The CurrCon Java Applet displays prices on this
web page converted with today’s exchange rates into your local international currency,
e.g. Euros, US dollars, Canadian dollars, British Pounds, Indian Rupees…
CurrCon requires an up-to-date browser
and Java version 1.7 or later, preferably 1.8.0_74.
If you can’t see the prices in your local currency,
Troubleshoot. Use Firefox for best results.
Many companies offer you a financial incentive to put links to their website on your
web pages. You may get money:
Just for having the link.
For displaying a banner ad on your site.
For displaying a slowly changing banner ad on your site.
For displaying an animated banner ad on your site.
For displaying annoying large banner ads on your site.
For displaying highly annoying popup banner ads on your site. I consider these
When people click through to the commercial
When the people buy something at that site.
Most commonly you don’t get any money unless they buy something. Usually
there are restrictions on you website. For example, many companies don’t want
their banners associated with sex.
cj.com and Google Affiliate Network use this term to mean the manufacturer of
some product, the one who accepts money from customers, the merchant, or software
publisher, the publisher of the software or books. Confusingly, the advertiser is
not the website that places referral ads for the product. The terminology makes
utterly no sense The advertiser places no ads. As far as I can see, they have it
backwards. I asked them to pick less confusing terminology but they ignored
When I agree to sell vendors’ products via my website, I am called the
affiliate sometimes called an associate or partner. eSellerate uses the
When a visitor to your site clicks on an ad banner but does not necessarily buy
anything. Sometimes you get revenue for clicks, e.g. with Google Ad Sense and but
usually you only get royalties for actual sales. These are sometimes called
A URL that generates an image or some text, or a search box that the viewer can
click to learn more about or buy some product.
EPC (Earnings Per Click). How much money
you get when visitors click an ad, whether they buy something or not.
An affiliate link to any page or product, usually constructed by computer from a part number, rather than linking via an ad
prepared by the vendor. Some bookstores do not let you deep link by ISBN to an arbitrary book. You have to find the number
of a corresponding ad to one of the books they are promoting which is hideously impractical.
Every time a visitor views a page containing an ad, even if he does not click
it, that is called an impression. The service bureau tracks this by displaying a
one pixel gif, even for text links. It counts how many times this gif is
downloaded. When a search engine spider goes looking for page it does not download
the gifs, therefore it avoid making false impressions. It does however make
click-thrus. If the affiliate service bureau sees a click-through without a
corresponding download of the impression gif, it assumes it was just a spider and
the click-thru does not count as an actual sales lead. This is why you need
impression gifs in your html if you are being paid per impression, per click-thru,
not per sale. Some programs offer you the option of getting a commission per
impression, per click-thru or per-sale. You have to choose just one. I found that
per click generates most revenue. EPC
. I think this
refers to the seller’s profits, not the advertiser’s fee.
inline text link
a word in the text that when you hover the cursor over it pops up a text box ad
relevant to that word. Clicksor does this sort of ad. The
advantage is it takes up no space most of the time. The disadvantage is it is
distracting to the user trying to read the text. It is somewhat dishonest since
it confuses links with ads.
cj.com and Google Affiliate Network uses the to mean someone who puts ads on
their side to refer sales to someone else. I can’t think of any way to make
sense of the terminology. People who place ads are in no sense publishers. I asked
them to pick less confusing terminology but they ignored me. Others use it for the
reverse, the merchant, or software publisher, whose products I sell on my website,
the publisher of the software or books. eSellerate uses the term for someone who
Someone who resells products. The customer pays the reseller and the reseller
buys product at wholesale. With an affiliate, the customer gives no money to the
affiliate, but pays the publisher directly. The advantage of being a reseller is
you can set your own markup and price and can thus create a competitive advantage
over other sellers. The disadvantage is you have to handle money and tracking
sales. You also have to provide all the product descriptions on your own website.
If you link to ones on some other website, the sale will likely go through that
website. Normally you would sign up as a reseller only for an expensive or high
volume product. I have signed up as a reseller for Excelsior JET Java Optimising Compiler.
self optimising link
A link that examines the text of the surrounding page and information it knows about the visitor and composes a custom banner on the fly
with what the computer thinks the visitor would find most appealing.
SKU (Stock Keeping Unit). A specific
product. If a program came in several languages, standard and pro, electronic and
CD delivery, each combination would have its own SKU
number. SKUs (Stock Keeping Units)
is what eSellerate calls its product ids.
A URL that takes you to a page where you can get more detail about a product
and/or buy it.
The merchant whose products I sell on my website, sometimes confusingly called
by the client.
As an affiliate, you select a set of the vendor’s products to display on
your website. You may do this via:
A large chunk of generated inline HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
you insert on your web page. This is how art.com works.
Via a short chunk of HTML
containing an iframe. The vendor generates your virtual store on the fly each
time someone views your webpage. To the end user, the store appears embedded
in one of your web pages. This is how allposters.com works.
Via a text or banner link to the vendor’s website.
An ad that interacts in some way with the user. It would typically have some JavaScipt or HTML5 (Hypertext Markup Language version 5) application backing it.
How It Works
To be eligible for the benefits, you must sign up as an affiliate, sometimes called an associate with
a service bureau who manages the affiliate program for the
merchant. Large companies like Amazon manage their own
affiliate programs. You also must put some complex HTML
on your web pages to enable them to track where the traffic came from. It works
and CGI. This means visitors to your site must
Here is some typical HTML
to link to an advertiser’s website:
Don’t be shy. Click the image or the buy button to see how it works. You can
always back out.
The service bureau tracks hits aka impressions (viewings of the banner),
click-thrus to the merchant site and sales. The commissions can be based on any
combination of all three, usually just sales. However, the service bureau usually
tracks all three for the edification of merchant and affiliate. They often use a
dummy 1 × 1 image loaded from the service bureau
website for tracking hits. These can drastically slow down web page loading, so I
suggest removing them. If you do, you will still get commissions for click-thrus and
sales, but not for simple impressions.
Affiliates Roedy Green Endorses
I have registered with as an
affiliate with the following companies, all of which I was happy to endorse. I would
have done it free. This is an incomplete list.
If you want to find out about
affiliate programs to add to your website ask the merchant or company you want to
advertise, or check with one of the following affiliate service bureaus that handle
thousands of companies in a very organised and automated way. bCentral/ClickTrade
went out of business in 2001-09.
aka linksynergy.com. The LinkShare people have
the best organised affiliate program in my opinion. It is by far the easiest
for affiliates to use. It has no mechanism to consolidate duplicate accounts.
Bafflingly, they call people who place affiliate ads on their websites
publishers and people who actually manufacture and
sell the goods advertisers. This is exactly
backwards to what you might expect. You have to get permission from each
vendor before you can sell their products. If you don’t produce they
revoke that permission. Here is what a typical link looks like this:
They handle Hallmark, match.com, 1-800-Flowers. Affiliates like Barnes & Noble, or
Tiger Direct don’t officially have a way to like to a specific project
given its ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
or part number. However, if you examine a number of links, you can see the
pattern. For example you can like to a specific product on TigerDirrect.ca like this:
Some vendors offer deep linking that let you create
a link to any web page on the vendor site. The main thing wrong with
LinkShare is banner serving is spotty. Starting about 2013-03-01 it often stops working for no reason. It works one
minute, then stops then works the next without apparent pattern. I now serve
LinkShare banners locally to get around this problem. Also banners are
dropped entirely without notification. Their banner server ad.linkserver.com is flaky and keeps disappearing from
DNS (Domain Name Service). I get around this by downloading the banners
and serving them off my own website.
They handle collecting money for a 16% fee, with a
$2.00 minimum. You thus need no merchant
accounts with the credit card companies. Part of Digital River. It is
primarily designed to sell software. You compose PAD files, an XML-format to describe your products and the
pricing. They can handle licence branding and serving demo copies. The
advantage of RegNow over PayPal to sell your software is RegNow affiliates
will post links to your products on their websites in return for a commission
on sales. Here is what a typical link looks like:
It looks easier than most to set up from the merchant’s perspective.
Australian. Somewhat confusing for the affiliate since merchant features
abound on all menus. You must get approval from vendors before you can link
to them. Here is what a typical link looks like:
Clicksor is a similar system to Google AdSense, where you put a generic ad on
your website that turns into a specific ad from some advertiser, roughly
matched to your web content perhaps looking like this:
The big problem with them is they insert pop-under
ads, linking words on your page outside the ads to ads, which is downright
dishonest, not to mention highly irritating to your viewers.
disappeared for a while, but have resurfaced. aka Commission Junction. The
affiliate domains bfree.com, bfast.com, qksrv.net,
cj.com, commissionjunction.com and reporting.net and Partner Gateway were all bought up by
ValueClick and now operate under the name cj.com.
you insert is quite terse. It consists of a single number that internally
indexes the vendor, the affiliate, the product, the banner and the target
URL (Uniform Resource Locator). Here is what a typical link looks like:
In CJ (Commission Junction)
terminology advertisers are merchants who actually accept money for
goods and ship them, in other words the creators of the products, where
publishers publish links on their websites to refer sales of those
products. This is backwards to what you might expect where publishers are the
creators of the software advertised. They handle Chapters Indigo. They now have an optional house scheme
where the URL
names the vendor’s website instead of theirs. They sometimes
confusingly refer to the vendors as your clients.
Also known as Kolimo, My Affiliate, MyAP, Think Partnership and Kowabunga.
These are different software/subsidiaries. I found its software unusually
easy to use. Its website is much more responsive than the others. You run
your own custom version of their software on your own servers.
Kowabunga Technologies Kowabunga is the
company that built the MYAP software. It provides the MYAP software to
merchants to allow them to run their own affiliate programs. Along with the
MYAP software, they place these merchants in our Kolimbo network. They also
offer affiliate management services.
My Affiliate Program aka
MYAP is the name of the actual software for use
in running an affiliate program. It is what we would integrate with your
website and ordering system in order to allow you to run your own affiliate
program. There are about 600-700 merchants using the MYAP software. These
merchants include some smaller sites, as well as very large clients like
MGM/Mirage, Microsoft, Yahoo!, CNET, Carfax and QuickBooks. There is an
initial setup fee of
for the software and a monthly
fee equal to 30% of affiliate commissions earned
(whichever is greater). Included
with the setup fee is having the Kowabunga team do all of the integration
for the merchant, as well as branding the admin area to their company. Once
the software is set up and tested, Kowabunga launch the merchant’s
program on the Kolimbo network of over 50,000
Kolimbo is the affiliate network. By using
the My Affiliate Program (MYAP) software to run your affiliate program, you
will be listed as a merchant within the network of over 50,000 affiliates. The affiliates can then sign up to join
your program from your listing in the network, or through a signup
Seems to be a subsidiary of Digital-River/Element 5. I have not been able
to log into it yet to learn more about how it works.
Of course many companies don’t use a service bureau. They run their own
affiliate program, perhaps using someone else’s software. See theHubPeople.com
Becoming an Affiliate
To become an affiliate, to sell other
people’s goods and services, you will have to do the following:
Register with the affiliate service bureau giving your name, address, company,
tax number, phone number, where to send the cheques, who to make them out to etc.
You must assign yourself a user id and password. Make doubly sure you get the
address right. If cheques are undeliverable they will not inform you.
In past I found each service bureau works best with only one browser, though
recently I have had much less trouble of that sort. If you have troubles, try a
Select the merchants whose products you want to advertise. It is just a matter
of looking through the huge catalog of merchants and ticking off the ones you like.
The service bureaus have search engines, alphabetical lists and lists by category
to help you find suitable companies.
The merchants you select will have a look over your website and will decide if
they are willing to let you advertise them. You can track whether they have said
yes in the service bureau database.
When you have been approved by a merchant, cut and paste the
they provide onto your web pages.
is inscrutable. You can’t tell just by looking at it what product it sells
or easily even which service bureau provided it. It is good to insert into your
web page a comment naming the product, service bureau and the date the html code
was last refreshed. I am gradually adding
around all such links to make them easier to find with Funduc search and replace for update or special
I usually modify the HTML
slightly to pick up the graphics from my webserver instead of theirs to speed up
Check in periodically to the service bureau website to see how much money is
they owe you. They won’t actually send you a cheque until it reaches a
Keep your eye out for new affiliate programs that mesh logically with your
Look in your mailbox for a cheque.
Before you sign up as an affiliate at a website, check if that vendor is already
handled by one of the affiliate schemes you are already signed up with. Otherwise,
you will end up with duplicate accounts with the affiliate scheme. Only the
Reporting.net people, now defunct, offered a way to consolidate them.
It looks a little tacky to have animated *.gif’s
on your website.
Ads distract users from the primary purpose of your website.
Ads for products you don’t endorse or that are not directly related to
the purpose of your website make you look sleazy.
The *.gifs slow down page loading, especially if you
load them from the service bureau server.
If the service bureau server goes down, you pages cannot load properly.
It is a lot of work to set up for very little monetary return.
Normally the affiliate bureau insists you not cache the text or images for the
banners and links. They must be served from the affiliate’s server. This
allows them to replace the ad with one you may not approve of on aesthetic, taste,
political correctness, size, colours… grounds without your knowledge. They
often simply discontinue a banner without informing you.
they ask you to insert usually fails validation. They insist you not change it, but
in practice no one has complained when I corrected the syntax errors.
Speed Up Page Load
One the big disadvantages of having ads on your page is they slow down page load.
Here are some things you can try to speed it up:
Sign up with a big ad company like Google
Adsense to serve the ads. They have servers all over the planet nearby to each
of your visitors.
If you have a more reponsive server than the ad company, or if you use
CloudFlare or the or other CDN (Content Delivery Network), serve the
images yourself. Modify the markup to look for the images on your website
instead. Don’t change any 1 × 1 images. These are for counting impressions.
Try moving any *.js loads as close to the end of the
page as possible.
Use HTML5 and experiment with the defer and
async attributes on the *.js
Use Wireshark, RedBot or
to determine if the *.js
script ever changes. If not, you can consider serving it locally too.
Advertising Your Own Company’s Products
advertiser is somewhat more complicated. You must prepare a set of *.png, *.gif or *.jpg
banner ads. You must decide on how your royalty scheme will work, how much you will
pay for what. You have to decide who will handle what money. You may have to put up a
deposit to pay out royalties. Basically it amounts to filling out a number of online
forms. Once you have done that, you need to beat the bushes to ask people to sign up
as affiliates. Which service bureau should you pick? Consider these factors:
Size of deposit required.
Ease of use for affiliates.
Likelihood of getting more affiliates via the service bureau’s promotion
to its other affiliates, from people who would otherwise have never heard of
You have to assign all your products a category ID. The
at the affiliate site can insert additional detailed information, e.g.
ISBN, size, colour… and the service bureau will just
pass those fields on through to you without examining them. That way you can set up
search boxes, or put huge inventories instantly online without registering all your
individual products with the service bureau. However, the category ID usually has to
be sufficient to calculate the commission paid to the affiliate. It also has to be
sufficient to compute the price if the service bureau handles payments for you.
There is a cheaper way to become an advertiser, banner
trading. You put up a variable banner on your site that randomly selects other
companies to advertise. In return, those companies will advertise your website. The
problem with this approach is you have little control over who you advertise on who
The follow is aimed at the technical staff of vendor companies that have
affiliates, particularly Google. In general vendors make you include huge amounts of
to display/sell a product. The problems with doing this include:
Affiliates are not about to change all their markup. That means the vendor must
support all kinds of historical variants. This slows evolution.
Markup needs all kinds of tweaking to suit the variant versions of
Affiliates may change the level they use and may use different levels on different
working in a new version.
Affiliates may inadvertently damage or delete markup in the process of
maintaining web pages.
The goal should be to make the markup as terse as possible, containing only data
that are variable. There should not even be need to build in an affiliate id. That
can be gleaned from the host name, or the referrer. I think the simplest technique is
to use <iframes with parameter data encoded in the
in the standard GET fashion. There is no way affiliate can bugger than up and the
vendor is completely free to modify the content. The <iframe is unlikely to interfere with anything the affiliate does
elsewhere on the page. Further it will work whether the end user has a dysfunctional
Roll Your Own
If you already sell your product via your
website and have already set up a custom system to accept orders and process money,
it is not much extra work to roll your own affiliate program. This is what myfonts.com does. It can be as simple
as this: You look at the referrer URL of all
incoming transactions. If one of them belongs to one of your affiliates, you tag the
incoming IP (Internet Protocol)
as belonging to that affiliate. Any orders that IP makes in the next 20 days (or whatever
limit you choose) give a cut to that affiliate. This is very convenient for the
affiliate since there is no special HTML
can link anywhere they please into your website with any type of transaction they
please. The processing of payments to affiliates can be tacked on as a batch process
run monthly. It does not need to affect online processing in the least, though of
course your affiliates would prefer timely balances.
That scheme relies on the browser to provide the referring
URL, a feature
which some people disable for privacy. To deal with that eventuality, have your
affiliates add a parameter &affid=xxxx to all their
URLs (Uniform Resource Locators)
referencing your site. Your server has to capture these affiliate ids and the
whenever it serves a web page.
If you sell or buy, the affiliate service bureau is taking a
cut charged to the seller.
I thought you would like to see the prices on this webpage in
, but you can change that instantly, thanks to the Canadian Mind Products CurrCon Applet that you too could use on your
own website to display prices in any world currency using today’s exchange rates.
<a href="http://mindprod.com/ggloss/ggloss.html"><img src="http://mindprod.com/image/logo/cmpbannerg.png" height="60"
style="width:468px" alt="The Gay and Black Glossary"></a>
They worked very well, doubling my traffic for the time they were placed, however
the traffic dropped off back to normal after they stopped. This implies the banners
were attracting people who were idly curious, not people who would become regular
visitors. This highlights the problem with banner advertising. It does not target
your specific audience.
You could download the *.png image to your own site and
modify the HTML
accordingly. If you leave it as it is, my site will bear the burden of downloading.
You will also automatically get any improved *.gif I post.
That may or may not be a Good Thing™. You might not like my new *.gif.
If you sign up specially for the right to use the Amazon
APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)
you will be overwhelmed with details, which Amazon admits almost nobody uses and
which they are gradually withdrawing, I think, because they offered too many options.
One simple technique is you can send ordinary http: GET
request that include a digital signature field. Amazon sends you back an
XML-formatted response to your query. These are easier to parse than raw
If you set up an affiliate program, exploiters will sign up just to get a discount
on their own purchase, that they would have made anyway, then never be heard of
again. Even if an affiliate make an honest effort to bring you some sales, but does
not succeed, it is still going to cost you something to carry him. So you have to
decide which applicants are likely to be profitable. I personally have received a
number of rejection letters from affiliate programs. They are often worded in an
impolite way that implies there is something malodorous or substandard about my site
without specifying the problem. Just tell the truth, It costs us
to carry you as an affiliate and it looks as though there won’t likely be
enough sales to justify that. Thank you so much for applying. Perhaps in future that
could change. or give the reason We like to avoid the
political controversy that defines your site. We don’t want to make it look as
if we are taking sides. If you are rude, you turn a potential booster to a
Click through to the
service bureaus mentioned. They have extensive online documentation on how their
schemes work. They also have help desks who actually answer email. Amazing!
Most affiliate links never generate a penny in revenue, even after years. I
ordered $300 worth of equipment for myself from
Tiger.ca through LinkShare through one of my affiliate links. No record of the sale
showed up. I wrote both Tiger and LinkShare twice and they just ignored me. I suspect
the industry norm is only to pay royalties to those generating substantial sales. In
contrast, Amazon, Google and SexToys all pay.
The Bottom Line
None of the many affiliates I signed up for
paid anything except three. I can speculate on why affiliates don’t usually
I sometimes correct HTML
errors that HTMLValidator finds. Perhaps that quietly disqualifies my sales.
For faster image loading and to allow me to be responsible for all images
displayed on my web pages, I usually arrange for banner to be downloaded from my
own website. Perhaps that quietly disqualifies my sales.
Perhaps nobody every bought anything through my site except Amazon books, yet I
myself bought books from Chapters. Perhaps there were too few such sales to meet
some minimum to cut a cheque.
Perhaps all the cheques got lost in the mail. Yet no one has contacted me to
find out why I did not cash my cheques.
Affiliates quietly drop you if don’t logon every month or so to keep your
email address and links up to date. They will also drop you if you don’t
generate any sales. They drop products, drop vendors, break links, retire link code,
change link code, totally change the software or go out of business all without
telling you. It is particularly important to keep your address up to date so cheques
arrive and your email address up to date so that notices arrive. Put your affiliates
in a bookmark folder and make a habit to just login and check things out every month
Affiliates often refuse my site because of the Gay glossary, or links in it to
condom sales sites. Some vendors such as McAfee are quite puritanical wanting to
offend in the slightest not even the most rabid Christian. At some point I will split
off the Java section as a separate website to avoid this and the problem of various
net nanny programs that block the mindprod.com site in