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Stop Being So Selfish

Affiliates tend to be a selfish bunch.  Many are in it to make a quick buck with no real regard as to what the advertisers needs are.  In it’s simplest form an affiliate is a salesperson.

Put your magical imagination caps on:

You are a life insurance broker with a successful local business.  In hopes of taking your business to the next level you decide to rent a kiosk in the local mall.  You figure that the high foot traffic will get you some exposure and you can generate sales leads from your kiosk.  You have clients to deal with so you decide to hire someone to work that booth.  You tell them that you can’t pay them a salary but you can pay them a nice fat commission for every lead they generate.  You figure it’s fair because why pay someone for doing nothing and you have no problem paying someone for generating the results you desire.  You find a young go-getter to work the booth.  Leads start flying in and in good-faith you cut checks to the guy working the booth for you.  You close one lead early on but can’t contact a lot of the leads.  Regardless, you know that the sales process can take months and you add all of the leads to your CRM system to follow up on later.  Since your young go-getter has been getting you so many leads you decide to swing by the mall and buy him lunch.  As you approach the kiosk you see him hunched over in the chair taking a nap.  This pisses you off as it reflects badly on your company, but doesn’t bother you as much as the sign you spot on your kiosk.  It reads: “1 Million Dollars Worth of Life Insurance as low as $5/month – Fill out the form to be entered to win a Free Laptop.” No wonder you couldn’t contact the leads.  They were crap.  They just wanted the laptop.  You’ve been paying your salesperson for THIS?  You fire the fool.  2 weeks later you see him working at another kiosk generating sales leads for the local home alarm system installer.  You shake your head in disbelief.

This happens every day in affiliate marketing.  Affiliates have to realize that they are a salesperson representing a company.  That company wants more then just the form filled out on their website.  They want a LEAD.  A lead and getting a form filled out are NOT the same thing.  Yes, they are commissioning you on getting the form filled out (and should pay you if the action is completed without any shenanigans) but when marketing their business you need to keep THEM in mind.  When creating a campaign, put your own motives aside for a minute and try thinking about only the advertiser.

What are their goals?
What are they selling?
How can I generate a QUALITY lead for them?

Thinking about these questions before thinking about the question “How can I bank hard on this with little effort?” can change a lot of things in your life.  Rather then always having to think about your next money making scheme you can start thinking about how to build a business of value.  Rather then being kicked off of offer after offer, you can actually develop positive relationships with the advertisers which make EVERYONE more money.

Stop thinking about the short term and try thinking about the long term.

That is all…

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Published inAffiliate MarketingDoing Business


  1. Great post man. I think many affiliates trap themselves in this mindset, especially at the beginning of their career online. Seeing just how much money can be made, usually results in taking less-than-preferred methods of generating leads for companies.

    It doesn’t help that a lot of the advertisers (mainly rebills) were shady. Where does it end though?

    Building a long-term business is not easy, and most people think because you work online, it’s a joke and you just fill out forms all day to make money.

    Lastly, I’m reading a book called “REWORK” right now, and they discuss being absolutely transparent with their business model. They own 37signals and created BaseCamp and other similar products.

    Great read so far 🙂

  2. It seems like the vast majority of people in the affiliate marketing scene are great at traffic schemes but know or care nothing about customer loyalty, building a brand, i.e. running a real business. Given the chance, most customers would probably want to punch an affiliate in the nose.

  3. Excellent points and one of the unfortunate reasons why affiliates get shitted on with a bad reputation.

  4. Good post. This reflects those submits quite a bit.

  5. Thank you for speaking out.

    Here’s my 2 cents. I will refrain from naming any people or companies.

    Some networks (or shall I say, the AMs) still turn the blind eye when it comes to how affiliates drive sales. For example, some actually EXPLICITLY tell their affiliates to cloak.

    Or if you drive traffic to an offer via PPC that only accepts email… that it’s ok as long as they make sure the merchant can’t catch it.

    I would even go as far as say that they don’t care if you do massive, outright evil, zero CAN-SPAM complaint “high volume email deployment”… as long as they get the sale. Oh, and this emails I get about how they will not tolerate fake blogs or fake celebrity testimonials? Haha. Good one. Apparently, hookers aren’t the only ones who understand good lip service.

    All these affiliate networks that claim they’re the “right” network that affiliates should partner with: PLEASE. You ask us to take all the risk, and if there is ANY hint of legal issue, you guys are the FIRST ones to point fingers.

    I am not saying I am Jesus Christ. Not everything I do will seem “right” to all people, but I do understand that there are business ethics, even if it is affiliate marketing. I have done some stupid things in the past as well but I am cleaning up my act.

    If you’re an affiliate (or anyone in ANY business for that matter) that have any ounce of humanity or ethics and understand that screwing users (which by the way, are REAL LIVE PEOPLE who just happen to be behind a screen) or stealing merchants out of their hard earned money is a good business practice, please do the world a favor and go jump off a bridge.

  6. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @FreshSuperCool – The reason affiliate managers don’t care as long as a sale is made is because they are just an affiliate also. They are sales people who’s job is to sell affiliates on pushing offers. Affiliate managers often have the same mindset as most affiliates do: “make a quick buck and who cares about the long term.” This is one reason that you are seeing a mass exodus of affiliate managers out of networks. They made their quick buck and their business relationships had no longevity.

  7. Mall kiosks… Free laptop giveaway… ? Great idea!

    Seriously though, great post and very good analogy.

    Someone had to say it like that.

  8. Jason Brown Jason Brown

    You need to do a post on the other side of it as well.. Wanna know why a lot of affiliates are like this?

    At some point we have all been burned, if not once then several times over where an advertiser or network does not payout because they bailed on the affiliates, or shave the leads, still the data, etc.

    Lets not even get into legit campaigns that get slapped and banned by ad networks as well who will steal from you too.

    You learn at some point its best to watch out for yourself and collect the cash before shit hits the fan even when you doing legit shit.

    Speak the other side Brandon.

  9. valid point, there’s definitely a sort of conflict of interest between affiliates (AMs included) and advertisers; which also relates to whether you’re in this for the long or short term.

  10. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @Jason – You have a valid point which i’ve spoke about many times before. There is plenty of shady stuff that advertisers do to affiliates. Maybe i’ll write another post about that side of it as well sometime soon.

  11. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @ImKazu – There is a HUGE conflict of interest. Affiliates want to make the most money so they screw the advertiser and the advertiser wants to make more money so they screw the affiliate. The reality of it is that the affiliate network should be the part of the equation keeping things fair for both sides. Unfortunately, they have yet ANOTHER conflict of interest which is making themselves money. There’s no winning.

  12. Affiliate should now focus on quality/price instead of quantity price.

    That’s why I’m not in this marketing, just waiting for the of the industry to happen.

  13. CousinVinnie CousinVinnie

    Your asking affiliates to put effort into things? You have a better chance getting me to like people then that

  14. Good read, man. Always refreshing to see there are still some people in the industry that see the value in being upright and honest.

  15. One thing I remember…

    I was at ASW last year and I met the head developer @ of an affiliate tracking software company. I won’t say who so I don’t get my ass sued.

    He told me that his software “automatically” discounts some leads. Automatically f*cking of your profits. Why? According to their “statistics” (that they got from their ass), that’s what the average rate of bad leads are. So the software ASSUMES it and takes a discount on the leads.

    So it doesn’t matter if you’re Beaver Cleaver type of affiliate that only does CLEAN leads… your anus will get ravaged b/c they clump you together with every other prick affiliate out there that does all the shady stuff.

    Why? Who the hell knows. My guess is b/c the software is paid for by the merchant, not the affiliate.

  16. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @FreshSuperCool – Well now your talking about a whole other issue which is the network. (Not to say that advertisers don’t shave too)

  17. Jason Brown Jason Brown

    get money get paid, where is Summit

  18. Great points! I’m approaching my traffic differently now and try harder to create better quality.

  19. ok i’ll try 🙂

  20. Yup, and then you see people running into the forums saying some network won’t pay them – they never mention they incentivized an offer thats not allowed to be.

  21. nimbledigit nimbledigit

    Perspective comes with experience. Experience absolutely must include life and events outside the little box you are staring at right now.

    This is why I continue to read your material Ad Hustler.

  22. Great post.

    And unfortunately, it actually resonates with me.

    Time to reflect on my sins.

  23. […] Stop Being So Selfish – AdHustler breaks down what your real goals should be as an affiliate: stop thinking about yourself and realize the advertiser needs quality leads. They're not looking to pay you just to get a form filled out. You should be putting forth every effort to have it filled out by a lead that will actually back out for the advertiser. […]

  24. […] Stop Being So Selfish – AdHustler breaks down what your real goals should be as an affiliate: stop thinking about yourself and realize the advertiser needs quality leads. They’re not looking to pay you just to get a form filled out. You should be putting forth every effort to have it filled out by a lead that will actually back out for the advertiser. […]

  25. Brian Kirsch Brian Kirsch

    I have done just a small amount of affiliate marketing. I even followed the process because I wanted to make sure of the customers I was getting. Needless to say, I never received the affiliate check and talked with the company about it. They agreed, said it would be taken care of. I’ve talked with them and then had a problem with MY customer concerning the company. ~turn off getting someone else business so they can burn me.

  26. Great post! I couldn’t agree more. The companies grants us trust through the networks and we have to provide quality, not just quantity.

  27. Great post! Hopefully some will take these words of wisdom.

  28. Huge post this was nice to catch..

  29. ce dernier vous est envisageable de simplement s?lectionner une paire du lunettes

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