Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005. MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.
Building trust with your audience is paramount in affiliate marketing, and the quickest way to lose trust is to recommend products either you haven’t used before or that aren’t a good fit for your audience. Also make sure you never tell anyone to directly buy a product, you are simply recommending the product. The more helpful you are and the more you make quality recommendations, the more likely your web visitors will come back for your expertise.
I am a HUGE fan of the “freemium” business model. Wealthy Affiliate follows that model by offering a free membership account. The free membership gives you limited access in the Wealthy Affiliate dashboard. Some of your access lasts forever, such as some of the training videos and community features, while other features only last for a limited time, such as the live chat feature. Here is what you get with the free Wealthy Affiliate Membership:
ClickBank allows you to join for free, and the approval process is virtually automatic, so it’s a great choice for people entering the affiliated game for the first time. ClickBank has a ton of information, including FAQs, walk-throughs, and videos available, so the barrier to entry is quite low. There’s also a (paid) program called ClickBank University with courses and assistance from experienced marketers.
Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.
Spam is the biggest threat to organic search engines, whose goal is to provide quality search results for keywords or phrases entered by their users. Google's PageRank algorithm update ("BigDaddy") in February 2006—the final stage of Google's major update ("Jagger") that began in mid-summer 2005—specifically targeted spamdexing with great success. This update thus enabled Google to remove a large amount of mostly computer-generated duplicate content from its index.
The entire reason I created this site is because as an affiliate marketer, I started getting upset with the lack of ethics and misinformation being spread from MANY affiliate marketers, especially as it pertains to the “make money online” niche. So many online marketers out there promise you quick easy money if you just sign up and pay for this or that. Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. Growing an affiliate marketing business is just like starting any other business – it takes time, effort, and a lot of trial and error. I won’t get into it here, but if you’d like you can read my honest article about how long it takes to earn a full-time living with affiliate marketing.
My intent isn’t to make this Wealthy Affiliate review yet another digital sales pitch. As I searched for Wealthy Affiliate reviews, I noticed the vast majority of them are very one-sided, don’t offer any other options, and are simply biased sales pitches from affiliate marketers trying to make a buck. So, in MY Wealthy Affiliate review, I’m going to do things a bit differently. Here are some of the topics I’d like to cover…
Wealthy Affiliate is also very strict on spam, which in the end is a GOOD thing, but I have to be careful sometimes about promoting my sites or referencing them. Sometimes I do have valuable information on my site that I think could help people during live chat sessions or Q&A’s, but I don’t share because I don’t want it to look like I’m spamming. They do allow people to promote their sites in certain areas, but in order to keep the community from filling up with self-promotion spam, there are times when it is best not to share certain information from outside sources, especially my own sites.