’re members of the following affiliate networks: Commission Junction, LinkConnector, LinkShare, Performics, Red Galoshes and ShareASale. I’m running into a few issues with LinkShare’s encrypted ID that we’re working through, but I was able to create a large store in about an hour. The Pro account has some problems (which they solve with the Enterprise account… I wish they wouldn’t constantly hold the carrot in front of me!). Basically, Pro provides unlimited store/pages, but you’re restricted to one PID or account ID. My brain wants to create many PopShops where I can track each site separately. This is available in the Enterprise model for $30/month. That’s a bit more than I want to spend at this phase of the game. If the site I just created looks promising, and I see a decent return, I’ll push to the Enterprise level. Along with PID management, you can manage the SID value as well. Which is important to me for keyword tracking.

One thing that I don’t like with PopShops is the inability to provide ‘paging’ within the result sets returned. They offer a “related items” addition to your products, and with that you are provided with paging. Not sure why they can’t offer that with basic product pages? I was thinking about parsing the HTML result set and making my own page handling, but read post on a forum where they stated that they’re looking into this functionality.

My initial plan with my first PopShop is to promote with light PPC to see what kind of traffic I can get to it, and to see what kinds of returns I can hope to see. With this experiment, I’m going to go straight PopShop items only.. no eBay, no Adsense.

I’ll be sure to report my findings.


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