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Problems with Affiliate Marketing

Sometimes affiliate marketing makes me very angry. For example, I need to start a list of "don't bother" affiliate programs because there are some down right disgusting companies to work with. But that's really not my problem with affiliates. That's my issue with the human race in general. There are just numerous flaws with the system in general, though, that really need to be addressed in order for internet publishing to continue to grow.

Now, I've said before that while there are a number of ways to monetize sites, one of my favorites is through affiliate programs like Commission Junction and ClickBank. It's fairly easy to find advertisers and products, place ads or links to them on your site and then wait for your audience to not only click on them but to take an action which you then get paid for. The trick to being successful with these programs is patience, intelligent ad placement/relevant text links, and working with high converting advertisers. It makes no difference if the payout is $100 per sign up for example, if even the best traffic doesn't convert but every 1 in 5000 visitors. That's just not an efficient use of your traffic. If you find the right combination though, affiliate marketing can be magical.

So here are my list of beefs with affiliate marketing. If you have additional issues or if you think you know of a good solution to a problem listed here, please let me know in the comments. I'm all ears!

  • Unresponsive Advertisers - they either don't have anyone manning the store or they don't care about you... but when you request to join their program or you contact them via their contact forms or you send emails to their affiliate manager, you never hear back. If you are an advertiser, take your affiliates seriously or we'll just advertiser your competition instead. It's that simple.

  • No revenue despite sending gobs of traffic - I understand that not every program converts well. There are hard sells involved. Fine. But again, if your an advertiser and you know you have a low conversion rate, offer your affiliates an incentive to continue sending traffic to you. It doesn't have to be much, but filling in the gaps between sales really keeps your affiliates happy. And for heaven's sake improve your landing pages so that you do convert better.

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  • Horrible ads - Spend some freakin' time on your advertisements will ya? Just because we're talking about advertising on the internet, doesn't mean it's okay to put blink tags in your ads. If you showed this on TV you wouldn't even get laughed at. The viewer would simply turn the channel.

  • A plethora of affiliate accounts - now using something like AffMeter can help track your sales, but really, advertisers using their own custom affiliate management solution should be shot. Advertisers who don't want to pay for CJ or ClickBank should be prepared to not get affiliates. And Affiliates who are dumb enough to sign up for a hundred different accounts, each for a different advertiser, should be smart and automate their reporting, keep different passwords and change them frequently and make sure that the affiliate's reporting matches your own analytics.

  • Adult Affiliates suck - and that's not a good thing. It's incredibly difficult to find a trust worthy adult affiliate program that not only converts but that will actually pay you when they do convert and respond to you when you send them an issue. Maybe it's just a sign of the times, but sign ups that actually turn into paying customers for adult contact are incredibly rare. I'm considering moving to direct ad sales for at least one of my sites or going to a completely different revenue model for the couple of sites we still have around.

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