It has been a crazy couple of weeks since the launch of HLS 3.0. While we have mentioned it before, we haven’t quite yet been able to take some time to talk to you, the Loyal Readers, about the changes in advertising here on the site. So as we are in the calm before the storm that is football season (and apparently the announcement of Golson as the starting QB), let’s have that chat.
Our need for ads is rather obvious: HLS is subscription-free resource, but it is something that I personally pay for out of pocket. Beyond just paying the server bills though, we invest further in HLS as we grow. In fact, we have already done this by moving to a new server that can better handle our new traffic needs. If we happen to make enough to cover the bills and bank plenty of capital, the HLS staff will be receiving a chunk of change (emphasis on change, none of us will be quitting our day jobs).
So that’s the overall plan, but how do we get there?
Originally, we had Google AdSense ads up, but we ditched them in HLS 3.0. Personally, I’m not a fan, even though they did perform well. The reason is that we only have so much control over what Google shows. The companies that show up could in fact be absolutely terrible and people we’d rather not do business with.
Or, even worse, Bleacher Report ads could pop up.
If we are going to throw ads up here, we’d like to do business with great companies whose services are actually useful. Our deal with Rent Like a Champion is a great example of that. Providing affordable lodging during gameday weekends is essential for the Notre Dame fan. We are more than thrilled to spread the word on such a great alumni-run company.
So as we looked to replace Google, this logic was at the front of our minds. It is no surprise that we arrived on the solution of becoming an Amazon Affiliate. Amazon easily fit our criteria for being useful to you, the Loyal Reader. As arguably the top online retailer on the planet, there is practically no limit to what you can find on Amazon whether it is books, music, movies, games, and even ND gear.
Unlike Google though, Amazon doesn’t pay based on clicks, but via commission. The way it works is that if you click any Amazon link (like this one) or banner on our site, and then buy anything on the site–even if it isn’t the item originally linked–we get a referral fee. Also, no order is “too small” to help us out. As more items are ordered, no matter what the cost, our referral rate goes up. So whether you are planning on buying a TV or just looking for something new on your Kindle, come to HLS first, click on our banner and shop away.
Another benefit that we love from Amazon is the aStore that we created. This store is completely powered and run by Amazon. The only difference is that we have taken the time to curate it specific to Notre Dame. In the HLS aStore, you will find jerseys, hats, memorabilia, and even gear for your next tailgate–all often at prices that are much cheaper than what you will usually see.
We are still in the infancy stages of being an affiliate, but we have already seen some positive returns. For those folks that have already placed orders, we can’t thank you enough and we hope that all of our Loyal Readers will keep HLS in mind when the urge to shop Amazon hits!