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Next Generation Affiliate Marketing With Adam Carolla & Penn Jillette

Talk radio has always been one of my favorite entertainment mediums.  I went to school for Radio Production/On Air Personality and even had a pretty popular online radio show for a while.  When i’m not listening to Sirius, I tend to be listening to podcasts because it doesn’t kill my monthly bandwidth and there are some really entertaining and free podcasts.  One of my favorite has always been the Adam Carolla Show.  Adam Carolla’s podcast rivals any Sirius or Broadcast radio show entertainment wise.  It also has far less commercials then Broadcast or Sirius talk shows and it’s FREE!  Recently. Adam Carolla’s broadcast network “Ace Broadcast Network” made a deal with Penn Jillette and gave him his own free podcast as well.  Also a good show.

Both shows have something in common that we as affiliate marketers may find interesting.  Both shows use affiliate marketing as a primary method of monetizing their content.  How you may ask do they do this?

Throughout the shows the hosts remind the listeners that if they are going to be buying something online to first go to their websites and click the Amazon banner.  They explain that if you do this, it will cost you as the listener nothing more to buy the items you were going to buy anyway and that they as the hosts get a small percentage of the sale.  By doing this you support the show and they make enough money to make it worthwhile distributing their shows for free.  Penn Jillette even takes it a step further by asking you to clear your cookies first.

I think that this is freakin’ genius.  Both personalities are driving traffic to affiliate links using an offline medium.  They spare you from hearing tons of commercials during their shows by asking that you do something you were going to do anyway; buy something online.  This is the next generation of affiliate marketing and content monetization and these two guys are leading the way.  I think this is smart for a variety of reasons.  First, as small shows, they don’t have to have sales teams to land them commercials in order to make money off their shows.  They just need an Amazon Associates account.  Second, you let your listeners show support for the show in a way that doesn’t cost them anything extra and get the audience involved in keeping the show going.  My guess is that this leads to a more loyal audience since they feel they are keeping the show afloat.

Now, the question that can be asked is does Amazon like this?  I have no idea if they have a deal with Amazon beyond the standard associates program but I can’t see Amazon NOT liking this.  Amazon get’s free exposure on extremely popular podcasts and only have to pay a percentage of the sale.  Yea, Amazon may have made those sales anyway but they still get advertising.

I like what Adam Carolla & Penn Jillette are doing and I think they are leaders in creating free content and monetizing it themselves.  I bet they can make even more money with creative ideas like a coupon website called or a deals website like where they leverage 100’s of affiliate programs to make even higher commissions then what the Amazon Associates program pays.  If you guys need ideas, hit me up!

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Published inAffiliate Marketing


  1. I love the Adam Carolla Show, and thought it was pretty cool how he was doing the advertising. Neat that he’s building out a network of shows now.

    It’s funny you ask whether Amazon likes it – I would hope they’re bending over backwards to help him, but you never know.

    I have approached many high-profile affiliate programs over the years about creating a full page magazine ad as creative that would run free in FeedFront magazine with a redirect to an affiliate link.

    These were relevant companies that you would think would be excited to get the exposure (we mail to over 25k addresses in the U.S., plus distribute at Affiliate Summit and other shows), but I was universally blown off. Simply, they didn’t make print ads for affiliates.

    The only affiliate program I’ve noticed that actively works with podcasters is Audible (there may be others).

  2. @Shawn – That is pretty surprising. Especially for an organization like yours which is really on the up and up. I’d expect you to get a lot more cooperation.

  3. I think the problem is that people are lazy – they don’t usually make a certain kind of creative, and don’t want to be bothered trying it.

  4. Ace Rockolla Ace Rockolla

    Dear Hustler,

    Nice post, and I agree with you for the most part. As a fan of Carolla since his days on Loveline, I can’t help but comment on a couple of things.

    “Both personalities are driving traffic to affiliate links using an offline medium.”

    Well, not really. These are podcasts, which as far as I know, is a pretty much entirely online medium.

    “First, as small shows…”

    Carolla’s podcast is anything but small. From the Wikipedia page for the show: “In May 2011, the show became the Guinness World Records holder for the most downloaded podcast after receiving 59,574,843 unique downloads from March 2009 to March 16, 2011.”

    I’ll be the first to admit that GWR probably isn’t the most reliable source of traffic data, but there’s no doubt that an estimation of nearly 60 million downloads in a two year period indicates a pretty f-ing high level of popularity.

    Amazon isn’t the only ‘sponsor’ of Carolla’s show either, the show is sprinkled with other advertisements as well. I’m sure you recall last year when Amazon dropped their Californian affiliates, Adam certainly bitched about it, but he made it pretty clear that his show would do financially fine without them.

    “I bet they can make even more money with creative ideas like a coupon website called or a deals website like…”

    This is a great idea.

    Anyway Hustler, again nice post but I thought I’d drop in my two cents. Have you ever listened to Joe Rogan’s podcast? If you like Adam Carolla’s podcast, you might get a real kick out of it. Different flavor and less “polished,” but it’s still insanely popular and, in my opinion, rightfully so. Also his sponsors are a little more…amusing.

    Take it easy man.

  5. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @Ace – Thanks for the comment. Some responses to what you had to say:

    “Well, not really. These are podcasts, which as far as I know, is a pretty much entirely online medium.”

    I understand what your getting at and I don’t know how the majority of users listen to podcasts but i personally listen to them offline. When i’m walking, at the gym etc. I listen to them as I would MP3’s so I consider it offline. However, i understand your point.

    “Carolla’s podcast is anything but small.”

    When I said small I meant the staff, not the listenership. Since I don’t personally know Adam Carolla I don’t know how he runs his operation but i’m assuming he doesn’t have a lot of employees working on the show. I was referring to the staff as small, not the show.

    “Amazon isn’t the only ‘sponsor’ of Carolla’s show either”

    True, but his show isn’t cluttered with ads and Penn Jillette was using Amazon ONLY in the first 3 shows that I listened too 🙂

  6. Ace Rockolla Ace Rockolla


    All excellent points, and I appreciate the clarification. I haven’t listened to Penn’s podcast yet (although I did hear him on Adam’s show recounting a story in which his genitals were burned with a hair dryer). This is why you’re the blogger and persons such as myself are humbly relegated to the commentariat.

  7. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @Ace – Haha it’s all good. Stick around and thanks for reading.

  8. Many radio/local tv networks have begun building daily deal sites. They get to leverage their user base to get a nice % and the deal sites get to adv for free. I have a nice db of these companies that I have already worked with. Have a product? Let’s do this!!

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