Ok, I’ve been getting a ton of emails asking about the type of widgets I’m using to replace PHPBay auctions on my sites. There are a few different ways to do it, but I think the best widgets come frmo the Custom Banner Generator. This is a new EPN tool that is still in Beta, however it can easily be accessed from your EPN dashboard.

To start generating new ads, you’ll want to log in to your EPN account. Then click on Tools, then Widgets. On the next screen you’ll see 4 options. Click Custom Banner Generator. From there you’ll be able to customize your EPN widget. For doing this, I generally recommend following the same basic guidelines you would if you were setting up AdSense on your site. I personally prefer a 336×280 box that I can place right into the content, but you could also go with the large horizontal or vertical skyscrapers, or pretty much whatever you prefer.

You can also customize the colors. I like using a basic blue link, red text color scheme, but it’s probably not a bad idea to mess around with different colors – especially if you’re going to be implementing on a large amount of sites.

Next you’ll scroll down on the page and enter a campaign ID for the tool. If you’re using an existing campaign ID, just start typing the name of the campaign and the tool will bring up suggestions from your existing campaigns.

Last you’ll need to enter your search term. I’ve found that this tool delivers pretty relevant results – even better than PHPBay, however I’ve also discovered that if you want to filter certain terms from your results, you can do so by adding a – sign. So for example you could enter: Your Keyword -Filter, and the result would be auctions containing Your Keyword, but not Filter. Hopefully that makes sense.

A preview of the ad will appear so you can make sure everything is kosher, then all you need to do is copy the script that the tool spits out at the bottom of the page, and paste into your site.

Obviously this tool isn’t going to work for everyone. If you’re making a bunch of thin sites with pages of auction listings, you will probably want to use the RSS feed generator instead, but this particular tool works in a similar way that AdSense does, so if you’ve got a content rich site, it should be no problem.

100 EPN Site Update

Since my report on Monday night, I’ve been feverishly working on removing PHPBay from all of my sites. It’s a lot of work because I have to remove the tags from each individual post, which over 100 sites, adds up to hundreds, if not thousands of posts. Then I need to generate a custom ad and update the template files for each theme, so it’s a ton of work. I’ve got about 65 sites done so far, and I hope to have the last 35 done by the end of the day tomorrow. So far the results have been promising. My clicks for yesterday were up 100%, my EPC went up slightly, and obviously my earnings also increased, although I haven’t had a ton of clicks or sales from my 100 EPN sites that I’ve recently switched over. I expect it will take a while for those sites to get back into the swing of things. Once they are unpenalzied, they will begin sending actual targeted traffic which should result in much better conversions. The results I’m seeing from the newley switched over sites is pretty much the same as what I shared with you all on Monday night – as soon as the sites are getting spidered, their rankings seem to be immediately returning. I’ve been mostly focusing on just getting PHPBay off of all the sites and adding the new EPN widgets, so I haven’t been spending a lot of time trying to get each site spidered right away. I think I will let nature run its course – at least the rest of this week, and hopefully a good chunk of the sites will naturally get spidered. Then I can reasses next week and see if I need to take further action to get the last bunch back ranking again.

Either way, this week has been unbelievable and the results were completely unexpected. I never imagined that PHPBay was the thing causing me so much trouble, but I’m really looking forward to finally being able to dig back into these sites, get them ranking, find out what ads work, and go from there.

Update 8/09/10

I’m afraid I was initially too quick to judge PHPBay. I recently ran an additional test… On one of my sites that I had removed PHPBay from and saw it returned to  a #2 ranking for its main keyword, I decided to try removing the EPN widgets and replacing them with a regular ebay RSS feed.  As soon as the site was spidered, it dropped from #2 to not being in the top 200 results. I replaced the EPN widgets and the site returned to its #2 ranking again. This tells me that the problem was not related to PHPBay, but rather RSS feeds. The reason I can really think of why this would happen would be as a result of adding all the additional content from the feed to a page already targeted towards specific keywords.

I plan to continue posting regularly as any new developments occur. I’ve been getting a lot of email questions, and I ask that everyone please try to ask their questions in the comments on these posts whenever possible – unless you’ve got a question that can’t be shared publicly.

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