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  1. #1
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Exclamation Most Common / Deadly Affiliate Mistakes
    Dear Affiliates,

    In response to this attempt to identify the most common affiliate mistakes, I thought it would be interesting to have a thread where affiliates themselves would share what they believe the "most common affiliate mistakes" to be; not only "most common", but also most deadly to a fruitful experience of the affiliate marketing from the affiliate side.

    After all, every once in a while, we have threads started by newbie affiliates wondering what it takes to succeed in this industry. By parallel with the thread for merchants, let's have one for affiliates too.

    One-liners would be good. Or to contrast this we could as well do little lists of 3 per post.

    Looking forward to an interesting interaction that would benefit the industry much more than a semi-useful article published all around the place without any serious undergirding purpose to make life clearer for the affiliates that are just starting, or those that have come to a stall.

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Geno

  2. #2
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    The biggest mistake is forgetting your website, no matter what it's purpose, is meant for real people to visit and use.
    Melanie
    President - Affiliate Advocacy 2008 ShareaSale Performance Industry Advocate Award, 2009 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award - Affiliate Advocate
    Affiliate Advocacy
    NYAffiliateVoice Seery Writing

  3. #3
    The Beer Hunter LearnAbout's Avatar
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    disregarding the niche you're good at and starting to dabble in areas you know squat about, just because the bounty seems high.
    [URL=http://www.golfbeginnerguide.com/]Golf Beginner Guide[/URL] ; [URL=http://www.ladygolfersguide.com/]Lady Golfers Guide[/URL]

  4. #4
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
    I decide when the pigs fly!
    Rhea's Avatar
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    The biggest mistake I made was underestimating the amount of time and effort it would take to build enough pages to generate the kind of sales I desired. Most of the other mistakes I made (and there were plenty) were trivial compared to this boo-boo.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    Giving up too early, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    The biggest mistake I see affiliates making is not providing value.

    If you build a site so valuable and useful that people want to use it, come back to it, and tell their friends about it, it is much easier for it to become a success. If your site provides no value, you have to rely entirely on SEO (which can be unreliable) and/or PPC (which can be expensive). Neither of those is bad or should be neglected, but the most powerful, reliable, and affordable way of building site traffic is word of mouth and you only get that if you have a useful site.
    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

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
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    Forgetting that the purpose of my sites is to sell things, not to inform - teach - or entertain.

    And that it requires a lot of pages and key words (serp penetration) to make a lot of $$$.

  8. #8
    Tax Paying Member
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    Getting too invoved in a new idea before finishing the last one.........therefore neither is working efficiently.
    You must climb this mountain. There is no elevator. ---- Don't stick your finger in the liquid nitrogen.
    Carolina China

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador kaizen's Avatar
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    1. Failing to adapt and grow as the industry evolves.
    We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.
    ~Lynn Hall

  10. #10
    Member
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    Becoming too reliant upon one or two affiliate programs. When one goes under, or conversions fall, you are back to square one. Always have a backup plan.

    Common teaching in business school: risk diversification.

    GrainFarmer

  11. #11
    Newbie ceetee's Avatar
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    Learn, sleep, think, test, learn, sleep, think, test ...

    I'm a big believer in sleeping on a problem, and don't work so hard that you can't think about what you're doing.

  12. #12
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno Prussakov
    affiliates themselves would share what they believe the "most common affiliate mistakes" to be; not only "most common", but also most deadly to a fruitful experience of the affiliate marketing from the affiliate side.
    Geno
    1. Not reading Geno's book. (My copy is in the mail to me )

    2. Not reading Michael Coley's threads.

    3. Not participating in ABW.

    4. Not signing up with SaS.

    I would consider those to be deadly mistakes.

  13. #13
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    Biggest affiliate mistake is not marketing their merchants and just marketing their sites.

  14. #14
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    1) Not checking to make sure your links work properly or point to the page you expect them to.

    2) Blindly trusting aff manager hype or merchant claims.

    3) Thinking you have to stick it out with a merchant after hundreds (if not thousands) of clicks with no sales. Not replacing a non-performing merchant with another to test the salability of products on your site and with your visitors.

    4) Beleiveing that big corporate merchants will treat you fairly or like a "partner."

    5) Thinking you need those big corporate merchants on your site to succeed.

    6) Plastering adsense ads all over sales pages.

    7) Trusting that ALL merchants posting on ABW are legit.

    8) Believing you can trust that certain networks are not harboring parasitic merchants.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  15. #15
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Sharing too much personal information with your subscribers. My son's picture made the front page of the Washington Post a couple of years ago since he is a dead ringer for Harry Potter and the new book was coming out.

    I was so exicted to tell everyone and practically drowned in the hate mail telling me that me and my family would burn in hell forever, and what a horrible mother I was. I had NO idea there would be such a reaction. I lost over 1000 subscribers in about a week due to that little moment of sharing.

    I have had similar stories of hate mail from my personal life stories that I thought were either funny or interesting, but this one was the wosrt.

    Experience has shown me that no matter WHAT you write, someone will send you hate mail about it, lol! Just be careful what you send out to your customers if you include a personal note in each mailing. My friend James keeps an archive of hate mail so he can go back and laugh sometimes. I should have saved mine. It would be funnier now than when it happened!

  16. #16
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne

    Experience has shown me that no matter WHAT you write, someone will send you hate mail about it, lol!
    I've had my share of hate mail from newsletter subscribers, too, but mostly when I first started sending it. Now, they know better than to attack me. LOL - I tend to post controversial views on stuff that is considered sacred to many so I actually send stuff to spark controversy and the hate mail gets posted with my replies. I use the hate mail to generate content. LOL - One person who started an attack on my views is now one of my most loyal subscribers and actually admitted to me that the reason she went off was because I had made her look at herself closely and she didn't like what she saw. Very cool, actually, because it saved a kid from getting the crap beaten out of her any longer.

    On one of my sites, I can be as crazy as I want so it's more fun. My reader feedback page is one of the most highly trafficked on that site because I post the hate mail and my replies, which are blistering if the hater is stupid (most likely they are because it's a humor site that is tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be taken seriously).

    On my main site, where I can't get crazy, I do not blister the attacker back, just back up my feelings on the subject rationally and nicely. Since I write better than most, it's a non-issue and I rarely get a reply back. LOL - If I do, it's fine. I welcome hate mail or reader's opinions that differ from mine because I think it's important in my niche and it gets people contributing and coming back.

    Your attackers were harsh, though and you can't take people with pea-brains and blind principles seriously, Anne. Anyone who wrote you that you would burn in hell should be slapped from higher up. What nonsense! Arghhhhhhh - Meanwhile, I think sharing yourself with your readers is vital to good communication and to keeping people interested. What you shared was very cool and your readers should have been happy for you, not all hell fire and brimstone. But hey, the Internet is filled with all types ... which makes it interesting. Just use the hate mail to your advantage. Most of your readers will back you up and you can post their replies to the haters, too. :-)
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Deadly? Taking your laptop in the bathtub while it is plugged in.

    Okay, probably won't happen, but some of us are that attached to our computers, forums and stats we just can't sit the darn things down.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  18. #18
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne
    Just use the hate mail to your advantage. Most of your readers will back you up and you can post their replies to the haters, too. :-)
    I think this is an EXCELLENT point. This is what my friend James does and it just gets people more involved! I didn't do that, because i was so shocked and actually have been avoiding personal stories lately, lol! I will try that next time though and see how it works. Good idea, thanks!

  19. #19
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne
    1) Not checking to make sure your links work properly or point to the page you expect them to.

    2) Blindly trusting aff manager hype or merchant claims.

    3) Thinking you have to stick it out with a merchant after hundreds (if not thousands) of clicks with no sales. Not replacing a non-performing merchant with another to test the salability of products on your site and with your visitors.

    4) Beleiveing that big corporate merchants will treat you fairly or like a "partner."

    5) Thinking you need those big corporate merchants on your site to succeed.

    6) Plastering adsense ads all over sales pages.

    7) Trusting that ALL merchants posting on ABW are legit.

    8) Believing you can trust that certain networks are not harboring parasitic merchants.
    Rexanne, thanks for that post.

    I just woke up, so I will ditto most of what you have said.

    1) If I didn't check my error log the other day, I would not have find out that I had some PHP errors on some of my categories links.

    2) It's better to trust your guts feelings first, than blindly trust anyone on this business.

    3) I have some of those non-performing merchants on one site that I should have replaced them with another merchants long ago, but sometimes there is not enough hours on a day, or there are other more important things to do, than even go looking for all those old links from that dud.

    4) When you're on the money, or when they think you're on the money, maybe some big corporate merchants will treat you fairly or like a partner, but otherwise, you may be just a number for them. (Remember what they say, Money Talks.)

    5) Some affiliates may say they need those big corporate merchants on their site, because they are helping their visitors, so they will be listing those big merchants that only pay 0%, 1%, 2%, or 3% commision, and that sometimes don't even pay you, because some parasites may eat your cookies somewhere along the way to the shopping cart.

    6) I waited too long to join the adsense wagon and I missed the ride, but for now, I am still going to use adsense on my new pages until I see that the time is right for me to do otherwise.

    7) Trusting that ALL merchants posting on ABW are legit? - I'm not going to comment on that one!

    8) -
    ...

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador
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    Thinking how somebody else does with a merchant is the way you'll do with them.

    Not trying merchants or different networks out or listening to people give advice on those merchants or networks when they're not even using them.

    Try things out for yourself.

  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Witzer
    Getting too invoved in a new idea before finishing the last one.........therefore neither is working efficiently.
    You hit the nail on the head. The mistake that most people in any business make is getting a 300 item TO-DO list and never acting on the first item.

    In affiliate marketing I see this too often as newbies do a lot of research, read all the forums, blogs, etc. but forget to act. Then they get overwhelmed at their long list and fail to act.

    That 9 to 5 job beings to look safe...and it IS. If you want safety and guaranteed security, don't get into affiliate marketing. If you want to be 100% in charge of your success and failure, it is for you.

    I say to never let your to-do list get any longer than 5 items. If you want to add a 6th, you must do of the other 5 first!
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  22. #22
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattMcWilliams
    I say to never let your to-do list get any longer than 5 items. If you want to add a 6th, you must do of the other 5 first!
    Couldn't agree more. For 25+ years I witnessed businesses and / or their marketing teams never maximize any ONE revenue stream because they did not exercise self discipline in project planning / implementation.

    That makes me wonder sometimes why affiliates may sign up for dozens of programs when their workload only allows them time to develop one or two at a time. If you load yourself up with programs that head 100 different ways, require site or page development, set up, testing, optimization, ppc setup, ppc testing, datafeed set up etc etc etc., you overwhelm yourself. How many times have you thought, or heard someone else say: "I've got a ton of stuff to do. There's no way I can keep up with all of it". When you have this feeling, you will invariably also notice that no ONE thing that gets done as well as it should be.

    The statement itself says it all... If you are not able to keep up with your workload, it is because you are taking on too much at the same time. Reduce your "focus list" to where it is manageable, and you will manage. Organize a project list, complete the first one, check it off, and then move on to the next one. The better a persons focus, the higher quality the end product will be.

    Another important thing I see is also the internal "attitude" that guides us in our dealings with others. If you go into a partnership / project expecting the worst, you will get what you expect. If you go into something expecting a positive outcome you will focus on the things it takes to bring about that result. I can't plant Arsenic and expect it to grow into a rich crop of tasty Tomatoes, so plant the right mindset to achieve the right relationship with our partners.

    Alan Hamilton
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Thinking how somebody else does with a merchant is the way you'll do with them.

    Not trying merchants or different networks out or listening to people give advice on those merchants or networks when they're not even using them.

    Try things out for yourself.
    Agree 100%

    Take ALL advice as a possibility, not an absolute truth. It may work for you, it may not, you won't know until you try and prove it right or wrong. As you go on and gain experience, you get better at judging the ones that work and the ones that don't.

  24. #24
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Well, here's 10. I couldn't really justify leaving any of them completely out.

    #1: Using the wrong bait, and then wondering why unexpected/wrong animals end up in the cage!
    You wouldn't try to catch squirrels by putting sardines in a cage. Trying to catch Buyers by putting up info-content is the same type of mismatch. So is expecting info-seekers to come to a site that's covered in too many ads, for that matter.

    #1a: A variant is putting up a site without a clear idea of just *what* the heck you want it to accomplish for you...and then being surprised when you end up with no results at all.

    #2: Just slapping up banners, especially on some new, no-traffic site that's not even indexed, and expecting anything to happen.

    #3: Having the idea that all an affiliate does is send traffic to a merchant, and it's all "the merchant's job" to make the conversion!

    You need to make a pitch and get the viewer into a buying mood. It's like passing a ball: The throw is as important as the catch. If you send a merchant 10,000 "wild" throws, don't be surprised when none of them are caught.

    4: Doing any kind of work that doesn't have a defined objective. "Working hard" for the sake of it is totally useless. If your wheels are spinning on ice, the problem is lack of traction, not lack of effort.

    5. Being surprised that there are crooks in this business! Well duh. Of course there are. There are crooks in every human endeavor!! So watch out for them. But don't get scared off by the fact that affiliate marketing ISN'T somehow exempt. If some other industry seems like it has less crooks, that simply means you haven't researched the other industry enough to find them.

    6. Following common (common across the internet, not just here) advice. If the advice is common, every fool is already doing it and that marketing angle is saturated! Or it's otherwise obsolete, doesn't work, etc.

    7. Being dogmatic when you don't yet know what you're doing.

    8. NOT being dogmatic enough when you DO know what you're doing. This error can lead to "fixing what wasn't broken (and ending up breaking it)" syndrome.

    9. Jumping from pillar to post based on how the wind (especially the wind from the Googleplex) seems to be blowing. Make sure what you're seeing is a "global" climate change and not just a local weather event. Even a tsunami is actually a one-off thing which doesn't warrant coming up with an entirely new way of building (although you may want to back your next house off the coastline a ways...).

    10. Mistaking a fad for a permanent thing. There can be money in fads, if what you're selling matches the fad. But don't be surprised when things that suddenly became popular become unpopular just as fast. "Boring" stuff is much more stable, and a good bet when it's not in a saturated market.

  25. #25
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Ward
    Agree 100%

    Take ALL advice as a possibility, not an absolute truth. It may work for you, it may not, you won't know until you try and prove it right or wrong...
    My father used to say: "Listen to everyone, do not interrupt anyone... but then analyze it all, and do it all your way". To take this further, to know what "your way" is, you gotta try it first hand, and then make a conclusion for yourself.

    Geno

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