Affiliate Marketing Training – Pimpin The Big Ripoff

Who's Your Bloggin Daddy?Yea, I know, I haven’t written a post in too long to even count, and I’ll probably write a post on why that has been sometime, but for now something has been bugging me about this affiliate marketing industry for the last several months and I just have to get it off my chest. If you haven’t guessed by the title, it has to do with what passes for training in affiliate marketing and some of the most well known bloggers in this industry turning into product launch pimps.

Most of us scraping through this industry have at one time or another purchased some sort of ebook, ecourse sort of thingy that we though was the sure path to internet riches only to find out that most of the info therein was absolutely worthless. Back in the day I was getting my feet wet, most of these ebooks were somewhere between $37 and $67 with a few of the more outrageously priced ones coming in at $167.

There are a plethora of products that offer little more than false hope to wanna be affiliate marketers looking for their first few sales to generate enough revenue to create that initial $100 check. The first one I purchased was James Martell’s Affiliate Marketing Handbook 5 or 6 years ago at the OUTRAGEOUS price of $167. I soon found out that there was about $1.21 worth of useful information in the book, regretted my decision to buy it and went back to reading blogs and forums to try and figure out this business.

As this business has matured (I use that term lightly, meaning aged only) the number of video courses and ebook programs that have been published promising us all vast wealth is truly staggering. As we moved into a new decade it seems as though the publishing pace has only quickened, especially through long time bloggers that I have followed getting into the business of cross promoting every other guru’s product so they can make even more money. It’s called the JV, or joint venture model of internet marketing and honestly, it’s the most annoying thing I have ever experienced in this industry.

The lowly ebook that used to be priced around $47, is now a full blown video course including several ebooks with more information and special bonuses (and very cool promotional graphics, wow) than one could possibly absorb and they now sell in the range of $500 to $2,000 and some cost even more. The disturbing thing is that much of the information contained in these courses is nothing new. It’s just the same old “how to set up your blog” and “10 tips to blogging success” rubbish that can be found repeated ad infinitum on blogs such as Problogger.net.

What prompted this somewhat long winded rant was the launch about a week ago of Product Launch Formula when I received some 40 to 50 emails about this product over the course of 5 or so days. It seems that every guru make money blogger that I have ever read and given my email to sent me multiple emails touting the benefits of said course desperately urging me to separate myself from nearly $2,000 of my hard earned money.

The worst offenders of the email bludgeoning marketing model have to be Steven Clayton and Tim Godfrey of Blueprint-Forum-MMO-thingy-whatever. I’m on Steve’s list, Tim’s list and apparently the Blueprint Forum’s list. Since these guys like to get noticed I would literally get 6 emails (2 from each list) within just a couple of minutes of each other spamming up my inbox. This happened 4 or 5 times and I began to think I had gotten caught up in some sort of auto-responder feedback loop that would never end.

Actually, some of the stuff that Steve and Tim put out is quality material, but you hardly have time to get through it before the next email hits your inbox giving you the urge that you need this latest course more than you need to buy your mom flowers on Mother’s Day.

This nonsense disturbs me for several reasons:

This is spam – call it what you want, but when you send 24 emails to the same people within a few days time, that’s excessive. I didn’t ask for it and I don’t want it. One or two emails is fine, but I’d rather not be hit in the head with a hammer telling me this is the greatest product in the world (at least since the last product we promoted, and yes, the one before that as well).

Most of this stuff is free –  Yea, you’ve heard this one before and sometimes it’s great to have all the info you need consolidated into one nice package, but for $2,000 I can stand to do a lot of the research myself. A $2,000 course in affiliate marketing better wash the dishes and do the laundry for that matter.

You have to be  a big time affiliate for the JV model to work – A lot of money is made in internet marketing by promoting products that teach you how to make money with internet marketing products, and much of this is done through the JV model. The only problem with this is that there are so many gurus promoting this crap that the little guy has about zero chance of making it work. Of course it works for the gurus, they all have lists with 100,000 people on them (and I guess I’m on 90% of them apparently).

If you’ve ever seen a list of the top 10 or 20 affiliates promoting a Michael-Cheney-watch-me-drive-my-Lamborghini-Gallardo-product you’ll know exactly what I mean. The list reads like a who’s who of IM. There is rarely a name gracing the list that you don’t recognize.

You don’t really get the inside info –  Steve Clayton and Tim Godfrey are famous for putting out products where they promise to let you in on everything, I mean everything they are doing. They’re going to sell you the entire shop, that is until the next product comes out just a few months (seems like weeks in some cases) later with even more inside info they happened to locate next to the previously unreleased Beatles recordings.

The bottom line with much of this stuff is that it is old information – I could sell you the greatest technique in the world for making $10,000 a week on Clickbank because I have done that, really. The only issue with that is it only lasted for 1 week and it can’t be done any longer.

Many of the gurus have hit on a few techniques that made them some pretty big bank and may have lasted for weeks to several months, but then as usual the way this happens, someone doesn’t like what you are doing, or Matt Cutts inserts a line of code in the Google algo, or the trend you were riding fizzles out and so do your profits. End of story. But wait, think the gurus, I can write an ebook and sell you on how I did it, never mind the secret technique is now a dead, rotting fish. That’s just the nature of this game, sometimes your sneaky little technique lasts for 18 months, sometimes just a week, you’ll get used to it, but then if you want to make the real big bucks, sell your now worthless technique for $500.

Which brings me to Blog Profit Camp. Do you think you really need to spend $400, $500 or $600 to join yet another, yes, unbelievably, another how to make money blogging course? Apparently Yaro and ProBlogger Mr Rowse haven’t produced enough mastermind, ebooks, courses and endless posts that include tips ranging in count from 5 to 65 ways to be a BETTER FRICKIN’ BLOGGER. Arrgh! x 7!!! I need blogging Prozac already, not another course that will tell me nothing I can’t find on the very blog who’s writer is putting out this latest course and charging you $500 to $600 for information he and 50 other MMO bloggers have already given you for FREE.

Here’s how to make money blogging:

1. Forget about the money, get a passion.

2. Install WordPress.

3. Don’t write about anything John Chow writes about.

4. Find some sneaky blackhat way to get 17 front page Diggs in a month or film your 3 legged dog doing the Evolution of Dance and hope it goes viral.

5. Don’t try to sell your readers anything, let them buy.

6. Sell advertising.

I just saved you $600, now get to work.

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Outsourcing Boatloads Of Content To Build Your Affiliate Empire

For the last couple of months or so I’ve been outsourcing major amounts of content to build up my top TripAdvisor and Adsense earnings websites and blogs, for article marketing and to build up my top earning BANS eBay store as well. When I wrote about my goals for 2009 back in December 2008, I had stated I wanted to focus on the things that had been solid money makers and Adsense was one of them. One thing I didn’t include was the top BANS site that has at times made over $1,000 per month. That site, along with another site in the same niche, only broader, will be included in this year’s work because they have way too much potential to just let them go. They are especially relevant to today’s troubled financial times.

This past Friday I received my second order of 100 articles bringing the total number of outsourced articles so far this year to 210. I have used Elance.com in the past with good success, but decided not to go through them this time because of the amount of work I want to get done. The thought of waiting for bids, screening writers and working with possibly 10 or 20 different people to help accomplish my goals for content this year wasn’t appealing, so I instead found 1 company that can write all the articles I need. I’m looking at doing possibly as many as 1,000 articles this year.

I initially sent a test set of 10 travel articles at the end of December to SEO Article Writing Pros and they did such a good job that I have since sent them 2 additional orders for 100 articles each. The first set of 10 travel articles were written as if they were reading my mind. Except for a few minor spelling mistakes, the articles were exactly what I needed. Then the first set of 100 articles were for 2 different niches and 3 different sites, plus for article marketing. There were a couple of articles that need to be re-done and they were promptly back to me the same day.

To alleviate any miscommunication for the next set of 100 articles, which were much more technical, I included from 1 to 3 urls for the writers that gave specific information on exactly what I was looking for. Initial instructions always include a keyword phrase or title for the article and a 1 to 2 sentence description of what I’m looking for. It’s very important to give as much information as possible to your writers so you won’t be disappointed with what you get back.

Cost for articles at SEO Article Writing Pros is 10 articles for $10 each, 25 articles at $9.50 each, 50 at $9 each or 100 at $8.50 each. Smaller quantities are available at either $13 per single article or $12 each for 5 articles.

The plan was to originally have about 20 to 30 articles done per month, but I immediately brought that up to 100 articles per month because I wanted to start off the year with a bang. I’ll probably skip sending in an order for March, but will send in another for April.

The articles are being used for adding content to travel sites and blogs to ultimately earn more Adsense revenue through organic search traffic. For the BANS site the content will be to get more organic search engine traffic that ultimately ends up at eBay. The BANS site will eventually have more Adsense added to the site depending on how much traffic it ends up getting, again, from organic search. The articles will also be used for article marketing to get more incoming links and boost the natural search traffic to those sites and blogs.

I’ll go into exactly how I’m doing the article marketing and adding the content to the sites and blogs in a future post. In the mean time, if you want to jam out some serious content, give SEO Article Writing Pros a look. Go ahead and check them out, I don’t earn anything for recommending them.

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Record Affiliate Earnings Over $500 Yesterday

On the heels of Monday’s PPC earnings of over $200, yesterday was a significant milestone in my affiliate career as I realized a record profit of over $500, of which $446 came from pay per click. The two PPC campaigns that are the most profitable for me more than doubled in volume and earnings from the previous day.

The last few days of nice profits have been a really great way to end the month, however I don’t think it will be a record overall for the entire month. I got hammered this month on eBay earnings and Adsense income suffered a bit because of the slowdown during this time of year in the travel industry. I make the bulk of my Adsense earnings from travel. While earnings from PPC is up significantly this month, combined Adsense and eBay income is down by more than $1,000.

While it is great to earn this much in a day, and do the bulk of it from PPC, it’s not really where I want to be with by online endeavors. The earnings from paying for traffic are very tenuous and could go away tomorrow. One of the campaigns is a little more stable than the other and should be able to  make a profit for the next few months, but I don’t expect the other to last that long.

This is why it’s so important to diversify your income as an affiliate and why I sometimes harp on this point. You just never know where your income might come from month to month. It has been the story of my affiliate career to do really well with one source of income only to have another source drop significantly or even completely dry up. I used to make $200 to $300 per month producing $1 leads for Rentalo.com from my travel sites, but no longer use their program.

It’s nice to make $500 in one day, but at this point I’m only considering it bonus money. I’ll get really excited when I make that kind of money every day for a month. 

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Black Ink Project 2.0 Starts Today

Black Ink ProjectIf you have heard of or followed the Black Ink Project, you are in for a treat because Jeremy Palmer will be starting the second set of classes today in the appropriately named Black Ink Project 2.0. If you don’t already know Jeremy, he consistently brings in well over $1 million a year in affiliate revenue and with those kind of results, is probably someone you should listen to.

The first Black Ink Project was loaded with information from the very basics on how to find a profitable niche and how to set up your affiliate business to more advanced topics such as building a sticky site that people come back to and pay-per-click mastery amongst many other topics. Jeremy also included some rather high profile internet marketers in his training sessions such as Amit Mehta and Aaron Wall and all this info cost participants exactly nothing.

What I got most out of the Black Ink Project was seeing Jeremy set up an affiliate web site and hearing his mindset on how he builds sites so as to give his visitors the whole experience of the product he’s promoting, not just a landing page and then sending them off through an affiliate link. While Jeremy does build nice quality landing pages, he also has lots of other value added info for his visitors who want to stick around for a little longer and learn about the product they are considering.

Where Black Ink Project 2.0 is going to differ from part 1 is it will be laser focused on building one website promoting one and only one product. Jeremy will include a detailed step-by-step process on how to build a site and how to launch a PPC campaign to get traffic to it. The 15 part training course will be 10% theory and 90% work as we get to see exactly how Jeremy builds the site through high res videos. Black Ink Project was live and BIP 2.0 will be recorded and each days session will be available at 4pm Pacific time for download. A chat session to answer question and discuss the training will be available at the end of each of the 3 weeks of sessions.

And to top it all off, when you participate in the class you get a free copy of his affiliate tracking and cloaking software, Optimize My Site. This is a self hosted program that will help you track your PPC campaigns to achieve maximum profitability, and you get it for free just for participating in the free training.

Again, the course is completely free, limited to only 1,250 participants and only requires that you sign up for a free trial of the Meet Me Now WebEx web presentation and meeting system. You can cancel the free trial at any time as I have already done and can still participate in the class. Meet Me Now is a robust system that allows you to hold PowerPoint and computer screen video like presentations and training sessions on the web with your customers, prospects or other participants. I gave it the once over and although it is a nice system for those needing to do online training and classes, it just isn’t something I’m going to be using at the present time.

The Black Ink Project 2.0 starts today and is something you should definitely participate in if you are serious about your affiliate marketing career. Don’t forget it’s completely free and you can sign up for the classes here.

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The Internet Marketing Opportunity Is Going Away

Internet MarketingI had a post already planned for today, and then I came across The Shrinking Window Of Opportunity by Gyutae Park over at his blog. It is a great article that’s really a wake-up call for Internet marketers to get busy because of the way the landscape of the net is changing. If you aren’t building your web empire yet, it could be too late real soon for the small, independent webmaster.

I’ve always believed that if you have an idea for a business on the web, you should have started it yesterday, because of the time it takes to get established and now this seems more important that ever with Google’s preference for older, well established web properties.

Even though we all know how evil Google is, the simple fact is that they control the game. While you may be able to get some traffic from various sources on the net, at this point if you don’t have traffic from Google, you probably aren’t doing all that well, and it’s only going to get worse. Gyutae points out that Google seems to be giving less relevance to or even completely discounting things like paid links, directories, widgets and more, resulting in the small business person on the web being driven out of business.

What Google supposedly wants is more relevance and in their eyes, large, established web sites will get more attention and will be pushing out the little guy and soon start to take over search results. So goes the day when everything on the web was to be on equal footing.

I don’t believe it is the end of the road for Internet and affiliate marketers and neither does Gyutae, but now is not the time to procrastinate with your ideas. If you are going to make your mark on the web, you have to start to establish yourself as an authority in your niche today. Rather than explain again how to go about that, go read Gyutae’s post about the dwindling opportunity for the independent webmaster.

As a little counterpoint though, I’m not so sure Google will always have the monopoly they do. Google’s track record as of late is to just make people mad. We aren’t reading about how wonderful Google has been to webmasters lately, we’re hearing about exactly the opposite, from lots of different sources. While they are trying to create a cleaner search index with more relevance, they could (some would argue they already have) become out of touch and elitist somewhat like the United States government.

Not that I would ever want to see such a thing, but companies who control commerce in such a way that it effects the economic stability of a large mass of people, attract the snooping eye of government intervention. With Google’s increasing record of putting people out of business, no telling what could happen if this were to manifest itself on a much larger scale. We would then have one out of touch bureaucracy giving orders to an out of touch company that controls a huge portion of commerce. Can you spell disaster?

The point of all this is to start building a relevant web empire today that will add value to the web for years to come. Don’t wait until the entry point for the small businessperson is beyond your reach.

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