Affliates, Adwords, and Commission Junction

I’ll admit that this one has me totally and completely beat. I’ve read books that say this is how to make millions. I have read ebooks that talk about steady large incomes. I’ve read blog posts that talk about small, but steady streams of income. I’ve learned to write a pretty mean Adwords ad that gets a few clicks. I’ve even found the occasional odd little keyword that I can get for five cents and still get a click with. Just a couple of small problems.
Problem One, the percentage of people buying stuff is so damned small that I am still not making any money. This is offset by the fact that I am not spending much either. Still, I could chalk that all up to experience and learning the ropes and all of that, if it were not for Problem Number Two.
I only have one affiliate program that I have been able to run Adwords for. An affiliate program is a company that wants you to sell their stuff for them by placing ads on your website, use paid advertising, or otherwise drive traffic to their site. They are just very damned picky about how you do it.
Commission Junction, as all the books and blogs like to say, is one of the biggest of the Affiliate Brokers out there. Once you sign up and are up and running, there are hundreds of companies that you can become an affiliate for. These range in scale from huge multinational banks to little operations that have websites that look like a two year old put them together. They all want traffic, they all want customers, but none of them, and I mean none of them, really want you to use PPC-(pay per click) advertising as an affiliate.
They will say that they want their affiliates to use search marketing, but they then make it impossible to do so. An example is in order.
You find a company on with a good return rate that says they allow PPC marketing. Let’s call it ABC Widget Masters. You are not allowed to use ABC Widget Masters in your ads. You are not allowed to use any variation of ABC Widget Masters or any of it’s webistes in your ad. You are not allowed to use any variation, misspelling or anything that might be confused as ABC Widget Master as the display URL on your ad. You are not allowed to use any keywords that would make some think directly, or indirectly that you have anything to do whatsoever with ABC Widget Masters. You are not allowed to use any trademarked terms used by ABC Widget Masters in your ad, or your keywords, or your display URL. The list of suggested keywords, if they have bothered to put in any suggested keywords, will be the copyrighted brand names of all of ABC Widget Masters competitors. That last bit always makes me laugh. Our name is sacred, here, use everyone else’s name.
So say you are accepted as an affiliate at ABC Widget Masters. If you write up a Google Adwords ad and make up an URl, like, this still might piss off the people at ABC Widget Masters, as you used the generic term Widgets. But more to the point, if the actual URL is, Google will not run the ad as it points to the wrong URL.
We call this a Catch-22 in the business.
Now, the solution to this problem, of course, is to have a landing page. At least, that is the one solution I have heard. For example, in a blog the end of the post’s name could be /ABC Widget Masters and Google would not have a problem using with that as the display URL. ABC Widget Masters might still not like it, so read the fine print again. The trouble with a landing page is that you them need to get the prospect to click again to get to the sellers website, which usually involves another step or two to get to a point of sale page. Every time you ask for another click is one more time for someone to say-to hell with this.
So my question would be, have you made any money as an affiliate and how do you do it?
I make money with Adsense, not a lot, but more than I have made as an affiliate. I like the layout of Commission Junction and everything about their site. I just don’t like the fact that it is impossible for me to make money with it. Maybe once I have ten thousand pages and an Alexa rank in the top 100,000 things will be better. It’s just going to take a while to get there.

Jon Herrera

Jon Herrera

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.
Jon Herrera

Latest posts by Jon Herrera (see all)

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.

Posted in adwords affiliate, commission junction, make money online
One comment on “Affliates, Adwords, and Commission Junction
  1. DESCARTES says:

    My experience in the last year or so since writing this post as been about the same. I have made a small amount of money by writing keyword dense blog posts about a couple of CJ affiliates and pointing people at those posts by using Adwords.

    The cost of getting consistent traffic is still prohibitive. Buying traffic has not been a great road to profits for me.

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