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E-Business Secrets
Brian Livingston
Most sales are produced by few affiliates, study shows

I've always wondered about the effectiveness of "affiliate" programs offered by e-commerce sites. Now a research firm, Affiliate Metrix, has released a reasonably scientific study that provides detailed answers.

The study, which surveyed more than 100 online merchants with affiliate programs, updates the old 80/20 rule, estimating that 95 percent of sales that were acquired through affiliates came from only 5 percent of those affiliates. Other specific findings from the study include the following:

-- The majority of merchants reported that 80 percent of their affiliates had not yet produced a single click-through to the merchant's site.

-- At the same time, a significant minority of merchants reported that more than 20 percent of all sales come through affiliates. This bump in sales could mean the difference between profit and loss for some e-commerce sites, and it's an inexpensive way of acquiring new customers.

-- 38 percent of the merchants reported that their affiliates generate more than 500,000 impressions per month. The other merchants reported fewer page views than this, but even the lower counts can still be significant for many merchants.

-- Affiliate programs take time. Within the first 9 months to 12 months of operation, only 21 percent of the merchants had signed up as many as 2,500 affiliate sites. After 1 year to 2 years of operation, however, 93 percent of the merchants had more than 2,500 affiliates.

Any e-business site that has an affiliate program, or is considering starting one, could benefit from this report. The cost is $499 but drops to $399 for those who enter coupon code AFFBOOK, a marketing "secret" the report's authors have publicly made known.

Affiliate Metrix 2001 Merchant Report:

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E-Business book review: Web Design Essentials

If you want your Web site to look a little spiffier, the new paperback edition of "Web Design Essentials" may be just what you've been looking for. It teaches basic and not-so-basic techniques for using Photoshop, Illustrator, GoLive, and other Adobe products (of course they are, it's an Adobe book), but these may be all the tools you need for your immediate purposes.

On succeeding two-page spreads, the authors proceed from the simple to the advanced:

-- How to keep type sharp in graphics by applying "weighted optimization" to compress different parts of a JPEG differently

-- Ways to make framed sites visible to and indexable by search engines

-- How to design "time-independent" animations that can be triggered by user actions such as rollovers and mouse clicks

With its lie-down-flat, illustration-rich format, the tricks in this book will teach you a thing or two.

Web Design Essentials: For Adobe Photoshop 6, Illustrator 9, GoLive 5, and LiveMotion

By Maria Giudice and Anita Dennis (Adobe Press)

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Livingston's Top 10 news picks o' the week

1. Consultant reveals 3 secrets of high-traffic sites

2. Anna Kournikova virus writer in court (not tennis)

3. How to ban Microsoft's 'smart tags' from your site

4. Deptartment of Labor will share job data with

5. Credit card theft more likely online than off

6. New online ads break out of rectangular forms

7. Learn how to discern buyers from window-shoppers

8. E-mail marketing will grow 74 percent in 2001

9. Search engine compares two, three, or more terms

10. How an errant writer made a monkey out of Slate

See also:

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E-Business Secrets: Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

About the author: E-Business Secrets is written by InfoWorld Contributing Editor Brian Livingston. Research Directors are Ben Livingston (no relation) and Eryn Paull. Brian has published 10 books, including:

Windows Me Secrets:

Windows 2000 Secrets:

Win a book free if you're the first to send a tip Brian prints. Send to



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