Thursday, September 10, 2015

Shall I join the dark forces and their Hellish crusade?

My already-tight finances have tightened even further. Desperation time! I've been thinking about ways to -- dare I use this ghastly verb? -- monetize the blog.

My brother has suggested joining the Amazon affiliate program, which Amazon insists on calling the "Associate" program. Aside from the fact that Jeff Bezos is Satan Incarnate, this idea has a certain charm.

Here's how it would work if I become Satan's boy: Readers and supporters would not pay me a dime. Instead, any reader who shops at Amazon (and don't pretend that you never have!) would be asked to stop here first. If you click through to Amazon via my site and buy some knick-knacks from the Inferno, the minions of darkness will toss me a small kickback. Not much. In desperate times, even a few drachmas from the Devil would be welcome.

But there are issues. The big one is that Amazon associates are asked to push specific products. My bro (a businessman) could not see the problem with this, so I tried to explain the situation to him:
A lefty political blog like mine caters to a very different clientele than you may be used to. Everything has to be done in Perfect Purity. The worst thing you can say about someone in this subculture is "Oh, he's just in it for THE MONEY." So if I became a pitchman for...well, anything...I'd lose whatever credibility I had left.

As I see it, there's only one approach that could work. If I can offer a link to Amazon's home page, and if I pitch this as a "Help Mr. Starving Artist (and his Starving Dog) put food on the table" kind of thing, I may get some response. My people don't dig salesmen, but they do tolerate a plea for charity.

But it still seems iffy. I visited another blog like mine just now. That blog seems to get more traffic than I do, judging from the number of comments. The blog's owner joined the Amazon affiliate program and made all of twelve bucks in two years.

As I said, my corner of the internet is different from what you may be used to. It's a subculture where everyone views capitalism as the epitome of bad taste.
Then I looked at the stats and made a cringe-inducing discovery. While the number of visitors to this humble blog is still pretty high, the page that continues to get the most views was my startling investigation into the possibility that Barbara Bush was sired by the infernal Aleister Crowley. As most of you know, that post was published on April 1, 2006. Here we are, nearly a decade later, and more people read that page -- and presumably took it seriously -- than read the yesterday's post about Syria.

You know, if I had created a right-wing blog -- and included lots of Kook Krap -- I'd be a millionaire by now, just like Alex Jones. And I'd have the best-fed dog in Maryland.

At any rate, I'd like some feedback on the Amazon thing. Would it injure my Purity Quotient too terribly much?

In my experience, Amazon Associates works best when you're also selling and marketing product of your own on Amazon, and then you add your Am Ass code to your product's links and then earn 4% of whatever else they shop for when they check out your product.

In terms of revenue from straight ads, Ad Sense is far better than Am Ass. I'd even say Am Ass ads are not worth the bother.

Your idea about encouraging your readers to drop by your site on the way to shopping at Amazon sound like worth a try. Don't worry about being asked to push products, I've never had them do that to me. Nothing to lose by trying.
I'd highly recommend it. As it stands you already have a prominent link to the Grassy Knoll book. You could have had your affiliate id associated with it the whole time and no one would have been the wiser. More than occasionally you write about real books in your posts - the whole time you could have subtly just put a hyperlink around the title with your id attached. Years later people would have been stopping by and clicking. Your body of work would have ensured a steady stream of revenue.

But the best part of the associate program is that once they have your id under a session - because they came from your site with a click - there's nothing stopping them from going ahead and purchasing, say, a brand new HD tv or a camera or a fridge for that matter. You still get a percentage from whatever it is they buy. Even days later they might come back to the same session without realizing it and when they buy something you still get a cut.

A basic Associate link looks like this:

Just replace the item id and/or isbn with whatever it is you like and keep the associate id in the "?tag=" query. Also, these simple urls work from anywhere. You could be a forum in a discussion - or a blog comment section :) - talking about a book and give out the link and you still get your cut.

It's a much more subtle way to make money than google adsense, and the advantage is that you can actually educate people while doing it.
Seems like you've answered your own question. Affiliating won't make you much money, but there's a way you can. Start an anti-Cannonfire, maybe call it Bullet-Catcher, and post amusing kooky right-wing stuff. Illuminati. Witchcraft. American flags with the stars upside down. James Shelby Downard. George Soros. The bigger the better. Throw sanity to the wind. Affiliate through that one, and link to "Behold a Pale Horse".

Bullet Catcher to entertain. Conspiratain. Cannonfire to educate and inform.

Otherwise, prolier than thou though I am, I wouldn't object to you whoring yourself out, as long as anything you post as a result comes with disclaimers. I just don't have that problem because no-one ever offers me money to do anything.
Terry, that ad for Joe's book is there because I believe in his work. I also believed in Jim DiEugenio's "Destiny Betrayed" -- not that he ever thanked me. (Jim's a brilliant guy, but on a personal level, he's an even bigger jerk than I am.) It was always kind of a point of pride with me that the ads you saw here were all for causes I cared about.

Well, not the Google Adsense. Those ads (which most of you don't see, thanks to AdBlock) exist purely as a "thank you" to the company that makes this site possible. Despite the fairly high traffic, almost nobody clicks on those ads.
DiEugenio's work speaks for itself; and, unfortunately, so does his personality.

The point I was making was that the link goes to Amazon anyway, so why not just insert your id in the URL. You're not even sure how many people actually click the link. If you were an associate you would know precisely. Also, AdBlock might very well block your standard Amazon banner etc, but they do not (and would not) block out your id inside the string in a simple url.

Like Anon said above: nothing to lose by trying. And, admittedly, he's also right that most times it amounts to peanuts in terms of revenue.
With Adsense, placement is very important. Your "thank you Google" ads don't occupy prime real-estate. Also, they need to be graphic to get many clicks. Looks like you've selected text only.

Terry is right about the flat screen TVs. Got my 4% off one just last month.

Just do it!
Maybe you could just advertise books and dog stuff. Or maybe just books about dogs!
I actually think you'll make more than you imagine, especially at Christmas time.
Good luck

I say yes, Mr. C, I do agree with thee.
Further, for all the interesting material you have posted over the years, and the subsequent entertainment which flowed, and irrespective of the fact that I don’t necessarily agree with all your comments and opinions, and neither you with mine, in the next life I shall be seated at the main back door in heaven as a humble security guard, and in such a position I will be able let anyone into heaven I want, even some non-believers in such a concept; and even further still, when you get inside there will be a reward waiting for you, and if you feel that it’s not enough then just think the thought and it will be increased tenfold. And if anyone finds out what I have done and complains about it, then….well… I will send them to hell!!!  ; j

Spend 5 minutes on Youtube and you'll find out why that "Crowley is Barbera Bush's father" post is the most popular. It really makes one despair of humanity.
Hmmm, it seems that there is an Anonymous impersonator at work here, and maybe more than one. Pay no attention to these impostors. I am the only true Anonymous.
I, for one, would have absolutely no problem with your many references to interesting (or even outrageously inaccurate or unreadable) books or your weekend references to recommended classical performances being linked to an Amazon purchase page. Admittedly, being in [presumably] roughly the same financial straits as you, I presently do most of my reading via an Oyster Books subscription, but I'm hoping this isn't a permanent condition, and even now I'm willing to make an exception when I can. (IIRC, I bought and read Destiny Betrayed as a Kindle eBook using Amazon's clunky Android app specifically so you'd be credited for the sale -- not realizing you weren't an Associate....) Given so many of your citations aren't still in print, I doubt your pages will begin to resemble a linkfarm.

(As an aside, I used to own an adult newspaper in the East Bay. We had a single affiliate link on a single page of a multi-thousand page website; it was a review, I believe, of a Marilyn Chambers video. Fortunately for us, that page had been added to Yahoo's old human-generated directory. For several years, we earned from $1,000 to $2,500 every three months from that one link....)
Silly Anonymice, you can make up your own nym and be done with it.

Joseph, I have no idea, because tho I have perused Amazon for book reviews and previews I've never bought there, and am unlikely to.

Publishing your own book on Amazon seems like a better path...
Do what you have to do Joe, reality IS a bitch.

Do what you have to do Joe, reality IS a bitch.

I agree and also mention once month about donations;)
Take the Cleveland Amory route and write a book about a cat or dog in your life.
You should also consider your own comic book in limited edition, maybe 1,000 circulation, sell them for 6 bucks each.
No way. My work is crap. I've stopped kidding myself.
I've seen early episodes of the Simpsons. Being crap doesn't mean you won't be successful.
Promote the brand of dog food your dog likes. It won't be you selling out, but the dog!

I shop at Amazon and I would certainly link there from your blog. Keep us updated.
I also use Amazon Smile to donate a bit to a charity of choice. Perhaps you can link in that way as well.
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