The Long Story:
Hi, my name is Mike - welcome to PricePlow.
I've been running this site since 2007, and have learned quite a few things along the way. The biggest thing I've found is that many of us have the same challenges - how to properly balance income and morality with convenience.
If you run an online health and fitness business, there's a good chance you have a major problem:
There is no easy, ethical way to generate online income in the health and fitness industry.
Maybe you're a fitness blogger who has some killer recipes.
Maybe you're building the next great mobile fitness app.
Or maybe you have a YouTube channel and occasionally review supplements.
No matter what you're doing, you're likely facing the same challenges as the rest of us. The online health industry doesn't make it easy for you to profit in a way that's honorable.
A real-world example - your health blog
Let's suppose that you have a fitness app or health blog that's starting to take off, and now you're interested in making some money off of it.
In the story below, you're going to look at the monetization alternatives currnetly available on the net. But turn after turn in this journey, you'll run into seemingly insurmountable problems.
Eventually, you'll think, "There's got to be a better way."
The good news is that there is a better way -- that's where the PricePlow platform comes in.
The story starts similarly to most research projects: on Google.
Monetization Idea #1: Search and ye will receive... the Squeakiest Wheel
You're not sure where to begin, so you google a few innocent searches related to making money in the health industry.
Introducing your first major problem: The biggest, loudest promotions on health sites across the web are for some of the most shameful products - things you'd never recommend to someone's face.
And it goes beyond scammy supplements: the sales practices are deceptive too.
You're standing at the crux of two highly unregulated industries: supplementation and internet marketing. This truly is the Wild West of the business world. Add in sex as a sales tactic, and what you're left with is the current state of the online diet industry.
Your search will likely pull up two primary ways to make money online: multi-level marketing (MLM) and affiliate marketing networks.
MLM's Dirty Little Secret
How MLM really works...
You've seen them before - the nutritional brands that use questionable MLM schemes to sell inferior, underdosed products at insanely high prices.
They prey on personal trainers by promising massive fortunes, despite the fact that no self-respecting, well-educated trainer would ever recommend such products.
What those multi-level marketers don't tell you, however, is their secret: the scheme only works if you're on the very top of the pyramid. Since you’re not, do yourself a favor and steer clear.
Moving on... to the next loudest thing
You click the back button and return to your search. What's next?
It's the next loudest thing -- the affiliate marketing networks, which have successfully spammed their way to the top of your search results.
This is where swindlers who've never set foot in a gym -- much less learned to read an ingredient label -- spend their time strategizing ways to make money from you and your customers. They are the online version of ambulance chasers, looking to make a quick buck off the latest fat burner or fruit extract mentioned on your aunt's favorite daytime television shows.
If some company wants you to send your visitors to "free trial" forms that look like this... RUN!!!
Here's how this scam works: Some faceless "company" offers you an enormous commission for signing people up for a free trial. Typically, these products are next to useless, despite their claims. Sadly, what your customer isn't aware of is that they just committed to paying a monthly fee -- as high as $80 -- in exchange for a miniature "free" sample.
You know how it ends. That free trial turns into an agonizing battle with the credit card company and your poor website visitor gets reamed with charges every month with no way to opt out.
In short, it's a terrible way to do business, and if you're the kind of person who takes pride in your work and cares about your fans, you'll want no part of it.
Monetization Idea #2: Advertising Networks
Why advertise rip-offs when there are great deals out there? This widget is showing two items from our "hot deals" page.
Because of the problems mentioned above, you then choose not to promote any specific products. Instead, you can monetize with ads.
That sounds like a great idea, until you see the ads displayed on your site: A majority of them feature the very products and scams mentioned above!
With ad networks, you simply lose too much control. The advertising platform is great at deciding what's profitable for itself -- but is that what's best for your readers? And if it's not good for them, is it ultimately best for you?
To get around this, you could sell advertising space individually - but that's time-consuming and technically challenging.
Fortunately, there are great products out there worth promoting. Someone just needs to go out and find them. This leads you to your next plan of attack:
Monetization Idea #3: Work with a store
The next step is simple - join your favorite nutrition store's affiliate program!
With these programs, you can bring in a nice 10% commission on any product sold to a user who came from your site. This is very fair, considering that it's pure profit -- you don't need to carry inventory or sell it yourself.
However, this introduces a few new problems:
- The store doesn't carry all of your favorite brands and products.
- The store doesn't always have the best deals.
- The store sometimes runs out of stock.
Those problems hurt, but they can be dealt with. This one, however, cannot:
- Your store's affiliate program cannot be trusted in the long-term.
Remember, I started developing PricePlow in 2007. Since then, I've seen stores come and go.
But over the past few years, something very painful has happened: 4 of the 5 biggest online stores have changed affiliate networks. And as I type this, two more are in the process of moving theirs as well!
What does this mean?
We love this blog to death, but these links have been dead as a doornail for almost a year now! Going through PricePlow would have prevented this.
Put simply, it means that you will have broken links all over your site and your income will come to a halt.
Do you have the time to go back through every video and blog post and swap out hundreds of broken links? Not only would that be incredibly time consuming, but you still wouldn't catch every link.
And that e-book you wrote a while back? Unfortunately, there's no way to make changes to all those PDFs out there. That income stream is finished the moment those links stop working.
I've gone through PricePlow's link data, and found that if each and every link is not properly monitored, over 40% of them will end up dead. Even worse, this amount of breakage occurred over the course of just three years!
So not only will you make less money, but your customers will get frustrated, leave your site, and click on the next result in their search. You can guess what happens to your search engine rankings when that happens...
Although it was a good idea, the e-commerce affiliate model is simply broken and unreliable.
The light at the end of the tunnel...
There's good news, though: we've developed all of the tools to fix this problem for our own internal use. And now we're opening these tools up to you.
Introducing the PricePlow Solution
We do the Work, You do the Workouts.
To make it in this business, you have to put your clients first. When they succeed, you succeed -- it's the foundation for a trusting relationship.
Eating our own dogfood
We "eat our own dogfood", which means we use our own product to ensure its success.
To see the WordPress plugin at work, check out this article on the PricePlow blog.
We have the brand's related products underneath the post, some featured products on the right sidebar at the top, and a few hot deals on the right sidebar at the bottom.
Examples in action
Here is a tracking link to the current best deal on Optimum Nutrition's Opti-Men multivitamin, and here is a tracking link to our product page. If you end up buying anything via these links, our sponsored athlete, CJ Woodruff, will earn the commission.
No matter what happens in the future, these links will continue to work, and they will continue to earn money for the author. Your site gets the exact same data in our site, so it's always up to date.
Here are some ways PricePlow keeps these links in business:
- When a store runs out of stock, we immediately remove their listing.
- When a store changes their affiliate program, we fix it (or they're de-listed until we do so).
- When a new lowest price is found, it becomes our new destination.
- Two stores have the same price? The one that pays higher commissions gets your business.
- If a store stops paying their bills? Good-freakin-night*.
*This has actually never happened to us. We only work with legit stores.
So I'd like to formally invite you to join the PricePlow Network. We find the best deals for your visitors, and we always make sure you have an opportunity to make money. No broken links, no rip-offs.
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