Be Original (Like Everybody Else)

by Josh Todd on February 6, 2009

Late last week the word went out from Facebook that they were going to be loosening up on some of the types of offers that they allow to be advertised on Facebook Ads.  The offer types that were opened up included IQ Quiz and Business Opportunity offers.  The word spread like wildfire through the affiliate marketing world.  Late Friday night people were scrambling to get ads live and be the first to get the majority of the cheap clicks.

A couple of days later, I logged into my Facebook account and saw something very similar to the image on the right.  Not only were all 3 ads on the page for a Government Grant offer, but the images and ad copy were almost identical.  I figured this must be a fluke and refreshed the page.  To my surprise, another 3 Government Grant ads appeared, including 2 of the exact same ad, image and all.  This is the kind of thing that is giving affiliate marketing a bad name. You can’t even login to MySpace or view a story on MSNBC without being assaulted with the infamous “1 Simple Rule” ads for the fake Acai blogs (or flogs, as they have been recently named).

What was the end result?  Grant offers are now banned from Facebook, and the flogs are being monitored by the FTC.

Don’t get me wrong, initially these were excellent marketing tactics that worked just a little too well.  With the recent influx of new affiliates looking to cash in and the emergence of all the self-service ad platforms at social networks and authority sites, the barrier to entry to create fake blogs and throw an affiliate link or two on them has become much too small.

Flat Stomach FailMy point is this: if you are starting in affiliate marketing, you definitely should be looking around to see what is out there and see what is working, but don’t just copy and paste it into your campaigns.  Stealing landing pages is definitely frowned upon, but it’s becoming even more common to copy a landing page, changing just a couple of words in the ad text here and there to make it your own.  How did these flogs come along in the first place?  It was by people being creative.  There was nothing like it when the first Acai flog hit the market, and it absolutely crushed it.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars were made for a simple idea that someone had, and they actually followed through and tried it.

Don’t be lazy.  Don’t think that it is so simple to make money online that you can just copy & paste your way to retirement.  Affiliate marketing is work, and it can be hard work, but the rewards can be huge.  Treat it like a business, never give up, and you will succeed.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Allen March 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Thanks for tackling this issue — it's one that I've struggled with as it's pretty easy these days to figure out who's getting a lot of traffic and then go duplicate their lander & offers.

The issue with the flogs is going to reach a head, with the FTC press conference on Grants on 3/4.

But with the success of flogs in helping conversions, can you point to a style of lander that's in the same ballpark? I've had break-even results with optin list building, so-so results with reviews.

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XMCP March 3, 2009 at 5:57 am

Excellent post. I hadn't seen that pdf from the FTC before, and it was really useful. Especially from page 35.

"Ensuring that consumer-producers who engage in activities to market and

advertise products for consideration do so within the confines of laws

prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices in trade."

AKA affiliates. They're watching.

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