Some sites have a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section, not this one. Instead, I get lots of unique questions and two recurring ones. The first is usually from a marketing person asking me “how much do I charge for product reviews or placement?” The answer is zero. There are paid review services out there, but I’m not one of them. I also don’t have a set review schedule, just a long list of review candidates.
I think I understand why some companies believe I do placements. I don’t write many reviews that criticize a product. I think the worst rating I gave was for magicJack in 2008. In retrospect, I wish I didn’t write that one as it generated more support emails than you can imagine.
The reason I don’t write that many negative reviews is they’re like a bad relationship and I find them draining. And with apology to my friend Dan K, I know there is value in negative reviews. I probably have 50 partial articles that I stopped because of problems or bad service. I usually send an email to the company that explains the issue. Sometimes I tell the company I’ll give them another look later such as FranklinCovey’s PlanPlus Online.
A related question is “how do I make money from this site?” Like many sites I rely on advertising. There are three networks serving ads, but I experiment. Ad networks are an easier way to monetize a site as I don’t have to contact companies and try to sell them ad space. It usually amounts to me adding a snippet of code. And maybe one of these days I'll figure out how to put on an ad server so I can better customize the ads to the audience. Of course, it would help if these vendors provided clear instructions. Talk about a lost opportunity.
Each network I use allows me to target ads to a certain degree by category and type. As example, I dislike ads that pop over content and you have to click a Close button. If you see an ad that bothers you, let me know the details and I’ll research it. I also allow public service ads. The toughest matches are for non-US readers as there is less inventory. Sadly, I also can't understand many of the ads since they are not in a language I understand. That's another reason why I should learn more langauges.
For many years, I only relied on ads, but enough people starting using ad blockers that I needed to do something else to cover my expenses. You thought web servers were free? Recently, I've started to use affiliates. You might think of this as a commission I get based on a reader’s action. The typical action would be if you bought a product. As example, I get a commission if people buy the Evernote Essentials book by Brian Kelly using the link on left side of most pages. The same goes for the online GTD service, Nozbe.
If you think I’m picky about ads, I’m more so when it comes to being an affiliate. I have to like the product or company before I’ll enter into an affiliate relationship. The product has to be one which I think provides value, relates to technology and benefits you. In the case of the Evernote book, I bought it first to make sure the content was good. Another good example is Lynda.com. In some cases, an affiliate relationship is handled by SkimLinks, VigLinks or LinkShare. These services make it easier so I don't have to establish accounts with multiple affiliates.
Even though I may think a product, service or ad is a good fit for readers, it may not be the best for you. You should always do your own research. You can always drop me an email and tell me of your experience, good or bad. And don't worry if it was a bad experience as I'll listen. In two cases, I pulled affiliate relationships with online retailers based on my own purchase experiences.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 16 November 2011 10:53)