Mangotude...Well, I certainly can't stay out of this thread when I've been called a pro. I'd have to say though, I do have experience, but I'm far from a pro ;) But I do appreciate the accolades.
Anyways, question at hand. Yes, I did see Cabbagehead's post in the supporter's forum. I was going to respond to it, but was tired and decided not to.
Is there a future for AM via PPC marketing? Sure is. I realise that Google has made it more difficult for some, but realise that not all affiliates have been affected by this recent Adwords algo change.
This is the way I see it. Google is a business, and as such, need to continue making more and more revenue year over year. They would be foolish to weed out most of the affiliates from Adwords because I think that would affect their earnings in a big way.
So, what to do? Several things, really. Make yourself stand out from all of the other affiliates in your niche. Put a real effort into making your affiliate based website more than just a splash page with a form on it to collect user info. Or, make it more than just a single sales page. Sure, make that page the focus, but the more I think about it, and look around, the more I see that to succeed as an affiliate, especially via PPC, the more you have to think like an SEO.
The line between what Adbot and Googlebot see as relevent is getting thinner and thinner. Google wants you to educate the user (whether you see a use for it or not). It's not what we think the user wants (when likely we are right many times), it's what Google wants to see. If we abide by Google's rules and make our website more unique, interesting, "plump", then you'll less likely be affected by any PPC algo changes.
It's going to be harder for a new affiliate to master AM via PPC marketing. By that I mean, this individual will need desire, passion, persistence, patience and some money to succeed (If you don't have much money, it'll probably take you longer, but you still can succeed). Attitude, and a good one at that, is the key to success. Half the battle is won when you think, "I can do this, I can succeed no matter what".
Think outside the box. Keyword tools are great to give you a general idea of what the customer is looking for/wanting. However, every affiliate will use every keyword in the publically available kw tools. So, do extensive search on sites in your niche, and know your niche inside out. As a result, you will come up with kw's that noone has thought about and that will give you your edge. Over time, you'll think of more and more bizarre and wonderful words, that sure, may not be the biggest volume kw's, but will be the best converting ones.
Another thing. Ever heard of MSN Adcenter and Yahoo Search Marketing? I know, evil little companies, aren't they? No! Make them your friend. I get So tired of hearing everyone bellyache that they are hardly worth the time because of their lack of volume. What a pile of horse crap. The fact that 75% of the people believe this is in your favour. You instantly have 75% fewer people to compete with.
For example, let's say you were bidding on "green widgets", and your bid was $1.00. In Google you may be in 11th spot. In MSN, however, you may land in 3rd position! So, in Google you may only get 20 clicks/day, but in MSN, you may get an additional 10 clicks/day just based on the fact that you show higher for that kw...irregardless of what the overall SE breakdown for traffic is. Same with Yahoo Search Marketing. You will never become a complete master of AM via PPC, Unless you utilize all three of the main PPC engines.
Well, I think I've said enough. In ending, you make your future. If you think you can succeed, then you will. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Good luck to all.