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  1. #1
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    Hello everyone!

    I have been reading on the site for a bit, figured I'd dive right in and get my feet wet. I have been running a small affiliate website for an independant, I have probably made $2200 in 18 months, not a large amount by any means.

    I keep reading about people making a living off of affiliattions, I even read that some people are making $20k+ per month? To me, that sounds unbelievable! So I've been sifting through the affiliate programs located here: abw.infopop.cc

    It seems that from the posts, it is best to start with a niche site rather than a mall-type site. And it seems that there is more money to be made in drop shipping than with affiliates. At least, more money right away, as it seems affiliatse have to wait for a large paycheck.

    One of my questions is regarding dropshipping. My understanding is that a customer orders an item, you take the payment, then contact the dropshipper and make the order. Is this the case? Is it normally like 'customer orders online, pays you, you call the dropshipper, put it on your credit card' ... or is there a more efficient way?

    Are affiliates/dropshippers really making 10-20k+ per month?

    Thanks everyone! I've been looking for an honest affiliate site for years (literally), and I happened to stumble across a link for this site. What a wealth of information!

  2. #2
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    I do not know anything about drop shipping. However, I do know that people can earn over $10,000 per month doing affiliate marketing, especially in the 4th quarter of the year.
    I earned over $10,000 in each of the 4 months of the last quarter in 2003.

    So if it is possible to earn over $10,000, it makes sense that it is possible to earn over $20,000 if you had more visitors, more content etc etc

    I have thought about drop shipping, but never done anything about it. I would be very interested in learning this also.

    This forum is the best place to learn if you do want to end up earning over $10,000 per month.

    "I've been looking for an honest affiliate site for years (literally)"

    If this is true, then you are in the right place to learn. Welcome to A Best Web

  3. #3
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    Thank you, Julian.

    While I realize people aren't going to openly discuss their business practices in detail (for fear of other's stealing their ideas), I wonder if anyone has general advice. Like "Pet supplies make money" ... "[insert product name] does not make money"

    Julian, do you run multiple sites, or just one site?

  4. #4
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    I do run several sites, but only one really brings in the money.

    Look around on this forum and you will find plenty to keep you occupied for months.

    Look for merchants on this forum (listed on the main page) Those merchants are ones that are worth promoting.

    It is possible to earn $10,000 per month from just promoting one merchant. Some of the top affiliates earn several thousand per month.
    However, you do not need to be in any top 10 lists to earn a good income. I have never been in any top 10 list of top earners for any merchant. Earning $25 or so per merchant can add up if you have enough merchants that you can earn from.

    It is quite easy earning $25 per month for 1 merchant. Do enough of these, and you can earn a substantial income without having to compete with the leaders.
    However, if you can get in the $100 or so for the merchants, then you can see the potential. Get in the thousands, then you can earn a fortune

  5. #5
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    Julian,

    Thank you for the information, it is greatly appreciated.

    For the last few days, I have been looking through the 'Major Network Programs' listed on the main page (the ones you mentioned that those are the ones worth promoting).

    I see that there are a few major companies representing the merchants:

    Commission Junction
    LinkShare
    ShareaSale
    etc

    If I promote, say, three companies under CJ, do I get one set of stats? Are they broken down by Merchant?

    Also, with my current affiliate, I just have to make a phone call and ask for a check to be cut. How do payments work with the "Big 3" (as I think I saw them called on these boards). How often are checks sent out?

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    Hi Jason!

    With Linkshare, Performics and CJ checks are sent monthly. You don't have to call them. With CJ checks are combined, which is nice. You can also set a minimum. Only if you reach this minimum a check will be sent. I have no experience with Shareasale, so I can't really tell you much about them.

    About the stats: with CJ and Linkshare you can see stats for all merchants together, but also by merchant.

  7. #7
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    Hi Jason,

    You bring up an interesting topic: drop shipping.

    I have an interest in learning more about it too. My main concern is finding an honest drop shipper to deal with.

    In your research, where have you found the best information about drop shippers? I'm not looking for one of those "lists" that everyone is selling, but a good honest reliable source of drop shippers. ( Hmmm, I wonder if there is such a thing. )

    Do you know if there are any decent forums regarding drop shipping?

    Any help you could provide would be appreciated.

    I wonder if a separate thread could be started here at ABW for drop ship merchants and affiliates interested in them?

    And as to your questions about how much you can make with affiliate programs, YES, you can make $10,000 to $20,000 plus.

    And the formula isn't really that difficult. Like Julian said, make $25 or $100 per merchant and then duplicate and triplicate your efforts, and you can make lots of money. The problem isn't so much HOW to do it, but HOW will you ever find the time to do all the work required.

    Anyway, good luck and keep reading this board. I don't think that there are any better ones out there.

    Ken

  8. #8
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    Thank you everyone for the information!

    Ken and Julian, when you say make $25 to $100/month per merchant ... are you talking about having 1 site per merchant, or 1 site with multiple merchants?

    And also, on another note, I have heard the term 'white lablel' affiliates (those which have a generic check-out page) ... how do I know which merchants fit into that category?

    Thanks!

  9. #9
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    There are some people who have 1 site per merchant, then there are others who have 1 site with lots of different merchants. Then there are some who have 1 site per category, with merchants just in that category, such as jewelry; Mondera, Blue Nile etc etc

    I have no idea about what you mean by 'white lablel' affiliates

  10. #10
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    I will take on a couple of these issues:
    1. White-Label sites: These are typically found in the Pharmacy area. The merchant provides a complete site that looks like the order is actually being completed on your site, but it really going to the merchants backend software.

    2. Drop-Shipping: This is how I got started back in November 2001. I purchased "one of those lists" and actually got lucky and found a good drop shipper for the products I wanted. I have since been approached by another company that had a much expanded product line, and have switched over almost entirely to them.

    The biggest problem with drop shipping companies that promote themselves as such on the internet is that there is tons of competition for the products. Everyone uses the same distributor, and it becomes a price war. I can see that some of my competitors are using the same supplier I am, we have the same pictures, and descriptions.

    I have done well with drop shipping, and the income is much more stable than with affiliate stuff, but it does take work. I can set-up an affiliate site, and basically not touch it again. The income goes up and down each month, but it takes no work.

    With drop shipping, you have to work everyday at it. From handling customer questions, to placing the orders, etc, it all takes time.

    I have automated my set-up substantially since I started, but this was possible because of the drop ship distributor I use - they are technologically savvy. When a customer places the order on my site, it is automatically uploaded to my distributor for shipment. This is a big time saver.

    Drop shipping is not just for the small guy. When you read about an internet company that is selling a million or two in product a year with just 2 or 3 employees, I would bet they are using a drop ship type set-up or at least a fullfillment operation.

    I have thought about starting to invest some of my profits back into purchasing merchandise directly from the manufacturer and then shipping them myself. If there is a large enough profit margin to cover my time it might be worth it. On the other hand I have over 5,000 products on my site. By using drop shipping I can showcase all of these and let someone else spend their money on stocking inventory!

    I am always on the look out for local manufacturers of products that could sell well on the internet. If you can find one of these guys that will drop ship for you, you will be far ahead of working with a company that promotes themselves heavily on the internet as a drop ship distributor.

    Hope my thoughts help give you a perspective on the industry.

    Burke

  11. #11
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    Okay, I've dabbled a little bit with drop shipping so here's my take on it :

    the pros :
    1. you get to decide on mark up of the price, so you don't have to settle for just 5% commission rate, you can put it up to 20%
    2. you don't have to worry about parasites stealing your commissions

    the cons :
    1. you handle the customers - granted even with AM sometimes you have to deal with them because they think you are the merchant, but most times if something goes wrong, the merchant is the one who gets fried. And believe me, they aren't usually nice and reasonable - 'where is my order?', 'I want a full refund!' etc...
    2. some drop shippers won't handle returns, ie you will have to work out what to do with the returned goods.

    Nothing is for free. If you want the extra commissions, you have to deal with the extra heartache. I believe Billy Kay here does a fair bit of drop shipping so he's the better authority but those were the issues I had to grapple with.

    Oscar
    My DataFeed Scripts - php datafeed scripts for your site
    Shareasale datafeed scripts - to display Shareasale datafeeds
    Linkshare datafeed scripts - for multiple Linkshare merchants

  12. #12
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    Burke,

    Great post. Thanks for the info.

    I would never expect you to give out your sources. But for someone looking for drop ship merchants, where would you advise looking first? Are there any forums or directories that you would recommend?

    Thanks either way, and good luck with your business.

    Ken

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    I think finding local manufactures is a good idea for drop shipping.It's much easier to deal with them when they are close by then if they are on the other side of the world.I believe there are a lot of interesting products out there to sell.We should all find some in our local areas and create a catalog for us to select from. As to profit margins this could be very luctrative.Retail operations generally start at 40% plus.

  14. #14
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    I got my start from this directory, no secret really. This is not an affiliate link, although they do have a program. He also has a great free e-book about drop shipping.

    Drop Ship Directory

    Let me know if you have any other specific questions. I will be happy to help if I can.

    Burke

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    I take it that you invested the $69.00. How long have you been involved in drop shipping?

  16. #16
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    Yes, I paid the fee for the directory. I have been doing this since Nov. 2001.

  17. #17
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Wish all my drop-ship posts weren't scattered all over ABW - they'd be more helpful if they were all together.

    Jason - you need to be more specific as to what kind of drop shipper you're looking for. Sources for pet products would be found in totally different places than say, school items.

    One way to find is to search google for "pet supplies" - than choose search with these results for "drop ship"

    More Titbits:
    The same % of sales we affiliates loose to phone in orders, you'll have to decide what to do about having your own toll free number. Face it. people still feel more comfortable phoning in their orders. I found a local answering service that took my product database and can take orders and answer simple questions.

    Chargebacks. People return, complain, deny receiving and things get lost all the time. You'll need to decide if you want to deal with all the hassles, or simply take a reversal at CJ!

    I got a chargeback yesterday. Guy wrote a letter saying product never arrived and he issued a chargeback. So I didn't refund him as he said he DID issue the chargeback. (Turns out he didn't) Didn't want to get dinged twice. If you don't know it, credit card companies deduct you first - then ask questions - no warning. Money just disappears from your account and you get a chargeback notice a few days later.

    And most important - as long as there is no signature on a credit card reciept - and as long as you're taking orders over the internet you will never have an actual signature - the credit card company will side with the customer.

    True story: Someone ordered a personalized doormat saying their name and address. Denied ordering it. I was chargedback. I argued who would order a personalized doormat with someone else's name and address? I lost. Few months later I went to Legoland in San Diego, and made a sidetrip to Carslbad (where customer lived) to see if it was there. Yep!!

    A women said all 24 moneyclips she ordered were defective. She returned them to a company whose insert was put in the box. Then issued a chargeback. We argued the odds of all 24 being defective are astonomical. AND the women returned the items to AOL (or whatever insert). We lost.

    Markups: Depends on the industry. I automatically double everything. One item has been mislabled for years. Cost me $45. I was supposed to list it at $99. But I put $199. But it sells!!

    Just letting you know it's work.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Customer not receiving order? Is there not a copy of the shipping invoice to back you up,FEEDEX?.I have also heard that some banks have a program where the customer can pay by check,signature included.

  19. #19
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    Just one comment, I mentioned this site before, might be worth a look for anyone who is interested in picking up local manufacturers and starting a dropship program with them: www.thomasregister.com . Thousands of manufacturers from across the states.
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

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