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Apr 26, 2001

Affiliate Wire: How 7 Competing Publications Banded Together to Grow All Their Web Traffic

SUMMARY: This article is one of our all-time favorites. If you publish an email newsletter or have editorial content on your site, and you'd like more traffic, here's an absolutely killer low-cost idea to turn your headlines into visitors.
As we've reported many times, hotlinked headlines are a great way to drive targeted traffic to your content site. About a year and a half ago, Brian Clark Producer of the site decided to create and plant a headline newsfeed from his site onto related sites across the Web. Clark is a big believer in the value of non-biased reporting, especially in his marketplace which contains quite a few advertorial publishers. So when a competing news site contacted him to see if they could add their headlines to his feed, he was delighted to partner with them. Now a total of seven publishers covering the same industry all share Clark's newsfeed distribution system, Affiliate Wire, free of charge.

Clark explains, "The value of the newswire gets higher as it becomes more objective -- as it pulls headlines from multiple sources. It's far easier to get outside sites to carry the wire when it's a coalition of people." In fact, so far about 600 related sites have picked up the newswire due almost 100% to word-of-mouth marketing.

Does it work? Definitely. 30% of traffic to now comes from newswire click throughs. The newswire's average click through rate from a user viewing headlines is 4.5%. (This rate is split between all stories, not for each story individually.)

Plus, Affiliate Wire publishers have found participating enhances their individual brands. Clark says, "In the industry, people see us as a coalition. They say, 'He's one of the Affiliate Wire publishers.' You make a bigger footprint in the marketplace." He adds, "Plus, now we share tips, work together to confirm stories, trade gossip... it's become a gated community for competitors to exchange specialized advice with each other."

According to Clark it would be pretty easy for another group of publishers to copy his success. He says, "The tech is amazingly simple. Our total implementation time using in-house staff was six hours. This is not super-complex technology."
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