Since I’m two months behind on posting income reports, I went ahead and posted February and now, March’s, income reports.
I have not been updating this site with the fantastic content I’ve been meaning to. To be fair, I’ve been working on releasing my brand of products (one more month…) and working non-stop on one of my authority sites, switching an old theme to a new theme (Divi). Besides customizing the look and layout of the new theme, I’ve had to go through hundreds of old posts and fix up some things.
So I have not been idle by any means.
I’ve got a few great articles I want to write over the next month, like:
how split test amazon affiliate links to earn money
how to split test Media.net and Google Ads
how to find the best converting affiliate offers
and much more. So stay tuned.
March & Amazon’s Commission Change
March was a sad month for many affiliates around the world who made money with Amazon.
March was the month Amazon implemented a brand new commission structure. I actually had no idea there was going to be any change until the the third week of February when one of my readers left a comment on one of the posts informing me of the change.
After looking at the upcoming changes, I knew I would take a big hit.
This is the first time, ever, that Amazon’s made a significant change to their commission fee rates.
They claim it’s to help affiliates earn more by throwing out the volume-based commission rate and going with a fixed rate system, but in reality, they did it to keep more money. About the only affiliates who benefited from these ‘improvements’ are those targeting a couple niches (Digital video games, luxury beauty, and Amazon coins) and those small scale affiliates who never sold more than a handful of items per month.
Any affiliate who had high volumes of sale conversions took a big pay cut.
It’s a real shitty deal for me, just as I started to really smash it with Amazon, they pull this huge change and reduce my earnings by thousands per month.
Two of my best sites were squarely in some of the categories that saw a reduction of 8.5 to 4.5 so I felt the sting pretty hard. However, even if the product categories your site targets were not reduced (unlikely as only a couple categories were not), any other products people bought through your links from the other categories would earn less commission.
As, in my own experience, something like 70-80 percent of all amazon affiliate sales is NOT the product you link to but OTHER products people randomly buy pretty much every amazon affiliate feels this one.
So What’s Next?
I’ve said over and over for many years now that you need to have diverse income streams. If you rely too much on one income stream, you can get royally fucked. This happened to me many times over.
I earned most of my money from Amazon from 2009 – 2013. Two banned AdSense accounts later and I went from $10,000 a month in Adsense to $0 a month from Adsense
Hubpages — I used HubPages for easy rankings to make money with Adsense and affiliate offers. Hubpages deleted all my content and banned me back in 2011, costing me 3,000 – 4,000 a month
Specific Affiliate Offers — I was making 2-3,000 a month with a single affiliate offer back in 2010 and I was suddenly banned from that offer
Making money via niche sites — I had hundreds of micro niche sites, made a full-time income from them, then the penguin update happened and I lost all traffic to these sites, cutting my income by 70 percent
As you see, I’ve had to learn the hard way that you need to diversify. If you are making most of your money from ONE single source or income stream, you are at risk.
Anyways, cautionary tale done. But I feel the safest method to secure you online income is to create your OWN product so you are not relying on ANY third party for your income. Have your OWN website and your own product and noone can take away your income stream on the fly.
March 2017 Earnings
March Affiliate Offer Earnings
Comments: My highest month in years for straight affiliate offers. This is because I am now testing out offers on a couple sites. I’ve found two specific offers (for different sites) which are now converting pretty decently. I’m also testing out a number of affiliate networks AND other offers. I suspect you’ll see a big jump in affiliate offers for the next month (April). I want to try and squeeze out $1000 to $4000 a month in affiliate offer earnings per month, by the end of the 2017 year.
March Adsense Earnings
Comments: By far my best Adsense month ever, up by $300 from the last month. This is because two of my sites have seen significant traffic grown over the past few months. I may be able to squeeze out another 10 to 15 dollars a day by putting Adsense on a couple new sites. However, based on my current site portfolio, I don’t feel I can make more than 1300 a month with Adsense for the next year (not until new sites start ranking).
March Direct Ad Sales Earnings
Comments: A good month for direct ad sales. Sold a few spots for some upcoming months. My long term ad-buying client brought in 1100 (this payment comes in every other month). He’s been buying the same spot for 2 years now, so this is a reliable income source for me. Frankly, I spend a lot of time answering a ton of email queries from people to sell these ad spots. Compared to the other income sources, this one takes the most work and yields the least money given the time I spend. I could be earning more if I sent out a newsletter to previous clients, clean up the ad sales page, and really went out to try and market it, but I can’t be bothered right now. I have a few more sites I may be able to do the same sort of service with over the next year, but we’ll see.
March Media.net Earnings
Comments: I big increase from the last couple months. Not my best month, but fairly close (my best month was nearly $7000 a few months ag0). The winter months saw a downturn in my CPC’s (i’ve noticed this before in a couple of the niches), but with the beginning of summer are picking up again.
I’ve also been really going all out on a couple sites with new content (I’m spending something like 2000 a month for content on one of my sites).
Regrettably, one of my sites that used to kill it with Media.net a couple years ago has moved from 100-120 a day down to 50-60 a day. However, I’ve had a couple new sites since then pick up the slack and improve my earnings, but because of this shortfall, my Media.net is lower than what I hoped for. I had a project last year I was hoping would kill it with Media.net, but the site has not been a success.
My hope is that I can eventually make $10,000 or more a month with Media.net, which would equal what I used to get with Adsense way back in 2010-2011. Not there yet, but I see the potential. Maybe by the end of this year?
March Amazon Associate Earnings
Comments: Amazon’s commission fee change (for the worse) hurt me, but not as much as it could have due to seriously increasing my traffic on one of my best-converting amazon niche sites. This helped offset the losses, which would have been much bigger.
I was hit hard though. Two of my main niches dropped from 8.5 to 4.5, but my biggest earning amazon site only went from 8.5 to around 7 percent.
All in all, I lost some money here. Last month I earned $13,008 in commission fees (and another 1200 in bounties and Amazon CPC fees).
This month, however, I only earned $10,744.89, roughly $2263 LESS. That’s directly due to the lower commission fees. I’ll see how things work out April — it may be more or less about the same.
I’m really working on producing more content on my sites targeting amazon (to improve clicks) and I hope to increase my Amazon bounties. As stated, I’m also trying to make up some of the loss with more Adsense earnings and through affiliate offers.
I estimate though that I probably saw about a 30 to 35 percent decrease in Amazon earnings due to this change.
Total Online Earnings for March 2017
(vs $23,305.42 in February 2017)
(vs $27, 102.57in January 2017)
(vs $23, 338.73 in December 2016)
(vs $20, 582.37 in November 2016)
(vs $20,061.99 in October 2016)
(vs $16,579 in September 2016)
(vs $15,043 in August 2016)
(vs $14,298.79 in July 2016)
(vs $12,226 in June 2016)
(vs $14,498 in May 2016)
(vs. $9,438.7 in April 2016)
The Final Word
So I lost a lot of money with Amazon, but wait, why am I only $844 less than last month if I lost so much with Amazon?
Becuase my income stream is somewhat diversified. While Amazon makes up a bulk of my earnings, Media.net, Adsense, Affiliate Offers and Direct Ad sales make up about 40 percent.
I would say on average my affiliate commissions dropped from 8.5 to about 6 percent when you average out the commission rate. Not as bad as going down to 4.5 percent, but it still stings compared to the 8.5 percent.
I was able to make up for some of the loss by seeing an:
increase in Media.net this month ($6,500 vs 5,900)
having a strong Direct Ad Sales month ($2390 vs 2214)
seeing an increase in Adsense ($955 vs $689)
having a strong affiliate offer month ($405 vs$169.89) – finally started to promote affiliate offers!
I basically made more money in every other income stream in March, when compared to February, except for Amazon which lost $2263 in affiliate fees.
Where to go from here to increase earnings?
I’ve had a setback with Amazon, but it’s not the end of the world. Frankly, I still had an amazing month and even with the Amazon changes, I still managed to pull in more than $22k this month.
Here’s what I’m trying to do to earn more money:
I’m going to increase the amount of content targeting affiliate content. More clicks mean more revenue. This will help to make up for some of the loss.
I’ll squeeze out more money from Adsense
I’m now promoting Affiliate Offers on several sites and seeing steady sales. This is one area I hope to really improve
More Amazon Bounties — I will be targeting more Amazon bounties
Kindle ebook for my big authority nice site. This is a new income stream. The book is written (200 pages) already and my writer finished. However, I need to hire a copy editor to make sure it’s cleaned up, and I need to format it as a proper ebook (right now it’s just a bunch of chapters). I also need to organize it, add pictures, etc. Frankly, I have not had any time. I need to spend about a month on this getting it ready to sell. But once I do, there’s money here — maybe a lot — as the book is tied to one of my authority sites and WILL absolutely sell.
Physical Product Brand + e-commerce store. My products are done. I have thousands of products made and sitting in a warehouse. Now I’m just working on finishing up the Shopify store and setting up the shipping system. I’m looking at a May launch. This could be the biggest moneymaker of all. More on this when the product launches.
Anyways, that’s it for now.
I’ll be writing some more make money strategies this month. I know I’ve been pretty lax with writing new content the past few months and I’ve only been releasing these income reports.
I do want to break things up with some actual tutorials, reviews, and more.
BenK has been around blogging in the SEO/Internet Marketing sphere since 2010 when he quit his job to pursue a self employed career of making a crazy online income with the dream of doing absolutely nothing to make good money.
However, he soon found that dream was a lie; making an online living took a lot of hard work — more work than he spent at his 9 to 5.
In the 5 years he’s been an Internet Marketer, he’s:
*made a full time income at nearly 20k a month, lost it, then work his way back up *been banned from adsense twice, regained it, then banned again *had hundreds of sites deindexed *rebuilt everything from scratch in two years *moved to Thailand where he now lives on a beach, living off of websites and blogging about internet marketing the RIGHT way.
AuthorityIncome.com is his new blog where he shares his strategies, thoughts, and opinions on making a LONG TERM income through websites.