2012 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 Resolutions!

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We survived 21.12.2012. I didn’t make any new year resolutions (till 22nd Dec), just in case the Mayan prediction (dooms day) proved right ūüôā

But here are we, alive and kicking. I think it’s time I should make some resolutions for the new year. That’s a different story that by end of the year, most of us (including myself) don’t even remember what resolutions we made. Nonetheless I feel we should still do this exercise every year.¬†After all, we all love and¬†believe¬†in terms like optimism and initiatives despite not following those very things every time.

So, here goes the list of my new year resolutions.

  • I will Learn at least 2 new programming languages and/or frameworks.
  • I will start Reading more (books, blogs, magazines). I already spend decent amount of time reading, especially online junk, however this year I want to focus more on reading offline stuff.
  • I will get a Standing desk like the one below and in case I couldn’t afford one, will seriously do something about long sitting hours.
Image Courtesy: http://media.treehugger.com/

Image Courtesy: http://media.treehugger.com/

  • I will Exercise/Jog/Walk daily. And if that doesn’t work (had to add this clause based on last few years experience), I’ll at least play games on Wii daily ūüôā
  • I will kick the Car habit and try alternative modes of transportation. My office is hardly 1 km from my home (jealous?) but I still take car to office daily despite trying hard (may be not hard enough) to resist the temptation.
  • I will measure my Productivity to ensure all my efforts are in right direction.
  • I will take one Long break¬†every year (haven’t yet thought about how long) and during this time, won’t be checking emails.¬†
  • I will spend more Quality time with my son (my favorite).

Note: Not each of the resolution mentioned above is original, some are “inspired” just like Bollywood movies are inspired from movies down south and yes, Hollywood.

So what are your new year resolutions?

Commission Junction Merchant Fees

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For one of our newly launched services we were exploring a global affiliate networks with international reach to increase sales and Commission Junction (popularly known as CJ) was an obvious option being one of the most popular affiliate marketing network. I sent a query to them asking how much they charge merchants for using their platform. Their response came as a shock :-/

Any guesses how much CJ charges merchants for enrolling into their affiliate program? Well, they charge a whopping $6500 USD plus 3% transaction fees. And that’s not all, if your accumulated transaction fees for a month are less than $500 USD then you need to pay minimum monthly amount, which is $500 USD. Below are complete fee details.

Fee Structure  One-Time Network Integration Fee of $3,000: Includes access to our network, an online management dashboard,  technical resources, and launch assistance.  One-Time Escrow Account Deposit of $3,000: This deposit is a pre-fund of your account in anticipation of paying publisher  commissions and Commission Junction transaction fees after your account is live in our network. ($500 required minimum  account balance.)  Monthly Transaction Fees: A transaction fee is deducted from your escrow account whenever a transaction occurs. The  transaction fee is equal to 3% of sale amount per transaction. If this amount is not greater than 30 cents, a minimum  transaction fee of 30 cents will be assessed in lieu of the standard 3% of sale transaction fee. If your accumulated  transaction fees for the month do not exceed a minimum monthly amount (US $500), you will pay the minimum amount  instead.  12 Month Term, Annual $500 Renewal Fee: Initial contract term is 12 months.

Well, now I know why e-commerce sites are fleeing from Commission Junction and other affiliate networks :). Earlier I used to be a CJ publisher and noticed a few Indian e-commerce using CJ but I didn’t find any now.¬†I also checked some other sites and found that cheapest option available is probably Shareasale which charges $550 USD one time setup fee and 20% per transaction (20% of affiliate commission) and minimum 1 cent per transaction. CJ charges minimum 30 cents per transaction.

Wondering what we finally decided. Well, for now we decided to stay away from these networks and now planning to run our own in-site affiliate program using any COTS tool.

Even Amazon can goof up newsletters

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Today I received a newsletter from Amazon about free global shipping on orders above $125 USD. Like any typical e-commerce site newsletter, it had plenty of links. Incidentally I clicked on a specific banner link in the newsletter and to my surprise (you don’t expect companies like Amazon to goof up such things),¬†it landed on a 404 page with address not found error.

Here is the newsletter with banner highlighted on which I clicked.

Amazon newsletter link going to page not found error

And here is the page where I landed after clicking the link.

amazon newsletter link not workingNo big deal. Most of the e-commerce companies are notoriously (in)famous, specially in India, when it comes to email marketing. I¬†receive¬†newsletters from most of Indian popular e-commerce sites though I don’t remember subscribing (or registering) on more than half of them. In past, I have had issues where even after¬†unsubscribing, I kept receiving newsletters from fashionandyou.com

Compared to all this, the linking error in Amazon’s newsletter is a very small issue considering most other links in the newsletter work as expected. On a separate note, free shipping on orders above $125 USD is really cool!