The Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

By: Daniel Imbellino
Updated: March 09, 2013

Affiliate marketing is a practice that’s older than the internet itself. affiliate marketing slogan The concept is far from new, and basically works like this; online publishers show advertisements for products and services, in which they get paid when someone follows thru with purchasing said products or services. In this case we could call a sale a single “conversion”, in that a purchase was made, and now the publisher gets paid a fee or commission from the sale. In some cases publishers may get paid based on other factors as well, like when someone signs up for a service, joins an email newsletter, fills out an online questionnaire, or for how many times someone clicks an ad (impressions). While Affiliate marketing may sound like a good way to make money, the benefits of this marketing system for publishers are slim to none. In fact, for the most part, Affiliate marketing acts as nothing more than free advertising for marketers, with hardly any financial benefit for publishers at all. Here we’re going to take a deeper look at the pro’s and con’s of Affiliate marketing, hopefully giving some publishers better insights into how the process works, so they can make informed decisions as to its implementation.

THE CONS:

Affiliate Marketing Amounts To Free Advertising!

That’s it throw Ads from Amazon.com and Godaddy.com all over your sites, taking up all their real estate, and getting nothing in return for doing so, other than a few measly dollars a month. In most cases you would only get paid a fee and commission if a sale was achieved by the advertiser in question. The fact is, these Ads are taking up serious space, and unless someone makes a purchase, you are getting nothing in return for leasing that space out! Affiliate marketing is analogous to say, renting out your beach front property in San Diego to vacationers for the summer and never actually getting paid, unless the vacationers feel like it. The fact is, even if you had 10,000 visitors a day to your site, it’s unlikely you would earn more than a few dollars a month. You would probably need 50,000+ visitors to achieve a single sale if you are lucky. If there was ever a marketing Ponzi Scheme, Affiliate marketing would truly be the Bernie Maddoff of the internet era. Amazon now pays for impressions or clicks in some cases, but the revenue is so small you would need one million visitors a day to a single site in order to make about $10.00 at most per day! Simply put, Affiliate marketing is exactly what I stated, a con!

Deceptive Internet Marketers Put a Happy Face on a Clearly Deceptive Practice!

You almost can’t surf the internet these days without coming across a site, an Ad, etc, with someone claiming how wonderful Affiliate marketing is, and how they made millions from it and so can you. Really? Then comes’ the sales pitch, where they tell you they will show you how to do it too for just a small fee. I’ve seen Affiliate training programs being sold online for hundreds of dollars, and if they get enough people to sign up for their worthless information, they probably are getting rich themselves, just not from the means they originally stated. Deceptive marketers online have made millions from selling Affiliate programs to unsuspecting people. We live In a world where it’s all about making money, and thieves will always find a way to do it, even if it means ripping off hard working peoples wallets to do so. Don’t fall for this scam. To make matters worse, people will actually create entire websites where they do nothing but vouch for products and services they actually have never used and have no knowledge about themselves! This just adds more deception to the practice.

Wasted Time and Energy!

All the time it takes to implement those Affiliate marketing Ads would be better spent implementing “Pay Per Click” (sometimes referred to as “Cost Per Click”) Ads instead. At least with “Pay Per Click” the publisher gets paid a fee regardless if anyone buys the said product or service that was advertised, as long as the Ads are clicked, the publisher gets paid! Another alternative to Affiliate Ads are private contract advertisements that many websites get in order to lease space out to an individual company who wants to market their product or service. Just like PPC, privately contracted ads are good news, you get paid no matter what, even if no one clicks your Ads! Don’t waste all your time and energy implementing thousands of Affiliate Ads that do nothing but blink and take up space with no return on investment for the publisher whatsoever.

THE PROS:

When it Comes To Affiliate Marketing, Relevance Matters!

There are some publishers out there who do make money from Affiliate marketing, just not many. However, if Ads are implemented in a manner in which the content of a page, or the theme of a site is relevant to the Ads being implemented, there is a higher likelihood of getting good conversions. If I am surfing the web in search of a tutorial on web design, and notice an Ad about getting an Education in web design practices, this Ad is clearly relevant to the pages content, and to the search query I used to find the page. Relevance really does matter! Think of it this way, how often do you see the ice cream truck playing kids tunes and serving ice cream sandwiches to children in front of a strip club! You don’t, because both subjects are totally irrelevant!

Strategic Ad Placement for Popular Products and Services!

If you have ever tried using Amazons Affiliate marketing programs, you would already be aware that you can select certain Ads of your choice for placement on your sites, and their corresponding pages. Publishers who take the time to do their market research and find out what products are the most popular, are new, or are most likely to result in a conversion, they can focus their attention specifically to implementing those Ads to a targeted audience. For instance, video games in the U.S have now surpassed the box office by hundreds of billions of dollars, and the numbers are climbing every year in favor of the gaming industry. In fact, video games are now the number one form of entertainment in the world today. Most game publishers will begin to implement Ads a few months before a game is released, and publishers who implement these Ads are highly likely to make good conversions from them, because they are so popular with the general public. With Amazon, publishers can choose which video game Ads they want to implement specifically, enabling them to target which games are the most popular and likely to gain notice through advertising efforts.

The point of this article was to point out that Affiliate marketing is not at all what thousands of deceptive internet marketing gurus would have you believe it is! Don’t fall for the “I got rich from Affiliate marketing crap!” It’s all nothing more than a lie from people trying to get their hands on your hard earned money. It is possible to make money from it, but the success of Affiliate marketing efforts relies almost solely upon relevance between the Ads being implemented and the sites content itself. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t personally recommend putting too much effort towards Affiliate marketing. If you have thought of implementing Affiliate Ads on your sites, consider doing so on a smaller scale than “Pay Per Click” Ads, and have some type of strategy in place that matches content to relevant Ads so you aren’t wasting all your precious time. In the end, “Pay Par Click” wins every time! Pop up, pop under, and slider Ads also make money, and while they don’t pay much for each page impression, they can add up to additional revenue you otherwise would not have had. Private contracts are also a great way to go. Virtually all of the internet’s largest publishers have private contracts for advertising somewhere. Those private contracts will pay you whether or not anyone clicks an Ad at all. All being said, in my opinion, Affiliate marketing is still just free advertising for marketers, and a hole in the wall for publishers.

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