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Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?

Why does everyone have such low earnings expectations?



2:24 am on Apr 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?

Why is everyone content to make $100, or $1,000 with their site or group of sites? Even the most ambitious group of affiliate marketers seem to be aiming to make $10,000 per month. This is not a lot of money for a person who is putting the time and effort into creating a business from scratch!

I believe the prime opportunities in Affiliate Marketing have passed us by. PPC campaigns now easily top $1.00 per click for even the most generic ad campaigns. Sales commissions continue to shrink. If you can get 10% of an E Commerce sale you are very lucky. Especially if you can sell more than a handful of items. Commissions of 1% to 3% are much more common, especially for merchandise that people actually have an interest in buying like computers and consumer electronics.

It seems the only opportunities in affiliate marketing that offer decent commissions are internet marketing schemes. And most are truly schemes, with no value to anyone. Except the marketers themselves.

I believe the best opportunities in AM are long gone. Should we all be looking for the next big thing?

I hope someone can prove me wrong!


8:13 am on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

GuitarZan, I agree with you on most counts. But one thing that is troubling me is cookie tracking.

With so many scumware, spyware, malware, whatever ware there is nowadays, people are wary. People are running anti spyware programs which also wiped out cookies.

Will this affect aff marketing? I think to some degree, yes. Unless your merchant also has IP tracking, some sales will be lost.

It is a technology issue more than a biz issue, so to speak.

Still, it is indeed getting more difficult making good money with aff marketing. Bids on PPCs are certainly going ballistic on the main keywords but there are still some undiscovered gems.

One just got to keep digging and digging. You've got to keep moving all the time.

I don't know how people can work for an hour a day and rake in millions. Maybe if I know, I won't be typing this now :)


11:52 am on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

one thing that is troubling me is cookie tracking.

This certainly has an impact, but it won't kill affiliate marketing. It's just a part of doing business. In retail stores, you expect a percentage of shoplifting and spend a fortune minimizing it. In restaurants, you expect a percentage of food to be unsellable. In hotels, you expect a percentage of rooms to be unsold or unclaimed. Not perfect analogies, I know, but every business has similar things.

I don't know how people can work for an hour a day and rake in millions.

Most people who are successful in this business or any other business have put in many, many hours. We may get to the point where it takes very little work to maintain, but the smart affiliate marketer moves on and builds other sites when that happens.


12:31 pm on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Affiliate Marketing is going to struggle against adsense and the like when the merchants treat "good" affiliates with such contempt.

I am an affiliate of a certain travel company - I generate >$250,000/month in ticket sales.

What do I get for that? $2.50 per sale.

Now I would understand this because competition on price is so tough and margins low

BUT .....

When I can add an adsense banner to my site where the same company is paying $1/click for my target keywords I have to wonder if I'm getting screwed as an affiliate.

Michael Anthony

12:42 pm on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Gerbot - if you think that you can make more money from Adsense then you know what to do!


2:30 pm on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"Here is an Amazon tip: The best money to be made is not from their books or magazines. OTOH you cannot ignore these items because they help you make the unit sales to reach the higher levels of commission."

I would second that. Obviously you'll need a lot of sales of $10 books which, after rebate, yield about 30 to 50 cents. Instead, only the other day I made almost $50 on two or three sales of some higher priced electronic goods.

IMHO, the key to success with AM is diversification. I'm with Ebay, AdSense, Amazon, and other CJ programs, and strive to constantly expand my business.


2:57 pm on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Michael Anthony - that is what I've done.

My problem is more to do with the Death of Affiliate Marketing.

Why should a major travel program pay me more through adsense than the affiliate program?

I understand that the Google market place forces the bid prices up.
I also understand that the collective efforts of all Google publishers also gives us good bargaining power.

but surly a logical direct marketer would view my affiliate relationship as a safer longer term business move?


3:43 pm on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


eyeinthesky - I think as time goes on things will obviously change, and technology will get better. It always does.

And as doors close, new doors open as well. Maybe I am an optimist, but I think there will always be something around that is as great as affiliate marketing.




6:34 pm on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

For some positive reinforcement: I was earning $15/day a few months ago from AM, now up to about $70/day. No AdSense yet, still just AM. Keeping my fingers crossed that I'll maintain or increase this figure! I'm prepping a successful site right now for application to AdSense and we'll see where that takes me. I've applied to the program once in the past for a different site and got rejected. =(


10:41 pm on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?

That question pops up all the time, usually the person asking is having a rough time at the moment or it might be dying for them or they have the attitude that will eventually do them in. Affiliate marketing isn't going anywhere but affiliates come and go. Some stay.

Parasites will eventually wither away (most of them), lawsuits and technology will handle most of it, the Echo Boomer generation will clean the rest of it up. I think a few will survive, the ones where people actually go to the site and knowingly download and want the stuff.

PPC, if you can't find cheap clicks, your keywords aren't targetted enough. I have no problem finding 5 cent Adwords clicks.


8:19 pm on Apr 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Affiliate Marketing is far from dead though it does continue to get more difficult.

It's all about picking the right merchants and doing the needed keyword research (of course you need to know SEO). I make thousand(s) a month with affiliate programs but it didnt happen over night. I do know others making much more than that.

I generally only consider a program at this point unless it offers at least 40% to 50% commission or a high per lead payout (and there are plenty of programs out there that do).


10:20 pm on Apr 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

of course you need to know SEO

That's the kind of thinking that leads people to think AM is dead. While I "know" SEO, I do very little of it, just some on page stuff. SEO is too volitile for my liking. I have kids to feed. ;) But, dang, what do you know, I bring in a decent size living from AM and the next G update won't have me running to a computer.

The AMs who will survive will be the ones who can adapt and diversify and keep one step ahead. We are growing up as a group.


2:38 pm on Apr 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I see successful affiliates getting their traffic through three different methods.

1) SEO. This can be very, very profitable, but as you pointed out it can also be very unreliable. Sites can literally go from making thousands of dollars per month to nothing overnight if they get hit by a penalty or algorithm change and rely entirely on SEO.

2) PPC. This can be very, very profitable too. Obviously it will only work if you make more money per visitor than it costs. Many sites don't earn $0.05 per visitor, so it won't work for them. The main problem I see with PPC for affiliates is that it's an arbitrage situation where the margins will continually decline as more and more competition starts bidding. There's also the risk of paying for the traffic and then getting stiffed by the merchant.

3) Organic Growth. This is what I recommend as a primary focus. If you build a site that is truly useful, focused, unique or better than your others, and connects people to the products they want, the site will experience organic growth. Visitors will bookmark the site, return, and tell their friends. Journalists and bloggers will mention the site when discussing your niche. Webmasters with related content will link to it without being asked. The profit you can make from sites like this can exceed the profits from SEO or PPC, is far more reliable, and the only cost is the time it takes to plan, design, and build a useful site.

I do recommend that SEO be a consideration in designing a site, but not the primary focus. I do recommend that people use PPC if they earn enough per visitor to afford it. But if you want lasting results, your primary focus must be on building useful, unique sites.

People often say that all the good ideas are already taken. That's just not true. Think about things you would like to find. Search for sites that make it easier for you to find what you're looking for. If you can't find them, you've found a good idea for a site.

For instance, perhaps you're looking for a rug for your entryway. You want a certain shape, size, and primary color. How are you going to find that? I haven't searched, but I don't know of any sites that make this easy. You could build a site that takes datafeeds from a dozen different merchants that sell rugs. Pull whatever information you can about shape, size, and primary color from the datafeeds. You'll probably have to manually enter some information and standardize the data. Now, build a site around that standardized information. Let people choose a shape, a range of sizes, and a primary color. Show them all the matching rugs. Sort by price (or whatever else makes sense). Show thumbnails. Let them adjust the range of sizes and primary color. Show shipping details, specials, and coupons for the merchants. Make it as simple as possible.

Virtually all of my sites (current and planned) have been ideas that were answers to "How can I find this?" They all receive a considerable amount of organic traffic. The unsolicited links have also helped my SEO efforts. I've also been able to use PPC for some of my sites.


5:05 am on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

hannamyluv: What's your strategy to eliminate SEO from your sites? Organic growth? PPC? Something else?


This 43 message thread spans 2 pages: 43

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