Since most Internet Marketing programs — or at least most Internet programs specifically geared toward advertising and promotion — operate on a “freemium” model, I usually join right up as soon as I see something interesting.
When it comes to upgrading, though, I’m conflicted. If the upgraded membership benefits are just too good to turn down, that’s one thing. But if the main benefit of upgrading is the possibility of earning referral commissions, well, I can only promote so many things and I’m choosy.
Should I try to horn in on the “launch day rush” and grab as many referrals as possible as quickly as possible, or wait awhile, see how things go, and try to ride a second wave later on, catching people who came online after the Oklahoma Land Rush types have had their day and after the program has proven itself?
I do a little bit of both, but it’s only been lately — since my lists became significant in size and since I put together a couple of bully pulpits of my own to reach people from — that I’ve had much success with the “jump right in” stuff. Usually I make my best money in that second wave. The launch day land rushes are just too crowded and there are too many big players to compete with.
Another argument for waiting awhile is that if the program in question keels over and dies a month after it’s launched, I don’t have people mad at me for pitching a sow’s ear to them.
I joined Cash In On Banners as soon as I saw it, but waited until today to upgrade and start actively promoting it. Not because I didn’t see the benefit it offered — perpetual banner advertising for a one-time fee — but because I wasn’t sure it would survive. Here’s why:
- All upgrade payments go to upline referrers, not to the program owner. From the affiliate end, that looks like a very nice thing, but in terms of survivability, it means that CIOB’s profit center is somewhere else (my guess is that it’s in using the service to promote the owner’s own affiliate links, but that’s just a guess).
- The one-time upgrade fee is eminently reasonable — half what another, similar program I’m looking at charges, and of course dramatically cheaper than a monthly recurring payment scheme. Once again, a plus from the buyer side, but was there enough money in it to keep the thing rolling?
I think the jury’s in, though — Cash In On Banners is here to stay. It’s been a steady presence since its launch. Everywhere I surf, I see it. And having my own ads in rotation on that presence, in perpetuity, for a one-time fee of $10 (I’d spend that for a very finite number of banner impressions elsewhere), is worth it … whether I rack up big referral upgrade cash or not. So I’m in. If you’re not in yet, I hope you’ll join me!
Update, 12/22/12: Well, the horse has definitely taken on new color, and within 12 hours or so of upgrading at Cash In On Banners! I’ve had my first upgraded referral, and with 100% of a one-time upgrade payment going upline, that means the program is now effectively “free” for me (less any Paypal commission, of course).
Based on the statistics so far, I’m also getting great advertising mojo. Looks like about 200 banner hits a day, in perpetuity. Even if I had never made my $10 investment back, my scientific wild-ass guess is that I’ll have received “market value” $10 worth of advertising inside of a month, after which it’s all gravy.
This advice is actually worth more than you’re paying for it, because it works.
Here’s the advice, short and sweet: Keep your safelist / viral mailer / solo emails short and sweet.
Few if any safelist / viral mailer / solo email recipients are going to actually read your email. They are going to scroll down to the credit link and click it.
You might catch their attention with your splash page, squeeze page or whatever that link opens up … but if your email is 10 pages long, they may not bother to scroll down looking for the link.
They probably have a thousand other credit emails to open. If they can open two or three or five other emails in the time it would take them to mess around finding YOUR link, you lose.
Everyone seems to have a personal “got screwed by a ‘paid to’ site” story. Mine is fairly standard: I joined a new “paid to read emails” site a few years ago, and about the time the first crop of new members hit the payout minimum, it was allegedly sold (the “new owner’s” emails came from the same IP as the “old owner’s” emails … cough) and the “new owner” said he was zeroing everyone’s accounts because there had been “lots of cheaters.” It was just five bucks, but it was wasted time and effort and the burn stayed with me for quite awhile.
I avoided “paid to” sites after that for years. I only really took another look when I noticed that Brian Rooney had started a Paid To Click site (GetBuxToday). I’m a very happy Trafficwave autoresponder customer of several years, and Rooney’s reputation carries a good deal of weight with me. So I decided to dip my toe back into “paid to.”
As an advertiser, I’m favorable to Paid to Click so far. I don’t know how the results will pan out in terms of direct tracked signups and sales, but if nothing else it’s relatively inexpensive from a branding standpoint.
But from a membership standpoint:
First things first: You are not going to get rich by joining a bunch of Paid To Click, Paid To Read, etc. sites and clicking the ads every day.
I have a few friends who say they use PTC to pay for their upgrades and join fees in other opportunities. I’ve heard of a few people who make reasonably good money by building large referral downlines in PTCs. But for the average member, these sites produce low-single-digit incomes per month at best. And given the time it takes to really work a PTC site or become a “super affiliate marketer” in that niche, I don’t find them very attractive. In fact, the main reason I’ve been futzing with them is because I’m considering owning one.
Second, and this seems to be even more true of PTC, PTR, etc., caveat emptor. If it looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is. I see some sites offering $200 per click, $100k payout. Sorry, but if you fall for that, you deserve to get taken. None of the programs you’ll find advertising in PTC can make money paying more than $200 per click (and if the site is paying you $200 per click, it has to be charging the advertisers more than that, right?).
If you see a site paying more than a penny or two a click — if even that much — something is going on. It’s either an outright scam, or it’s using “play money” where your redemption gets you advertising or a “profit share” in the real revenues. I actually belong to one of the latter – Superstar PTC — and the jury is still out on how well it works (I joined as the referral of a trusted friend and haven’t reached the first payout/profit-share juncture yet).
I’m not trying to discourage anyone from joining a “paid to” site. If you’re interested, you can find a bunch of them advertising on the traffic exchanges. I’ve linked to a couple of them here and naturally would welcome you as a referral. But don’t put a lot of effort into PTC/PTR without first knowing what you want to accomplish and whether or not PTC/PTR will help you accomplish it better, faster and cheaper than other programs.
The one “paid to” project I want nothing to do with is “Paid to Sign Up” stuff. As a traffic exchange admin, I consider that a major pain in the keister — PTSU is banned at my TE. Here’s why:
Someone who signs up for a program to get 10 cents is highly unlikely to really use that program, unless it’s another program that pays them 10 cents to sign up for stuff. Big Bad Hits runs monthly referral contests with cash prizes, and those prizes are intended for members who do the real work of really promoting the site to real users, not for people to spend $5 on ten-cent do-nothing signups and win a $10 prize.
This is just common sense, folks. I’m not paying out cash prizes for referring just to fatten up my alleged membership numbers. I expect the referrals brought in by REAL PROMOTION to more than pay for themselves over time in site activity, upgrade sales, etc. One real member who actually surfs the exchange and maybe upgrades or buys credit is worth more than a thousand members who join to get a 10 cent PTSU payment and never visit the exchange again.
I’m usually not a huge “traffic co-op” guy, because the hits cost more than I like to pay. Some co-ops charge more than the a la carte price per hit at the exchanges they use. Others have reasonable discount pricing, but only for large buys.
On the other hand, a good co-op can be a key factor in promoting your product, service, opportunity or site. There are too many traffic exchanges out there to keep up with by surfing, and coordinating a la carte buys for maximum exposure is pretty difficult.
I’m a fan of John Bell’s Explosive Traffic for several reasons, all related to the above:
- Right now, ET lists 3,727 traffic sources. That’s a pretty wide net to cast — and when I look at where the traffic is actually coming from (there’s a nice, detailed dashboard), I see sources that I definitely want to be advertising on but don’t have time to surf.
- The hits are affordable. I can earn them “free” by running the ET rotator myself (on my own site or using credits at TEs I do surf), or buy them for a very reasonable price.
But among holiday season deals, I have to say that this one takes the cake — the price isn’t just “reasonable,” it’s insanely great. Through December 17th, Bell is offering an Explosive Traffic upgrade for $3 a month … and it comes with 1,000 hits a month. Oh, and 50% commissions. Oh, and a better “run the rotator to earn hits” ratio.
There aren’t many traffic exchanges where you can get a thousand hits for three bucks, unless you’re buying large numbers at once, so this is a fantastic deal even before you count the other benefits. If you’re already a free member at Explosive Traffic, I strongly suggest taking advantage of this offer. If you’re not a member yet, it’s time to expand your online promotion presence on the cheap!
Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. … Projection can also be established as a means of obtaining or justifying certain actions that would normally be found atrocious or heinous. This often means projecting false accusations, information, etc., onto an individual for the sole purpose of maintaining a self-created illusion. [Wikipedia]