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Tracking Your Referral Income

By Edited Dec 14, 2013 3 7

How do I know when a new article is doing well? And what is the secret for separately track my per article income from my referral income on InfoBarrel?

Recently I joining InfoBarrel to fund several non-profit ventures I support. I write 90 minutes each morning as I sip coffee before work. (my day job) Not wildly exciting, but I currently contract as a Business/Data Analyst for local companies tracking sales trends. Don't jump up and yell "Yeah man! You Rock!" I know you have that urge, but contain yourself.

The Business Problem

When I first joined InfoBarrel, I decided to track my income from InfoBarrel as two separate activities. One income pool from articles I personally write and the other income pool for member referrals. Searching the InfoBarrel site, I was unable to find an obvious solution. So, I did what any brazen new member does, I clicked the "Contact Us" button and entered the following question "Is there a technique for tracking (or differentiating) income from my own articles and the referral program either through the InfoBarrel site or though Google AdSense? I look at these two income streams as Direct Sales (income from my articles) vs Channel Sales (referral income) and would like to manage them as such."

The Solution

Four hours later, I found a detailed response in my in-box. The suggestion was insightful and I thought you might appreciate reading it. Below is the response I received from Kevin at InfoBarrel:

"Since our system is designed to create the most transparency, we show adsense ads with your ID inserted directly into it. This makes it so that there is no 'middle man' between your articles and your ads or your clicks and your checks. What this means is there is no way for us to track when an ad is clicked nor what ID was used when the ad was clicked.

The way I would do what you are proposing is to create a URL separate channel for each of your Infobarrel articles and another channel for the base Infobarrel URL (http://www.infobarrel.com). This way, if you total the numbers from the separate channels and compare those to the numbers on the base Infobarrel channel the difference should be the numbers from your referrals."


Visit this help page for exact instruction on setting up a Google Adsense URL Channel.

While you are still on this page, I will share with you how I use the technique. Each time I publish a new article, I do the following procedure. At first the procedure appears lengthy, but the keystrokes become second nature quickly after adding 2-3 articles links to AdSense. To save time, you can paste multiple URL's into AdSense before clicking "Add channels".

1 - Click on the article link,

2 - Hit ^C to copy the link.

3 - Login to AdSense,

4 - Click on the "Advanced Reports" tab,

5 - Click on "manage channels >>",

6 - Click on "URL channels",

7 - Click on "+ Add new URL channels",

8 - Hit ^V to paste the URL into the white box,

9 - Click on "Add channels".

Each time InfoBarrel displays a Google Ad using my AdSense ID, Google will track all impressions and all clicks for me. How do I know which impressions were from my articles and which were from my referral channel? Good question. I track my total impressions (URL channel "infobarrel.com") and subtract the sum of the impressions for the individual articles. The net result is my referral channel impressions from articles someone else wrote.

Google tracks your URL channels ONLY AFTER you have added them, so don't be surprised if your total aggregate impression count is slightly higher than the sum of your individual article impressions. There are times a day or two will pass before I remember to add a URL channel. Normally during that period, only 2-3 clicks have occurred, which is not significant, but you should be aware this will happen and the slight count discrepancy is no conspiracy by Google. It is a timing issue of getting your URL's added.

Why is tracking important?

Back to the business practice of You Mange What You Measure. I monitor poor performing articles for re-write consideration. Creating a new article takes far more time and energy than enhancing one. Managing my portfolio is much like managing an investment portfolio and a good article is like a good investment. They will appreciate over time and generate "dividends" monthly.


Google AdSense allows each user 200 URL channels for tracking. By the time you hit 200 articles on InfoBarrel, you will have several weeks of data to work with and will have a solid understanding of your income sources and portfolio performance.



Apr 10, 2010 12:47am
that is funny I just did the same thing yesterday. I am sure this post will be useful to others in the same situation.
Apr 10, 2010 8:27am
Good information...very instructional. I appreciate it.
May 19, 2010 9:10pm
Thanks for that this should help others. I just wish I could see the infobarrel earnings on my analytics.
May 30, 2010 5:42pm
Thank you! I just used to this article to set up my master Infobarrel account.
Aug 18, 2011 9:52am
Very helpful. Thanks!
Oct 9, 2011 5:09am
Quick update...

Google recently updated their AdSense interface.

The first time using the new interface it took me a few minutes to find my URL Channels list (maintenance screen), so thought I'd provide updated directions for adding to your Google AdSense URL Channels list.

UPDATED DIRECTIONS (if using the new AdSense interface):

1. Login to AdSense.
2. Click on the "My ads" tab (located next to the "Home" tab - top left),
3. Expand the "Content" tree provided,
4. Click on "URL channels" in the menu,
5. Click on "+ New URL channel" above your list,

(and continue from there to add new channels...)

Also, I have read that Google has increased their limit to 500 URL channels from the original 200 URL channel limit. This would be terrific news. (not yet confirmed, but will attempt to do so)

Hope the update is helpful...

Jan 16, 2012 8:06pm
Great article and thank you for the update- if anyone finds about is 500 is the new limit could they post it?
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