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However what does concern me is the future of aff marketing. As we know Google hates us for starters. Whilst this is fine at the moment and it is possible to stay one step ahead or at least play cat and mouse - it is a worry they might finally crack it and relegate us all to the bottom of the SERPS.
On top of this there is the fact bigger companies seem to be latching on to getting involved in what was previously the realm of the aff marketer. Eg. Yahoo travel. That can't help.
So, what I'm looking for is someone to tell me there will always be aff marketing for the little guys because ...
My wife is the number one "what iffer". i.e. "What if there's a war?", "What if it rains on the day we've planned the barbecue", etc.
I have enough to do dealing with today's actual issues rather than paying attention to something that may never come to pass. Sure, I make sure that my aff income is as diverse as possible to avoid seasonal/trend based peaks and troughs, but to worry about anything else is a major waste of brainpower.
If you think that it may not last, read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and start investing in rental properties and other long term stuff. The theory is to put your surplus cash into income producing assets in order to build a passive income for the future.
If your aff income today is just paying your bills, look for new and ideally unrelated aff stuff to give you some icing on the cake to spend on investments.
And as for the comment that Google hates aff marketers - ask that to the guys at G that count the Adwords dollars. They may not enjoy spammed SERPS, but they are very happy to take adwords cash from us, and without it there'd be a HUGE cash hole to fill. Ditto Yahoo and OV.
If you were a farmer you would have challenges like floods, insects eating your crops, draught! Every industry has challenges and that's all that changing algos and everything else are. The successful affiliates just learn to overcome and survive. I have been hearing "the sky is falling" in affiliate marketing for years and it just keeps evolving and getting stronger.
Now I'm not a total pollyanna (well maybe kinda) so if I were an affiliate I would always be looking for ways to generate traffic outside the SE. Provide enough unique content that people want to bookmark and keep coming back, build community, generate compatible link swap partnerships, not just for PR but for real targeted traffic. I would try to diversify my traffic sources, merchants and networks to some degree so I didn't have all my eggs in one basket.
Also after being an independent sales rep and sales manager for many years, on straight commission, which is the same way affiliates are paid, I learned a long time ago not to spend extra money just cuz I had a good month. The next month could be a big 0. So always save your money and have a good cushion in this business, because there will always be ups & downs.
surfgatinho, I can't guarantee AM will always be around, no one can. But I can guarantee that if you stay positive, work harder and smarter and learn to go around, jump over or dig under any obstacles that get in your way in this business - you will be MUCH more successful.
Also I am trying to diversify. I currently run mostly travel related aff sites. I guess it's a good sign of my competency that I can make a good living from what is widely regarded as the most competitive area.
I'm looking at computers and accessories - One reason for this (maybe should be a new thread) is as I run an IT consultancy I already have an IT related site with some pr6 pages an 0 reciprocal links. (Any suggestions?)
Corporations will have a greater presence in search engines and compete with their own affiliates.
Then again I guess it's such a good model i.e. the commission based salesman model that it probaly has got some legs in it.
Anyway, all in all I'm fairly confident I will continue to make money out of the web one way or another (and not have to lower my standards too much!)
No, it is a growing industry. Some of the big boys are going to damage the "Mom & Pop" sites because of this fact.....but that is down to growth in the affiliate sector and the power of the players involved.
>As we know Google hates us for starters.
I don't really see that Google hate affiliates, it certainly hates some of my sites, but others it loves. I don't see a correlation based upon affiliate status.
>Short answer is affiliate marketing will always be around but affiliates come and go
Yeah, that is about the bottom line. Look at US GDP, then look at the largest player in the largest contributing industry, heck they can't make a profit from their core business online and have now become a "super affiliate" to subsidize their income in hopes of profitability!
You forget the medium: in brick and mortar salesmen are needed because they have to PHYSICALLY KNOCK AT THE PEOPLE'S DOOR. But with Internet the distance is reduced to zero. When People will really get used to buy on Internet, intermediates will be less and less needed. At the moment they are still needed to reinforce the habit.
When People will really get used to buy on Internet, intermediates will be less and less needed. At the moment they are still needed to reinforce the habit.
This makes no sense. If everyone on this planet purchased goods online, Affiliates would still be in business because companies always need people to get their products out there and in the case of Aff Marketing, they usually only pay per sale.
All the Best,
Save and invest in something non-internet which can last long say in rental properties as mike suggested! .Becoming paranoid is good as it makes you to exploit fully what is working and find new niches that work , just make sure this dont rob your happiness :)
I remember someone who posted here some time before that they were making i believe 60k/month and suddenly after some time looking for ways to pay the rent! ...
actually in the uk very recently, when the electricity supply was deregulated, there was a mad scramble for new customers, nearly all achieved 'on the knock' as the trade call it, commisions were high and lots of people made a lot of money knocking on doors, ... of course within a year the game was dead as the marketplace got flooded.
But with Internet the distance is reduced to zero. When People will really get used to buy on Internet, intermediates will be less and less needed. At the moment they are still needed to reinforce the habit.
But the visibility is also zero. It is a huge dark hall in there, not a brightly lit shopping mall. People can't see and reach your store unless they already know your URL.
So what better way than to get the salesmen (aff marketers) to pull the customers in from the dark? And pay them ONLY if the customer buys?
Besides, AMs are one of the best way for merchants to leverage on other people's assets without risk :)
There is no doubt affiliate marketing is just the online version of the traditional commission sales and no question about its future ...
But the real question is what is the future of free Search Engine traffic based Affiliate Marketing? .
I think Gopi's above post hits the nail on the head. I am sure that Aff Marketing is here to stay (That is why the industry continues to move up), but who knows about the free SE's.
We do know that the SE's HAVE to provide relevant results preferably as close to the top as possible, to their users. I am not really sure what the future holds in this department, but better to move forward and spend a lot of time worrying about it.
All the Best,
If this is the future, not that I necessarily agree, then we all need to improve our PPC skills.
Then again, doesn't someone always kinda kill these threads by making the well worn statement that any business model that depends on an algo that it can't control is seriously flawed?
As someone with mediocre SEO skills, I've always used PPC first and foremost and treated any free SE traffic as a lucky bonus - this attitude has paid my bils and then some for several years now.
So I guess my answer to the free SE traffic gravy train question is - who cares? It won't impact my earnings anyway :)
Look at the world's oldest profession to seek inspiration on where the future is, they do everything that you can draw an analogy on.
Yellow pages, post it notes in the phone booth, drive by traffic, semi legitimate cloaked fronts ..
They've all got an affiliate manager and several affiliates in the picture .. since biblical times.
Point is... when there is money to be made for the middle man, people will find ways to make money.
LOL , so we are just pim*p's , huh? , ya i'll say traffic pim*p's :)
Shri , i got what you say . But the current draw of SE based AM is how easy its to make truck load of money with your knowledge to exploit the algos ...When it goes beyond SE's to offline advertisement methods it will become just another business with normal margins!
I am not predicting doom or something but IMHO assuming that we can expect the same kind of predictability/guarantee as say a restaurant business in AM is pretty naive!
I think the real question is whether the free SEM techniques that most use to generate their traffic/money will still be around.
For this to remain profitable, 2 things need to happen.
1. At least one search engine that has significant market share must have its search results based on an algorithim.
2. That search engine must not move to a solely pay per click model, or some other pay model that destroys margins. Pay for inclusion would not be a problem for most, and it would reduce competition by eliminating many not for profit sites.
It appears that Google at least will maintain its stand on unbiased results generated entirely by an algorithim. As long as an algorithim is used to deliver search results, it can be manipulated. Manipulated can mean anything from "black hat" seo to having a desirable, on topic, content site.
Basically as long as search engines send traffic for free to websites, we are fine. The barriers to entry will become higher as the algorithim improves.
I would be more worried about a business based entirely on PPC actually. All that has to happen to those people who rely on PPC is for a couple big spenders to move in and take over. However, I believe this will take some time. In many areas it might not happen for quite a while.
1) Affiliate sites that exist solely to sell.
2) Content sites on which affiliate links are a type of advertising.
Changes in the marketplace (or in search engines) might well affect the two groups differently.
I am certain it will not last for me. Not at this level. Not for PPC or SEO stuff at least. Actually, I see PPC getting worse before SEO but that's another thread. 2-3 more years of this would be nice though
Yeah, but by then I'm sure something else will have come out to help promote the affiliate market.
I'm wondering if all these small PPC guys who want to rise to become the cream of the crop will remain an "affiliates friend" and allow advertising with them. Although the traffic is terrible, it'll be there. Your thoughts?
Think Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Disney and Starbucks in the bricks and mortar world. Online, pick the biggest players in porn, meds, casino, loans etc. A few years of aggressive PPC and mergers with high producing competitors and portals and they'll squeeze out all the little guys.
What'll survive are the niches where the market is too small or specialised to be worth the big guns' attention. So we son't be selling just widgets, as this market will be dominated by big players, but "long green smelly widgets for outdoor use" might still pay our bills.
Glad you are doing well.
If your income is coming from adsense, I would worry. I think the advertisers are overpaying and that Google is timing it to improve their revenue while they go public (Google Auction Gets Under Way [reuters.com]). We need to find others to take their place when necessary.
Don't think we'll be sent to the bottom of the SERPS, though. Their algo isn't going to get any better at penalizing affiliates.
The bigger companies, as you've mentioned, are already in the game. So that's not going to change much.
I don't know anything about PPC.
Affiliate marketing will always be there for the little guy because there are hundreds of thousands of us showing up on the SERPS. Merchants and advertisers can't afford not to work with us.