LinkedIn is an amazing resource for job-hunters, business owners, sales reps and basically anyone who is into “businessesy” stuff.
If you use LinkedIn the right way, it can be an absolute gold mine for:
• Getting recruiters or hiring managers interested in you
• Finding relevant candidates for jobs you need to fill
• Finding leads and potential clients for products you’re looking to sell
There are zillions of different LinkedIn software suites, training guides and applications that all claim to help you get more out of the “gold standard” social network for businesspeople and employees. So which ones are good and which ones are rubbish?
I’m here today to give a review of Protop, which a LinkedIn application that I use every day.
What Is Protop
At its most basic level, Protop is a Google Chrome browser extension. It does one key thing, which is enabling you to automatically visit other people’s LinkedIn profiles as if you were clicking into each one yourself.
You load up a LinkedIn search, e.g. “sales managers”, then set your criteria such as location, degree of connection (1st, 2nd, 3rd), industry type and more.
And then you hit the start button, and Protop systematically works through each profile as if you were visiting it yourself.
You’re free to go do something else, like read a book, do some emails, or make dinner.
The Theory Behind Protop
Why would you want to view a whole bunch of LinkedIn profiles? The theory behind doing so (and the raison d’etre of Protop) is rather simple:
If you visit someone’s LinkedIn profile, they receive a notification that you’ve visited. This is especially the case with anyone who has LinkedIn Premium – and many people do. Humans are a highly curious bunch, so it’s only natural for someone who has just received one of these view notifications to come back and view your profile.
You could do this yourself by searching and manually viewing LinkedIn profiles that are in your target audience. But this would take time and effort. Is it worth spending 30 minutes to an hour every day just to get some views back on your LinkedIn profile?
Unless you’ve got a killer conversion system in place to turn those views into real leads and sales, it probably isn’t the best use of your time.
It’s much better to load up your desired search criteria and then let something automated like ProTop do the hard work.
How I Use ProTop
I use ProTop pretty much as described above. Depending on what my goal is, I pick who I want to target (e.g. “sales managers living in Christchurch, New Zealand, 2nd degree connections”) and then let rip.
I then check back regularly to see who has viewed my profile. If it looks like they are relevant to what I’m trying to achieve – which they should be if the targeting is right – then you can strike while the iron is hot and send a connection request with a personalized message.
There isn’t much else to it really. Within 30 minutes of running a ProTop campaign I can expect to see a spike in views of my own profile, as well as new opportunities to connect.
ProTop Free vs Paid
There are two versions of ProTop. A free one and a paid one. They work the same way, but as you can expect the paid version is a bit better.
It costs $25 USD per month, and you get to do up to 1000 views per day (as opposed to a max of 100 for the free platform).
I just recently purchased the paid version as I find I’m getting a lot more view backs, connection requests and even messages (which I can steer towards obtaining new clients etc) when using the higher volume of daily views.
Does It Actually Get Results?
I have had excellent results from using ProTop so far. In the ~1 month I have been using it I have added over 100 new connections, most of whom are in my target audience.
Is ProTop worth it? Hell yeah it is. If you are in any field or job where it makes sense to have a LinkedIn profile, then ProTop is a convenient way to boost up the value you get from your profile.
For casual users, the free version of ProTop is probably more than enough, especially if you get in the habit of consistently using your 100-view allocation per day.
That’s 700 views you can make each week, which should result in new connection requests and follows at the bare minimum. Of course, if you slack off and forget to use it every day, then results may vary.
Tips To Help You Get The Most Out Of ProTop
1. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is complete, and to a high standard. There is no point in using this tool if you are getting views back to your profile that is incomplete and bereft of information about you, your achievements, and what you can offer.
2. Have a call to action in your byline and first 1-2 sentences of your profile description. This is your chance to pique a viewer’s interest and get them to take a desired action, e.g. “send me a connection request”. I usually aim for connection requests at this stage, because then I can start relationship building thereafter.
3. Don’t spam. It’s not generally good commercial practice to spam the crap out of people. Now viewing their profiles so that they view back – with an aim to build meaningful contacts and relationships – there’s nothing wrong with that at all. But don’t use ProTop for nefarious purposes! Just look at it as a genuine way to “supercharge” what would otherwise be a human process.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s great to be speaking to you again. I am back with a great review of another hot product that seems to be gaining a lot of traction as of late. This product is related to the field of self-help and personal development.
This product is called Awakened Millionaire Academy. And as the name suggests, it claims that it can teach you how to awaken the millionaire inside, and help you achieve your aims of being rich and successful.
The product includes about 15 videos modules in a series that represents 15 different lessons. So you go through the videos and the lessons one by one until you complete the course. There are also other resources like MP3s and textual information that accompanies each lesson.
The creator of this product is Joe Vitale. And it is sold through Clickbank, a name Im sure you must have heard a lot about by now. They are one of the most trusted and most successful online marketplaces in the world for digital information products.
You can gain access to the Awakened Millionaire Academy online by purchasing the course from Clickbank and then following the instructions to get started. If you want to know more about the product, click here.
The product costs $47 USD, which is a decent price. Even though they claim it’s a discount, Im not so sure. Regardless, its definitely worth it when you consider the amount of information you will be getting for your purchase.
You can make the payment with all major credit cards or Paypal. Payment can be made in any of the “key” currencies, such as USD, GBP, AUD, etc.
Buying online is extremely safe, as Clickbank is very highly reliable and trusted by millions of people as the number one marketplace for digital goods. Your information is beyond safe with them. And the great thing about them is that if you are ever unhappy with a purchase, you are guaranteed a refund as long as you claim it within 60 days of the purchase. That’s a full refund, no questions asked!
And the delivery of the product is instantaneous. As it’s a digital product, it’s all online. So as soon as you pay, you will receive the product. Zero waiting time required. Now that is what I call convenient.
Strap yourself in – this is going to be a big one.
Over the coming weeks I will be rolling out what I believe to be the most detailed Weebly review in the world, relevant and updated for 2019.
If you are interested in building sites with this popular “DIY” platform, then you won’t want to miss what I have to say.
What Is Weebly
As mentioned above, Weebly is a do-it-yourself web building platform, in the vein of things like Squarespace and Wix.
Weebly has been around for many years now and has consistently been improving and adding new features.
I first started using Weebly back in around 2009-2010, playing with the free site builder functionality at the time (where you could put up a subdomain on weebly.com and build a mini site). I used it extensively for affiliate marketing purposes, and have seen Weebly develop and grow over a number of years.
Why Would You Want To Use Weebly?
Basically, because you need a website for your business, not-for-profit, organisation or whatever.
It’s 2019 – if your business doesn’t have a website, then you are basically dead in the water.
Is Weebly Affiliate Marketing Friendly?
As far as I can tell, yes. There does not appear to be any kind of restriction that says you cannot use Weebly for affiliate marketing. In fact, I built a “micro niche” site on Weebly a couple of years ago that was monetized with Clickbank products. I then sold the site and transferred the account to someone else.
However, even if Weebly is okay with affiliate marketing on its platform, I wouldn’t say it is necessarily the best choice for an aspiring affiliate.
Compared to WordPress, there are far fewer features, templates etc. Weebly is really focused on small to medium businesses that want to put up a “brochureware” site that advertises services, hours of operation etc.
Can You Make Good Looking Sites With Weebly?
In my opinion, yes. Weebly is a great way to make an attractive “brochureware” website. For example, I whipped up this site for a family friend – www.davidkieser.co.nz – I think this looks a lot better than many professionally designed sites out there.
Which Weebly Themes Are Mobile Friendly?
As far as I am aware, ALL current themes on Weebly are mobile friendly/responsive. This is important, as for most industries and geographic locations, the majority of web traffic activity is now on mobile.
There are a number of different Investment platforms for Kiwis and today we are going to be looking at InvestNow. We are going to be looking at how the service compares against other platforms such as Sharesies and SmartShares later in this article, but for now we are going to be focusing on the InvestNow review.
Our InvestNow Review
In this review we are going to outline what InvestNow is, when it started, whether it is safe to use, what funds they offer and how it compares to other platforms. We are also going to be looking at the fees and costs associated with InvestNow.
Note: Reviews Boss is not a financial adviser and we will not be advising you on whether you should invest or not. We are simply going to explain the platform and talk about the pros and cons of InvestNow. We will not be telling you what funds you should or shouldn’t invest in.
When Did Invest Now Start?
InvestNow is a relatively new platform that was launched in 2017 with the goal of giving New Zealanders more options when it came to investing in managed funds. At launch, InvestNow offered 25 managed funds that covered most global and local asset classes. Since then, the service has grown to offer more than 90 managed funds along with a range of term deposit options.
Who Is Behind It?
InvestNow is brought to you by Implemented Investment Solutions (IIS), a Wellington-based investment management company that works with both global and local fund managers.
IIS was established in 2011 and manages over $3 billion in PIE funds, covering all major asset classes including, global and NZ bonds, NZ shares, global shares, cash and property. You can read more about InvestNow and IIS’s founder, Anthony Edmonds, and other members of their team here.
What is InvestNow?
InvestNow is a Wellington-based platform that offers investment opportunities into over 90 different managed funds. There are no annual fees to use the platform, but there are annual fund fees and performance fees that range from 0.20% to $2.72%.
There are a range of different index funds on offer and investments from $250 can be made into any fund on a single occasion. If you are looking to setup a regular investment plan, investments from $50 can be made into any of the funds.
Many funds in InvestNow’s portfolio are run by big names such as AMP, Fisher Funds, SmartShares and Vanguard.
Children can also join InvestNow, which makes it one of the few investment platforms to offer this.
What Is in Index Fund?
For those that know what an index fund (or “ETF”) is, feel free to skip ahead to the rest of the review. For those that don’t know what an index fund is, we have explained them below.
An index fund is a type of investment that is created to invest in or track the components of a market index. Think of things like the New Zealand NZX50 (New Zealand’s largest 50 companies) or the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500), which the is largest 500 companies in the United States.
An index fund operates no matter the state of the market, which means your investment is worth more when markets go up and less when they go down.
The Benefits of an Index Fund
Index funds provide broader market exposure and diversity in risk as your investment is spread across a range of different companies, rather than one. They are also better for an investor who is seeking a cheaper way to get exposure to the market.
Index funds have lower management fees and low operating expenses as the fund must invest in companies within the index. This means that there is no need for fund managers who constantly evaluate, research and make judgements on the investments.
The Disadvantages of Index Funds
While the diversity of index funds is great, there are some disadvantages. Index funds can have a relatively high commission cost associated with them when you buy through a typical brokerage.
Due to the nature of index funds they are expensive if you plan on trading them on a regular basis.
Signing Up for InvestNow
Signing up and making your first InvestNow is a very straightforward, easy process. You have the option of either setting up your account as an individual, Trust, Joint or Company.
The first thing you need to set up is your login details, using an email, name and password. After this you will need to complete the signup process by entering your personal details (bank account details, tax details, financial disclosures, and any other information they need).
Once your account has been set up and you have transferred some money to your account, you can start investing.
Investing with InvestNow
Setting up investments with InvestNow is a breeze and even the most inexperienced investor will be capable of doing it. Once your funds have cleared into your account, you can pick the funds you want and start investing.
You can select one fund or split your investment into multiple different funds. For those looking to make a single investment, you will need to invest $250 or more. If you commit to a regular investment plan, you can invest from $50 or more into one or multiple different funds.
Users can select how often they want to invest (monthly, weekly, etc.) and when they want to start the investment. If you do not have the required funds to make your investment, your regular investment plan will be on hold until you transfer funds into your account and start the investment plan again.
What About the Funds?
Currently, InvestNow offers over 90 funds from 17 different fund managers. The funds include index funds (investing in specific markets, such as the American S&P 500 or New Zealand’s NZX50). These funds also cover a range of specific markets such as commodities, property and more. In addition to this, the funds cover passive, cash-based investments (bonds, bank deposits and government debt).
The funds on offer give individual investors a wide range of options to choose from when looking to invest. However, the large amount of funds can be confusing and overwhelming for first time investors.
What About Term Deposits?
In addition to the diverse range of funds on offer, InvestNow also gives you the chance to put some money away in a term deposit. Currently, the service is still in beta but you have the option of investing in a term deposit with either BNZ or SBS Bank. InvestNow is working with other banks to add more options to their term deposit service.
For those looking to start a term deposit with InvestNow, you will need a minimum of $2,000 to put away.
Is Term Deposit Interest Compounded with InvestNow
InvestNow does not offer compounding interest payments for individual term deposits. The interest from you term deposit is paid back to your transaction account on InvestNow. However, you can select to automatically roll over a term deposit at maturity, including both the principal and interest in a new term deposit.
What is a Term Deposit and How Do They Work?
You may be wondering what a term deposit actually is and why you should use one. A term deposit is a deposit held at a financial institution such as a bank, credit union or building society for a fixed amount of time. This fixed amount of time is called a ‘term’ and when money is deposited into the account, it stays there for the pre-determined period. Terms usually range from 1 month, all the way to 5 years, and money can only be withdrawn at the end of the term.
If you want to end your term deposit early you will need to contact InvestNow. Depending on the bank you have your term deposit with, you may have to pay a penalty for getting your money out before the term has ended.
Term deposits are popular with those who prefer a safer, more stable investment plan without the fluctuations of something like the share market. They are often used in conjunction with other investment options such as funds or property.
What Are the Fees and Costs Associated with InvestNow?
There are no annual fees or sign up costs associated with InvestNow. Additionally, there are no purchasing or selling fees as well.
All the funds charge management fee, which range from 0.20% (Vanguard International Shares Select Exclusions Index Fund) to 2.72% (Fisher Funds Property & Infrastructure Fund).
Some funds charge performance fees and some do not. Do not assume that a fund will charge the same performance fee every year, as future performance cannot be predicted.
There is a minimum investment amount of $250, or $50 when you make regular repeating contributions.
What Investment Products are on Offer?
InvestNow offers the following investment opportunities:
New Zealand Fixed Income (investments in company debt or government bonds
New Zealand Shares
International Fixed Income bonds and deposits
What Are the Risks with InvestNow?
As with all investments, there is an element of risk associated with them. Some of InvestNow’s funds are low risk, some are medium risk and some are high risk. The returns/profit you make don’t necessary depend on the level of risk you take on.
Additionally, not all funds are hedged to the New Zealand dollar. What this means for you is that if the NZD rises against any overseas currency and your fund is not hedged, the value of your investment will reduce in NZD. This applies the other way as well, if your fund is not hedged and the dollar drops, your investment will be worth more in NZD. Some funds on InvestNow are hedged and some are not, so we recommend you check before making an investment.
How Are Your Funds Protected?
You are probably wondering how your funds are protected with InvestNow and who holds them. InvestNow client funds are held in an independent custodial account which is run and operated by Adminis. This ensures that there is complete separation from client assets/funds from InvestNow as a business (means InvestNow can’t get hold of your funds or assets).
What & Who is Adminis?
Adminis provides investment accounting and administration services. The Adminis platform brings investment managers, investors, administrators and custodians together in one place.
What Is Good About InvestNow?
Investment from $250 or recurring investments from $50 is great for new investors looking to get some exposure.
No Annual, Signup or Administration Fees – This is a big plus of InvestNow and a major drawcard over its competition. Other investment platforms charge a signup or annual fee that can eat into your returns/profit. InvestNow does not charge any such fee, which can offer significant savings over time.
There are 90+ funds that provide plenty of diversity – It is great to have so many different funds to choose from and you will almost certainly be able to find one that is right for you. However, you need to check the fees associated with each funds as they do vary significantly.
You can focus on specific areas and industries – Are you someone who wants to focus on property? Or do you want to focus on emerging markets and global shares? InvestNow’s range of diverse funds let you focus on a specific industry or area of the market.
You have access to Vanguard Funds – Vanguard is a big name in investment funds and InvestNow gives you the opportunity to invest in Vanguard’s International Shares Select Exclusions Index Fund (both hedged and un-hedged). This fund gives you exposure to many of the world’s largest companies. The fund offers access to a broadly diversified range of securities that excludes companies that are involved in tobacco, controversial weapons, nuclear weapons and more. This fund usually has a minimum investment of $10,000 if purchased outside of InvestNow.
Access to funds which typically have high initial investment – InvestNow gives you the opportunity to invest in funds that usually have a higher initial investment level, like the Vanguard fund we explained above.
Simple to use platform – InvestNow online platform is straightforward to use and makes it easy for even the most inexperienced investor. Being able to easily set and forget a regular investment plan is great for those who want to use a passive service.
This customer service seems top notch – Those who have had to deal with InvestNow’s customer service seem to be pretty happy with their experience. InvestNow has also got an excellent FAQs section on their website for all the questions you need answering.
Children can use the service – for those who want to start an investment for their children, InvestNow is a great platform to use. You will just need to provide some ID and proof of address (which can be in the parents or guardian’s name).
What We Don’t Like
To learn more about a fund, you will need to download its investor prospectus. These can be up to 50 pages long and can take a while to read through. It would be nice if there was a shorter summary that explained the basics of the fund for newcomers.
It can be difficult to compare the performance of each fund, especially when you include the management fees. We think it would be great to have some sort of service where you could select a number of funds and then compare them on a graph (past returns).
Things to Think About
InvestNow does not pay tax on your behalf for Australian-domiciled managed funds which are not PIEs. You will need to report income from these funds on your tax return. InvestNow provides a Tax Summary Report that you can use to find out your taxable income.
Some funds are not marked as “sustainable” and they may make investments in companies that trade/produce tobacco, weapons, nuclear and other “unethical” businesses.
You can end a term deposit early, but you will have to pay any penalties set by the bank your term deposit is with.
If you are a tax resident of another country as well as New Zealand, InvestNow may be legally obliged to pass on financial information about your accounts, to tax authorities in that jurisdiction. InvestNow will need to know your tax residence and the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for the account holder.
Large institutional brands like ANZ, AMP and Fisher Funds make up a large percentage of all funds on offer.
The stock market can be volatile and you need to be prepared to see your funds go up and down in value. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.
How Does InvestNow Compare Against the Competition?
InvestNow is a great investment platform for Kiwis, but how does it stack up against the competition?
InvestNow vs Sharesies
Sharesies is another popular option for New Zealand investors and is aimed at young people. The great thing with sharesies is that it gives you access to buy investments from as little as $5 (compared with InvestNow’s $250 minimum, or $50 when recurring). There are also no brokerage fees and free withdrawals at any time, and any amount.
The catch with Sharesies is that it does cost. Depending on the size of your portfolio’s value, the monthly cost will change. If your portfolio’s value is $50 or under it is free to use the service, if it is valued at $50 to $3,000 the cost is $1.50/month, and over $3,000 is priced at $3/month. Alternatively, you can opt for an annual membership for $30/year for any portfolio value (which is what we would recommend).
So, how does Sharesies compare with InvestNow. Overall, we feel that InvestNow offers a lot more than Sharesies. This is because it offers a lot more investment opportunities than Sharesies (over 90 compared to 11 offered by Sharesies). The annual or monthly fee will also eat away at your profits/returns with Sharesies, so you need to take that into account.
InvestNow vs Simplicity
Simplicity is a non-profit, online investment manager that is owned by the Simplicity Charitable Trust. They offer five investment fund options outside of their KiwiSaver scheme. The funds include the following:
New Zealand Share Fund
NZ Bond Fund
The Conservative, Balanced and Growth funds are $30 a year in membership fees, plus a 0.30% investment fee. The investment fee for the other two funds is 0.10%.
While the low fees investment fees for Simplicity are a big bonus, the minimum investment amount is $5,000. This is significantly higher than InvestNow and you are limited to only five different funds.
InvestNow vs SmartShares
SmartShares offers access to a range of different global and domestic ETFs across the main investment asset classes of Cash, Bond, Shares and Property. InvestNow offers some SmartShares funds on their service, which we recommend you check out.
SmartShares accepts direct investments from new investors from $500 per fund and $50 per month for recurring investments. There is a $30 establishment fee, but this does not apply to subsequent contributions.
The service offers 20+ different funds to choose from and the management fees are relatively low (0.33% to 0.75%). We do feel that InvestNow offers investors more with its 90+ funds and no annual or establishment fees.
The Key Points
The investment funds offer diversity in the share market, with varying levels of risk.
We like that InvestNow offers the Vanguard fund with its low 0.20% annual fee. This is usually an expensive fund to buy into, so this is a big win for InvestNow.
Signing up is easy and straightforward. Even the most inexperienced investor could set up an account and get investing.
There are over 90+ different funds available and there are no set up or annual fees to use the service.
Gives both new and old investors access to local and global share markets at an affordable price.
Offers secure password protection to make log in secure.
Investments can be made from $250 for a one off investment, or $50 when they are recurring.
Children can use the service and it can be set up for individuals, trusts and more.
InvestNow may not be the best for everyone. New investors will love its simplicity, but may be overwhelmed by the number of funds on offer. We would love to see a quick-guide on each fund and maybe a risk level as well. This way, new investors can quickly look to see what they are getting into. We would also love to see a tool that can pick a number of funds and compare performance.
What You Need to Remember
The funds InvestNow offers are not some get rich quick scheme. Like most managed funds, they are long term investments rather than short term. The longer you leave your money in these funds, the faster and larger they will grow.
Other Things to Know About InvestNow
You can have more than one account – InvestNow lets you operate multiple accounts, and multiple types of accounts. However, you will need different email addresses for each one.
No cheques – InvestNow only allows online deposits into your InvestNow Transaction Account.
InvestNow is not a KiwiSaver scheme – If you are searching for a KiwiSaver scheme you will be disappointed to find that KiwiSaver is not one. Simplicity offers a KiwiSaver scheme and InvestNow’s SmartShares funds are also used by SuperLife, a KiwiSaver provider.
Dividends you receive can be reinvested easily – Many of the shares your fund invests in will pay out dividends. These dividends represent profits the company has made. When a company declares a dividend, the fund you are invested in will receive money. You can have your account setup so that the dividends get automatically reinvested, or you can select to have them paid to your transaction account. Reinvesting your dividends is a good way of building your portfolio long-term.
Fund performance is updated daily – When you log into your account, you will be greeted by the performance of your portfolio. This is updated daily and you will be given a total valuation of your portfolio, as well as individual performance of each fund. You can see details like increases or decreases in value from the previous day, monthly and yearly returns.
The transaction account does not accrue interest – The transaction account is intended to be used to make investments into managed funds, make withdrawals following fund sales and for any other payments. InvestNow receives the interest on any money held within the Transaction Account, which helps to pay costs associated with offering and operating InvestNow.
InvestNow does not provide financial advice – InvestNow simply provides the service to invest with and any material that goes along with the fund. If you need any investment advice, it is best practice to find an independent financial advisor.
You can cancel orders – InvestNow lets you cancel a buy or sell order up until 12pm of the business day in which you placed the order. If you have placed an order on a non-business day, you can cancel the order up until 12pm of the next business day. You cannot amend an order, so you will need to cancel a pending one and create a new one.
After signing up, you will need to wait a couple of days before you make your first investment – Signing up for InvestNow is easy, even for the most inexperienced investor. You will need to set up your login details first and then complete your registration by entering your personal details. InvestNow will have to verify your ID and other details. Once your account is open you will be able to transfer money into your transaction account and start investing.
Recently I did a full review of Active Campaign, on which I’m getting good feedback (and hopefully helping people to make their minds up as to whether or not this is the right product for their needs).
One question I see that pops up now and then is whether or not you can use Active Campaign for affiliate marketing.
Active Campaign’s unique approach to automation funnels has MASSIVE potential for affiliates. Imagine being able to give away lead hooks (ebooks, a video course, or whatever) and then put your leads into funnels where you can follow up with targeted messages based on interactions and actions.
I mean it’s pretty much made for affiliate marketing, right?
Well unfortunately, you’d be wrong. That’s because Active Campaign isn’t friendly towards affiliate marketers.
Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth:
You can read the full TOS here, which is definitely worth studying because there are a few exceptions that might be worth taking a look at.
I must admit that I haven’t yet tried doing any form of affiliate marketing with Active Campaign, but I am looking for a platform that I can use on this very humble website to help keep readers informed about the types of products they are interested in. A “normal” emailing platform like Mailchimp might not be entirely suitable.
My understanding is as follows:
If every email you send is a “call-to-action” promotion for an affiliate product, you won’t be welcome on Active Campaign
If you’re promoting make money at home/make money online products (and you’re probably building your list through things like solo ads) then you definitely will run into issues.
If you are providing high-quality content in your emails and occasionally include an affiliate link as part of that content, then you may be okay – especially if you’re not operating in a niche that isn’t related to the classic “MMO” niche.
I’ve heard anecdotal evidence of some people getting away with affiliate marketing on Active Campaign, and others getting pinged before they’ve even got out of the blocks. My thought is that if you are providing real value to your readers, then you might be able to get away with the occasional posting of affiliate links.
This is something new. This is something different. For the first time in the (albeit short) history of Reviews Boss, I am going to be doing an “initial reactions” review. Normally when I review a product I purchase it or use it for a while, and then retrospectively come back and cover its features, pros, cons, and then make a conclusion as to whether or not you should buy it.
But this time I want to try something new and exciting. What I’m going to is spend some time looking at the product, its website, affiliate area, and then actually download the product itself. From there I will go through the training and resources in the product. So this sounds a bit like a normal review right? Maybe I’m going crazy!
Except as I experience each new element of the product, I will be updating here with my reaction and opinion. In a way, this review is going to be a bit like a diary. Here’s hoping it works out. Now, on to business:
The product I am reviewing today is called Google Sniper 3.0 (will be referred to also as GSniper and Google Sniper and other similar variations) by George Brown. And this thing is HOT. Like thermonuclear meltdown levels of hot.
Seriously, GSniper 3.0 has to be one of the most popular Internet marketing training products out on the market right now. A quick peruse of Google’s Keyword Planner tool tells me that GSniper is being searched up by thousands of people every single month. That means that probably tens of thousands of dollars are being spent every month on this product. Not a problem if it’s as great as many of the, ahem, “reviews” (I use that term loosely) say.
So with this in mind, I figured it would be unbecoming of me not to take the plunge and do a detailed review of Google Sniper. I love reviewing products. I also love mixing things up a bit, and I think this new format will really suit the product I am reviewing.
By the time I’m done “reacting” to Google Sniper, this post could be tens of thousands of words long and rather incoherent and meandering (just the way Reviews Boss likes it). But I also understand that many readers just want a quick outline of whether or not a product is worth buying.
On that basis, I will commit to creating a conventional review for GSniper as well that basically condenses all the main points and follows the format of my other reviews, with the ultimate focus being on reaching a conclusion as to the value of the product.
But for now, let’s get underway with this most auspicious of reviews. I will be aiming to add a new section every day through the month of March 2019.
Checking Out The Google Sniper Homepage
The first thing you’ve got to do when reviewing any product is actually check out the vendor website and get a feel for what has being offered. In terms of trustworthiness and value I always want to look for certain features like clear explanations of what the product does, pricing that isn’t misleading (e.g. no hidden monthly rebills, add ons being advertised as being the main product and the such like).
So I go and load up the Google Sniper homepage and here’s what I see:
First thing I can’t stand is the autoplay video. I hate autoplay videos. Firstly, they assume that everyone has a good enough connection to support autoplay. This isn’t always the case. And if you’re checking the site out on a limited connection like mobile data (for example, I only get 2.5gb of mobile data per month in rip-off New Zealand … and I don’t want to waste those MBs). I mean yeah this is a small fry problem in the grand scheme of things but it is still something I feel is important to note.
Because this is an affiliate marketing training product, there is of course the egregious display of the daily commission screenshot. This is like the selfie of the affiliate/IM world; ubiquitous and unnecessary. It is, understandably, designed to make you go “wow, this guy makes some serious coin … I need to know what he’s doing”.
Hey guys. It’s Sam here from Reviews Boss back with another review and today it’s going to be a really short one. I just want to talk quickly about a product that I’ve used quite extensively now for a while for task management and project tracking. It’s called Trello.
So, what is Trello? As I briefly mentioned, it’s a task tracking project manaegement-y kinda platform. I’m trying to think what they actually call themselves. Let me just check quickly. I’m doing this review live so bear with. What do they say? Trello lets you work more collaboratively and get more done. Trello’s boards list and card enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding day. So, yeah, it’s like a sort of project management system, task management system. It’s built around these things called cards and basically, cards are pretty flexible. You can do whatever you want with them to try and create a flow that works for you for tracking projects and I got onto Trello at an old job of mine and basically, we were in a marketing tea. There was about seven or eight of us and to be honest, we were pretty bad at keeping track of all the work we did and so the boss actually got Trello going and we started using that to track projects and to be honest, it was really effective and it did help us get a lot of stuff done so I’ve always had it in the back of my mind to review Trello.
So, let’s talk through some additional details of the product. So, some other cool things you can do with Trello are that you can integrate it with other apps that you might be using. So, things like Slack or MailChimp or all sorts of stuff, Box, Confluence, draw.io, DropBox, it’s all in there. There’s tons of stuff. If you click this link to look at the Trello Power Ups, they’re called, you’ll be able to see what you can link your Trello cards in with. The pricing is pretty sharp as well so there’s a free forever plan that gives you unlimited boards, cards, members checklist and attachments and we used it for seven or eight staff and it was free and I use it for myself now and I’ve used it in smaller teams as well and it works for free. As you move up to Business Class, it’s called, for $9.99 per user per month when paid annually. You get everything from the free version plus you get Power Up integrations with other … For the Power Ups list I mentioned before, things like Jira, Bitbucket, MailChimp, Salesforce, Google Drive. So, it just lets you manage more stuff in one place for your projects, which is pretty cool. You can attach files up to 250mb. Free versions only up to 10mb.
You can control team member access much easier. You can create private boards, membership invitations and then as you go up to Enterprise level, well it just becomes more corporatey and it’s all about authentication etc. You get an account executive to help you on boarding assistance, priority support, all that kinda stuff. But, basically, where am I going with this? Trello’s got pricing and plans to suit everyone but you’re probably going to be fine with just the free version.
So, I don’t want to linger too much on how exactly it works. I’m probably not the best person to explain cause I’m not that good at explaining the card system apart from saying it works and you get into the flow of it yourself. What I’ve done, is added a couple of videos below of beds from YouTube that I’ve found that do a better job of explaining how Trello actually works. What I just want to talk about is what I like about it and what I don’t like about it and whether you should use it.
So, what do I like? Very affordable. The free platform’s great, really good. You can get most stuff done that you need and if you do have to pay, it’s very reasonably priced, especially if you’re just an independent person working by yourself or in a small team. The premium integrations, the Power Ups, they’re really good. They’re going to save you a lot of time and help you to recharge your projects as do the larger file attachments and things like that. That was one issue we used to encounter. In my job where we first started using Trello, was when we had the free platform, our graphic designer could not load his graphic designs properly for the different projects we had and that was a bit frustrating.
What else do I like about it? There’s lots of features. It’s fairly straightforward to use and once you get into a flow of things, you will find that Trello is just nice to work with and it really does help you get stuff done. I’ve got a card, for example, set up in Trello. I should say, what’s the correct term that you get this right? I’ve got a board, which … No, is it a board or a card? Let me have a look. Yeah, it’s a board. Okay. So, you’ve got a few things. You got a team, which is a group of boards and people so that could be your marketing department or your sales department or your HR department. Then you got boards. So, boards are things, they’re defined on Trello as, a board is made up of cards ordered on lists.
So, I’ve got a board for this website and under it, I have two cards, and one is the reviews that I want to do and that I am doing, that I’ve done, and the other is just general tasks like, make sure you back up the website every so often or make sure you pay for your hosting and things like that. And if I look at my card view for the reviews board, or the reviews project I guess I’d call it, I’ve got two cards there. I’ve got pending reviews and I’ve got reviews that need editing. So, pending reviews, I just chuck down a list of products I want to review and I can actually click into each card individually. I can open up one for, what is a review I’m going to be doing? I’m going to be reviewing SaleHoo and I can add comments, I can add a checklist so I can say these are things that have to be covered in the review. I can do all sort of stuff like that and then when I’ve actually started that review, I can just drag it, or if I’ve finished it, I guess the draft and published it, I can drag it across to my ‘reviews need editing’ column and that really helps organize the flow and I can add more lists as well with those cards.
The structure is … you’ll work it out as you go along but it’s pretty flexible and powerful to use Trello and what I want to do now is move onto the stuff I don’t like about it because I did want to keep this review short and as you probably saw or heard then, my explanation of the boards and the lists and the cards and all this stuff, it’s all a bit jumbled because while you can learn it and you can pick it up pretty quickly, it is actually kind of confusing in some respects, just the whole concept of cards and everything unless you really spend some time learning how they’re supposed to work. You just want to dive in and have an easy checklist system and if you want to do that, Trello potentially isn’t the best. You might be better looking at something like Todoist, which is another thing I want to review so I’ll add a card under my pending reviews list to review Todoist.
It’s not necessarily the easiest thing to use. There are some limitations with Trello. One of the ones I find is, it’s not fantastic for doing a weekly list. So, what do I need to achieve this week? You could do it. I’ve jerry rigged up a system that works but it really is more focused around projects and we had the same issue when we used it in my old work is that it worked fantastically well for larger business development or marketing projects but it didn’t work so well for weekly task planning. So, that’s something to bear in mind and the other things I don’t like about it is, there’s not a huge amount else apart from the fact that you really have to understand how the product wants you to work to get the most out of it. You can just run wild and free and just make lists and boards and come up with your own system and that’s cool but Trello does encourage you to work the way they want you to work to get the best result and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s just something to bear in mind and I suppose it is a negative for some people.
Other things, there’s some stuff that is a little bit strange to me. For example, if I look at my main list of all my teams, which represent the different businesses or different things I do in my life. I got one for personal tasks, just stuff I have to do, pay insurance or go get the car fixed, stuff like that. For some weird reason, I can’t drag the boards. Why I can’t drag the boards around, I have to star the ones I want to go to the top. That is just dumb. I should be able to just drag them around. I should be able to reorder everything the way I want to reorder it. That’s not very good, in my mind. So, that’s an example of something Trello does where it’s really trying to lock you into a particular system and probably not much development that they could create a lot more flexibility for you.
But, look, overall, I want to cap this review off and keep it short. Trello is very good as a project management task management system, for documenting what you need to do and then working to get it done, it really does work effectively. Just bear in mind that it’s really geared to make you work a way that obviously the product creators want you to work and people might debate that, “Oh, you can do anything you want with Trello.” And to an extent, you can, but you will find, “Okay, it’s trying to really encourage me to think about things in a certain way and use the system of boards and cards and lists to do things in that way.”
But, overall, there’s great training available. Heaps of people use it so there’s lots of independent training as well. The pricing’s fantastic. The supports good. It’s go a nice efficient interface. It’s not the most attractive app to use but it works pretty well. If you want to manage projects and keep yourself on track, it’s powerful, it’s effective, it’s affordable and I recommend you give it a try.
You know how every so often you come across one of those things that sounds too good to be true, but you really want to try it anyway?
I had that experience this week with Brain.fm, when I came across a suggestion for recommended productivity tools in a digital marketing group I’m a member of.
For ages I’ve been working with a consistent setup to try and get $hit done. Either my PC (with a glorious 21:9 ultrawide monitor) or laptop/Chromebook with a smaller external monitor when working at the office.
The other thing I consider essential for working is sound. I hate working in a noisy environment, but I equally hate working in total silence.
For that reason, I almost always work with my headphones on and some kind of noise going in the background.
I find that background noise or music helps me to block out the distractions of the outside world, and get in the zone to do work and be productive.
YouTube mixes (especially those trippy-as Simpsonwave A E S T H E T IC mixes)
However, all of these options have a major downside – they can be rather distracting in and of themselves. For example, with Spotify I frequently catch myself opening the app to change song or playlist or whatever.
What Is Brain.fm
The official Bran.fm website claims that it is the world’s most advanced AI music composer, and the “future of music”. Basically, the service uses some kind of AI to generate music that is designed to help you to:
Focus on work and be more productive
As opposed to white noise or binaural tracks like you can find on mobile apps or YouTube, Brain.fm is actively generating the sounds/music while you use it, rather than just repeating or looping the same track.
Is This All Questionable Pseudo-Science?
Honestly, I don’t know. I’m not a scientist, I’m a digital marketing guy with a degree in history and political science.
All I’m going to say on the matter is that Brain.fm do have a short whitepaper (focused on the science side of things) that can be read here after you sign up for a trial account.
Also, while I do believe there is likely some form of scientific basis to what Brain.fm is claiming about its service/product, I also imagine there is a lot of stretching of the truth that is happening.
However, because there is no real downside to using this product if it doesn’t work as claimed (except for a few wasted dollars, which probably isn’t even
Is Brain.fm Effective?
This is the crux of my Brain.fm review. It might be a good platform in the objective sense, but if it doesn’t offer any benefits in terms of increased productivity, elevated mood, or better sleep, then why bother?
I’m not going to go into scientific justifications or anything here – I’m a total layperson when it comes to this kind of stuff. All I can say is that I genuinely felt more productive and less distracted when I was working with the Brain.fm focus track playing through my headset.
Overall, I like Brain.fm. I can’t put my finger on it for any scientific reason (and maybe it’s just a complete placebo effect) but I really did feel like I was working harder and more productively when listening to it.
I also found the relaxation sounds to be rather, well, relaxing. I haven’t tested it for sleep improvement because I don’t like to sleep with headphones or earphones, so I wouldn’t be a good candidate for testing the usefulness or value of this. However, if you have tried Brain.fm for sleep enhancement and found it effective or ineffective, then please leave a comment below to help other readers with their decision making!
But is it worth about $50 USD per year to be able to be more productive, or relax better, or sleep better (or at least get some sort of strong placebo effect that makes you think one of those is happening?)
I actually think it is. Honestly, I’ve tried so many different products and services, from white noise apps to complex binaural beats software, and Brain.fm blows them all out of the water.
It’s a small price to pay for a well-packaged and effective product. Give Brain.fm a try today, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
Hey guys, Sam here from Reviews Boss, coming back with another review and today, we’re actually looking at an affiliate network. So if you’ve done any research on me or read many articles on this blog already you know that one of my passions in life is affiliate marketing. I’m the first to admit I’m not the greatest affiliate marketer ever, I’m certainly not a guru but it’s kept me in overseas holidays, clothes and electronics and even a University degree, I managed to earn through affiliate marketing.
So it’s been good to me and it’s a passion of mine and if I’m brutally honest, if I woke up tomorrow morning, went and turned on the kettle and a genie popped out or I rubbed on a magic lamp and a genie appeared from somewhere and he granted me one wish for my career or what I’d do for business, I would probably say make me the world’s greatest affiliate marketer ’cause that’s my biggest passion in the digital space.
So yeah, anyway, at the heart of affiliate marketing is the affiliate network. You know, this is where you as an affiliate pair up with offers or products or services that you get a cut on and I’ve reviewed a couple of affiliate networks in the past, I’ve recently reviewed PeerFly, peerfly.com and PeerFly is one of the best starter CPA networks out there, very good, lots of offers, great support from Luke Kling. Luke Kling is the guy who also made FPTraffic and he made Rewst, a twitter tool and he made pages which unfortunately got shut down due to people spamming it. But anyway, Luke’s a great guy and PeerFly is a great network.
And then I also reviewed a while back ClickBank which holds a special place in my heart as the first affiliate network I ever made a sale on. I really do quite like ClickBank still even though there’s some terrible products on there. There’s just something about it, seeing those green bars in your account feels really good. And you know, they have done work in trying to improve the quality of their platform as well.
So anyway, what affiliate network are we looking at today? We’re looking at Amazon Associates. Once again, I don’t claim to be a huge expert on Amazon Associates but in my work I’ve been doing with building up and monetizing Facebook pages and groups which I’m hoping to release some free training and resources around, the biggest source of income for me from that has been through Amazon Associates. So basically official license merge from the sort of entertainment franchises I’m building Facebook pages around and their other products as well.
And I’ve made money in the past from Amazon Associates through SEO websites and me and my brother had a 3D printing website where we reviewed 3D printers. And you know, we made some pretty Amazon commissions off that as well. So yeah, Amazon Associates, what is it? It’s Amazon’s affiliate program. So it’s free to join, it’s fairly easy to join, you just have to go through a process to be able to actually sign up to it which … it’s not, in my recollection, it’s not particularly arduous but something [inaudible 00:03:28] turned down but yeah, it’s … you can get up and running pretty quickly.
If you go and look at the Amazon Associates main website, you can see there’s a few little juicy tidbits that’ll make your mouth water, choose from over a million products to advertise to your customers and earn up to 10% in advertising fees. And I’ll talk about the fees more later because they do vary pretty strongly. And it’s always been a bit of a bone of contention really, Amazon’s fees.
But anyway, yeah, signup is free. It’s been so long since I signed up for my account, I can’t remember the whole process so I’ll dig up a bit more information about that and just type it out. At the moment, I’m just dictating my review to be transcribed but I will dig that information out as well. But anyway, what is Amazon Associates, well, we’ve covered that. Why would you want to use it? Well, why wouldn’t you, I guess, is probably a better question to ask because Amazon just seems unstoppable at the moment. I mean it was not that long ago that Jeff Bezos was announced to be the only person in the world with 100 billion dollars. I mean it’s just crazy. You think at the sort of the start of the 21st century, Amazon was a fairly small little sort of pokey out, now it’s really just about the most powerful company in the world.
You know, they just seem to go from strength to strength and what that means for you as an affiliate marketer is that you can tap into that brand. People trust Amazon. I mean i buy from Amazon all the time, I live in New Zealand but I buy from Amazon. If I look to buy anything, just about especially if it’s electronics or something that’s the same whether I buy it in New Zealand or overseas, first thing I do is jump on Amazon, check for products that ship to New Zealand because that’s easier than using a freight forwarding service and just see what the pricings looking like and the reviews. I bought so much stuff off Amazon over the last couple of years.
You know, and all arguments about the effect of that on local retailers aside, I’ve probably saved so much money doing it and to be honest, I’ve found Amazon’s customer service fantastic. And that’s the beneficial thing about being an Amazon Associate is that you can piggyback off that trust that people have in Amazon and when you go and promote products with your Amazon affiliate links, you know, it’s not like people are clicking through to some shady sort of backwater of the internet, they’re clicking through to just about the biggest site on earth now apart from probably Google, YouTube and Facebook.
You know, it’s just a gargantuan thing, Amazon, and people really trust it. They don’t think twice about ordering off Amazon if they see a product they like at a price they think is fair. So that’s yeah one of the big reasons for using Amazon Associates.
The second is that there are so many different products you can promote. This is especially relevant for me in the work I do with my Facebook pages, trying to build up largely automated Facebook pages that you know, none of them are making me a fortune but if you can build up a Facebook page over the course of the year, say you work on it five minutes a day and by the end of that year it’s making you 250 bucks a month, well, that’s awesome extra income. Get 10 of those automated, that’s less than an hour’s work a day and you’re making almost sort of additional full-time basic salary for yourself. It’s just a good little way to have fun and make some money online at the same time. And Amazon empowers me to do that through it’s huge range of products that are available to promote.
So yeah, Amazon Associates, it’s just a solid, proven affiliate program. It’s been around for a long time. I’ll talk about this more in a minute ’cause there are some things that people hate about it and it’s not all good news but if you want an affiliate program where you can send customers to a very trusted website, where they can get the products they want at prices you know are sharp because that’s Amazon’s built, then you know, you need to get on board this wagon and ride it all the way to town.
So what I’ll do now is, I’m not gonna go through how you sign up. You know, it’s all straight forward, I’ll post a good video [inaudible 00:07:58] or something like that. What I’m gonna … I’m not gonna go through eligibility criteria or anything like that ’cause that’s boring. What I wanna do is look at the things I like about Amazon Associates and the things I don’t like and then tell you whether I think it is truly worth joining or not.
So look, one of things I like as I mentioned, you’re getting in the sort of backdoor in a sense that you can promote links that wind up serving your customer through just about the most trusted name in e-commerce, in online retail. You know, people know Amazon, they trust it, they see it in the news all the time. They don’t hesitate to buy from Amazon if the product is right, the price is right. That’s quite a radical departure from things like ClickBank where, you know, if you’ve ever forwarded a ClickBank product, you’ll know that really the transaction is completed through ClickBank’s payment gateway but for the customer, from their perspective, it largely looks like your transacting through the product vendor’s website. And some of those ClickBank products, for example, they still look like the sales page was made in the early 2000s. Dial up, I mean some of them have not changed since I started doing affiliate marketing really about 11 years ago now, or 10 years ago to be precise.
It’s just incredible. Decades past and some of those sites haven’t changed whereas if you look at Amazon now versus a decade ago, it’s just grown in leaps and bounds. So yeah, Amazon is a great way to promote and I guess borrow from that incredible brand [inaudible 00:09:35] that Amazon does have and the trust and security and all those kind of things that come with it.
Secondly, as I mentioned, huge range of products. Just about anything under the sun you can sell and you know, you can sell stuff from little one dollar trinkets all the way up to hundreds, thousands of dollar products and you know, making commissions of those. And then yeah, the choice is incredible, really. It’s great to see. I mean, in one of the Facebook pages I work on, it’s about a TV show, I think there are about seven or 800 different products I can promote. And yeah, they don’t make huge commissions per sale but you know, it all adds up, every dollar helps. And especially if you’re automating the process and having fun with it but that’s a story for another day.
Other things I like about Amazon Associates, I’ll just blast them out quickly. You know you’re gonna get paid, you know it’s a trustworthy company, they pay well. There’s a couple of different payment options, I can’t do bank deposit, I don’t even know if they offer that. I think they might do but I’m based in NZ so my options are either get paid by Amazon store credit which is really handy if you just wanna do a bit of affiliate marketing and maybe get some money to buy a play station or buy some new clothes or something. Or I can get paid by cheque. You know, they’re gonna be good for the money although there is a caveat there and I wanna discuss that when I get to the negative part of the review.
They’ve got some pretty good tools to help you promote. It’s easy to grab your affiliate links. It’s just easy to get started with really … and I think the biggest thing is just that access to so many products that you can promote. Really, really, really powerful stuff..
But let’s move on to the negatives of Amazon Associates. And there are quite a few, I’m gonna be pretty honest about them. The first and probably the biggest one, the elephant in the room is the commission rates are pretty shit to be honest. They used to be a lot better. I didn’t pay enough attention at the time and this is sort of shame on me as an aspiring affiliate marketer but I didn’t pay enough attention to what changed but my understanding and I will update this in due course when I’ve double checked, when I started on Amazon Associates and for the longest time, there were different rates you would get per category, obviously factoring in that different products had different margin levels.
But you’d also get volume-based rates as well. So it’s almost like turbo charging the rate you’d get. So you could do quite well by say selling 250, 300 cheap widgets that sold like hotcakes and then that would boost up your sales numbers and you’d hit those volume thresholds and then you’d get bigger percentages that would apply across your whole account and so you’d earn more. So you might be selling like pens and then through selling pens, when it came to selling Rolex watches, you’d get a bigger commission percentage.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that anymore. You just have a fixed rate for different product categories. And I’ll read through some of them ’cause they’re not exactly impressive but Amazon gift cards and wine, 0%. Video games and video game consoles, 1%. Televisions, digital video games, 2%. PCs, PC components, DVD, Blu-ray, 2.5%. You know, what’s a bit better, I’ll jump through some of them. Apparel, jewelry, luggage, shoes, handbags, 7%. 10% for Amazon fashion women, men’s, kids, private label, Amazon coins and all other categories, 4%. So basically, the best you can ever get is 10% of the sale.
You know, imagine if you got 10% of a $20 t-shirt, it’s two dollars, I mean you’ve gotta sell, to make $100 a day, you gotta make 50 t-shirt sales. In fact, more than that ’cause I think t-shirts would be under apparel and that’s 7% so what, you’d be having to make about 120, 130 sales a day of that t-shirt at 20 bucks to make 100 bucks a day. Which is pretty crazy and I think that’s one area where Amazon … a lot of the affiliates’ struggle is just how pathetic the commissions are. And I suspect that’s ’cause Amazon makes … you know, if you look at what people say about them, their sort of financial data, they don’t make much in the way of margin themselves. They [inaudible 00:14:20] rely on volume and squeezing out competitors and just that sort of almost slightly … I don’t know how to describe it, sort of just take over the universe kind of thing that Jeff Bezos seems to be doing.
So, the other thing as well is that Amazon Associates rate have come down over time as I mentioned before. The sort of disappearance of the volume multiplier was a big, big blow for many Amazon Associates in fact. I mean, it didn’t affect me too much ’cause the way I was running my affiliate marketing business at the time but I know some affiliates were … they lost 50, 60% of their income over night. And that leads me onto another thing, which is Amazon is pretty notorious at its changing the terms and conditions on the fly.
You know, you just get an email saying, “We’ve changed our terms and conditions for your affiliate program. It’s just coming into effect in a month’s time or this is coming into effect tomorrow.” There is nothing you could say or do about it. So you just deal with it. And I’ll make a comment at the end about why I think things are going that way.
Other things I don’t like about the platform, they’re slow to pay in the sense that there is a big time lag between when you make a sale and when you actually receive the money. I think it’s about two to three months of the top of my head. You basically make your sales in a month and then you’ve gotta wait I think 60 days to get paid or get the payment issued or something around the mark. It’s a long time anyway. You know, when you compare some affiliate programs, I think like JVZoo now, some products on that, for example, offer instant payout.
Even ClickBank’s not that bad, it’s every fortnight or something like that you get paid out. So yeah, the payment’s slow. Once you’re rolling, it’s not an issue ’cause you sort of get past months payments rolling through but certainly … like even if you could build a site today that started making a couple of 100 dollars a day in commissions on Amazon Associates, you’re still gonna have to wait quite some time for that money. So cashflow can be an issue.
Other issues with the platform, other things I don’t like. They’re pretty notorious at just banning you if you make just about any contravention of the Amazon Associates guidelines and you get caught. Yeah, you can wave goodbye to your account and your chances of getting it back are pretty slim and they’re pretty notorious as well at sort of I guess banning people when they didn’t even really realize what they were doing wrong. Which I suppose is just one of those things. But you know, there are so many terms and conditions with this affiliate program, it’s just insane.
And people get caught out for all sorts of crazy things like apparently you’re not supposed to save an image from Amazon of a product, so you’ve got … I mean either you gotta download and edit it a little bit so that you could feasibly claim it wasn’t from there or you’re gonna find another product that can get you in trouble. You can get banned from the program for inserting pricing into your … like if I did a review of … say, I bought a chrome book on Amazon and I said this is the pri- … you know, you can buy it for $500 on Amazon, and then Amazon twig on to that, they can ban you, I think that’s to do with the fact that the pricing changes so much and they don’t want you to say in your review, “You can buy it for $500,” and the price has gone up to 550 and then people get grumpy ’cause I suppose, they just think that’s what Amazon’s supposed to price it at.
So that does make a bit of sense but it catches people out. But yeah, basically the internet is full of horror stories of people getting caught out by Amazon Associates, fairly draconian rules. So you do need to be careful of that as well, it’s something to bear in mind when you work on the platform.
And I think the final thing I wanna mention with Amazon Associates, and it’s almost really in conclusion to be honest is that I get the impression that Amazon doesn’t really want to have an affiliate program. It helped them grow at the start, you know, certainly when Amazon was sort of developing and even up until fairly recently when it was big but it wasn’t so big, it wasn’t this all encompassing sort of superpower on the internet.
That affiliate program really helped drive more sales to them but now the thing is, a lot of people don’t even Google what’s the best toaster or best electric guitar tuner for under $20 or anything like that. They just go straight on Amazon and just search the product directly. They bypass Google altogether. And I think that the long run is gonna have a big effect on people building up. Like there was a real trend in affiliate marketing for a long time and there still is to an extent of doing like Amazon niche sites, you know, bestelectrictoasters.com or electrictoothbrushreviews.net or coffeeplungerheaven.co or things like that, you’ve probably clicked on them if you’ve googled before. And there are some really big brands that are doing this, the Sweet Home I think is one of them or the wire cutter. You know, they are like massive sort of gorillas of the affiliate marketing world, just sort of stomping around, dominating the [inaudible 00:20:06] and they all still do really well.
But I think over time, the smaller SEO-driven, Amazon sites are gonna struggle, unless they’re driving traffic in other ways as well because I think it’s just a combination of the fact that more and more people just go directly to Amazon to buy and the fact that these bigger brands are also then winning more of that sort of decreasing in value, web traffic or search traffic for products and services that you can buy on Amazon.
So I think over time, what Amazon are gonna do is make that affiliate program less and less viable as a sort of meaningful monetization method. It will exist in such a way I think that big brands that really drive them a lot of volume still do pretty well out of it and in fact, i wouldn’t be half surprised if a lot of big big review sites, not the sites you see up on flipper.com sell for a couple of thousand dollars or 10,000 dollars or whatever. Might make 500 bucks a month. I’m talking, you know, ones that could potentially be driving Amazon tens of thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars with top line sales every day.
They’re probably on their own special commission rates and everything but for the average Joe, I think Amazon Associates will over time … I don’t know the timeline or the speed but it just gives the impression it’s gonna slowly grind the little guy down until basically they’re just not necessary anymore and then I wouldn’t be surprised to see the program shut down. Or everything has changed, you know, you can get 2% across the board and you take it or leave it, kind of thing.
So I guess in conclusion, if you are looking at marketing with Amazon Associates, making money through that platform, do it. Because at the moment, it’s still great. As long as you follow the rules, as long as you accept the fact that the terms and conditions change a lot, as long as you accept the slow payment, there’s a goldmine of great products out there that you can really, really do very well from. You just gotta be aware of these downsides.
One positive thing about Amazon Associates I forgot to mention that is really powerful is the way the cookie system works. So if someone clicks your link and they come to Amazon and they buy anything that qualifies for a commission or just about anything within 24 hours of getting that cookie put on their computer, you get a commission on that product as well. So I mean, I promote products through my Facebook pages but actually most of the revenue comes from other products, any way that the people have wound up buying. You know, they’ve clicked through on a merch t-shirt, a merchandised t-shirt that I’ve recommended but they’ve wound up doing all their Christmas shopping.
I mean I had someone obviously click through on a … I think it was about the $5 action figure and they wound up buying a $2,500 watch or something crazy like that. So yeah, Amazon Associates, all in all, at the moment it’s worth joining, I think it’s a good platform. You know, there is a lot positive to say about it and I’ve done very well out of it and I know a lot of people have done exceedingly well out of it. Just bear in mind that it is probably gonna become more and more hard to do well with Amazon Associates over time.
There are a lot of things you need to be aware of in regards to rules and regulations on the platform and everything like that but overall, yeah, it’s worth trying. It’s definitely worth adding Amazon products to your affiliate marketing mix. They are very, very different to ClickBank style products and everything and you know, you can get some really good conversion rates. So yeah, Amazon Associates, it’s good. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination from an affiliate’s perspective but you’d be crazy to miss out on those opportunities.