John MeeksIf I were to rank the questions we get in the sales inbox, the many variations of this question would probably rank in the top ten.  Whenever we launch a product or a service we like to think we have all the details spelled out and easy to understand, but sometimes (just sometimes) we don’t. So let me take this chance to go a little deeper into our Affiliate Program and show you how it works.

Okay, to start, we are going to assume that you have joined the Affiliate Program. If you haven’t you can do so by going to http://discountasp.net/affiliate.aspx .  Here you will find all the details regarding the program and instructions on how to sign up.

Once you have signed up, the first thing you’ll want to do is log into your Affiliate Control Panel at affiliate.discountasp.net.

Once logged in you will see our main dashboard which provides an overview of what you can expect to find in the Affiliate Manager. The section we are going to focus on today is the “Creatives” section.

You will see listed in the “Creatives” section three links; “Banners,” “Links” and “Text Ads.”  As you may have guessed these are the three different advertising creatives that we provide to our affiliates to promote DiscountASP.NET. To start, we can take a quick look in the “Banners” tab.

As you can see in this tab, we categorize the banners by themes, focusing on TFS, Shared ASP.NET Hosting, DiscountASP.NET logos, or generic banners, each with an example of how the banners look. Here you can select the banner theme that suits you (I’m picking the “Blue & Green Hosting/TFS” banners) by clicking the “view all sizes and get link” tab below the banner example.  This will take you to a list of all the sizes available for this banner.

Here you can see that for this particular banner we have available pixel dimensions of 120 x 600, 125 x 125, 300 x 250, 468 x 60, and 728 x 90. The size you choose is up to you, just choose the size that will best fit your site. For this example I will go with 468 x 60. To do that I only need to select the “view sample and HTML code” link next to the size I choose.  By selecting that link you will now have this screen open in a pop up:

As you can see with this pop up, you will get to see the actual creative image in the size you selected (here is the 468 x 60 pixel size) and below that some HTML code. From this point all you have to do is copy that HTML code and paste in into the code of your site. This part is important:

Do not alter the html code that we provide!

The code that we provide in this pop up is coded specifically for you, so that any time a visitor to your site clicks on this banner they will automatically get a cookie with your affiliate ID. So when that visitor comes to the DiscountASP.NET site and signs up for our hosting, they will not need to provide us with your affiliate ID, as we will automatically retrieve it from the cookie. This also means that during the sign up process they will not be provided a field to enter your affiliate ID. Everything happens in the background.

When it comes to the “Links” and “Text Ads” creatives, these same steps will apply. It’s all about choosing the type of creative that best fits your site and your visitors.

But let’s say you don’t want to use any of the creatives to sign up new accounts. Maybe you just want to add your affiliate ID to your business card, or sign people up directly yourself via our site. Well, you can do that too.

Before you start, you need to know your affiliate ID. You chose your affiliate ID when you set up your affiliate account. But if you forget it you can always retrieve it via the “Forgot your Affiliate ID?” link on the Affiliate Manager login screen.

Once you have your affiliate ID, all you need to do is go to the DiscountASP.NET web site.  Near the beginning of the sign up process, you will reach a page titled “Account Info” (this is normally the third page in the sign up process). On the “Account Info” page, you will see a field for Affiliate ID.

Note that there are a couple of reasons why the affiliate ID field may not be visible. First, if you have a cookie in your browser from clicking on an affiliate banner, or second, if you are attempting to sign up with a promotion code. Our affiliate program terms prevent accounts that are opened using a promotion code from being counted as affiliate sales. If you want to have the account credited as an affiliate sale, you’ll have to start the sign up process again without the promotional code.

That sums up the methods you can use to get new sales with the DiscountASP.NET Affiliate Program! Not too painful, I hope. If you do want to use a creative but don’t see one that works for you, please let me know. We have a large number of banners, and not all of them are in the Affiliate Manager, so if we have something that fits your needs I can make it available for you to use.

Also, please feel free to sign up your own accounts using the Affiliate Program. We understand that sometimes you have multiple accounts in your name, and we want to reward you for choosing to host your sites with DiscountASP.NET.

If you have any questions about the above, don’t hesitate to contact me or our staff at affiliate@discountasp.net.

 

How Does Google Work?

On May 7, 2012, in Marketing, Video, by John

John MeeksRaise your hand if you’ve tried to do SEO for your site recently. It is a frustrating process to say the least.

First you have to sort through all the misinformation and so-called expert opinionss to get any concrete advice. Then once you get past all that, you learn that everything that has been recommended is really only speculation since no search engine will ever tell you exactly how it works.  So now you’re left watching competitors dance around on the front page of Google, Bing and Yahoo, while your site isn’t even listed in the first 100 pages of any search engine.

I’ve been doing SEO work for almost 10 years now, and even for me it can get confusing and frustrating to navigate. So any time people came to us at DiscountASP.NET looking for SEO help, I do my best to point them in the right direction, either by debunking myths (e.g., You need a dedicated server for good SEO) or pointing them to sites where they can get a good start on SEO (SearchEngineLand.com is one of my favorites).

So with that being said, this video is a great introduction to search engines and SEO by Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, providing some answers to how Google works.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyCYyoGusqs&rel=0]

 

All Your Domain Are Belong To US

On March 13, 2012, in Internet, by John

John MeeksIn case you haven’t noticed, the Internet as we know it is changing, for better or worse.  Since the beginning of our online lives, we were provided with a large blank canvas which was, for the most part, unregulated. We could say, do, and see most anything under the sun. From this openness sprung a revolution in the way a person could interact with world.

But like most good things, it would seem that this is about to come to an end. It seems inevitable that it was only a matter of time before someone came along and tried to force regulation onto the new frontier.

Now for those who think I may be a day late and a dollar short, this isn’t about SOPA or PIPA (though both of these would have expedited the inevitable if passed). No, what is going to destroy our beloved Internet is the .com domain.

First, a little history. Back in 1998, the U.S. non-profit “International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” (ICANN) was formed by the Clinton administration to award contracts to manage top level domain extensions, including the most popular; .com. A year later (1999) ICANN awarded the contract to manage the .com, .net, and .org TLDs to Network Solutions.

Jump forward one year to 2000, and Network Solutions is acquired by VeriSign, a U.S. based corporation. To this day, VeriSign still controls the .com and .net domains. The management of the .org domains was eventually spun off to a non-profit, the “Public Interest Registry”, which is based in Virginia, along with VeriSign.

So you can see that the three most popular domain extensions are managed by U.S. based companies. This doesn’t mean that you have to register the domain with them, but it does mean they manage how the domains are managed across the Internet.

Now for the change I was talking about.

Last week the U.S. government seized the gambling site bodog.com for engaging in what is considered in the U.S. to be illegal gambling. What makes this interesting is that bodog.com was registered with a Canadian domain registrar, so logic would lead you to believe that it was outside the U.S. government’s reach.

However, never one to walk away when told “no,” the U.S. government went directly to VeriSign to seize the domain. VeriSign, as a U.S. based company, was just following a court order. But as the U.S. government engages in this kind of seizure more and more (as with “Operation In Our Sites,” back in January),  more companies are at risk if they run afoul of the U.S. government, regardless of where they are based.

To be fair, we can’t just fault the U.S. government. Every country has control over the management and regulation of their own country code domains, and other countries have certainly seized their share of domains for various reasons. But with the overwhelming popularity of the .com and .net domains, you can understand why the control over such a large percentage of domains being concentrated in one place (and under one government) has people concerned.

Some countries have called for ICANN to be dismantled and the overall management of domains moved to an international, non-governmental agency, such as the International Telecommunications Union (an affiliate of the UN). So far, however, those calls have been quietly ignored.

So as we look out into the great wide open that is the Internet, do you feel a change? Do you fear for your domain?

 

We have made an important addition to the DiscountASP.NET Affiliate Agreement that may have an impact on the way you manage your online promotions.

The change requires you to disclose that there is a “material connection” between you and DiscountASP.NET anytime you offer an endorsement or testimonial on our services. This disclosure is necessary in order to be deemed in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Please see the new section of the Affiliate agreement entitled, “FTC Endorsement Compliance.”

What the new guides mean

If you provide reviews, rankings, endorsements or testimonials about a service for which you receive commissions from us, you must clearly disclose the fact that you receive such compensation in a clear and prominent place – that is, close to your endorsement.

For more information and suggestions about how to comply with these guidelines, please visit “The FTC’s Revised Endorsement Guides: What People are Asking,” and “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The FTC takes the Endorsement guidelines seriously and has begun to enforce them for both content providers like yourself and advertisers like DiscountASP.NET. Under the updated Affiliate Agreement, failure to comply with the endorsement guidelines could result in removal from our affiliate program and the cancellation of commissions.

Please take steps immediately to make sure your site is in compliance with the new guidelines.

This information was also sent to all Affiliates via email.

 

If you were to ask my sisters, they would tell you I enjoy bragging when I know something that others don’t. But really, I think it’s more fun to share. I mean sharing is caring, isn’t it? Okay, that sounded a little too Care Bear-ish, I’ll admit. But come on, sharing is what our mothers taught us to do when we were little, right?

So writing this is doubly fun right now, because I get to share with you a new way to share DiscountASP.NET with others – the New DiscountASP.NET Affiliate Program!

The new DiscountASP.NET Affiliate Program is something we have been working on for a while now and we are excited and proud to finally make it available to everyone. With the new Affiliate Program we are now offering new ways to earn money. Your can earn money for both ASP.NET web  hosting and Team Foundation Server hosting sales, plus you can now earn either a flat rate or earn cash via our new commission tiers for our annual web hosting plan:

Annual payment hosting accounts
1 – 6 Sales $50  
7 – 12 Sales $100  
13 + Sales $150  
 
Quarterly payment hosting accounts
Flat $50 For Each Sale  
 
Team Foundation Server accounts
Flat $40 For Each Sale  
 

In addition to these new ways to earn cash, we’ve add new ways to get paid as well. You can now get paid via PayPal or as account credit towards either a DiscountASP.NET or Team Foundation Server hosting Account.

To help you with the new Affiliate Program, we’ve also created a new Affiliate Control Panel. In the Affiliate Control Panel we’ve provided you with access to pre-approved banners and text ads. Plus we’ve added enhanced reporting features allowing you to analyze which banner or link is providing you with the most clicks and the most sales allowing you to optimize your affiliate account performance.

Finally, and maybe the biggest news with the new program, the new DiscountASP.NET Affiliate Program is now open to everyone! This means that DiscountASP.NET customers and non-customers alike can become an affiliate of DiscountASP.NET.

For more information, visit our site. To sign up for the program, go to DiscountASP.NET/affiliate/.

For current Referral Program members, you can log into the Referral Manager and easily migrate to the new Affiliate Program without filling out any forms.

If you have any questions about the new affiliate program, please feel free to drop us a line at affiliate@discountasp.net.

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