Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
Sounds fair. It’s just that the discussion veered from the topic of the post which was what method would make you the most money, not which one requires the most amount of work. In any case, I do both and have been successful with both business models. But in trying to replace a full time income in the shortest amount of time, online stores have greater money making potential.
Review sites feature reviews of products/services that the marketer has tried and can attest for. Each product/service review includes a link or banner ad that will take customers to the merchant partner's website. The advantage of review sites is that they require less frequent updates. Marketers simply have to make minor tweaks to their websites to ensure that search engines continue to list the website in their search results.[3]
JVZoo works exclusively with digital products, primarily e-commerce, online courses, and internet marketing offers. Because there are no limits placed on the number of links, buy buttons, or calls to action on a website, JVZoo can sometimes be somewhat low quality both in terms of offers as well as products. Nonetheless, it has proven itself to be a fierce competitor to companies like ClickBank.
Upselling is a sales technique where the salesperson encourages a more expensive purchase by a customer by persuading them to get an upgraded version of an item or to purchase add-ons. Remember our food processor example? That food processor could probably be best used with a book of recipes, which also can be purchased at the same company’s website.
Tradedoubler was founded in 1999 by two young Swedish entrepreneurs. They have offices in the UK and multiple countries throughout Europe, including Sweden, Germany, France, Poland and Spain. Their focus has always been to provide smarter results for both clients and affiliates through technology. In 18 years, they’ve amassed an army of 180,000 active publishers, connecting them to over 2,000 merchants in Europe and the UK. Many of these merchants are household names.

Previously known as Affiliate Window but now officially referred to as “AWIN” after acquiring Zanox a few years ago, this network claims to work with over 13,000 active advertisers and 100,000 publishers (affiliates). Founded in Germany, AWIN’s merchants primarily hail from Europe (especially Great Britain) although the U.S. network is growing rapidly. AWIN is currently active in 11 countries.
Love your article on drop shipping vs. affiliate marketing. I joined the WA community in summer of last year and while I haven’t made any real money yet besides a little bit from google Adsense I am enjoying the journey. I have been looking into ways to expand and looked at drop shipping. It certainly does seem to be more “hands on” than what I was wanting to do, especially since I keep myself pretty busy and am stretched to post a few blogs a week to continue to try to build my website.
If you only need to remember one thing about PPC advertising for affiliate marketing, it’s this: Good research can bring good results. A skilled affiliate can still lose money if the PPC ads they put out are not based on solid keyword or niche market research. Doing research and analysis on ongoing ads will tell you a lot about which ones convert and which ones do not.

Unlike most offline marketing efforts, digital marketing allows marketers to see accurate results in real time. If you've ever put an advert in a newspaper, you'll know how difficult it is to estimate how many people actually flipped to that page and paid attention to your ad. There's no surefire way to know if that ad was responsible for any sales at all.
Neither of these business models normally returns very much pure profit (except in a relatively few cases). Affiliate marketing can be hard due to the levels of competition, and the product owner dictates entirely. The dropshipping business model is heavily weighted in favour of the wholesaler and not the dropshipper and most often returns poor margins.
In November 1994, CDNow launched its BuyWeb program. CDNow had the idea that music-oriented websites could review or list albums on their pages that their visitors might be interested in purchasing. These websites could also offer a link that would take visitors directly to CDNow to purchase the albums. The idea for remote purchasing originally arose from conversations with music label Geffen Records in the fall of 1994. The management at Geffen wanted to sell its artists' CD's directly from its website but did not want to implement this capability itself. Geffen asked CDNow if it could design a program where CDNow would handle the order fulfillment. Geffen realized that CDNow could link directly from the artist on its website to Geffen's website, bypassing the CDNow home page and going directly to an artist's music page.[14]
Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ads will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.
If it’s been years since you’ve earned your marketing degree, or you’ve taken a long hiatus from your marketing career or your small business in the recent past, you might be finding it challenging to get up-to-date on all the latest marketing trends, techniques and buzzwords. Two of the most important marketing trends right now are influencer marketing and affiliate marketing.
Thanks Nathalie! And glad to see you came over from AONC 🙂 When done the right way I think affiliate links in context are much less intrusive and offensive than having ads on your sidebar. The average non-tech reader probably wont even know its an affiliate link anyway. So just by doing everything you’ve already been doing, you can switch out links, and probably make a nice side income!
At the same time, when you do dropshipping, you fully own your venture. That’s your own website with your own style and design, with your unique product descriptions, and with your own price markup. It’s up to you to decide what niche to enter, which suppliers to choose, which products to add to your online store, and what price to set. You run your business as you like, choosing any promotional methods you fancy, and you are fully in control of it.
In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy.[10] By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking.[11] In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.[12]
Cognus is an ISO Certified digital marketing company with a specialized marketing team of 100+ professional marketers who work as a very good team to form and execute your affiliate program. We have an experience of more than 6 years in affiliate services and have a success rate more than any other service provider. We operate in more than 15 countries all over the world with almost 200 happy clients using our affiliate program. Our services are different because of the following benefits our digital marketing company provides:
So you probably were able to guess the answer to which is better: drop shipping vs affiliate marketing. If you picked drop shipping as the winner, you are right! However, let me go through some of those reasons as to why drop shipping is more beneficial than affiliate marketing. (And it’s not just because I run drop ship stores and have a business called Drop Ship Lifestyle.)

You are like a dad providing excellent quality advise for a newbie, who is an introvert that is currently bogged down in information gathering and trying to learn as much as possible. Your mails are truly motivating, encourages me to stay the course, be creative, and transparent. I hear you saying just hang in there, with my help you can make it; I have been there so just try this. Will be saving this in my archived. A matter of fact I haven’t deleted any. Thank you so much. I will definitely transfer the connection I experience with you to my subscribers. Thanks again.
Honestly, when I say “be real” – I mean it.  Don’t be afraid to talk about your failures with people (on your list).  They want to know that you weren’t BORN rich, or one of those naturally fit people that was just made to be a fitness model.  They want to hear your story, they want to hear your struggles, they went to know that you were in the SAME PLACE AS THEY ARE RIGHT NOW, DAMMIT!
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
Affiliate marketing is a kind of business model which promotes someone else’s products and earn on a commission basis when any are purchased. The marketer, does not handle orders or offer customer support. The marketer promotes products and earn on each sale. Simply put, assuming the right target market is selected, increasing promotion increases earnings.

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Affiliate networks also make it very easy to find products and services to promote. They will list advertisers by category and show which advertisers other publishers are currently having the most success with. Commission Junction, a large affiliate advertising network, currently has nearly 3,000 different advertisers listed. You will have the most success by promoting products that are closely related to the content that you write about. If you had a website about investing, you would primarily want to promote investing related services like stock brokerages and stock research tools. You wouldn’t get good results by promoting unrelated services like web hosting and domain name registration services.
Unfortunately, the 2Checkout dashboard is a bit limited in scope, making it difficult to get any metrics on conversion rates or even sorting by commission payouts. The workaround is to go to the Avangate store, which does list their best-selling products, and then search for these on the affiliate dashboard. That being said, 2Checkout does offer products from more than 4,000 different vendors, making it the leading affiliate network for software and digital products.
Dropshipping does have the primary drawback that there is a lot of existing competition. If you’re trying to sell $10 tablet cases for $20, you can bet there are other people out there trying to do the same thing. Some of them might price their cases at $15, in which case you have to ask yourself; why would a user buy from me rather than from them? What value do I add for $5 that the competition cannot? Often, you have nothing tangible, so you have to provide that value in terms of information and trust.
The splendour of affiliate marketing lies in this - you don’t need to invest into the marketing and promotion of your product or service, someone else does it for you. The affiliate earns their commission, the company gets to sell their product without having to invest in its promotion and sales and the customer gets the product they desired. This makes Affiliate marketing one of the most inexpensive and value for money online marketing practices.
If you want to target a specific group of people instead of your entire audience, then use affiliate marketing. If you’re launching a new product feature or an entirely new product that power users will be receptive to, use affiliate marketing to target specific sites that these power users spend time on. Instead of marketing to everyone, you speak to the people most likely to use your product.

Affiliate marketers are only paid when someone in their audience takes an action that you’ve committed to pay for. If you’ve committed to pay a commission for sales, they’ll only get paid after they actually drive sales. 5 percent to 10 percent commission rates are common, although commissions on products like electronics tend to be lower. If you’ve committed to pay for qualified leads, you only have to pay when they refer a lead that meets the qualifications you’ve specified.


Influencer marketing is extremely popular on social media. If you’re hoping to raise brand awareness in a short amount of time, choose the platform your audience spends the most time on and partner with influencers they’re likely to follow. The following examples focus on the three main platforms for influencer marketing: Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

You can iron out the details of how you will go about your PPC ads for the merchant once you’re granted permission to run paid ads on their behalf. Ask about advertising guidelines (some companies are strict when it comes to advertising and their brand), prohibited keywords, and expectations from each other. Talk to the merchant’s marketing team so you can maximize resources instead of replicating each other’s efforts.
What if you used an autoresponder instead? That way you could create two, three, even ten email messages all at once. One blog post per email works well. Then schedule each message in the autoresponder to go out every seven days. Viola. You now have what looks like a weekly newsletter, but is actually an autoresponder. And you now have a lot more free time.

“One of the biggest mistakes I have experienced during my affiliate management tenure was during a failed launch of a new health product. I recruited all the big names in the health industry, leveraged personal contacts to get introductions to new health partners, and even used a few personal favors to get large A-list affiliate partners to promote our launch,” he said.
There are thousands of companies that will pay you commissions for any sales that you generate on their behalf, an arrangement known in the online business world as affiliate marketing. Promoting other companies’ products and services to your mailing list can be an extremely effective way to generate revenue if you can find a product or a service that is a great match for your audience. Even if your company produces its own products and services, you should still consider promoting other companies’ products because you can only talk about your products so much before your audience gets sick of hearing about them.

I really enjoyed this post. While Jim and Evan clearly have a lot of their own experience, many do not. You were able to explain clearly the difference between affiliate marketing and dropshipping, then share your honest opinion (oh, the beauty of blogging). I think this post would be a great help to a new entrepreneur when researching the possibilities for their new business.
With that said, there is a right and a wrong way to set up your autoresponder sequence. If you think that this solution should be used to bombard a list of potential email contacts with one offer after another, you would only be abusing its ability without maximize its potential. Affiliate marketers often recognize the value of an email marketing campaign, but struggle to find a balance between providing value and promoting products. Common questions from affiliate marketers include:

Some of the products for sale through affiliate programs have multiple products in the sales funnel - known as upsells and downsells (sometimes side-sells as well). These are products that are related to the primary product and can help to make the use of the primary product faster, easier or more efficiently. A certain percentage of people who buy the primary product also go on to buy the extras which could account for the higher amount.
Our team of more than 100 marketing specialists at Cognus builds and handle Affiliate management services for you and lead to performance based results, in turn enhancing your business profitability. We have an experience of over 6 years with clients in 15 countries in generating leads, raising profits and improving online reputation for a better performance of affiliates, thereby reducing your effort with our expert Affiliate Marketers.

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Another thing that I didn’t mention is that if someone doesn’t have to sign up to your email list and they click on your affiliate link you will earn a commission if they make a purchase but you will not have access to their name and email information. They will basically be one time buyers for you because you didn’t capture their name and email address first.
Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network.[22][23] New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.[citation needed]

In comparison with Dropshipping, affiliate marketing is a lot easier to start and manage. In a dropshipping website, you will have to actively monitor the store and order products through suppliers. All this requires time. But in an affiliate website, you don’t have to actually do any of this because you get a commission by letting people buy through your link. That’s it.
There are many different publisher types to work with and these relationships are facilitated by an advertiser joining the network and using the promotional tools available- these are owned by the publishers. In every case the publisher takes the risk of sending you traffic at no cost to you as you only have to reward them if their traffic completes a purchase- therefore, advertisers only pay out on results.
The ninja message is best used with an email list that trusts your recommendations.  When people have come to “know” you, it doesn’t require a lot of work to promote a product – Especially one with a great sales page.  On the other hand, I advise you to use the ninja on rare occasions.  This is the most spammy email in your entire arsenal.  Use it sparingly – No more than once a month.
An affiliate marketing business is an excellent source of passive income. There’s a bit of upfront work to figure out your ads or produce content to help convert the sale. However, once that’s done you can have ads running in the background while you make money. You don’t have to worry about creating a product. You don’t have to worry about shipping a product. All you need to do is make sure you’re sending highly targeted traffic to the merchant’s landing page to drive conversions.

The average commission rate is $58 per the Shopify website. Shopify’s commissions are paid according to different metrics. For instance, if a referral signs up for the Shopify Plus enterprise plan (the highest tier), the payout is a flat $2,000. Referrals who sign up for the standard plan earn a $598 commission. The payout for a Basic account is $58. Commissions are calculated as follows: you will earn two times the monthly rate but only two months after the user has been a paying customer.


An affiliate marketing business is an excellent source of passive income. There’s a bit of upfront work to figure out your ads or produce content to help convert the sale. However, once that’s done you can have ads running in the background while you make money. You don’t have to worry about creating a product. You don’t have to worry about shipping a product. All you need to do is make sure you’re sending highly targeted traffic to the merchant’s landing page to drive conversions.
Branding, it's the most important thing. How you're going to market, advertise & promote your products. Be it able to get customer or affliate, but branding your products for conversions is one of the most important factor when doing drop shipping. Because the products are not yours so you've to make it seems much better than any other person who is providing it.
In 1996, Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon.com, popularized this idea as an Internet marketing strategy. Amazon.com attracts affiliates to post links to individual books for sale on Amazon.com, or for Amazon.com in general, by promising them a percentage of the profits if someone clicks on the link and then purchases books or other items. The affiliate helps make the sale, but Amazon.com does everything else: They take the order, collect the money and ship the book to the customer. With over 500,000 affiliate Web sites now participating, Amazon.com's program is a resounding success.
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