Affiliate Marketing Income Report: August 2014

October 14, 2014 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Okay, I realize that my blog is now starting to become like 50% of just monthly income reports, so I will leave this one as the latest one for a while, even if it means falling behind on them again.

Sadly, this income report won’t be very inspiring. In fact, it will be a little bit depressing, as I saw a big drop in profit in August – over half of what I did the previous month.

This is even more noticeable when you consider that the past 3 months collectively brought in just under $50,000 in profit ($48,997.44).

I feel really disappointed when I net under $10,000 in a month. After salary and taxes, I am not left with very much in company savings.

Anyway, enough moping, let’s see how August 2014 performed:

August 2014 Affiliate Campaign Income:

$27,317.35

Affiliate Network Breakdown:

  • Affiliate Network #1: $13,801.60
  • Affiliate Network #2: $43.75
  • Affiliate Network #3: $280.00
  • Affiliate Network #4: $13,192.00

(This includes conversion from foreign currencies to USD)

Expenses:

$21,291.31


Traffic Source Breakdown:

  • Traffic Source #1: $13,936.22
  • Traffic Source #2: $2,034.89
  • Traffic Source #3: $3,035.16
  • Traffic Source #4: $542.07
  • Traffic Source #4: $1,037.73
  • Traffic Source #5: $705.24   

Net Profit:

$6,026.04

Ugh… 4 figures. It could be worse though…

2014 Affiliate Marketing Results

First, here’s a recap of how 2013 fared for the entire year:

Year Gross Expense Net ROI
2013 $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Total: $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Monthly Average: $68,657.00 $47,085.36 $21,571.64 46%

And here’s a monthly breakdown of 2014 so far:

Month Gross Expense Net ROI
January 2014 $10,922.80 $8,908.47 $2,014.33 23%
February 2014 $25,941.97 $15,900.52 $10,041.45 63%
March 2014 $24,202.06 $15,408.95 $8,793.11 57%
April 2014 $3,486.55 $3,150.00 $336.55 11%
May 2014 $57,015.00 $38,765.01 $18,249.99 47%
June 2014 $60,753.58 $43,095.35 $17,658.23 41%
July 2014 $50,162.81 $37,073.59 $13,089.22 35%
August 2014 $27,317.35 $21,291.31 $6,026.04 28%
Total: $259,802.12 $183,593.20 $76,208.92 42%
Monthly Average: $32,475.27 $22,949.15 $9,526.12 42%

That puts my monthly average so far this year back down to 4 figures. I’m at $76K net profit so far this year after 8 months in. That puts me on pace to hit $114K profit this year – which may sound good, but would still only be half of what I pulled in last year.

Hmm… can’t be greedy though… $114K/year is still pretty good!

The Larger Picture: 20-Month Analysis

Below are my overall numbers from my campaigns since I started recording them in January 2013:

January 2013 to August 2014 Gross Expense Net ROI
20-Month Total: $1,083,686.13 $748,617.53 $335,068.60 45%
Monthly Average: $54,184.31 $37,430.88 $16,753.43 45%

Getting close to 2 years of recording my affiliate marketing stats, my monthly average sits at $16,750. I’m quite happy with that. It will be interesting to see what that number sits in in another 6 months from now.

August Recap

August was pretty stressful for me. The month started off strong, continuing off where July’s fairly strong month left off. Then, about a week in, one of the offers I was running went down and it didn’t look like it was going to come back. I focused on a couple of other offers instead which were doing quite well too, but then a couple weeks later, those went down as well.

I was actually at a higher profit earlier into the month but it quickly dwindled I kept spending more money testing new offers, targeting, LP’s, and traffic sources.

Also in August I had tried a new traffic network for the first time. A pretty popular one that a lot of you know. After a lot of delays and headaches (their billing department leaves a lot to be desired, plus I accidentally billed to my wrong credit card…) I finally tried them out with some small tests. Ouch – they were absolutely horrible. I normally don’t give up on a traffic source so quickly, but the results were just horrendous, and they were far too bureaucratic for a traffic source. I likely will never use them again.

I also tried another new source in August for the first time, this time a much smaller network. Results were pretty bad at first, but after a while I started to see some potential. I continued to use them for another couple months before deciding that it just wasn’t worth trying to make work anymore. It’s pretty bad but does show a little bit of potential for some small, select, profitable campaigns. I will likely try them again in the future, but only when I have some better offers running.

Overall, August was pretty busy for me. I was constantly analyzing and optimizing campaigns and trying new traffic sources and offers. I don’t feel like the end result ($6K) was quite worth the effort I put in.

September Plans and Predictions

Normally in this section I list the plans I have for the upcoming month as well as predict how I think the month will fare profit-wise. However, since September has already come and gone, I will be skipping this section in this report since I already know how it went.

Stay tuned to see for yourself!

Posted: October 14th, 2014 under Affiliate Marketing 14 Comments

I’m the Face of Harvard, Indonesian Cuisine, and Indian Snacks

October 9, 2014 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Six and a half years ago, I commissioned for a custom mascot logo to be made of me for my blog. It wasn’t cheap as I went with the best designer in the field that I could find (Sergio from SOSFactory.com – it’s going to cost you upwards of around $1,000 now if you’re wondering).

I then had my blog redesigned around the logo to match the look and feel of it, and the redesign did absolute wonders for my blog, taking it from zero to hero.

It was phenomenal for my "brand" and identity and I even had alternate versions made of me such as for Halloween, Christmas, different poses, etc.

A lot of websites and blogs linked to my mascot and blog as a source of inspiration for good branding and identity, and as a result, a bunch of thieving, no-good, scum designers blatantly ripped off my mascot logo. Most of these guys added something small such as a moustache, hat, or changing the letters on my shirt, but otherwise they copied the mascot virtually pixel by pixel.

This has been done so many times that I can’t references all the cases here. I’d say there have been at least a dozen instances of this happening. Some people have even had the nerve to slap my mascot logo on their own money making blog! I hate it when people have no sense of originality.

Anyhow, this problem didn’t just isolate itself to small-time wannabe bloggers. It spread pretty high up… here are 3 of the most incriminating examples:

Indian Snacks

A couple days ago, Sergio himself notified me of the most recent rip-off. Apparently, one of his followers from India found this and posted a picture on his Facebook page:

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So… it looks like a snack company called Vijay’s in India is now using my logo as their own. Oh, they changed "TC" on the shirt to a V and the shoes from red to white – my mistake.

Now, before I continue, I’m going to address the fact that the owners of these companies probably didn’t intentionally steal my mascot logo, but more likely hired a cheap talentless freelance designer who did intentionally steal my mascot logo. It makes me wonder just how often this happens…

Kebab Kings

This one bugs me because I made numerous attempts to contact the company informing them of their violation of my design, and they responded saying that they would take it down, but it doesn’t appear that they have. Although, it’s possible that the webmaster who may be in charge of design as well, intercepted my e-mail and didn’t pass it further up the chain to hide his crime.

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The company is Kebab Kings and is an Indonesian franchise that sells Kebabs on various types of kiosks and food stands. They apparently have over 700 food stands throughout the country… it’s almost worth trying to sue them, but an international lawsuit might not be worth it…

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I’m on a boat…

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Another of the countless photos I can find…

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People eyeing the kebab stand due to my mascot logo luring them in…

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Harvard University

I’ve saved the best for last.

No, you didn’t read that heading wrong. Believe it or not, Harvard University, the oldest and most revered institution of higher education in the United States, actually ripped off my mascot logo as well.

I was made aware of this by a person named Bryce who sent me the following e-mail:

"Hey Tyler,

I was visiting Harvard University a month or so and took a tour. I spotted this
tour company using your logo. Pretty sure they ripped you off OR the company
that created it re-used it. "

I couldn’t believe it when he accompanied the e-mail with this photo he took:

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My God. Harvard University!? What’s next? Microsoft? NASA? 

After a bit of digging around, it appears that the culprit may not have been Harvard directly itself, but rather the (possibly 3rd company) tour company that it has on campus run by a company called Trademark Tours. This tour specifically is called the Hahvahd Tour.

I e-mailed the Vice President for Public Affairs & Communications at Harvard as well as the contact e-mail addresses for HarvardTour.com, and TrademarkTours.com and was surprised to receive a reply only 18-minutes later:

"Greetings Tyler,

We will take this down TODAY. We commissioned a third party design firm to create our logo. We were under the impression that the design supplied to us was an original. "

Even more surprising was that less than 2 hours later, they actually REPLACED the banner poster that used my mascot logo (it looks like they replaced the bottom section and then painted or taped over a bit of the bottom of the top section.), and sent me a photo for proof:

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So, I am very happy with how Harvard, or Trademark Tours, handled this situation. Again, it appears to be another issue of hiring a 3rd-party design company that steals other people’s images to present as their own.

The silly thing is, the designers appear to do a decent job of modifying the image by adding a hat and whatnot – so why don’t they just do the whole design instead of taking shortcuts? It’s not like they aren’t capable…

Perhaps I just answered my own question though – shortcuts.

Anyhow, there you have it: 3 examples of blatant commercial stealing of my mascot logo. There are a lot more examples I could share, but these are the most notable ones (that I know about!).

Posted: October 9th, 2014 under Miscellaneous 22 Comments

Affiliate Marketing Income Report: July 2014

September 27, 2014 Posted by Tyler Cruz

сондажи

Yup, it’s another report. I don’t want to get too behind these things again, so I thought I’d go ahead and get July up before I let my procrastination get the better of me.

With both May and June being great months for me (netting $18,249.99 and $17,658.23 profit respectively), I had a continued determination to keep my numbers up.

I wrote about this before, but I have an odd sense of motivation; if my numbers are doing well or really poorly, then I feel urged to work more and get my numbers up. In contrast, if my numbers are just low to mediocre, then I get a bit lazy and complacent. I think it’s partly because if my numbers are really low, then I simply need to work on getting them up, and if they are doing well, then I want to try to hit new personal bests due to my uber-competitive nature.

Anyway, let’s see how July 2014 fared:

July 2014 Affiliate Campaign Income:

$50,162.81

A bit lower than both May and June, but still pretty good.

Affiliate Network Breakdown:

  • Affiliate Network #1: $24,989.95
  • Affiliate Network #2: $6,019.04
  • Affiliate Network #3: $14,313.00
  • Affiliate Network #4: $4,840.82

(This includes conversion from foreign currencies to USD)

Expenses:

$37,073.59


Traffic Source Breakdown:

  • Traffic Source #1: $28,399.02
  • Traffic Source #2: $2,672.02
  • Traffic Source #3: $5,331.97
  • Traffic Source #4: $670.58

Net Profit:

$13,089.22

Okay, so it’s a bit of a drop from May and June… that’s okay. The truth is that I’m always pretty happy whenever I break $10,000/month profit.

2014 Affiliate Marketing Results

First, here’s a recap of how 2013 fared for the entire year:

Year Gross Expense Net ROI
2013 $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Total: $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Monthly Average: $68,657.00 $47,085.36 $21,571.64 46%

And here’s a monthly breakdown of 2014 so far:

Month Gross Expense Net ROI
January 2014 $10,922.80 $8,908.47 $2,014.33 23%
February 2014 $25,941.97 $15,900.52 $10,041.45 63%
March 2014 $24,202.06 $15,408.95 $8,793.11 57%
April 2014 $3,486.55 $3,150.00 $336.55 11%
May 2014 $57,015.00 $38,765.01 $18,249.99 47%
June 2014 $60,753.58 $43,095.35 $17,658.23 41%
July 2014 $50,162.81 $37,073.59 $13,089.22 35%
Total: $232,484.77 $162,301.89 $70,182.88 43%
Monthly Average: $33,212.11 $23,185.98 $10,026.13 43%

Hey, I like it! $70K net so far this year with an average of $10K/net a month. I’m on pace to hit $120K profit this year – which may sound good, but it would only be half of what I pulled in last year.

Hmm… can’t be greedy though… $120K/year is still pretty good!

The Larger Picture: 19-Month Analysis

Below are my overall numbers from my campaigns since I started recording them in January 2013:

January 2013 to July 2014 Gross Expense Net ROI
19-Month Total: $1,056,368.78 $727,326.22 $329,042.56 45%
Monthly Average: $55,598.36 $38,280.33 $17,318.03 45%

What’s interesting is that even though I pulled in $13K profit last month, it still brought my overall monthly average down. That just shows you how good 2013 was for me…

July Recap

I didn’t do anything too interesting in July. Mostly, I maintained what I had going.

In addition to that, I continued launching a lot of campaigns on that new traffic source that I started in May in order to try to learn it better and find profitable targets. It’s really not a great source, but it does have a few pockets of profitable targets here and there.

I also revisited an affiliate network I hadn’t used in quite a while… like 8+ months or so. I had done good volume with them before, but their offers fizzled out for me and they weren’t really getting many new ones so I let them be until now. Their new offer did really good for me, which you will hear more about in my August report.

August Plans and Predictions

Normally in this section I list the plans I have for the upcoming month as well as predict how I think the month will fare profit-wise. However, since August has already come and gone, I will be skipping this section in this report since I already know how it went.

Stay tuned to see for yourself!

Posted: September 27th, 2014 under Affiliate Marketing 14 Comments

An Update on My Real Estate Investing

September 22, 2014 Posted by Tyler Cruz

A couple of months ago, I announced how I was thinking of investing $200,000 in real estate.

It wasn’t just a passing thought. I am very serious about this and will likely be purchasing a property soon enough. If you haven’t read my other post yet, you might want to go and take a look as I explain why I’m taking such a large deviation from the online world.

I’ve done a number of things and made decent progress since my last blog post, but am still taking things relatively slow. This post will focus on what I’ve done since my announcement on getting into the real estate game.

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Met With My Accountant

While I’m still waiting on my corporate year end returns to be completed (they should be done any day now), I arranged to meet up with my accountant to discuss my financials as well as real estate investing and investing in general.

I walked away from the meeting with the following things in mind:

  • He agrees that real estate investing is a good option for me and my situation
  • He believes that any rental income made is minimal at best and that the real money is made when you sell, insinuating adding value
  • I learned the basic of capital gains

I also discussed other things with him as well, but the above is what we mostly discussed in terms of real estate.

Spoke Further with My Mortgage Broker

I communicated a bit more with my mortgage broker (whom I’ve used for my past 2 personal purchases). I have yet to receive an official pre-approval because she needs my corporate year ends first… but I urged her for an unofficial one until then.

She tells me that for investment property, unlike personal property, the banks look very closely at cashflow, and that is the primary ingredient when it comes to lending approval. In general, a 20% down payment is allowed.

She left me a voicemail saying that properties up to $800,000 (and perhaps a bit over) are within my grasp.

Both the local market and interest rates are starting to rise fairly rapidly here, so I should not wait too long.

Hired a New Realtor

I was very much on the fence on who I should use for a realtor.

The realtor I had been using for my condo sale and house purchase was fantastic, but this is business and I really wanted someone who was investor friendly and an investor themself.

I did a lot of research and reached out to a number of investor-friendly realtors here and was surprised when none of them contacted me back.

When I hire someone, I’m all about quick response time, so the fact that they didn’t even bother to respond to me was not a good sign.

I ended up going with a local realtor/investor who I had already been communicating with on an online real estate investor forum. He is a numbers guy like me and actually has a background in the computer software business before he sold it and moved on to real estate.

His focus is on profitability and investment and not on smacking on cologne and shaking hands, which is what I am looking for. He is also very eager and willing to help me learn the ropes of real estate investing, and so I am getting the added benefit of a mentor in that regard.

He is very passionate, too. In his first follow-up e-mail to me, it spanned 8 pages and (I just pasted it to Word) included 2,370 words, and it wasn’t a pre-canned response. It was well-written and thought out. That should give you an idea as to his commitment.

Anyway, after a lot of e-mail exchanges, we met up in person just to make our meeting "official" at his and his wife’s (I get 2 realtors in one!) office to do some more discussing and narrowing down of what I’m looking for.

The Numbers Game

Even though I struggled through math in high school, I absolutely love analyzing things with numbers. I do it every day in affiliate marketing, but it’s even more prominent in real estate… in fact, it’s really mostly about the numbers which is why it’s such a good fit for me.

I created an Excel sheet to work out the numbers on potential property purchases. It is constantly evolving and improving over time as I learn new things. Below is a screenshot of one of the properties I had looked at:

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Not seen here, there is also a second tab sheet at the bottom which includes a very detailed and comprehensive mortgage calculation breakdown from a template I had downloaded. It includes a lot of features, my favourite being extra payment calculations (how things would look if I made an extra X payment every X frequency, for example).

Looking at the property analysis above, you can see that it’s not a good buy for me, as I’d end up losing $250 a month.

I am a bit safe on the numbers (the added 5% contingency fund for example isn’t exactly needed when I already have Repairs and Maintenance at 10%), but it’s always better to be on the safe side and be pleasantly surprised later, than try to make the numbers work and be in big trouble down the road.

My New Targets

My original plan when I decided I wanted to buy a rental property was to buy 1 (or 3) cheap apartments in cash and start cashflowing from the get-go. I also enjoyed the fact that there’d be a hell of a lot less stuff for me to worry about since I wouldn’t have to worry about anything outside of the interior of the unit.

The problem with apartments, I soon learned, is that in my local market the strata fees (basically like HOA fees in the US) are so high and the rent so relatively low (in comparison to price) that after all expenses and contingencies are accounted for, I might walk away with $100 profit a month on a $70,000 apartment.

$1,200 before taxes on a $70,000 investment is a 1.7% ROI in my first year. No thanks.

My corporation pays out around $5,200 a month in salary (and taxes) to myself. That means that if I wanted to "retire", I’d need literally 52 of those $70K apartments to do so. That would cost me 3.6 million dollars. There are better opportunities for my money out there.

What I’ve learned is that I what I really need to do is add value if I want to make money in real estate. It’s just like website flipping. Nobody is going to sell a website that is consistently making $1,000 a month profit for $12,000, because anyone would snatch it up at that price and just wait a year to make his money back. They will list it at a far higher price. It is then up to the buyer to add value, whether it be redesigning the website, adding more features, or obtaining more traffic.

The same thing goes with real estate. Listings will be listed at fair market value (more or less) – the trick is to find properties where you can add value to extract more out of it than what you put in. Apartments offer the least amount of value possibilities since you are limited to just the basic interior of the unit – and even then, you can only raise rent by so much, that any increase in rent via renovations is negligible.

And so, what I’m looking for in an investment property is changing. Apartments are definitely out. Small multiplexes (4-10 units) aren’t looking too great for me either… but aren’t out of the running yet. The problem is that I’d need to put a much larger down payment in order for them to turn a profit for me, otherwise the mortgage just eats it all up. Basically, I’d need to put down (that’s not the purchase price!) around $350,000-$400,000 in order to cashflow on those properties, unless some really good deal pops up.

Full duplexes are definitely an option (this one tickles my fancy) – although there aren’t that many to choose from here.

My realtor has been working on opening my repertoire to adding in single family homes that have room for a carriage house in the back, and then building a carriage home on the land and basically getting 2 rents out of one land property.

My city has a bylaw that allows carriage homes to be built here and rented out; I looked at a nearby city that allows for carriage homes, but they aren’t allowed to be rented out… so maybe this is a way that I can take advantage of my local climate (because investment real estate here can’t compare at all to most of the states!)

In fact, this is what my realtor does for himself as an investor, and so he has a lot of first-hand experience doing this. I’d definitely need my hand held if I was to go this route though, as I’ve never gone through the process of having a house built from scratch before (I’m not looking forward to all the city red tape, let alone all the contracting crap!).

I’ll Keep You Posted

Anyhow, there’s my update on my real estate investing stuff.

It’s completely different from the world wide web so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully it doesn’t alienate too many readers either. And I can promise that my posts will get pretty damn interesting if and once I ever acquire up to 3+ properties.

Posted: September 22nd, 2014 under Miscellaneous 12 Comments