Justin Consuegra of The Men’s Gift Guide sent a ReviewMe request to have his blog reviewed. In his request, he asked me to review the overall blog. However, I’m going to give him more than his bargain for. I’m going to expose his entire business model.
Back in 2005 Consuegra started an eCommerce store call The Round Table. The online store, based in Midlothian, VA, sells unique gifts for hard-to-buy-for men. You’ll find all the cool toys for boys at The Round Table.
It all started when I stopped believing in Santa. Since then, each and every October my mother has asked me the exact same question: “What do you want for Christmas?”. And every October I have given her the exact same answer: “I don’t know.”. I believe that it is universally accepted that men are the hardest people to buy gifts for. Some men may be easier than others. If they have a strong hobby or interest, with infinite accessories available, gifts can possibly flow easily. Even in this case, gifts can get predictable and boring. I decided it was time to do something about it.
The problem with the The Round Table is the same as most eCommerce stores – Google won’t rank you. Google gives preferential treatment to content based sites/blogs and will push eCommerce sites out of the index in order to force them buy their position with Google AdWords. Of course, Google will never admit to doing this but ask any eCommerce stores trying to get to the front of Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) how hard it is to outrank a blog and you’ll see that Google is every bit as evil as me. To get around this Google sandbox, Consuegra did what many eCommerce stores are doing – start a blog and have the blog link to the store.
More Than Just A Promotional Arm
The Men’s Gift Guide is more than just the promotional arm of The Round Table store. The blog has turned into a pretty cool gift blog. And it looks like it makes money on its own right. While many of the gifts listed in New Stuff are from The Round Table store, there are just as many (if not more) gifts from other online merchants. The Men’s Gift Guide list 21 merchants in their resources page.
The Men’s Gift Guide is divided into eight sections: Home, About Us, Gift Ideas, New Stuff, Product Reviews, Resources, Thoughts, and Stuff To Check Out. The guide isn’t updated that often. There’s been 14 posts this month and only 6 posts last month. I guess new gifts for men doesn’t come out at the same rate as new dresses for women. The current gift on the front page is a Super Mario Bros. Sound Block. I love Super Mario so I think I’m going to pick one up. The same goes for that High End Rubik’s Cube.
A Great Example Of An Affiliate Marketing Blog
The Men’s Gift Guide is a great example of an affiliate marketing blog. While the blog does have sponsored ad buttons, AdBrite and Google AdSense ads, I would say a fair chunk of the blog’s income comes from affiliate sales. Many of the gift links are affiliate links or direct links back to The Round Table. The Men’s Gift Guide either signed up for the affiliate program directly with the merchant or used a 3rd party network like Linkshare or CJ. No disclosure is made about the affiliate links but that’s how affiliate blogs work. Most readers wouldn’t care. They’re reading the blog to find gift ideas. I doubt they’re concern the blog owner is making a cut of sale.
What Consuegra should do however, is hide his affiliate links. In the past year, Google and other search engines has gotten a lot better at detecting affiliate only websites and removing them from the search index. The Men’s Gift Guide is not an affiliate only blog but there are a fair amount of affiliate links so Google may place less trust in it. The easiest way to prevent the detection of an affiliate link is with a redirect. You can find out how to do that in my Hiding Affiliate Links For Better SEO post.
It’s Really Targeted For Guys
You would think The Men’s Gift Guide is targeted for women looking to buy stuff for guys. However, from reading the blog, I can see it’s targeted to guys who want to give their girlfriends/wives ideas on what to buy them. While the blog is about gifts for men, I’m sure just as many women would love to receive a Iceberg Lettuce Safe. I’m going to add that to the shopping list.