Publisher Tips & Tricks

Filter Beso results to only monetized offers!

Beso Fans and Publishers - 

We are excited to launch a small but very significant improvement to the Beso Affiliate Portal, where you can now filter your widget and link results to ONLY offers monetized in the Beso marketplace. We've always provided publishers the comprehensiveness of our product inventory, which gives your readers and visitors a more complete user experience. But now you have easy, one-click access to limiting those results to only what our merchants are currently paying for.

It's simple. 

Next time you're linking to an individual product or a multi-product widget, simply click the "show only monetized offers" check box if you'd like to limit the result set to offers with a CPC bid attached. 

Monetized offers

We hope this will make it even easier to populate your sites with great product offers available on Beso!

-- The Publisher Team

Tips on Getting Started in the Shopzilla Publisher Program

You've just been accepted into the Shopzilla Publisher Program. Now what? 

1. Enter your payment information

You won't be paid until you do! Please enter your payment information under the My Account tab so that you'll be paid when your balance reaches the minimum payout of $25.00 (USD). If your address changes at any time, please update your account accordingly so we know where to send your next payment.

2. Get content

There are some simple self serve banners/panels that you can create here:  Bizrate Product Search Widget and here: Beso Assets. Be sure to include your account ID so that traffic will be credited to your account! Also, when logged in to the Shopzilla Publisher portal, at the top of the site, you will see the Content tab.

3. Beso Affiliate program

If you post about women's or men's fashion, home, baby and kids, beauty, and/or jewelry, the Beso Assets may better complement your website. Your Shopzilla account ID works for the Beso Affiliate Program, too. No additional registration is needed and your activity will be reported in the Shopzilla publisher portal. For a general breakdown and help on how to fully utilize the Beso Affiliate Program, please refer to this blog post.

4. Integrate Shopzilla Publisher text links into your posts

If you have written about certain products in the past and linked directly to the retailer, change it to a Shopzilla Publisher link to earn revenue! If your product is related to fashion, home, baby and kids, beauty, and/or jewelry, refer to the Beso Affiliate Program mentioned in #3 above. Visit this post to learn how to create a Beso text link.

5. Create content-rich posts around featured offers

If you don't have posts mentioning specific products for Shopzilla link integration, you can start by searching for your desired product at Bizrate or Beso and converting the link into an affiliate link mentioned above in #4. To ensure high traffic quality, these posts should be rich in content and quality accompanied by the associated text links.

6. API & Data Feeds

For our more robust implementation options, our API or FTP Data Feeds may be a better option for you (if you're not sure what that means, they're probably not for you). Please apply for access to either application under the Contents tab. Please review our Terms and Conditions before applying for access. For more information on our API and feed, please feel free to browse these previous posts.

7. Placement IDs for additional tracking and insight

As an affiliate publisher, you may be interested in tracking your performance more granularly -- for example for a specific page on your site, marketing campaign or for additional websites. Once you have an approved Shopzilla Publisher Account, you can publish Shopzilla links on any site you operate, as long as our team gets a chance to look over the website and approves it for use. There is no need to register new accounts for separate websites under the same ownership. You can use the Placement ID tool for track multiple websites (or sections, campaigns, etc.). For more information related to Placement IDs, please visit our blog post on Placement ID usage. Please contact us if you would like to add additional sites to your account or if you have any additional questions.

Adding Additional Websites to Your Account

As an affiliate publisher, you may be operating several websites at once. Once you have an approved Shopzilla Publisher Account, you can publish Shopzilla links on any site you operate, as long as our team gets a chance to look over the website and approves it for use. There is no need to register new accounts for separate websites.

We suggest that you use the Placement ID tool for multiple website publishing so you can keep links from each website separate on your earnings report. For more information related to Placement IDs, please visit our blog post on Placement ID usage.

Please contact us if you would like to add additional sites to your account or if you have any additional questions.

How to Check for Bidded Only Offers for Beso

UntitledWith all the products featured on Beso, it can be difficult to know which offers will generate revenue for you as a Publisher when creating a Beso text link. You can determine which offers generate revenue through our Catalog API. You can find out if a certain product is bidded, meaning you will earn revenue for redirects through the correct Beso affiliate link, or nonbidded, meaning you will NOT earn revenue for redirects through the correct Beso affiliate link.

This slide show will show you step-by-step how to check for bidded only offers in Beso through our Catalog API. If you do not have access to our API, please apply here.

How to Fully Utilize the Beso Affiliate Program

Now that we have introduced you to our new Beso Affiliate Program, what is the best way you can maximize your revenue with quality traffic?

There are two ways to integrate Beso content on your site: text links and widgets.

Text Links

This application is great for our Beso Offer Detail Pages like this one below:

It is best when used for casual linking -- when you are unsure if customers will purchase the product upon clicking on the link. To create a correct Beso text link for an offer detail page, please follow these instructions.

Another great way to use this application besides for Beso offer detail pages is for Beso search results. If you are unable to find a product, for example, J Brand Skinny Jeans in Phoebe Wash, use the Beso search link at the top of your browser instead of an offer detail page. Search links produce more redirects which produce more revenue for Publishers. Instead of linking to one product, you are linking to hundreds giving your visitors more options to click on.

This application allows you to create very specific links to products. We encourage our Publishers to use these links in a limited and appropriate setting:  they are best for product placements in which the pictures, prices, and relevant information of the featured items are revealed.

You can create these types of links by searching for the item, clicking on the product you want to link to, and choosing "text link" as the display instead of "image." Be sure to include your Publisher ID! At the bottom of the page, the code in the text box will be ready for you to use.

Widgets

Create your own dynamic assets through our search widgets. Their dynamic aspect creates new product content in the widgets when available. Place them on the sidebars of your website or place them in your posts when referring to certain products to catch visitors' attention.

If you need some suggestions, here are a few keywords you can use:

jordan shoes
dressing table
style happy bedding
jeffrey campbell lita
juicy couture charms crayon
gold shark tooth necklace victorias secret
palm key patio furniture
polo shoes
vm7013
lisa rachel hair products

 

And as always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How Do I Build A Beso Single Product Widget?

Beso, a member of the Shopzilla, Inc. family of properties, is a lifestyle website providing users the ability to shop all of their favorite stores and brands, all in one place. Through the Shopzilla Publisher Program, you are now easily able to extend this experience to your users through Beso Widgets. With Beso Widgets, you are able to build banners displaying shopping content using your favorite search results, or a single favorite product, or an "offer".

To build a Beso Single Product Widget, you will need a particular offer's "Offer ID". Offer IDs are unique identifiers Shopzilla assigns to each offer displayed on any of its properties, including Beso. In other words, every offer you see on Beso has a unique Shopzilla Offer ID assigned to it.

So you're writing a blog post on the rebirth of paisley...you happen upon a sunny yellow paisley settee on Beso, complementary to many interiors. How do you build a Beso Widget for this fabulous find? How do you find this paisley settee's Offer ID? There are several ways, but here is an easy one:

1. 'Take a Peek' at that sunny yellow paisley settee. This will pop open a larger image.

2. Click the 'More Details' link. This will take you to the 'Offer Details' page.

Beso Single Product Widget Step 1

3. Once on the Offer Details page, copy the Offer ID from the URL, here:

Beso Single Product Widget Step 2

4. Now that you have your Offer ID, paste it into the Beso Single Product Widget builder...and voila! That paisley settee is ready to brighten your blog!

Beso Single Product Widget Step 3

A small consideration, you may want to periodically update your Beso Single Product Widgets. Unfortunately, that paisley settee may someday become unavailable, and the image might even disappear. We hate when this happens, but don't fret...we have a back-up plan! Your widget will simply redirect to similar search results, and, don't forget, you can always swap in a widget built with your own handpicked search results using a Beso Search Results Widget.

  

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.

 

The Shopzilla Publisher Team

 

The Best FREE Affiliate Tools

The Shopzilla Publisher Team wanted to take a moment to highlight a few free tools that we have found helpful to publishers. Here's a list we put together of these helpful affiliate marketing tools with a brief description of how they could improve your website:


Google adwords keyword toolGoogle Adwords: Keyword Tool - This tool helps you better target keywords people are searching for on Google.  It can give you a rough idea of the previous month's search volume for a given keyword (or key phrase), as well as synonyms that might be a better choice.  You can either enter in a URL or keywords to see some really useful information.  The keyword tool helps you choose your keywords based on advertiser competition, local search volume, search volume trends, and more.

For example, we wanted to see what the best primary keywords should be for this post.  We entered "affiliate tools" and
"affiliate marketing tools," and quickly saw that more people are searching for "affiliate tools," and therefore used that as the preferred keyword in this blog post.  Give it a try to see if there are relevant keywords that will deliver better results than the keywords you're currently using!


Dropbox - Are you a blogger on the go?  Do you blog from more than one computer?   You may want to check out Dropbox!  It makes it easy to get to documents from any of your computers at any time. It keeps you organized without having to email documents to your self or use a usb drive.  You can also Dropboxshare your Dropbox with other people.  It works with both Macs and PCs and also phones, desktops, and laptops. The Basic free version offers 2 GB, Pro 50 gives you 50 GB for only $9.99 a month, and the Pro 100 offers 100 GB for just $19.99 a month.  Check out John Chow's tips and tricks for using Dropbox.


TyntTynt - "Leverage the benefit of copy/paste!" If your website or blog has a lot of original content, then Tynt Insight might just be the perfect tool for you!  Whether you are writing product reviews or insightful articles on current events, Tynt will show you where your content was copied and then redirect that copied content to your website free of cost!  Tynt also tracks any pictures that were copied from your website and provides links to redirect back to you.  These extra links to your site will without a doubt directly increase your number of visitors, but it also may increase your SEO, giving you a higher search rank.

Tynt's mission is to give credit where credit is due.  If any content of yours is copied, it must be relevant and engaging, and you should get credit for it. Tynt Insights also provides detailed reporting for their users in three views: an overview report including page views and visits; a link report that shows where your traffic is coming from and the SEO benefits the links are providing; and a content report including a list of the top images and words being copied.


Regator - If you're experiencing writer's block (and have already checked out Bryan's post on tips for overcoming writer's block) or just searching for your next juicy and popular blog post to write - check out Regatorregator. Regator aggregates the "web's best blog posts from the web's best blogs" for free.  You can create your own page based on keywords.  If your website reviews e-readers, you could use key terms like Kindle, iPad, e-reader, etc. to stay current with your niche's news without sorting through a bunch of other technology stories.  Currently, regator's blog nominations are closed, but once they reopen you can nominate your blog to increase your website's traffic!  They also have a blog where you can learn more about the company, running a start-up, general industry news, and weekly trends.


Search Engine Tools: The top three search engines, Google, Yahoo!, and Bing all offer their own tools to help you get added visibility into your site's performance on each of these search engines.  All of them are very useful and most importantly, free!  While they each vary slightly, they all provide you with some level of troubleshooting, ranking information, sitemap submission, and backlink statistics.  You can check them out here:


We hope you'll find these tools helpful as you continue to grow your empire!  In the comment section below, please share your thoughts on our suggestions, and let us know any other free tools that you've found to be useful.

Effective Display Tactics - Matching Banners to Your Content

One of the most effective tactics to display advertising is using banners that match the content of your website. Giving your visitor a link, or returning product that matches what they are searching for, can capture their attention and lead to a higher click-thru rate. I am often surprised at how some websites fail to take advantage of the very simple concept of matching a visitors needs with their advertising campaigns.

Show Specific Results
For example, I am an avid sports fan. I often take time to visit blogs discussing the latest sports topics, only to find banners that offer products in a completely different genre than the topic being discussed, or even the website itself. If I visit a sports website, I am likely to click on a banner that offers sports equipment or jerseys with the intent to find something I want to purchase. An advertisement for a new cell phone plan or gaming system is going be overlooked. As an example, Soccer Cleats 101 displays very specific results that blend in effectively midway down along the right side bar using a Shopzilla dynamic asset. 

Refridgerator ProUse Space to Full Effect
If you are going to use space on your website for advertising, it is vitally important to use it to its fullest instead of simply distracting your visitor. Offering a valuable link also increases the credibility of your website. If you can display a link that leads your visitor to a product or landing page they enjoy, then you are offering valuable information, and this can then lead to visit your website again, building a loyal relationship. RefigeratorPro have created a very effective landing page that integrates Shopzilla content in a very subtle yet effective way. On their home page, you will notice the Shopzilla dynamic asset on the right and how it matches the topic of the website, adding extra credibility while not looking out of place.If you check out the brand pages, you are also likely to find assets that match that page, like for example the Kitchen Aid page.

Benefit From Comparison Shopping
Even more effective is being able to offer your visitor comparison shopping results that can help them save money. The opportunity to display a list of prices for a particular product is an absolute win! What visitor is going to overlook being able to find a particular product at the best price? Just imagine reviewing a new laptop computer you have purchased, or the latest designer jacket you want, and having a list of prices to peek your visitor’s interest. The value in using this tactic goes both ways- you offer a great deal to your visitor, while they become a returning visitor to your website.

There are many ways to integrate shopping content through the Shopzilla Publisher Program, offering huge value to any site, big or small. One of the easiest means of integrating shopping content is through our dynamic or static banners, ideal for any blog or website out there. Our dynamic banners offer you the opportunity to display content that is very specific to your website. By inputting a keyword, you can display a banner that is relevant to the content of any landing page. These banners can also be modified by using our unique color picker tool, giving you freedom to match it to the style of your site. If you are not yet a member of the Shopzilla Publisher Program, and would like to take advantage of our flexible content, or test out the look of our banners, we invite you to sign up for free.

Rising Tide Theory and Affiliate Marketing

A rising tide lifts all boats.  Fact?  Well, maybe.  In affiliate marketing we need to distinguish between the different kinds of boats, which users make up your tide, and how does the tide change in different seasons. The eBay Partner Network Blog wrote a great piece titled "Seasonality and its impact on your EPC" back in February.  It's a great post, we definitely recommend you check it out if you haven't done so already.

Your new dynamic assets, website content, and SEO strategies may have had some effect on your earnings during the holiday season, but the busier shopping months of the year are likely to have impacted your visitor numbers, and of course how those visitors interact with your site.  Like many other marketers, you may have thought with good service, content, and web design, you'd be able to keep those new users that browsed your website during the holiday season.  But the fact is, your typical Internet user has cutback their online shopping time, spending more time visiting social media sites, reading news articles, and watching their favorite television shows and movies online.  They aren't browsing for the best Black Friday or Black Monday deal, comparing HDTVs, or looking for the great post-holiday sales.  No longer are you competing against other shopping websites, you're competing against every other URL out there!  

Seasons vs Affiliate Marketing

You may have also noticed there are less users in the tide during non-holiday shopping seasons.  As the weather gets warmer, your audience is spending less time on the Internet and are spending more time outdoors enjoying the sun.


Below is a graph from comScore comparing the total unique visitors of various comparison shopping  websites throughout the year.  As you can see, there is a substantial spike in traffic from November to December, tapering off in January.

ComScore Graph - Total Unique Visitors on Comparison Shopping Sites Throughout the Year
Now, we must not forget about content and niche websites and their relationship with different seasons and the rising tide theory.  If your website reviewed snowboards, you probably experienced an increase in numbers due to this winter's heavier than normal snow fall season.  It is likely that people want to take advantage of the conditions, and have been searching for snowboard reviews and deals on line.  On the other hand, if your blog discusses the best surfboards and accessories - you're going to see an increase in visitors once the summer months kick in, whereas the snowboard website is likely to see a decrease.

There are various examples of the rising tide and its effect on affiliate marketing.

  • Know your content and niche. Are you reviewing surfboards or snowboards?

  • Know your user base. Are your users shopaholics or seasonal shoppers?

  • Know your competition.

If your website is performing better than your direct competition and your traffic drops, don't assume it's only happening to you.  Take a look at the big picture and if it's the result of a tide change, don't force a change in your strategy if you're beating out your competition, you may end up doing more damage.

What Do You Know About SEO?

Hey Publishers,Michael

Bloggers, web masters, engineers, and publishers around the world are always looking to better their SEO tactics.  We recently had the opportunity to ask our own SEO expert, Michael Nguyen, a few questions about Search Engine Optimization.  Hope you enjoy the Q&A!

Jade: Let’s start off with a brief description of what you do at Shopzilla, Inc.

Michael: I'm the SEO strategist here at Shopzilla, Inc. I oversee all the SEO efforts on our main properties.

Jade: SEO and SEM are sometimes used interchangeably, should they be? How would you compare the two? Why are they both important?

Michael: I see SEM as an all encompassing term - it stands for search engine marketing. All efforts to utilize search engines to promote your business would fall under SEM. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) are subsets of SEM. There's a lot of confusion behind what SEM represents, so I can see how some would use SEO/PPC and SEM interchangeably. As long as you know that SEO and PPC are subsets of an overall search marketing effort, then you are set.

Both SEO and PPC are equally important to driving traffic to a site. With PPC, you have very strong targeting advantages. You have much more control with landing pages, messaging, placement - essentially the entire flow from search engine to landing page is determined ahead of time. It's fast, flexible, and limitless.

SEO on the other hand is a more volatile environment, you have less control over everything. But the traffic potential is huge. More people click on organic results than they do on paid listings.

As for why they both are important, it's pretty simple - because your users are looking for you in both places. When users search, they're looking for the most relevant result and ad to click on. So if you are trying to reach them, you need to play in both spaces.

Jade: We know strong SEO tactics can help a website. Can poor SEO hurt a website?

Michael: Definitely. Many of the basic SEO tactics deal specifically with helping search engines crawl your site. If a search engine can't crawl your site in the first place, your site has a very low chance of being returned in the search results. I'd recommend everyone at least take a quick look at some of Google's webmaster guidelines: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769.

Jade: Do you see an end to Black Hat SEO practices in the near future?

Michael: Not really. Black Hat SEOs have great monetary incentives to continue to aggressively spam search engines. The situation is very similar to email spam - as long as someone out there can make money with spam, they will. Search engines will obviously continue to make it harder and harder for Black Hat SEOs to game their engines, but I don't see an end anytime soon.

Jade: What are a few simple SEO tools or tips you would use on a small blog? On a larger product review website?

Michael: I'm going to point out a few articles here as they are great references. For blogs, check out: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/21-tactics-to-increase-blog-traffic. For product review websites, check out: http://www.dpreview.com/. I'd break down what DP Review has done and mimic that on a product review site.

Jade: What would you recommend to our publishers who want to learn more about SEO?

Michael: This probably isn't the normal recommendation you'd get from other SEOs, but I recommend publishers taking a look at their analytics and checking to see what is already working for them. Take what is already working and continue to build off of that. There's a lot you can learn from your analytics and running tests. For more traditional resources on SEO, spend some time on: http://www.seomoz.org, http://www.seobook.com, and http://www.google.com (not a joke).

Michael, thanks so much for taking the time to give our publishers great advice on Search Engine Optimization.  If you'd like to pick Michael's brain some more, then check out his website - socialpatterns.com!

Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block

One of the key elements to a successful website or blog is being able to consistently write and publish interesting content for your readers. This can prove challenging for even the best writers, and on many occasions Writer’s Block Help Writers Blockwill step in. Whether it is writing a review, putting together a blog post or sharing an editorial piece, writer’s block can cause extreme frustration. I will be the first to admit that there have been several occasions where I have found myself stuck on a line of a review, with no idea where to go next! Sometimes, the experience of writer’s block can be temporary, but on other occasions it can be extreme and completely hinder writers from creating new articles. For everyone, the experience is different, but I thought I would share some of my personal strategies that will hopefully be of benefit to how you overcome the challenge.

  • Write For ‘You’
    Have you ever reread one of your articles, only to find yourself perplexed at what you have wrote? This is a challenge I face daily when I am writing an article. I focus on reviews, and it becomes very easy to focus your attention on what you want the reader to hear, rather than what your own opinions are. Over time, I have discovered that my most popular posts are the ones that I write to satisfy what I am thinking and how I view something. The idea here is to write exactly how you feel on a given subject rather than giving in to write what you think readers will like. If you really like something, write it. If you don’t like something, write that, too. If you have no ideas about a certain issue, add that in! You will be surprised at how engaging this can be to your readers. Writer's Block is often a result of focusing your energy on something you don't actually want to really talk about!
  • Read Other Articles
    Sometimes, overcoming writer’s block can be as easy as reading another writer’s work. All you need to do is Google search some keywords in your article, and find out what the popular opinion pieces have to say. Now, I don’t mean copy and paste their work, rather take the time to digest their opinions and allow your thoughts to formulate. Taking the time to entertain what other writers think can open up many new ideas to you, and break down barriers that you were unaware existed. On occasion, you might even disagree with what another writer has to say. But, maybe this will be the inspiration for a whole new direction to your article?
  • Take a Break
    Plain and simple, take a break. This is one that many people will brush aside for fear that they won’t be able clear their minds. Give your mind the opportunity to rest already! All it can take is a few minutes, make some coffee, or go for a quick walk outside! My secret is to take a break and re-read one of my most popular posts. When I do this it simply reminds me of the fact that I have been able to bring out some great information in the past! I then spend 15 minutes thinking about what I want from my current article, and what I feel I am doing wrong. Many times, writer’s block will hit when your article is headed in the wrong direction and you are too afraid to go back to modify it.
  • Recycle a Post
    So, you find yourself stuck on a post, or you just can’t think of anything else to write. Don’t dwell on it, instead go find a previous post and recycle it! Bloggers have a huge fear about this one, “Well, I can’t recycle it in case others have already read it”. Well, guess what, if everybody has already read it, you have an extremely successful website, and if your website is successful then you should not have a problem re-sharing your ideas! Instead of sitting like a dummy, not knowing what to write next, put together a post that highlights some great ideas you had in the past and reference some of your other posts. This gives your readers the opportunity to delve deeper into your site, while also relieving the pressure you feel to write a new post. As a result, you might find it easier to go back and complete the unfinished post! If you take a look at any of the top blog resource websites, you will notice that they are not afraid to recycled posts for their readers.

There is no ‘cure’ for writers block, the only solution is to try find something that works for you! If you don't suffer from writer's block, and have some posts that could use some great assets or text links, feel free to apply to become a Shopzilla Publisher! We also encourage anyone with tips that might be useful to other writers, please comment below.

*While also being the Senior Affiliate Program Coordinator at Shopzilla, Bryan runs a leading soccer review site.

Top 10 Publisher Tips for 2010

Happy New Year, Publishers!

There's no better time for New Year's Resolutions than now.  Myself, and the rest of the Shopzilla Publisher team would love to see continued growth in our publishers' performances and figured you would too.  So, we put our heads together and came up with the top ten tips for better earnings in 2010. 

10.  The Shopzilla Publisher Team is Your Resource, Use Us!

Whether it's a complicated question or a request for a password reset, don't be shy.  We want you to succeed just as much as you do, so give us a chance to help you and contact us.  If you're looking to be a bit more proactive this year, then keep up to date with us by following our blog, becoming a fan of us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter at @szpublisher!

9.  Update Your Payment Information.

You'd be surprised how many publishers walk away from their hard earned payments by not having the most up to date payment information.  If you move, change you're email, PayPal account, or the name of your payee you have to let us know!  Also, be prepared for tax season - please send us your W9s if you haven't done so already. 

8.  Reapply!

If you were denied access to our Catalog API or FTP Data Feeds and your website has changed, please don't hesitate to reapply.  There are many times we grant access to previously rejected publishers when their websites are more established.

7.  Provide Disclosure.

The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on fraudulent reviews on blogs. Back in October of 2009, the FTC revised its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials.  Since December 1st, fines were being issued to bloggers and companies that did not properly disclose information about endorsements.  If you are receiving any kind of payment in exchange for your opinion, you must disclose it.  For more information you can read through the FTC's 81 page guide or check out our October blog post about the new guides.

6.  Stay Up-to-Date with Current Events in Affiliate Marketing.

Learn from Super Affiliates and your peers by bookmarking your favorite websites about affiliate marketing and checking in at least once a week.  Looking for a new blog to follow?  Check out Bryan's 15 Recommended Websites For Any Successful Affiliate!

5.  Know Which Assets Attract Your Audience - Use Placement IDs!

Have more than one asset on your website or websites?  Keep track of which assets are most attractive to your audience by using Placement IDs. You can view the traffic for each Placement ID under View Reports.  If you're not sure how to create a Placement ID, check out our blog post on Placement ID usage.  Please note that you can only use positive integers and cannot use Placement IDs greater than 999999.

4.  Wordpress User?  You Can Still Use Dynamic Assets!

In June 2008, Tim Flight gave a great tip on how to use Dynamic Assets on Wordpress during his Publisher Spotlight.  Please remember that we cannot be held liable for any code you may break (read our FAQ), we believe the following tip brought GPSReview.net much success.

Create the Dynamic Asset using just the letter "a" in the "Search For" field as the keyword. Pick the banner size, set your colors, etc, and then get the HTML code. Look in the HTML code for the following:

/keyword-a/

Replace that with this:

/keyword-<?php echo(urlencode(strtolower(single_post_title(",FALSE)))); ?>/

That code should take the title of the WordPress post and use it as the keyword for the ad unit.

3.  Keep Your Personal Data and Websites' Data Safe.

Take web safety seriously.  Little steps can make a big difference. Get into good habits regarding passwords, sensitive information, third party plugins, and software updates.

Kickoff 2010 by changing all of your passwords.  According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, passwords should be at least 8 characters long and include numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lower case letters.  Passwords should be changed at least once every 90 days and never reused or shared.  When sharing sensitive data, verify that your browser connection is secure and never transmit it over email.  Only use third party plugins if you trust the source.  Lastly, always check for software upgrades whether it's your browser (ie Firefox or Internet Explorer) or the blogging tool you use (ie Wordpress or MovableType). 

To learn more about how you can be safe online, check out Chris's pointers during National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

2.  More is Not Always Merrier.

Some say, the more fishing rods you cast, the more fish you'll catch.  When it comes to affiliate marketing, it can be quite the opposite.  Your website shouldn't resemble the Las Vegas strip.  Instead, your website should encourage your audience to stay and enjoy the content and a blitz of ads is not the way to do it.  It's easier to choose from a small menu, don't let your audience (and earnings) fall victim to choice overload.

1.  Be Relevant.

If you're running a website about sports, more often than not, your audience is not interested in our Home and Garden shopping products. To make the most out of the Shopzilla Inc. content you display, alter the keywords you use and/or use the drop down categories until you get the shopping content that compliments your website's content.  For more information on building Dynamic Content check out this blog post on Creating the Perfect Dynamic Asset.

And those are our top ten publisher tips for 2010.  How much progress will you and your website make come 2011?

Creating the Perfect Dynamic Asset for Your Website

Hey Publishers,

Have you experienced trouble building Bizrate dynamic assets?  Have you searched for a specific item, but the results weren't what you had in mind?  If this has happened to you, or, if you want to prevent it from happening in the future, listen up!  There is a simple way for you to search and display the results you want.

Top Search Results

When you are experiencing difficulties building dynamic assets, the keywords you enter into the search box for either Top Search Results or Product Pods might not be specific enough and therefore display top searched products that are not necessarily what you had in mind.  The solution is relatively simple- tweak the keyword or keywords you are using.  You can change the amount of detail, ie brand name, color, product type or use our category refinement feature.  Once you find the content you want, choose your dynamic asset and make it perfect by using our Color Picker Tool.  You can customize the asset's appearance in just about every way you could imagine.

So, you've created the asset you wanted and it complements your website's design perfectly.  You're seeing great results, but later while your viewing your site you notice your assets that were once displaying books are now displaying miscellaneous products - what should you do?!

  1. Wait a half hour to see if the problem resolves itself.  We could be performing routine maintenance or experiencing brief program errors.
  2. Check our Announcements for alerts.  You'll find updated information on taxonomy and any program errors.
  3. Try creating a new asset.  Perhaps your dynamic asset code was altered the last time you updated your site.  The product categorization could have changed and therefore your asset would be out of date.  Also, the product your asset was built around could no longer be offered by our merchants.

***Please keep in mind that our Product Pods are only available for "compacted" products which have multiple offers aligned to that specific product.  For example, products like iPods and digital cameras are compacted where as our "soft" goods such as apparel and home & garden supplies are non-compacted.  If you do not happen to find a Product Pod of your liking, check back periodically, as we are always adding to our compacted product offerings.

If you have any questions about building dynamic assets or general questions about your account, please feel free to contact us.

Integrated Dynamic Assets With Your Website's Content

Hey Publishers,

For those of you who are regular readers, you might remember our Publisher Spotlight on Tim Flight and GPSReview.net back in June of 2008.  He gave great advice on content integration and a great pointer for our WordPress users. It is that good that we wanted to take the opportunity to share it with you again!

How well does the Shopzilla Publisher Program content you select fit with the context of the page?  Is your audience reading about Nike running shoes, but your assets display Adidas and New Balance sneakers? We get a lot of questions about how to generate more quality clicks and one of the answers is integration. Our Shopzilla Publisher Program offers a wide set of product offerings from thousands of different merchants, so take advantage of it by displaying Bizrate dynamic assets that suit the content of the page!

Tim also gave a very detailed tip for our WordPress users interested in using Bizrate dynamic assets. While we cannot be held liable for any code you may accidentally break (read our FAQ), Tim's advice has brought GPSReview much success:

Create the Dynamic Asset using just the letter "a" in the "Search For" field as the keyword. Pick the banner size, set your colors, etc, and then get the HTML code. Look in the HTML code for the following:

/keyword-a/

Replace that with this:

/keyword-<?php echo(urlencode(strtolower(single_post_title(",FALSE)))); ?>/

That code should take the title of the WordPress post and use it as the keyword for the ad unit.

Keep in mind, this will be optimal only for those publishers using the product name as the blog post title. Hopefully, this will help you save time by making our dynamic assets... well... more dynamic! As always, please contact us with any questions or comments.

Stay Connected With The Shopzilla Publisher Program

Hey Publishers,

Are you tired of you hearing Shopzilla Publisher Program news through the grapevine?  Do you want to be the first to know about new categories and content that becomes available without constantly hitting the F5 key to refresh our blog?  If so, take this as a friendly reminder that you can stay up to date on all of our updates by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

Twitter Twitter:  You can follow us at @szpublisher.  We'll keep you up to date on everything from industry news to the most recent posts on our blog.  We also occasionally give 'Follow Friday' shout outs to our Publishers.  For those of you on Twitter, send us a message, introduce yourself and we'll keep you informed!  If you're not a part of Twitter, sign up here!

Facebook

Facebook:  Become a fan of Shopzilla Publisher Program on Facebook.  Keep up with Shopzilla Publisher Program and industry news and meet other Shopzilla Publishers and fans of our program.  Next time you log on to Facebook, become a fan and give us a shout on our wall, we'd love to hear from you!  And for those of you not on Facebook, join here!


We're really looking forward to keeping in touch with our Publishers through social network channels!  If you have any questions or want to see us on an additional social network site, contact us!

Tips on Keeping your Shopzilla Publisher Account and Personal Data Secure

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so we'd like to take the opportunity to give you a few pointers that will help you keep your data and websites' safe.  We'd also like to remind you that Shopzilla takes utmost care with safeguarding Publisher data through the use of encryption.  You can help ensure that your data remains safe by adhering to these simple tips:

[1] Use strong passwords and don't give them out to anyone.  The National Cyber Security Alliance recommends using a password at least eight characters long, including letters, numbers, and symbols. Shopzilla personnel will never ask for your password.

[2] Make every effort to change your password at least every 90 days.

[3] Do not re-use the same password on several sites.  Though the Shopzilla Publisher Program encrypts your passwords and no employee here can see what you have chosen, this is not the case at every company.

[4] VInternet Explorer Secure Connection Iconerify that your browser connection is secure whenever you are submitting sensitive data, like Social Security Numbers, to Shopzilla or other companies.  To verify a secure connection with Internet Explorer, look for a lock icon to the right of the address bar.  To verify on FireFox, look for a lock icon on the lower right corner of the status bar at the bottom of the browser.

FirefoxSecure Connection


[5] Never transmit sensitive data (like financial information or Social Security Numbers) over email.

[6] Keep your software up-to-date and watch for new security patches.  This includes your browser (check the Firefox or Internet Explorer websites), but it's also important for bloggers who administer content management software like Wordpress.  Check your vendor's website often to ensure you are using the most secure release of the software.  Here are the links to a few popular blogging tools:

Also be careful with third party plugins - don't use them if you don't trust the source.

An old teacher of mine used to joke that the only way to stay 100% secure online is to unplug your computer and never use it.  But you'll be well on your way to minimizing risk by following these tips and other 'best practices' that can be found at the National Cyber Security Alliance's website.

Double your Websites, Double your Funds: Adding Additional Sites to your Shopzilla Publisher Account

Hey Publishers,

Does the Shopzilla Publisher Team know about every site you're using our content on?  Are your Placement IDs organized and reflect each site and its corresponding Shopzilla Publisher Program content?  Not only is notifying us of your additional sites part of our terms and conditions, but perhaps your additional sites could get you on our next Publisher Spotlight, so keep us in the loop!

The Shopzilla Publisher Program allows you to publish Shopzilla Publisher Program content on any site you operate, as long as we get a chance to review and approve the site.  You do not have to go through registering a new site, you only need to send us the URL and a brief description.  Once we have reviewed and approved your additional sites, you are ready to add new Shopzilla Publisher Program content.  When you do this, we strongly suggest you make the most out of Placement IDs so that you are able to track the traffic from each website separately on your earnings report.

Placement IDs

As always, please contact us if you have any questions about the Shopzilla Publisher Program!

15 Recommended Websites For Any Successful Affiliate

One thing that we feel is key to finding success in the affiliate realm is staying up to date with all the latest industry news. In recent times, we have featured some great interviews and updates on breaking topics. Take for example our recent interview of Tim Flight in regards to the new FTC regulations, or our opinion piece on the Affiliate Tax and its impact on CPC programs.

One great way to stay updated is to find a good set of blogs to follow. We do just that, and as a result, we thought it would be a good idea to share some sites with you to check out and maybe save to your favorites. Please note, the sites we have listed below are just a select few of hundreds of great blogs that exist. These are just sites that we are familiar with. If there are other blogs out there that you feel have similar appeal, please let us know below in the comment section, so that we can check them out and share them with other Publishers in the future!

The following sites are listed alphabetically:

Affiliate (Tip)
http://blog.affiliatetip.com/
A daily blog on affiliate marketing news and opinion, written by Affiliate Summit co-founder Shawn Collins.

Bigoak blog
http://www.bigoakinc.com/blog/
Focuses on information about Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing.

BloggingTips
http://www.bloggingtips.com/
Brings a blend of article, news and tips on topics that range from promoting your blog to design and coding.

BloggingPro
http://www.bloggingpro.com/
Features news, themes and plugins for blogging applications.

Blogstorm
http://www.blogstorm.co.uk/
The UK’s largest blog discussing internet marketing and search engine optimization news & strategies.

Blogussion
http://www.blogussion.com/
Provides outstanding tips for excelling your blog in a variety of topics.

Copyblogger
http://www.copyblogger.com/
Copy-writing tips for online marketing success.

DailyBlogTips
http://www.dailyblogtips.com/
Daily tips and shared knowledge to help bloggers learn more about blogging.

David Naylor
http://www.davidnaylor.co.uk/
Information to help you to increase your online presence in the search engines, and the traffic generated to your website.

John Chow dot Com
http://www.johnchow.com/
The Miscellaneous Ramblings of the self-proclaimed Dot Com Mogul, John Chow.

Performancing
http://performancing.com/
A place where those that want to make money from their blogs can learn, and perfect the art of making a living from weblogging.

ProBlogger
http://www.problogger.net/
Dedicated to helping other bloggers learn the skills of blogging, share their own experiences and promote the blogging medium.

Reve News
http://www.revenews.com/
Discussion of Online Advertising, CPA, SEO, Affiliate and Next Generation Marketing

Search Engine Roundtable
http://www.seroundtable.com/
Provides a single source for the reader to visit to locate the most interesting threads covered at the SEM forums.

The Blog Herald
http://www.blogherald.com/

Premier source of news, information, tips, and commentary on blogs, the blogging industry and bloggers worldwide.

Interview with Tim Flight of GPSReview.net about the FTC Guidelines

Hey Publishers,GPSReview

The Federal Trade Commission's new set of guidelines to protect online consumers is a very hot and controversial topic affecting bloggers of all stripes. The Shopzilla Publisher team was curious about the thoughts of one of our coworkers and top publishers, Tim Flight, and had the pleasure to ask him several questions on the topic. Tim runs GPSReview.net, and has been a Shopzilla Publisher for roughly two and a half years. Tim gave us great insight on his experiences with GPSReview.net and what the new FTC regulations mean for him and other bloggers.

Jade: Would you mind giving a brief description of GPSReview.net for our publishers and blog readers who are unfamiliar with your site?

Tim: I started with GPSReview.net in 2005 and I've been involved with affiliate marketing since that time. I review GPS devices, provide ways for consumers to ask questions and leave their own reviews, as well as operate a large GPS forum. Often manufacturers will send me devices to review (which I send back when I'm done with the product), and I also often purchase GPS devices directly from store shelves for reviews.

Jade: The FTC's goal is to maximize consumer protection. Do you feel there are really that many biased product review blogs that negatively affect consumer decisions?

Tim: I don't believe there are a lot of blogs with a significant bias towards a particular company, although they do exist. However a bigger issue I see is the manufacturers/companies themselves are often out there trying to influence product ratings. For example, I've caught employees of just about every GPS company trying to influence the conversation of various pages of GPSReview.net. They will pose as a consumer and "review" their own product or say something negative about their competitor.

Another tactic I've seen recently is a company offering a discount on their product or future purchases if the consumer writes a positive review of their product on a blog or forum. (Often before a consumer has even used their product).

Jade: What is your biggest concern with the FTC's new set of guidelines?

Tim: I don't have any big concerns with the new guidelines. I hope more bloggers will be open about the relationships they have with companies they talk about. But I think bloggers writing positive reviews of a product as a result of getting free product is just the tip of the iceberg.

As I mentioned above, employees writing about their own products in blog comments, forums, or social media sites is a problem for consumers. The guidelines also hardly scratch the surface surrounding things like "wining and dining" or being offered free show tickets while at a Vegas trade show. There are many other ways a blogger could be influenced by a company beyond just free product.

Jade: Richard Cleland of the FTC stated in an interview with Fast Company that the FTC is more concerned with the advertisers and wants to educate the bloggers. How far do you think the advertisers will pull back?

Tim: Product manufacturers and advertisers understand that bloggers can reach their target audiences, so I don't think they will pull back. Perhaps companies will start being a bit more strict when it comes to setting expectations on having product samples shipped back, etc. As far as "educating bloggers" goes, those that are receiving kick-backs for positive reviews probably won't change much.

Jade: How do you plan on adhering to the new FTC guidelines?

Tim: For a long time I've maintained an Ethics Page where I spell out my relationship with companies I review products from. I also frequently cite within a product review if I purchased the product myself or if the product was on a short-term loan. I plan to continue those practices.

Jade: How do you think your site, GPSReview.net will be affected?

Tim: I don't think I will be affected much at all. From what I've interpreted in the guidelines I've been already meeting or exceeding the FTC guidelines.

Thank you to Tim for taking the time to talk to us about the new FTC regulations and his site GPSReview.net. We'd love to hear our publishers' reactions to the proposed FTC guidelines. How do you expect to be affected in December when these new rules take effect?

FTC Regulates Social Media and Blogs

Hey Publishers,

There was some big news earlier this week!  On Monday, October 5th, the Federal Trade Commission revised its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials.  This was the first time since 1980 the FTC revised its guidelines on these type of advertisements and the first time its rules covered bloggers and social media. Beginning on December 1st, you can be fined up to $11,000 per post that is not properly disclosed!

A main concern of the blogging community is what the FTC considers to be an endorsement.  According to the new guide, any kind of payment given to a blogger to review a product can be labeled as an endorsement.  Also, if the reviewed product was sent to the blogger for free, the blogger must include a disclaimer in the review and/or send the product back because it can also be considered an endorsement.  The FTC feels manufactures have expectations for positive reviews creating conflicts of interest and negatively influencing consumers' purchases.  In an effort to eliminate biased and bogus claims and testimonials (something the FTC has been trying to do since 2007) the FTC aims to make consumers more aware of the relationship between sponsored sellers and bloggers with mandatory disclosures.

So what can stop the FTC from slapping you with a $11,000 fine?  You can read through the 81 page guide or you can go straight to playing it safe and adding disclaimers to your site.  If you are blogging your opinions in exchange for any kind of payment, you must disclose it.  It seems the FTC is heavily regulating blogs and social networks, however, their main focus is on advertisers and maintaining the truth in advertising.  You can expect a much more established set of guidelines in the near future before the rules take effect.

To read more, there was an interesting article within the Huffington Post that clearly breaks out the implications of these regulations in all aspects of social media- from blogs to chat room activity.  You may also want to check out an article from the The Blog of LegalTimes on how the FTC is not out to get you.

Shopzilla Publisher Program on Twitter

Just as a healthy reminder to all of our Publishers that we are available to be your friend on Twitter. WeTwitter started using Twitter over a year ago, and it has become a valuable tool for us to share performance announcements, industry news, hints and tips with our Publishers and anyone else interested in seeing what we have to say! We also make note to give 'Follow Friday' shout outs to our Publishers from time to time. If you already use Twitter, send us a message to let us know who you are. That way, we can add you and send any valuable information we think you would appreciate!

Our alias is @szpublisher. See you there!

How the Shopzilla Publisher Program Works

The Shopzilla Publisher Program is a CPC affliate marketing program connecting Shopzilla, Inc.’s world-class “where to buy” shopping solution to website publishers interested in monetizing their websites by integrating shopping content. Publishers monetize websites by driving quality traffic through Shopzilla, Inc. properties, including Bizrate®, Beso, and TaDa. With access to Shopzilla’s rich inventory of shopping and merchant ratings & reviews content from over 5,000 merchants, publishers are able to create a unique shopping experience relevant to their website.

How do publishers make money?
In order to help publishers understand how the Shopzilla Publisher Program works, we have illustrated the steps involved in generating earnings.

Shopzilla Publisher Program Registration1.    You place Shopzilla Publisher Program content, like a Beso Widget, on your website. A visitor comes to your website and sees something they would like to buy, or for which they would like to compare prices.

2.    The visitor clicks on the Shopzilla Publisher Program content. This will take them either directly to a Shopzilla, Inc. merchant's website, or to a Shopzilla, Inc. website where they continue to browse.

3.    If your visitor lands on a Shopzilla, Inc. website, they will decide which product suits them best before clicking through to a Shopzilla, Inc. merchant's website. The action of a visitor clicking onto a merchant's website is what we refer to as a "merchant lead", or a "redirect".

 4.    Each time one of your visitors lands on a Shopzilla, Inc. merchant's website, the merchant pays Shopzilla, Inc.

5.    Shopzilla, Inc. will only charge merchants for valid, CPC-monetized leads sent from your website. The amount we are able to collect from the merchant is then shared with you, the publisher. Your redirects and earnings will be reported in the Publisher Portal, which you will have access to once you are accepted into the Shopzilla Publisher Program.*

Should you have any questions, visit our Frequently Asked Questions section, or, post a comment since another publisher may be wondering something similar. The Shopzilla Publisher Team will be sure to reply.
 

 

* All publisher earnings are subject to validation and adjustments.  Publisher Portal reported earnings should only be considered as an estimate.  Publishers should consult the Shopzilla, Inc. Publisher Program Terms & Conditions for more information.

Shopzilla Publisher Program Blog RSS

Hey Publishers!

We regularly post new information and updates here on the Shopzilla Publisher Program blog so that you can be informed of all the latest news and updates as soon as things happen. One of our goals is to keep you up-to-date in a fast and easy manner. There are several ways to follow us: directly on the Shopzilla Publisher Program Blog, our Facebook page, Twitter and also by RSS feed.

It is really easy to follow us by RSS feed! All you have to do is click on the RSS feed button at the top right of the blog, and choose where you would like to follow us from. Both Google and Yahoo allow you to follow us right from your home page! It is really easy to setup, and its a great way to know when we post new information to the blog. Try it out and see how easy it is to follow all of our updates!

Publisher Program on Facebook!

The Shopzilla Publisher Program is now on Facebook and we are encouraging all of our Publishers to check out our new page! On our Facebook page, affiliates can meet and correspond with our team members, read some general information about our program, and access our blog posts. It's one more way to stay informed of Publisher Program news and updates!

Become a Shopzilla Publisher Facebook Fan!

Also, as a reminder, Shopzilla Publisher Program is on Twitter! Subscribe to our Twitter feed to remain updated on our quick alerts regarding program maintenance and new releases.

Join us on Twitter!

Our Publisher blog is a great place to find out all the latest news and updates in the program. We regularly have featured articles and information that is designed to be beneficial to our Publishers. Also, from time to time, we require program maintenance. When this occurs, we try to post an update on the Publisher Program blog so that you, the publisher, are informed about what is going on.

So, take advantage of having all the latest Publisher Affiliate Program news at your fingertips! It's a bummer to be caught by surprise or to miss out on cool new features, so stay informed with help from our Publisher Blog, Facebook page and Twitter!

What makes a good Shopzilla Publisher Program candidate?

We are fortunate to receive hundreds of new applications each day from many types of websites looking to use the Shopzilla US Publisher Program. Each applicant is individually reviewed by the Shopzilla Publisher Team to ensure that there is an appropriate fit between the applicant and the Shopzilla US Publisher Program. Our primary goal is to enable website content publishers to generate the highest monetization and advertising yields through our program, while ensuring that the traffic directed to Shopzilla, Inc.'s merchant advertisers is well-qualified. To that, we only accept publishers whose website has original content and can be complemented by shopping-related advertisements.

We have put together the below list to explain some of the general criteria that we look for in applicants, and that you should take into consideration when applying for the Shopzilla US Publisher Program:

1) Your site must have a qualified and pre-existing US user base for participation in our Shopzilla US Publisher Program.

In order to use the program in the most efficient way, you must have a base of visitors to your page that are interested in what you have on your page! The reason we place an emphasis on a US user base is because the Shopzilla US Publisher Program serves US merchants and many of these do not ship internationally. It would not be fair for our merchants to have to pay for this type of traffic. Targeting international visitors only decreases your traffic quality.

If your website caters to the UK user base, we invite you to join our Shopzilla UK Publisher Program.  To register, please visit our Shopzilla UK Publisher Program Portal.

We have also recently introduced the Shopzilla Publisher Program to Germany & France for those of you with a German or French user base.

2) Your site must have original content and be relevant to the Shopzilla US Publisher Program.

We no longer accept websites using the WP Robot plugin. We encourage our Publishers to have original content on their sites. To ensure your site will be relevant to the Publisher Program, go to www.shopzilla.com and try to find products that relate to the content on your site. If you can not find anything, then our program is probably not right for you.  Using Shopzilla links that target your visiting audience is how to succeed with our program.

3) Your site should have a good Google page rank or Alexa trend/rank.

This is something we focus on when determining whether or not a website suits our program. Both these numbers tell us about your website, how it is performing and what your traffic numbers are like.  It is not a strict requirement and we have many publishers with low or no page rank, but it is something we consider when reviewing an application. 
Check your Google Page Rank
Check your Alexa Trend Score

4) Registration with an email address that corresponds with your domain name.

This allows us to verify that you actually own the website and have permission to look for acceptance into the Shopzilla US Publisher Program. If there is a valid reason that this can not be provided, let us know and we will take it into consideration.

Some website types that do not work for the Shopzilla US Publisher Program:

Ad Networks
Adult Content
Automotive Sales
Healthcare
Insurance, Credit, Finances
Online Gaming
Travel Services

Why do these types of websites not work?

Typically, these types of websites are not relevant to our program.  Shopzilla, Inc. does not advertise services, we compare prices for products. We can not help you offer insurance deals, health care or trips to Paris (unless you’re promoting iPods and laptop travel cases)!  A partnership between our companies would most likely not be fruitful if you fall under some of the above categories. Please take these into consideration when applying for our Shopzilla US Publisher Program.

 

If it sounds like you qualify for our Shopzilla US Publisher Program, register now!

JohnTP's Shopzilla Publisher Walkthrough

I meant to write about this sooner, but I guess this post falls in the 'better late than never' category.

Back in August, JohnTP (the popular affiliate blogger and owner of DigitGeek) created and posted a video walkthrough of the various ad assets that are available through the Shopzilla Publisher Program.

If you're new to Publisher, you definitely won't want to miss this informative video.  JohnTP clearly describes each asset type and makes recommendations on which ones to use.

As always, please contact your account manager if you have any questions about the different ad units or how to install them.

Use Placement IDs for better ad performance insight

Picture_8 The Shopzilla Publisher Program makes Placement IDs available for your use to help track the effectiveness of your chosen assets, or their placement on your website.  You can define and use unique Placement IDs on different sections of your website to track your earnings on a more granular level. 

For example, let's say you have a Shopzilla Publisher Program ad on the top of your homepage and one placed at the footer of your homepage.  You can define Placement ID 1 to identify the ad on the top, and Placement ID 2 for the ad in the footer.  The Shopzilla Publisher Portal Reporting will allow you to break down your earnings by Placement ID.  By using Placement IDs, you can fine tune and optimize ad placement to ensure that you are maximizing your website's earning potential.

A few important things that you need to remember about the use of Placement IDs:

1) A Placement ID must always be used.  If you do not use a Placement ID, your traffic will not be tracked properly and you will not be paid. 

2) The default Placement ID is 1.  You may leave your Placement ID as 1 for all of your assets if you do not wish to take advantage of Placement IDs.  Just remember Rule #1: A Placement ID must always be used!

3) Placement IDs must by a positive integer.  Zero, decimals, negative numbers, and non-numeric characters are not allowed.  Should you pass a Placement ID with a character that is not allowed, your Placement ID will convert to 'Placement ID 0', which means that your traffic will not be tracked properly and you will not be paid. 

4) Only Placement IDs 1-99 are broken out in the Shopzilla Publisher Portal Reporting.  If you use Placement IDs above 99, the traffic sent through those Placement IDs above 99 will be aggregated under 'Other' within your Shopzilla Publisher Portal Reporting.  Should you require broken out reporting for Placement IDs above 99, please contact the Shopzilla Publisher Team for a custom report.

5) Never use Placement IDs beyond 999999999.  Should you use a Placement ID above nine digits, your Placement ID will convert to 'Placement ID 0', which means that your traffic will not be tracked properly and you will not be paid. 

Start using Placement IDs today to get better insight into ad performance.  If you have any questions about using Placement IDs, please contact us.

Shopzilla Publisher Secrets

I just wanted to point out to all of our current publishers (and those interested in giving our program a try), that a few months ago Joel Comm released a pretty comprehensive free report introducing the Shopzilla Publisher Program.

So if you'd like to pick up a few tips on optimizing your experience with us, point your browsers over to Joel Comm's site to download his free "Shopzilla Secrets" report.

Shopzilla Publisher Program, now with Twitter goodness

I'm pleased to report that we now have an active Twitter account that you can follow for the latest updates on the Shopzilla Publisher Program.

Follow us on Twitter

The primary purpose of our Twitter account will be to communicate anything that lends itself to a short notification, but isn't necessarily important enough to post to the blog or to email out.

As for our blog, please keep reading it - we'll continue to post important announcements, tips, etc.

If you're a Twitter user, follow szpublisher today!  If you don't wish to use Twitter, you can use your favorite RSS reader to access our Twitter feed Twitter RSS Feed.

Compatibility with Google AdSense

We've had some questions lately about whether the Shopzilla Publisher Program can be used alongside of Google AdSense, and the answer is YES!  Since Shopzilla's ads are not contextual, you won't violate your agreement with Google.

Yesterday ProBlogger discussed the potential pitfalls of Google AdSense.  One of the strengths of Shopzilla Publisher over a contextual advertising solution is that you get to choose what is displayed on your site.  Take advantage of this by properly targeting advertisements to your users interests, and you should see increased earnings.

Often, the difference between mediocre earnings and strong earnings is simply knowing your users.

53 Hot Blog Design Ideas

While perusing Zac Johnson's blog (ZacJohnson.com), we came across a great article where with mention of a well-known blogger and web designer from South Africa, Adii , who recently posted his Top 53 Blog Design's of 2007. It never hurts to give your blog a little shot in the arm. Check out his list and see if any of the designs suit your fancy. There are tons of unique designs that any blogger riff off of to make your blog really stand out in 2008. Let us know which one's you like most.

Good Tips for Publishers from MarketingApple

Marketing Apple eBook Steve Chazin is a former marketing exec for Apple and recently released a killer eBook called MarketingApple. In it, he gives a few quick tips on how to market "the Apple way". We read through it and found it highly informative. Steve brings up a lot of great, and surprisingly simple, ideas that any online marketer can utilize to increase visibility for their site or product. Check out Steve's free eBook at MarketingApple.com and let the earnings follow.

Btw, you can thank Shawn from AffiliateTip for bringing this to our attention.