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Squidoo Pay Day Coming: Two Things to Check

Squidoo Pay Day is almost here. Someone usually posts a thread in SquidU when earnings start showing up in our dashboard.

You can find them by clicking the “stats” link under an individual lens, then the “earnings” tab. There’s an Ad Pool “earnings” amount showing for 7/30. That’s July earnings, which will be paid in September.

Nice to know, but first something to check: are your Payment Settings correct?  It’s a bummer when a charity drops from Squidoo’s list, so that your donation to your favorite charity goes to another instead. It’s even more of a bummer when you make a co-brand lens that sends all your earnings to charity by default, or when Squidoo glitches and sends your earnings to charity. I’ve started taking a screenshot of all my lens payment settings for my records.

You get to the “Payment Settings” overview of which lens is set to donate to which charity by clicking “My Settings”  at the upper right of Squidoo’s control strip, then “Payouts,”  then scroll down and click “Individual Lens Settings.”

One more thing. Do you have multiple accounts? There are advantages and disadvantages to niche accounts. One disadvantage is that you pay the Paypal transaction fee on EACH account, which is (I think?) something like 2%, capped at $1. I’m a little worried about Squidoo glitches and the hopper, but I’ve just raised the payout threshold on my accounts to $50.

Captain Obvious on Amazon Referrals

Most of you are much farther along than me in this whole Amazon Associates thing, which I only started doing systematically last holiday shopping season. I’m just overhauling a massive product catalog lens (a whole series of collectibles which I used to have divided up by page breaks), consolidating it and re-checking all the Amazon Associates links. Things I’m checking:

  • Affiliate links are nofollowed
  • All the links point to the right product (duh)
  • The associates id is in every link
  • Correct product image
  • 4 or 5 star rating on the Amazon product page
  • Reviews on the Amazon product page won’t give a potential buyer cold feet (if many reviews point out major problems with the product, this may not be a good product to recommend)
  • If there’s multiple Amazon listings, look for one with a “Buy” button on the right rather than “available from these sellers”
  • The Amazon product page has a reasonable price

My basic template right now is

[Thumbnail Product Image linked to Amazon listing]
[2-lines of captions under image in 9-point type:]

Photos: [Link1] [Link2]   | Video [linked to video review, if there is one]
[Amazon Link]  [Link to eBay module at bottom of page]

Paragraph: My own comments and review. Blah blah blah blah blah…

Links/quick blurb on other, similar items for comparison.


Instead of taking other people’s photos (bad!) I include links to their pages, but use the Amazon Associates image for the thumbnail on my own lens. Of course, if I link to another page for photos, that page must (a) have the photos near the top (b) not have anything offensive on it and (c) not be selling the product. For collectibles, at least, you’ll often find a ton of “look at my cool toy!” photos on Flickr and video reviews on YouTube.

Since eBay modules tend to load more slowly, I put them at the bottom of the page as an appendix, with a link pointing down there; they’ll have loaded in by the time visitors get far enough to look at them. This is only necessary if you’ve got an older lens with more eBay modules than the 5 we’re limited to nowadays.

Act Now, or We May Lose Our Affiliate Income

ALERT! Will we lose our Amazon and other affiliate income? We might. Many already have.

[Originally posted in SquidU]

In several U.S. states, Amazon has shut down its associates program, in response to new laws passed attempting to collect sales tax from affiliate marketers or internet commerce. I’m guessing that the cost of recordkeeping for so many individual accounts and/or paying sales tax on such minute amounts eats too much of the profits to be worth the trouble.

Most recently, Colorado associates got shut down, following Hawaii, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. Read that link for more info.

Alarmingly, I’m reading old — or new? — news that New York State has instituted such a law, and the only thing holding it back is an appeal filed by Amazon. Here’s a New York Times editorial about it, expressing the opinion that Amazon should lose.

On the one hand, states have the right to tax sales that go on in their states.

On the other hand, every time Amazon shuts down an affiliate program, it’s not Amazon who gets shafted. it’s us. The affiliate marketers. The folks trying to pay bills. The folks trying to make ends meet.

Any of us could be victims of these new state laws, which could take away our Amazon or other affiliate earnings.

Some of our friends and Squidoo members have already gotten burned by this: they’ve lost their associate accounts because Amazon’s pulled the plug in their states.

And it could happen in New York, where Squidoo is based.

I don’t know what would happen then, but I don’t like the prospect.

That New York Times editorial shows that most people think this is just going to impact Amazon’s bottom line. All they see is big bad Amazon getting a tax break while competing with small businesses. They don’t realize that millions of families and small businesses make money on Amazon through affiliate commissions. I’m sure legislators don’t have a clue.

So I think that we should use some of our marketing and writing skills to write EVERY SINGLE state legislator and congressperson, and tell them the other side of the story, which they’re probably not hearing: yours and mine.

Write your state representative. Write your congressperson. Today.

This is more important for your online livelihood than any Tweet, Facebook status update, blog post or other page you do all this month… maybe all year.

I’m not sure what arguments one can use to counterbalance, “we need the sales tax to pay off our looming debts.” But how about, “Amazon will just shut down their associates program in states where the cost of running it is too costly — they already have in HI, RI and CO — so you’re not going to get that money anyway. But Amazon Associates pay income taxes, so if they get shut down, you LOSE revenue, not to mention killing people’s jobs, income, and buying power.”

Share this post. Spread the word.

This Lens Makes Sales: How Can I Make Others Like It?

When it comes to sales lenses, I’m  a newbie. I’ve been writing on whatever the heck I feel competent and compelled to write about, going with content first and the odd Amazon Spotlight as a complement to my lens.

It should be possible to modify that approach to include reviews of things I genuinely use, know, and recommend. I’ve done it on a few lenses. I’ve got one that has made sales almost every month for years. Not in huge volume compared to our more seasoned affiliate marketers, but consistently enough to call a success.

So why does this lens work, and how can I apply its lessons to other lenses?


On Moneyearning with Squidoo: NotPop’s Right!

Most of us know this, but it’s such a succinct answer to such a common question (“why isn’t my page getting traffic/ratings/sales?”) that I want to preserve it here so I can remember it later.

Quoth Notpop in SquidU:

If your lens doesn’t do anything they couldn’t have accomplished themselves with the same number of clicks then why would they “pay” you for the help?  Find them something worth bidding for and they’ll click through.  But if you’re not earning the commission then don’t be surprised when you don’t get it.

Or, as I think Seth Godin put it (not on sales, but on visitors):  “You don’t deserve traffic.” He wasn’t trying to be mean; he was just pointing out that our webpages aren’t entitled to a single visit: the web is infinite, and we need to give people a reason to spend time on our piece of it.

Here’s an interview where he talks about “deserving traffic.

Earning money with Squidoo lenses follows the same wisdom: you have to earn those sales.

Of course, the people who don’t understand this are probably not the people reading this blog post.

On Squidoo Success Stories

With the biggest payout yet for many people — including me! — and the end of the year, Squidoo members are pondering Squidoo success stories…and failures.

MikeEssex created a Squidoo Success Stories lens reporting on the real-life successes of several members, plus links to stats and earnings lenses by many members who maintain lenses or blogs to track their Squidoo progress. (Here’s mine.)

In response, three-year Squidoo member SisterCaren wrote a tongue-in-cheek lens which I think is just as important: her Squidoo Failure Story. She shares tips and insights on what doesn’t work.

We need to know about both Squidoo successes and Squidoo failures. I included both when I created my “Is Squidoo a Scam?” lens several years ago. I also demonstrated (I hope) that success on Squidoo can be defined in many different ways: traffic, successful promotion of a blog, business, or cause, moneymaking, gaining an online following.

However, there is one way that most Squidoo members and the rest of the world define success: earnings.  And Kimberly’s announcement on 12/16 that ONE member earned $2000K for the month through Squidoo earnings alone is a story of  both success and failure at the same time.


Squidoo, Zazzle, and Creative Commons

Zazzle Referrals = Creative Commons that Earn Cash?

Last week I had a brain wave. Zazzle designs work a little like e Creative Commons: as a Zazzle Associate, you may feature them on your page or blog by providing credit and a link (in this case, a referral link) back!  You’re promoting an artist’s products (that’s the whole point). But as a side benefit, you have access to a huge body of gorgeous graphics.

Which of course meant I had to make a lens about it:

Want Graphics? Use Zazzle Designs Like Creative Commons


Lens Review: EditorDave’s Lens on Guam

I wasn’t planning to do lens reviews on this blog, but spouting about my own stuff all the time could get dreary. So why not use someone else’s lens as an example of a good use of Squidoo?

When you find a lens you like, ask yourself: WHY do you like it? You can get insights about building good lenses, articles, and blog posts by jotting down what on that lens worked for you, what didn’t. Don’t copy their content (please!), but learn approaches to presenting your own content in more effective ways.

Here is EditorDave’s Guam: Where America’s Day Begins lens.


Benefits of Non-Commission-Earning Modules

Some Squidoo modules are built-in affiliate marketing, supplementing Squidoo ad payouts with sales commissions.

For example, Amazon modules send us “royalties” if a visitor makes a purchase through them. We get a commission for any purchase the visitor makes after clicking on that link! (Tip: if you regularly make 7 or more Amazon sales a month, it’s time to get your own Amazon Associates ID. Captain Loyalis explains why.)

Other Squidoo modules, like Zazzle, don’t earn a commission, but members of those online e-commerce sites can can use the appropriate module to show off their products and stores.

What’s in it for the rest of us? Should we, as one member in SquidU said he was doing, rip out non-commercial-earning modules?

There’s four or five reasons why the answer is “Not necessarily!”

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