John has long since said that you shouldn’t stick all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to monetizing your blog. With the recent changes at Google, more people than ever are looking for advertising alternatives. You’ve heard of Kontera. You’ve heard of AuctionAds. And now you can combine the two ideas with ZinText, a contextual affiliate ad network that ordered up this review request.
In-Text Advertising For eBay
One of the greatest strengths of an in-text advertising solution is that it does not take up any extra space on your blog or website. Contrast this to the ad buttons in John’s sidebar, the Adsense blocks found on most blogs, and so forth. It was that in mind that ZinText was created. In a nutshell, your site or blog will get filled with a bunch of in-text ads — they look just like regular links — which will send clicks over to an appropriate eBay page. You can see the ads in action here.
You might be wondering why they chose eBay as the monetization method. Well, according to the developers of ZinText, the eBay affiliate program “delivers the best payouts, and that’s why we use it.” ZinText does not have an advertising network of its own and you don’t even need to “sign up” with them in the traditional sense. Instead, you just make use of accounts that you may already have.
No Additional Signups
In order to get started with ZinText, you need two pre-existing accounts. First, you must already be a part of eBay’s affiliate network. There are certain requirements and these are outside of ZinText’s control. If you’re not already a member, ZinText has happily provided you with an affiliate link for signing up.
Second, you must already be a member of Commission Junction, one of the Internet’s leaders in affiliate marketing, online advertising, and search engine marketing. This is because all payments are handled just as they normally would through Commission Junction; ZinText is your “silent partner” of sorts. You get to see your own stats and there’s no need to split commissions.
Implementation Requires a Single Step
As you can see, there is a field for you to put in your eBay PID and SID, as well as fields for defining the whitelist and blacklist. This allows you to control exactly which terms on your site will be linked to eBay and which will not. If you only want to target the word “iPhone”, that’s perfectly possible.
Revenue Share and Site Design
You might be wondering how ZinText manages to make any money if they don’t seem to be involved in the payment process in any way. After all, you’re getting the full eBay affiliate commission through CJ. Well, the FAQ says that “a (very tiny) portion of the clicks from your site go under our PID, so we make money the same way you do – from the eBay program.” For transparency and trust, I think ZinText should say exactly how big is this “very tiny portion.” There’s a huge difference between 5% and 25%, after all.
The product sounds solid enough, but where ZinText should spend a little more work is on their website. It looks terribly amateur-ish as it stands right now. I like the white space, but there’s far too much of it and the content is a little lacking. There’s only a single graphic and there’s not even a company logo in the top corner. It’s almost like this site was taken from the 90s! More “newbie” language would also be appreciated, because some folks might not know what PID or SID are.
Make Money Online With ZinText
I think that ZinText has a good concept and the revenue-sharing model works for me; they just have to tell me how the clicks are shared. Implementation is easy, but I can’t seem to find any options for changing the color of the in-text links. At the same time, because it requires so little effort — assuming you already have an eBay affiliate and CJ account — there’s little harm in giving ZinText a trial run.