Ryan Porter may spend most of his life chasing the perfect sports car but he also spends his fair share of time tuning and optimizing affiliate marketing and advertising campaigns for one of the largest automotive enthusiast communities on the web along with experimenting on smaller niche targeted sites. Ryan’s tenure in affiliate marketing is only in its beginning years but it’s a passion of his that goes back to his first startup attempt in 2005. One thing that Ryan firmly believes is that you should never stop digging and selling.
Q: Why did you choose eBay Partner Network (ePN)?
A: It’s pretty plain and simple, eBay really is the number one place for automotive parts and accessories. CarDomain consists of automotive enthusiasts who are avid about modifying and tuning their cars. These guys aren’t buying their parts from the local auto-store, they’re shopping for parts on eBay and finding the best deals from fellow enthusiasts, after all eBay is a community too.
Q: How long have you been a member of eBay Partner Network?
A: CarDomain has been participating in the ePN for about 6 months now, although I’ve personally been participating in the ePN for almost 2 years.
Q: How do you evaluate the economics of different advertising options on your website?
A? Each site varies for me, but at CarDomain I’d say we have a unique perspective on the economics of the ePN versus traditional display advertising. Because of our high volume of content and natural search visitors, I’d say that we don’t always have what the user is looking for. We’re a site that is about showing off modified cars and we lack the marketplace for the products that our users are installing on their cars and while advertisers are pushing products via their websites, no one satisfies the ability to display a part for sale with a price and complete checkout like eBay does for us. So when it comes down to it, I’m really solving a bounce-back dilemma. Rather than losing the visitor 15 seconds after they arrive, eBay is helping me retain visitors and earn revenue off otherwise one-and-done visitors that I might not ever see again.
Q: How did you get started in affiliate marketing?
A: Affiliate marketing for me started with e-mail marketing. I’ve been managing a decent sized double opt-in e-mail newsletter for one of my sites, which until a few years ago I wasn’t monetizing. At that time the market for direct advertisers pertaining to the subject lacked but I wanted to start turning a profit and producing conversions so I turned to affiliate marketing. Offers are constantly changing and advertisers are in and out monthly so it’s a fun landscape to participate in.
Q: What new directions do you think the industry is headed in?
A: It’s obvious that the industry is going in the direction of quality. Over the next few years I anticipate some crazy advancements and I think everything will be far more transparent. I continue to talk with lots of webmasters who are still just getting their feet wet with analytics and tracking. Nobody said transaction downloads and logs are fun to play with but in the next couple years I really expect to see some great dashboards that intelligently predict and extract significant data about your conversions and help you improve results.
Q: Which places (forums, blogs, communities) do you participate in and why?
A: I’m a huge car guy so I participate in a number of automotive forums. It may sound ridiculous but I believe I’m registered at over 60 different automotive forums like Rennlist.com, NASIOC.com, and AudiWorld.com. These automotive sites are both business and pleasure for me so I feel no guilt in spending hours at these sites. I also frequent a number of closed door sites with fellow webmasters like BigBoardAdmin.com and I’m an avid reader of many architecture blogs (architechnophilia.blogspot.com), sneaker sites (Highsnobiety.com, FatLace.com) and celebrity blogs. I’m honestly not a huge celebrity follower, but I have to find content for a site of mine (celebritycarsblog.com), so I visit all the paparazzi blogs pretty regularly.
Q: One tip that you can share with other affiliates about improving their performance on eBay Partner Network?
A: The only thing I can say is know your consumer and don’t trust your first results. There is never a reason you can’t improve, and when you’ve been running the same play for 3 months, don’t be afraid to mix it up and try something different.
Thank you, Ryan!
The eBay Partner Network Team