Is Affiliate Marketing A Profitable Business Model?

March 22, 201120 Comments

Just in case anyone is unfamiliar with the term “Affiliate Marketing”, affiliate marketing is defined as a business practice whereby a person or business operating independently from the producer or service provider is rewarded by that producer or service when successfully referring a new client or customer to that producer or service. The reward could come directly from the producer or service provider, or more commonly, come from a network to which both merchants and affiliates enrol such as Clickbank, Commission Junction or Amazon. These are not the only networks but they are probably the most well-known.

Newcomers to Internet Marketing are usually urged to enrol as affiliates with these networks and to start promoting the products on offer. This can look attractive to any beginner as there appear to be so many tempting short-cuts to accelerate them on the path to quickly achieve an online income.

Everything appears to be there for you, including a ready made website, sales letters, other promotional materials and an established commission structure as a reward for achieving successful referrals. There’s no need to have your own product, it’s there waiting and ready for you to market.

Delve a little further into this business model however and you will discover it’s not as rosy as it seems. Firstly, there will probably be thousands and thousands of others all trying to sell this same product. Those who have done it the longest will have developed all kinds of skills to repackage the product in question, plus they will easily be able to outgun the new affiliate with all kinds of bonuses to supplement the original package. They will also have an established stream of existing loyal customers who will be far more inclined to buy from someone they are used to doing business with than an unknown newcomer. The details of any customers you get will also be surrendered to the Merchant who will be in a far stronger position to sell further products to that person than you will be. Any attempt to build your own exclusive list of loyal customers (by far the easiest group of people to sell to in the future if you look after them properly) will thus be compromised from the start.

The worst possible response to these obstacles is to throw money at it such as by spending excessive sums using Google Adwords or similar paid online and/or advertising or by buying a list of ready made prospects from a Direct Marketing Agency. These lists come with stringent rules and you must observe them or you will be quickly blacklisted by these agencies as well as getting a negative image as a spammer or even a scammer. Success can be achieved but it must be done in a scientific and well researched way. I would urge anyone thinking of doing so to only go down these paths “with their eyes open”. If you don’t, you will quickly find yourself losing more and more money as you pay for more ads or get minimal responses from your rented “list” and minimal sales. You will be on the road trodden by the 95 per cent of those who’ve tried but been unsuccessful in making a living online and who have then given up.

Affiliate marketing has it’s place but don’t be under any illusions about it. I would suggest moving away from the cut-throat world of selling digital products online until you understand it better. There are other less competitive markets to pursue first, maybe related to a hobby of yours that you enjoy such as travel, clothes, fitness, sports products etc where you  may be more willing to be patient and stay committed to internet marketing rather than seizing on any product to sell as an end in itself.

I would also urge aspiring newcomers to internet marketing to branch out from affiliate marketing. I recommend taking a look at PLR (Private Label Rights) as a better way of becoming involved in selling digital products profitably. There are thousands and thousands of these products available, many of them at the following site: This is not the only such site, there are many others, but its probably the most respected and well established source.

Make sure to check carefully the level of resell rights you are entitled to use, there are several different categories and always make sure you do not breach your conditions of use. You should follow that by taking advantage of any rebranding options available to you, there’s no point selling an item under it’s existing title (it may appear hundreds of times on Google and other Search Engines), unless the author is very well known and you have permission to use their name.

A whole new world of developing your own autonomy online will now open up before you. The various strategies, essential components and marketing options are subjects for another day and other Articles. Once you start implementing them you will be far better placed to develop a viable and profitable online business. Your own list of customers, exclusive to you, will start to grow and you can set your own prices rather than being locked into one for all affiliates to charge.  You may even develop the resources to return to affiliate marketing from a position of strength, maybe as a Merchant in your own right with affiliates wanting to market for you and with you possessing plenty of bonus offers of your own to offer as attractive packages to supplement any affiliate product you might wish to retail.


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Patrick Clarke - 21st Century Business Entrepreneur (Social Media Business Professional, Online & offline business owner & founder). If you are a business owner or professional person looking to grow your business and get more sales or clients, or expand your network of connections, then I can help you. If you need help with your LinkedIn profile, have a "dead" Facebook Fan Page, need professional blogging articles or don't know how to use Google+ for your Local SEO Marketing, then get in touch. I would be pleased to assist. The results might astonish you!

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  9. Carlton Seek says:

    The idea of the so-called Internet guru has become very popular as of late. If you just follow the Internet Guru, he will lead you to riches…true or untrue? Well, it’s true. But make no mistake…most gurus want to make money from you, not help you achieve online success. The other thing to consider is, are you the type of person who is going to be able to follow somebody? Or, are you the kind of person who can use what you have and form your own way of making money online. I realized pretty early on that, while I wanted to learn things from people, the reality was, I was going to have to find my own way of making money online…a collage of all the ideas I had come to.

    It’s not everybody that can do this…but that’s how my mind worked. Never ever get it into your head that you have to “follow the rules” in order to make money on the web. It simply isn’t true. You can do things your own way and have lots of success. It’s just a matter of wanting it and making it a part of your life in order to find your own way through the Internet marketing maze.

    It is a fact that affiliate marketing is among the simplest and most efficient ways to generate income online. However, you will have to make an effort right until you can generate income from your affiliate business. You must work hard if you want to achieve success and you will also have to apply certain tools in order to earn money.

    1. Commitment: The very first thing you have to do is to commit to yourself that you are serious with your choice, you’re serious with building your own business, serious about taking 100% responsibility with whatever you do. You might think that this sounds ridiculous, but it’ll guide you rightly on your journey. Once you can think, and are responsible like a real business owner, you’ll stand out from people.

    2. Education: The next important part that can make or break your business is your education, or your knowledge about this online business. Most people failed because they did not know exactly what Internet Affiliate Marketing is, how it works, and how they can do things correctly. If you want to see results in the long run, you must arm yourself with enough knowledge. Don’t let something that you don’t know holds you back.

    3. Focus: The laser beam can break through even the thickest plate of metal because it focuses its energy. You can break even everything if you stay focus too. Fact is, people have no advantages over you, everyone starts at the same level, the reason why some have success, some don’t lies in the word “focus”. Focus on what you can do best, on what you know the most, and go with them, you’ll join the 5% group soon.

    4. Taking actions: Isn’t it true that only taking actions can bring you closer to your goals? You can’t achieve results just by sitting there, making a wish! It’s time to put what you’ve learned so far to real actions. I know this is the hardest part, but believe me that when you can do the very first action toward your goals, the next steps will come naturally. Whatever you do, make sure that it guides you to your goals!

    5. Don’t quit: Quitters are losers! In fact, if you’re serious with your online business, having enough knowledge about what you’re doing, and are taking actions persistently, chances are you’ll never quit! Congratulations! Because most people came in fast, but they quit soon as well. If you just stay focus, taking actions, and don’t quit, you’ll be successful. Guaranteed!

    The best way to truly find your fortune is yes, learn from those who have been there. But also learn how to tap into your own inner power, and be your own person. Find your own will and your own direction. Test things out for yourself and see if they work.
    You can also discover the top secrets and methods made by one of the top successful affiliate marketers (George Brown), and learn how to generate big revenues using nothing but free traffic.
    And you can also contact me on I’ll be more than happy out there to help

    Carlton Seek

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