13
Jul

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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24
Aug

Acai Berry Scammers Beware, Oprah And Dr Oz Are After You

We may finally be seeing the end of the acai berry scam. After Oprah Winfrey and Dr Oz end up suing the pants off of some 50 manufacturers and promoters of this diet rebill garbage that have used their names and images in promotions, there may not be anyone left to make this stuff for those that promote it in other ways.

Oprah, Dr. Oz and the companies that represent them are suing these entities for misrepresenting their images, voices, business, likenesses and basically anything else to do with who they are. And it’s not only acai berry products that have used images and indentities of the two tv personalities, the suit is also targeting other products such as teeth whiteners, colon cleansers, resveratrol supplements as well as other diet pills, anti-wrinkle creams and other products where their supposed endorsements have been used.

Out of those some 50 entities being sued, Oprah’s and Dr Oz’s lawyers may find out many of them are the same people running the same companies that have changed their business names over and over to avoid this very kind of action. If you belong to any of the multitude of CPA companies around today, you may have noticed that a new acai berry or resveratrol product shows up in your offers seemingly on a weekly basis and that current ones disappear at the same rate. Gee, I wonder why that happens?

You also have to wonder if there are any affiliate marketers promoting acai berry or other diet stuff and using Oprah’s images that happened to get caught up in this lawsuit. There are affiliates that have made millions promoting this stuff as is evident with the multitude of splogs, fake news sites, pay per click campaigns on every acai berry keyword imaginable and other sites that supposedly review this stuff. You also can’t help seeing the advertisements all over sites like Drudge Report and other news sites that eventually lead to these splogs and fake news sites. This is big business for some affiliates and many CPA companies and it could mean that many of them will have to change the way they do business.

The news of this legal action has already been on Good Morning America and I thought I saw something this weekend about it being on ABC News with Charles Gibson tonight August 24th. Hopefully if you are an affiliate or CPA company selling this stuff you won’t see your name on the news tonight.

It’s probably a good thing to just get away from promoting these kind of products if you want to have a long term affiliate business.

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13
Apr

Affiliate Intangibles – Attitude And Out Of The Box Thinking

Out Of The Box ThinkingWhile the skills of affiliate marketing such as figuring out ppc, building websites, basic keyword seo, content writing and many other things are vitally important and very basic to your online endeavors, you are more than likely going to make the biggest impact on your earnings by improving two intangibles that are somewhat hard to nail down. Once the skills are acquired, more than anything else, attitude and out of the box thinking will get you to that next level.

These two concepts could be discussed separately in different posts, but I believe they are related, so this will be a long post as I try to mix up some stew here and mash things together.

Attitude

Doesn’t Google just piss you off? Don’t you just hate it when you’re crankin on a CPA offer and they change the lading page and your conversions are cut in half? Doesn’t eBay make you mad when your sales stats aren’t making any sense? And what about this Obama guy, either you think the right wing republicans are trying to tear him down or you think he may be the anti-christ and is destroying the country. Man, there’s enough wrong stuff affiliate marketing and in the larger frame of things that you could probably spend your entire life worrying about it.

Now that you’ve probably thought about some of that above and may be thinking, “Yea, right on man! Google really is the evil spawn of a vast conspiracy by eBay, Oprah and Obama to lobotomize the world and merge our consciousness with a machine”, none of that is going to earn you one penny. In fact, dwelling on excuses, negatives and minutiae will seriously hamper your ability to focus, will hurt your motivation and it takes valuable time away from your business.

It all boils down to controlling your attitude instead of letting it control you. Because of the ever changing landscape of affiliate marketing, this business can certainly give you enough to complain about and as long as your complaints are pointed in the right direction they can benefit you, but the problem is, most times they aren’t. Complaints properly focused can change the situation or at least make others aware of a legitimate issue that needs to be dealt with, but complaining just for the joy of flapping your gums only makes you a better complainer, not a person with a better attitude.

Think about that, do you really want to be better at complaining? World class complainers may be great at what they do, unfortunately, the pay isn’t that great.

The next time you run across something that really makes your blood boil, instead of dwelling on the issue and complaining to your spouse or writing one of those long ranting blog posts, immediately refocus your attention on your next task or larger project. If you are like most affiliate marketers, you should at least have a mental list, written is best, of the next 25 or so projects or ideas you’d like to work on. Don’t wait, when you feel like wasting time complaining, immediately get busy doing something on your list and focus the energy you’d be wasting complaining to a more useful endeavor.

The better you control your thinking, the more likely you will be able to adapt to changes and be able to think outside of the box, which of course is the next subject in this post…

Out Of The Box Thinking

Can you think of a single famous inventor, technological pioneer or great leader that didn’t think radically different than the status quo of their time? Probably not, because big change comes from big, and most importantly, different thinkers. Fortunately, affiliate marketing, though it is a different way than most people choose to make a living, doesn’t require the innovation of putting a man on the moon. But to reach greater and greater heights does require a mode of thinking that leads to a path most are either unwilling to take or don’t realize you can take.

Why doesn’t the average affiliate marketer make $300,000 per month? The simple answer is, is that they haven’t figured out a way to do it yet. It may come as a shock to you that in he whole scheme of things, affiliate marketing really isn’t that hard. Most of us in this business probably possess the pure marketing skills to be doing much better than we are already, but the fact is, we aren’t doing better. Why is that? It’s because we become comfortable with the systems we have in place or the training we’ve received because they are working at some level for us. Congratulations, you’ve learned how to follow directions.

Learning how to think outside the box involves learning how not to follow directions! The directions are in place to teach you the system only. Directions for putting together your computer desk allow you to build a nice desk, that’s it. They don’t tell you what kind of computer to buy, what kind of software to put in your computer or what to use the computer for.

I see this in PPC Coach where there’s a system and how to exercises in place to teach members the ins and outs of pay per click marketing. Every month there are more involved lessons and ideas on how to better your ppc efforts and some follow those directions to the letter. What some forget though is that there aren’t any rules that say you must continue to work the lessons on a monthly basis. They are simply guidelines to get you to think about ppc differently than you may have in the past and that’s exactly what they were for me. Expanding on the lesson learned in PPC Coach has helped me go on to earn thousands where I had previously lost hundreds.

Right now though I’m still in a box though. It’s a $10,000 per month box, but it’s still a box. Others think in a $30K, $50K or $100K per month box. They learned to see beyond the $10K per month box and expand their “what if” thinking to a whole new level. And that’s one of the secrets for us as affiliate marketers that will help us see beyond the normal, learning to always ask “what if”. What if I did this backwards? What if Google didn’t matter? What if you didn’t follow the rules (I’m not advocating black hat here)? What if offer xxxx was only paying half of what it is, how could you still make money with it. What if I offer legitimate stuff to customers instead of rip-off gimmicks with recurring monthly charges? What if I bid on concept keywords instead of specific keywords in my ppc marketing. What if Google Quality Score didn’t matter, and on and on. It’s good to sit down from time to time and make a list of “what if” scenarios and meditate on them for a bit to see what you come up with.

It’s also important to get outside of the realm of affiliate marketing on a regular basis to get your mind thinking in a different direction. Go to your favorite book store such as Barnes & Noble and read up on the economy, find out how finance and economics works, read about how designers developed the latest Ferrari, the challenges the latest software packages are helping 3d modelers overcome, what people are doing to make due when they lost their job and so on. A constant refreshing of your mind with new ideas will help you see beyond your current mode of thinking into an ever expanding box that someday will expand large enough to encompass your ultimate goals and desires, whatever they may be.

Using all their skills wisely, the average affiliate marketer will have an average business and make average money. Marketers that take those same skills and reverse engineer the rules by thinking out of the box with an attitude of finding solutions instead of complaining, will succeed wildly. Never forget that the rules are put it in place to tell you what you can’t do, they rarely, if ever, tell you what you can do. It’s up to you to put on your thinking cap and figure that out.

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11
Sep

Remembering The Victims Of 9-11

No blog post today, just a picture in remembrance of the victims of 9-11.

Rembering The Victims Of 9-11

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8
Jun

Sunday’s Thoughts – What Makes A Viral Success?

Today’s thought may be a little different in that some may consider it a little negative, but what I’m exploring here is what makes something go viral against all odds, or what seem to be negative odds. Right now as I write this post I’m sitting in the Java Surf Cafe in Indialantic FL next to what has become a cultural phenom, at least for a place like South Brevard County, that has no culture.

The cultural phenom for Indialantic? It’s a pizza place called Bizarro’s and, okay here comes the negative part, they serve slop. Really, they serve the worst pizza I’ve ever tasted, but people flock to this place like they’re giving away free money or something. The pizza has the most flavorless, thinnest, white flour crust you can imagine and the subs are equally as appealing, yummy. It’s one of those things that just doesn’t make sense to my wife and I.

When I used to work at BellSouth, one of our artists used to rave about the place as lots of people do around this area. It kind of makes you wonder why anything goes viral at all on the net, in society, in fashion, whatever. However, I think the message here is you can’t really make something go crazy viral and instantly get filthy rich or suddenly become the next guru in your niche. Either it will happen or it won’t. However, it certainly will never happen if you aren’t being serious about what you’re doing online.

You have to be creative in your online endeavors and work like you want it to happen though. The odd little pizza shop hole in the wall over here on the beach didn’t become famous by sitting on their backside and then one day decide to start selling subs by asking people on the boardwalk if they were hungry. They had a plan, built a restaurant, hired employees, ordered food and performed a thousand other duties necessary to open their business. I don’t think they planned to be one of the top pizza places in the entire county, but they built the foundation for their business as if it were going to happen.

Even though their product leaves a whole lot to be desired, Bizarro’s had every intention to be successful. What about you, do you want to just make a quick buck on the net, or are you planning to be successful for the long haul? Without at least some plan, you stand a zero percent chance of making that viral jump.

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