Aug 26

Affiliate advertising

You’ve probably seen the ads (or more likely spam email) promising to show you how to make X hundred or thousand dollars per week from home doing next to nothing except using Google. You may even have clicked on the link and had a look. While it is true that large amounts of money can be made through affiliate advertising, for the majority of small businesses this is not the case. has a neat little article on some of the advantages and disadvantages of affiliate marketing. But there’s more to it than that.

Let’s take a look at what affiliate marketing is. From Wikipedia, “Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network, the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer.“. A good example of this is Google Adwords (you can see a google ad on the latest three posts on this blog), where the publisher is me, the network is Google (AdSense/AdWords), the customer is you and the merchant is whoever’s business is appearing in the ad. When one of these merchant ads hosted by the publisher is clicked on by the customer, the network pays the publisher for that click out of money the merchant has paid to the network. Makes sense?

It’s a clever idea, and it can work really well, but, other than previously mentioned in the link above, there are some other issues with it. I’ve read some interesting reasons behind why affiliate marketing doesn’t work for everyone; some of their reasons are accurate, and include failure to prepare (no business plan!), a poorly designed website, and dodgy merchants.

However, the biggest drawback to me is the traffic. For example, less than 5% of visitors to a website will click on an ad; and given that the publisher usually receives less than $1 for each click (although some clicks pay more), in order for the publisher to make anything out of it, the amount of traffic through a site needs to be very high. For small businesses and local community groups, this is (usually) not the case.

So does this mean you shouldn’t use affiliate marketing? Of course not. As a publisher, it costs no money and very little time to setup a few advertisements, and while you may not make a $1000/week from it, you’ll get something… sooner or later ;)

There are alternatives to affiliate marketing, and the one I like most (my own!) is partnership marketing. But if you’d like to know more about that, you’ll need to contact me! ;)

And before we get on to the geekage, there will be no posts over the weekend. Disappointing, I know.

There’s some hype about IBM producing a a computer that thinks like a computer. Forbes has a good article on it, or you can check out the Synapse Project website itself.

Or there’s this:
You can read all five ‘scary’ future predictions over at Future For All.

And lastly, here’s an artificial lung that, unlike other man-made lungs, pulls oxygen from the air just like real lungs do. Neat!

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