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  1. #1
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Affiliate Marketing Future
    Hi all,

    I've been thinking about the future of affiliate marketing and wanted to share and receive some thoughts.

    One way some of us have had success is by creating landing pages for search marketing traffic. This is exciting and can lead to some profits if we test our fingers to the bone until we get that holy grail conversion rate (affiliate sales or AdSense), but it doesn't seem like a long-term solution because bid prices can change, affiliate programs can change, keywords can get saturated as more people join the affiliate marketing world, and we are just passing off one time leads that rarely return to our sites.

    Another way some of us have made money is by doing data feed shopping comparison sites, but this is getting more competitive as the technical advatage is being swamped by plug and play comparison shopping services that allow lots of people to put a comparison shopping site with auto-updating products and coupon modules under their domain name.

    The third way I can think of is by creating communities such as this one where people interested in a certain topic return to a branded site to participate in forums, chats, blogging, etc... and we hope these readers, posters, lurkers, etc... will click on an ad or buy something through affiliate links while praying that the community grows smothly with as little spam and flaming as possible. There also is the problem of low clickthrough rates and traffic quality issues on forums. There's lots of unique views each day on sites like MySpace, but advertisers are finding out that the quality of the traffic from a marketing point of view is very low.

    On the horizon, we will have the integration of more video on the web which will make reading content almost archaic when compared to clicking and watching something. People barely read content now, wait till video is more prevalent. Also, Google seems to be figuring out that they would rather service their traffic themselves (Google news, Google Travel, etc...) instead of selling the traffic to us to be serviced.

    Another thought is that it has been too expensive in most cases to advertise offline because the ad rates offline have been much higher compared to the last few years of a new and growing online ad market. As onlne ad rates go up, people with easy to remember domain names might start having better luck with offline advertising to drive traffic to online advertisers.

    So the big question is where do we go from here?

  2. #2
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    Please define "search marketing traffic"

  3. #3
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    search marketing traffic = pay per click traffic from search engines

  4. #4
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    OICUAM2,

    Nice post!

    I'm a merchant so I don't think I can be of much help.

    Sajjad
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  5. #5
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    That is what I thought you were saying.
    Some of us use different terminology:

    SEO is free "search marketing traffic"
    Buying sponsored ADS is pay per click traffic from search engines

  6. #6
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    OICUAM2, welcome to ABW!

    What you did above is described pretty much all types/kinds of affiliates that you will meet here at ABW... There is a future to this industry, as long as the parasites are kept out of the playground...

    Geno

  7. #7
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Thanks for the welcome,

    I agree there is a future in this industry, but I'm trying to figure out what that future is. I've had success with the pay per click model, but I know it is only temporary (no matter how good my conversion rates are right now). I'm waiting for better comparison shopping plug and play applications (I've tried GoldenCan and a few others) instead of spending time building my own data feed driven shopping site.

    I have good domain names in good markets so I'm thinking of focusing on building the best branded community sites possible to generate repeat users. I don't have a technical background so I'm trying to figure out the best way to build my web communities.

    I'm also trying to figure out if building forums is worth it in the 10 to 20 year plan. I'm thinking of playing around with a forum on a new fishing related site I'm building. I could then apply the knowledge to my other sites if it works out. More learning is needed because I refuse to pay web design companies what they are asking for putting community building tools on my sites. I also have been finding some plug and play forum and blog software that I could use on my sites.

    I want people to be able to post their pictures and videos in the forums on my sites and this presents another set of challenges for ease of use and quality control. Andy R. from EasyClickTravel once told me to put forums on my travel sites as the best way forward, but I have yet to pull that trigger because of the technical challenges and the need to be convinced this is the best thing to spend my time on.

    Of course, I should let you all know that my goal is "automated mobile income" so I can focus on my family, travels, and personal interests that have never had much "economic value" associated with them. My goal is not to be a daily blogger or salesperson. My goal is to own quality sites that generate revenue in an automated way. User generated content (Web 2.0) seems to be my best option, but the jump from 1 to 2 is pretty big for my one man operation.

    For people building online communities through forums and blogs, have you been satisfied with the results?

  8. #8
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    Whoever knows how to generate traffic will always have a future. And those who know how to have that traffic come back for more, will have it better off. You can get things automated to a certain point but hoping it'll run itself someday, I don't think so.

    "For people building online communities through forums and blogs, have you been satisfied with the results?"

    I have a forum for one of my sites and am happy with it. I participated a lot in the beginning to set the tone and now it's running pretty smoothly and every now and then I post. Still learning the best way to make money from it but I am making money. You have people generating spider food each day for you. I can read my forum and the people are up to date on what's happening, what's hot etc, which gives me lots of great ideas to use in other areas. SEO a page, do some PPC, add the idea in other areas etc. Lots of possibilities there.

  9. #9
    Newbie TheHoff's Avatar
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    Forums will generate little income on a day-to-day basis from regular users. The cash cow is in the spiderfood-- as TN1 pointed out. Every thread posted is a new page for the spiders to eat so make sure to give them unique titles, etc. The money will come from your ARCHIVE of posts, not the forum itself... with the archive, you can splash it with ads all over the place as it won't annoy your regular posters.

  10. #10
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    forums - where do we go from here
    My fear is that I will take the time to learn about forums and create a few, and then Google will change their algo to make old forum pages less significant in search results. Sorta like everyone trading links to get better PageRank and then losing positions when excessive link trading became a penalty instead of a good SEO option.

    If there is little money to be made from the registered users (I'm not sure I have ever clicked an ad here although I've been reading this forum for years), I'm not sure I want to take the time and effort to host other people's conversations.

    I would imagine it matters what the content of the forum is. For example, if I put together a golfing forum, I wonder how many of the users would click on golf shopping links to buy new equipment? Or maybe I would need to load archive pages with AdSense to profit off the one time search visitors who are searching for something specific and land on one of my archive forum pages?

    Another thought - I've never tried CPM (cost per impression) networks. Is this a viable option if you have a solid base of users in the forum or do CPM networks want unique visitor numbers?
    Last edited by OICUAM2; May 25th, 2006 at 01:08 PM. Reason: spelling

  11. #11
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    For the golfing forum, you can have a section/forum where only you can post for great deals. Or have something where if people are looking for great deals, you can get them that deal by working closely with some golf merchants. I've seen Overstock.com do this for more than a few forums. Where they give them forum only deals.

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