Dorothy Perkins – Not Last Referrer

A staggering one in every four of my legitimate ethical sales I make for Dorothy Perkins are declined. The reason stated is my site was ‘not last referrer’.

As my site doesn’t drop cookies for simply breathing the name, I can only assume that visitors have been at Dorothy Perkins checkout; searched for a Dorothy Perkins code in Google; spotted my site; then clicked on one of the promotional links that I’ve built for them; then they’ve gone back to Google and repeated the search process looking for a code.

That could make sense if I even ranked for ‘Dorothy Perkins voucher codes’ in Google.

Over the 8 months of this year I’ve listed 9 different promotions for Dorothy Perkins, including a 50% Summer Sale, 15% Exclusive voucher and a free gift promotion code and so on.

The page has been viewed 1,241 times by 995 unique visitors.

Those 995 visitors made a total of 83 purchases, spending over £4,500.

Of those 83 sales, 22 were declined.  This represents one-third of my total declined sales made on the Affiliate Window network, where Dorothy presides.

22 declined sales equates to £99 worth of commission.

These figures put me off wanting to promote the merchant further. They are obviously doing something different than other merchants are. Maybe they are just more dilligent at checking last referrer stats.

Either way, I’d have rather have not made the sale in the first place if I wasn’t going to be paid for it.

22 other affiliates received that commission or maybe one other affiliate received 22 lots of commission for doing what I did but a little later.

Who knows? Does Dorothy?

YesAsia NoCouponSites

Today I generated my last sale for Yes Asia, my 35th top commission earning merchant of 2008.

The entertainments retailer, which I have an Exclusive code for, have been studying their analytics and have signalled their intent today to kick me off their programme.

Effective from 17th July YesAsia will no longer allow affiliates who run discount voucher/coupon sites to promote the program. Please note that if you are a content site which also lists vouchers or a cashback site then this will not affect you, only those sites which are focused mainly or exclusively on vouchers.

I may be free to promote Yes Asia on my Befuddle content site which has a global audience but not on ShopCodes, where it rightly sits.

Only last month I won a Yes Asia incentive competition and won half a dozen Japanese pop cds. I’ve not listened to them but gave them as a gift to my Japanese housemate.

Today I’ve since removed the links to Yes Asia and replaced them with CD Wow! but in retrospect I should continue to promote Yes Asia but without listing any codes [albeit they won’t pay me].

My reasoning is simple. My site ‘Shop Codes’ includes shop codes but 30% of my top 20 performing merchants don’t issue codes or I have never published a code for. So by that logic, if I have never published a code for say Kiddicare am I Kiddicare content affiliate? There’s content on the page. I’ve argued the same logic in the past with Mothercare and AlphaRooms [for which I’ve never made a sale but that’s beside the point].

It appears the issue in this case, is the over writing of content cookies by users searching for codes at the basket stage.

This is highly likely to be true and below are the Yes Asia search terms that have brought people to my site.

My Yes Asia page, which is linked to from the Shop Codes home page has been viewed 90 times in the last 30 days, with 73 uniques.

The average time for people to spend on the page is a staggering 2 minutes and 33 seconds. This is more than twice the time people look at my Dixons page.

Here are the top 50 entrance keywords that attract people to the site. Interestingly people have been specifically searching for my exclusive code or rival merchants.

  1. yesasia coupon
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  5. yesasia coupon 2008
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  19. shops code
  20. yes asia discount codes
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  24. cupon yesasia 2008
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  28. yes asia $5 coupon
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  38. moviemail coupon code
  39. shopyacodes 3
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  46. yesasia +coupon
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What I’m listening to right now: Andy Lau Wonderful World Concert Tour Hong Kong 2007 Karaoke Live.

Stop the Leakage

I have 34 emails in my inbox that are tagged with the word ‘closure’. These emails all relate to merchants that are closing their affiliate programs soon, moving to another network or have in fact closed.

I deal with these emails as low priority but sometimes if one of your better performing merchants is included, it’s wise to act fast.

The JD Williams brand recently moved all of their sites to the dgm network away from Commission Junction (CJ). I’d started to transfer many links over but I was made aware that I’d missed a few pages.

When you login to CJ it tells you how many links are ‘invalid’ i.e. going to a merchant that is no longer live on their network.

I saw that I had 75 clicks for the JD Williams brand and that I should really stop that leakage, as every visitor lost was a potential lost commission.

The report not only tells you what url the click came from but the creative used.

I changed all of the links on the page to those on dgm and included a network tracking code, so I could measure the effectiveness.

Immediately sales began to be recorded and the commissions stopped being leaked away.

Webgains recently announced that closed merchants links will be switched over to a similar merchant in the same sector, ensuring us affiliates can still receive commissions.

We’ll automatically be signed up to the new related merchants and if you want to see which links are affected, you can set up a daily or weekly scheduled ‘click error’ report which can be emailed to you.

My mission for this week is to stop further leakage. I now have 34 emails to action.

Shop Codes PPC experiment statistics revealed

When I cashed a cheque for £17,100 that Google sent me last week, I knew how I was going to spend that extra £100 on the first rainy day. So on Monday, I dusted off the cobwebs of my Google Adwords account and set about creating my first PPC campaign since 12th April 2007.

I’d said to a few of my fellow code peers at a4uexpo and online that all my traffic is via SEO and I no longer take part in PPC as I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest it is beneficial. So I told them that I’d pick a random day and join in and then take an indepth look at the stats.

  1. I was to measure how many visitors I can buy for £100.
  2. How much time £100 will buy me.
  3. How much revenue that £100 investment would make me.

However, I also had to measure the benefit. And so I’ve collated traffic and commission figures for the day previous (Sunday 18th November) and one week back (Monday 12th November).

So here’s the backdrop. Sunday 18th November 2007 was Shop Codes highest traffic day ever, since launch. All this traffic was from SEO with Google contributing to over 1,000 of those visitors.

So to experiment on the following day was not probably the wisest choice as traffic may be on the increase and I may find the best is yet to come. And so it was. Yesterday Google (organic) delivered an extra 168 unique visitors, to make Monday 19th my highest ever.

I created one new campaign in Adwords that was to simply highlight that Shop Codes has 140 exclusive codes and I targeted keywords such as “voucher codes”, “discount codes”, “promotional codes” and “coupon codes”.

The minimum spend I was allowed to pay was £0.25. I set the daily budget to £300 and the maximum cost at £0.30.

As soon as the ad went live, it appeared in the top slot in the main part of the Google page. So within minutes I had maximum exposure.

Then soon after I could see that an affiliate network had started clicking on my advert. During my campaign an IP address of Affiliate Window appeared in my analytics.

The stats say that the first visit was at 15:10:53 for the search term “dixons discount codes”. The green url in the image is the url clicked on. The second url is the landing url. If the url is appended with “?clid” then that shows it is a paid-for link on Google.

The statistics summarise that this visitor stayed on my site for 2 hours 18 minutes and 28 seconds.

It shows they clicked on those adverts that were costing me £0.25 a click each, 26 times in those 138 minutes.

It shows that searches included “dixons discount codes”, “dixsons discount codes”, “shop codes” and “voucher codes”.

Some clicks were within seconds of each other, which suggests the visitor was using their browser back button and re-clicking.

After only a few hours, my campaign was at £95.91 and before closing it down completely I reduced the cost to £0.10 to see if the ad would show at all. It didn’t and so at 18:14 the last paid-for link was clicked and normal SEO traffic resumed.

It was not until this morning that I could assess the success or failure of paying for an extra 380 visitors. Was it a success?

Well, yes and no.

On Monday 19th November 2007 I received my highest days level of commission received this year.

Not surprising when I’ve joust bought 380 visitors but remember my organic traffic is on the up with Google organic sending an extra 250 visitors a day compared to just seven days ago.

OK, if I made the most money ever this year, why wasn’t it a success?

Well, the total commission was only £8 more than what I made on 12th November. That day there was no PPC.

I also made one fewer sale on Monday 19th than I did on Sunday 18th. That day there was no PPC.

So, £95 bought me only £8 worth of extra commission.

What else can I measure? Well, lets take a look at my RSS and newsletter subscriber figures. Did those 380 people contribute to an uplift in sign-ups? No, in the last two days I’ve had 5 new subscribers on both days.

So, I’ve summarised that I don’t receive any material gain from PPC. Yes, I’ll make more money (just) but I’d rather carry on making money without spending £95 a day. Or the £89 it would have been if a network wasn’t so keen on my site.

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