Monday, June 25, 2007

Performics Orange Links

About a year ago, DoubleClick Performics introduced Orange Links. Because Blair.com is an advertiser, I really don't get to see how beneficial Orange Links are to affiliates. I've heard good things about Orange Links at ABestWeb, and from affiliates I've spoken with on the phone and via email. You can read a discussion about Orange Links at ABestWeb by clicking here.

Recently, Carsten Cumbrowski published a primer for DoubleClick Performics Orange Links. I thought it might be a good idea to let Blair.com Affiliates who are partnered via Performics know about Carsten's primer. You can find the primer by clicking here.

Let me know if you find Carsten's primer useful!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Microsoft Surface -- Is it the future of computing, or a flashy coffee table?

Recently, Microsoft launched the website for Microsoft Surface. I'm impressed! Not by what it is right now, but what it may become in the future. According to Microsoft, they're going to be giving demos occasionally across the country. They say that Microsoft Surface will hit the market sometime later this year, but those units will be for retail applications only. It's not expected to hit the consumer market until 2009.

If you'd like to check out the website, click here.

Oh! And by the way... there's a funny parody of the clips on the microsoft website at YouTube. Once you've checked out the Microsoft Surface website, check out the parody on YouTube here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Top 20 Blair.com Products Over the Past 30 Days


It's time to take a look at what the hot products are right now at Blair.com. Remember... this list doesn't include clearance items.

49292 Seersucker Capris & Shorts
45163 Embroidered Capri Set
48757 Jersey Knit T-Shirt
45234 Knit Gauze Shirt & Tank Top
30232 Gentlemen’s Stretch Jeans
49102 Knit Tank
12406 Scandia Woods® Full Elastic Sport Pants
32747 Solid Knit Fleece Jacket
45227 Knit Gauze Pants
35752 Crinkle Gauze Skirt
44396 Cotton Piqué Knit Shirts
35719 Stretch Knit Tee
40995 Criss-Cross Capris
32509 Wanda Canvas Fisherman Sandals by Totes®
49176 Peachskin Skirt
45148 Stretch Bengaline Bermuda Shorts
50442 Collared Seersucker Shirt
19904 Seasonless Knit Shell
04229 Polo Top
35790 Floral Print Nightgown

Now for the traditional Affiliate Manager observations. Well... the top two from last month are back on top. Plus, it looks like women are looking for gauze -- gauze shirts and gauze pants!

I was surprised to see 3 of the top 7 products at Blair this month are men's apparel products. We're selling A LOT of the T-shirts!

Finally... after seeing all the polo tops and Bermuda shorts, shells and capris on the list, I was a bit surprised to see the Floral Print Nightgown come in at #20. Do you think a lot of women got nightgowns as gifts for Mother's Day?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Two Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against CJ/BeFree/ValueClick

I'm not certain who reported it first, but I read about this on Kellie's blog over at AffiliateFairPlay.com, so I'm going to give her credit for breaking the news. Here's the lead paragraph from Kellie's blog:

Two separate class action lawsuits were filed on April 20, 2007 against Commission Junction, BeFree and ValueClick. One names CJ and BeFree publishers (affiliates) as the plaintifs. The other names CJ and BeFree merchants as the plaintiffs. So what do these lawsuits center around? Adware.

You can read the rest of Kellie's post at AffiliateFairPlay.com.

Because Blair.com is a merchant, I've focused on the merchant side of this, and the suit that was filed on behalf of Commission Junction/BeFree/ValueClick merchants. So... who is the lead "merchant" listed in the suit? Settlement Recovery Center, LLC. I know, I know... that name caused me to raise an eyebrow, too. My first question was "What type of a merchant are they?" Here's the description from the suit:

Plaintiff is a merchant that offers class action settlement services
via offline and online advertising.


Offers class action settlement services? Are you kidding me? Is this the best we can do in the fight against illegal adware/spyware? It sounds to me like this suit is little more than a couple of opportunistic legal firms grasping for a giant payday and/or some free publicity.

I'm not a fan of seeing my sons' computer slow to a crawl every 3 months because they've downloaded every cool screensaver, pointer and music program they come across, but I really don't think this lawsuit is what everyone has been waiting for. Maybe it will draw some needed attention to the problem. Maybe it will force companies to take a stand. I don't think we'll see thousands of affiliates and merchants splitting the proceeds from a large CJ settlement.

I'll be keeping an eye on this at AffiliateFairPlay.com.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

250 Business Cards for $0.99 and Free Shipping


Here's a great deal I thought would be a big benefit to Blair.com Affiliates, especially if you're attending the LinkShare Summit in New York, or the Affiliate Summit in Miami!

Office Depot is offering 250 business cards for $0.99 and Free Shipping. A few affiliates at ABestWeb have purchased the cards, and say they're very nice -- standard size and embossed. Even if you already have business cards, you could get 250 of these cards, place limited information on them and stuff them into the prize fish bowls on vendor floors so every CPA network doesn't end up calling you once you return from a function.

Click Here to visit Office Depot and order your cards today!

If you'd like to read what people over at ABestWeb.com had to say about these business cards, Click Here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

So Google Made Another Change...

Though I'm not an affiliate, I've been told and have been reading that it's happened again. Google made another algo change that is crippling affiliates. There's an interesting thread regarding the new change at Webmaster World. From what I can gather, some affiliates have had keywords they've been bidding on for a long period of time go from a great rating to a poor rating overnight. The big problem with this is that their minimum CPC has gone up as much as 20X! (No. I don't believe that any keyword CPC would increase by 20X!)

I really don't understand a whole lot about these Google algo updates that seem to happen more and more frequently. But... it seems as though after each update, we get about 5 days worth of blog and forum posts ranting about the update, and declaring this to be the end of affiliate marketing.

A friend explained the update to me. And if his explanation is true, I'll go on record and thank Google. According to my friend, this update has to do with landing pages. If you simply provide a page with links and a bit of info prior to sending the visitor on to another website, Google will eventually find you and declare your link "poor".

As the Affiliate Manager for Blair.com, I say fine by me. I don't mind Blair.com affiliates using adwords to send traffic to Blair.com. Heck -- I try to post our Top-25 Search Terms on occasion to aid affiliates. What I would expect in return, though, is a bit more than a landing page with a link or two. How's about adding a description of Blair.com and YOUR thoughts on the company? Maybe some testimonials from your site visitors? What I'm looking for is anything that will help someone who hasn't heard of Blair feel more comfortable about their shopping and purchase.

Those are just my thoughts, and I'm sure I've oversimplified the whole update. But... I found someone who appears to know a whole lot, and who has provided an excellent post about how to survive the latest Google update. The post is by Kieron Donoghue, who's in the UK. Here's what Kieron has to say:

There has been a bit of chat on various forums over the last couple of days about Google AdWords tweaking its landing page algorithm, see here and here.

So with that in mind I thought I would publish a guide on how to create a landing page that will comply with Google’s guidelines. I’ve been marketing online using landing pages and Google AdWords for around 6 years now. Over that time I’ve seen many developments and changes and have been in constant touch with various members of the AdWords team directly. Below are the results of my experiences. They may work for you and they may not, but if you follow them, you should be able to market effectively using landing pages.

First things first though, experience tells me that landing pages are no longer an effective way of marketing on AdWords. So why am I writing this then? I hear you ask. Well, traditional landing pages that contain a few links, a paragraph or 2 of pre-sell text/product reviews are dead and buried.

To read the rest of Kieron's post, click here.