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Commission Junction is widely recognized as a leader in affiliate marketing for both advertisers and publishers. The Commission Junction Web site, located at www.cj.com, connects online merchants with online publishers through advanced affiliate tracking and reporting software. Commission Junction provides you with various ways to promote merchant products or services on a pay-for-performance basis. With Commission Junction, you simply add a banner or text link on your Web site and get paid when you refer a sale to one of your merchant partners. Commission Junction has over 2,000 merchants covering just about every area of e-commerce. Regardless of your Web site topic, there is a good chance that a merchant in the Commission Junction system sells a product relevant to your content.

After you join Commission Junction as a publisher, you can then browse through the list of available affiliate programs. When you find a program that is related to your Web site content, you then need to join that individual program. Depending on the program, your application may need to be individually approved; some programs automatically approve each publisher that attempts to join. After you join an individual affiliate program, you then receive a link code that is specific to your affiliate account. Any traffic that you send to the merchant from this link is tracked, and any sales are credited to your account. The percentage you receive of each transaction varies from merchant to merchant, so be sure to do a lot of testing to see what program makes you the most money. With a cost-per-sale-based affiliate program, you are directly rewarded for sending high-quality traffic instead of receiving payment on a per-click basis. This makes the commission model very attractive to niche Web site owners with targeted Web traffic.

Earn Money with Commission Junction

3 Click the Get Links tab.

4 Type your Web site topic.

5 Click Find.

• You can analyze the EPC (earnings per 100 clicks), network earnings, commission percentage, or lead price for each merchant.

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6 To apply to a program, select the corresponding check box.

7 Click Apply to Program.

Depending on the merchant settings and your status as an affiliate, you may be instantly approved, or put into the queue for review by the affiliate managers.

Once approved for a program, you can download banners and links to add to your Web page.

Extra

One of the more effective strategies for monetizing your Web site with affiliate marketing programs is through affiliate marketing search arbitrage. Affiliate marketing search arbitrage is a process where you purchase traffic on a pay-per-click basis and "sell" that traffic to a merchant for a specified commission payout. For example, say you purchase a group of keywords on a pay-per-click basis from Google AdWords related to gourmet food, such as gourmet cheese, Italian olive oil, and Gorgonzola cheese. You can send your PPC traffic to igourmet.com for 12 percent of any sales that occur as a result of the traffic. In essence, you act as a traffic broker, and you profit when the amount of money that you pay for the traffic is less than the amount of commission you get in return.

The two primary affiliate marketing search arbitrage strategies are known as direct linking and landing page driven. Direct linking is when you purchase traffic from pay-per-click search engines and send the traffic directly to the merchant partner using an affiliate tracking URL. Direct linking does not require that you have a Web site because you send all traffic from the search engine to the merchant. In contrast, the landing page driven form of affiliate marketing search arbitrage requires that you purchase traffic from pay-per-click search engines and send the traffic through your Web site prior to the traffic eventually arriving at your merchant partner.

Note that if you use the landing page driven form of affiliate marketing search arbitrage, you can enhance the amount of money you make by building search-engine-optimized landing pages. See Chapter 12 for more about landing pages.

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