Fourth Quarter Results

Happy New Year!

This is a special edition of quarterly results because it also marks the end of the year. At the end of each year I reset my web site’s counter. Last year I had 159,227 visitors to my website compared to 81,763 the previous year, almost double. Some of that was due to the big peak in June and July when the battery pack was mentioned on Make, Digg, and Hackaday. After that traffic leveled out to about 400 hits per day, higher than the 300 or so a day I had been getting before that.

AdSense revenue has stayed pretty strong, but seems to have plateaued out at around $45 per month. That’s fine, really, because if it were over $50 per quarter I would start pushing $600 annually where they report the income. I got less than $400 from them this year, but my total paid all-time by Amazon and AdSense passed $1,000.

Amazon sales were off during the last quarter primarily because the best-selling battery pack was discontinued. I had sold 58 Belkin battery packs the previous quarter, but only 11 this quarter as people scrounged the last of the inventory at various Amazon sellers. But, I finally revised my web page to accept this reality, removing the picture of the Belkin and replacing it with the similar Maxell pack. This boosted Maxell sales to 17 units, mostly in December. The EZGear Powerstick sold 7 units and I sold 7 of the rechargeable Jwin battery/case combo. So while October was a terrible month, with only $24 in commissions (less than AdSense), November and December recovered to $44 and $67. December is always huge for retailers, but I sold more back in July.

My Sony car stereo to Ipod page started registering some sales with a popular product that enables the audio-in port on a Sony car stereo for only $30. I sold 11 of those. The most unusual thing I sold were 5 boxes of Glad recycling bags. I also sold one iPod shuffle and one 30 GB iPod. I’d love to sell more iPods but most visitors to my site probably already have one.

During December, Amazon offered an extra bonus of 4% on items sold through A-stores and Omakase links. Omakase links are banner ads that track people individually. When I visited, it would show things in my cart or on my wish list and was trying to prod me to buy those things. A-stores are store-front pages you can set up where you have certain items that are being sold through Amazon. I didn’t want to do an A-store, but I did try an Omakase banner on my battery pack page and another on the Dejumbler page. I had 12,136 impressions for those banners and 37 clicks generating only 1 sale. That’s pretty horrible. I get twice the click-thru rate for any given product link on my page, and almost 4 times as many sales. I went ahead and removed the banners today. That is the second time I have tried and failed with Amazon banners.

I got similar results when I tried some Best Buy links in October.

Lastly, Amazon has revised how they will be doing payouts next year. Instead of paying a month after the end of each quarter, they will pay two months after the end of each month. The minimum to receive payment is only $10, so I will start getting paid every month. The commission structure, based on volume, has been changed to by reducing the targets to one third. This means some months I might only get 6% and sometimes 6.5%, but since most of my sales are for electronics which are fixed at 4% regardless, it will make less than a dollar of difference per month if I miss the 6.5% cutoff of 31 items per month. It doesn’t seem like it should take them two months to process the payments, since they know the totals for the month the day after the month ends, but the average wait time is the same under this system. Since Amazon does mostly credit card sales, they probably don’t get paid right away either.

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