Easier Money with eBay Links

Last month changes to the eBay Partner Network’s policy on referring domains took effect.  If you blog from WordPress,  Type Pad or Blogger this change means you can now earn revenue from links to eBay auctions posted on your site.

eBay Partner Network is a program to allow web publishers to earn revenue from referring traffic to eBay auctions.
eBay Partner Network is a program to allow web publishers to earn revenue from referring traffic to eBay auctions.

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Common Threads: What’s in it for me?

Sometimes nothing can be a very real something.

Patagonia is a well known maker of outdoor gear and clothing. They’re also renowned for their commitment to making products from sustainable materials and keeping the cast-offs out of landfills. To further the latter goal company executives recently launched a new section of their website devoted to used clothing. The storefront is connected to eBay auctions and displays Patgonia items posted by individual sellers.

Used gear is displayed alongside their own online store. Yet they derive no revenue from customers who opt for a pre-owned hoodie instead of a new one.

So what’s in it for Patagonia?

Not a thing. Well, not money anyway.

The program is part of Common Threads- a campaign that encourages customers to respect their Patagonia products, repair them if possible and recycle the old ones instead of just tossing them out. Conventional wisdom would dictate such antics would cannibalize sales. For Patagonia the effort is an exercise in building brand loyalty.

So far it appears to be working. In the first 3 months after rolling out the eBay portal for used clothing over 25,000 visitors had signed up for the Common Threads campaign.

Used Patgonia Gear powered by eBay

 

Optimal Search Engine Optimization

How Your Images Can Attract a Crowd

Getting more people to visit your website or blog is a universal goal for most anyone. I mean, anyone that has a website or blog. Once you scrape the surface of that topic you will immediately run into the phrase Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.

SEO is simply making your pages and content as friendly as possible to search engines like Bling and Google. The ins and outs of SEO are complicated. There are tons of books written on the subject and I have no intention of delving into the complexities of all that. But one little snippet I recently discovered is worth sharing.

Webmaster Tools by GoogleIf you’re working on increasing traffic to your site you’re probably familiar with Google’s Webmaster Tools. If you aren’t you probably should be. Google’s toolbox allows you to see how the search engine is indexing your site (or not) and report on how your site fares in particular search results. The main page (right) display the performance of your site based on how many searches your site showed up on. The values are given as Impressions (showed up on the search results) and Clicks (someone actually clicked to visit your site).

A couple of weeks ago I happened to notice that little button on the left of the graph that says Filters.

Filters allow you to zero in on certain types of searches- mobile, image, web, etc. I was amazed to learn that the majority of search traffic being reported was from image searches. When I filtered the graph to display web searches the numbers plummeted. I was reduced from thousands of search hits to a handful.

Obviously your mileage will vary. If your site has more images you will probably see more search traffic from images searches. This can also increase by optimizing your images. Many bloggers overlook this simple but effective step- here’s how to do it…

  • Name Your Image
    Don’t use the lame file name your camera coughs up. Nobody will be excited by DSC00913.jpg (well, not many people anyway). But if you named it las-vegas-casino.jpg it will have much more relevance.Try to use simple words and avoid using slashes, dots or spaces.
  • Keep It Relevant
    Speaking of relevance- make sure the image name matches the content where it appears. Consider our above example: If your blog is about a cool casino you discovered in Las Vegas, you’re done.However, let’s say you’re writing about data backup and using a casino image to illustrate gambling with your precious data (okay, you pick the examples next time). In this case a better file name would be best-bet-backup.jpg or backup-gambler.jpg.
  • The ALT & Title Tags
    The HTML lingo that runs the web has a couple of image-specific tags to help with this endeavor. Most people will be familiar with these tags as “hover text.” If you hold your cursor over my screenshot above you should see “Webmaster Tools by Google” pop up.  That happens because I defined the ALT tag for the image and the TITLE tag for the hyperlink.The instructions for adding these vary wildly depending on your blogging platform or content management system. WordPress makes it very easy, but Blogger makes you dip into the HTML view.

Any or all of these suggestions will make your images more friendly to the robots that constantly troll the Web on behalf of search engines. Once they find and index them you should see an increase in visits to your site from image searches. Then all we have to do is entice those visitors to stay for a while.

But that’s a story for another day.

 

 

 

 

Browser Hijackers Arrested

Chalk one up for the good guys.

Operation Ghost Click is being hailed by the FBI as the “biggest cybercriminal takedown in history.” A group of scumbags in Estonia using malicious software (or malware) called DNS Changer were arrested. They supposedly had control of more than four million computers worldwide!

The DNS Changer, as the name suggests, redirects the domain name system server settings on a computer to those of a bogus server. So your search in Google returns valid results, but when you click on Pepsi.com you get Perestroika.

Oh, and it’s a real PITA to uninstall.

The scammers made money by redirecting the Web browsers of infected computers, then hijacking revenue clicks and replacing legitimate advertisements with their own. American authorities estimate that the criminal take was over $14 million, all of it from online advertisers and publishers.

The company name used by the gang was Rove Digital, which was also one of the early investors in ChronoPay, a Russian payment processor whose principal founder is also in prison currently on cybercriminal charges.