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Nosferatu

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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)
Mr. Green!

Saw your name and had to check if it was /THE/ Mr. Green.

I agree with all your points, oh and lolEWA. (I wonder what Ryan Eagle has been up to these days)

Just wanted to say, thanks for all that you do. I followed your blog and have been a member of STM a long while ago.

I actually made quite a bit of money from my learnings at STM.

-----

If there's anybody who can talk about the Affiliate Marketing space, it would definitely be Mr. Green.am

Cheers dude!
 

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IceCreamKid

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It's easier to sell a garbage product with great marketing than it is to sell a great product with poor marketing. Now if you can create an awesome product and couple it with awesome marketing then you're golden. Can affiliate marketing help you learn to become a great marketer? Indeed.

Holy shnykies I can't believe THE Mr. Green is actually in the house. The transparency of your campaigns and the info you drop in STM are ridiculously valuable not only for the affiliate guys, but for old school marketers who just want to learn how to craft a proposal from angles that 99% don't even think about.

Thanks for all the value, my man. I'll see you in London.
 
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Vespasian

Vespasian

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Hi Lorenzo,
cool to have your thoughts on that.

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.
Absolutely true.
My article was written after I saw dozens of people created threads like 'I have a great business idea but I need cash for it so think about affiliate marketing'. Lets be honest here: if you have this mindset, you'll most likely end up with no money or even in debt. Getting ahead of the pack requires constant hustle, experience and connections. If you're trying to use affiliate marketing as a shortcut it won't end well.

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.
Yes, there are good guys out there and not everybody is bad but the issue is that advertisers can f*ck with your traffic and your numbers any time they want and you wouldn't even notice it. You are your own boss, but you are not the boss of others. You have no control over the numbers your customer is reporting back to you.

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.
And plenty of times where that does not happen. You're not in control.

"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.
I think we have to agree to disagree here. I would go so far and say that 3 out of 4 advertisers (nutra and mobile) run their offers internally. Why would they rely on affiliate traffic that is unpredictable / unstable when they can simply hire media buyers that handle their budgets? If affiliates are making money with your offer, it's hard to make not more when you're promoting it internally.

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.
This does not solely apply to rebills. Come on, most stuff affiliates run is deceptive and nowhere near being compliant. Yes, you can stay perfectly clean if you want to but if you're in the game because of the money, that won't last long.

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!
So what about Copeac, Hydra and Millionare Network? How many sketchy advertisers try to dispute the quality of your leads? How many advertisers completely defaulted on their payment? Yes I know, I know, there are more good guys than bad guys out there, but still, it's an important point to talk about. Would you run a B2B business with only one customer? What happens if that guy does not pay the bills? Yes, you need to diversify and once you become experienced you automatically will, but if you're just starting out this is a huge risk factor you have to take into account.

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.
This.

Lets try to sum it up:

If you have a great business idea but not enough cash to fund it, don't think about using affiliate marketing as a shortcut.
 

Mr Green

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@Vespasian Haha I'm not going to nitpick at every point again. In the end affiliate marketing has it's positives and negatives just like any other valid, and highly profitable business model.

I don't recommend getting into affiliate marketing if you are going to treat it like a hobby poker player, or if you are trying to pay off debt.

I do recommend getting into affiliate marketing if you are going to treat it seriously, and want to make serious money.

I can say I love affiliate marketing. It's game I get to play everyday, making money is just a bonus add I get at the end of the day.

@IceCreamKid Man can't wait! We are booking the locations for the parties this week.

@Nosferatu That's for the kind feedback mate!...Ryan is laying low, trying to keep his sanity...damn he's had a rough few years.
 

MotiveInMotion

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Would a better alternative be to offer your own affiliate programs, or does that fall under some of the same traps? Seems like you're up more in the food chain of control and you have more leverage
 

alan3wilson

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I'm new user studying some affiliate marketing but I don't know how much money you would need to scale it up for now. I don't see it as the way for the Fastlane at the moment.
Also what do you think guys of stack that money or marketers like Charles Ngo?
 

LightHouse

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I'm new user studying some affiliate marketing but I don't know how much money you would need to scale it up for now. I don't see it as the way for the Fastlane at the moment.
Also what do you think guys of stack that money or marketers like Charles Ngo?
Get started first before being worried about scaling anything. You can't scale 0.
 

Garrus

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Hi all,

First up like to thank both Vespasian and Coalission for their views, many of which I personally experienced myself. Great exchange here, even better if the discussion didn't have to involve punches and pop-corn, just saying. :)

I saw this thread and like to help "flesh" out both their arguments, Humans of New York style...to help readers here better understand what they are getting into. I gave affiliate / CPA marketing a shot 2 years ago. What drove me into this? The people I met and talked to.

I met numerous successful marketers like Charles Ngo, Mr Green (Hi there! Great to see you here!), and several regional names in my area. Had dinner with them once on separate occasions, drinks and listened to their talks. They look legit. Here's a rough timeline.

2012
Read on 4-hour work week blog about this guy who made $40,000 selling an ebook on how to use Evernote. Thought this was the perfect opportunity, and spent 9 weeks writing a 180pg+ book on how to use a Samsung S3. Naively did keyword research using Adwords and splurged $700+USD on it with no prior experience (e.g. targeting the whole world as audience :banghead:). Turns out most of the purchased traffic came from some botnet in Mexico. i.e. Bounce rate almost 100% + <1 sec time on self-built sales page. Bought Perry Marshall's book on Adwords. Gave up and spent another 100+ to convert my ebook to Kindle format, purchased course on making $$ on Kindle, did review exchanges, and launched on Amazon. Brought in $1k+ over the next 2 years. Stopped as I did not feel it's a viable model.

2013
Purchased a cheap course on dropshipping from warriorforum, build my dropshipping store selling aquarium equipment in the U.S., while based half-way around the world. Made some sales but stopped after sales drought + unable to provide additional value since I don't rear fish + alot of suppliers unwilling to work with someone half-way across the world. Why I started? Cos I enjoyed diving and so I thought my passion can be carried over into rearing fish. So yeah, as MJ said, the market doesn't give a shit about your passions. Purchased more domains and tried to start few more dropshipping sites around furniture but didn't go ahead in the end.

2014 - present
Stumbled upon CPA on warriorforum, gave it a shot. Manage to get some commissions selling health supplement pills on FB, but wasn't profitable. Then I...
  • Signed up with more affiliate networks
  • attend workshops
  • read tons of blogs / listened to podcasts
  • flew to attend a workshop by Charles Ngo in Bangkok. First time met these CPA millionaires in person.
  • $5k business workshop by a local retired businessman. most USELESS course I ever spent. Regretful.
  • additional $3k courses by Mike Filsaime and Ryan Deiss, each.
  • paid & implemented spying / trackers / tools / email autoresponders. (CPVLabs / Voluum / SocialAdNinja / Optimizepress / Leadpages /ActiveCampaign blah blah blah)
  • went through medical research papers / videos and wrote a book on 70-pg diabetes and built a whole sales funnel complete with email follow-up.
More than $30k involved including ad spend in 2014 alone. All 25+ failed campaigns with -ve ROI, not one profitable even till now. :(

So yeah, as Vespasian and Coalission said, I find it damn frustrating. Last year I spent 3 mths in Stack That Money forum and realized for myself the kind of shady tactics that were used.

E.g. using ads tricking visitors to try out a new game, then using javascript to build a mini game style landing page, then pop a warning msg that the phone is infected and to install an anti-virus app immediately (didn't managed to do that, too shady and technical for me). I learned and used cloaking / redirecting human ad checkers to legit landing pages to have the ad approved on their ad networks, then directing that approved ad to questionable sales pages.

Learned alot about copywriting / direct response, and hell lot of technicalities. Attempted to build my own LEMP stack server on Digital Ocean to improve redirect speeds, and created 88+ animated gif banners to test my marketing angles on mobile advertising. Ran campaigns across some programmatic ad networks and realized they are almost all the same, and just playing catch up with Google Display Network.

I learned alot. On hindsight though, I got distracted, should have focused on simply getting +ve ROI from my Offers - Angles - Landing pages combi.

Would I learn all those above if I didn't try affiliate marketing? Probably not. Then again may not matter becos I'm still in shit land. Plus I can't put those on my LinkedIn to get a job, got feedback from interviews that I'm too "jumpy", not specialized enough and scared that I will get bored as the job scope was 1/10th of what I was doing. This feedback was scary.

Would I have come across MJ's video about the CENTS framework this year, then finished his book, because I feel damn low and felt something was wrong with what I was doing for the past 4 years? Probably not.

That "fulfilling needs" part kicked me hard. I almost wanted to start on those shitty pin submits / negative subscription offers, before my father came to me that same afternoon asking about a random msg he got on his Whatsapp telling him to install some crapware subscription to get new smiley icons.

Would I have gotten web development & consulting gigs from some corporate clients if i didn't try affiliate marketing? Probably not. Weird part is, they were impressed with my sales pitch about setting up funnels & analytics, but they settled for simple SEO workshop or website development instead. Those funnels are too advanced for them. And I was pitching to marketing executives / MDRT sales managers / IT dept directors in their late 30s, and all I had was a business IT degree. Had to deal with non / late payments + ridiculous requests + free riders though.

All those statements about affiliate marketing not being viable in the long term...I personally feel it's a first world problem. At this stage I will be happy to encounter the problem of my affiliate network cutting me out of my $50k / month campaign.

TL,DR
Affiliate marketing is damn hard. Still not profitable yet after 3 years. Burned $30K+, but learned alot. No better off from where I started 4 years ago, financially. Still trying to get my first +ve ROI campaign the legit way.

Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

Puripong

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I have learned this in a hard way. I started affiliate marketing around 8-9 years ago. My main traffics was generated through SEO with a f*cking high competitive keywords (along with one of the hardest niche ever.) At the time my SEO skills was good enough to get my site ranked top 3 for many competitive keywords. Sales started pouring in and I was naive enough to think that world was under my feets after I reached $12,000 a month for a following few months.

I got headaches due to many reversals occur from advertisers. I lost hundreds even thousands for some month but still I think it was ok. I thought I found an excellent model for websites that generate incomes 24 hours a day seven days a week without much effort to put in. My jobs was to monitor and ensure that all sites ranking were in a good shape.

Four years passed - One day I woke up therefore checking to see if everything kept up in a good shape just like a day before. But what I found was my site ranking were fluctuated and so the traffics. A few weeks later I lost 85% of my traffics due to huge algorithm shifted from Google side.

I wish I could have found TMF and read them while I was still able to figure things out before it's too late. But I haven't so the disaster was inevitable. Back to the story - what I had to faced was a crumble on everything I created. I spent thousands of dollar again and again with 3 years to fix things up but it didn't work. It was dying slowly steadily going downhill till zeroed. Everything gone along with my money. I have no control over my traffic sources (Google) and my income sources (advertisers) and I called that "online business" and called myself "online entrepreneur". How retarded I am.

At least I found MJ book and realized after reading for what was happened. I'm starting another business with many obstacles along the way. But yeah at least I got control over my actual business anyway.
 

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supeyrio

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Just like to highlight that skyscanner was sold for >$1b.. and there are more businesses out there built on the affiliate model.
its not about the tool, its how you use it that matters i suppose?
 

lludwig

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Now following this thread.

While I agree about most of the sentiments, I do think everyone should have some affiliate marketing.

You can create a tighter relationship with your audience. You can't do it all, but others can offer complimentary products to what you do.

You can do this via affiliate products you can't offer or maybe will at someone point but in the meantime can test out using an affiliate. AM is a great way to test out how to monetize your audience.

No business is perfect and AM certainly has its issues. The two primary issues are:
  • Relying on others
  • Relying on SEO (for most AM)
I sold my blog for $6M. A site that was only on affiliate marketing. I know many others who make 5 and 6 figures monthly just from affiliate marketing. So to say it's not a valid business isn't thinking outside of the box.

Can't everyone do it? Certainly not. But that applies to any business.

Should you only use affiliate marketing as your source of revenue like I did? No, I think that's a mistake for most, but should at least do AM at some level.

You should as a merchant offer an affiliate program for your own products. It's a great way to grow your business from that side as well.
 

wavecore

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I see a lot of threads of people who want to get into affiliate marketing. I'm always wondering why that is.
This is the fastlane forum and MJ correctly said: AM is not a fastlane.

I've been an affiliate myself (and an offer owner) and I think I can say that I'm one of the more successful guys. I'm doing well but I know that I had a ton of luck and that I met the right people. The question I ask myself is why do you want to get into affiliate marketing?

If you're looking for a way to make money to fund your fastlane businesses, think about it again.
The vast majority of people end up with a hole in their pocket because they don't manage to get any profitable campaigns. The guys that do run profitable campaigns often end with unstable income streams and usually low or medium 4 figure months. A lot of people heard of "Mr. 50k a day" or any other bullshit guru, flashing their money on instagram and milking the masses. That's not what affiliate marketing looks like.



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 don't want to see the tits of your girlfriend anymore.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

What it really is: you're just a random online salesman for another company. You're at the bottom of the food chain. You compete with other affiliates, with sketchy advertisers who work against you, traffic networks that have their own marketing department monetizing their inventory and with publishers who don't want to have your ads anymore.



Affiliate marketing is not easy and very time consuming. It's not a business and it's not fastlane. More and more people are trying to get into affiliate marketing every year and everybody is competing with you. I'd strongly advice against getting into AM without the proper contacts and a good amount of cash to play with nowadays.


If you need to fund your fastlane business, please don't get into AM. There are tons of other opportunities that are far better. Maybe this comes off as some rant (and maybe it is one), but I just want to let people know about the not so cool side of the 'ballin' AM world.
 

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