Are Bloggers the New Affiliates?

Every network needs more publishers and affiliates.

It is wonderful to have a niche network, but in order to cover production and overhead costs, there is a statistical point on the revenue curve that you have to achieve in order to stay afloat. Since angel investors and venture capitalists still haven’t discovered affiliate marketing (yet), companies in this space have to find that statistical sweet spot quickly and efficiently in order to survive the first four months.24800bd9.jpg

There is a beyond interesting conversation going on in the comments about the nature of affiliate marketers and those who need help and education and those who are educating the affiliate managers they work with. Brian Littleton of ShareASale and Jim Kukral of BlogKits have pointed out the need to help bloggers overcome the learning curve normally associated with affiliate marketing and steps they are using to do so. Jeff Molander is arguing for the need of more intelligent affiliate managers that don’t need the constant schooling from saavy affiliates.

Where is the combination for your network or merchant program? Do you rely on affiliate managers to be good salespeople and hope they know what they are talking about? Do you actively recruit people to work for your network who have industry experience on both sides of the fence?

And where do bloggers fit into all of this? Are bloggers truly the next long tailed collection of eager and willing affiliates waiting to be discovered so that they can begin to make some money from the time and effort they put into the craft? Blogging is an art, and when done well can be a beautiful thing. Is your network actively seeking out these artists to help diversify your affiliate base?

I’d go so far as to say that within three years, affiliates as we once knew them will be gone. Static sites with html banners will always have a place, but that place is constantly being eroded by the vast ocean of content. If you’re not making content or at least updating your site, you may face a daunting task as search continues to evolve and social media continues to be adopted.

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26 thoughts on “Are Bloggers the New Affiliates?

  1. “I’d go so far as to say that within three years, affiliates as we once knew them will be gone. Static sites with html banners will always have a place, but that place is constantly being eroded by the vast ocean of content. If you’re not making content or at least updating your site, you may face a daunting task as search continues to evolve and social media continues to be adopted.”

    Disagree with a lot of that. The successful affiliates today will probably be successful 3 years from now. They can tap into social media in many ways, adopt some of the practices on their own sites or use it to drive traffic to their nice html sites 🙂 As far as bloggers, a lot of them can make good money with affiliate programs. But from what I’ve seen, most of them are better off using Adsense since most of it isn’t really sales content, more informational type content.

  2. Jonathan-

    “The successful affiliates today will probably be successful 3 years from now.” I agree with that. Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my thought, but when I say “affiliates as we know them” I’m using the definition of affiliate that has been handed down by the networks and CPA networks. I think that definition will break down and change. Those that are successful today probably will be successful in the future b/c they have enough flexibility and foresight to see what is coming.

  3. “As far as bloggers, a lot of them can make good money with affiliate programs. But from what I’ve seen, most of them are better off using Adsense since most of it isn’t really sales content, more informational type content. ”

    I’ve done over 2 years of study/research on that topic Trust and it’s very, very wrong. Adsense doesn’t work for the long-tail. More on that below. I don’t want to turn this discussion to that topic, so if you want to leave a comment about Adsense for bloggers, do it below.

    http://www.blogkits.com/blog/?p=67

    http://www.blogkits.com/adsensetool.html

  4. That I disagree with you on Jim. I do have a blog of that nature and tried affiliate links and Adsense and Adsense works great. And I expect you to disagree since you do run Blogkits and would rather bloggers have that up instead of Adsense. You would have to get actual input from bloggers who have tried both ways and let them say which one they did better with. I watched the video on YouTube about it :

    I understand you’re marketing your product but “99% of them make 2 pennies a day” referring to Adsense. That’s ridiculous. Most of these bloggers, and you’re targetting the newbie blogger, will probably do better with Adsense because they just need a click. Much easier that getting a sale. Most of these blogs aren’t sales type content. It’s why when Adsense came along many people with “informational type content sites” finally had a way to make some good money.

  5. Trust disagrees with me, that’s new. Ah well, if you were coming to the summit you could see my presentation on this exact topic at 11:30 on Tuesday. I would edumacate you further on this topic. 🙂

    Sam’s blog is’nt for us to argue at. If you want to debate my long-tail/blogging extensive research ping me at the bk blog, not here.

  6. Instead of debating it. Let’s get some actual stats and replies from bloggers and put it to the test. Find a blogger already making good money with Adsense. Get them to try out Blogkits. My money would be on them making more with Adsense and it’s not 2 pennies a click. I also use Adense on my forum and sometimes the clicks are a few bucks. Just for a click. I also didn’t understand why a blogger just doesn’t sign up with the networks directly instead of going thru another party. But the target are newbie bloggers, so they might not know they can sign up directly with a network and grab some links. But I am interested in some actual stats or studies on this.

  7. There is no debate, only facts. 🙂 You can either go read and learn about it as I’ve done by talking to thousands of bloggers over time, or not.

    I’m not making this stuff up for a marketing scheme. Again, and last time, if you want to debate it, come to my playground and we’ll debate, but not here. Sorry Sam.

    Did I mention I’ll be speaking on this topic… 🙂

  8. I’m interested in the facts, I’m still waiting for you to post some. Or some actual case studies, something. I notice some bloggers over at Revenews using Adsense for some reason. A blog can have both Adsense and affiliate ads, doesn’t have to be one or the other. Could be both plus other types of paid advertising. And with some blogs, affiliate ads will do better than Adsense, sometimes the other way around. The only way to know for sure is to actually test it out. I’ve tested it with my own blog and Adsense blew affiliate ads away. Also did better than Chitika for me. So if you’re a blogger, experiment. Sign up to the networks and find some merchants or find a good indy program that matches what you’re blogging about. Try Adense, try Chitika, try something new. Then look at your stats. Your own stats are the truth.

  9. Bloggers over at revenews don’t use AdSense nor Affiliate Links, because it is against the rules. May be the Bio, but I am not sure about that one.

    Whatever Ad you see at the blog itself or inside the posts are placed by Revenews. And yes, I was more than once “reminded” by readers that I should have made some links affiliate links which I would, if it is my blog, but it isn’t and accepted the rules. Now assuming the links I could switch and make affiliate links (and still end up at the same page where the non-affiliate link was pointing to), I am sure that those would yield more revenue than the any AdSense Ad on the site.

    Note: regarding Jim creating an Affiliate Marketing based Blog Advertising Network because he is making too much money with AdSense that he had to come up with a business model that reduces this unethical regale in Google Checks with 4 and 5 digit numbers down to an acceptable 2 to 3 digit number, from somebody less evil than Google…

    aehm yes, that is the note 😉

  10. I’m a blogger and an affiliate marketer.
    I’ve built my blogging community around my blog and a vBulletin forum.

    In contrast to what Trust has said, I think affiliate marketing works best for newer bloggers, compared to adsense.

    The reasoning?
    I get $20 to $100 per CPA or affiliate marketing transaction.
    In contrast I’ve done about $5 in adsense on my best day.

    I think the key here is to have a holistic focus and not overly generalize on whether adsense works best for bloggers.

    If you have strong content, a definite focus and a loyal readership, you can be nearly as effective with a blog as you’d be with a list.

    I have a pool of regular readers and a list, and a forum for good measure and have monetized off all 3 of them.

  11. “May be the Bio, but I am not sure about that one.”

    Yes, there is some Adsense under some bios.

    “In contrast to what Trust has said, I think affiliate marketing works best for newer bloggers, compared to adsense.”

    It’s not a matter of thinking or guessing what works best. It’s a matter of actually trying it out to know for sure.

    Again:

    “And with some blogs, affiliate ads will do better than Adsense, sometimes the other way around.”

  12. “It’s not a matter of thinking or guessing what works best. It’s a matter of actually trying it out to know for sure.”

    Again, you’re missing the point. The long tail doesn’t want to “work” at it. They don’t “want” to be marketers. They don’t want to “try”.

    Those are facts. Once you understand that… only then can you try to deliver methodologies and solutions to assist them.

  13. “Again, you’re missing the point. The long tail doesn’t want to “work” at it. They don’t “want” to be marketers. They don’t want to “try”. ”

    That sounds like an advertisement for Adsense. For the newbie blogger who doesn’t want to work at it, who don’t want to become marketers, which do you think would be easier:

    A. getting a click leading to $$$
    B. getting a click PLUS some sort of action leading to $$$

    Also checking out:
    http://www.blogkits.com/adsense_300.html

    Not sure where those numbers came from. But let’s look at one of my blogs as an example.

    You have it where a blogger getting 300-1000 visitors a day would equal $9 – $30 a month.

    I have a 10% click thru rate on one of my blogs. 1000 visitors a day would be 100 clicks and if I made 20 cents a click that would be $20 a day, $600 a month. A lot more than the $30 a month you have. You can do worse than that, you could do better.

    A great little experiment for any newbie bloggers out there would be to test the various methods and send Sam the results to post.

    And yet again, this will always hold true:

    “It’s not a matter of thinking or guessing what works best. It’s a matter of actually trying it out to know for sure.”

  14. It’s a fact that the more involved you are in closing a transaction, the higher your payout will be.

    If you’re doing contextual advertising, you’d get anywhere from $0.02 to $2, or maybe even as high as $5 depending on the keyword.
    You’d be doing well at $0.20 to $0.50 per CTR.
    And at 5% to 10% CTR rate, you’d be doing pretty damn good.

    On a CPA basis, the payout is anywhere from $1 to $40. With most CPA affiliates going for the $10-20 offers.
    You’d have to work a little harder than adsense publishers to close the transaction because the visitor has to fill in their details and take a couple of extra steps.
    But then, the additional revenue far outweighs the effort to push for the extra conversion.

    Affiliate marketing leaves you in the driver’s seat to close the sale, because you only get paid if a sale is done. Again, the payouts can go up to $100 or even $500 if you’re pushing something like Traffic Secrets.

    I don’t think there’s any debate on how much you can earn, or which works better.
    All the models work, it’s just a matter of how much effort you want to put in.

    There’s no ‘guessing’ or ‘trying’ involved.
    Effort = Renumberation.

    Having said that, I think it’s pointless to continue this debate, because Trust, you’re selectively objecting to certain points that Jim and I have raised and choosing to ignore the big picture.

  15. Welcome to my world Andrew, where I say the sky is blue and Trust tells me it’s orange.

    I’m happy to debate my years of research and chats with thousands of real bloggers with you Trust at the affiliate summit. However, I don’t think you’re going, further keeping your identity hidden. Some, not me, would claim that makes your arguments weak and without substance. Not me, just saying, others say that.

  16. “I get $20 to $100 per CPA or affiliate marketing transaction.
    In contrast I’ve done about $5 in adsense on my best day.”

    Andrew, if on your best day with Adsense you only made $5, you never figured Adsense out. So that’s the perspective you’re looking at this from.

    “You’d have to work a little harder than adsense publishers to close the transaction because the visitor has to fill in their details and take a couple of extra steps.”

    Now you see how your statement I just quoted is different from what Jim is talking about and what I’m responding too:

    “Again, you’re missing the point. The long tail doesn’t want to “work” at it. They don’t “want” to be marketers. They don’t want to “try”.

    Those type of newbie bloggers with just a trickle of traffic that don’t want to work at it and don’t want to become marketers are not going to do good with the CPA offers you’re talking about.

    “If you’re doing contextual advertising, you’d get anywhere from $0.02 to $2, or maybe even as high as $5 depending on the keyword.
    You’d be doing well at $0.20 to $0.50 per CTR.
    And at 5% to 10% CTR rate, you’d be doing pretty damn good.”

    You’re talking about contextual advertising for some reason, even tho you have no personal experience with doing good with it, based on you saying you made $5 on your best day. If you had some more actual experience with it, you’d know 5% – 10% is not that hard to get. And i’m sure there are plently of people doing great with Adsense that could help with tips on getting that kind of click thru rate.

    Again, bloggers should try out the many different methods available nowadays and there are plenty and just find out what works for them.

  17. “I’m happy to debate my years of research and chats with thousands of real bloggers with you Trust at the affiliate summit. However, I don’t think you’re going, further keeping your identity hidden. Some, not me, would claim that makes your arguments weak and without substance. Not me, just saying, others say that.”

    Some would claim you not putting out the research makes your arguments weak. And a little reality check. The thousand of newbie bloggers you’re targetting with your product are not the ones that are going to be in Vegas to hear about your years of research. Why don’t you put it here so they can actually see it? As far as the identity issue again, I did respond:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?p=651954#post651954

    Read it.

    And anybody in this business would watch this:

    And see that “2 pennies a day” via Adsense is nonsense but like I said you’re targetting newbies and they don’t know any better.

  18. “Since we’ve gone on all about this, let’s let the court of public opinion decide.”

    What’s public opinion have to do with how someone actually does? If public opinion decides Adsense works better for blogs and someone does better with Blogkits, they should listen to public opinion and make less money? Of course not. They should do what I’ve posted many times already, common sense type stuff. Experiment, try the various methods out there and do what works for you. Not that hard to understand. I don’t think you guys disagree with that, actually testing stuff out. Of course I’m not here trying to market my product and I actually do have experience making money with both Adsense and CPA offers.

  19. You bring out the worst in me Trust. Ever see the movie Unbreakable? I swear you’re my arch nemisis. I wish you the best, assuming it’s not stalking me anymore. I’m done, taking deep breath… let it out… move on.

  20. “You bring out the worst in me Trust. Ever see the movie Unbreakable? I swear you’re my arch nemisis. I wish you the best, assuming it’s not stalking me anymore. I’m done, taking deep breath… let it out… move on.”

    Stalking, oh brother, lol. Nobody is stalking you Jim, I’m just shining a light. I put up good arguments, you put up spin.

    So I turned the Revenews news gopher job down, don’t take it personally, I don’t work for free 🙂

  21. Let’s get Dr.AdSense here, just for the fun of it. But if I hear anything about what I have to write about and in what way to get the copy just right for the higher priced niches, then improve on the conversion to make it a sweat deal for Google to place not just the low paying b) class ads, but the juicy a) class “gold” ads that I will have a winner.

    What are we talking about again? Blogging, right. I hope the Blogger is interested in the right niche to be able to pull that off and make CPA look like pocket money.

    Well, or every blogger chances subject and everybody will engage in a global in-depth discussion about which pill will make you work longer for the buck and which supplement turns your hair style back to what it was back in the 80s when rock and roll and hairspray were still fun. 🙂

    You affiliate marketing millionairs and experts, either retire on an island and let us marketer do what we want and like (millionairs) or get a job (expert).

    Thanks 😉
    Carsten

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