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Old 11-04-2002, 10:54 PM   #1
1lit
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Default Tell us about your experience of affiliate marketing

I've been a member of this and other webmaster forums for years and have often engaged in discussions about specific affiliate programs and developments in the online world. However, most of these are terse two or three sentence exchanges (we're all busy people). I'm curious to find out more details about how other webmasters live, earn their income, and what they think about the current state of affiliate marketing.

I'll describe my experience to kick-start things.

I run several sites and am in this business full time. Earnings since 2000 have been tremendously low. Made considerably more per visitor during those boom days than now. Commission rates for affiliate programs are SO low now

I'll describe one of my sites in detail. I have spent a year creating a British movie portal, UKHotMovies.com. I have spent thousands of hours on it, working on creating it and promoting it late into the night (4 or 5 am) most nights over the last two years. I spent weeks just marketing the site, writing personalised press releases and sending them to virtually every single media outlet in the UK. Also have written to hundreds of webmasters to ask them to link to the site. Hundreds of links to it in Google now.

But despite the hundreds of unique visitors I receive everyday to what is a niche site (only movies, only UK) and serving specific adverts targetted to the visitors I receive, my earnings are very little. Despite targetting the adverts and updating them regularly (I regularly create quality banners for affiliate programs I belong to myself), conversion rates are very low.

Lucky to earn $60 a week most weeks from affiliation with an online British movie retailer called BlackStar, apart from in November/December when DVD and video sales rocket to $100 a week. Also earn about $40 a week from CJ/TradeDoubler programs and another $10 a week from ads shown by Adviva (get 22 cents per click).

Of course, I have hosting costs to cover from this, plus advertising costs such as Google Adwords and other pay-per-click search engines.

$100-$120 a week might be considered to be a reasonable income from just one website in most parts of the world, but I live in the center of London. A recent survey placed it as the fourth most expensive city on the planet. A can of coke costs over a dollar and a two mile journey on the London underground costs $6 The average price of a one-bedroom apartment in much of London is over $300,000.

I have had discussions with webmasters from other movie sites in England and they are earning even less than me. They all say they run the sites because they enjoy movies, not to earn revenue. Most of them have other occupations and run their film sites in the evenings/weekends.

There are five or six huge movie portals in the UK, but they are run by major corporations. I know they don't make money, but these companies have deep pockets and can afford to subsidize their websites even if they aren't earning enough to cover the costs of their fancy offices and high-paid programmers and graphic designers. Many of these guys working for dot.coms in London are on over $70,000.

Of course, working on my websites (I have several others - small sites), gives me very little free time. I spend about 70 hours a week on my PC. Lack of time and low earnings from affiliate marketing means no girlfriend

Therefore, I would say my experience is not positive. If I'd known the online market would have sunk like it has and affiliate programs would now be paying so badly, I wouldn't have started on the site two years ago...

I wouldn't recommend this game for anybody living in expensive countries such as those in the European Union. If you live in the cheaper parts of the US or India or China, the earnings from affiliate programs (everybody earns the same, no matter where in the world they live) could enable you to enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle.

What do others think?

Last edited by 1lit; 11-04-2002 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 11-05-2002, 07:18 PM   #2
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A large amount can be made from it. In my opinion, the best way is to learn as much as possible about Search Engines and then make pages optimized for good keywords. Use WordTracker.com to identify the best keywords. WordTracker is the best tool I have ever seen online for Internet Marketing. Soon you will start ranking in the top spots for key search phrases and have a lot of traffic to send out to merchants.

Also, what I feel is important in making money from affiliate programs is not to focus too much on one area or one site. Every affiliate marketer should have this in their mind:

- Decide on a niche and either buy a domain for that niche or add that niche area to one of your current sites.
- Use WordTracker to identify keywords that are best for that niche.
- Design pages for those keywords with a fair sum of content (don't spam the engines).
- Move on to the next site/area.

Very simple formula that works very well.
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Old 11-06-2002, 08:16 AM   #3
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I noticed your shopping page, here are some of my suggestions:

1) why not build a separate page for individual products (i.e. LOTR, Star Wars) with it's own reviews.

2) you need to craft good search engine spider bait. keywords in title tags, headings, meta tags, text copy, etc. A good resource would be http://www.selfpromotion.com

3) Like what Jack said, use wordtracker and determine good niche keyphrase, phrases that have low competitors on search engines but high demand.

4) If successful, rinse then repeat.
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Old 11-06-2002, 08:30 AM   #4
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Just a suggestion to your review page
http://www.ukhotmovies.com/reviews/


You might want to change your title from:

Review of the Film Spider-Man: A Tightly Woven Web of Fun

to something like this,

Spiderman DVD Movie Reviews

Note:
I highligted DVD as this should be your main focus because it's a product that you can earn commission from.
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Old 11-06-2002, 05:45 PM   #5
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My personal experience with affiliate marketing is that it's altogether too difficult. CJ has like 17 billion different creatives for different programs that we're supposed to sift through and find things that work. I have better things to do with my time. Personally I don't know why they're incapable of writing a system where creatives of a certain size are grouped together and optimized based on performance on a particular site. Even better would be to allow the sites to self categorize and start with creatives that have done well on other sites in that category.

I've found that I can make a fair bit with Amazon, a modest amount with eMerchandise and very little with anyone else. eMerchandise sells a lot of t-shirts/posters and other collectible junk in TV/Movie related themes. With Amazon I find a good portion (likely the majority) of sales come from items not related to the site.

With eMerchandise I use simple text links. With Amazon some text links and some search based boxes/amazon recommends. I'm planning to offer more targeted ads when I get around to playing with their XML stuff. I'm also planning to add eBay links using their own search based links. I think the best bet for me is going to be well known merchants that offer some sort of search based or dynamic linking to allow targetted links.

And because I can't resist - while your UKHotMovies is pretty niche, you'd probably get a better conversion rate with BuyUKMovies.com - not everyone interested in the movies is interested in buying them. If you could find a NetFlix-like service for the UK that might work well too.
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Old 11-07-2002, 09:32 AM   #6
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I looked into affilaite marketing a while as a way to make extra money while spending time goofing off on my computer.
I made a content site in a subject I was interested in, added a bunch of sales pages and boom within a couple of months things took off.
I have made straight sales sites, some themed, some malls, but due to the fickle nature of the SE's at times, I find it easier to build a content site with sales pages, traffic stays steady as you are not likely to get booted of the search engines.
I use a combinations of the 3 networks and a lot of independent affiliate programs and am making a nice 4 figure income every month for the last 18 months.
The hardest part was getting of my backside and getting started, now I can't get on the pc.
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Old 11-07-2002, 01:14 PM   #7
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I guess my view is opposite to everyone.

For me, working the SEs is a waste of time except for when you're starting out. If you're just starting out, you need to fight for every click you get. Once you start making money, just buy traffic instead. It's steady, and you'll get way more traffic for your effort. I suppose another exception would be paid-listing-search-engines, but that's really an entirely different beast.

You need to know how much you earn per click/lead/sale on your site, and with that you can figure how much to spend to buy your traffic. Buying traffic is WAY more lucrative than working the search engines simply because of the volume available.

Yes you can make a good living working online.
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Old 11-17-2002, 09:29 AM   #8
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I think your site needs a re-design. Nothing major but for a movie review site I would have expected to see lists of "hot reviews" or "latest films" etc.

Also when I clicked on the Reviews button I got taken to a single review of Harry Potter. Again I was expecting to see a list of the latest movie reviews and news.

The front page should contain a lot more links and content than it currently does. Then you can link off to varioes movie review pages, charts, bestsellers and integrate affiliate programs such as Amazon and Art.com (posters) with the content.

Take a look at http://www.mymovies.net. The home page has a lot of options for the user. Instantly you know that the site has a lot of information about movies including news and rumours, reviews, discussion areas, charts, film release information, trailers and shopping.

Last edited by robhoran; 11-17-2002 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 11-17-2002, 01:36 PM   #9
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Thankyou 'robhoran' for the feedback. I do appreciate it I have taken on board some of your comments and we will make changes in the next update.

Mymovies.net is an excellent site. Unfortunately we can't compete with them - they are owned by and in partnership with multi-million pound companies.

I agree with you that their homepage is clearer and we will endeavour to improve things at our end. As for the trailers and other features, you can't see a single one unless you 'register'. Why should we be forced to? As we all know, registering usually means you'll be annoyed to death with useless promotional emails. I never register unless I really have to.

Furthermore, their best content is only available to those people who join their rather expensive 'Movie Club'.

The reviews are pithy and only a couple of paragraphs long. The quality of writing leads me to believe they are written by students/amateur writers from their bedrooms; our critics have had years of experience in reviewing movies and have won awards for the quality of their work.

And we certainly have more than one review. It's not perhaps obvious, but there is a navigation bar at the bottom of http://www.ukhotmovies.com/reviews and every other page in our review section which allows people to read our most popular reviews from the last two years.

Thank you for the advice, once again. It will help us improve UKHotMovies.com . Any more advice on improving the site is always welcome...

Last edited by 1lit; 11-17-2002 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 11-28-2002, 03:36 AM   #10
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Default 1lit

Here I'm not giving on my story as your 1st message may have intended, but giving you some food for thought.

Firstly, like many here putting in 10-15 hrs a day is acceptable (I think : ) I'm impressed with the fact that you even worked on Press Releases and shot them to media links etc...

1. So one thing you must understand is you have the know how to generate $3-500 a month. Think of ways to duplicate and increase that.
2. Study weblogs to note which areas are most visited and stop work on the other areas and ave time per day.
3. Try multiple sites, 1 site taking up 10 hrs is no good, if it cannot give you $1000 a month (after so long in this biz.)
4. On your site, think if Hindi movies have a buying audience online and maybe specialize in them.
5. If not start another site with delivery (why only work the online affiliate route) Amazon started like this and you can follow in Jeff's footsteps.
6. Are you VERY interested in this category? Do you Love movies and reviewing them? As your colleagues said, this is their hobby, and it should be a similar thing for you. If not a hobby, at least something you love doing. Change if it's not something you're passionate about.
7. When you're changing, work on high ticket items. Try a London House-Renting site, or for sale site with monthly/yearly advertisements.

IN the words of deBono and our vey own Edwin, 'Think Laterally'
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Old 11-29-2002, 01:06 PM   #11
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Thank you ceo, that's very useful advice I appreciate your feedback. More is welcome...

>1. So one thing you must understand is you have the know how >to generate $3-500 a month. Think of ways to duplicate and >increase that.

That's all I do. Can't even sleep 'cos of it! Manage to triple sales this Xmas, which I'm very pleased about.

>2. Study weblogs to note which areas are most visited and stop >work on the other areas and ave time per day.

Most visited areas are actress galleries. And they are the least profitable! Cos all these guys just oggle at the women and then probably go off to some other celebrity site. Got targetted links to DVDs starring these actresses, but only something like 0.1% of visitors to these pages buy 'em.

>3. Try multiple sites, 1 site taking up 10 hrs is no good, if it >cannot give you $1000 a month (after so long in this biz.)

Good advice. Working on other site.

>4. On your site, think if Hindi movies have a buying audience >online and maybe specialize in them.

My parents were Pakistani and I know the Hindi market pretty well. People from the Indian subcontinent are relatively deprived in the UK (unlike in the US where I've noticed many of them are professionals). Plus they don't usually buy originals - of either Hollywood or Bollywood movies. My Indian/Pakistani contacts in the UK have had movies like Spider-Man on DVD for months before it was released - and they bought them for $8! It's so annoying that these pirate copies are sold in market-stalls and the police don't do anything about it. Of the five Indian video stores I can think of, only one sells legal copies. So no chance of selling legitimate DVDs to Indians.

>5. If not start another site with delivery (why only work the >online affiliate route) Amazon started like this and you can >follow in Jeff's footsteps.

Good point. Of course, this is more profitable. Affiliates only make 4% or whatever, when the profit margin on items like books and DVDs can be OVER 50% for retailers (that's why they can discount bestsellers by 50% and STILL make a profit). I used to have my own bookselling business. But I don't fancy storing thousands of books in my apartment/garage anymore

>6. Are you VERY interested in this category? Do you Love movies >and reviewing them? As your colleagues said, this is their >hobby, and it should be a similar thing for you. If not a hobby, at >least something you love doing. Change if it's not something >you're passionate about.

Another super point. One should always set up a major website about a subject one enjoys. I am a qualified journalist and published author and love books. But my bookselling sites weren't making any money. That's why I set up a movie site. I'm frustrated cos I don't like Hollywood movies at all (only been to the theater/cinema about seven times in my whole life). It's boring working all day on something you're not interested in. Too late for me now, but I would advise other people to focus on what they enjoy and not just think "what'll make me bucketloads of money?"

>7. When you're changing, work on high ticket items. Try a >London House-Renting site, or for sale site with monthly/yearly >advertisements.

Thank you. That is also useful advice.
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Old 12-01-2002, 11:03 AM   #12
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Default Sorry I'm late on here....

Thank you 1Lit for the comments !

1. That's all I do. Can't even sleep 'cos of it! Manage to triple sales this Xmas, which I'm very pleased about.
=== Congrats on the tripling. Keep it going !


2.Most visited areas are actress galleries....Got targetted links to DVDs starring these actresses, but only something like 0.1% of visitors to these pages buy 'em.
=== Increase targeted traffic if you think it's paying you a good ROI.
Do it in good holiday and shopping season.

4. My parents were Pakistani and I know the Hindi market pretty well....So no chance of selling legitimate DVDs to Indians.
=== Right, you may leave out this option.

5. Good point. Of course, this is more profitable. ....But I don't fancy storing thousands of books in my apartment/garage anymore
=== But you need not store 1000's of Books OR DVD's OR CD's. You can accept the orders from customers, call up your guy, have it delivered to you & then ship/deliver/courtier. See the Internet as a great new and inxpensive sales Arena to the select few like you and me with the knowledge to use it. Become an extension to an offline business that can do well selling online and can give you high profits from the sales.
- Later, if you are making the money then you won't mind storing the material in your garage.

Best wishes !
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Old 08-13-2015, 06:24 AM   #13
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Thank you so much for information
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