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The Proper Way To Do Affiliate Marketing

written by John Chow on February 5, 2007

The Ultimate Online Profit Model

Many bloggers shy away from affiliate marketing because it puts all the risk on them and zero risk on the advertisers. Affiliate marketing is done on a Cost Per Action (CPA) basis, meaning the customers have to take some kind of action. This action could be as simple as signing up for a newsletter to actually buying a product. No action, no money. If the affiliate marketing doesn’t work, the advertiser is out nothing but the blogger loses a lot because the ad space he set aside for the affiliate program could have gone to money making CPC or CPM advertising.

It is really too bad that bloggers don’t look at affiliate marketing because when done correctly, affiliate marketing can be one of your biggest moneymaker. Many people point to Shoemoney’s $140,000 AdSense check but what many don’t know is he makes more from affiliate marketing than Google. How do you properly do affiliate marketing?

Affiliate Marketing Is All About The Presell

Most people think they can stick a Dell or Office Depot affiliate banner on their blog and watch the sales comes in. When they get no sales, they view it as proof that affiliate marketing doesn’t work and quit. Affiliate marketing is nothing like normal Internet advertising – it is all about the presell.

The TechZone sells over $200,000 of products each month through various affiliate deals. We have never used any banners to promote affiliate deals because frankly, banners don’t work. Instead we use a Hot Deals page to presell the readers. The Hot Deals page is just a page of affiliate deals. However, we present the page in such a way so readers don’t view it as advertising. We are showing them where and how to get the best deals on the Internet. The reader is thinking, “Cool! I can get 30% off a Dell laptop by using this coupon!” They’re not thinking, “That root of all evil John Chow will make a cut off everything sold on this page!”

That is what preselling is all about. You affect the potential customer’s mind to make them more receptive to the offer. You cannot do this with a banner. Preselling is also about trust. The readers know you and trust you, so when you endorse a product, or show them how it will make them better, sexier, smarter, save money, etc., they will be a lot more receptive to it. If I were to merely placed an AGLOCO banner on this blog, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to the 4,000+ referrals I have now.

Examples Of Some Affiliate Marketing Presell Pages

The best way to promote an affiliate deal is in the blog post itself. The post is guaranteed to be read (even by RSS readers) and by adding your personal opinion on it, you open up the reader’s mind to what the affiliate deal has to offer. Yes, this can create potential conflict of interest but if you make it clear that the links are affiliate links, then you should have no problems.

The following are some of the presell posts I’ve created. They work because the readers don’t see it as advertising. The pages also help add content to the blog and don’t take up any space that can go to CPC or CPM advertising.

In my Making Money From A Blog – January 2007 post, I showed that affiliate marketing was my third biggest money maker after direct ad sales and Text Link Ads. The affiliate income doesn’t include AGLOCO yet, but once the Viewbar is out, I can see affiliate marketing being my number 1 moneymaker.

Target Affiliate Deals That Match Your Niche

The key to affiliate marketing is the presell, but you still need the affiliate deals to match what your blog covers. For this blog, it’s the SEO Book (aff), Text Link Ads (aff) and AGLOCO (aff).

To find affiliate deals that match your niche, check out Other Advertising Networks Besides Google AdSense. The page lists over 20 primarily CPA and CPL ad networks. The TechZone deals with mostly Commission Junction, Linkshare and CJ and Linkshare will give you access to thousands of vendors – you should be able to find something that matches your site.

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Ali February 5, 2007 at 3:27 pm

As owner of an affiliate webmaster myself, apart from my blog, which sells clothing products I have to say that my affiliate commissions do outnumber the amount I make with Google. Nothing compared to you or Shoemoney guy though.

But it does work if done right, it took me a few months but I’ve finally figured it out. Just trying to optimize now.

Screen Rant - Movie and TV Commentary February 5, 2007 at 3:34 pm

First! Heh.

GREAT post. I’ve been in the affiliate game for a long time but haven’t managed to reproduce the success I’ve had with my first product to any others.


bryan glanz February 5, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Seems like regurgitated post…but it is definitely a good way to tie in the new readers….I would think maybe a good blog would be bringing up employees of TechZone….Doing a thing kinda like what pepperjam was doing with their employees…

Heywood February 5, 2007 at 4:22 pm

As usual, great post John,
This one is especially good.

I have a question…
why are some comments left by your readers full of horizontal lines through their message?

John Chow February 5, 2007 at 4:56 pm

That only happens with Firefox. I don’t know why it does that.

Ryan February 5, 2007 at 4:42 pm

Thanks for answering that question for me about affiliate marketing! Glad to see I’m sort of on the right track, and you’re right: banners are terrible! February 5, 2007 at 4:44 pm

John, have you ever tried the Amazon affiliate marketing program? If so, what kind of results did you get?


HMTKSteve February 5, 2007 at 5:01 pm

All my game reviews end with an affiliate link that the reader can use to purchase the game. It just makes sense!

IF you are reviewing a product you should include links for the reader to then purchase that product. To not do so is a waste!

Ryan February 5, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Have you had much success with these?

HMTKSteve February 5, 2007 at 7:00 pm

My blog clears $100 in revenue every month.

Ryan February 5, 2007 at 7:14 pm

Is that all from Amazon? The only real success I’ve had in that arena is with book reviews, but I haven’t tried all that hard to push other product, either.

James Ahn February 5, 2007 at 5:29 pm

HAHAA “the readers don’t see it as advertising”. Come on John, how f*cken stupid do you think we are? Not everyone is a newbie to internet marketing.

Nate W. February 6, 2007 at 1:43 am

Of course the Internet marketing pros will see it as advertising, but I would bet that most people who read this blog are just beginning to get into earning money on the Net. This is certaintly where I got my start, but now that I have been doing this a while, I am reading some more advanced SEO blogs.

Marc February 6, 2007 at 6:01 am

That’s a matter of where your audience is coming from. As mentioned marketing pros know exactly what is and isn’t advertising but what about the median user?

I suspect that most of John’s traffic is harvested from the SEs and therefore cuts the cross sections of web users. His regular readership is likely a low percentage of his traffic.

Andrew February 5, 2007 at 5:32 pm

Excellent post. I hope I can effectively implement this into my new blog once it gets going as the niche I am in pays big :)

Matthew Berman February 5, 2007 at 6:29 pm

very nice post john,

but which affiliate deals are best for people without the amount of traffic you get?

gaman February 5, 2007 at 7:30 pm

Nice post. However I would say that it’s easier to make money from affiliate programs from non blog sites.

Marc February 6, 2007 at 6:03 am

While that’s certainly true not just for affiliate but CPC and CPM, that’s no reason to give up on monetizing a blog. Just because you’ll earn less doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and earn nothing ;)

Alex February 5, 2007 at 8:22 pm

Banners does not work for years now, that is true.

John, is your ‘hot deal’ website section a collection of datafeeds from CJ and other affiliate network merchants?

John Chow February 5, 2007 at 9:09 pm

A deals editor does those post for me. No feeds.

Nick Witkoski February 5, 2007 at 9:16 pm

nice post mr chow.

derrich February 5, 2007 at 9:17 pm

Good post, John. This will definitely help me in my next project.

Jeff February 5, 2007 at 9:24 pm

It’s all about proactiveness.. write posts about it, be more aggressive to sell.. peopl dont just look and buy… you need to go to them to sell

try harder and you’ll get more.

Max February 5, 2007 at 9:48 pm


I notice the new “subscribe to, StumbleUpon, and Netscape”. All good choices, but what Plug In did you use for it to go back through ALL your prior posts and code the submissions on those too? Thanks.

John Chow February 5, 2007 at 10:24 pm

Not really a Plugin. Those are Feedburner Feedflares. However, I use a Plugin to install Feedburner.

Allen.H February 6, 2007 at 1:32 am

Yep, that is FeedFlare, just remember that once you’ve got it there, you can’t remove it from the posts you already sticked it to.

This happened to me once when I tried to remove it and it just won’t go away, I had to contact support for them to remove it, luckily Feedburner’s support is great and they removed them flares right away.


Andrew February 5, 2007 at 11:31 pm

You don’t really need a plugin or even the feedburner feedflare. You can code it easily and insert it into the post loop in wordpress. It’s very generic, usually something like site=url. For example: is url without brackets]. To have wordpress automatically insert the url without brackets just use the code . So it would look like: ">your texttt

To find out others like stumble or netscape, copy the link url and replace the url at the end with the php code :D

Andrew February 5, 2007 at 11:36 pm

grrr, tag didnt work....

....For example: is http: // ?v=4&partner=fb&url=[insert url without brackets]. To have wordpress automatically insert the url without brackets just use the code . So it would look like: " >yourrr texxt ......

Hey, maybe John can make a post on this topic....just a suggestion :)

Andrew February 5, 2007 at 11:37 pm

OMG forget it, I give up, code in comments aren’t working, please delete these comments, grrrr

Leftblank February 5, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Interesting article, but you forgot another drawback; a lot of these affiliate deals require you to make at least like 50$ or sometimes even 100$ before they pay out; which does give you quite a big risk, sometimes you’ll need up to 25 people to follow your link to get it. (AdMunchers referral thing for instance)

Allen.H February 6, 2007 at 1:34 am

Well with the right volume to the landing pages you will eventually reach the required cap.


Marc February 6, 2007 at 5:58 am

Ok post… I was hoping for a bit more gold to mine, but still helpful :) Thanks for the suggestions John.

Nomar February 6, 2007 at 7:47 am

Great explanation, I had a amazon affiliate on my blog to.. but it didnt work.. let me try some of these techniques

David Au February 6, 2007 at 4:44 pm

Excellent post! Great insight in simple words. I will read it in great details again. Thank you for sharing this insight with us your readers.

adsense tips February 6, 2007 at 5:24 pm

thanks for the sample posts john.Many bloggers were preferring adsense to affiliate marketing. This includes me. but now a days the general public awareness about ads mainly [adsense ] is large.they avoid sites with adsense.
SO i think affiliate marketing is best for blogger as it has nothing to do with adsense

Marc February 6, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Adsense has certainly been grossly under-performing on my blog. I know it’s not in an optimal position, but even still, it’s really bad.

I’m going to give the affiliates a try as well. February 6, 2007 at 8:33 pm

Yeah, AdSense has also been performing really bad on mine. Even the ads that have been showing are not related at all to my topics.

Maybe they are just showing up strange for me because my region (Thailand) is not the best paying.

Andrew Kuo February 6, 2007 at 9:43 pm

Ad Placement is always key as well as color blending, try different positions or even templates. My philosophy is simpler the better. For example, John’s blog, simple and thus performs.

Affiliate Tips February 8, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Adsense has been more profitable for me than all my affiiate campaigns. I am starting to put more focus on my programs as of lately so that I can start to earn some serious dough for my efforts

Djflatrock74 February 10, 2007 at 1:52 am

WOW John Chow I’m new to blogging .I’ve been searching all day for imformation to get things up and running. The wealth of techniques on your pages have really got me on the fast track now.I’m up 800 percent I’m a rising star now.

eclipse February 19, 2007 at 9:11 am

I have been checking your hot deals page on the techzone but it hasn’t been working. I use firefox what ever the newest version is. Not sure if that matters though.