There was a little dust up on the official Amazon Affiliates forum the other day, where one user posted about his price comparison site and about a spike in his daily earnings that quickly went away.
This type of thing happens quite often. Someone trying to get free traffic or backlinks posts to the Amazon Affiliates forum since the links don’t appear to be nofollowed. Of course, the entire forum is hidden behind the Amazon Affiliates login page so that search engines never see any of it. But that doesn’t seem to deter people who try it.
As usual some people congratulated him, others asked how he did it, and at least one argued that he couldn’t have possibly made $700 in one day off his site.
So, let’s do a little analysis and try to settle the argument. I’d post a link to the original discussion, but it’s only accessible to people with Amazon affiliate accounts so I’m not going to bother. The question is, can a price comparison site make money?
I don’t know either of the people involved here, nor am I involved at all in the site in question, nor was I asked by anyone to do this. I just like to analyze other people’s affiliate sites and see if I can learn anything. I also don’t know anyone’s names here, but lets call the site owner “Danny” and the non-believer “Steve” just for the sake of it. Those actually might be their real names, as I did a couple of quick Google searches for their site names and forum user names. If I got it right, let that be a lesson on how easy it might be for someone to snoop your name. Danny, don’t look a gift link in the mouth.
The site in question is Deallooker.com. It’s a price comparison site, and actually a darn well coded one at that. It’s fairly fast, has some bells and whistles and compared to other price comparison sites has a decent layout. Danny says he got the site “from a friend”.
Let’s look more closely. Deallooker.com is a Shopzilla data feed site. They take an API feed from Shopzilla that simply lists different places a product is on sale and the price with an affiliate link to buy that product. If you were to go to that site, click a link, and buy something, the good folks at Shopzilla will get a commission from the product sale and the person running the affiliate site gets a portion of that commission from Shopzilla. They probably also added some of their own Amazon links in there too, since last I checked the Shopzilla feed doesn’t include Amazon products.
Unfortunately, some of the data is gone since I started writing this post a few weeks ago. A few of my tools reported that “Danny” did spend a bunch of money on Adwords during December and thus his site received a nice traffic spike. Look at their Alexa numbers for the past 30 and 90 days:
What “Dennis” likely learned is that price comparison websites can certainly make money, but you have to put a ton of advertising cash into them! My favorite one of these sites is called best-price.com. The site is completely generic and bland, and despite being around since 2006, they don’t rank very high in search engines for any good keywords and thus have little search engine traffic. Check them out on Alexa.com yourself though, best-price.com is in the top 4000 websites by traffic in the world list!
How do they do it? My favorite website analysis tools estimate best-price.com spends $4,000,000 PER MONTH on Google Adwords traffic bidding on over 1,000,000 keywords! Now, these tools aren’t infallible, but they’re generally reasonably accurate. If they aren’t getting a discount from Google with that level of spending I would be shocked, but I would put best-price.com’s spends each month at least about the $1-2million mark.
How much do they make? Hard to say for sure. From experience sending traffic directly to Amazon back in 2008, I had to work hard every day tweaking my ads and spend around $4,000 on advertising to make around $1000.
But think about it. Where else could you invest $4000 and get a 25% rate of return PER MONTH. Hell, even a 10% return each month beats anything you’re going to find on Wall St.
So there you have it folks. My final analysis? Sure, deallooker.com could have a $700 day. But I bet they spent at least $500 on advertising to get it, and/or “Dennis” worked his butt off spamming links in forums and the like. But he didn’t get it from organic search traffic, that’s for darn sure. If you’re not willing to create the original content and wait for the organic search traffic, it sure does take money to make money.
For those of you poor broke souls out there, search engine traffic is can still be had for free. It just takes time and effort.
What do you think? Have any questions about the above analysis or the tools I used to do it? Comment below!