Big Volcano Art Shop

We’ve got a new affiliate link programame

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link and purchase an item, we will receive an affiliate commission/payment.  Links open in a new tab or window.

There’s been talk on the interwebs for years about the value of diversifying income streams and “monitising” web assets.

Many web sites do this by joining “affiliate” programmes (or if you’re from the USA, “program”.)


Margaret Olley Paddington Studio, Tweed Regional Gallery, 2015

Some people do it to cover the cost of running their online hobby or passion, others do it to build and “flip” the web site or business within as little as a few months, and move onto the next opportunity or challenge.

There’s a whole online industry niche devoted to providing people with tutorials, courses and a mind boggling array of third party management tools.

But we’re not going there right now.  (Although we might do some posts down the track to let you know about interesting developments, providers, trends and cool tools, if we feel like it.)

Our current affiliate programs

So what are affiliate links? Basically, they tell a merchant that a customer came from Big Volcano.  And if there’s a confirmed sale or booking, we get a cut of the commission.

Here’s a potted history of our forays into affiliates over the years.

Amazon Associates

We actually started with Amazon Associates waaaay back in 1998.  We only use it in the Ecotourism Resource Centre (aka ERC, which is embarrassingly, also in need of a make over.  Sigh…).

As we started the Big Volcano Visitor Guide so early – we went live in 1997, books were the only option on Amazon at the time.  And being control freaks, titles were selected personally and added along side the appropriate ERC category links.  (A rod for the webmaster’s back, as the link addresses and titles change regularly.)

Google Adsense

Most people though, start with Google Adsense.  It’s pretty much a no brainer, and as we generally like “no brainer” solutions, anyone who visited Big Volcano from late August 2009, would have started seeing Google Adwords.

We haven’t got ad units plastered all over the site pages, and some of our 300 plus content pages, don’t have any Adsense units at all.


Then we decided that if you couldn’t beat ’em, join ’em.


Mount Warning / Wollumbin across the Tweed River.

We’re talking OTAs – also known as Online Travel Agents.

If you’ve ever travelled anywhere, you’ve probably done some online research, and chances are you landed on TripAdvisor,, or any one of their stable of online travel channels, at some point in your “journey”.

We wrestled with this one for a while, as from day one, our vision was to support local operators, and have people book with them as directly as possible.

But 15 years was already a long time on the internet.  Tastes, trends, and the technology was also changing fast.

With the overdue arrival of affordable web based Reservation Management Systems (RMS) providing direct real-time availability and bookings, most hospitality and accommodation operators also quickly learned about paying commissions to global OTAs.

They also became more comfortable with a PPC advertising model (Pay Per Click via the likes of Google Adwords, Bing Ads etc.), than investing directly in display advertising links on locally owned destination web sites like Big Volcano.

So in 2012, we began slowly linking directly to selected local accommodation operators pages on

Again, we’re control freaks, and we prefer to display and link to properties that are properly licensed and registered businesses.  (Although there’s nothing to stop people from making a reservation with any property they want to, once they reach the web site.)

We’ve also experimented with, for tours and cruises since 2016.

Which brings us to our latest foray into affiliate marketing.

Product on Demand


Fingal Head Public School students showing off their shore birds awareness posters in 2015.

Product on Demand (aka POD) providers and their associated affiliate programmes have mushroomed over the last 5 to ten years, and are a boon for creative producers.

Makers web sites like Etsy, and POD web sites like RedBubble means that artists, artisans and crafts people can market and sell their product directly to the general public and collectors.

Our new affiliate programme

Over the years, we’ve received a few email enquiries asking if we could sell product on behalf of producers, and as the idea of being retailer wasn’t really our thing, we did what all good one track mind geeks do; said “sorry, no”, ignored it and kept doing what we were doing.

But we’d also noticed over the years, that many accommodation operators we visited had no local artists works, or locally themed work on display.

The Northern Rivers and Gold Coast hinterland has so many talented artists and photographers whose works could, and should, grace the walls of local properties, that it became another no brainer for us to join a POD programme, to compliment our current affiliate lineup, and add selecting and curating the work of local artists, to get wider coverage and more sales.

Of course, if you’re not a local, but you like it, you’re still welcome to buy it!

So please let us introduce to you, a new feature on the Big Volcano Visitor Guide.

The Big Volcano Art Shop.

Whether you’re looking for a unique gift or souvenir, want to fill that empty space on the wall, update your art collection, home decor, wardrobe, or stationery, then check out our carefully curated selection of art works from RedBubble artists.

Are you creative? Then check out RedBubble, where you can exhibit and sell your art to the world – for FREE!

In case you missed it.  Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on a link and purchase an item, we will receive an affiliate commission/payment.  Links open in a new tab or window.

P.S.  Please follow us if you want to get notified when we post new art works we’ve selected.


Sunday Summary #travelbiz

Welcome to the first Sunday Summary for #travelbiz posts and shares across the Big Volcano social media networks, based on what interested us, and what our Facebook and Google Plus colleagues thought was interesting enough to like or share as well.

bbutclda Photo: Border Ranges National Park, © by Big Volcano Tourism

This is an In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) and might also amount to being TL:DR; (Too Long, Didn’t Read) post.

These items are from our Facebook, Google Plus Byron Bay or Google Plus Big Volcano Tourism Marketing & Media pages.

From January 28th: One of my favourite curated papers: Travel Tech Weekly Insights #travelbiz #tech

And this post on Jan 31st was popular: How Turkey Home Grew Its Facebook Presence by 3 Million Followers Last Year #travelbiz #destinationmarketing

From February 3rd: Don’t Believe Media Placements Are Impossible: Success Secrets Revealed #travelbiz #marketingbiz  This is an excellent reminder that online isn’t the only game in town for marketing and promotions.

If you’re a Tour Guide, this food tourism article from Feb 10th will be of interest if you’re not already tapping into the growing “ foodie” market: ICYMI: 6 Charts Showing State of Food Tourism With Tour Operators #travelbiz #foodies

And here’s one for the locals, on 14th Feb; Gold Coast No.5 on trips across the ditch for Kiwis, with Melbourne and Sydney topping the list #travelbiz #visitbigvolcano #goldcoast

Where would we be without an article about an OTA’s methods? Shared on Feb 28th;

Expedia Relentlessly Tests the Science of User Experience and Vacation Planning #travelbiz #OTAs #marketingscience  The wide ranging article not only provides insights about the current practices and future direction of Expedia, but probably of the online travel industry generally.  Well worth the 5-10 minute reading time.

On Mar 5th, there was another article about Google removing CPC ads from search results. > Google’s Move Away From Right-Rail Ads: The Hotel Marketer’s Action Plan #travelbiz  with the rather startling observation that, “the average travel consumer takes about 17 days, eight research sessions, 18 site visits, and six clicks before making a hotel booking (Google Research).”

It went on to say that “…a successful multichannel campaign that includes SEO, SEM GDN, mobile marketing, social media, online media and retargeting, dynamic rate marketing and email marketing reaches potential guests at every touchpoint of the travel planning process with one cohesive message across channels, capitalizing on key customer micro-moments across devices.”

<start self promotion> OK, so we’ll put our oar in here and say that if you’re a Ballina, Byron, Tweed, Gold Coast hinterland tourism operator who wants to get additional reach and channel “touchpoints”, then is a local web site established since 1997, and we’ve got a limited number of places available for local accommodation and tour operators, to give you the exposure you want.

On Mar 6th, we shared the continued battle between OTAs (Online Travel Agencies/Aggregators) and operators direct web sites, for the hearts and wallets of travellers with this optimistic article from Tnooz:  Consumers finding trust in hotels websites over other sources says study #travelbiz #reviews #bookings

On Mar 7th, this gem from Destination Queensland, with a post offering a wealth of useful information.; 2015 DestinationQ Forum, Townsville Thursday 8 – Friday 9 October 2015. #travelbiz #destinationmarketing #qld

And finally, from yesterday Mar 12th, the news that NSW and QLD tourism operators to showcase NSW and QLD in China #travelbiz #nsw #china  The Greater China Mission will be held in partnership with Destination NSW and Tourism and Events Queensland from 13 – 19 March 2016 in Xiamen and Beijing.

Bland officially joins Dull and Boring to lure tourists

First there was Dull and Boring. Now Bland, a rural community in New South Wales, has teamed up with the two banal-sounding towns in Scotland and the United States in a three-way effort to attract tourists.

Dull and Boring basically have a tourism relationship. We heard about it and thought it would be even better if it became Bland, Dull and Boring,

Neil Pokoney, the mayor of Bland Shire, said on Tuesday.

via