Stop Cheating Yourself Out Of Money

by Josh Todd on January 19, 2009

Lately I have been seeing way too many affiliates getting shut down for fraud.  They are always finding new ways to exploit the system to make a quick buck, then praying that they don’t get caught by the affiliate network, the advertiser, the search engines, etc.

This is so stupid!  I know full well that to be the best affiliate marketer you can be, you constantly need to be testing the limits.  Pushing into the grey areas is often where we find the most profitable new techniques to market our wares.  The problem is, a lot of affiliates forget where the line is, and once crossed they never return.  There may be a rush of feeling like you’ve cheated the system and made money so easily that it should be illegal, and in most cases, it is!

What bothers me the most about this is that I have seen so many extremely talented programmers & marketers get paid absolutely nothing for their efforts, not to mention the risk of litigation and/or jail time.  I can’t help but think that if these individuals put their skills to work on the numerous legal and above-the-board marketing methods, they could be rolling in the dough right now.

If any of this is sounding familiar to you, do yourself a favor and cut out the crap.  It doesn’t take a genious to cloak Craigslist traffic and trick people into signing up for offers.  It also doesn’t take a genius to iframe an email submit box onto a page, obscuring everything but the submit button.  Even if you fool everyone on the front end, there is still the advertiser’s back end, which is where most of these schemes are hung out to dry.  It is very easy for an advertiser to tell who is sending junk traffic and who is not, and the second they alert your affiliate network, say goodbye to those commissions.

A side note to the scammers are the people that put so much time and energy into marketing online offers offline.  This is the most counter-intuitive thing I have ever heard of.  The internet presents the most flexible, trackable, and profitable means of marketing ever devised.  Why is it that so many new affiliates think it would be such a great idea to go back to the dark ages of using paper flyers or telesales to get people to their landing pages?  The printing press was invented in 1439.  Get over it.  Besides, you are killing trees with your stupid spam flyers.  There is no physical way possible to generate the amount of traffic to affiliate offers through these archaic methods as there is through search engines, email marketing, media buying, PPV, and all the other online methods.  You think you can hand out enough flyers on a college campus to drive 1,000 ringtones leads in one day?  Even if it were possible, what about the next day?  What about at 3 AM when you should be sleeping?  Are your flyers out there handing themselves out?  I didn’t think so.

Like I said, it’s not that hard to figure out how to do this the right way, and the other opportunities that present themselves simply by being good at what you do are limitless.  There is no telling what is on the horizon in this industry, and companies are always looking for marketers on the cutting edge.  Just make sure it’s the right edge.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

andrew wee January 19, 2009 at 11:40 am

I don't think you can categorically say offline is a bad promotion method for ALL lead gen/pay-per-sale offers.

Depends on the metrics.

If it's a $0.50 – $2 zip/email submit, I'd say it's a waste of time.

If it's a $20 upwards payout, I think you can make it work, provided you're the only or maybe one of a handful drinking from the offline pond.

If it's say forex, I might even consider hiring people to push it door-to-door.

The ROI should determine your effort.

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Josh Todd January 19, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Good points all. It does seem like the people that keep trying it that tick me off are doing it with a mobile offer or a submit offer that pays $1-10. I guess it could be workable with a high enough payout, but then again, why not just do direct sales at that point? Is it really still performance marketing?

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andrew wee January 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm

It is performance marketing/affiliate marketing as long as you're getting paid on lead/conversions.

It is advertising when you're paid per stack (literally CPM).

I would think if you got free or cheap labor to do the flyer drops or direct mail, it would be viable.

The late copywriter Gary Halbert's "Coat of Arms" campaign where he sold you your family's "Coat of Arms" for $10 a pop, generated $45m in it's first year.

If anyone's interested, his copywriting samples are at:
http://thegaryhalbertletter.com/

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Val January 19, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Good stuff, thanks for the content, looking forward to hear some great and maybe new methods on how to work the market since you now told us what not to do 🙂

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LinQed Potatoes January 23, 2009 at 4:33 am

"affiliates getting shut down for fraud"

it's because they are not following and/or reading the TOS that the network is giving.

"extremely talented programmers & marketers get paid absolutely nothing for their efforts"

offline programming and marketing is totally different to online marketing. marketing online for both parties needs a lot of talking and credibility in able for you to sell products and services.

"A side note to the scammers are the people that put so much time and energy into marketing online offers offline"

marketing on both side is the best way to market yourself and the product that you are marketing online. marketing offline still is the best way for you to be trusted by your clients but the biggest factor in winning them is to tell your offline clients to go to the website of the network by including their website's address telling them both advantages and disadvantages of the product and services in your website will make your client feel that they are important to your business.

how much is the flyer printing compare to what you are going to earn? that's what you need to think before you go offline marketing

i love to market forex to my offline clients who have businesses in and out of the country. sometimes what i do is to tell them that marketing online will give their business the wide range view than marketing locally

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Josh Smith January 23, 2009 at 10:23 am

I think you are mistaken about offline marketing not being effective. However, I agree with you that marketing ringtones, zip, email submits are a waste of time.

Marketing offline is only as effective as you make it. It really takes just as much research and testing, if not more than online. When you find the right offer and channel you can kill it for month's with zero competition.

For instance I found this awesome poker (card room) related newspaper that was bi-weekly and was distributed in over 40 states. After a lot of research the demo proved promising and I called them for their ad rates, they ended up being reasonable so I ran two ads, one the first half of the month and one the second half. Needless to say it killed. No one was adverting online poker rooms in this paper. I was getting a several sign ups a day at $100 plus. In a few days I paid for my ads for the entire month. My ROI was way better than anything I could of done online.

I've had similar success with Biz Opps and diet related offers. I'm not knocking online either, I do most of my volume with online traffic. I just think you shouldn't knock offline until you try it.

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Josh Todd January 26, 2009 at 6:25 am

This is the first actual example of someone I've ever heard that made offline work. The key here is that you researched your demographic and you picked the right offer. I guess that my main frustration is the lack of thought and planning that most people put into their offline campaigns. They think flyers + any offer = profits. But I really can't just say that only applies to offline marketing, because those same people probably do the same thing online as well.

In any case, do the homework and find the right traffic for your offer, and you can kill. Thanks again for the example!

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LinQed Potatoes January 26, 2009 at 6:51 am

Well, for me my traffic is a 75% offline and 25% online on my e-commerce website. Why? Because there are still a lot of people doesn't know about online marketing. So, you market offline for them to reach your website and then when they see the good stuff in your site that's the time that they market your product and services to their friends through word-of-mouth advertising.

Actually, viral marketing is still the best way to market your products and services. So, you increase your traffic at the same time you market your products and services.

Flyer marketing offline still is cheaper than marketing all the way online. Because keywording online is the same with keywording offline. You put an effective keywords in your flyer to market your audience.

Does it make sense?

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