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.
Hi guys! I think between affiliate marketing and online store the real problem is the capital that is involved, if you want to earn more you also need to invest more. What is good about affiliate marketing is that, you can earn even without having to shell out a single cent, all you have to do is to maintain a good site and increase your viewers. The more credible and the more people view your site the more businesses will pay you. I may agree in some point that online store may pay off more only that you also need to invest more. You need a starting capital for your products, good if you really have the business. But for those who do not have the money but have the time affiliate marketing may be more profitable for some.
In some cases, there is actually overlap between these two marketing niches. This is because it is possible that you might be able to recruit some prominent influencers to sign up for your affiliate program. Then you can enjoy some of the benefits of influencer marketing while only paying for successes. See How influencers are changing the affiliate marketing game for more details.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping and there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding what to choose. It really comes down to your personal preference and what you want to achieve. With Dropshipping, the product is key and there are a lot of logistical headaches that I outlined. Affiliate Marketing, can run passively and can generate income for years to come. I may be a little biased.
As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have shifted from sending e-mail spam to creating automatically generated web pages that often contain product data feeds provided by merchants. The goal of such web pages is to manipulate the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as spamdexing. Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine optimization.
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!

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.


Dropshipping is where you curate and list products on your site. So in this example, you create a store of products but you are the middleman. You take orders, handle payment processing and customer service issues but the manufacturer ships the product for you. So instead of having a warehouse and holding product and all the costs associated with that, you partner with a drop shipper who stocks and ships the inventory. You get to set your own product price. So you basically buy wholesale and mark up the prices. Suppliers will suggest a retail price and you need to see what similar products are selling for so that you don’t price yourself out of the market. But, you get to decide what you want to charge!
If the above locations do not yield information pertaining to affiliates, it may be the case that there exists a non-public affiliate program. Utilizing one of the common website correlation methods may provide clues about the affiliate network. The most definitive method for finding this information is to contact the website owner directly if a contact method can be located.
When you dropship goods, you’re building an asset – your brand. With dropshipping, you’ll have your own professional website. You’ll make enough money to invest in advertising, content and other traffic and money generating techniques. In a year from now, if you decide you want to move onto another niche, you can sell your business to someone else. However, not all affiliates have their own assets. Some affiliates make their money by creating YouTube videos. Yet, you’re not allowed to sell your YouTube channel. Between dropshipping vs affiliate marketing, you’re better off with dropshipping.
Sometimes, if you don’t use a link shortener, people can hover over the link and see that it’s an affiliate link. As a result, they may assume that it costs more to buy through the link. Most people do not understand that you only receive a commission on a sale. Thus, people may choose to manually go to the website you’re recommending directly without clicking your affiliate link. Since they didn’t click on the link, the merchant gets to make 100% of the profit. Thus, making your marketing efforts less successful. Many people are skeptical or dislike affiliate marketers. They feel like they’re being scammed, even when the truth is they’re not. It can be hard to convince people to trust you and click your link. In some countries, you need to disclose to your audience that the links you’re providing are affiliate links. Thus, making it even easier for a person to avoid clicking the actual link.

After successfully launching their Australian affiliate program with Rakuten Marketing, Cotton ON utilized their affiliate program as a key channel for their strategy to expand to new international markets. Through the Cotton ON Australia program, publisher partnerships in the key markets of Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore are accessed, with a bespoke US affiliate program being managed by local US account managers.


Sometimes, if you don’t use a link shortener, people can hover over the link and see that it’s an affiliate link. As a result, they may assume that it costs more to buy through the link. Most people do not understand that you only receive a commission on a sale. Thus, people may choose to manually go to the website you’re recommending directly without clicking your affiliate link. Since they didn’t click on the link, the merchant gets to make 100% of the profit. Thus, making your marketing efforts less successful. Many people are skeptical or dislike affiliate marketers. They feel like they’re being scammed, even when the truth is they’re not. It can be hard to convince people to trust you and click your link. In some countries, you need to disclose to your audience that the links you’re providing are affiliate links. Thus, making it even easier for a person to avoid clicking the actual link.
“Cost of goods changes from time to time, product prices drop, etc. One mistake I made was not re-calculating all commissions to determine they were set correctly. After doing some digging, I realized that commissions on a few of our products were way higher than what they should have been. One way to fix this is to re-adjust commissions each year,” she explained.
Before we dive deep, let's clear off one fact: both are perfectly viable business models. They both comprise checkered pasts of spammy misuse and high-quality effort. The difference is in their setup and infrastructure. Also, how you approach to manage your created business. It depends a lot on how much elbow grease you put in, and which model seems preferable to you.
If you are overwhelmed by the sheer number of advertisers that list their products on affiliate networks, you can simplify the process by looking at what products and services your competitors and other similar websites are promoting. If several other websites are all promoting a specific advertiser and they have been for several months, there’s a good chance they are making good money by promoting that advertiser. To identify which advertising network a particular advertiser is using, simply do a web search for the name of the advertiser followed by the word “affiliate program” and the sign-up link will appear more often than not.

Those engaging with your company online via mobile devices need to have the same positive experience as they would on desktop. This means implementing a mobile-friendly or responsive website design to make browsing user-friendly for those on mobile devices. It might also mean reducing the length of your lead generation forms to create a hassle-free experience for people downloading your content on-the-go. As for your social media images, it's important to always have a mobile user in mind when creating them as image dimensions are smaller on mobile devices, meaning text can be cut-off.
As a marketer, you have to always engage and interact with your audience. Relationships are important in affiliate marketing, especially if you work as an individual. People trust those they like, and if you faithfully answer questions about the merchant or product, they will most likely move further into the sales funnel, increasing your conversions.

Two methods of setting up reasonably passive income online are dropshipping and affiliate marketing. At first glance, they seem somewhat similar, with a few pros and cons for each that can make a decision easy. But wait! There are actually some subtle differences that might sway you in one direction or another. Which one is better, and which should you pick?
Thank you for your comments. My wife and I are interested in going the affiliate marketing route as well. What we need now are the specifics on how to set up and structure the affiliate marketing business relationships with vendors / sellers / manufacturers. What agreement(s) govern these relationships? What are the steps to going from where we are now, at square one and no current relationships with sellers, to having binding contractual relationships and receiving checks in the mail? Can anyone give us the play by play on this process?

Sometimes, we need to know what doesn’t work in order to figure out what works. When you are starting out as a PPC affiliate marketer, you will need to experiment with different combinations of keywords and campaigns to find the best options that are cost-effective. To be perfectly honest, some affiliates spend hundreds of dollars on PPC ads before they are able to turn a profit.


With the boom in subscription boxes, unboxing videos have become quite popular. If your audience spends a lot of time on YouTube, then partner with an influencer who can showcase your product. The benefit of influencer marketing is how personal it is. Think about how powerful your campaign will be when followers feel as though they’re experiencing the unboxing along with the influencer. They’ll likely be receptive to clicking the link the influencer shares in order to learn more about you and your products.
The main downside to dropshipping is that as the store owner, you’re responsible for customer support. Fortunately, you can easily outsource the customer support to someone who specializes in it on Upwork.com for an affordable price. All you need to do is provide guidelines and general responses for the customer support representative to follow. By outsourcing this component, you free your time up to focus on marketing and optimization. This allows you to grow your business faster.
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