Put Your Spare Domain Names To Work For You Using Affiliate Programs.

Every website owner/operator is familiar with affiliate programs, we all belong to one or more, or have at one time, and display banners and buttons on our websites offering anything from a credit card to viagra, Which is completely fine for attracting perspective buyers to products that your affiliate sponsors offer. There’s no crime in earning a little revenue to support your website and your hard work designing, developing and supporting it.

But if you’re like me at all, you have a few domain names sitting around doing nothing too. It occurred to me that having the domain names listed for sale has generated little or no revenue, but every year I renew them because I think that they are good domain names and have marketing potential if put into the right hands.

So I decided to do a little research and find out what affiliate programs were out there that offered more than buttons and banners, and I found that there are a number of affiliate companies that offer RSS feeds and Data Feeds and even some offer complete “Turn-key” websites already built for you, download an asp or php version of the Turn-Key site to put on your own server and you’re good to go. Point your domain name to it, and you’re offering a service or product that people have a use for, just go about your normal marketing practices for the site(s).

So I looked at what domain names I owned and wasn’t using, thought about what types of affiliate programs they would lend themselves to, which in my case was easy, and I did some research. I had 3 domain names reserved and no websites for them, http://SongOasis.com, http://Gear-Junkie.net and http://ArtistMatch.com. They were at one time active websites but hadn’t been in service for quite some time, so considering they were domains pertaining mostly to music or media, I started my search there. I discovered that there were more than a few music based affiliate programs available which required an investment in time doing a little digging through.

I narrowed my search to those affiliate programs offering “Data Feeds”. These are feeds that come in the form of XML or RSS feeds, as well as Text or CSV files that the affiliate would make available to you to download and use how you see fit, with some restrictions of course. Researching those affiliate programs I found that these feeds would provide all of the information, or at least much of it to the same extent as the affiliate website themselves. Which to me meant that I could build a dynamic website offering some great things in a way the I controlled without having to maintain an inventory or process payments or handle returns and deal with any billing issues should they arrise.

So… I decided for my http://Gear-Junkie.net domain to go with musical instrument sales through http://Zzounds.com, and offer over 4000 musical instruments online. Being a musician myself, this sounded appealing to me. For http://SongOasis.com I went with a great program from Rhapsody which offers real time feeds in xml format so my site is updated everyday with the latest artist and music releases everyday with no additional work on my part after building the site. And Finally for http://ArtistMatch.com I went with an affiliate program by http://CDUniverse.com. This program provided Data Feeds for over 40,000 items where you can shop online for music CDs, movies and games.

I’ve also cross referenced each of the sites with my own banners promoting the other sites from within my sites so that visibility to all of the affiliate programs is blended throughout the 3 websites which is helpful in generating sales if not traffic. So if you are sitting on a few domain names and would like to put them to work for you, try researching some of the affiliate programs out there that offer these type of data feeds and see if you can use them to your advantage as well.

Thanks for reading, and happy (and hopefully profitable) coding.

Ben Cortese is a developer and business analyst for the financial industry and enjoys developing and supporting independent websites for Music, Movies and Games and more. Copyright 2007. Article can be reprinted only if unchanged.

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