The more that I get involved in this little website reporting and photography project the more I am asked as to how I actually keep it afloat without charging people for some of the services that we are continually providing to the reading public. Since I have never been able to determine how effective a website that charges money for what they offer is I merely reply – “primarily through our Affiliate Associations of course”. Based on this statement I wanted to use this particular post on PiercingMetal Musings to explain a little bit about them and how they help me continue to raise the bar on the site that you so often visit. Let’s begin by understanding exactly what an affiliate is.
Q: What is an Affiliate Association?
A: In most cases an Affiliate Association is a relationship with a particular company or provider of a service wherein any sales generated by a person who clicked through an advertisement or link will get the site who linked them to it a modest referral fee. Pretty simple right? One would think so when its explained like that so let’s get a little more detailed on some of the ones we have found working best for PiercingMetal.com
Q: Is bigger really better?
A: I’m sure it is for a lot of things but since we are dealing with the advertising medium let’s keep on that track and say a definitive “yes”. There are many BIG affiliate programs to look into so read on to learn more. How to decide what would be best would be paramount in the process.
When we launched the site we chose to work with affiliates who would offer our readers something they needed, wanted or related to those desires in terms of music, video and clothing. From this initial goal we signed up for an Amazon.com affiliation as well as ones through I-Tunes, Hot Topic, Guitar Center and Rhapsody. The latest addition was Sirius Satellite radio. Below you will find a link for each of the affiliates and we shall also explain them in a little more detail.
AMAZON.com Affiliation Program: I have to say that I love this program the most because Amazon.com is willing to give you a referral for any purchase whatsoever, no matter how small it might be. Of course the referral fee is small should your overall purchase price be low but this also means that if you buy several things and they run into a decent total amount that the site will be referred a larger fee in kind. Those of you who have been reading our product reviews since launch or even only recently will always see a direct link to buy the item on the review itself. This is done to not only help you support the artist, but also to have our site continue to help the music industry sell the music. The geography for such a thing has changed dramatically over the recent years so we like that we offer readers a means to get their music and video while stores such as Tower Records and Virgin Megastore close their doors forever and make finding music online your only available option. They report the sales in monthly statistic sheets and sometimes seeing these orders as a full page of named items makes us aware of something we should also be looking into for the purpose of review. The bottom line – PiercingMetal.com DOES sell music and we love seeing this happen month after month.
The code above is an example of an Amazon.com code that we use on a number of pages (it’s used on our Galleries, Concert Reviews and bottom area of almost all Product Articles). Whenever this is clicked you are brought to the Amazon.com site and from there anything you buy helps out PiercingMetal.com, how cool is that? We like to think it is rather awesome and so we ask you to use this when treating yourself to a video, electronic device or piece of music or reading material. Remember since anything and everything purchased via one of the Amazon.com links on the site will allow some referral to come back to us. The overall effectiveness of the program is one of the reasons that you are still reading the site some four years after its launch.
Q: OK, so you set up Programs with Amazon.com but are there any others? A: Oh yes of course, as I mentioned earlier we also set up some affiliations with the fine folks at Rhapsody, Hot Topic, The Guitar Center and Sirius Satellite Radio because they not only are solid companies but all of them are within the framework of how PiercingMetal.com works as a site and provides our readers with cool things related to listening to or viewing music, playing a musical instrument or just looking cool doing it while you perform or just hit the clubs to support your favorite bands. The links for all of these folks are below in addition to being on the Links page of PiercingMetal.com
Q: OK, so I swore there were once Google Ads everywhere on the site, am I imagining things?
A: No, not at all, but they are all gone now and I should explain this to those who find them appealing in case this happens to them. Read on.
The Great Google Adsense Incident: Some history behind this title. We added GoogleAds to PiercingMetal.com about three years ago and the codes were implanted on every main review section. It looked nice and the potential for earnings seemed great but it really, really was taking an incredibly long time to show any results. Of course the regular readership having grown over the years found the clicking of these ads growing and finally getting PiercingMetal.com closer to the payout threshold which was exciting for us to observe. However, as the payout processing was set on happening we recieved an email stating that the account was shut down since Google felt that the site jeopardizes their clients and the clicking was suspicious. I know that this sounds super shocking and I agree with you but since they had an online appeal form I felt that this could easily be resolved with a few simple questions.
After opening the online appeal form, I answered all of their very standard questions with logical relevant answers about what we do and how the site works against our overall reach. Once again, I had total trust in the mechanics behind it. After a little more than a week an answer arrived and they said the cancellation stands and that we would not re-enabled for the program. Needless to say this annoyed me on a couple of fronts because based on innocuous answers the site was deemed risky and yet they failed to report how it was marked as a risk and wouldn’t get into further details. They also canceled the pending monies that we were getting so in the end it left me rather disappointed in them as a means of supporting the site. Resultant of their actions regarding us, we have moved on and replaced their spots with Amazon.com ones and will be opening this region up for official client advertising based on those who have interest in it. Our best counsel on those who plan on using Google Ads is to be careful because I was left without the means to even get a word in edgewise about the efforts of a site which they earned money from for three years. To me this is not a program I would recommend that anyone use and if you manage to make money with them, well more power to you.
Q: Didn’t you also used to have some sort of affiliate program with I-Tunes?
A: Yes indeed but it was far too difficult to maintain and actually earn any site support funding from. It worked if the readers clicked any I-Tunes link we had on the site which would then launch their own installation of I-Tunes and prompt them with the chance to purchase that which they were interested in. For whatever reason it was not happening enough and was a very cumbersome piece of editing to add to articles so we killed that affiliation. Since Amazon.com also now offers MP3’s of most music they are selling we encourage our readers, fans and keepers of the faith to use that. It has been proven to work again and again.
Q: So where do the PiercingLegions come in with all of this stuff?
A: Like I said, the Legions do us a service by trying to use these programs when they make their regular purchases. We are all in an online world now, and so many things get purchased via it but you seldom realize that your purchase it helping something else out. In this case your hard earned dollar becomes our referral nickels and pennies. It’s surely not a lot, but imagine this being done a few hundred times a month. That allows us to keep everything functional and leaves the available time for reviews and photography as opposed to wondering how to keep this thing afloat.
There you have it. Thanks for your continued interest and belief in PiercingMetal.com
EDITOR’S UPDATE (8/1/2014): With the redevelopment of PiercingMetal.com underway I should stress how many of these aforementioned programs are no longer in place based on various changes. The Amazon.com one is however a mainstay while other opportunities about advertising on PiercingMetal.com have become available. Interested parties can write to Info “@” piercingmetal.com to learn more.