Monday, December 13, 2010

Oh boy!! Tough times lately!

I am having  a bad month so far but the good news is that I am learning a lot. First the bad part - my adsense account got disabled. Google says my site poses a risk for "invalid" clicks so they disabled it. I also learned that your Google Affiliate Network account (GAN) is tied with your adsense account. So no adsense, no GAN! Sucks! I could appeal my account but what's the point? I was not going to find my bliss through adsense and the effort required to appeal my account didn't sound that appealing - so moving on..

So - I tried another route - setup an affiliate e-commerce site. However, I did not want to setup those links myself. I wanted an "easy button" so I looked for ready-made software that can do this. Luckily for me there is a ton out there. Unluckily for me, there is a ton out there and choosing the right one became a task. I finally decided on one that seemed to have the best potential - Associate-o-Matic (AOM). AOM had the shopping cart feature I like and everything else with one exception. If you want a "mall" type site, AOM is great for that and you can have an affiliate web store in just a few clicks. If you want a customized site with your own landing page, it is a manual HTML process. I wanted a niche product, display something about that product (reviews) and show the top 5 recommended or best-selling and then show them the "mall" site. I had this great idea to integrate it with Joomla! Create the landing page and all other pages (about, contact, etc) using Joomla and take advantage of the design as well as other features in Joomla and then have the "mall" site embedded in one of the pages.

Several problems already surfaced. Embedding the "mall" site was easy - however once the user clicks on checkout, the iframe is redirected to amazon but the parent frame is still my site. What I wanted to do was if they click on checkout, the user should be directed to completely! This was a very difficult problem to solve and it took me 3 weeks to finally figure it out. AOM scripts are encrypted and therefore cannot be edited. Large part of the reason why I wasn't able to post new blogs is trying to figure out how I can do this. I tried all sorts of stuff! Server-side with PHP, syncing the SEESION variables, setting COOKIES, etc! Finally, the answer actually was a lot simpler to implement. Like most things, getting there was the hard part! I finally got the integration between Joomla and AOM. I created what I thought was a good landing page and embedded the "mall" site in there. I used Javascript - client side - to affect the behavior of the links within the iframe. Site is finally ready for SEM. The site is about single coffee makers and here is the site. If you want to see how the full integration works, just go to the site and go the "mall" site (clue - the menu button says "Shop"). Right-click and choose view-source. You should see the javascript in there. If you are looking to do the same thing, there it is, just edit a few things and you should be on your way. It took me several weeks to get this done - if you use it, this should save you some time. So your welcome!

Anyway, it might not do you any good anyway and here's why. I setup a google adwords ad for it. I thought everything was going well when I got an email stating that my ad violated the "landing page policy". Apparently, the use of iframes is frowned upon by google adwords! All that freaking effort and I can't use adwords to promote my affiliate store! FUCK!!!!!

I don't know what to do now. I am not sure if I just leave the site the way it is or redesign it again. I wanted to use this format as a template for all the other niche products I wanted to promote. Integrating AOM with Joomla was going to be my way of setting up stores very easily and quickly. If I can't promote it and drive traffic there, it's useless!

So shitty month! but I learned a lot about PHP and Javascript fucking around with this shit. In the end, it might be moot but if all else fails, at least I now know that you can't use iframes and I know more about programming PHP and Javascript. I guess I am seeing the glass half-full but still - its been a shitty month!

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