I wanted to sit and stew over this for a bit. If you’re a EPN affiliate, then you should be well aware of the mass account bannings that occurred on Aug 20th. I was one of the lucky ones that didn’t get banned (knocking on wood!), but it definitely left a sour taste in my mouth.
There are some clues and information that came from this to possibly help in the prevention of a banning if this happens to your or I. The first common factor that I’ve seen is that users have low EPC, usually under $10. The other factor that I see is that ACRUs seem to be a large percentage of their earnings, approximately 40% or greater. To me this combination says a few things, and are part of EPN’s banning criteria.
EPN stated that they want engaged traffic. EPN also stated that they would start qualifying ACRUs. Both of these statements seem to be related to EPC/ACRU. They want people to go to their site and buy. Not sign up (potentially illegitimately ). And not for people to browse and leave.
Some techniques that can help, and these are just my opinions.
– Get out of any ACRU signup scams/techniques/programs. You know them. You’ve seen them.. just stay away.
– Start using PPC. I’ve said this from day one. PPC is traffic is ‘engaged’ traffic. You are targeting people that want to BUY. The problem with organic traffic, it’s traffic usually around browsers/readers that are just curious. Unless your site can convince them to buy, you are generating clicks to eBay that is a waste to them. Those clicks translate to lower EPC.
– Protect your clicks from bots. When eBay migrated from CJ to their own system, there have been wild reports of bot clicks. There are several techniques that can be put into place to help prevent this. This ranges from .htaccess denies, to PHP scripting to prevent user-agents from accessing redirects, or using PHP to rate limit, etc. Notice I didn’t say anything about nofollow or robots.txt? I think those are useless. Generally, those are good for ‘good’ bots, and the problem with bot clicks aren’t coming from Google-Bots normally.. I could be wrong.
– Protect your good accounts. Make sure your overall EPC is high (above $10) and if it’s not, start pushing better traffic to the low performers, or remove them while you beef them up with Amazon/CJ links, etc. Another option might be to create a PepperJam account and promote the lower EPC sites there.
I’ve been reading about BANS being targeted for being a ‘thin affiliate’ site and the possible removal from Google’s index. My feelings towards BANS is not a secret. I do not have any BANS sites and will never have one. Nothing to do with being a thin affiliate or anything to do with Google’s index.. but because it’s poorly written. With that said, I do relate to the BANS users out there. Here are some suggestions for this.
– Stop being 100% reliant on Google’s index. Again, we can go with PPC and make considerable profit, and not rely solely on Google. Diversification should be applied on sites, affiliates AND traffic sources. A combination of Google organic and PPC (Yahoo or AdWords) gives many more opportunities for drawing in cash.
– Remove the footprint. Almost all of this talk comes down to the ‘footprint’ at the footer. The more you customize and spend time with BANS (this is the part that BANS sucks at) the better you’ll be able to stand apart from the pack default installs out there.
– Write your own. I know alot of you aren’t programmers.. and I can understand that, but it doesn’t take much to come up with something effective. Maybe take some profits and pay a programmer to help.
I think the number one rule of thumb… and something I need to work on myself is to stay diversified. The warning has been sounded. I’m too deep into eBay, and the bannings made me feel very insecure about EPN. Time to push other opportunities out there.
Good luck all, I hope this was useful.