Domain up for grabs – GetAnHonestOpinion.com

does this dress suit me?

The idea behind this site was to solve a problem that people have in their everyday lives. Whether it’s getting a new haircut, do those sunglasses really work for you, or even can you really pull off a leather jacket?

Friends and family are likely to say something (nice), randoms on the internet forums are likely to say another (mean), neither of which are honest.

What if you could simply upload a photo, safe in the knowledge no-one else would ever see it, apart from people you have never met who are incentivised to give an honest opinion via gamification

An idea for a simple Facebook/Mobile app ensued, hence i bought the domain.

At the moment ‘m too busy on other projects and have no chance of devoting enough time to this project to do it justice.

So if you would like to take it on or have a better idea for the domain then just get in contact and it could be yours. Sitting on a domain is just bad karma.

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iTunes Affiliate program – monetising the rising demand

With the two of the big must have gifts this year being the new iPad and updated iPod/iPhone, one thing that’s sure to follow is a massive demand by these new owners for recommendations on what Apps to purchase.

There are so many Apps on the iTunes store that merely looking at the Top 25 or even the Featured sections really doesn’t cut it for new owners, looking to get in on the ‘App’ revolution bandwagon.

To fill this void recommendation sites are becoming more and more popular, just doing a search for ‘Top 10 apps for …’ will return a ridiculous number of results. Thus anyone savvy enough to create and SEO well enough sites that promise ‘Top 10 apps for office productivity’ or ‘Top 10 apps for travelling’ can easily gain a lot of traffic.
Converting all this traffic into real money is the next step, made easier by iTunes programme on the Linkshare platform. With it you can:

1.) Create tracked links to individual products (Apps, songs, books etc)

2.) Create a feed of updated links with preset rules – i.e. Top 25 paid apps in the Photography genre

3.) Use the iTunes search API, and then push the returned link back through the Linkshare or Tradedoubler to create a monetising tracking link.

Pros & ConsWatch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

The search functionality is the only awkward bit, having to utilise the functionality of two API’s. Whilst you can use the Linkshare Merchandiser Query API to search for products and be returned tracking links immediately, you run the risk of the data being out of date. The iTunes search API is far superior, offering a plethora of search options . The only downside is then having to push the product links returned back through Linkshare to create a tracking link, adding more overhead.

Commission

The rates are quite low at between 4 and 5%, so it’s all about numbers. Your site should be uncluttered, with a clear call to action to follow the iTunes link and buy the product.

What is certain is that with the arrival of the new iPad, and demand expected to rise further, sites linked to searches like ‘Top 10 iPad apps for [insert niche here]’ will only gain more popularity, so if you already write about products available on iTunes store or are planning getting into it, now would be the perfect time.

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Groupon API Review & Example

Everyone must have heard of Groupon.com by now, the deal-of-the-day company that launched a couple of years ago, and due to an agressive expansion and pervasive online ad campaign is now worth over a billion dollars.

Joining the service and accessing their Deals via their API is straight forward enough.

1.) Signup to their API to get your API key ->http://www.groupon.com/pages/api

2.) Signup to commission junction who run their Affiliate program, and get your CJ account id -> http://www.cj.com

3.) Consult the Groupon API documentation, and make calls on it retrive the desired Deals (by location or Division as they refer to it).  Prefix the returned Deal URLs with this:

http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-[CJ_ACCOUNT_ID]-10804307?url=

Replacing the [CJ_ACCOUNT_ID] with your own CJ account id. So a link to a deal using my CJ account id would be something like ->

The API is split into two main sections, one returning the availiable locations (or divisions) that offers are availiable in. And one that returns the deals themselves, passing to it a division from the former, a longditude/latitude or nothing and let the API try and work out your location for itself.

Pros & Cons:
My initial thought was that the responses from the API seem unnecessarily bloated, but after chatting with their technical team there is a partially documented feature with the deal API, adding a show parameter and then comma delimiting the nodes you wish returned will restrict the results to only return those nodes.

e.g. suffixing – show=title,dealUrl,largeImageUrl,pitchHtml – will return the basic information you need, in a much better size for Mobile usage where traffic size is a premium.

Divisions – AKA Locations – Only the North America is supported at the moment, with Deals in the U.K. being handled by AffiliateWindow and served through their own API.

On the whole though it is a nice and simple to use API, it’s just a shame about lack of Inventory outside of the US.

Commission:
For referring existing Groupon users to Deals – between 2% and 5%.
For referring new users to Groupon, between 10% and 15%.
So there is quite an incentive to refer new members, meaning that while current areas (US & Canada, Brazil, western Europe, and Japan) may topout in terms of new signups in the near future, if you have any Apps or sites targeting areas not currently serviced by Groupon (China, India etc) it might be worth integrating Groupon as soon as they do. If  past form is anything to go by then the rewards could be very lucrative.

Here’s a little Flash AS3 demo of the Groupon API in action. The code for which can be downloaded for free below.

N.B. It’s important to remember that when using a service like this some conditions may apply, in this case conforming with the Groupon Branding Guidelines. Whilst it may be easy to ignore them and assume no-one will notice, it is of course just as easy for them to switch off your API key, so save yourself the hassle.

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Coull Video Performance Network

Over the past year i’ve been over at Coull.com as head of design and tech, building a brand new Affiliate Network focused around video. This is quite an exciting prospect, given that the growth in online video is showing signs of accelerating further this year, teamed with the continued strength of the global Affiliate market.

Coull’s proposition differs from legacy Affiliate Networks like AffiliateWindow and Commission Junction, in that instead of competing with them, we add to them by combining all of their strong points in the form of their Merchants under one roof, and then provide the ability to link those Merchant products to video. Whether that be a Television ad looking for longtail internet usage, or joe blogs doing a product review at home. We can even use videos straight from popular video sharing sites like YouTube. Delivered straight to publisher sites enabling them to make a new, exciting and very profitable source of revenue.

As technical architect of the network, I’ve placed a heavy focus on openness not just of our technical API’s, but also on our plans for the future. Now the hard work of creating the Network is complete, me and my team are working hard to add new features and provide close support to Publishers looking to use our Network, or simply giving advice on making money from video where ever we can.

As such this blog will now be dedicated not just my work at Coull, but news and comment and free code on the cutting edge developments in the Affiliate Market space. This year will undoubtedly feature, video, mobile and of course using Facebook apps, games and updates to transform social marketing.

Here’s to 2012.

Aden Forshaw, CTO – Coull.com

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Using the Amazon Product API with AS3 – #FreeCodeSunday

This is really an update to an earlier post on how to use the Amazon Product API search and retrive products, all tied to your Amazon account. Using this information you can present information about each product, and drive traffic to the product page on Amazon. If the user then purchases the Product then you recieve a small amount of commission.

The problem with the old post was that Amazon changed their API requiring the request be signed and have a timestamp, so really the main new part is the included .php file, which you will of course need to edit to include your Amazon secret api key. To get one and see their documentation click here…

So if you can intergrate this information into a fun game or app and drive engagement through to the Product on Amazon in a way that is useful enough to your users that they then purchase the product, then you can make a few pennys. Well… maybe enough to buy lunch.


The source code goes into how to change the filter to search dvds instead of music, and there’s full API code to parse the XML for each Product into a Class instance to code against.

Credit for how to intergrate the Amazon signature methodology must go to www.ilovebonnie.net

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Using Amazon Products API and Flash

Update:Due to the Amazon API changes requiring Signature and Timestamps which breaks this post, i have created a new post which updates this process here….

EDIT:There was a bug with the demo when showing a product with no customer review as i’m using that as the flavour text in this demo. Fixed in demo and source code.

Continuing the theme of Affiliate marketing, here’s a free source code demo of how to use Amazon products in flash. It uses similar process’s I’ve demoed before, signing up for the API, creating a php page to receive the keywords then search the Amazon API, and then return the data in XML format to the Flash front end.

To get started yourself, register for Amazon associates account – http://aws.amazon.com/associates/, then download the example code, change my code for yours so you receive the percentage, and play away.

<!–

<!–

Here I’ve just parsed the response xml for the products into instances of my AmazonProductData.as Class. This makes it easy to code against, and be confident in the ability to retrieve basic data about each product without spelling or case mistakes. As long as you’re using FlashDevelop, FDT or FlexBuilder that is.

I will make a full scale tutorial on how to use the API, parse the data and create a simple front end like this when i get a chance and finish creating LearnToFlash.com .

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