Affiliate marketers suck. I think I’m allowed to say that as I’ve been earning a full-time income with affiliate marketing since 2011. But what do I mean? Why would I say people in my own profession suck?
To be honest, I’m just at a point now where I’m fed up with the unethical nature of this business. I’m not trying to put all affiliate marketers in the same boat. I certainly don’t consider myself to be unethical, and maybe I’m being a bit pretentious here, but I think I am the exception to the rule.
I’m not even sure what prompted me to write this post. Maybe I’m hoping I can reach new affiliate marketers and get to them before they become unethical. Maybe I’m hoping more experienced affiliate marketers will read this and take an inventory of their own ethical standards. Maybe I’m just bitching and using this as a platform to vent…
Whatever the case, let me get into a bit more detail about why I think affiliate marketers suck.
Affiliate Marketers Don’t Care What They Promote
Affiliate marketers suck because they are greedy. Most affiliate marketers don’t give a crap what they are promoting to people. As long as they can make money from it, they’ll sell it.
Take, for instance, one of the most popular affiliate marketing networks at ClickBank.com. I just logged into my ClickBank account and looked up the top 3 performing affiliate programs in their network. Here they are:
Ok, so, the Numerologist one might be legit, I guess, but the top 2? C’mon man! Would you recommend those “products” to your own friends or family members? If so, then hey, more power to you. But most people wouldn’t, and yet, they have zero issues pushing it on total strangers on the internet.
My point is, it doesn’t really matter to most affiliate marketers what the product or service is. If they really believe in product A but product B provides a higher income stream, they’ll just focus on product B without a care in the world.
Only promote products and services you would promote to your own friends and family. If you do that, the ethical boundaries become much more clear.
Affiliate Marketers Create Fake Reviews
The number of fake reviews on the web is staggering. I keep waiting for the day Google absolutely destroys all the fake reviews out there, and I do think that day is coming, but for now searching for “reviews” about anything will bring up affiliate site after affiliate site of fake reviews.
Here’s an unethical example that I’m talking about…
The service Wealthy Affiliate, who I actually used to promote, offers a training program to teach people how to make money online. One of the things they entice people to do is, of course, promote Wealthy Affiliate! But how, exactly, do they teach people to do this? By creating reviews of their competitors, saying why those other services suck, and then of course offer Wealthy Affiliate as the perfect solution.
This isn’t a tactic only being used by Wealthy Affiliate. This is a very common practice with affiliate marketing and unfortunately, new affiliate marketers are being taught by these training programs that it’s ok. It’s not. Fake reviews are helping to destroy the very industry we are trying to make a living from.
Affiliate Marketers Don’t Care About Providing Value
Many affiliate marketers could care less about actually providing value. Those are usually the ones that never truly succeed, because all they do is create websites that are digital sales brochures.
I say it all the time – in order to succeed with affiliate marketing online, you must follow the C–>T–>P–>M Process.
C = Content
T = Traffic
P = Presell
M = Monetize
By creating great Content that provides real value to your website visitors, you’ll start to gain more Traffic over time. Since you’re providing real value, that content will Presell your visitors to be in an open-to-buy mindset, at which point, you can finally Monetize.
Too many new affiliate marketers focus on the M first, which of course leads to low traffic spammy sites that nobody likes or wants to buy from.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to sell. We’re all out here just trying to make a living, myself included, and in affiliate marketing, nobody gets paid unless a sale is made.
What I’m really saying is, why are you even reading this post in the first place? Do you find it interesting? Entertaining? Is it providing value to you in some way? If not, you wouldn’t be reading this.
….Now, imagine this entire post was only written for the sole purpose of trying to sell you on the service Wealthy Affiliate, the only way I monetize this site. Would you have found it as interesting? Probably not.
The vast majority of your blog posts, email newsletters, tweets, Facebook updates, or whatever else should provide real VALUE to people. It doesn’t only create a better internet for everyone, but in the end, it will lead to your further success.
Affiliate Marketers Create Spam
I HATE spam. I just hate it. I literally receive dozens of spam messages and have to filter out spammy comments all the time. Most of those spammy comments contain, of course, affiliate links. It just makes me cringe.
Does spam work? Unfortunately, it can, but the vast majority of the time it doesn’t and only creates for a more cluttered internet. Spam to me is like graffiti. Can I just ignore it? Sure, but after a while, it starts to get super annoying.
The crazy thing is with how much spam there is on the internet, you’d think people were making money from it. Not the case, really. Most of the spammers you see out there paid for some crappy training program that told them to spam, and so they do, and they never make money with it. Some of these training programs even teach others how to use automated software (usually a pricey upsell) to automate the entire spamming process so you can spam hundreds of sites per day without actually typing anything. Ugh. Stop spamming!
Affiliate Marketers Are Lazy
When I tell new affiliate marketers that it will take about a year or more before they start making money online, I can almost literally watch their eyes roll back into their head.
“But, but, but…. I’m getting into this to make EASY money!!”
Sorry guys, but if you don’t treat affiliate marketing as a LONG TERM strategy and treat it as an actual business (even if it’s just a part-time business), you will never succeed.
Think about it, how many websites do you find yourself on that was just built last month? Probably hardly ever at all. New websites don’t have much content, have no reputation, have no email subscribers, have no social media followers, get no search engine traffic, etc. Those things take time, and in general, that amount of time is about a year or so (give or take).
This is the biggest reason why most affiliate marketers fail. They don’t have the patience to wait or the desire to create enough value where they start to gain a real following.
Be A Good Guy
When I say affiliate marketers suck, I’m obviously overgeneralizing a huge number of people. If I were to read this post on someone else’s blog I might actually take offense to it. Sort of like, “screw you! Affiliate Marketing is my livelihood!”
There are plenty of awesome affiliate marketers out there who are ethical and earn a great living by promoting legitimate products and services their readers actually benefit from. In fact, most of the successful affiliate marketers out there who have been able to earn a full time living for years with affiliate marketing are the good ones.
Ironically enough, the unethical ones doing most of what I stated above may see temporary success, if any at all. That’s exactly the way it should be, but collectively they are still a noisy group giving the rest of us affiliate marketers a terrible name.
So, if you’re new to all of this affiliate marketing stuff, please keep your moral compass with you at all times and don’t stray from it. We need more good guys out here. It’s really up to you.