28 Jun 11 2:38 pm
Is Affiliate Marketing Dying? - Truthfully?
I have been researching some of the potential issues with affiliate marketing, and I am wondering if affiliate marketing is truly dying. It seems as though it's hard to deny. However, I am not an expert in the field. I will be playing the Devil's advocate in this post; so please keep that in mind when you respond.
For your consideration: The Affiliate Marketing Dilemma:
Anti-virus software and browsers:
-More and more, anti-spyware/adware/virus programs, as well as browsers, are beginning to add functionalities that delete or block cookies and tracking cookies in almost any form. Cookies are, of course, necessary to track affiliate commissions. Some people claim that cookies will still be needed, but If Google Chrome has taught me anything, it is that browser based functions like autofill could easily replace, in part, the need for cookies.
"Taxation without representation":
-States are continuing to hop on the taxation bandwagon, forcing affiliate sales to consider state-related tax laws. This means that companies will be forced to pay taxes (based on the state) for all sales that come from affiliates. Due to the complexity of trying to calculate different sales taxes -> based on each affiliate -> based on the state they ship to, companies such as Amazon have opted to simply delete their affiliate program for any state in question that is passing the law. Example: Every Amazon affiliate in Illinois lost their job at the drop of a pin. Furthermore, due to the intricacies of affiliate marketing, the government doesn't seem to understand that it is digging its own grave.
As noted, Companies like Amazon (and Overstock) have simply removed their affiliate programs from these states instead of attempting to compensate for the change. Likewise, smaller companies who represent digital products, for example, won't have the manpower or money to even ATTEMPT to adjust to such changes. Sadly, it is not like we have anyone lobbying for us. The subtle differences between marketing and online marketing are what make affiliate marketing so unique and lucrative. However, at the same time, it's these same nuances that are potentially killing the industry. No government body cares, nor understands, that 'they' are completely destroying the industry by making such ill-considered changes. They simply want a piece of a pie; they want to eliminate the deficits they created. (It's time like these that I question my political orientation. The elephants seem to know whats up. It's time to dump some tea into the harbor)
PPC and me:
-After the recent changes to Google's Adwords, you can no longer place an ad that leads to an affiliate landing page (bridging page). This means that it is technically against the TOS for you to use Googles PPC to market. The solution is to use Adwords to link to pages that have completely original and useful content which is not intended to make sale (unless it is your own product). Because of this, you will be adding another step into the conversion process. You will need a page of such high-quality, that your potential buyers decide to wander on over to your other pages, and then click your affiliate links.
Some of you will claim that those who don't create original high-quality content are just lazy, however it completely undermines the concept of affiliate marketing. If I had intended to make a "real" website (you know what i mean), I would have chosen one of my hobbies, began writing about it, adding news, articles, features, etc. After spending YEARS worth of time, effort and money, I would then naturally begin to start monetizing my website; traffic would already be one of my assets. Based on that model, it would be completely unreasonable for me to approach my website from the 'affiliate marketing standpoint', I would instead take the "create an original website" approach. I was under the impression that I would be MARKETING and PROMOTING products. If I actually planned on spending the amount of time required to create completely original high-quality websites, it would likely be more advantageous for me to spend that time building a "real website" instead of a "marketing website". All of a sudden, my affiliate world is crumbling.
The affiliate paradox (as I, somewhat inaccurately, like to call it):
-It is becoming infinitely more obvious that all "super affiliates" are making their money teaching people how to make money as an affiliate. That's right, although the super affiliates may be teaching you a method they used to initially start marketing, the only reason they are making an extremely healthy income is because they are TEACHING YOU that information, and not actually focusing on marketing themselves. It is akin to a restaurant owner who cant seem to make a legitimate income from his restaurant; he decides instead to create a program that teaches people how to open a successful restaurant. After acquiring enough money to ACTUALLY open a successful restaurant, his "How to Open a Successful Restaurant" course is considered legitimate, even though he wasn't qualified until AFTER THE FACT. I have even noticed that those of you doing moderately well for yourselves are promoting your own SEO ebooks, or other affiliate-related creations. This creates a sort of "phantom industry" if you will, as I will touch on in the next paragraph.
The affiliate dilution (coined that too):
-I cannot search a for legitimate review online because of affiliate marketing. No matter what item review you search for, all of the reviews are either "positive reviews - from an affiliate" or "negative reviews - from a rival affiliate". The same goes for the information. No matter what you type in, you will likely find yourself reading an affiliates article that targets your keyword. In fact, when you take a step back, you will notice that affiliate marketing, for all intents and purposes, seems to be comprised of a giant PHANTOM network containing haphazard ebooks, information, and reviews. The industry appears to focus entirely on marketing, and has very little substance to it. It is amazing how I never noticed that nearly every site I visit has a distinct affiliate agenda, until after I learned about affiliate marketing myself. Similarly, this goes to show how incredibly inflated the industry is becoming.
Now, instead of nit-picking my conclusions, I would prefer that those of you who have become successful affiliate marketers give me your truthful, honest, and well-thought out opinion on the future of affiliate marketing. I understand that you can pretty much counter any of my arguments by simply stating "well, that's just business for you".
Although I am a newbie, I have already invested a great deal of time and effort into affiliate marketing in hopes that college wont siphon me straight into a 9-5 lifestyle. I am even taking a break from college, after only receiving my associates, so that I can make it concrete in my mind that "college is only a back up plan". In fact, I did months worth of research before finally concluding that affiliate marketing would be the only way for me to take real control over my working future. After a late-night research binge, I am feeling as though my future in affiliate marketing will be short-lived and futile. I can't deny that I am seeking reassurance, but it is critical that I put things into perspective.
Any input or information is appreciated. I really hope I don't receive ONE RESPONSE, as I do with so many of my other threads. #IShouldHaveSpentThisTimeWritingContentForMyWebsite.