Monday, June 23, 2008

Pepperjam affiliate network, a live review!

I mentioned the Pepperjam Blog in my previous post. Why was I reading the Pepperjam blog? Because I decided to give PepperJam a try as it appears to be a new and fresh affiliate network. And at the same time I will be posting a live on-going review of my experience with PepperJam.


Applying


I filled up the application page in just a couple of minutes. It asks the typical information you would expect. Please note that when you enter your website url, you have to enter http://blah.blah, it does not like just blah.blah.

After you complete and submit the application, you see a confirmation page that says:

Thank-you for submitting your application to become a part of Pepperjam Network. We are excited to see that you have realized a need is here for a new type of network that connects affiliates to merchants with a level of transparency like no other. You will be receiving a confirmation email shortly, and your application will be reviewed within 24 to 48 hours. We are excited to present you with this opportunity.


Next step, check your email and look for a welcome email for Pepperjam. This email serves to confirm your email address. Instructions are in the email. After you follow the instructions you get this message in a new page:
Success: Thank you! Your E-mail has been verified.


Next we wait for Pepperjam to review our application and accept or reject our application.


After you are accepted


After you are accepted into the network, you can login and get started! One thing you need to do is specify the payment method, and you can see the reminder in the screenshot below. Following is a portion of the screen you see when you login to your PepperJam account:



Setting up your payment method is easy. The payment options are PayPal, Direct Deposit and Check, which is all you can ask from an affiliate network! Well done!

Now off to find some affiliate programs...


Choosing Affiliate Programs


Pepperjam offers both "revenue sharing" and "CPA" programs, and when you are searching, you can filter them out or search for both.

Programs have different methods of approving, some are manual, some use what PJam calls automatic and advanced methods.

The most well-known program we saw so far at PepperJam is eBay, which has a very generous program, and it is similar to what you can get when you use the eBay program independently. But the program that will get PepperJam the most "geek-cred" is having StarTrek.com! Affiliates, jump in on StarTrek.com now, because when the new JJ Abrams movie hits the movie theatres in May 2009, there may be a feeding frenzy on Star Trek gear, old and new!

They also have an affiliate program for referring people to Pepperjam, with a $5 lead for new signees and a 15-day cookie.


Creating Links


Creating links is so easy, especially when you compare the process to certain other large affiliate networks that make creating links an exercise in frustration.

Sadly the affiliate links are not directly pointing to the retailer's domain, but rather use an intermediate/tracking url, which means these are not "high quality links", so I am giving them the "nofollow" just to be safe. Don't want to get the Google Bots angry ;-) But the good news is that you have an option to generate either encrypted or unencrypted links. So there is some flexibility for thosr who prefer encrypted affiliate links.

You can create banner or text links, but also use Google AdSense-looking widgets they call "pepperjamADs". You simply select individual links from your existing approved affiliate programs and create your own AdSense-looking ads. If you also use AdSense, be sure to make sure the two sets of ads look different (different colors, etc) so they don't violate the AdSense TOS. Here is an example of what your Pepperjam ads may look like by default. Click on the picture to see a larger version:



Finding banner ads and filtering them by size is very easy. You can see the Star Trek ad at the top of the page as an example. The ad went live right away. There was no waiting period. This is nice because some affiliate programs don't activate new ads immediately.

Deep linking is allowed, but the option for deep linking depends on each particular affiliate program. You will see that on the banner page. You can also create your own sub-id for tracking individual links. And the sub-id (sid) can be as long as 100 characters long.

Another example is the Text Link Ads (TLA) affiliate ad at the top right corner of the blog. There was a typo in the ad code, the proper width is 180, not 468, which it was easy to correct. Infact all the TLA banner ads show a width of 468 in their code, which is a mistake that needs to be corrected. TLA offers text-link-ads but does so in a Google-friendly manner, the ads are not delivered in a way that interferes with Google's Search engine rankings, so you don't have to worry about getting penalized from Google. At least that's my understanding, and I'm not an expert :)


Managing your account


You can see all your relationships with affiliate programs, pending, accepted and rejected under the "Account", "Manage relationships" menu. This is a nicely done website as you can quickly and easy see the status quo. From this page you can also re-apply to the programs that you were rejected, and you can also "revoke" your membership in programs you don't want to continue using.


What about payment?


Well, I just joined, so I don't know yet, but this is what the Pepperjam FAQ page states:
Publishers are compensated on a flat, cost per action (CPA) or percentage-of-sale basis. Publisher payments are made every two weeks and are processed on or around the 1st and 15th of every month. Publishers should allow up to 7 business days for processing of payments. Only valid leads or sales will be compensated once approved by each advertiser.



Reports


The reports page is smooth and uncluttered, which confirms the impression you get by reading the Pepperjam blog and FAQ that this is indeed a fresh approach to affiliate marketing.

If you want to closely track and optimize your affiliate links be sure to take advantage of the "SID report" and develop a system of creating meaningful SID names when you create links (up to 100 characters long, so lots of flexibility). With an organized SID naming system you can check your SID report and quickly get a read on your impressions and clicks.


Personal Opinion


While Pepperjam is a relatively young network and does not have as many "big names" as the big three networks (CJ, LS, Px), its user interface is a breath of fresh air. The user interfaces of the big three feel like they were designed by a committee of committees, they are cumbersome, inefficient and ineffective. And who at Performics came up with the idea of adding a second scroll bar? You know, every browser has a scroll bar! I'm sure Google will fix that when that user interface gets "googlified".

The Pepperjam interface on the other hand feels like it was designed by people who actually use the interface on a daily basis to do actual affiliate work. I think this is a big plus for PJam.

Pepperjam has been adding "recognizable names" steadily, and certainly eBay is a great catch, especially now that eBay finally decided to tighten things up and restrict some of the more "iffy" sellers with new buyer-friendly policies. Pepperjam has some big names from the world of entertainment, (internet) pop culture, and blogging, such as movie studios, Star Trek, Busted Tees, etc.

One area however that needs to get beefed up in order to lure in the lucrative high-tech webmasters and bloggers is technology, with affiliats such as recognizable high tech retailers, manufacturers direct, perhaps shopping comparison engines, and things like that as Arnold would say

More coming up later!

2 comments:

otai said...

Hi,

Thanks for a detail ways to make money with Pepperjam, really appreciate it.

thanks in advance
Make Money Now

1001 blog tips said...

I am glad you liked it :)

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