I guess you could call this a sequel to my original post on getting accepted by EPN, which I wrote on February 12th of last year. It’s funny, because of all the stuff on this site, this particular page gets by far the most traffic and most response. I originally wrote it as part of my series on setting up an eBay niche site, and really, I just threw it in as an afterthought because I had been getting some questions. Now, over a full year later, I still get probably about 2 comments/emails per day from readers asking my advice, or for me to review their site. If you’ve followed my blog for a long time, I hope you realize that I’ve never claimed to be an expert on EPN at all. I joined via CJ years ago, and was grandfathered into EPN, so I didn’t really experience the thrill of trying to get my site accepted, which is obviously a daunting task. Nevertheless, I created the post mentioned above based on things I’ve read, experiences with other affiliate programs, and common sense. I believe that a lot of people that have read my post have actually ended up getting accepted, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised or disappointed if a lot of them didn’t get accepted too.
Anyway, I got a somewhat negative comment today on this post from someone who didn’t bother to leave their name. I don’t have any problems publishing negative comments on my blog. I’ve done it before and I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on anything and I’m sure there are plenty of folks out there who disagree with my opinions on a lot of things. That being said, I’m always up for a debate, so if you’re going to post a negative comment on my blog, at least be prepared for me to challenge it. I was about halfway through writing a response comment when I realized I was probably already over the 500 word mark, and I decided to turn it into a post instead, so that I can better dissect it piece by piece, and also hopefully offer some new insight in regards to getting accepted by EPN based on what I’ve been seeing from people over the past year and 3 days. So here is the comment, notice that he didn’t bother to leave his name:
Too Funny says:
February 15, 2010 at 4:59 pm
This is hilarious…someone proposing too know what ebay is up to with their EPN. Thats like saying you know how to get one over on google search engines. eBay is full of jackasses that 1. cannot keep their site functioning properly, 2. consists of amateur, fresh out of college, inexpensive rate programmers with limited experience, and 3. are so corporate these days that they don’t care what you think or want. Google adsense is king and Amazon is a huge alternative as they do not say no because they think they know something about your website.
FYI “remove the ads from your site” may sneak you in but don’t think they will drop you as soon as you place those ads back. They will wait until you are about to hit a payment threshold, drop you from their program, and you forfeit payment from earned referral commissions. Wanna make money online? AVOID EBAY!
So just by reading through it, I am guessing that this is just some jack off that probably had a really shitty site and ended up getting banned from EPN for some unknown reason, and instead of doing something positive, he decided to stop by my site and leave this little rant on a post that isn’t really relevant to his own personal situation, because he was obviously accepted by EPN at some point, and his problem seems to be that he was banned from the program.
Anyway, let’s take a closer look at what he’s saying:
This is hilarious…someone proposing too know what ebay is up to with their EPN.
Hmmm. Well I can pretty easily tell that this person probably hasn’t read much of my site, or even that particular post. Especially since I clearly had the following disclaimer within the first paragraph of the post:
“I’ll preface these instructions by saying that I am not 100% sure on the best way to approach this because my experience was quite easy, but I believe by following these instructions you should be on the right track.”
Just so we’re clear, I absolutely don’t claim to know a damn thing about how EPN works. All I have to go by is my 2 years of personal experience, which has been a great deal of trial and error. Furthermore, I don’t think you’ll find anyone else outside of EPN who knows any real insider secrets. From my viewpoint the whole thing seems to be a total mess. Moving on…
Thats like saying you know how to get one over on google search engines.
Wow, what an idiotic statement. I guess that it depends on how you look at it, but SEO is pretty much about “getting one over” on Google. Whether you’re into white-hat seo or black-hat seo or both, chances are about 100% that you’re going to be trying to “get one over” on Google. I could go on and on about this particular sentence all day, but I think my regular readers get the point. But wow, what an incredibly dumb thing to say.
eBay is full of jackasses that
1. cannot keep their site functioning properly,
Huh? I mean I don’t understand what he’s getting at here. There were a couple days in the winter that EPN wasn’t working correctly, which they did do a makegood for, and I believe one of those days, it was a global problem with their entire site, not just EPN. Overall, those are the only 2 times I can think of in my 10+ years of doing business with eBay.
2. consists of amateur, fresh out of college, inexpensive rate programmers with limited experience,
I really don’t see what information you’re basing this on. The programming really isn’t the issue with EPN, in my opinion, it’s the way they’ve set up their payment structure, which has nothing to do with programming other than the actual implementation. As far as the actual interface goes, EPN is great for reports and stats. Compare it to Amazon and it’s not even close.
and 3. are so corporate these days that they don’t care what you think or want.
This I tend to agree with. I don’t know if it has to do with them being “corporate” or what the deal is, but overall, yes, I do agree that they don’t seem to care much about the feelings of their affiliates.
Google adsense is king
It’s all relative. I know of a lot of people who have done excellent on EPN or Amazon and don’t have the slightest idea how to make money with adsense. Each program is different, and this is especially true of adsense. Anyone can put up a “store” with pages of ebay listings, rinse, repeat, and make money. This was especially true 1-2 years ago. With AdSense, it’s a whole different story and it takes time to learn how to finesse it.
and Amazon is a huge alternative as they do not say no because they think they know something about your website.
Yeah, they are easy to get into. Great. If Amazon was SO great, then nobody would have a need for EPN at all. Funny, I keep getting emails DAILY from people trying to get into EPN, and I’m just a tiny drop in the bucket. There must be SOME reason so many people want to get into EPN. There’s plenty of money to be made with Amazon, but if it was the be-all end-all of affiliate marketing, I wouldn’t be writing this post write now, and this guy wouldn’t have bothered to take the time to drop this rant on my site, because he would be too busy picking out a new Bentley with his Amazon earnings.
FYI “remove the ads from your site” may sneak you in but don’t think they will drop you as soon as you place those ads back.
Again, another completely asinine thing to say. First off, probably 50% (at least) of people who ask me to review their site to see if it would get into EPN have a similar setup – shitty template, SMALL amount of actual real content, 50 different affiliate ads – Amazon, Adsense, CJ, Adbrite, Etc.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news guys, but if your site about dog leashes needs 6 different revenue streams for you to make money, you might be a redneck. But in all seriousness, this is like rule #1 for me – focus on 1 revenue stream. This doesn’t just apply to people trying to get in to EPN, this is just for MMO in general. If you’re going to run EPN on your site, run EPN. If you’re going to run AdSense, run adsense. If you cant sell enough dog leashes via EPN to make the site profitable, it’s time to scrap that idea and try something else, or focus on getting more targeted traffic. Basically, here’s what I think about people who ask me to look at their site, and they have a ton of different affiliate ads:
1. 99% of the time it looks shitty as hell to have so many ads on your site, and EPN will probably agree with me
2. If you are applying to EPN in the first place, the 50 different kinds of ads on your site must not be performing that well.
3. It’s not going to kill you to remove the ads for a couple weeks while your application is pending. If this is not the case, and you will be losing a serious amount of ad revenue, then start a different site and use that to apply to EPN and keep your current advertising model on your existing site.
Pretty simple, common sense. I don’t recommend anyone put 5 different kinds of affiliate ads on their site AFTER getting accepted. If you want in to EPN for your site, then use EPN on your site. If you want to use a bunch of other random shit, then do that and don’t even bother applying to EPN in the first place.
They will wait until you are about to hit a payment threshold, drop you from their program, and you forfeit payment from earned referral commissions.
Has this every happened to anyone – sadly yes. Was there a good reason? Maybe, maybe not. First off, I strongly doubt that the EPN team is monitoring people’s accounts, waiting for them to hit a “payment threshold”. In fact, in the case of this guy, he must have had a very small amount of earnings in his account when it was expired, because I haven’t thought twice about an EPN “payment threshold” since I joined. I have received a check from EPN every single month since I joined about 2 years ago, and I honestly could not tell you what the payment threshold is. I can say, that it’s highly unlikely that the EPN staff was sitting around their computers waiting for this guy’s account to reach $25 in earnings so they could expire his account. No, im sure there was a much better explanation – probably, he had 50 different kinds of affiliate ads on his site and a bunch of shitty spun content – if I had to guess.
Wanna make money online?
Look. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t necessarily recommend that anyone use EPN at this point, unless they’re alrady making a fair amount of money online from other sustainable programs. As of right now, I feel it is a much better long term strategy to master AdSense or Amazon, because they are a lot more stable. That doesn’t mean your AdSense account won’t get banned if you do some dumb shit, but overall the program is better run, and if you keep your shit above the table, you should be in good shape. Same deal with Amazon. If you can master either, you can make a TON of money, and it makes learning everything else easier too. EPN is probably the easiest of the three programs to make money online quickly and easily with, thats why a lot of people flock to it. Unfortunately, a lot of the people see a quick return with EPN and keep on doing shit the same way, and don’t bother to think about what the long term viability is going to be. Me for example, I built a ton of thin “store” like sites because I was doing well with them and they were incredibly easy to set up. Unfortunately, they were too easy. Same thing with the people who built the 100 .info BANS sites a couple years ago. Great idea, but no real long-term viability. People even now are still doing this kind of shit. They would rather sink their money into setting up hundreds of auto blogs, or sites that use a custom script to autogenerate Ebay listings, and otherwise have no real content. Sure, you might be making 2-3 grand right now, but eventually big G is going to sniff your operation out and shut it down overnight.
You can’t get away with shit like that using adsense, in most cases – so you have to learn how to build quality sites from the beginning. That’s why, if you can master AdSense first, you should have no problem doing well with eBay and Amazon.
Actual Tips to Help You Get Accepted By EPN
If you’ve read this far, you must really want to get the new tips I hinted at at the beginning of this article. Really, my last article covered it pretty well, but here are a couple of the most important points, rehashed, as well as a few new ideas.
Take the other ads off your site
Please, if you’re going to ask me to review your site, don’t bother if you have a ton of different affiliate offers on your site that consists of 5 actual pages of content. Be real. If all those ads are making you tons of money, don’t even bother applying to EPN. If they are making you nothing, like I would guess is the case 99% of the time, then take them off and put in your application. Then, DON’T put them back on if you DO get accepted. If you want to learn EPN, learn EPN. Having adbrite and adsense and CJ offers on your site isn’t going to do you any good.
Try using an aged domain
This is just common sense, but if possible, try submitting an aged site. I have no real hard information to base this on, but I believe an aged site would be preferable to a brand new site. If you’ve got a brand new site with good content that seems like it should be a home run, yet isn’t getting accepted, this could be the reason. If you know you’re going to want to apply some time in the future, it may not be a bad idea to start aging a domain right now, so you can apply 6 months from now.
Use a relevant site
The type of sites that perform well with Ebay, generally, are product related sites. If you’ve got a site about travelling to Iceland, chances are, there aren’t going to be as many opportunities to maximize your EPN revenue. There are plenty of affiliate programs that would work great for a site like this, but I would guess EPN wouldn’t be at the top of the list. This isn’t to say that you absolutely WON’T get accepted to EPN with a site that doesn’t seem like a great fit topic-wise, but if you’re having problems, this could be the reason.
Have a decent amount of content
It’s really important to have some content on your site when you apply. A good rule of thumb, in my opinion, is that if someone from EPN were to manually review your site, you would want it to be difficult for them to pinpoint how many pages your site actually is. I’ve had a lot of people ask me to look at their site, and within 10 seconds I can count the total number of pages on their site. This generally means you don’t have enough content. Take the time to add 10-20 solid length articles, at least.
Make the site look nice
Instead of having 50 ads in the post and the sidebar, take a few minutes and add some pictures and maybe a video or two. Use a theme that looks nice, try to avoid the shitty looking X-Factor style themes designed to get a good CTR. You can use whatever theme you want once your acceptd, but to get accepted, make it look like you actually have a little pride in your site and spend time maintaining it. I would guess that doing this goes a long way.
Incorporate the important elements
Generally, every site should have an About, Contact and Privacy page, at least. This is just standard good practice. Do yourself a favor and take 2 minutes to add these pages to your site. You really should have them anyway.
That’s it. I honestly don’t know if there’s anything else I can think of on the topic. I highly doubt there will be a third installment in this series. If people would like help with their site, or a review, I’m happy to do so. I ask that you please do so in the comments so that everyone can benefit.
To the person who left the comment, nothing personal, but if you’re going to drop a comment like that on a positive page designed to help people, for free, then the least you can do is have the balls to leave your name. I understand the negativity in the comment was geared more towards EPN than me, but just because you had a bad experience doesn’t mean you can go around telling other people the sky is falling with no context whatsoever. For all we know, you deserved to get kicked out of EPN because you did something dumb, and until you tell us otherwise, we’ll just have to run with that.