Making Money with AdWords?
January 5, 2005 9:52 PM   Subscribe

Is anyone out there succeeding as an affiliate marketer on the web?

Specifically, I'd like to know if anyone is making money creating Google Adwords campaigns that drive searchers to merchants.
posted by lometogo to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Um, yes. But I think you want to hear from independent folks running their own gigs, not employees of large companies that play with this stuff, right?
posted by scarabic at 10:12 PM on January 5, 2005

Yeah, there's companies that make a lot of money doing the sponsored links for Google and for the Yahoo/Overture network. It's good money, because you bill monthly so you build up a good residual income. You've gotta be good at sales, though.
posted by SpecialK at 10:32 PM on January 5, 2005

I maintain a pretty large retail site (with a number of subsites) and it surprised me when a common search I check the site on Google with came up with a sponsored link at the top of the list. The link was to our site with an affiliate code. And we pay that affiliate big dollars every month. I think it's like his job. My guess is that he has gone to a seminar/read a book on how to make money of teh internets or something. He is a pest, begging for his cheques every month. But his persistence pays. He does get cash on a monthly basis.
posted by bdave at 1:37 AM on January 6, 2005

I'm going to chime in here as an ex-employee (I was employee number 18 of what is now like a 300 person operation) of Linkshare, one of the bigger affiliate marketing enablers.

My two cents is that someone, somewhere must be making somemoney because these companies like Linkshare are still in business, but my experience tells me it is a minor few who make a large amount of money. For the most part, Linkshare and it's ilk stay in business because of the volume of people who will register their website and send maybe 100 or 200 bucks worth of business over the network. When I was working on this, four or five years ago, their were literally thousands upon thousands of registered affiliates who were like this. The ones that made real money at it were, as Bdave cites above, the ones who made it their mission to figure out how to market their sites and push their affiliate links.

It takes a monstrous effort, as a small business or individual, to drive traffic to your site when nowadays most mainstream brick and mortar stores have excellent, well designed and supported web sites of their own. Why would someone go through your website to buy a book or a CD or some clothes rather than going right to themselves? If you are a larger operation that has a marketing division specifically focused on affiliate marketing as one of its revenue streams, then it is probably possible to make respectable money, but it will never match traditional direct marketing or direct email campaigns.

On the other hand, from a small business perspective, the investment is nearly zero money wise. It costs nothing to join an affiliate system so any money made has no costs, other than time, associated with it.

That's my sense of the whole scenario.
posted by spicynuts at 6:45 AM on January 6, 2005

I can't provide specifics, but I have a friend who makes a very tidy income entirely through affiliate marketing in the internet marketing market. Luckily he was an SEO expert before that, so he manages to get great placements for all of his pages, even trumping the real product sites in many cases.

I have another friend who does the same in the travel industry. If you go to WebmasterWorld, you'll find hundreds of people all doing the same and raking it in. I don't know anyone who is earning big bucks through Adsense only, but it's certainly possible to make a grand a month with a non-gigantic site.
posted by wackybrit at 1:02 PM on January 6, 2005

To follow on some of the points made earlier, everyone I know who's made a decent income on this sort of thing has had some kind of specific angle on generating their traffic--they're either proven SEO experts, or they've got some kind of existing community that they can tap into, or something.

If you don't have a pretty solid foundation already in SEO management, I'd think twice, and then think again. My most relevant point is probably that everyone I know who has tried this has eventually given it up.

Not only does it get old living from check to check, manically checking your logs, but the big search engines all have a lot of mechanisms in place to continually knock you off the top of the heap, placement-wise. They're constantly fighting you, to keep an active market. Trying to make a sustained, consistent income doing this is really the modern definition of a Sisyphean task, and it gets old, fast.
posted by LairBob at 3:57 PM on January 6, 2005

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