Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kalahari - not as dry as the region

As mentioned in my previous post, Kalahari is currently the most lucrative of all the programs I am experimenting with. Signing up with them is quick and easy, and I made a telephone call to confirm that you are actually not limited to one website. The way I see it, a sale is a sale and commission should be paid where it is due, which seems to be the case with them. As stated earlier on this blog, I prefer to market companies that I find useful myself. I started buying online from Kalahari in October 2006 but only joined their affiliate program around September / October 2008. Similar to AdSense and AdGator, you need to reach a certain threshold before you get paid out. If memory serves right, I think this threshold is a minimum of R100 and it can roll over until reached. The cool thing about it is that is paid directly into your bank account through internet banking. No hassles.

To give some perspective, I will place some screen shots of money spent with them vs money earned through them. Remember, I would have kept on purchasing online from them anyway, even if I was not aware of their affiliate program. Finding out about the rewards was only a great bonus.

Money I spent so far on Kalahari products (click to enlarge):

A total of R4560.06 spent at Kalahari from 2006 to 2009.

What Kalahari paid out to me so far, from November 2008 to January 2009:

And lastly my unpaid balance Kalahari still needs to pay out, presumably early in February 2009:

You can average these payments out over 5 months since I got paid, but in all fairness, it takes about a month or two to get things rolling, depending of your website's traffic and your users / reader getting used to it, so lets average it out over 7 months.

A total of R2365.33 conservatively averaging to R337.90 per month. If you do average it out over 5 months, it gives me R473.07 per month.

If you subtract the total earned from the total spent at Kalahari I get a total of R2194.73. More than a 50% discount!

I suspect that Kalahari store cookies on people's web browsers, so that when they click to buy something through one of your links for the first time, they become your "customer" for quite a considerable time.

It is definitely worth your while to sign up and try it out for yourself. For the next post, I will probably share some info with you on the less profitable pay-per-click affiliates such as AdSense and Synergy before moving on to other online shops such as Take2, Loot and PC Mall. All four of these are very new to me and I hardly have any stats or money to show for them. I will however put it up here with some screen shots and frequently update on them to see if there is any improvement at all. I would like to do a similar post to this one for Take2, as this is the place on the internet where most my cash went when I still owned a DVD rental shop. I hope I will have some figures ready for you. For now I am on R0 earning.

Until next time...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Make some money in Rands with AdGator on your website

For some reason, I forgot to mention AdGator as one of the banners I use on one of my websites to generate extra cash - so I am actually using 8 companies and not 7 as previously mentioned. It could be because there is virtually no maintenance involved - you just stick it somewhere on your website and it generates cash.

The cool thing about AdGator is that no-one needs to click on any of the banners. They pay for impressions or views on your website. To quote from their website:

"Unlike Google and Affiliate Networks we serve ads on a Cost Per Thousand (CPM) basis and share this revenue with you 50/50. This means that for every impression served on your blog you will earn money."

They further tell you to check out how much you potentially could make by using their calculator. More about this just now - with some proper stats and proof.

I signed up with AdGator around the middle of December 2008 and have made some cash with them. You need to make at least R150 before they pay the bucks into your account, which is no biggie. If you don't reach that target, it just rolls over to the next month.

Have a look at some real proof that AdGator does work. My earnings for December 2008:
As you can see, I made close to R130 without having to do squat. It's enough to pay for all 5 of my smaller website hosting every month.

My January stats so far are a little more detailed and look as follows:

Again,almost R130 for doing f-all. You will see some dots on the graph line. Those are the actual days when AdGator clients are advertising on their banners, so you will only generate paid hits / impressions when a client advertises with them.

Now, on the AdGator website they have acalculator like I mentioned a bit earlier in this post. If you look at my January stats, you will see a total of 19298 ads served. If I had to use their calculator to calculate (their stats) what my site is worth in paid advertising, I get to a total of R2315.76. What is even greater is that those stats will normally be around 25% higher. January is a slow month, seeing that people in general only get back to their computers and the workplace from the 2nd week onwards.

Sounds awesome, doesn't it? Something that I leave alone could possibly cover a monthly car repayment? Too good to be true? Well, yes and no.

Remember that you only generate income when AdGator's clients have active campaigns with them, otherwise earnings for the days that companies don't advertise will reflect earnigns of R0.

Be that as it may, I added all my hits/impressions according to the stats I was provided with from AdGator for December 2008 and January 2009. I only added the "active" campaign dates that generated cash and came to a total of 9714 impressions (or Ads served as they like to call it).

Check out the screenshot:

So for the period of December and January, according to the calculator they use to entice bloggers to sign up with them, I could possible make R1165.68

In reality, if you add my December earnings to what I've earned in January so far, my total comes to R250.45, a far cry from the projected, calculatedR1165.68. It is almost a fifth of what they suggest you could make. Don't get me wrong, it is still good money for virtually doing nothing, but I think they need to take a more realistic approach. That said, we have to bear in mind that this program has only been running for just under 2 months and they are still signing up customers.

It is still totally worth your while to sign up with them and I suggest you get in there early. They might at some point decide to serve a limited amount of bloggers. Also remember that you need to have a decent website* with proper content to be considered at all. You also need to update regularly with decent content.

There is a huge potential here and AdGator is my second highest cash generator. The most lucrative income-generator out of the 8 companies that I am experimenting with is Kalahari.

I will probably post some real info and screen shots from them quite soon and then move on the smaller ones to show you how much moolah I managed to rake up, if any at all.

You are welcome to share your own experiences or discuss or disagree with me on these programs. Just leave a comment and I will respond promtly.

* All stats I post on this blog comes from another proper website that I run. I do not have any links on this blog to that site, as I don't really need the traffic from here to there. It is a specialised website that has nothing to do with I run this blog as a guideline to others, giving some perspective and totally free advice on websites generating cash in South-Africa. The website in question is well-read and generates huge amounts of traffic in South Africe, thus allowing me to post qualified statistics and statements. I post on this blog to give South Africans a reality check as far as the whole "working from home" dream / scam is concerned.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reality check - make R500 to R1000 p/m extra in your spare time

You will notice that I added a couple of banners on the right-hand side. These are the affiliates in South Africa that I am trying out. Some of them I started trying out recently, some of them I've been trying for a couple of months. I mainly use them on my websites that generate proper traffic, but stuck them on here for the purpose of this blog - to inform others and to show the income (if any) they generate.

For now I am only trying out 7 or so different companies. I don't really intend using more than that and I have several reasons:

  • I don't want to clutter my websites with kak, as the info on my websites are more important than something that looks shitty and just shouts "CLICK ON ME!". That will drive people away faster than Pirates fan at a Blue Bulls game, rendering my website useless and taking away the main purposes of my website, which in my case is having fun doing a hobby whilst entertaining others.
  • I want to promote companies that I frequently use myself and find useful, not pyramid schemes.
  • This is experimental and a hobby - I don't want to use too much time administrating something that will bring in a few couple of Rands. Obviously if it starts bringing in a little more bucks I will spend a little more time on it, but its not something I am losing sleep over, and you should approach it in a similar way, unless you sit at home and have absolutely nothing to do but scrathc your balls or smoke dagga. Remember that there is a world outside there as well. Do you know what the sun looks like?

Lets go through the list quickly:

  • Take2 is an online shop, much like Kalahari . They offer a wide range of books, electronics, DVDs and games. To sign up with them, you need to e-mail them and request to be an affiliate partner. They will mail you back in a day or two to inform you if your application was succesful, ie, if you have a decent website and not Google Ads surrounded by white spaces. I found them to have lots of scarce movies and more recently a wide range of Xbox 360 games (since I only bought my Xbox recently). Service is excellent and delivery prompt and affordable. I added them as an affilaite today, actually, so we will see how that side of things go.
  • Lottofun is a South African online lottery service and they have a referral system for any member who signs up with them. I use them on a weekly basis to order my lotto tickets online, check results or get informed via SMS. I added them as a referral partner today. They offer R15 per paid signed up customer, so nothing really to lose. Some people reckon they are pricey, but I just find it convenient, not queueing at an Engen on a Saturday night. I am a lazy bastard. Also I only order when I really feel like I have some money to burn.
  • Next up is PC Mall, an online South-African IT superstore. I added them this week, partly because I have an interest in IT products and frequently shop around for bargains, be it laptops, hard drives, PC components etc. I also found a nice section on their site selling Xbox games and they compare well to Kalahari and Take2. Their USB sticks also seem not too pricey. I am yet to place an order with them, but on the surface it looks good. I will hopefully report back soon, once I've placed an order and received my goods.
  • I read about Synergy on another blog and thought I'd give it try as well. They seem to be similar to Google's AdSense although they also cater for South Africans and they pay in rands. You will sometimes see rotating banners on websites such as News24 advertising Dial Direct, Outsurance, NetFlorist and so forth. Those are done through Synergy and they aparently pay you per click or a percentage of sales that go through your referrals, depending on the campaign you choose and deploy. Set-up is fairly quickly and painless. You can get started within 30 minutes or so. I added them today.
  • Loot is similar to Kalahari and Take2 - an online shop with books, CDs, DVDs etc. If I remeber correctly, they pay a percentage of total sales on a quarterly basis. Visit their site for more info regarding this. It seems more like a long-term thing, so I will let them run for a while and see how that works out. If it doesn't, I'll can it and look for something else, or just keep my affiliate links donw to six. Applying for an affiliate ID is as easy as becoming a regular customer by opening a normal, free user account. They also seem innovative as far as their banners and links go. You can for instacne easily set up an HTML link in your outgoing mail if you feel like it, not that I would do it - my e-mail is still my e-mail and I dont like "selling" it. I've seen worse though - people with smiley faces and other kak scattered at the bottom of their e-mails. If you are one of those people, you might as well replace it with a banner from Loot. At least you will get a couple of cents. I am yet to order DVDs or music through them, but pricing seems fair.
  • The first ever affiliate program I joined (roughly around 4 months ago) and so far most "lucrative" one is Kalahari. As with the other online bookstores like Loot and Take2, they pay a percentage, Kalahari's being on a monthly basis. Since I started using them, I've made around an average of R400 per month - enough to cover the hosting of all my websites or to order a new Xbox game per month. Applying online is easy and if I remember correctly you will be ready to roll within 48 hours or so. Definitely worthwhile checking them out. I've been using them for a couple of years now, almost on a monthly basis, so the extra cash I make from them, I regard as a discount towards my purchases. Also, buying items through your own affiliate link gets you a further 6% discount, so even if you're not into affiliate marketing, you can save yourself some cash if you use them as frequently as I do.
  • Google's AdSense could be a source of income, although I am not a big fan of it. Personally, the text adlinks plastered all over websites is an eyesore, often advertising kak that you yourself will never be interested in. Have a look at the links on the right for instance. Interested? I didn't think so. Go read up on it if you want - there are many different aspects to it if you really want to get into it. The only reason why I stuck one of their ads up is because you can just leave it there for a year or so, as they pay out once you've reached a $100 threshold. With the current R/$ rate it would pay out close to R1000 once reached. Not too bad if you consider that you can just leave it there and possibly have a R1000 payment at the end of the year to spend on petrol, booze or condoms - whatever you do over the festive season. One of my friends reached the $100 mark this month with a South African website (after about 8 or 9 months), so I will report back here as to how easy/painfull/at all the payout was. I also added it yesterday to see if there will be any activity or click-throughs.
You are welcome to leave questions or comments or share your experiences if you've also just started or tried it out. Within the next week or so I will post screen shots of the little income that I've made from the list mentioned above.

Like I said, there is no such thing as easy, quick money, unfortunately. My aim here is to give people reality checks with some concrete proof. Do it part-time for fun as part of your existing websites to fill empty spaces strategically and don't get all hung up on something that could possibly waste your time. The best way to make money is still through an honest day's work.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Try easy and free ways of getting traffic to your site

I sort of lost interest in doing the whole online guide thing, but I will periodically try and update some findings here, time permitting.

Last time I mentioned some tips to get more traffic to your website. Its kind of easy and you just need to think about it logically. Its impossbible to name all the tips, but here we go anyway:

1. Change your e-mail signature so it contains a URL to your website

2. Set up RSS feeds so people can get automatic updates to your blog / website

3. Join free websites such as Youtube , StumbleUpon and Facebook and have your website's URL in your profile.

A note on StumbleUpon for those who are not familiar with it:

"StumbleUpon discovers web sites based on your interests. Whether it's a web page, photo or video, our personalized recommendation engine learns what you like, and brings you more."

Its easy as just clicking on an icon and it takes you to your next website of interests that you set up according to personal taste. Its a great way to get to know the internet if you are bored or just looking for something interesting to browse. Also, when looking to increase traffic to your website, its probably the easisest way to come across site with interseting discussions, funny pictures or videos or just straight our weird shit. Most sites have a comments section and more often than not you dont even need to register - just choose a handle / nic and leave a comment together with your website's URL. Also dont post bullshit or spam them. Try and contribute something short & sweet or interesting. If you contribute something meaningful, chances are that people will click on the website link you left with your comment.

Try it for yourself. Note the amount of hits / unique visitors you have had to your site the last week or two. Now try and leave around 10 comments on 10 different sites per day for a week long. Remember to at least update your site with content as well halfway during that week.

Make a note of the sites you visited or stumbled across and check your stats after a week. You should have some increased traffic from those sources.

If you contribute someting useful (ie original) to Youtube, you can do more or less the same. Create your own channel and make your URL to your site part of your profile. Respond with videos / comments to other users. Posting stuff like "Amy Whinehouse as a fucked-up coke whore" under an Amy Whinehouse video might me slightly amusing, but it won't neccesarily draw traffic to your profile and then to your website.

4. Find websites with similar content or complimentary content and politely ask for link exchanges. Those are usually free.

After increasing traffic to your website, join some affiliate marketing groups.

Because I do this part time and as part of an experiment, I am not really interested in the international stuff (apart from Adsense and Synergy). I want to see if its possible to make some reasonable money in South Africa passively. You will probably come across some banners of stuff that I am trying out. In the next post I will share with you how to join these programs and some stats and figures of my personal earning, if any.

PS: The sad part is (as far as Google AdSense is concerned) that because I am adressing issues such as AdSense itself and against working from home scams - AdSense will probably pick up and advertise click-through links for SEO and Google optimization. If you see stuff like that or links that try to capitalize on you its easy to avoid: don't click on it. You dont need to pay anoyne a cent for any information. The internet is full of true, free, no-obligation info.