Friday, September 03, 2004
Posted 9:00 AM
iTunes Affiliate Adventures: From Acceptance to Denial
This morning's email brought the good news that I've been accepted into the iTunes affiliate program. Great! Now I can pollute these pages with links to my favorite songs and albums, and you'll buy them and I'll be rich.
In its current state, the iTunes affiliate program has a mammoth limitation: it doesn't let you create links to albums, artists, or songs of your choosing. Instead, you must choose from a variety of prefab links. Some, like the iTunes logo in the sidebar to the right, simply hawk the music store.
Others, like the banner here, promote specific artists or albums. But you can't search for an artist, song, or album and then create a corresponding affiliate link.
In other words, you can promote anything you want, as long as it's something Apple wants you to promote.
This needs to change, and presumably, it will: the iTunes affiliate page specifically touts the ability to "link directly from your website to any song, album or artist on iTunes."
That's what I want to do. I want to be able to promote Upstairs at Larry's, a new remix album of Lawrence Welk music. (It's true! Don't miss Bubbles in the Wine.)
Yes, the iTunes affiliate program is in its embryonic stages. Affiliates won't even be able to get traffic and revenue reports until the middle of this month. But hopefully the ability to link to individual items will come soon. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, go shopping.
Free Download: Single of the Week. Only at iTunes
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Posted 10:36 AM
Memo to Archos: Fire Your Web Developer!
Enjoy Web navigation frustration in the comfort of your own home!
Step 1. Go to the Archos Web site.
Step 2. In the navigation bar, point to the Press item and try to choose one of the submenu items that pops up.
It's fun for the whole family!
Posted 10:27 AM
Nice Resource for Digital Photo Storage Devices
I'm still researching digital wallets and other photo-storage devices for my upcoming trip to Europe.
While surfing, I came across this page, which lists a huge number of devices and contains links to reviews elsewhere on the Web.
Posted 8:03 AM
iTunes Affiliate Adventures: The Terms They Are a Changin'
Yesterday, I sung the praises of Apple's new iTunes affiliate program, which pays Web publishers a cut when they send business to the iTunes Music Store. It's a smart idea that will cause the Web to be peppered with links to Apple's music store.
When I wrote that post, I had signed up for the affiliate program, but I hadn't actually been accepted yet. When you sign up, you must supply some details about your Web site -- its Web address, name, description, and more. Some higher power then reviews your application and either approves or denies it.
It's now been about 24 hours, and I still haven't received notification that this site has been accepted into the affiliate program. But I have already received a notification that the terms of the program have changed.
That was fast.
The changed terms appear in this lovely page. I haven't done so much horizontal scrolling since the days when Macs had 9-inch screens. Did I read it all? For that matter, did I read the even more obtuse terms and conditions, many of which appeared in ALL CAPITALS, that I agreed to when signing up in the first place?
What do you think?
Apple has outsourced its affiliate program to LinkShare, which runs affiliate programs for dozens of major companies. So far, the entire process has not been what you'd call "consistent with the Macintosh user experience." I'm hoping the process of creating affiliate links will be easier than the process of applying to begin with.
Oh, and a quick word about the riches that await. Like many affiliate programs, the iTunes program doesn't write you a check until your earnings reach a specific amount -- in this case, $25.
I'd like to see the option of having your affiliate revenues applied to your iTunes account: sell some songs in order to buy others. Amazon.com offers a similar perk for its affiliate program: you can have Amazon simply send you a gift certificate for whatever amount you earned. It's convenient for affiliates and smart for Amazon, and Apple and LinkShare should adopt it for iTunes.
Thus ends the first installment of The Affiliate Files. When (if) I'm accepted to the program, I'll create some links and report on the process.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Posted 10:26 AM
The New iMac is Cool, But How About that iTunes Affiliate Program?
I'm glad to see that the G5 iMac is here -- or will be soon. I'll avoid the temptation to weigh in on it because I haven't seen one in the plastic yet. I will say that I'll miss the articulated display of the previous iMac. My wife uses a G4 iMac, and she constantly swivels the display around depending on where she's sitting or standing in her office.
So much for resisting the temptation to weigh in. Whatever. I hope Apple sells a boatload of new iMacs, and I hope that everyone on that boat buys my iLife book and instructional DVD.
Another development took place in the Mac world today, and in its own way, it's as significant and exciting as the new iMac. Apple has launched an affiliate program for the iTunes Music Store. It's now possible for anyone who has a Web site to make money by sending customers to the iTunes Music Store.
I've been an Amazon.com affiliate for years. When you, dear readers, buy one of my books by clicking on a link on this site (like this link for my iLife book or this one for my eBay seller's guide), I get a little commission, a kickback, from Amazon. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but I get a little something.
And I mean "little." I'm not getting rich from my affiliate links, but they do help put biscuits in my dog's maw.
Now that Apple has introduced an affiliate program for the iTunes Music Store, I -- and millions of other people with Web sites large and small -- can earn a little something extra something when they send eager music buyers to the iTunes store. If I tell you that I've been digging the music of German electronic group De-Phazz and you buy a few of their tunes, you've just helped pay for a Milk Bone for Sophie.
For the vast majority of Web publishers who participate in affiliate programs, revenues are indeed in the "contribute to my Milk Bone fund" range. But for the likes of Amazon -- and now, Apple -- affiliate programs are a powerful viral marketing vehicle. It's simple: when you provide financial incentive for millions of sites to link to you, you increase the chance that they will.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but no competing online music site provides an affiliate program. Not Real, not Napster, not Sony, not Microsoft.
And that's the real point to this rambling post: by offering a little kickback to everyone with a Web site, Apple has guaranteed that the Web will be filled with millions of links to songs, artists, and albums that it's selling. You'll soon see iTunes affiliate links littering everything from blogs to major entertainment sites. In a world where competing services threaten to erode Apple's significant lead, that means something.
The new iMac? Sweet. The new iTunes affiliate program? Brilliant.