Success with Affiliate Marketing?
November 4, 2007 11:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to make some extra income online. How viable is Affiliate Marketing? I currently have no websites, but I am reasonably conversant in web concepts and terms. Anyone have success in this area of online business? If so, how long did it take you to start earning a profit on your campaigns? What kind of input was necessary to achieve these profits? Basically I'm just wondering if this is a viable option for someone with no experience in online business and sales.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Everyone starts from nowhere. I know, personally, people who earn over $20k per month from affiliate marketing alone. I know of people who make over $100k per month. There's a lot of money in being a middleman it seems.

I'm only a bystander on this sort of thing because I'm in a different industry but I know how most of this business works and I know quite a few people who were initially very ignorant of online business have gone on to make respectable sums in a short period of time.

The common elements between these successful people appears to be their ability to keep pumping hour after hour, day after day into their business when it's making NO money.. and that sort of stubbornness and determination is REALLY hard to muster. Not just that, but they're always learning, and hanging out on sites like WebMasterWorld and Earners Forum. Both are well worth reading and you'll get lots of solid advice there.
posted by wackybrit at 1:02 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you're able to put a lot of work in, then it can be very profitable, but it does take a lot of work. I tried once, and gave up because there was no guaranteed paycheck at the end of the month, and I can't really be bothered to put the time in. After one too many times of seeing SEO and thinking WTF, I gave up.

You might find SelfStartersWeeklyTips helpful. Lots of free advice for the beginner, and some very active forums.
posted by Solomon at 1:44 AM on November 5, 2007

Honestly, most people (I'm talking 98%) don't make jack from affiliate marketing. It's the truth. You either have to be a complete idiot or extremely persistant and clever to make a decent buck in ad-based/affiliate marketing.

Anyone who tells you differently is lying.
posted by survivorman at 4:36 AM on November 5, 2007

My last post kinda didn't make sense (I'm one of those complete idiots I was referring to).

What I meant to say is that you'd have to be a complete idiot or be an extremely clever and persistant individual to think you can eek some sort of living from online affiliate marketing. I've done it, and I liken it to being a Chinese rice farmer in the middle of nowhere, toiling long hours for pennies a day. There is a distinct difference however: a Chinese rice farmer is resigned to the reality he/she is doomed to poverty and anonymity. An online affiliate marketer, on the other hand, is diluted in the fact that they (among the millions of others doing the exact same thing) might be the one to strike it rich and be featured on the cover of WIRED magazine. Online affliate marketers are the new serf - they just don't know it yet.
posted by survivorman at 4:57 AM on November 5, 2007


I think survivorman means "deluded", which is indeed what most SEO bloggers are.
posted by briank at 6:31 AM on November 5, 2007

Welcome to the 2007 version of a pyramid scheme. You must be kidding, right?
posted by spitbull at 7:50 AM on November 5, 2007

I make about $0.01 per day on my wine blog which gets about 50 hits per day.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:28 AM on November 5, 2007

I think the more focused you are on the subject matter for your site, the more successful you will be. If you create the ultimate resource and community for Australian Chiraz, and Chiraz lovers from around the world come to your site for recommendations, then you will do okay. On the other hand, if your site is about "things you drink with your mouth", you probably wont do as well.

The key is to find a passionate under served segment and superserve them.

That said, the only places I know that make enough from affiliate marketing to quit their day jobs are ginormous blogs and porn sites.
posted by softlord at 10:06 AM on November 5, 2007

Do you mean affiliate schemes like, say, Google Adsense, or the other related online advertising systems? Are you referring to sketchy pyramid schemes? Are you talking about quasi-spammy adult stuff?

I know lots of people who make a few bucks on the side with the adsense dollars on their websites. It's not a living, but it does buy them beer. I count myself among those people.

I think Mathowie makes a living from Mefi's adsense dollars. Speaking of whom, check out

I think the key is targeting and persistence. You can probably eek out some kind of a living through adsense or other advertising affiliates if you treat it like any other business enterprise, which means working bloody hard on it for a long time, for no money.
posted by generichuman at 10:26 AM on November 5, 2007

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