I understand this article is dated June 2012. Since then (now being September 2012), there has been this huge debate over the Affiliate Nexus Law which has crushed my dreams of being able to make a decent side income through amazon and other merchants. I live in Georgia (Nexus Law has passed here) and Amazon and several other merchants have dropped their affiliates. What do newbies like myself do in such a scenario. I have not lost any money since I was on the verge of creating my site & starting my affiliate business. However, where do I go from here? What other ways can I make money online legit way? Please help.
If the above locations do not yield information pertaining to affiliates, it may be the case that there exists a non-public affiliate program. Utilizing one of the common website correlation methods may provide clues about the affiliate network. The most definitive method for finding this information is to contact the website owner directly if a contact method can be located.
3. Joining a community – Some programs house an exclusive private community of like-minded people. A community where you can share ideas, collaborate and empower each other on your collective online journey. This alone is worth its weight in gold. Help is always just around the corner and you will be motivated by fellow members to persevere and keep going no matter how you feel!
Be wary of networks that claim they are free, but legally control your work, and only pay you a commission. They can legally cut you off. Just one example of what Mobidea does. They’re also powerful enough to suppress their critics and pitch a false narrative, as is self-evident from the thread linked as Mobidea. Aside, everyone makes mistakes, especially learners and self-starters, which some affiliate networks may not tolerate.
I definitely don't think MMO is a "crappy" niche, either. It's an absolutely MONSTER niche that THOUSANDS of marketers are making an absolute killing in. MMO gets a bad rap because it's the niche that is filled with the most bad actors and for lack of a better word, sleazeballs. That does not mean, however, that everyone in the MMO niche is like that or the niche itself is bad. Some people have done the wrong thing with that niche and it's been given a bad reputation.
Let’s say you have a promotions page where you’re promoting a product via affiliate links. If you currently get 5,000 visits/month at a 2% conversion rate, you have 100 referrals. To get to 200 referrals, you can either focus on getting 5,000 more visitors, or simply increasing the conversion rate to 4%. Which sounds easier? Instead of spending months building domain authority with blogging and guest posts to get more organic traffic, you just have to increase the conversion rate by 2%. This can include landing page optimization, testing your calls-to-action, and having a conversion rate optimization strategy in place. By testing and optimizing your site, you’ll get far better results with much less effort. 
A lot of companies creating pyramid scams online are in fact getting caught and they are getting taken down by authorities. The likes of ZeekRewards, BannersBroker, Vemma…just to name a few in recent years. The SEC/FTC has their hands full with programs like this and they tend to go after the bigger fish in the industry where the most people are getting ripped off, but they are definitely aware of all of the others.
Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
These affiliate marketing "opportunities" are designed like pyramid schemes where no one is actually making any money. You make an investment to join the program and after that, money is just passed around from one person to the next. These schemes are totally illegal! You will lose your investment, and you're not going to make any affiliate income from it, either. 
I too was victim of an MLM, and looking back I just have to laugh. I was so excited about it, and I tried so hard to convince people that it was legitimate, and even though technically it wasn’t a “scam”, there was no value in it. Sure, I made money, but it wasn’t consistent. It wasn’t sustainable, and in my opinion now, it sure as heck wasn’t ethical.
Hard work, dedication and starting off your business with a solid foundation really takes you a long ways within the affiliate/internet marketing world and you are a true testament of that (along with 1,000’s of others I have worked with over the years). It is not rocket science and absolutely anyone can establish a long term and very successful business within any niche, it comes down to treating it like a business…not a scheme.
This has also to do with people who are lacking in patience and the ability to figure out a strategy and then stick with it. They will always think they can trick the system and get the results they seek faster. They will use black-hat SEO techniques and other shortcuts in an effort to avoid doing the work that is needed. Needless to say, this kind of things never work.
Content is king, people look for value and entertainment and reward those who can give one (or both) to them by signing up to their lists, consuming their content and eventually buying products as well. Its definetly a tough job: providing a ton of free content, establishing a relationship with your audience, being helpful and seeing the whole thing as a longterm venture.
Unlike other internet advertising companies, which typically pay for each person who clicks on the ad, even if it’s accidental, affiliate programs work on a sales commission model: there are still ads for viewers to click on, but the affiliate program only pays out if the person then buys something at the other end. The ad uses a temporary browser cookie to track what the person buys, and it eventually turns off if it doesn’t see a purchase.
Thanks for your time and really great feedback from your experiences with Google, Amazon and EBay. The amount of people struggling with this issue is really mind boggling and I’m all ears to potential solutions to the problem. I’m also all ears on how this industry will survive if Google decides to shut it down completely. The power really is in their hands in a lot of ways. But since they don’t own EVERYTHING yet, there are still opportunities out there in the social, mobile and offline arenas. There are also a few affiliates who have recovered from both Panda and Penguin and are still going strong. Though those seem to be far and few between at the moment…
Do you have any tips to offer as far as where to spend the bulk of your time? I get overwhelmed and never know where to start. I started out learning from Pat Flynn and just googling from there, and you're right that once you learn the basics it's just a matter of creating compelling, high value content. I just struggle to figure out what direction to go in. Should I create an identity with lots of personality or just a generic tone on the website? How much do I need to connect with visitors, how important is a strong social media presence? How important is website speed as far as what I get from my host goes (outside of website performance on my end)?

If affiliate marketing were that easy, everyone would be doing it! While the basic concept of affiliate marketing is quite simple, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that takes place. Affiliate managers have to make sure their latest promotions are being properly represented on the various publisher sites, as well as coordinate with the site developers to ensure SEO compliance. Having outdated sale messaging is a huge sale killer, and with the internet as big as it is, keeping it all up to date is harder than it seems. We communicate with our affiliates regularly via phone, email, and weekly email newsletters to keep them updated on the latest offers.
Also, it really depends on who you ask. In any business, you will see people that are doing really well and people that aren’t. Their results depend on so many variables, including the business that they are engaged in, the number of years they have been in it, the age when they started, how much their initial investment was, were they mentored, etc.
I’m seeing more and more “bundled installs.” They first came to my attention because a client said that some of his employees went in and used their own site one day and saw a strange display ad at the top of the home page. Somehow one of their affiliates had not only cookie-stuffed their customers, but had installed a software application on their site so that anyone who received the cookie and visited their domain would see a banner ad for his site. I think that’s really insidious.

There is no shortage of products you’ll be able to promote. You’ll have the ability to pick and choose products that you personally believe in, so make sure that your campaigns center around truly valuable products that consumers will enjoy. You’ll achieve an impressive conversion rate while simultaneously establishing the reliability of your personal brand.


For me I would choose a program with Recurring commission. You can build a real passive income. Its the best way to go! One suggestion is contact companies who sell services and ask if you can sell their service for them. Sometimes popular affiliate programs like these have just way too many people trying to sell their service. I personally went to sitecare.ca and asked them if I could sell their service and I couldn’t be happier! So find a service you believe in and go for it!
Exactly. I did affiliate marketing years ago (2004-ish) and did pretty well. I sold my business and moved onto something else but a couple years ago got back in. I've been working almost 2 years on a set of projects and I finally started making sales from them just last month. It takes patience & effort, and yep, I am at my computer about 12-14 hours a day.
He had a whole army of people working for him. I know because, once I figured out what he was doing, I did a deep Google on him and I found multiple projects he’d advertised on outsourcing sites where he was offering to pay people to post comments on the chat forums for him. He claimed in the ads it was just to help with the search engine optimization for his own site, but in reality he was hiring all these people to carry out his dirty work. He’s actually still at it! The client who hired me to get to the bottom of the scam cut their ties with him, but I’m sure lots of other merchants are still being played.
Skimlinks is something of a master affiliate network. Their technology allows them to check the links on a participating publisher’s page, cross-reference that with their database of 20,000+ affiliate programs and see if the site being linked to by the publisher has an affiliate program. If it does, Skimlinks automatically affiliates the link for you and credits you with any commissions resulting from the link.
The cost of Five Figure Niche Site are really up there and so it sounds like the training is superb which is what I would hope for that much money. I’ve recently gotten into something else called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and I haven’t gotten through all the training yet, but what it does teach so far is pretty good. Of course nothing can beat Wealthy Affiliate though. Do you know of anyone who’s been successful with those other Affiliate Marketing programs?
Varies from not at all to hugely important. Social is a great way to drive traffic in the early days before google shows you love. It is also a great way to connect with a reader on a different medium whether that be through pictures (instagram), short news updates (twitter), solving problems that users are facing (quora/reddit), or videos (youtube) Not all social media is going to be relevant to your audience, but you could leverage any social medium on it's own to drive major traffic and to connect with an audience you might not otherwise be able to sell to just by appearing in google. And let's be realistic, diversification of traffic is important - if you are relying on a single source, and it dries up, you don't get paid.
I love your thoughts on this and totally agree. It’s interesting to watch the multitude of new opportunities that are coming up as technology advances and the social and mobile space expand – further the international landscape allows for further reach. I agree, Google does not own the world, and people will continue to be innovative leading to continued incremental value through affiliate marketing. Thanks for commenting!
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The get-rich-quick idiots who have no skills or work ethic, who were terrible at their shitty jobs, and quit probably just before they were about to be fired. They then post all over facebook about how they're making a courageous move to find themselves. They then go to Chiang Mai, make very little money, but they are sure to hit everyone over the head about how they're so brave for being a digital nomad. They wash out in a year. Then they blog about how the digital nomad life isn't for everyone. Meanwhile, their savings are gone, they have severed relationships, and a year of trying to get people to buy stupid shit on your own shitty website doesn't look good on anyone's resume.
Longtime affiliate marketer and co-founder of Shareist Scott Jangro suspects that Gawker Media’s Amazon widgets are custom-built. “It looks like they’ve built a system allowing them to capture data that gives them full-circle reporting on what’s getting bought, through which page, and possibly even by user,” he told me. “Showing a count of purchased products for social proof is just one of the many things they can do with this data.”

90% done for you? I never like the sounds of that, as it is unrealistic and is setting you up with false hopes. It takes work and effort to build a business online, you need the proper tools, training, services and support. If you are looking to build a business online, then you shouldn’t look any further than Wealthy Affiliate as absolutely everything you need is within WA to create, grow and manage a business of any size online. 🙂
When we think of digital marketing, we think PPC, SEO, SEM, Landing Page Optimization, paid social, and many others channels, but the one we tend to overlook is affiliate marketing. That’s because affiliate marketing is a behind-the-scenes channel; you don’t see us but we’re there, sending you traffic and sales from all over the web, connecting you with customers you might not have found any other way. You’ve probably clicked on many affiliate ads without even realizing it.
Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!

The most important part of affiliate marketing is not selling but helping your audience. By offering solutions you are building trust. People will buy from you only if they trust you. The more you try to sell the fewer sales you will make. If all you see at people is the chance to make $ then you are not going to achieve much. Anyone can offer their affiliate links and tell their visitors “click here” or “Buy Now”. But if that’s the only thing you want to do you are just sabotaging your own business.
I really hope affiliate marketing is not dead. I feel it is essentail for affiliates to lobby their merchants to say that 1. toolbars are unfairly hijacking their commissions and 2. don’t the merchants realise that the toolbars will cause them to lose thousands of links from affiliates who drop them and cause direct visits to merchants’ websites to become affiliate sales.
Hi Brian, every single one of those programs has success stories whose income reports you can find if you Google the name of the program. Since I haven’t dived as deeply into the other 4 programs like WA, I can’t give you a specific number there. But when it comes to WA, I can definitely show you some real success stories (here). There’s a lot of people doing well with this program (as well as the others).
I dont think Affiliate Marketing is dead. Affiliate Marketing 10 years ago, is different to Affiliate Marketing in 2017. A lot has changed and for you to still be successful off Affiliate Marketing, ones marketing sytem must be adapted to what is currently working. The Niche, the type of offer and the traffic type is a major determinant in the success of Affiliate Marketing

On the bright side, even a small commission on a cheap item usually comes to more money than a single click on a banner ad, but then a visitor buying something is much less likely than someone clicking on the ad. As such, while an affiliate marketing campaign has the potential to offer enough money to make it a full-time job, it can take months or years of work to reach that point.


The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator, or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials. Also known as the brand, the seller does not need to be actively involved in the marketing, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.
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