Affiliate marketing used to be nice little sideline getting lots of people into web development who would have never considered it otherwise. Anyone could just setup the most basic of sites, add a few links and Google would come along love what you did and start pointing people at your little site/blog.
That is how it used to be, but now it only seems to be that way for the likes of HotUKDeals who are the big players in making commissions from links (added by other people…). What with Google getting all stuffy over its search algorithms and only sending traffic to blogs who add to its $100 MILLION a day adwords revenues and an overwhelmingly obvious amount of commissions no longer being tracked by networks like affiliate window (who through the power of their tools and signup sweeteners) managed to nick merchants from almost all of the other affiliate networks quite a lot of whom seemed to play the game more fairly, one of ones I remember most fondly was smart quotes who handled financial products.
Even Amazon associates seem to have a “screw you over” policy I found today. I used to naturally use my own link when making a purchase from amazon, then had a commission cancelled for that and enquired why.. they said they knew what I had done and cancelled it – from then I never really seemed to get much from Amazon associates but due to becoming a dad I didn’t really pay so much attention to affiliate issues anymore.
This week I sent a link for a camera to someone and put my tracking code at the end of it though, and saw the sale count in the Amazon associates orders report, he got the camera delivered, but no earnings report entry which naturally I sent them an email to find out what was going on. They used the same reasoning as a couple of years ago although the only connection between that sale and me was my affiliate id.. so they ripped me off to the tune of £25 on that sale alone.. there have been a few in the past like that I can see.. Their actual response is below
Thank you for contacting the Amazon Associates Programme.
I have checked your account and found that you have not received advertising fees for the order not appearing on your reports as a result of personal orders being placed through your Associates links.
Due to the proprietary nature of the process, we will not share with you the criteria by which we detect personal orders placed by an Associate. Please know that we are able to determine when an order has been placed by an Associate via their Associates links.
Associates do not receive payment for advertising fees on any personal orders placed. This is because the Associates Programme places certain restrictions on the types of orders that may be placed through an Associate’s web site.
Here’s how our Operating Agreement explains it:
7. Advertising Fees
Qualifying Purchases exclude, and we will not pay advertising fees on any of, the following:
any Product purchased by you or on your behalf through a Special Link (e.g., personal orders, orders for your own use, and orders placed by you for or on behalf of any other person or entity).
Given the relatively slim retail margins on our products and our strong discount pricing, the advertising fees we offer to our Associates can only be sustained by meeting new customers through our Associates. These customers may return to us in the future for items unrelated to the topics served by the Associate web site, and this future business helps to offset the advertising fees we pay. If an Associate orders for their own use, even if they plan to sell the items to customers who cannot order online, it can’t lead to this kind of future business. This is why we can’t afford to offer advertising fees on such orders, as we want to keep the program viable for the long term.
We understand that some orders may unintentionally be tagged to Associates accounts as you are updating your site(s) and checking links. However, we do request that you place all personal orders directly at http://www.amazon.co.uk through sessions not tagged to your Associates account.
If you require any additional assistance or information please use the following link to contact us again:
Thank you for participating in the Amazon Associate Programme.
So it seems in the worldwide recession, affiliate marketing companies / networks are just being complete cocks to personal web publishers ripping us off left right and centre, I think I’ll just shut down all my affiliate sites and save on hosting costs given the people higher up the chain have lost the capacity to play reasonably.
Comment originally by sarevok9 on reddit
So, you want to learn to be a programmer… I think I’ll take some time and write out a really long post about the steps you should look to taking so I can reference it later, as this comes up fairly often.
- The first thing you’ll want to do is take a look at yourself. Do you like math? Do you like Logic problems? Are you good at breaking complex problems into parts? If you answered yes to one or more of these, keep reading, if that stuff sounds like a drag, please save yourself some time and look into something else! That is all that programming is, and if you delve deeper you will find just that.
- Can you keep a lot of jargon that is similar in sound but COMPLETELY different in practice straight in your head? Things like Initialize and Instantiate are a good example of this. They are both techy sounding words that begin with I, but they mean quite different things.
- When you see a problem, do you see a “flow” to it? One where you can identify the beginning and end, as well as the majority of the work you’ll need to do in the middle even before beginning? This is a major part of programming, known as modularization.
- Are you the type of person who likes to keep very clean notes? Documenting processes and methods / functions in your code will not only make it easier for you, but for others to help you in programming. Being incapable of this will severely limit you in the long run.
- Lastly, are you the type of person who works well with others? Like it or not, programming is not a solo position most of the time. The vast majority of the time you will be working with an established team on a pre-existing project. You will rely on your team to help you, and they will likewise rely on you.
A. This is a tricky question that sort of defies reason a bit. It’s really up to you and the position that you want. Do you want to work on back-end development or front-end? (Aka. Do you want to work with data serialization / storage / handling, or data presentation) Based on your answer you should look into completely different courses.
A2. If you want to get into back-end programming, which is more ‘function over form’ as it were, you’ll likely be working on a few different languages. Starting with something like Python or Visual Basic for RAD development and then moving into more structured programming languages like Java / C++ / C# for your actual full-scale projects. There are many other languages to look into outside of the above, but if you’re looking for a job, those 3 will get your foot in the door. These programming languages are typically known as ‘Object Oriented languages’ whereas most web languages are not. (Php has objects, as do many server-side languages) These languages will have robust frameworks and different methods for handling things as compared to many web-languages.
- The easiest way to get better at programming, is to program. Yes, you heard me right. Program stuff. Spend time in your IDE (Integrated Development Environment), and make things that work. If you get stuck, google it! There is no shame in not-knowing things. Programming languages / Syntax take a lifetime to master and even then there’s little rule breakers that will throw off people. After writing swing manually for java I can tell you honestly that sometimes Syntax is REALLY difficult.
- Set yourself some goals, and then break those goals into parts. What does this mean? Well, an example I’ve given to some java people I’ve helped: Make me a program that uses swing to display the weather in a user’s timezone of choice (specified at boot). So this means a few things: GUI, External API’s, User Input, data handling, data parsing, and a little bit of that front-end design mentality. Then if they can do that you just ramp up. Make me a media player that handles files and feeds them into an audio codec… And all the way up to real programming. This type of project is hugely valuable to someone since it identifies their level of competency / comfort with different libraries, as well as different types of problems.
- Grab some books, it’s never too late, nor too early to start reading up on the problem that you’re having. This works really well with some type of schooling, since many people seem to lose interest in reading a book, as many types of programming book can be lengthy / dry in nature.
A. There’s a lot of good skills that you can work on, in no particular order:
- Acceptance of criticism
- Speed to adapt to new situations
- Ability to reason difficult problems
- Ability to identify why something isn’t working
- Ability to see why something won’t work before it breaks.
B. There’s also some programs / protocols that you can familiarize yourself with to have better chances at your job. (Again, in no real order)
- Maven or Ivy (for Dependency Management)
- Subversion, Mercurial, or Git (for Source management)
- Netbeans / Eclipse / Visual Studio experience (with above plugins / add-ons working
- One or more Unix-Based operating systems.
- Putty (or another client) as well as SSH / Telnet experience
- A solid understanding of the OSI model and how it works with whatever you’re programming.
- A basic understanding of computers, networks, and how your code gets translated from what you type, to what the user sees and why.
- You are never too old to learn to program. There comes a point where companies will hesitate in giving you a job due to how long they expect you’ll remain in the workforce, but it is my opinion that you are never too old to learn.
- If you’re struggling, that’s normal. This isn’t how your brain is used to working, and it’s possible to feel more tired after a day of programming than a day of running. Your brain just aches in a way that you can’t put into words. You’ll get used to this over time.
- Does programming require math? Not really. But if you really STRUGGLE with math, a lot of the concepts carry over into programming. If you couldn’t handle the problem solving in math, you likely won’t here.
- What’s it like to work in programming? Decent pay (managers / co-workers that don’t code will make more than you), decent benefits, little room for professional growth, stressful / mentally taxing when deadlines are near. Reqs / frameworks being changes while you’re working on projects. It’s not for everyone.
That should just about cover it.
If you answered yes to one or more of these, keep reading, if that stuff sounds like a drag, please save yourself some time and look into something else!: I’m not saying you need to love math, but math does play a role in a LARGE amount of programming (good luck ever doing hardware if you don’t know math). OOP does not focus strongly on math, but there will come a time when you wish you knew it better. The degree for CS requires a fair bit of math (through calc II usually + discrete math), that’s not to say that you “CAN’T PROGRAM WITHOUT MATH” just that certain things may be hard for you if you’re ever faced with them, that’s all.
What an amazing turn of luck on the train to work this morning… get to Whitton station and see weekend engineering works at Twickenham have overrun so the service is screwed with cancellations… so I hop on the bike and go to Hounslow station instead, there’s a train already there rammed with people
I lock up the bike and forget about that train.. the next one is about 20 mins away but that will do, then up comes one of those old red south west trains 2 mins later, does not show up on the info screen so I ask the guard if he is letting passengers on.. he says yes.. then tells me the train goes direct to Waterloo… NON STOP… train is 90% empty.. so there’s a handful of happy people just chilling on this train all the way with the horn tooting sitting comfortably all the way for 22 mins to arrive at the usual time at Waterloo.
Then the Waterloo and City line is also bliss as the usual swarm of suits can’t make it there today, so there’s also breathing room on the tube.
If only this mornings commute style could be a more regular thing! :)
Posted in Angry Rants | Posted on 24-10-2012
Tracking…. it’s all in the tracking cookies that for one reason or another “fail to track” more than quidco or affiliate marketing networks like affiliate window or commission junction let on.
I lost faith in the whole affiliate marketing thing rather a long time ago and have recently had a test run of quidco for things like buying esure home insurance which surprise surprise.. did not track. My peeve directly with QuidCo though is I see they have a ratings system for your experience with merchants but you can’t leave a review of a company until your purchase has tracked it seems… so all of us with untracked purchases can never warn other potential buyers about their imminent disappointment.