You may have noticed – and I hope you did – that these blog pages carry advertising. I’m fascinated with affiliate marketing programs and decided to experiment with a few select companies I know and use myself.
To date, in each post where I’ve put a link to an advertiser, I have included a disclosure that says I’ll get commission on the sale. Now that I think about it, it’s not such big a deal that they need to get called out in every post. So I’m going to discontinue that, explain here how it works, and let this post be my blanket disclosure.
A company called Commission Junction (CJ) acts as a clearinghouse between advertisers and publishers. I registered as a publisher and applied thru CJ to the affliates program of several companies I personally use and respect. Those advertisers reviewed my site according to their criteria. Many approved, a few did not, and some apparently need more time to decide.
Logged in to CJ, I can get graphics and links to the advertisers. Their programs vary, but the gist of it is that when someone clicks an ad from my site, the link tracks it, and if they buy then a commission is credited to my account at CJ. There is no additional cost to the customer.
Similarly, I am an Amazon Associate. They run their own program without CJ and supply a huge selection of widgets to play with. I like Amazon and buy from them often so I feel good about including them in general, and showing off my favorite products in particular. However, some of their more advanced widgets, such as the Product Cloud, pick out specific products to advertise based on what’s written in the blog.
I’m still deciding whether I will use those kinds of widgets — this is my lab for experiments. I keep an eye on the titles listed in the Product Cloud. Right now, they are mostly about the Grand Canyon, which is okay. A few raised an eyebrow. If it gets too far from what I might buy myself, I will simply take down the offending widget.
Google has the ultimate in uncontrollable ads called Adsense. It displays Adwords – the little three line text ads that show up everywhere. I actually like those ads on the right side of the search results because when I am searchng to buy something, those usually connect me to a seller, while the main search results on the left may be information only.
The way the Adwords work is that the advertiser pays Google each time someone clicks on the ad. Adsense is a widget that web site owners can include which displays Google’s choice of the most relevant Adwords to display on the site. Again, the payment is Cost-Per-Click or CPC.
I decided not to have an Adsense box on this site because I’m unwilling to carry ads for companies and things I have never used, may not like, may even be against.