The Curve Ball

by Josh Todd on November 20, 2009

In the affiliate marketing game, you get thrown some major curve balls.  Usually these only happen once or twice a year, sometimes more in a really bad year.  It’s when the status quo gets shaken up.  Things that you took for granted are either gone or severely changed, and suddenly your income is taking a major hit.  Usually the curve ball happens when a traffic source dries up or gets wise to the ways that you have been exploiting it.

Google loves to throw curve balls in the form of “quality score updates” that destroy your campaigns and take up a bunch of your time.  The latest one was thrown by Facebook after the Techcrunch Scamville Post (sorry Arrington, no link love here) and the follow ups that have been the talk of the industry this entire month.  It’s one thing to hear about it on a blog, and it’s another thing entirely to have it affect your business in a very real way.  As a network owner, the Facebook shakeup certainly put a large dent in our bottom line.

But that’s where my favorite part of the affiliate marketing business comes in: adapting to change. The people in this industry have an uncanny ability to adapt and update their business models to deal with the ever-changing online landscape, and this is no different.  Sure things will be slow for a while, but unlike your Average Joe in a 9 to 5 job, we have power to do something about it.  When Average Joe gets sent a curve ball, like getting laid off for example, it is devastating.  Suddenly his income is gone and he is completely at the mercy of somebody else to get it back.  He has to find another company to hire him and demonstrate to them that he is worth the risk.  All affiliates have to do is reach inside themselves, grab the motivation it takes to get things going again, and get back to work.

That’s why I love this business.  Sometimes it takes a curve ball to realize that there is a whole new opportunity right around the corner, or an income stream that you may have overlooked when your steady campaign was rolling.  At the end of the day, you are in control.  It’s your business and you are the boss.  Even if you are working 80 hours a week for yourself, that’s better than working 40 for someone else.  Next time you are thrown a curve ball, remember the alternative.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt November 20, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Encouraging – about 2 weeks after I started a new lead gen business, Google pulled the rug out & banned all my accounts for (what I feel was) a bogus reason. I'm still working on the next successful opportunity. Tough to essentially start from scratch after spending the last 5 years learning how to kill it on G, but learned some valuable lessons about putting all the eggs in one basket.

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Josh Todd November 21, 2009 at 3:53 am

Yeah I have put all my eggs in one basket more than once and had that happen… It's too easy to do because if something is banking you just want to run with it! It's no fun to think about what would happen if it dried up, but being prepared is never a bad thing. That's the constant struggle in this biz.

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Daneka at Adsmarket December 2, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Hi Josh

I just found your blog,and I love your posts!

I am the Social Media Manager at Adsmarket.com (our blog is http://blog.adsmarket.com ). As an affiliate network specializing in CPA, we definitely feel you on this issue, and can back up your statement "The people in this industry have an uncanny ability to adapt and update their business models to deal with the ever-changing online landscape…"

Our best clients are the ones who have Darwinian talents, rapidly adapting to the ever-changing climate and nature of the affiilate industry. We work alongside them and our advertisers to develop smart campaigns that work with a publisher's media type, and have strong faith that most committed affiliates take these so-called curve balls with nothing more than a shrug and a rub of the hands at the challenge to do the next great thing.

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