Triggit, an application which allows you to dynamically place ads on your website, was launched last week with many bloggers suggesting that it would make monetizing your websites and blogs a lot easier.
On the face of it, Triggit is a product that everyone who wants to make money with a blog or website should start using today. As Shoemoney says, ‘the one big complaint I have about Amazon is its such a pain in the butt to log in and get my affiliate link for a product… Triggit makes this process SO SIMPLE‘ and he’s right. Manually coding affiliate links into your website can be time consuming so anything that makes life easier has got to be a good thing, right?
Well after a couple of days playing around with Triggit I have come to the conclusion that not only is Triggit a very bad idea but you could also lose every single dollar you earn on your website.
OK, so why do I think it’s a bad idea? If Shoemoney and Aaron Wall are endorsing it, it’s gotta be good, right? Well let me start off by saying I have massive respect for both these guys and I’m not calling them out or anything like that. In fact Aaron touches on one of my reservations about Triggit in his post.
..they are still a small start up, so if you start doing well with them make sure you remember which pages do well so you can keep monetizing the pages if the Triggit partnership stops working
I’ve only been playing around with monetizing websites for the last couple of years but already I’ve seen heaps of companies come and go in that time. Go and have a look at the TechCrunch deadpool for the latest companies to go down the toilet. Now I’m not saying for one second that you shouldn’t become an early adopter just because the company might go down the pan but it’s something you should consider.
I totally agree with The Shoe when he says that setting up affiliate links to Amazon is a right Royal pain in the arse but I’d rather see Amazon devise a way of making it easier for me to drop affiliate links into my posts than rely on a third party. What would happen if Triggit joined the deadpool without warning? You’d lose all your affiliate links overnight. You’d have to go back through every single post that you’d Triggited (new word? hmm..maybe) and replace the links. Surely that will take longer than manually updating your code in the first place.
However that’s not the main reason why I’m dropping Triggit like a hot potato.
All good so far.
However, let’s say that I was an unscrupulous shady character and I wanted to steal your money. How could I do that? Well I’m guessing that you’re a pretty clued up kinda person and you wouldn’t fall for this but I reckon a ton of people would.
- Create a widget which appeals to the every day blogger. Maybe a “How Much Is My Blog Worth?” widget or “Hot or Not?” or something like that. Not a widget aimed at the tech savvy but one which the vast majority of bloggers might want to use.
- Establish trust with my widget. Get it out there to the masses.
- Announce that there’s a new version of the widget available which is heaps better and you need to download it immediately.
- Head off and visit sites displaying the widget and substitute their existing affiliate links with mine. Create new affiliate links on older posts that they’ll probably never notice.
- Chuckle heartily as I watch people blogging about how Amazon sucks because they’re not earning money any more.
Strangely enough, I think it was The Shoe who got me thinking about this. Immediately above his post extolling the virtues of Triggit was another one entitled I Liked Your Widget Until I Saw Your Spammy Embedded Links. He doesn’t make the connection between the two but, I guess, subconsciously I did and this is why I’ve been feeling uneasy about Triggit all weekend.
Now some folks may well say that I’m stupid for potentially putting this out there but my argument is that if I can work it out then I’m pretty certain that the kind of folks likely to use this kind of method have already figured it out and are quite possibly already using it.
So my personal advice to you is:
- Manually insert your affiliate links. Sure it takes time but once they’re done, they’re done and you don’t need to worry about a third party delivering them one day and being found face down in the deadpool the next.
- Use redirects on your affiliate links. Create a file like ‘webhosting.php’ or ‘recommended-reading.php’. That way if, for any reason, you decide to change the recommendation you only have to do it on the one file rather than on every single instance on your site.
- Check the code of every widget or plugin you install very, very carefully. You never know what is lurking under the hood.