Archive for General Info

Altrec’s New Feed is Coming!

May 09, 2007 1 Comment by

Oh yeah! This is exciting news. A quick heads up to tease a new and improved Altrec Affiliate datafeed that should be live soon in AvantLink. This new feed will be a huge improvement over their existing feed, however the old feed will still be available as long as Affiliates continue to use it. If Altrec.com Outdoors has been a lean, mean converting machine for you already, wait until you see what this new product feed will do for you!Here’s the contents of a heads up letter Greg just sent out to his opt-in list of Affiliates:

Avantlink Affiliates:

We’re overhauling our datafeed!

We looked at our overall navigation, category structure, and number of link opportunities and identified ways to improve each – this new feed will out-perform the old without a doubt.

We added a number of new fields:

- OnSale products field
- Brand Logo image for each product
- Brand url
- Department url
- Department Sale url
- Gear Reviews
- Product Video link

We have isolated three main Category levels for improved navigation:

Shop: Men’s Clothing, Women’s Clothing, Kid’s Clothing, Footwear, Camp & Hike, Travel, Climb, Running, Cycle, Ski, Snowboard, Beach, Paddle, Wakeboarding, Outlet

Department: Examples – Men’s Jackets, Women’s Shorts, Shoes, Backpacks, etc.

Category: Examples – Men’s Fleece Jackets, Women’s Board Shorts, Running Shoes, Hydration Packs, etc.

The change in Category structure will reduce clicks and increase conversion. Simply put, your customers will find what they are looking for faster.

The implementation of the feed is in motion and we plan to have it available on Wednesday 5/16. You will still have access to the old feed – we will run both concurrently. While I urge you to look into and ultimately implement this new feed, the choice is yours.

The optimization of our datafeed could not have been achieved without the help of a certain affiliate and Avantlink. Both have provided feedback, insights, ideas and ultimately time to see this through. To take a sneak peak, send me and email and I will send you the feed fields.

Greg Toledo
Altrec.com Outdoors
541.316.2400 x146
gregt[at]altrec.com

Posted this to ABW as well. Stay tuned for more on when this feed will be ready for you to grab and run with. Contact Greg or anyone at AvantLink Affiliate Network if you have any questions.

Gary & AvantLink

Affiliate Tools, General Info Read more

Press Releases and Your Site

May 07, 2007 7 Comments by

I recently wrote and submitted an article for Revenue Magazine about writing online press releases for your web site to boost link popularity and traffic. It was fun to write because we have been very disciplined in AvantLink about using PRWeb.com’s distribution channel to get out all kinds of information about our company including details on Affiliate tools, improvements to the platform and new merchant co-branded announcements. There is an excellent thread on ABestWeb.com that talks in detail about taking advantage of not only the PRWeb service but several others you have at your disposal. I actually took the title of that thread as the name of my article (sorry MoneyBusiness ;)). Here is the article and a link to the May 2007 Revenue Newsletter where it ran:

Press Releases and Your Site

In the “old days” of the web, you published articles and waited for search engines to come and index your pages. Nowadays powerful syndication techniques will bring your content to readers, search engines and respected news sources. One of the most effective ways to syndicate site content is through online press release distribution services.

With this article I will highlight online press release etiquette and structure, as well as best practices that will drive traffic and result in a valuable, long term link building campaign for your site. To see the most favorable results, be prepared to invest some money but don’t let that scare you. It’s worth every penny. To offset costs, consider moving a percentage of your PPC budget over to press release distribution. In the long run you’ll be glad you did!

  • Press Release Format: Your press release should consist of three segments including the title/headline, summary and body (300-350 word count). As with any effectively structured content, think hard about your title/headline. Get keywords in the headline as well as in a concise summary that outlines your article in two or three sentences. Keyword density in the article body itself should not exceed 5%.
  • Article Structure: Start with a paragraph or two dedicated to introducing the news as something novel, unique and exciting. What new products or services are you offering? What content or technology feature has been added to your web site? In addition to the introduction, you should also add a few sentences quoting a company representative on the benefits of the service or technology. Bullet lists are also powerful elements you might consider using.
  • Your BackLinks: Links to your site can be embedded and optimized very effectively. With PRWeb for example, you have the option of anchoring the link text you want from the context of your article if you pay for their SEO Package (minimum $200 contribution fee). This is far and away the most effective link building strategy so don’t let that $200 scare you off. The backlinks you can include in both the summary and the first paragraph of the body using keywords you’re targeting justifies the expense.
  • About Paragraph: After you have emphasized your company news, added a few quotes praising your new service, product or technology and included a bullet list of any remaining power points, add a brief paragraph for the readers describing your company or site. Three or four sentences on your company background, location and goals are sufficient.
  • Traffic Optimization Campaign: Once your press release is published, many news and related web sites will pick up your article. Don’t be satisfied with just this. Blog about your press release, linking directly to the news source with a trackback URL. You can also post your news to different social bookmarking sites and social networks. Finally, add a Press Room to your site where you can feature the article.

It’s important to remember that the link you’ll get from the online news syndication service is worth the cost of a press release alone. Add to that the benefits of the distribution channel, where your content (and backlinks that come with high-level packages) will be featured across an array of relevant web sites, and you can’t go wrong. An effectively formatted news article will not only drive traffic to your site in the immediate short term, but it will give you a powerful link building strategy for long term search engine optimization.

Check out the entire May 2007 Newsletter from Revenue Magazine where this article recently ran (PDF).

Gary & AvantLink

Affiliate Tools, General Info Read more

AvantLink Hires CTO

Apr 19, 2007 11 Comments by

We’re delighted to announce that AvantLink recently brought on board David Clark of Salt Lake City, Utah, as Chief Technology Officer. David’s skill set perfectly compliments our leading-edge Affiliate network technology and proprietary platform. He has extensive experience in web-based database-driven applications, PHP reporting systems and process automation (e.g. automated data imports/exports, statistical calculations, trigger/event notifications, etc.).

From his resume:

Experienced database developer and DBA with proven history of planning, deploying and maintaining creative solutions to business problems. Adept at individually executing projects as well as mentoring and assisting other team members with shared responsibilities. Well-versed in refactoring applications to keep pace with changing business goals without resorting to complete redesigns. Excellent troubleshooter often called upon by colleagues in “last resort” situations.

Publications:

  • Use XML Query Definitions in .NET Applications, May 2004 (available at SitePoint)
  • Stored Procedures on PHP and Microsoft SQL Server, November 2003 (available at SitePoint)

Education:

Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics, May 1997
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Graduated Summa Cum Laude with GPA 3.9/4.0

David’s interests include reading, hiking, camping and spending quality time with his wife and two small children.

We’re excited that David accepted the position of CTO for AvantLink and we look forward to the innovation and ideas he’s sure to bring to our team!

General Info, Press/News Read more

New Web 2.0 Category at ABestWeb

Apr 04, 2007 3 Comments by

Back in September of 2006 there was a thread/poll started at ABestWeb to discuss whether or not Web 2.0 was a fad or a revolution in Internet interaction: Web 2.0: Fad or Not?

There seemed to be an ending consensus in that thread that the term ‘Web 2.0′ itself may be a fad, but the concept itself was not. I fully agree with the latter. Taking full control of content away from a single publisher, and putting it in the hands of many, makes sense and it’s a much needed progression to web content publication/distribution (and in fact a general media reform needed in our country). Of course this isn’t the case for all sites but a perfect fit for many. From that thread & respected ABW member Snib:

I think the term “Web 2.0″ is the fad. It’s just a snappy catchphrase that represents the current state of technology. Regardless of what we call it this is just a natural progression. I certainly believe it’s here to stay but it’ll continue to evolve until somebody else marks the occasion with another catchy phrase. I prefer to use the terms social software, social media, or social networking. Web 2.0 is just too general a term and can mean just about any type of site under the moon. Everybody will eventually adopt the 2.0ish features as we see more open source projects being released using this new technology. I’m just curious to see what’s next after 2.0 becomes the status quo.

Also as the headline of this post states, Haiko from ABestWeb actually added a new category to the site dedicated to Web 2.0 and Affiliate marketing. Haiko is highly respected in the industry and a true advocate for honest, ethical and productive Affiliate marketing practices…so you know if he’s qualified the category for his site then it’s far from a fad!!

In my opinion the ability for users to generate and share content is a natural progression of the Internet and as Snib said, it will be interesting to see what develops next..

What do you think? Comment here or on that ABW thread. There is also a poll there to vote on as well.

Gary & AvantLink

General Info Read more

Merchants Exclusive to AvantLink

Mar 23, 2007 2 Comments by

This week we had an email drop go out to the ABestWeb.com community…over 30,000 members and growing! As most know already, we sponsor a category there that we use as a public support forum for AvantLink. I thought the topic and message of the email drop was a good one so I wanted to post it to our blog as well…so here it is:

Hello Everyone,

It’s been just over a year since we opened our support forum at AbestWeb. Thanks to everyone for your contributions and feature requests! In our first year of business our goal was to build trust and lay the foundation for an ethical, quality based Affiliate network. We’re happy with the progress we’ve made.

Network Focus

AvantLink is a unique platform focusing specifically on traditional, cost per sale merchant Affiliate programs. We’ve developed an environment where Affiliates and merchants can increase revenue through the use of integrated and cutting edge Affiliate tools and exceptional support. We do not run lead generation or CPA offers.

Parasite Free

We’re committed to running a network that is free of parasites, protecting your traffic and hard earned commissions to the highest degree. We actively monitor the industry for unethical practices, and encourage our network members to help police the environment. We will not turn a blind eye to known parasites no matter how much money we stand to make from their traffic.

Merchant Exclusivity

Although we are a non-exclusive network, several of our high converting merchants have selected AvantLink as their only Affiliate marketing technology provider. You know your traffic is safe when you promote an exclusive AvantLink merchant! Review the list of our exclusive merchants on the sidebar to the right.

Refer Us!

If you like the idea of your top converting merchants offering their Affiliate programs through AvantLink’s secure environment check out our Merchant Referral Program. We will pay you $100 bounty for any qualified merchant you send our way.

Sincerely,

Gary Marcoccia
Marketing Director
gmarcoccia@avantlink.com

AvantLink Blog Headlines
New Merchant RSS Feed
Press Room RSS Feed

The email also included a list of merchants who use AvantLink as their exclusive Affiliate marketing technology provider:

General Info Read more

My Nursing Uniforms – New Affiliate Manager

Mar 07, 2007 2 Comments by

MyNursingUniforms.com was in the first wave of merchants to use AvantLink as their exclusive Affiliate network in 2006. They offer the best deals online in nursing uniform apparel and Dickies scrubs. If you surf around their site a bit you’ll find statements like “Your Low Price is Guaranteed at My Nursing Uniforms” and “And we absolutely refuse to be undersold”. The program has enjoyed consistent growth and Affiliates love the 4.69% network conversion rate so far for 2007!

This week Durk Price from eAccountable.com took over the Affiliate management for My Nursing Uniforms. If you’ve enjoyed your earnings so far, hold on. Expect to see some exciting things with eAccountable in charge! Durk already released a news article through the PRWeb.com distribution channel. Here is a snippet from the press release:

With a recommendation from AvantLink, the owner of My Nursing Uniforms, Alan Weissman, chose Durk Price and eAccountable Marketing Systems to take over the day-to-day management and growth of the affiliate program. Mr. Weissman noted: “eAccountable had a tremendous combination of every day experience and a great strategy for growth…

Read the enitre press release: MyNursingUniforms.com Hires eAccountable to Boost Affiliate Program

General Info, Press/News Read more

Get Started With Black Rhino!

Mar 06, 2007 2 Comments by

On February 28th we announced the launch of the brand new Black Rhino Tools Affiliate program in AvantLink. In the program’s first week we’ve seen a good response in terms of Affiliate interest and sign-ups. Remember, if you get started with them now you’ll be part of the first wave of Affiliates promoting this internationally recognized specialty tool brand. See what Haiko and the others had to say about their products on our ABestWeb program announcement thread.

I also wanted to point out some additional compelling reasons to get started on this program. Chuck and AffiliateCrew have been hard at work getting promos in place and they’ve also announced an Open PPC Policy that should raise some eyebrows out there! Here are some of the new things going on with Black Rhino since we launched their program on February 28th:

  • First Affiliate to make a sale gets a $50 cash bonus, more info…
  • Any affiliate that makes their first $1000 in sales in a 30 day period will get a $100 bonus, more info…
  • Open PPC policy on this program, more info…
  • Free Shipping (all orders of $70 or more) banners now available, more info…

We’re very excited about this program. It will be great to watch it grow! Just a reminder, here are three of the top reasons you should promote Black Rhino Tools in AvantLink:

  1. 10% commissions on EVERY qualified transaction
  2. Average order size greater than $100
  3. Professionally designed and maintained site

If you need help getting started contact anyone at Avantlink or Chuck Hamrick, the Black Rhino AM (email: chamrick[at]affiliatecrew.com).

Gary & AvantLink

General Info, Promotions Read more

The Value of Legacy Content

Mar 02, 2007 No Comments by

In the January/February 2007 (Vol 4) issue of Revenue Magazine, I was reading a column by Pedro Sostre called By Design. In his column Pedro selects a site and features it in the ‘Revenue’s By Design Makeover’. As always, he offered some excellent insight in this issue on how a webmaster can more effectively monetize his content. Find Pedro’s column archive on the By Design homepage..

What struck me though, was his intro for the Jan/Feb 2007 article where he discusses the two camps of site administrators:

I find that many website owners are divided into two camps. One camp is very good at developing unique content and garnering tons of search engine traffic, but they have a hard time turning that traffic into dollars. The other camp is great at monetizing traffic, but they can never generate very much traffic.

The reason this was interesting to me is because we at AvantLink have classified site administrators exactly the same way. There are many quality, legacy content sites out there that have very far reaching search engine exposure, yet they haven’t quite figured out how to earn valid commission through all their hard work. These sites might not use the most stylish designs, but they drive high traffic volume primarily through the major search engines like Google or social networking sites like Netscape or StumbleUpon. The reason? They are exploding with rich, unique and informative content!

And content is what they’re good at. That’s their thing. This is where AvantLink comes in. We not only provide pro Affiliates with all the technology and tools they need, but we also offer webmasters who aren’t yet Affiliates powerful and dynamic solutions that help them monetize their existing content. These publisher owners don’t necessarily have the time to learn to program a datafeed or add targeted product displays. Their strengths are article and copy writing, and by integrating our advanced tools they can continue to do what they’ve always done to drive traffic.

Take for example the site Hometips.com. Hometips is a legacy content site that features hundreds of home improvement and do-it-yourself pages, all crawled regularly and indexed by the major search engines. They’ve been online for a number of years publishing very informative and useful content. With a great readership it wasn’t a good idea for the Hometips folks to take time away from content building to learn datafeeds and page monetizing, so we suggested adding a few ToolKing.com categories from our Datafeed Manager. A couple of weeks of discussion and working together and the result is an organized, dynamic and seo-friendly tool store linked up from their main navigation (notice the pagerank!). It was just a matter of configuring the Web Service Datafeed Client for Hometips, installing the product, and linking it up. That’s all! Hometips has since enjoyed an additional revenue source from their site that requires no maintenance.

Oh by the way, if you have a far reaching content site and you would like AvantLink to install a relevant datafeed for you like we did for Hometips, drop us a line! As an authority and respected site, your product content will rank in the search engines effectively harnessing the best converting traffic on the web.

Gary & AvantLink

Affiliate Tools, General Info Read more

RSS Subscribe Icons for Bloggers

Feb 13, 2007 No Comments by

I’m sure you’ve noticed many blogs (and sites that syndicate content) use an array of RSS subscription icons from well-known aggregation sites or reader services. This makes it easy for web surfers to click and subscribe to content as their moving from site-to-site around the web. For example, if you have a Bloglines.com account and stay logged in all the time like I do, when you find a site you like and see a Bloglines subscription icon bar all it takes is one click and you’re subscribed! Pretty nifty…

Now, as a web publisher, have you ever wondered how to acquire all those subscription icons? It’s a little daunting at first to think about going to each RSS reader/aggregation site and grabbing the graphics, then configuring each one to work with your feed. Sure there are plugins for WordPress and other blogs but that too is daunting for content writers or bloggers. It was for me, anyway. Last week though, I found a cool site called the RSS Icon Gallery where they’ve done all the hard work for you. Just add your RSS URL to customize for your feed, click submit and that’s that! Next, add the output code to your blog’s sidebar or the page you’re syndicating content from and you’re done.

I used this tool to add the RSS subscribe icons you see to the right on the AvantLink Blog’s sidebar.

Check it out here: RSS Icon Gallery

Gary & AvantLink

General Info Read more

What do you need?

Feb 02, 2007 No Comments by

As a follow up to Gary’s post on ‘Quality Focus = Better Support‘, we would like to find out what both Affiliates and Merchants need to make them more successful.

We have a pretty good list of enhancements and tools planned for development in 2007, but we would really like to hear from you on what functionality/tools you would like to see us develop this year.

Please feel free to post comments here or use the Contact Us form to submit your suggestions.

Scott & AvantLink

General Info Read more