Just a few short years ago, affiliate marketers were on the brink of destroying the Internet. Now, I realize this article will be a bit controversial especially since this information is coming from an affiliate marketer and someone who teaches others how to become affiliate marketers. I also admit that very powerful companies such as Google would never have allowed affiliate marketers to ruin the Internet. Nonetheless, affiliate marketers gave it everything they had in their efforts to turn the Internet into one big spam cesspool.
This is the story about how affiliate marketers almost ruined the Internet.
Phase 1: The Honeymoon
In the beginning, affiliate marketing was a bit like the Wild West. There were no rules, there were no “training courses”, and the Internet was very primitive. From the beginning, some individuals exploited this and were able to gain a competitive edge due to technical backgrounds. Only a very small percentage of the population knew how to develop websites and more importantly, get their websites found by lots of targeted individuals.
Even from the beginning, they were good affiliate marketers and bad affiliate marketers. Unfortunately, the bad affiliate marketers (the ones who would spam the Internet) were the ones who succeeded the most. But since only a small percentage of people have the technical background to succeed it was not all that noticeable to everyday web surfers. For the most part, the system was working fairly well.
Phase 2: Greed Infiltrates Sellers
Once people saw that affiliate marketing could be profitable greed setting. Many sellers would come out with very low quality products or services for the sole purpose of padding their own pockets. Providing value to their customers was the least of their concern. Unfortunately, affiliate marketers took the bait. With promises of 75% or more commissions and even recurring commissions everybody was scrambling for the biggest buck without any worry of the customers they were ripping off.
Phase 3: Greed Infiltrates Affiliate Marketers
Now that affiliate marketers were able to promote products with extremely high commission percentages, the main task was promoting those products and services to as many gullible people as possible. This is when spam really started to take off. From hacking websites to redirect to another location to creating hundreds of their own low-quality websites to email spam they would stop at nothing to reach as many people as possible. In the late 90s and early 2000’s there really wasn’t much anyone could do to stop them. This is when spam and a low quality websites really began to seriously affect the quality of the Internet. Unfortunately, it was only the beginning.
Phase 4: Greed Infiltrates Affiliate Marketing Networks
With so many greedy sellers looking for greedy affiliate marketers there was a huge void to be filled. Companies like ClickBank.com and CJ.com emerged to fill the void. These “affiliate marketing networks” were set up so that affiliate marketers could have one location to connect with thousands of sellers seeking affiliates to promote their products. Affiliate marketers would basically find those who would offer the highest commissions and promote those products, regardless if they were quality products or services or not. With affiliate marketing networks now in the mix the problem just got worse.
Phase 5: Get-Rich-Quick Scammers Cash In
As if the situation wasn’t bad enough with the first four phases, the turbochargers were about to kick on. Websites such as WarriorForum.com and BlackHatWorld.com allowed “gurus” to sell “training programs” to help people earn money on the Internet. More and more people were learning how to become affiliate marketers but unfortunately they were learning from get rich quick resources. Most of these get rich quick programs simply taught people how to spam the Internet. The number of people now out there spamming the Internet was increasing exponentially every day. Even though the spammy methods that these get rich quick gurus would teach hardly ever worked, there was always a new stream of gullible people to give their “system” a try. And unfortunately, a small percentage of people really would succeed with spammy methods which only increased their motivation to spam more. Affiliate marketers are now effectively ruining the Internet through search engine results, commenting spam, email spam, crappy low quality websites, and all of this to promote very low quality products and services that nobody would ever want.
Phase 6: Search Engines Are Reverse Engineered
In the mid-2000’s affiliate marketers effectively reverse engineered the search engines. More specifically, I’m talking about Google. Through black hat SEO methods, affiliate marketers were very effective in ranking websites highly in various search terms in Google. The result was prolific. Search engine results were filled with spam, low-quality websites, and many websites that were not even written by a real human being but rather a computer. Things were getting completely out of hand and the Internet was on the verge of being destroyed, thanks largely in part to affiliate marketers.
Phase 7: Google Fights Back
As Google is a multibillion dollar per year business, they were not going to let a bunch of scam artists and affiliate marketers get away with ruining their search engine. After several years of warnings, Google pushed through some major search engine algorithm changes that all but destroyed most low quality affiliate marketing sites. These algorithm changes were called the Google Panda and Penguin updates. Unfortunately, this did not destroy all low quality sites created by affiliate marketers and it did destroy some websites that did not use any spam techniques at all. These updates were not perfect by any means but it did help to save the Internet. Since those updates, Google has been relentless against people who try to manipulate the search engine. Google now has the resources to detect high quality websites from low-quality websites and they will continue to get better as time goes on.
Phase 8: The New Age For Affiliate Marketers
Most affiliate marketers have accepted the new age of affiliate marketing. While there will always be people who try to go for the quick buck, scam people, and spam the Internet, it is beginning to get so difficult to do those things that you might as well just do it right by growing a real online business. Affiliate marketers no longer have to resort to low-quality websites or spamming anyone. The new age for affiliate marketers is creating high quality websites and promoting only products and services that we ourselves would purchase or recommend to our closest friends and family. Instead of focusing on the quick buck, grow a real business. Just like I teach in this affiliate marketer training course. as an affiliate marketer who has always used white hat methods to grow my business, I am very pleased to see the new age of affiliate marketing being ushered in. It’s time legitimate business owners succeed while the scammers find another way to fulfill their get rich quick fantasies.