Make more money, Steve!

To: Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple Computer

Dear Steve,

Today, I read that Apple cut the price of its iPod MP3 players. News.com has the full story as covered by Reuters and also created a 1 GB version of the iPod Nano. Price cuts are nice for the end-user as they get more bang for their buck – and you should get more sales, too.

However there are more ways to create more revenues which you haven’t thought about yet, have you?

Let Apple make more money and make my shares go up again! Read on… 😉

Steve, you and Apple should take a few hints from small companies which are creating lots of revenue by letting other people do the hard work. By leveraging your own web traffic to promote other products, you get a piece of the cake through the affiliate systems.

Many companies, big and small, run affiliate programs, letting other people promote their products and giving them a percentage on the sale. Sure, it makes only sense to use affiliate networks which perform well and you have got a lot of web traffic on your own sites to make the pennies count up.

Steve, imagine the revenue you could make by including affiliate links in the next update of Safari: change the links to eBay, Amazon, Fleurop, ProFlowers, DevDepot, etc. to their affiliate links. Somebody new to the Mac might also be new to the Internet. They tend to click everywhere, also on the bookmark bar. When they sign up for one of the services or buy a featured product, you get some real money in your pocket.

Yes, managing affiliate programs takes some time and effort. You have to weed out the less performing programs, update your affiliate links, look for new possibilities etc. However a single person can do this. Got any intern who’s just hanging around at the Infinite Loop? Let them take over. Just put some static links to in the Safari bookmark menu and toolbar. Those links point to a file on Apple site and then redirects to the correct affiliate link. Using this strategy, the bookmarks will remain up to date and you only have a single location where to update the links.

Maybe companies are already paying to be on the bookmark toolbar or menu. However there are more ways to monetize the browser’s real-estate.

Take this idea a step further: use Google AdSense on Apple’s pages. No, not all pages, but those pages which have lots of traffic and are not related to selling Apple products. Put those ads on the LivePage which is the default Home Page in Safari. Put affiliate links on the LivePage. Put Google AdSense for Search on the LivePage to allow people to search the web and get money for every click. Put Google AdSense ads on the QuickTime site. Hey, movie poster sellers would love this. Rotate affiliate links and Google Ads on the .Mac Home Page. Make some more money!

Use the affiliate programs of iPod accessory makers. Get some more money out of their pockets – actually their customer pockets, as you get a percentage on the purchases. Promoting Amazon’s iPod pages would be asked too much (probably).

Other companies are using affiliate programs from around the world targeted to their web site visitor needs and interests. What does Apple have to lose? Just try it for a week and check if your normal sales figures drop a lot or if you making more money from the affiliate programs. I bet you’ll get lots of additional revenue.

You should take a clue from small companies which see their web presence as a way to make money, not only by selling their own products but by linking to complementary products and web sites. There’s money out there to make and it only takes a little bit of effort.

Steve, I know you don’t have lots of time, so here are a few links to affiliate networks which you should check out:

Your web site visitors won’t mind that you’re using affiliate links to promote certain products, as long as you’re honest about it and they find what they expect.

I hope that you will consider using your available web traffic to create more shareholder value. Think about it for a minute or two and then test it for a brief period of time if it’s worth „sacrificing“ some bookmarks, toolbars, web site real-estate.

Best regards,

Joe.

PS: These tactics could also be useful for the developers of Firefox. Get some more money for the Mozilla Foundation…

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