Firelead Blog

Firelead Affiliate Network Redesigned

We just finished a redesign of the Firelead site and blog.  We opted to remove the Flash header from our old site, mainly because it is hard to display on iPhone and mobile devices.  The new design is cleaner and easy to navigate with mobile devices.  We hope you enjoy the new tools, specifically Firelead Seek which is an affiliate network offer search, and the Firelead Media Buy Tool which will help you calculate and plan your campaigns better.  Enjoy!

Firelead $1000 and iPad 64GB 3G Giveaway!

Firelead Is Giving Away An Apple iPad 64GB 3G and $1,000 in cash!!!

To win an iPad and $1,000 in cash you must make at least $35,000 in commissions from May 20th 2010 to June 20th 2010.
You must be an affiliate of Firelead.com to enter and qualify.  The winners will be chosen on June 21st 2010.  For giveaway rules click here.

Installing Centos Remotely

I found a fast way to reinstall Centos 5.4 on a box that I had completely screwed up. The server is hours away from me in a datacenter, and I needed a quick way to wipe it without calling support.

I already had Centos on this box, and was able to SSH into it as the root user.  This guide is going to assume you have the same access. It will walk you through installing your Centos 5.4 from a remote location using the PXE image.  These directions are also for the 32bit edition, you can edit the links for the 64bit version accordingly.  This is how I did it, don’t come crying to me if you mess up your system using these directions.

1. First download a VNC viewer.  I like RealVNC for Windows, and Chicken of the VNC for Mac.  There are other options out there, but those are both free and easy to use.  Gather your IP address, Gateway address, netmask address, 1 dns address.  If you don’t know what your dns server is – type:   cat /etc/resolv.conf

2. Setup the directories and get the files.  This step copies the PXE boot images to your /boot directory:
mkdir /newsystem
cd /newsystem
wget http://mirror.centos.org/centos/5.4/os/i386/images/pxeboot/initrd.img
wget http://mirror.centos.org/centos/5.4/os/i386/images/pxeboot/vmlinuz
cp vmlinuz /boot/vmlinuz.cent.pxe
cp initrd.img /boot/initrd.img.cent.pxe

3. Edit your /etc/grub.conf file using vi or your favorite editor.  If your default=0, in that file – make sure that the below is edited according to your server info and is in the first title.  Also, DO NOT copy this exactly- you must edit it according to your server – create a password, and fill in your IP address.
title CentOS (pxe)
root (hd0,0)
kernel /vmlinuz.cent.pxe vnc vncpassword=PASSWORDHERE headless ip=111.111.111.111 netmask=255.255.255.255 gateway=222.222.222.222 dns=333.333.333.333 hostname=test.example.com ksdevice=eth0 method=http://mirror.centos.org/centos/5.4/os/i386/ lang=en_US keymap=us
initrd /initrd.img.cent.pxe

In the example above, I created a password in the PASSWORDHERE area… I entered my real IP for this server in the 111.111.111.111 area, along with the netmast, gateway, and dns.  DOUBLE CHECK EVERYTHING BEFORE SAVING AND REBOOTING.  Once you reboot, open up your VNC Viewer and enter your IP address and port of 5901 like this:  111.111.111.111:5901.  Enter the password you entered in the PASSWORDHERE area.  You should be able to remote connect to it and install a fresh copy of Centos 5.4!  If this fails…you will either have to go to the server and reinstall it or call your server facility for help.  Good Luck!

AdWords Exact Match – Don't Be Too Exact

So today I set up a campaign on AdWords with the intention of bidding on about 11,000 specific keywords.

Every one of my keywords was set to exact match in Google, and my bids were high for these ultra specific keywords.

The ads were not showing after 6 hours so I got on with Google support (via a chat session) and this is what transpired:

Google AdWords Rep: Hello. Thanks for contacting Google AdWords. I’m happy to help you.
Google AdWords Rep: I understand that some of your keywords in your ‘X’ campaign are not showing, is that correct?
Me: yes just some of them
Google AdWords Rep: Are you seeing any specific messaging that says this?
Me: no but when i search for that specific keyword (i did exact match) the ad doesnt show
Google AdWords Rep: Also, I see that there are a number of ad groups in this campaign, is there one specific one that we can take a look at?
Me: sure take a look at Ad Group: XXXX
Me: if i type in the keyword XXXXX the ad doesn’t show at all to give you an example
Google AdWords Rep: Ok, no problem. Let me take a look at this group.
Google AdWords Rep: Taking a look at this group, it appears that all of your keywords are very specific. Our system has seen that there is a very low volume of search being performed on these keywords, so your ad is not appearing for these. Once the volume picks back up, the system will automatically start showing your ads on these keywords again.
Google AdWords Rep: What I would suggest is instead of using exact match, try either phrase or broad matching for these keywords.
Me: so I am being penalized for being very specific?
Me: my goal is to be as exact as possible
Google AdWords Rep: I understand that. The system isn’t penalizing you, because of the very low volume on these words, the system will not show your ads until there is enough relevant traffic on the keywords.
Me: OK
Me: good to know
Me: i will leave it be then
Me: and add some phrase matches
Me: Thank you
Google AdWords Rep: That is a great idea. That way if it picks up on the others, your ad will be eligible to show on more keywords.
Google AdWords Rep: No problem, is there anything else I can help you with today?
Me: nope Thank You very much!

So essentially Google is wanting me to spend more money with them on that specific campaign before the keywords start appearing.  I understand why – you have to feed Google some green, and it will be kind in return.

So to get the campaign going again, I added some phrase match keywords and things started picking up.  Sure enough – my other exact match keywords started appearing in searches as well.  Hopefully this info helps some of you out when you are bidding on your campaigns.

PHP Encrypted SubID Tracking

Setting up encrypted subid tracking can sometimes be difficult especially if you are a newbie to affiliate marketing or writing php. I have found a great free script and tutorial on how to do this here:

How to Set Up sub id Encryption with a PHP redirect

A couple things I have noticed about setting up this script if you are a complete newbie:

The guide is easy to understand and has pictures. Let me show you how I implemented it.

I am doing PPC to my landing page so I setup AdWords to pass the keyword that created the click to my Destination URL so that my links look like this in the AdWords Backend:  www.landingpage.com/?search={keyword}

The script will then capture the keyword and pass that to the database, and then change the links on my landing page to have a subid number instead of the actual subid.  That will keep the merchant from seeing my keyword, and keep the keyword hidden.  Then I can match up the keywords with the ones that convert in adwords, as well as see what conversions occurred with no AdWords (these will show up in the database as being the number 3 subid).

I think this script is necessary to any affiliate doing PPC who cares about tracking their return on investment on AdWords.  Though matching up the actual ROI isn’t built into the script yet, I still think it is great for any newbie looking to setup some basic subid tracking.

Twitter

Firelead is now on twitter. We will be releasing occasional news on twitter and just microblogging from time to time. We recommend it for all those blogging addicts. If you haven’t yet signed up for twitter check it out here: http://www.twitter.com.

Follow us on twitter here: http://twitter.com/firelead

Search Engine Strategies

I’m looking forward to attending the Search Engine Strategies show in NYC this week.  I have yet to attend a Search Engine Strategies show, and I think it will be a benefit to see many new SEM and SEO companies.  I’m also looking to meet some new affiliates of Firelead, and hang out at a party or two.

Google is also a sponsor of the conference, so I plan on stopping by their booth to see if there is anything interesting going on. At Ad-Tech NYC they had $50 AdWords coupons.  If they have any, I’ll be sure to pick some up for Firelead affiliates.  I’ll post another review of the show after next week.

Affiliate Summit West

So I just came back from Affiliate Summit West, and it was great. There were plenty of other networks there, that was my only gripe. The location of Vegas was great and the weather (with the exception of the first day) was amazing. It’s really great to see the affiliate marketing industry thriving this way. It helps give legitimacy to our industry because so many people don’t know what it is. It was also great to finally get to meet with many of our Firelead affiliates, as well as meet up with some new faces we haven’t yet met. I didn’t really learn any new affiliate tricks – but the contacts that I made were valuable and I’m sure that I’ll be returning to future summits.

One thing is for certain, I won’t be staying at the Luxor again.

How To Preview Google AdWords Targeted By State

Lets say you setup a campaign in a certain state or county, and you want to check up on it and your competition.  Well, you might find it hard because you might not have an IP address in that state, or county.  So how do you check up on your ads?

The solution is the  Google AdWords preview tool.  I have used it successfully in my PPC campaigns on Google, and it’s really easy to use.  Just choose your State and keyword, and hit preview.  In the screen below it will show you the ads in that state or area as if you were on a computer in that area.  It’s a great tool for advertisers as well to check up on their affiliates to make sure they are not bidding on trademarked terms.  Use it wisely!

AIM in Gmail

I just finished setting up my AIM in my Gmail and it looks like Google did a great job. My primary motivation for installing this is getting it setup on my iPhone – because the iPhone doesn’t have a great AIM client. I was disappointed to learn that AIM does not work on the iPhone yet even with this new integration.
I had some trouble getting it setup – so here are the directions from Google:

“You’ll first need to sign in to Gmail chat. If you’re not already signed in, just click Sign in to chat from your Quick Contacts section, in the left margin of your Gmail account. If you don’t see Quick Contacts, make sure that standard with chat is selected as your Gmail view, at the very bottom of your page.

Once you’re signed in, just click the down arrow next to your status message and select Sign in to AIM. If this is your first time connecting, you’ll be prompted to enter your AIM screen name and password. Click Connect to continue.

Some of your AIM buddies will appear in your Quick Contacts list, and the rest are accessible from the Search, Add, or Invite field. Just click a contact to initiate a chat session.”