My least favorite commercial this year is the one that breathlessly offers you the chance to make your millions from the Internet by selling stuff online. You don’t have to have any inventory and you’ll make money while you sleep.
Right. Free money.
Unfortunately, I have been contacted by several people over the years who have fallen for similar schemes. They’ve set up sites to sell someone else’s product, and waited for the profits to roll in.
The approaches come in two flavors: the goods warehouses and the online stores with affiliate programs.
Goods warehouses – who I suspect are sponsoring the current commercial – provide you photographs of standard commodity goods like jackets, jewelry, or cookware. They suggest that you sell the items at one price while they charge you much less. That’s a fine, classic retail model.
However, in my experience the fees for the website hosting and shopping cart system they help you set up are very high. The goods are unremarkable. Simply, there’s no reason for any shopper to seek your site out and use it. You’re not the manufacturer, you’re not well known, and you’re going to have to pay Google or someone for every single visitor who clicks on your Google ad to see the stuff you’re reselling.
I am sure some people have made money in this situation. But, I worry that the only people who have made money are the ones selling the warehouse services!
I can see no reason for signing up for a cookie-cutter online store.
The other way you can earn money online is by signing up as an affiliate to a major brand. Many companies that sell items online offer other webmasters an incentive to advertise their products on the webmaster’s site. They’re legitimate businesses like Amazon.com and Adobe.
However, few webmasters make a lot of money getting visitors to their site to then click through to Amazon, Adobe, or wherever.
The first challenge in your money-making plan is to get the traffic to your site so that your visitor can start the journey up to Amazon.
If your site is already popular, you can add links to Amazon from your content pages, and you’ll start earning a modest commission from your natural visitors.
For most webmasters the affiliate method of reselling Amazon’s products (or Adobe’s software, Constant Contact’s email service, Dreamstime stock photography, etc.) is going to make a small amount of money. Ozdachs Consulting earns a few hundred dollars a year in referral fees.
Sure, even an unexpected $100 is nice, especially in these economic times. However, the real benefit from the affiliate program is the ability to enhance my own website with useful links to visitors. The affiliate relationship also lets me legitimately use third-party copyrighted materials – especially book covers and logos! – to help visitors understand my approach to website creation.
But, if you are starting as new site to earn commissions and if there is no intrinsic reason for the public to visit your site, you will have to buy ads on Google (and other search sites) to get people to visit your site.
You’ll pay Google for every click to your site.
Unfortunately, you’ll get paid by Amazon for only those people who click from your site to their site and finally to their checkout page. In order to make money as an Amazon affiliate, you’ll have to convince a high number of visitors to your site to both click to Amazon and then to buy from Amazon.
So, yes, if you’re going to buy anything at Amazon, please start your web browsing at Ozdachs.biz, click on the Amazon link, and let me earn pennies on your purchase! However, don’t decide to start your own website to earn your millions from the visitors you send to Amazon.
You hear the radio ad tempting you to call the magic 800 number, unleash the financial power of the Internet, and start making money while you sleep without having to purchase inventory.
Don’t sign up for the program without first talking to me or another person familiar with Internet sales and marketing tactics. Or, maybe talk to your CPA firm and go over your business plan with them. Are you really going to make money... much less get rich quick?
In this recession, the sharks are ready to prey on desperate people. Don't fall for impossible promises.
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