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GOLD! So you want to get into affiliate marketing...

gstarr

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I agree affiliate marketing is not going to make anyone rich. I've seen so many affiliates think that all they have to do is place a banner ad and the money will come rolling in.

Many times purchasers are just going to go directly to the sales page anyway and bypass clicking on the banner ad. Lots of good information in this thread.
 

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FLYmk

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I agree affiliate marketing is not going to make anyone rich. I've seen so many affiliates think that all they have to do is place a banner ad and the money will come rolling in.

Many times purchasers are just going to go directly to the sales page anyway and bypass clicking on the banner ad. Lots of good information in this thread.
Affiliate marketing has made countless people very wealthy, to be honest. Placing a banner ad is certainly a small, micro piece of the puzzle.

When you say many 'times purchasers go directly to the sales page', do you have any stats/data to back up that claim?

I've been directly involved in affiliate marketing for years, and it's very powerful. I'll just leave it at that!
 

Coalission

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Affiliate marketing has made countless people very wealthy, to be honest. Placing a banner ad is certainly a small, micro piece of the puzzle.

When you say many 'times purchasers go directly to the sales page', do you have any stats/data to back up that claim?

I've been directly involved in affiliate marketing for years, and it's very powerful. I'll just leave it at that!
People here have very limited knowledge on a basic distribution model, because the owner of the site spoke out against what he thought was "affiliate marketing" in Adsense and Amazon lol.

Not everyone wants to be Dell. Not everyone wants to be Apple. Some people are ok with aiming to be Best Buy. Or Walmart. Or Amazon. Affiliates push product, they generate revenue while assuming very little if any of the backend risk product creators and owners have to assume. Yeah I know I know, Walmart has private label products, but I doubt they care whether it sells or not. Maybe the Walmart founders should have held out on the idea for distribution and instead launched Walmart's line of butters?
 
OP
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Vespasian

Vespasian

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I appreciate the feedback, although some of you guys should work on their reading comprehension...

and the fact that they lump in affiliate networks with affiliate marketing means they have no hustle to go out and get business, and instead will just rely on a network to come serve them offers on a silver platter along with the other hundred bozos running the same shit.
Doesn't really matter if you're with a network or going direct. At the end of the day you are a replaceable salesperson to the company.

Once you step outside of that world, you realize AM can be so many things, you can develop your OWN book of business, and it can indeed be fastlane but it'll never be with the mentality most affiliates have.
Absolutely. Knowing how to sell stuff is a valuable asset, no matter what you do.
But that's not the point of this thread. This thread is 'dedicated' to the guys that open threads like 'oh yeh I'm going to go full time AM cuz' it's fastlane' or 'I have 500 USD in my pocket and I'll invest that into affiliate marketing to build a bankroll for my real fastlane biz'. I think we both can agree that using affiliate marketing as a way to get more money to invest in your business will fail 9 out of 10 times.

I say there is a better way: build your own business, work on a MVP, go sell it directly. Less risk, more profit, gathering valuable data that's relevant if you want to grow your business.

Why would all affiliates have to worry about the FTC? Why would I need to worry about "hordes of Indians, Thais, etc. who couldn't care less about using logos of TV stations or celebs" unless that is the only way you think you can sell, and you actively CHOOSE to offer the same scammy products they do?
Because they are impacting your business, even if you sell vibrating toothbrushes that you've built in your barn behind the house. Deceptive advertising = greater margins = increased click prices. And you are the one that has to deal with it, no matter what you promote, no matter how your landing page looks like. If you are an affiliate you are a) competing with those guys and b) you have the same or even a lower CPA / CPS. Ok, you can not change a) but you can build your own service / offer which will definitely increase your revenue and profit.

All the stuff described in the OP about affiliate marketing is just one small subset of it. That is to affiliate marketing as payday loans are to lending. It's much bigger than your struggles with the FTC or spy tools, and much bigger than your sitting around praying the next Google update doesn't destroy your business.
I'm sorry, but you don't get the point. The point is that the increased competition and increased ruthlessness of affiliates are driving up your click prices, as long as you're not in a super targeted niche.

What do you think will happen if somebody starts copying your campaign that you're running for another company? If you are not promoting your own business, you are basically F*cked.


---


I agree affiliate marketing is not going to make anyone rich. I've seen so many affiliates think that all they have to do is place a banner ad and the money will come rolling in.
Let me fix this for you: I agree affiliate marketing is not going to make everyone rich.

Most affiliates fail and waste time and money. If you don't agree, then you don't know the industry very well.
Affiliate marketing made me over a million in profits and, as I said before, I am glad that I got into it. But please, I wanted to give people some food for thought, the people that think affiliate marketing is a vehicle to get more money to invest or that affiliate marketing is a fast way to riches. When I shared my thoughts there was some sort of a gold rush with lots of newbies trying to get into the industry (and yes, the bad bad 'small subset part' Coalission spoke about).


---


When you say many 'times purchasers go directly to the sales page', do you have any stats/data to back up that claim?
Almost 80% of recurring users (2 or more orders) do not have any affiliate ID when ordering, thus no affiliate will get a cut of that sale. Cookie lifetime is set to 14 days by the way. Just think about it for a minute: an affiliate has a blog / lander where he reviews a consumable product X. He ends up buying it. After 2 months he decides to reorder. No affiliate will be paid for the multiple order. That's how offer owners make money.


---


People here have very limited knowledge on a basic distribution model, because the owner of the site spoke out against what he thought was "affiliate marketing" in Adsense and Amazon lol.
Well, this is called Fastlane Forum for a reason. If you read the book you'll surely remember the commandments of a fastlane business and you'll clearly see that affiliate marketing itself (I'm not talking about having your own product / service because that's more than just aff marketing) violates 3 out of the 5: entry, control and time. The entry barrier is a small webspace and a few bucks for advertising, if you are an affiliate you have no control as you're just the salesguy for the company and it's generally impossible to outsource, even if you have real, proper employees. There is no quick and easy exit as it's hard to sell your campaigns for a reasonable price except if you have a nice, established web project you could flip off.


---


At the end of the day I couldn't give two F*cks about people failing in the affiliate space. I made enough money and I've seen the truth... and now I'm making even more dough (while in control, building an asset and having people manage my stuff while I travel).

Summary: if you want to promote products / services of other people to fund your business, don't do it. Build your own business and learn the marketing by selling your own stuff.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Coalission

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Doesn't really matter if you're with a network or going direct. At the end of the day you are a replaceable salesperson to the company.
Incorrect, if you produce a shitload of revenue for a company, you are not "replaceable", simply because affiliates that can push big revenue numbers are not a dime a dozen. On the other hand, many products and offers out there are immediately replaceable. You have no control if your #1 distributor decides he doesn't like your margin, or you don't convert as well as you used to. He says buh bye, and your revenue numbers drop 60% overnight.

I think we both can agree that using affiliate marketing as a way to get more money to invest in your business will fail 9 out of 10 times.
I say there is a better way: build your own business, work on a MVP, go sell it directly. Less risk, more profit, gathering valuable data that's relevant if you want to grow your business.
Irrelevant. Using some book you're writing to make you rich, or coming up with some service or inventing a product to make you rich will also fail 9 out of 10 times. Go ahead and build your own business first, work on your MVP, and try to sell it directly if you can. If you really think that involves less risk than selling products in that space first and gathering data BEFORE you develop your own product, than you really don't know what you're talking about. Oh wait, you do because you did affiliate marketing first and THEN developed your own product, so you did exactly what I always recommend, but now that you have your own product you want to act like affiliate marketing is your red-headed stepchild when you probably owe 95% of your success to it. Give me a break.


Because they are impacting your business, even if you sell vibrating toothbrushes that you've built in your barn behind the house. Deceptive advertising = greater margins = increased click prices. And you are the one that has to deal with it, no matter what you promote, no matter how your landing page looks like. If you are an affiliate you are a) competing with those guys and b) you have the same or even a lower CPA / CPS. Ok, you can not change a) but you can build your own service / offer which will definitely increase your revenue and profit.
I don't even understand your point. Competition doesn't magically go away when you build your own service, but your overhead certainly goes up.


The point is that the increased competition and increased ruthlessness of affiliates are driving up your click prices, as long as you're not in a super targeted niche.
What do you think will happen if somebody starts copying your campaign that you're running for another company? If you are not promoting your own business, you are basically F*cked.
Same thing, building your own offers doesn't mean competition goes away.


Almost 80% of recurring users (2 or more orders) do not have any affiliate ID when ordering, thus no affiliate will get a cut of that sale. Cookie lifetime is set to 14 days by the way. Just think about it for a minute: an affiliate has a blog / lander where he reviews a consumable product X. He ends up buying it. After 2 months he decides to reorder. No affiliate will be paid for the multiple order. That's how offer owners make money.
Incorrect, my main offer pays 50% front-end, 25% backend, lifetime. There are plenty of offers out there like that one.


Well, this is called Fastlane Forum for a reason. If you read the book you'll surely remember the commandments of a fastlane business and you'll clearly see that affiliate marketing itself (I'm not talking about having your own product / service because that's more than just aff marketing) violates 3 out of the 5: entry, control and time. The entry barrier is a small webspace and a few bucks for advertising, if you are an affiliate you have no control as you're just the salesguy for the company and it's generally impossible to outsource, even if you have real, proper employees. There is no quick and easy exit as it's hard to sell your campaigns for a reasonable price except if you have a nice, established web project you could flip off.
---
At the end of the day I couldn't give two F*cks about people failing in the affiliate space. I made enough money and I've seen the truth... and now I'm making even more dough (while in control, building an asset and having people manage my stuff while I travel).
Summary: if you want to promote products / services of other people to fund your business, don't do it. Build your own business and learn the marketing by selling your own stuff.
Disagree with most of this. You are making more dough now because you did affiliate marketing and learned what you learned. "Build your own business and learn the marketing by selling your own stuff" sounds nice and powerful, but 95% fail that way, because they spend all their energy creating a product and then don't know what to do once they have it. If you flip it around and learn to market proven products first, all it takes after that is developing a product and inserting it into your proven funnel. There's no debating this, but we can go back and forth as long as you'd like. You are actually proof of exactly what I have been saying all along, learn the ropes by marketing as an affiliate first, then use that knowledge to grow your own product/service.

I'm looking forward to seeing this thread blow up as Mr. Coalission loves to defend the model, and of course, if you're making $50K/mo doing it, it's easy to see why one would.
lol you knew it was coming
 

FastlaneTiger

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Yep, I want to get into AM to raise 5k-10k for capital. I don't see what's wrong with it, it's not my ultimate goal.
 

Coalission

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Also:

if you're making $50K/mo doing it, it's easy to see why one would.
I don't defend it because of how much money I make, I defend it because it makes 100% sense to me to start knowing how to push products first before developing your own, compared to developing first and later trying to figure out how to sell it. If it fails, what was the reason? Was it your product? Was it your marketing? Bah who knows, product scrapped, moving on to inventing the next one. That's a crappy way of doing it.

Here's a video I uploaded, perfect example from someone doing over $12 mil with his OWN products in the survival niche, talking about his process and why he starts running something as an affiliate first, even at this point of his success:

 

Nosferatu

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Also:



I don't defend it because of how much money I make, I defend it because it makes 100% sense to me to start knowing how to push products first before developing your own, compared to developing first and later trying to figure out how to sell it. If it fails, what was the reason? Was it your product? Was it your marketing? Bah who knows, product scrapped, moving on to inventing the next one. That's a crappy way of doing it.

Here's a video I uploaded, perfect example from someone doing over $12 mil with his OWN products in the survival niche, talking about his process and why he starts running something as an affiliate first, even at this point of his success:

ahh greg davis, mr 50k a day lol -- what's that video from?
 

TheSilverSpoon

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My take: the cream always rises to the top. Someone who can run profitable traffic in an intensely competitive vertical will have a tremendous advantage over someone who can't. That person will be able to compete with just about anybody in just about any vertical.

Sure, the guy who can't compete can go niche down and find some smaller markets to play in. But, any sizable market big enough to warrant you being in will eventually develop competition. And if you can't compete you go out of business. Simple as that.

So you can either
  1. Play perpetual cat-and-mouse in relatively uncompetitive niches and hope the "big boys" see it as too small to compete or
  2. Learn how to market in a competitive environment and be able to stand your ground against competitors.
And affiliate marketing is the quickest way to learn how to stand on your own and compete. You live and die by your traffic profitability.

In regards to push/pull marketing: having a product that has pull is great. But what happens when a competitor comes along with an equally great product that is also able to do the push marketing? You get squashed.

It's like all the guys doing import arbitrage. It's a cat-and-mouse game of finding products with markets small enough to still have margin left. All it takes is one large, organized company ordering containers to completely price you out of the game. And then what? Run out and find another small niche product? That's not a sustainable business model. And neither being scared of your competition and hoping that they don't "find" your niche. You need to be able to compete to survive.
 

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Vespasian

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Incorrect, if you produce a shitload of revenue for a company, you are not "replaceable", simply because affiliates that can push big revenue numbers are not a dime a dozen.
You're generating 250k USD a month in affiliate payments, what do you think will happen if I use my competitive intelligence tools and reverse engineer your campaign? Do you have direct deals with traffic sources? Cool, I can pay more than you. I see which ads you're running, I'll just copy them and your whole flow. How do you want to prevent that? You can not. I can copy you, other affs can copy you. My CLV is 5x higher than your payout. Go figure. It costs me 4.5k USD to hire a media buyer who can handle a dozen internal campaigns (plus adspend ofc). By doing this I can improve my profit by 100k a month. Even if I were not greedy I would still try to move more and more traffic to the internal dep as affiliates usually get paid net 7, but the payment processors pay out net30 to net45 (not taking into account all the 180 day rolling reserves you have to deal with).

On the other hand, many products and offers out there are immediately replaceable. You have no control if your #1 distributor decides he doesn't like your margin, or you don't convert as well as you used to. He says buh bye, and your revenue numbers drop 60% overnight.
Sure, but that's the reason why every offer owner runs internal traffic as well, which a) is stable and b) is usually way more profitable than affiliate traffic. If an affiliate decides to drop out I'll just get one of the media buyers to copy and paste his campaign. Worked in the past, will work in the future. In times of WRW, Socialadspy, similarweb.com and so on it is very easy to replace you and your campaigns.
Overhead in our case is very limited as almost everything is automated, so I couldn't care less about missing out on 10k revenue a day. People usually overestimate the overhead costs as they don't understand how crucial it is to optimize the whole backend once you scale.

Go ahead and build your own business first, work on your MVP, and try to sell it directly if you can. If you really think that involves less risk than selling products in that space first and gathering data BEFORE you develop your own product, than you really don't know what you're talking about. Oh wait, you do because you did affiliate marketing first and THEN developed your own product, so you did exactly what I always recommend
I have the feeling that you have no idea what an MVP really is (hint: it's used to keep your costs down to a minimum while allowing you to gather data and recoup part of your investment). We came up with a completely new product and had zero competition when we launched. We did some marketing research with surveys in the beginning, then banged out a small quantity of products and launched with a super minimal backend. There were no working campaigns prior the launch and we did not optimize traffic sources, banners or landing pages in the first two months as we were busy scaling and building a proper backend, all while being very, very profitable.

but now that you have your own product you want to act like affiliate marketing is your red-headed stepchild when you probably owe 95% of your success to it. Give me a break.
I'll give you your break the minute you start reading my F*cking posts. Do I really have to repeat myself a third time? I'm glad that I got into affiliate marketing as it made me tons of money, but I know hundreds of affiliates personally that started with a few thousand bucks in their pocket and left with zero, or even worse, with debt on their credit cards because affiliate marketing is hard and it is not for everybody. What does affiliate marketing look like for most people who are new to the industry? Bling bling, guru, yadda yadda, 50k a day, get comissionz and fat checks. All you have to do is set up a nice site and buy some traffic. You know what I'm talking about. We both know that affiliate marketing is hard and challenging, but most people who decide to jump into it simply don't.

I think that a bit of background information like the one I gave in my opener will help beginners approach affiliate marketing the right way. I've seen too many people lose a lot of money because they had a wrong idea what affiliate marketing really is as everybody is only talking about how much money they made in a day, but nobody talks about all the dark nights spent hustling 15 hours in front of the computer not knowing if your campaign you're working on will pay for the adspend or not.

I don't even understand your point. Competition doesn't magically go away when you build your own service, but your overhead certainly goes up.
Of course not. The profit margins of your own offer / service will most certainly outweigh your CPA you receive as an affiliate. What does that mean? More money in the bank, easier to build a successful campaign as your max CPA is higher.

Same thing, building your own offers doesn't mean competition goes away.
See above.

Incorrect, my main offer pays 50% front-end, 25% backend, lifetime. There are plenty of offers out there like that one.
Hah, I had to laugh when I read that line.
And you think that your advertiser will track everything properly? This little line shows us two things: a) you have no idea how a large part of the industry works (on an advertiser level) and b) you are very naive. You give up control and let other people decide your outcome.

You are making more dough now because you did affiliate marketing and learned what you learned. "Build your own business and learn the marketing by selling your own stuff" sounds nice and powerful, but 95% fail that way, because they spend all their energy creating a product and then don't know what to do once they have it.
Please remind yourself that I was speaking about launching with a MVP. Let me quote the definition for you:
  • Be able to test a product hypothesis with minimal resources
  • Accelerate learning
  • Reduce wasted engineering hours
  • Get the product to early customers as soon as possible
I agree, if you spend 5k USD and 90% on your business the probability of your business failing will increase, but that was not what I was talking about.

If you flip it around and learn to market proven products first, all it takes after that is developing a product and inserting it into your proven funnel.
Are we talking about building a business that innovates or imitates? Sure, if you want to build a business just to compete with the guy you just generated sales for, go ahead do it and see what happens. Prepare for fighting an uphill battle.

You have two choices.
1) You become an affiliate and promote what everybody promotes. You're like a door-to-door salesman that is competing with 5 other guys working the same street as you. Prepare to lose your money if your campaigns do not work. You will end up with nothing as you have not built any assets. You don't learn much as you still don't know how to sell or how to interpret the markets needs correctly.

2) You work on your own business, put a MVP on the market and promote it directly. If your campaign fails you will lose money, that's no surprise, but the chances of your campaign succeeding are higher as the optimization is easier. More revenue / profit means increased max CPA = easier to optimize. It is a huge difference to optimize for $20 CPA or for $30. If it does not work out as planned you always have the option of selling your asset (product, brand, blueprint) to someone in the same industry.

There's no debating this, but we can go back and forth as long as you'd like.
You hopefully see that your approach is somewhat flawed. If not, that's fine.

You are actually proof of exactly what I have been saying all along, learn the ropes by marketing as an affiliate first, then use that knowledge to grow your own product/service.
Just because a few guys win the lottery every year doesn't mean that it's the best way to make a lot of money. Your logic is flawed.

Coalission, let me quote you:
"A lot of people, including MJ himself, has a negative view on affiliate marketing, something I do and am very proud of."
And that is the problem here. You are arguing with me because you feel offended by my experience. Affiliate marketing works for you, that's great and you should enjoy it (and scale it), but you should also step back for a minute and see the bigger picture of what we are doing. Most affiliates fail miserably because they enter the industry under false pretenses. They think it's easy money and a quick way to riches. Both of us know that that's not the whole story and I think I gave a good opinion on the state of the industry you won't read that often in forums.

If you think I'm full of shit and it's the other way round, I can live with that, but please don't expect me putting in more time in participating in a virtual pissing match that this thread became after page one. Sorry to disappoint you, MJ, hope you already finished your popcorn!
 

Nosferatu

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man this thread is sooo good. lol.

+1 @Vespasian

Well thought out, i agreed with almost everything you said.

you both have some good points, but as an ex-aff marketer myself, i agree with the above :p
 

Coalission

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If you think I'm full of shit and it's the other way round, I can live with that, but please don't expect me putting in more time in participating in a virtual pissing match that this thread became after page one.
I don't think you're full of shit, most of what you say is true about being an offer owner, the problem is that to make your argument you do the same thing everyone does in their argument against affiliate marketing. You pick the best case scenario as a product owner, where everything went right, and you have a full-fledged business up and running, vs. a low-level, bottom of the barrel, get rich quick affiliate.

I can also pick an affiliate who has his shit together vs. someone who writes book after book, invention after invention, product after product, can't ever make anything work, loses his marriage, loses his house, etc. It's never an even comparison. Perfect example:

but I know hundreds of affiliates personally that started with a few thousand bucks in their pocket and left with zero, or even worse, with debt on their credit cards because affiliate marketing is hard and it is not for everybody.
You don't know product owners/inventors that went through the exact same thing? That's part of getting into business. Most people don't make it. Many lose their shirt, many end up in debt.

At the end of the day, to know if this debate has any merit, I'd like to know your opinion on something, otherwise we'll go in circles forever:

Do you think someone who has become successful as an affiliate has a better, worse or the same chance of becoming successful when trying to launch their own product as someone who started from scratch, has never sold a thing, but just wants to make it happen because they have a cool idea?

If you think the affiliate has the same or a worst chance of succeeding with their own product, then we'll just agree to disagree. If you admit that an affiliate has a better chance of succeeding in the long run, then that proves my point about people trying to lead newbies away from affiliate marketing, when it is something that can better their chances of ultimately succeeding.
 

MJ DeMarco

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You don't know product owners/inventors that went through the exact same thing? That's part of getting into business. Most people don't make it. Many lose their shirt, many end up in debt.
You're arguing a survivorship bias which is a legit argument. I just think that the survivor bias for AM is far less than someone who honors the 5 Commandments. Perhaps that's what @Vespasian is debating.

Do you think someone who has become successful as an affiliate has a better, worse or the same chance of becoming successful when trying to launch their own product as someone who started from scratch, has never sold a thing, but just wants to make it happen because they have a cool idea?
Absolutely a successful AM dude would have a lot better chance at succeeding at their own gig. I also think that anyone who can succeed at MLM would be a rockstar in the entrepreneur world.

Thread moved to GOLD.
 

Coalission

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You're arguing a survivorship bias which is a legit argument. I just think that the survivor bias for AM is far less than someone who honors the 5 Commandments. Perhaps that's what @Vespasian is debating.
That can go either way, though. When I first got fired and moved to doing my own thing, my first go at it was my own Dead Sea mud product, shipped the stuff over from Israel, designed packaging, had a nice name, etc. With no backend upsells, in a good case scenario I would be netting about $15/jar, with all that work in the beginning, messy kitchen playing with a barrel of mud. Now I needed to sell the stuff. I still have like 40 jars of the stuff sitting in a back room.

After a couple months of trying that and failing, I found all along there was a Dead Sea mud product paying around $40/sale. I didn't need to do anything except sell the stuff, which I would have had to do with my own product anyway (Yes, I could have hired out for marketing, but you're putting your control into someone else's hand doing that). That's how I eventually got into affiliate marketing, after a failed attempt at launching a product, and not looking down on a fair alternative.

Under the "fastlane or bust" mentality, I would have failed and had to go back to work. Now with the experience AM has given me, plus being much better funded, I can give it another go with no stress whatsoever.

Absolutely a successful AM dude would have a lot better chance at succeeding at their own gig. I also think that anyone who can succeed at MLM would be a rockstar in the entrepreneur world.
That doesn't really mean anything. Someone who has been successful at anything business related has a better chance of succeeding at something else business related. My point is how AM is directly related to something that you will have to do anyway, even with your own product. You can't not know how to market stuff and be successful, unless like I said, you want to put your business success and control in the hands of someone else and hope they market it well.
 

throttleforward

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I still have like 40 jars of the stuff sitting in a back room.
After a couple months of trying that and failing, I found all along there was a Dead Sea mud product paying around $40/sale.
Do you mind digging into this a little bit? Why do you still have jars of your stuff if you now know how to sell it? From a product perspective, it sounds like you and the other guy had the exact same product - was the reason he was able to pay so much because the mud was a part of a larger funnel for him?

Really like this thread and the opposing perspectives btw.
 

Coalission

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Would you feel the need to join a Lamborghini forum and argue the superiority of Ferrari's?
I joined the forum before I knew the owner had some agenda against affiliate marketing, so in my mind, I owned a Murcielago and joined a Lambo forum, only to later find out the community doesn't consider the Murcielago a real Lambo because "reasons".

I don't see people trolling importing and FBA threads saying how you're depending on someone else's product, what if your supplier steals your product, small margins, lots of work, better to make your own product instead of importing, blah blah. It doesn't happen because it's widely recognized that an importing business can eventually lead to something much bigger, and at worst it is a great learning experience. Every time an affiliate thread comes up though, here come all the naysayers with reasons that apply to any business. "I don't recommend affiliate marketing because it's a lot of work and stuff can happen" lol

Do you mind digging into this a little bit? Why do you still have jars of your stuff if you now know how to sell it? From a product perspective, it sounds like you and the other guy had the exact same product - was the reason he was able to pay so much because the mud was a part of a larger funnel for him?
Really like this thread and the opposing perspectives btw.
I've thought about going back and selling the inventory now that I have the means and the knowledge to do it, but I've just been busy with other stuff, and I don't want to go through the whole mud packaging thing again. What a mess. Next time I do something like this, it'll be done right and I'll outsource the fulfillment.
 

jon.a

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I joined the forum before I knew the owner had some agenda against affiliate marketing, so in my mind, I owned a Murcielago and joined a Lambo forum, only to later find out the community doesn't consider the Murcielago a real Lambo because "reasons".

I don't see people trolling importing and FBA threads saying how you're depending on someone else's product, what if your supplier steals your product, small margins, lots of work, better to make your own product instead of importing, blah blah. It doesn't happen because it's widely recognized that an importing business can eventually lead to something much bigger, and at worst it is a great learning experience. Every time an affiliate thread comes up though, here come all the naysayers with reasons that apply to any business. "I don't recommend affiliate marketing because it's a lot of work and stuff can happen" lol



I've thought about going back and selling the inventory now that I have the means and the knowledge to do it, but I've just been busy with other stuff, and I don't want to go through the whole mud packaging thing again. What a mess. Next time I do something like this, it'll be done right and I'll outsource the fulfillment.
I actually enjoy most of your posts.
It just seems as if you have a chip on your shoulder. Something to prove?
 

Coalission

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I actually enjoy most of your posts.
It just seems as if you have a chip on your shoulder. Something to prove?
I appreciate that, and not at all, I've just had some success with something that's looked down upon here, and I instead like to present it as a good alternative to people as a stepping stone to whatever their ultimate goal is, instead of making threads like "I made a gazillion dollars with affiliate marketing, here's why you shouldn't do it".
 

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LightHouse

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Who looks down on it? From what I've seen everyone says it's a great way to learn but not a long term solution.

With fba and importing the focus has always been on creating a brand on Amazon but you still have to play by their rules. Same with kindle books.
 

jon.a

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I appreciate that, and not at all, I've just had some success with something that's looked down upon here, and I instead like to present it as a good alternative to people as a stepping stone to whatever their ultimate goal is, instead of making threads like "I made a gazillion dollars with affiliate marketing, here's why you shouldn't do it".
seems like a good stepping stone for some
 
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Vespasian

Vespasian

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[...] the problem is that to make your argument you do the same thing everyone does in their argument against affiliate marketing. You pick the best case scenario as a product owner, where everything went right, and you have a full-fledged business up and running, vs. a low-level, bottom of the barrel, get rich quick affiliate.
I gave an example what happens to the product creator that gets out a MVP and fails getting it off the ground. He probably has an exit option. Affiliates have not. Affiliates face a greater risk.

You don't know product owners/inventors that went through the exact same thing? That's part of getting into business. Most people don't make it. Many lose their shirt, many end up in debt.
I know a lot of people who failed and ended up with huge amounts of debt and they had one thing in common: they did not test the market with a MVP. As long as your product is not super complex you can keep your risk very, very limited.

At the end of the day, to know if this debate has any merit, I'd like to know your opinion on something, otherwise we'll go in circles forever:
Do you think someone who has become successful as an affiliate has a better, worse or the same chance of becoming successful when trying to launch their own product as someone who started from scratch, has never sold a thing, but just wants to make it happen because they have a cool idea?
If you know how to drive traffic, create and optimize campaigns and have relationships to advertising networks, you will definitely have a higher chance to succeed.

If you think the affiliate has the same or a worst chance of succeeding with their own product, then we'll just agree to disagree. If you admit that an affiliate has a better chance of succeeding in the long run, then that proves my point about people trying to lead newbies away from affiliate marketing, when it is something that can better their chances of ultimately succeeding.
Prove your point that I'm trying to lure newbies away because...? I don't give a F*ck about the 90% people that read this thread, hop into affiliate marketing and leave with a hole in their pockets. Why would I? It doesn't affect my bank account in any way. I just think that it would be nice to give people a few reasons to think about the idea of using affiliate marketing as a quick way to fund their real businesses. See what 'FastlaneTiger' posted earlier? That's exactly the mindset that will likely not work.

You have an idea for a business and need funding? Go look elsewhere and don't get into affiliate marketing.

The last part of your sentence lacks any kind of logic. Somehow I feel that the concept of risk / reward is totally unknown to you. I think I've given enough examples why having a unique product in a market with low competition has a higher chance of succeeding than trying to promote a product 50 other affiliates promote to the same audience, probably even on the same traffic sources.

Let's do one last example:
What would you tell the guy that has 500 bucks to his name? Go out there and become an affiliate, setup an account with traffic source X and promote offers A, B and C. If it doesn't work out (because the competition is fierce and you're fighting an uphill battle), save another 500 USD, fully invest it again and if you end up with 200 USD revenue after 1000 USD spend, switch to traffic source Y or think about wether affiliate marketing really is something you should pursue?

F*ck no, tell him to limit his risks and build his asset. I recently met a guy that started his own video course in an unsaturated niche, his investment was 400 USD for a new camera and 50 USD for a theme on themeforest.com. He broke even after his first week by promoting his stuff on relevant forums, the pure profit was invested in Google Adwords (he never used Adwords before, never bought a single click in his life) and is now doing mid 4 figures in pure profits. Without any optimizing, no split testing, nothing. He's now building on various upsells and down sells. That's the way to go. Even if that would've failed, he could've still offered his product for free, collect lead data and then promote other peoples offers. Or sell it to a competitor. The failed affiliate can't sell his campaign that did not work out. 100% risk.

Every time an affiliate thread comes up though, here come all the naysayers with reasons that apply to any business. "I don't recommend affiliate marketing because it's a lot of work and stuff can happen" lol
Yeah, looks like you prefer the 'eyes closed approach'. F*ck the risks! Downsides / Upsides? What is that?
Every business model has its strengths and weaknesses, affiliate marketing has a few more than others, so deal with it. It all boils down to the risk / reward.

Jon pointed you in the right direction. You have issues:

I've just had some success with something that's looked down upon here, and I instead like to present it as a good alternative to people as a stepping stone to whatever their ultimate goal is, instead of making threads like "I made a gazillion dollars with affiliate marketing, here's why you shouldn't do it".
Do you even read the stuff you post?
After reading the two threads you posted ('Why do you guys say affiliate marketing is not fastlane? Look! I'm making a lot of money with it, look at me!' and 'My boss that fired me said I can not make any money but I make more money than him now but my big ego can't handle this') I'm F*cking frustrated that I spent two hours debating with an overly attached emotional boy. If only the slightest negative aspect of affiliate marketing pops up in a thread, you are hopping on your ego train and defend the business model, no matter what. Somebody criticizes affiliate marketing your response is something along the lines of 'that guy knows nothing about the real affiliate marketing' or 'that guy is trolling'.

This is the Fastlane forum. Affiliate marketing is not fastlane. Deal with it.

One thing I've learned from this thread is to always check the other posts that people wrote before taking everything seriously.
 

Coalission

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I don't give a F*ck
F*ck the risks!
I'm F*cking frustrated
debating with an overly attached emotional boy
That made me laugh. Grow up, people won't always agree with you in life. You are wrong in this case, and judging from your immaturity, you're wrong a lot in life but you probably berate the people around you who tell you you are.

This is the Fastlane forum. Affiliate marketing is not fastlane. Deal with it.
Yes, it really is, but before you smash your keyboard like the angry German kid, you win kiddo. All better now?
 

SerpKing

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Great points from both sides,

No doubt that there's lots of money to be made from AM. I have to agree that it's generally not fastlane - no end game (exit) and no real business being built most of the time.

However there are examples of affiliate models being fastlane - Case in point: retailmenot.com, IPO, 200mil in revenue last year 96% from affiliate commissions.
 

Kyle Tully

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I've used affiliate products to test a market/funnel before rolling out my own info product.

If you can break even selling an affiliate product with paid traffic then you can usually make a nice profit when you switch in your own product, assuming your copy is on par with the affiliate product copy.

Doing the same thing now with drop shipping which will then become importing and finally manufacturing.

Few models are inherently good or bad, it's how you use them.
 

Mr Green

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@Vespasian, you do bring up some valid points. Some people do think you can just walk in AM and become an overnight millionaire (which is highly unlikely). However, I did want to give an alternative perspective to some of your points.

I see a lot of threads of people who want to get into affiliate marketing. I'm always wondering why

The entry barrier is ridiculously low

Everybody can steal your campaign, go ask the guys that run adult dating what it's all about these days. Get on a spy / scraper and copy n' paste what you see. Do that with 10 campaigns and 2 will stick, until the banner blindness kicks in or other people outbid you. Spend 6 hours a day copying other peoples campaign and you can make a hundred bucks in profit every day. Trust me, after 2 days of doing this you won't want to see your girlfriend anymore.

Affiliate marketing is more than adult dating. As an experienced affiliate I've survived because I've always focused on giving myself an edge. You can gain an edge by getting a unique deal on the offer you promote, getting a unique deal from the traffic source you are buying from, hiring a team, automating processes, having a unique optimising system, the list goes on. People can spy on my campaigns, and try to copy them as much they want but they still won't compete at an even playing field with me.

You have absolutely no control
Scrubbing:
there are lots of scammy advertisers out there who will scrub you. They'll take 10-30% of your leads / sales and won't report them to you. There is nothing you can do about it and you won't even notice it.

The are some scammy advertisers out there, true. But there are also very reputable advertisers too. The beauty of affiliate marketing is you are your own boss, YOU decide who you work with.

Downtimes / tech: you have absolutely no control outside of your landing page. Payment processor of the offer you're promoting doesn't work? You're the one that pays for the traffic. Database error when people are trying to sign up? No revenue for you buddy. This does sound a bit unlikely until you're running a high volume media buying campaign on 10% ROI and the offer goes down. On the weekend. While you're running with a 24 hour out clause.

I go back to my previous point, you get to chose who you work with. Plenty of times advertisers have paid me out of their own pockets when they have had a tech issue.

Buying traffic nowadays: there was easy money in the acai pill boom 2006-2008, everybody could buy traffic and send it to an advertorial / flog and make a lot of money with this. People were not used to rebills and the conversions were ridiculously high, there was enough money for everybody. Times got harder, lots of offers, verticals and angles are banned now. Doesn't matter if you're buying banners on CNN, Facebook or Adwords. Affiliate marketing got linked to scam and publishers noticed this. Buying traffic for diet pills is very hard now.

"Adapt or Die" is a quote thrown around a lot in affiliate marketing. We aren't in 2006-2008 anymore, we are now in 2014 where there is now more traffic and more products to push than ever before. Mobile traffic is HUGE now, it didn't even exist in 2006.

Internal campaigns: almost every single offer has their internal campaign team that runs campaigns. It's very cheap to hire a media buyer compared to an affiliate who gets 75-80% of your profit. So a lot of companies cut out the middle man (the affiliate) to cash in more. This happens in all verticals now. New trial or CPS offers are only launched for affiliates when the internal media buying team runs out of good campaigns. Then they'll get all the affiliates on the offer that are doing the split testing and trying out new traffic sources. Then very often this happens: the internal campaign management finds your campaign (spying or checking your referers), copy your whole campaign and scrub you to death. You just paid for their testing and they're laughing. This happens everywhere. Mobile subscription offers, health trials, dating.

"almost every single offer has their internal campaign team that runs campaigns". I'm sorry but this is flat out false. Some advertisers have an internal media buy team, but a lot don't.

Risks: apart from the risk of loss when you're testing new campaigns you have the risk of getting F*cked for deceptive advertising. FTC is breathing down your neck when you're an US-based affiliate. You're competing with hordes of Indians, Thais, etc. who couldn't care less about using logos of TV stations or celebs. Bullet-proof company setups take time and are not cheap. The people who're running uncompliant stuff usually have a higher margin than you and can easily outbid you.

Once again affiliate marketing isn't just about running deceptive landing pages to rebill offers.

There is a BOAT LOAD of money to be made without promote rebills, without running deceptive landing pages.


Getting paid: a lot of big networks are getting busted every year. COPEAC, EWA (lol), Ndemandaffiliates, CPAtank and a bunch of others I can't remember. Think of going direct is a better option? Well yeah, if you're not doing thousands of sales every day you won't get any other payment option that net7. Wait until your advertiser loses his MIDs and has his accounts frozen and you'll realize that risk management is a bitch in this industry. I'm owed low 6-figures of two companies that went bankrupt and I'm pretty sure that I won't see a single penny of that.

EWA, Ndemand and CPAtank were ALL owned by the same owner. The owner was extremely immature, and if you did research about him you would of seen he and his companies were very high risk. There are plenty of solid affiliate networks that are backed by mega multi million dollar companies. Avazu, Glispa, Matomy, Papaya Mobile...I'm just getting started!

With all that being said I do agree with Vespasian that generally people look at affiliate marketing in the wrong light. They think it's super easy, low risk, no work needed, just going to make millions over night.

I know most people on fastlaneforum have got the heads screwed on right. Most will realize to make money with anything you have to put in work, you have to put effort in just like any other business.

If you treat affiliate marketing like a proper business...not a part time hobby then it's an extremely attractive opportunity.

I can give you a million excuses why not to start affiliate marketing.

I can also find you a tonne of 20 something year old affiliate millionaires. (I recently wrote about 3 on blog.stackthatmoney.com)
 
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theag

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IMO its best to combine both worlds. Build your own high-converting offer (incl backend), make the fulfilment as automated/passive as possible and promote it like an affiliate marketer/media buyer would. Then scale hard. Thats where I'm heading.

Now that I've seen my first success I actually think that the offer creation is the easier part of the equation. I could replicate what I have done in one niche in practically every other niche by using the same process (which I will do :)).

Most online business owners can learn A TON from successful affiliates, which is why I regularly check out affiliate blogs, forums, conferences, etc, to improve my marketing. They are always on the cutting-edge, because they need to be.
 

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