Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 42 - What you need to know about Affiliate Marketing

In the words of my favorite late night TV host, Craig Ferguson, "It's a great day for America everybody!"

I accomplished everything on the list today - and then some. At the top of the daily To-Do was digging into a mid-term exam (take home variety), and completing the essay for my History of US Media class. I'm pleased to report that by late this afternoon, the paper was 95% complete. All that remains for tomorrow morning is to double check my facts and complete the final edit. Don't you just love completing a big project?

Making this an even more exceptional day was starting to see the actual results of my research project. I sent out my first 100 survey invitations just yesterday; I never imagined that seeing the data populate would be so thrilling, but that is the word. What a kick! ( Perhaps I am cut out for research, after all.)

The report for this lovely Saturday is that this college student is in the "flow." Life is good.

What do you make of Affiliate Marketing?

Many people are unfamiliar with this prevalent new form of marketing, so here's a brief explanation. Affiliate marketing is a low-risk, high-return strategy for online marketing. Major corporations sign up with a variety of websites to offer membership on their affiliate teams. Once selected, team members serve as webmasters, creating and posting blogs or websites with articles and copy which combine "PR" and news. They also employ search engine optimization (or SEO) techniques to promote their newly created sites and move them to the top of the search lists on engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and others. The corporations range from the entire Fortune 500 to thousands of smaller firms and businesses offering a wide variety of products and services.

According to Forrester Research, US affiliate marketing will spend as much as $4 billion by 2014, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 16% from 2009 to 2014.
Much of the money spent will be paid out to this vast cadre of "affiliate" marketers, making it very big business indeed. Affiliate networks create a collaboration and knowledge exchange for the affiliates and advertisers alike. Within the next five years, retailers, financial services firms, and online education providers are expected to be the top three spenders in this arena.

This summer, I spent about 100 hours studying affiliate marketing, even going so far as to become certified and then apply to a few of the companies who employ affiliates for handling the online public relations and sales effort. Some of the companies hosting affiliate programs (vendor and user companies) include: Commission Junction, Intuit, LinkShare,, Performance Marketing Alliance, Stateless Systems, ValueClick, ClickBank and Vertive, if you have an interest.

When the fall semester got underway, I ran out of time to dedicate to this affiliate marketing effort, so I can't tell you about any personal success I've had - yet. However, you might have noticed that at the end of each of my posts, there are a couple of ad banners or boxes. These contain direct links to companies that I represent as an affiliate marketer. As such, I have access to private codes and offers and am able to pass these along to my readers. These companies have been vetted by me and I by them, so feel free to shop at any vendor site listed here. Each was carefully selected. These affiliate ads are not to be confused with Google's "AdSense" program, which is seen in the listing below each blog post and over which I have no control. That is an entirely different beast. I'll discuss Google's various online profit centers and how you may be able to use them in a future post.

For now, let's just go with the flow!

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