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Why Using Triggit Could Lose You Money

January 21st, 2008 · 8 Comments

Triggit - Approach with caution

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.

Triggit allows you to dynamically place ads on your website or blog without the need to log in to your control panel. You simply log in to Triggit, highlight the text you want to turn into an affiliate link and Triggit does the rest. In order for you to do this, you need to place a couple of lines of javascript onto your page. The javascript contains your Triggit details which is how it recognises you.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Establish trust with my widget. Get it out there to the masses.
  3. Announce that there’s a new version of the widget available which is heaps better and you need to download it immediately.
  4. Embed the Triggit javascript into the widget. Hey, everyone trusts me so are they going to notice?
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Check the code of every widget or plugin you install very, very carefully. You never know what is lurking under the hood.

Tags: Making Money Online

8 responses so far ↓

  • Shoemoney // Jan 21, 2008 at 3:59 am

    You make some good points… I should have done a better job of explaining it. You actually don’t even have to use the javascript code and you can just use it to give you the direct html embeded code if you want. Still is a massive shortcut compared to logging into the sites.

    I think your hijack theory is kind of silly… I mean you could do the same thing with adsense

  • Zach Coelius // Jan 22, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Mike,
    Thanks for taking the time to think and write about Triggit. Even though you disagree with what we are up to, I really appreciate the effort you put into it.

    Your first weakness of Triggit is right on. If we go out of business then the JS links will probably go with us. That is the risk of working with startups. If that risk is such a big deal for you, I think you are going to miss out on a lot of innovative stuff out there coming from new companies. But like Shoe says you can hard code them using our tool if you want. Our argument is that since Triggiting a link is much much faster then hard coding them, and it will make you so much more money, that its worth it.

    Your second weakness is not actually possible. We only allow the one piece of Triggit JS per site. That second piece of code would just break the site. Plus it is kind of hard to believe that a scammer would do what you describe.

    Anyway keep up the good work on the blog.

    Zach Coelius
    CEO, Triggit

  • Mike // Jan 22, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the feedback. Apologies for delay in responding but I was away on a shoot for a couple of days.

    Shoemoney – Whilst it may well be possible for AdSense, my feeling is that anyone who went down this route would be more likely to use companies without the reach of the Big G. More chance of it coming off.

    Zach – It’s not a case of disagreeing with what you’re doing, it’s just that I have my reservations. I’m not sure I agree with you that it will “make you so much more money”. Sure it’ll speed up the process of adding links but I can’t see how it will actually increase revenue.

    With regards to working with startups, I have no problem with working with startups but the risk of potentially losing x months/years worth of affiliate revenue is too great considering I can protect it by spending a few extra minutes manually inserting the code.

    Finally on whether it’s possible, I wasn’t referring to two pieces of code on a single page. In the example a widget is created with the Triggit javascript embedded and placed on a site without Triggit. Would it not work then?

    Zach I didn’t mean it to sound like I’m totally down on the idea of Triggit. On the contrary I like the concept but, at this moment, I have my reservations. Now that I know you can hard code the links, I may well look at it again.

    Thanks again both for your feedback.

  • vhxn.com // Jan 24, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing some valuable information.

  • Internet Money Tools // Jan 29, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    you could do the same thing with adsense

  • Mike // Jan 30, 2008 at 12:05 am

    IMT – which is the point Shoemoney makes above. Also please have a read of the comment policy regarding acceptable names. Cheers.

  • Roy Phay // Jun 19, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience! I’m always looking for ways to improve myself and I’m glad to have found your blog. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Cheers,
    Roy

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