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  1. #1
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    Affiliate marketing - Is it still worth it?
    Iíd be very interested to get your collective opinions on whether you think affiliate marketing still worth all the effort.

    Iíve been reading about all the horror stories associated with affiliate marketing along with advice on how to build a profitable site and Iím starting to wonder. It seems that you put countless hours into building up a great site only to have your commissions stolen through parasiteware or your Google Adwords account hacked, or you fall victim to phishing scams or a multitude of other dishonest activities. It just seems to me that we might be fighting an uphill battle here.

    Iím not a defeatist by any stretch of the imagination but I do consider myself to be a realist. I just donít see the point of throwing endless time and effort into a bottomless pit if all it's going to do is benefit thieves. That same time and effort could be better used elsewhere if that's the case.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
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    It is like anything in life. If it isn't a challenge, then why bother?

    Of course it is still worth it

  3. #3
    Newbie giftk's Avatar
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    I think it's worth it. There're so many regular ways to get commissions.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julian
    It is like anything in life. If it isn't a challenge, then why bother?

    Of course it is still worth it
    It's not the challenge that concerns me, that part I'm up for. It's having my hard earned money stolen that I object to and it seems that some of the affiliate networks couldn't care less.

  5. #5
    15 years and counting
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    You're learning fast Firestorm. Affiliate marketing is still wonderful and profitable if you're careful. If we're talking of all our problems it's also for people like you to don't do the same mistakes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm
    It's not the challenge that concerns me, that part I'm up for. It's having my hard earned money stolen that I object to and it seems that some of the affiliate networks couldn't care less.

    Then find a network that does care. Shareasale, Avantlink and the Buy.at networks are all worth working with

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the advice so far guys but how do we deal with things like parasiteware? Correct me if I'm wrong here but as far as I'm aware that's not something that we can really control as affiliates because the malware is on our prospective buyer's computer.

  8. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    What else would we do? Get a J-O-B?

    Affiliate marketing rocks. I took about a dozen trips this year (about 100 days total), several (at least 50 days to places like Disney World, Universal, Washington DC, Boston, San Antonio, and Hawaii) with my whole family. I can't think of anything else that would give me that type of freedom.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  9. #9
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    Even with ALL the negative aspects of affiliate marketing (parasites, etc), you can still make a TON of money..

    Don't blame external forces for your lack of profit. Successful affiliate marketing overcomes all of those negatives by a WIDE margin..

  10. #10
    15 years and counting
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    If you don't work with merchants and networks helping these parasites to download crapware on your prospective buyer's computer, you'll feel safer.

  11. #11
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    There's stuff you can't control in any business. You just make choices to limit the impact and measure the final results.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  12. #12
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    There's stuff you can't control in any business. You just make choices to limit the impact and measure the final results.
    Quoted for Truth.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  13. #13
    Newbie giftk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    There's stuff you can't control in any business..
    well said, Michael.

  14. #14
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Firestorm, one of the members here used to have this quote in their signature:

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

    I really can't think of anything to add.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  15. #15
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    Um, have you ever invested in the markets?

    You do your best to research companies, look at profits, and project a potential outcome about how much you might earn with those stocks over time.

    You spread out your risk into multiple investments - maybe buy some gold, invest in currencies, and do other things besides buying regular stocks.

    You educate yourself about the potential gain and potential loss.

    You make sure that you can handle potential losses and that they won't bankrupt you. And you push forward and assume some "risk" to get potential gain.

    This isn't about working as an hourly wage slave. This is about investing.

    Affiliate marketing is the same deal. You will have some sites, some campaigns, and some efforts that earn you nothing.

    And if you're smart and maintain a portfolio of different sites, different landing pages, different campaigns you can earn six figures and more.

    I went from not knowing a thing about websites to earning what I'd be earning at a traditional desk job in my field - all while working part-time. The rest of the time I do what I really love - playing music professionally.

    I would NOT have the time and the money I have now if I weren't affiliate marketing.

    This industry ROCKS. But if you are risk averse, and you're the type of person who needs a guarantee that the weather is going to be perfect before you'll venture outside in the morning, it probably isnt' for you.

    Dan

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm
    Thanks for the advice so far guys but how do we deal with things like parasiteware? Correct me if I'm wrong here but as far as I'm aware that's not something that we can really control as affiliates because the malware is on our prospective buyer's computer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    If you don't work with merchants and networks helping these parasites to download crapware on your prospective buyer's computer, you'll feel safer.
    *You* have a *choice* of who you work with. What networks, what merchants. Choose your merchants wisely, focus on a specific goal, and you can still succeed in this business, very well. Changes need to be made, and the affiliates that work with the "clean" merchants and networks will be the ones to survive.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm
    It's not the challenge that concerns me, that part I'm up for. It's having my hard earned money stolen that I object to and it seems that some of the affiliate networks couldn't care less.
    The risk of theft is ever-present, yet is easily minimized. Maybe some Google AdSense accounts were hacked by clever means, but so far the only stories I've read were from people who used relatively weak passwords which allowed the breach through simple brute-force methods.

    Using weak passwords isn't just a risk for affiliate marketing; it can affect your bank and other critical accounts just as easily.

    The longer and more complex the password, the safer it is. True, it's also harder to remember, but that's the price you pay for security. It might be more convenient to use your car if you didn't lock it, but it would be foolish not to.

    The others here have addressed the parasite aspect well. All I could hope to add to that is how valuable this forum is for helping others stay apprised of which merchants are worth working with.

    All told, the risks inherent in affilate marketing are no greater than those posed by any business venture. In fact, they're arguably lower since the material cost of entry is so much lower.

    Like any business, it takes determination and ingenuity to be successful. But at least you're not paying $4000 a month for rent on a brick-and-mortar storefront.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador MeeMaw's Avatar
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    No, it's not worth it anymore. Get out or don't start! Run! I hear that Mcdonalds is hiring.

  19. #19
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    Thanks everyone for youíre your advice and encouragement. Obviously affiliate marketing still gets an overwhelming thumbs up despite itís drawbacks.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    Firestorm, one of the members here used to have this quote in their signature:

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

    I really can't think of anything to add.

    -rematt
    Excellent comment, and with that in mind can I get your feedback on this please?

    On a scale from 1 to 10 how would you rate the following networks/programs on their ability/willingness to combat dishonest affiliates within their own systems?

    CJ
    GAN
    Linkshare
    Amazon
    Share a sale
    AvantLink

  21. #21
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm
    On a scale from 1 to 10 how would you rate the following networks/programs on their ability/willingness to combat dishonest affiliates within their own systems?

    CJ
    GAN
    Linkshare
    Amazon
    Share a sale
    AvantLink
    Firestorm,

    On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your interest on affiliate marketing?

    How hot is your Fire, and how strong is your Storm?

    Going by your opening post:
    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm
    Affiliate marketing - Is it still worth it?

    Iíd be very interested to get your collective opinions on whether you think affiliate marketing still worth all the effort.
    Well, if you have the time and plenty of patience, it's still worth it.

    If you don't have the time or the patience, but have the money to buy your way to the top of the SE's, it's still worth it.

    But, if you don't have at least two of those two things, then... it might not be worth it for you.

    And, as far as those six networks you mentioned above, only two of those are the only ones that are doing their best to combat dishonest affiliates within their own systems, but...

    Before you can ask: "On a scale from 1 to 10 how would you rate (Whatever)", you have to tell us what the score is...

    Best to worse, or worse to best?

    Is #1 the best and #10 the worse?
    or
    Is #1 the worse and #10 the best?
    -----------------------------------------

    But anyway, if you really want the truth about, if it's worth it or not, here it's:

    Regardless of everything else, if you get into affiliate marketing for the long run, then I would say it's worth it for sure, but if you're here to make a quick buck and move on, Good Luck!

  22. #22
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    Mr. Sal,
    Thank you for your time and I do apologise for not being more clear on the 1-10 scale. I was thinking 1=worst and 10=best.

    You are quite right to question my interest in affiliate marketing on a scale of 1-10. Iíd like to answer Ď10í to that question but probably an Ď8-9í would be more honest and realistic at this particular point in time. Bear in mind that thatís considerably more than a few days ago when I was wondering whether or not to keep going with it.

    As a result of the feedback I have received I am now convinced that in fact it is all worth it and the reason for asking about the networks was so that I can start sorting out which networks are worth dealing with as per the advice given.

  23. #23
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Cool
    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm
    Mr. Sal,
    Thank you for your time and I do apologise for not being more clear on the 1-10 scale. I was thinking 1=worst and 10=best.
    No need to apologize, Firestorm!

    But I knew that you probably was thinking on the 1-10 scale as the regular 1-10 scale that means 1=worst and 10=best, but......

    But I was thinking on G. and on G. it's better to have a 1 than a 10!
    As a result of the feedback I have received I am now convinced that in fact it is all worth it and the reason for asking about the networks was so that I can start sorting out which networks are worth dealing with as per the advice given.
    I don't know why I am going to tell you this but, here it goes...

    Business wise, don't always go by what you hear...

    The best way to find your own trail, is to walk that line yourself, yea, sometimes it's good to know in advance if there are rocks on the way, but it's also good to know who put them there.

    And again, I don't know why I am going to tell you this but, here it goes again... (INLGAF)

    About five years ago when I get here, I started to learn about the parasites and all the crooks out there feeding on my work, so just like you just have posted, I said to myself, now... "I can start sorting out which networks are worth dealing with", I did the same... but...... that was a mistake on my part...

    Why?

    Well, just because I stoped promoting what I had before because of this or because of that, and five years later... (nevermind)

    No, I wasn't promoting anything illegal or unethical as far as knew, I was just promoting the only network I have joined before I got here...

    But...

    C'est la vie!

    And on 2009...

    Look out, NO MORE from anyone!

    YEA, I'm royally piss off about now!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    What else would we do? Get a J-O-B?

    Affiliate marketing rocks. I took about a dozen trips this year (about 100 days total), several (at least 50 days to places like Disney World, Universal, Washington DC, Boston, San Antonio, and Hawaii) with my whole family. I can't think of anything else that would give me that type of freedom.
    That post is really encouraging me as I am taking first step into Affiliate marketing...Inspiring me to work hard for my goals..Thanks

  25. #25
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm
    On a scale from 1 to 10 how would you rate the following networks/programs on their ability/willingness to combat dishonest affiliates within their own systems?

    CJ
    GAN
    Linkshare
    Amazon
    Share a sale
    AvantLink
    Firestorm, I don't think that rating the various networks/programs on the criteria that you've given would give an accurate picture. All of the networks and merchants have the ABILITY to remove and keep parasites out of their programs. This isn't rocket science, they know who the parasites are and how they operate. The fact of the matter is that networks like CJ and LS welcome parasites as valued partners. From their standpoint a commission is a commission and commissions generate fees for the network. And having large affiliates generating millions of dollars in commissions also becomes a selling point when trying to attract new merchants.

    ShareASale and AvantLink are at the other end of the spectrum. Both have policies against allowing parasites in their network and have processes in place to help uncover and eliminate those that manage to sneak in. I really don't know enough about the other programs that you've mentioned here to comment so I'd suggest you do a a little research in the ParasiteWare forum for more background.

    For merchants it's a little trickier. In many cases they're sold on these SUPER AFFILIATES by the networks. One of the problems is that many merchants allow the network to manage their program, for a fee of course. Sort of the fox being PAID to watch the hen house. Many merchants still don't understand that most networks aren't really looking out for their own interests (if I hear trusted third party one more time ...). In fact, much of what they do is actually a conflict of interest. It appears that some networks (CJ and LS in particular) actively promote parasites to their merchants even though the parasites are detrimental to the merchant's program. I can't think of a clearer example of a conflict of interest.

    For those merchants that are actively trying to keep parasites out of their programs, it is a constant battle. Particularly if their network allows them. The best way for a merchant to eliminate parasites in their program is to move their program to one of the networks that takes a stance against parasites. But even with that protection they still must take an active role in policing their program.

    Whether merchants are being sold a bill of goods by the networks or not doesn't relieve team of their responsibility to run a clean program and to pay honest affiliates for legitimate customers that we send to them. There have been a number of threads over the years that advocate educating merchants about the detrimental affect of parasites on their programs. Many know and don't care. The second obvious conflict of interest is the AM that is paid or bonused on sales by parasites. There is also the fear that if they eliminate the parasites that their numbers won't look as good to their higher ups.

    Some of the aspects of parasitic activity are pretty obvious, they steal from us and they steal from merchants and parasites and networks benefit financially from that theft. Other aspects are more complicated, for instance a merchant's motivation to make the bottom line LOOK better, even when it's actually hurting their program. But the real bottom line is that affiliate marketing is just like any other industry. There will always be honest players and there will always be those that will find a way to cheat and steal. And as the quote states; if we do nothing, they win.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

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