Money-Code

Coding For Online Success

popshops

| 11 Comments

PopShops

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.

11 Comments

  1. Hello hanji, great post this one. How is your progress with popshops? It’s really worth it?

  2. Hello Dinheiro

    Thanks for posting a comment. To answer your question, I created and launched my first popshops store a few days ago. My initial push will be organic traffic. I submitted to the search engines, stumbled it, linked to a couple of social bookmarking sites and created a few usfreeads.

    I’ll continue to do this, and probably make a squidoo lense or two for the rest of Feb. In March I plan to do a light test PPC campaign. Ten cent keywords with a low daily ceiling ($4/day). I basically want to see if I can get a conversion.

    I don’t know if it’s worth it or not. Once I get a base of conversions I’ll know at that time. I think Enterprise is the way to go.. but that’s $30/month, and I want to know what kind of action to expect.

    I’m excited to work on something non-eBay, which could lead to much higher commissions.. and allow me to diversify. My PopShop test also is restrictive in that I’m not promoting any eBay or other affiliates. No Adsense, and I’m sticking to one merchant for now. Once I get a feel of what this is about, I’ll slowly expand.

    I’ll keep everyone posted on my progress… or non-progress.

    Thanks!
    hanji

  3. Hello hanji! How is your progress with popshops?

  4. I have one domain using PopShops and promoting it with light PPC on Yahoo. I’ve made a pretty decent profit with it every month. Commissions are slower, but are larger. I usually make 1-2 good sales a month, with 3-4 small sales. I’m researching other niches now, and should be upgrading to the Enterprise account shortly.

    Thanks!
    hanji

  5. That’s really great news hanji. Are you using popshops directly (like a shop using php) or are you using it mixed with a blog?

  6. My pop shop is a stand alone store front.. so not a blog. I still haven’t produced any more shops, and CJ sales have been down (EPN has been up on another note), so I need to get on it.

    Thanks for commenting!
    hanji

  7. Hey,
    I was wondering about your research on conversion numbers and the timeframe of your experiment.

    Thanks!

    -matt

  8. Right now, I’ve since upgraded my account to Enterprise. It’s $30/month, but is well worth it. I have several domains that are using PopShops. The domain that I started with averages around $100/month after PPC promoting. So that pays for the PopShops account. The commissions from CJ are so much higher than EPN, etc that it’s definitely worth pursuing. It’s harder to get daily sales though. In my experience, I’ll go days and days without sales, then one day.. bam, I get $50, etc.

    Thanks for commenting!
    hanji

  9. Hi Hanji,

    Thanks for the update on your success with CJ/PopShop. It’s really encouraging to see that someone has been able to have success with them even in the economic crisis at present. It’s also very motivating to get started right away. I’ve always had that thought in the back of my mind that there’s too much competition, that this wont work, etc.

    Instead of using PopShops, I’ve used Joomla to build my product catalog website. One thing I like about Joomla is that it’s free and there are manyextensions available like photo galleries, polls, forums and more. I have yet to earn a commission so I will definitely be starting a PPC campaign and doing some article marketing. You can check it at http://www.motorcycle-helmets-online.com

    When you do PPC campaigns with a product catalog, are you redirecting to the merchant page with the item details? Or are you taking the visitor to your page where they then click through to the merchant page? One of my concerns is that the visitor might get turned off by having to click through so many pages or worse, have to search your website to get to what they are looking for.

    If you don’t mind me asking, how do you pick your niches to promote? Also, CJ doesn’t make it apparent as to which of their merchants utilize datafeeds and not to mention that most of the times you have to be accepted by them first. Have you had any success with LinkShare or ShareASale? I have accounts with them also, but I haven’t really browsed through their datafeed network yet.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated and as always, keep up the good posts!

    Hann

  10. Hmmmm… Lots of questions here. Let me try to knock them down.. one at a time.

    The benefit of PopShops vs WordPress/Joomla/Other is that they update their content. So if products are removed, descriptions change or prices change, that is reflected in your site. Statically adding products you could run into problems. Not to mention adding products by hand. Creating a shop in PopShops literally takes a minute, and then is dynamic after that. I do like your helmet site though, it looks very pro.

    PPC Campaigns. I do broad PPC campaigns vs campaigns that are narrow to a specific product. I promote my site in general terms. Using your helmet site as an example, I would create a ad similar to this

    Great deals on Motorcycle Helmets
    We sell a wide variety from brand x to brand y
    http://www.MyDomain.com

    This ad would be direct to the home page or the ‘category’ of helmets. I understand your concern about turning visitors off, but I like to cast a wide net. I think you would miss many visitors with product specific campaigns. I would test both though.. and see what works for you.

    How do I pick my niches? That is a good question. I’m still refining my niches for CJ products. I think I start with the merchants that have quality brand are already trusted highly. I don’t like to use small merchants where people don’t know them very well. It’s been my experience that those do NOT convert very well for me. Picking big name merchants seem to convert the best for me.

    I like to pick hobbies or interests that I’m familiar with and then see if the big name merchants promote products within that niche.. and go from there. My niche strategy for CJ is completely different than how I pick niches for EPN, etc.

    I have played with ShareASale and LinkShare but have not really devoted the time/energy to those yet to warrant a thumbs up or down.

    On your datafeed question, you are correct CJ does a bad job letting you know who has datafeeds. Again, this is where PopShops is good. They’ve already worked that out. All the merchants in there have feeds. I almost like to do product search using PopShops vs. CJ since it’s so much faster. Also with PopShops you are able to promote those other networks in the same shop.

    My advice is to try PopShops. I would start with the Pro account and create a new site and see if it’s worth it for you. If you want to go ‘big’, then you’ll need to upgrade to Enterprise. Enterprise will allow you to use RSS/XML feeds from PopShops as well as create profiles, so you can have multiple PIDs.

    Hope this helps.. thanks for visiting!!!!
    hanji

  11. Mr. Admin,
    You know pho show gives sid option for product request. which will help tracking which end user of an affiliate site has bought some thing in the merchants site. that is sales tracking using SID. But i want to display only merchants. I say that for each merchants i will give certain percent of contribution to the user so i need to send sid for the merchant request like other sites (onecause.com). Where exactly can i find such infomation. Popshop does not have discussion forums nor support to free affiliation. I know this is not an exact place to post this question but i am just trying in this page that you might answer. thank you.

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