It was a great panel, and I hear it was standing room only. Rock on - my sick self managed to score a seat otherwise I never would have lasted in there. It was a great panel by Kris Jones of Pepperjam, Amit Mehta, Zac Johnson, and John Chow. It was mostly Q&A from the audience with a little bit of moderation from Kris, so lots of good stuff. Someone actually blatantly asked about black hat tactics...to which he received a pretty unbiased response from John that he was just better off in the long run to stick with whitehat tactics if he wants to be a success overall. Which makes sense to me. Since this session was Q&A style it was pretty different from last year's panel I already mentioned, which is good for me. I'd hate to get a lot of duplicate content. Some great points I picked up from the session are:
- Amit looks for a niche where there's a lot of search traffic and builds a site with content & landing pages. Optimizes through SEO.
- Keep working on content & adding new things.
- Relevant content around affiliate links help the buyer make a decision.
- The long tail search terms are more stable for long term success.
- There's an incredible risk for affiliates using black hat tactics. There's an incredible amount of opportunity in white hat channels so you're better off keeping your nose clean.
- John noticed that people were scraping his RSS feed and he started by sending cease & desist orders and trying to go after the culprits, but when the culprits became too many he just started throwing ads into the RSS and continued to make money off them.
- Develop your business system & that's something that no one can just copy off of you.
- Amit uses an umbrella domain then makes sub domains for the more specialized, high traffic stuff or registers an alias and redirects the traffic.
- Social networks (resources, Facebook applications) are what's hot right now.
- Yahoo & MSN seem to convert better for whatever reason than Google. Google users are more savvy.
- Spaces between 3 & 5 are the sweet spot in search results. Constantly bidding for the Sponsored Results box may not necessarily be worth your time.
- Day parting (bidding lower during the night) can increase ROI
- Continually split test everything.
- Have a great relationship with your affiliate manager and that will help you to leverage to increase commission rates or added bonuses.
- Amit advocates his strategy of bidding on hundreds of keywords and spread the sales between them, while Kris advocated creating a narrower ad campaign that's very clearly related to your content.
- Some good programs & tips:
After lunch and some hours staffing our booth, I headed to the Asymmetric Warfare: Battling Fraudulent Affiliates session. More on that later.