We are torn whether to start talking about affiliate marketing on this blog. We are hesitant because we are still trying to understand it. And we are also hesitant because when you search for ‘affiliate marketing’ you get 80 million matches that are mostly affiliate marketers pushing their get-rich-quick-schemes. Therefore we are sceptical.
However we do see huge opportunities for a startup – in promoting your brand and potentially structuring your whole income earning model upside down.
Anyway, here goes.
For those unaware, probably like we were until a few months ago – affiliate marketing is big business. It essentially brings merchants and publishers (website authors) together. The merchant wants to sell something and they need publishers to send people to their websites. There are affiliate networks that act as middlemen between merchant and publisher. A match made in heaven.
For example (a really simple example):
You have a popular blog about kittens (Kitty World). An online pet shop (Pet Food Online) wants to sell more cat food. Pet Food Online will pay Kitty World a commission for every Kitty World reader who buys something on the Pet Food Online website. The middlemen (Affiliates Limited) pays Kitty World their commission. Pet Food Online pays Affiliates Limited a fee for arranging this deal.
The above is a real simple example and for more details (with pictures) check out some of the following dummies guides:
What we like most is that you can build a business around it by offering your customers a free service. (Instead of charging the customer a subscription fee to use your website/service.)
You (publisher) earn revenue by referring a reader to a trusted online retailer. Your reader buys what they want and you get paid. If you really do like Kittens and want to get paid to write a kittens blog – then perfect!
Or you can use these affiliate networks to promote your new startup (being the merchant). Every kitten blog may be encouraging kitten lovers to visit your new online kitten startup.
My skepticism lies in that fact many people are just setting up multiple spam sites to refer customers to bogus products. All the content is copied or bought, and much of the traffic is paid for. There are also a lot of middlemen and selecting the right one may be tough. Can you take the best bits to help operate your business?
Just some initial thoughts.
You might also enjoy:
+ Technology – Is a black pixel on or off?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
Where to next? Check out a random article.
Join the conversation: Leave a comment or tweet this post.