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  1. #1
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    Becoming a Merchant Or An Affiliate
    Hi Everyone,

    I have been thinking about this for the past while now and would like to gather some of the pro's and con's of each, which do you think is the overall better way to go when it comes to making money online, to become a merchant or to become an affiliate.

    I see major benifits of both, I have been an affiliate marketer for about a year now and have not made a lot of money but I find myself slowly improving, its a continous learning experince.

    I have also been thinking about creating a few eBooks to sell on Click Bank, but my main concern is that there are so many products in so many different areas that I may have a hard time recrutting affiliates to market my product, as I look more into generating an income online I see much more benifits of becoming a merchant and only using my affiliate programs as a secondary source of income.

    What does everyone think about creating eBooks to sell through Click Bank rather then working much harder as an affiliate? Has anyone had any success by selling eBooks on Click Bank or just online in general?

    Thank You.

  2. #2
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    What are you skills?
    What do you enjoy doing?
    What is your capital ?
    Are you able to not make $ for the first 4-5 months?

    Both requires skills, capital and a passion.
    Do some analysis and that will help you find out what you wanna do...

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info FairFieldGateway-EricEwe,

    Its kinda funny because I've already addressed all of those situations and am currently focusing on them more and more, but at least I know I'm starting to go in the right direction when it comes this.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    I would do both, but would not get my hopes up for an ebook because all ebook information can be found for free SOMEWHERE on the internet

  5. #5
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    netnow22,

    That was one of my main concerns for an eBook, there are so many of them and like you said the information found in most eBooks can easily be found online with a certain amount of work.

    I was also thinking of creating a free eBook to give away as an incentive of some sort and write it to the point that it can promote my affiliate products in such a way that it doesnt seem like I'm promoting them.

    And hope that it gets passed around enough to possibly turn a profit.

  6. #6
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I haven't done ebooks, but here's my opinions based on being an aff vs. selling tangible goods:

    I have been thinking about this for the past while now and would like to gather some of the pro's and con's of each, which do you think is the overall better way to go when it comes to making money online, to become a merchant or to become an affiliate.
    (LOL I just looked over this post, and it makes it seem like both have huge cons and hardly any pros. But, the QUALITY of the pros of each actually outweigh their negatives even though the quantity is disparate...)

    Affiliate:
    PROS:
    No stock needed!
    Oceans of stuff to promote
    No need to set up shopping cart, credit card acceptance, etc.
    No shipping stuff when it's 27 degrees out there!
    Hardly any job-like aspects!
    No customer service to do
    If a domain doesn't work just buy a new one


    CONS:
    Google!
    Counterproductive SEO advice from content-is-kingers that will bring you conversionless traffic
    Tracking may be affected and you can never be *sure,* even if you "believe" it's not, there is always that element of doubt
    Parasites
    Crooked merchants
    Slow payers
    Merchant incompetence
    AM incompetence
    Even the "on time" paying merchants pay slow (usually a month or so between checks) and that's just "normal!"
    Hard to do branding

    Merchant (I know you said ebooks, but this is from my experience with tangible goods):
    PROS
    You have max control!!! <--flashing neon yessage
    Nearly-immediate pay (money hits your bank account about 2 days after the transaction)
    You always know the reversal reason
    People don't tell you to do idiotic things like "add (nonsales) content" with a straight face, and usually you don't have to endure hearing that kind of stuff AT ALL!
    Google doesn't try to make you nuke yourself either!!
    G will accept a feed from you and run it without undue grief
    No grafting apple limbs onto orange trees in the misguided hopes that *that* will run. You ARE the real Destination Site--with just your products and descriptions.

    Tracking Really is Never Affected. If the transaction doesn't show up, you don't ship!
    Packing and shipping don't suck when it's YOUR stuff that's being packed and shipped!
    You get the big end of the commission percentage (although it's not 90%, due to costs/overhead)
    People think it's really hard. So, less competition.
    No clickthrough bleedoff (when they click to an aff site but don't go further).
    You get all the customer data and can use that to make d*mned SURE they remember you with some strategically-timed snail mail (and emails, but don't spam or it'll be anti-branding)!
    All the base are belong to YOU.
    Making a sale as an aff is great, but the high from doing it as the merchant blows that away! There's nothing like it when the people want YOUR stuff!!!

    CONS:
    If you guess wrong on the product's popularity, you eat it--you have to put a lot more thinking into what to sell
    If you have stuff that can die/go stale, you may be stuck with it even though it would eventually sell if it had infinite shelf life.
    You have to make the datafeeds
    You have to bother to update 'em if you have affiliates, even if you're only out of 1 item (as an aff I wouldn't dream of updating a site for one stinkin item...)
    If something is wrong with the shopping cart, guess who gets to fix it!
    Stock all over the front room from 2 product lines
    Huge stacks of boxes (for shipping stuff out), similarly situated
    Idiots don't read(1), you will get people who think you'll ship tulips in May despite the big H1 headline up then that says FALL SHIPPING...
    Idiots don't read(2), there will be orders from places you don't ship to that you'll have to void (if you think aff reversals are sick, just wait until you have to reverse on YOURSELF :sick: )
    If you muck up the product description due to typing while half-asleep, you have to eat it when the thing comes boppin' back at you...
    You have to get licenses, business accounts, merchant accounts, etc. that you wouldn't have to as an affiliate
    419ers will try to "buy"(steal) 100 of your items by claiming to be a dealer in FL, never mind their GHANA IP!
    Service providers think you're rich and try to charge an arm and a leg--you always have to let them know that you're not yet the size of Microsoft...
    Last edited by Leader; December 5th, 2006 at 07:16 PM. Reason: Cleanup/typos
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  7. #7
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Excellent analysis, Leader!

    Geno

  8. #8
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    Leader first off that is a great post and thank you for all the pros and cons on the subject but the one con for affiliates that caught my eye I just have to go into it more.

    This line I am talking about is as follows:

    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Counterproductive SEO advice from content-is-kingers that will bring you conversionless traffic
    I have been wondering about this conversionless traffic for awhile from content-is-kingers and I would just like some additional suggestions on it...

    Is writing articles about your affiliate products a decent way to get quality traffic to eithier your website or to your merchants website?

    I have read so many articles of how content is king and I am currently trying many different ways to generate quality traffic, but with so many free incentive eBooks around, every single one of them hype things up so much that you really dont know exactly who to believe.

    I understand that it takes a lot of work and a lot of time to find just what works and what doesnt but has anyone had even remote success with writing articles to promote the products you are trying to sell?

  9. #9
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    GREAT post Leader... many more "idiot" lines can be added on the con side of being a merchant... but those are a good start
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  10. #10
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    This is long, but if I shortened it there'd only be 10 more questions asking for what got left out anyway!

    You have a few Qs, so I've put your words in bolded italics and my responses in regular type, rather than bother with the quote feature for each thing.

    Disclaimer: All this is in my opinion and experience. Your mileage may vary. Etc. etc. etc.

    Terminology: When I say "Content" in this post I refer to NON-SALES content. Sales pitches and basic product info are exempt from the following derogatory remarks about "content."

    I have been wondering about this conversionless traffic for awhile from content-is-kingers and I would just like some additional suggestions on it...

    Is writing articles about your affiliate products a decent way to get quality traffic to eithier your website or to your merchants website?

    IMO it's not a good way to get *quality* traffic. Traffic yeah, quality, no. In my book, "Quality" = people ready to buy. Not "thinking of buying," not "shopping around," not any other form of iffy-maybe...but READY.

    The PROBLEM with the content-for-SE-ranks theory, is that it doesn't take traffic *quality* into account. Sure, you may get shedloads of traffic with content (you may also sit at the bottom of the index with it--after all, there are still only 10 spots in the top 10, and there are enough c*ntent sites out there that some are certainly rotting unseen!).

    Thing is, content-moochers won't buy squat, compared to the traffic you get from people who are looking to BUY stuff! C*ntent-seekers are still looking for information. They don't even know for sure IF they want to buy, much less what to buy. And, depending on the subject, content-seekers may not even be considering buying--they may be just killing time or satisfying idle curiosity, or even trying to do some book report for school.

    BUYERS want to go to the store or be directed to one if they don't know of one already--they've made their decision to buy, and it's time to do that buying NOW, not after reading more "informative" articles.

    IMO Best to aim at the Buyers, when you're trying to sell stuff. Put up a seperate personal site, if you like the idea of people coming just to read what you have to say.

    I have read so many articles of how content is king

    Yeah, there's too many of those All they do is stick the same old 1999-era CD in the player and run it again. Same tune that was playing in DotBomb 1.0, same tune for DotBomb 2.0 that's setting up to blow, and unfortunately, I think it'll be playing for DotBomb 3.0, too.

    (The articles I run across that say that, never are referring to sales pitches. They mean the dud-traffic-drawing kind of c*ntent. The info and/or entertainment kind.)


    and I am currently trying many different ways to generate quality traffic, but with so many free incentive eBooks around, every single one of them hype things up so much that you really dont know exactly who to believe.


    I ignore all of that noise, except to diss it in posts like this one. Every time I bother to follow a link to some article or ebook like that, it turns out to be some joker duckspeaking out the same 1999 pre-dot-bomb stuff without apparent thinking. Along with "advice" (more like cut-n-pastes) to put nonsales content on a sales site, you can expect to find dead SEO "facts" like "meta tags are important" (they've been UNimportant for years), dead affiliate program suggestions like "run contest programs," and other such fossilized pieces of "information."

    What I do pay attention to is how major retailers do things, general good business practices, etc. Also I watch and see where big companies LOSE money, so I don't go and step in the same pile of dog debris they did!

    Then I try to translate the good ideas to the Internet and ditch the dreck, and also dump the annoying parts of brick-n-mortar business.

    I understand that it takes a lot of work and a lot of time to find just what works and what doesnt but has anyone had even remote success with writing articles to promote the products you are trying to sell?


    I'm sure some people are able to do it.

    I also know that there are people who know how to train cats to swim in a bathtub without getting clawed to death!

    Even though it's "possible" it's not something I consider a good use of time and effort.

    Now, some will say, "you can make money" with content. That is NOT the same as, "you can sell stuff and have a non-laughable conversion ratio" with it.

    It IS possible for some people to "make money" with the stuff. Most of those people, however, are NOT using their content sites to actually sell stuff when it comes down to it. They're running ads: PPC, CPM...some form of ads where the stuff doesn't have to actually SELL for them to get paid.

    Or they just get a huge*ss amount of traffic built up, and then offload the site onto some other company for some astonomical figure before it implodes. (Another thing that's about as likely as a jackpot multiball win...)

    But I've noticed that most people here, even those who argue for c*ntent, will advise to disable PPC ads from showing on the "content network" at AdWords and Yahoo/Overture.

    Why?

    Because the content sites send them too much nonconverting traffic. It's no good for sales.

    I tested this recently by accident--I forgot to whack that option when I put some new ads up. Fortunately I caught the error at $30 out the window (with no sales)! If I'd let it go a week it would have been into the hundreds, burned for nothing! I checked my log files--no signs of fraud. The problem was simply that the traffic was coming off of content sites.

    You now know some of the reasons I don't like the stuff, from a business perspective, and why I usually write the word as "c*ntent."
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  11. #11
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    minidak03 mentioned ebooks. Not something I promote but those that do for a living say long sale pages convert. Lots and lots of content. The kind when I see it, I automatically close it out but they use them because they convert and they do get sales.

  12. #12
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Long though they may be, they are still purely SALES pages
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  13. #13
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    First off thanks again for the extreamly helpful advice Leader, another great post...

    and I have only been quoting ebooks because there are just so many of them around, you can pick them up all over the place for free and when I first started to read these ebooks they all seemed like they were trying to help me in the first 2 or 3 pages but after that the information goes dead and now after reading a few of those books they all have the same sales page selling tactic's as the previous ones. (Just like what Leader said).

    And I also agree with TrustNo1 about very long sales pages usually get's closed down without any hesitation, The one thing that really bothers me about most of those sites is that they are all exactly the same types of pages, very narrow, and jam packed with lines that say buy me, buy me...

  14. #14
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Long though they may be, they are still purely SALES pages
    The web equilivent of the TV infomercial with 20 calls to action to buy the "How to stuff a Gerbal up your Butt", while smiling e-book.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

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