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									                                                            Volume 4 Number 12
                                                                  November 2008

     The journal of affiliate marketing and management best practices

Be a Better Affiliate
Black Hat-White
Hat Dilemma
Tips         An Affiliate
Rules        Code of
for          Honor
                                                                                                               Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

                                                                                                                       Download the black and white version at
Table of Contents                                                                                            

                                                        Being a Good Affiliate:
                                                       An Affiliate Code of Honor
COVER STORY                                                                 By Mark Thompson
                                                                                                                                                 PAGE 3
                                                       Affiliate marketing is still in its infancy. As
                                                      such, the boundaries of acceptable behavior
                                                                 are still being probed...

6 Ten Time                                                 10 White Hat,                                                    14 Ten Rules
Management                                                 Black Hat,                                                       for Successful
Tips for                                                   the Dilemma Solved                                               Affiliate Marketing
Freedom to work when                                       Should I (re)build my                                            No matter what niche
you want requires serious                                  website using white hat                                          they work in, all affiliates
time management skills.                                    SEO techniques, or flirt with                                    should follow these 10
Here’s how to get more                                     the dark side and go black                                       rules of successful
out of every hour, every                                   hat? Each technique has its                                      affiliate marketing...
day...                                                     own consequences...

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About Affiliate Classroom Magazine
© Copyright 2008, Affiliate Classroom, Inc.™ and the individual authors. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any portion of this publication is forbidden.
Contact the Managing Editor to request permission to reprint articles. All contents of this issue, including design, photos, graphics, and text are copyrighted. ll brand names
and trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

Staff, Helen Montgomery, Managing Editor
Affiliate Classroom, Inc.™ 387 Technology Drive, College Park, MD 20742

Affiliate Classroom Magazine is published monthly by Affiliate Classroom, Inc.™ Back issues are available at

                                                                                                                Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
3     FEATURE STORY                                      Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

    Being a Good Affiliate:
    An Affiliate Code of Honor
    By Mark Thompson

                       Affiliate marketing is still in its infancy. As such, the boundaries of
                       acceptable behavior are still being probed. Some Internet marketers
                       and affiliates seem to think of the Internet as the Wild West, where
                       anything goes. Behavior and outlandish claims that wouldn’t be allowed
                       in traditional businesses and advertising campaigns are seen by some
                       online marketers as acceptable.
    The big benefit
                       The list of well-known marketers who have fallen afoul of the law is not
                       a particularly short one. Just last month, eBay launched legal
    of white hat       proceedings against three marketers whom they accused of defrauding
                       them by the use of a black hat method called “cookie stuffing.” If found
    marketing is       guilty, the three marketers face prison and/or hefty fines.

                       It's easy to say don't be one of these people; it may be more difficult to
    that you don’t     conduct business according to a code of honor. As you read this article
                       about best practices for conducting business as an affiliate, keep the
                       following in mind: Doing business in accordance with such a code is not
    have the           only ethically correct, but it makes good business sense.

    constant fear      Which Hat Do You Wear?
    of getting         Affiliate marketers are categorized in three groups, determined by how
                       they conduct their businesses: white hat marketers, gray hat marketers,
                       and black hat marketers. These groups are named after the old
    caught and         filmmaker’s habit of placing the good guys in white hats and the bad
                       guys in black hats.

    losing all your    As in the movies, the good guys are the white hat marketers. White hat
                       affiliates stick to the rules and run their business within the regulations
    commission —       and local and national laws. I know many white hat marketers who
                       make thousands of dollars a day, so being honest doesn’t mean that
                       you are at a disadvantage. The big benefit of this type of marketing is
    or worse.          that you don’t have the constant fear of getting caught and losing all
                       your commission — or worse.

                       On the other hand, black hat marketers use any number of tools and
                       tricks to increase their income. As mentioned before, this includes
                       fraudulent tactics such as cookie stuffing. Cookie stuffing relates to
                       forcing a vast number of affiliate cookies onto a person’s PC, so if that
                       person visits a site and buys something, the black hat affiliate will get
                       the commission whether they linked via their page or not. Black hat
                       marketers seem to ignore the fact that what they are doing is generally
                       illegal and can land them behind bars if they are caught.

                                                          Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
4     COVER STORY                                                     Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

Between black hat and white hat marketers are the gray hat marketers.
While these people don’t deliberately set out to defraud anyone, they
are not adverse to exaggerating claims about products or trying other
dubious tactics to ensure a sale.

The Code behind the White Hat                                                      It’s difficult to
I am sure someone has said to you in the past that if something is
worth doing, it is worth doing right. This definitely applies to affiliate
                                                                                   build up a good
marketing. If you are going to make an income as an affiliate marketer,
you might as well do it honestly. After all, you wouldn’t walk into to your        reputation in
local bank and steal thousands of dollars, would you? So why try to
steal money from customers and companies?
It’s difficult to build up a good reputation in affiliate marketing; but when
you do, it’s easy to lose it. One false claim or misplaced endorsement
can ruin a good reputation overnight. At all times, you should try to be
                                                                                   marketing; but
ethical in your marketing. Here are some tips to help you be an
honorable affiliate marketer.                                                      when you do,
Don’t make false claims about products.                                            it’s easy to lose
Remember that there are other marketers selling the same product and
customers who have bought the product in the past. If you are selling              it. One false
slimming tablets and state that the pills will help you lose 10 pounds a
week when the manufacturer only claims 2 pounds a week, you will get
found out. To avoid this, stick to the facts as provided by the
                                                                                   claim or
manufacturer. If the claims then prove to be misleading or false, you
can direct people to the manufacturer.                                             misplaced
Don’t pretend you have tried a product if you haven’t.
This is a very gray area, and one I get asked about on an almost daily
basis. The question I get asked is usually along the lines of “How can             can ruin a good
you write a review of a product if you haven’t bought it?”

I usually answer along these lines: If you go to a Ferrari garage, does            reputation
all the sales staff in the garage own Ferraris? Or, if you go to a clothing
shop, does the sales assistant own every article in the shop? No, they
don’t, but they can advise you about the pros and cons of any particular
car or garment; and that is what you should do as an affiliate.

When you write a review of a product that you don’t own, stick to the
facts. Tell the reader about the author or manufacturer, and tell them
what they receive when they purchase. Mention the different sizes or
colors. Glean as many facts from the sales page or other reviews and
include them in your review. Never pretend you own a product if you

Don’t make negative or false comments about a competitor.
If you do a comparison about two products, be honest in your
assessments; however, there is no need to refer to another product in

                                                                       Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
5      COVER STORY                                                      Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

an overtly negative way. This actually brings us nicely to one of my pet
peeves -- negative AdWords campaigns.

Ever since Affiliate Project X, PPC users have been creating negative
campaign titles in an attempt to attract customers. Ads such as “Widget
                                                                                     Don't make
Affiliate Formula Scam?” and “Widget Formula Con?” seem to abound.
                                                                                     false claims
Now, this would be great if just a few of the landing pages went on to
say that Widget Affiliate Formula is complete garbage. But most of them
don’t -- they just go on to try to sell the product anyway. Now it seems             about products.
that things are getting worse.

I have seen a large number of ads recently saying things such as
                                                                                     Don't pretend
"Widget Affiliate Formula. This is a scam. Find Out Why." These ads
then go on to promote another product.                                               you have tried a
Of course, I am not a lawyer, but I believe it won't be long before
someone takes legal action over ads like this. There is a big difference             product if you
between asking if something is a scam and saying categorically that it is
a scam.                                                                              haven't.
I think the problem lies with people just seeing the original types of ads
and trying to copy them without actually knowing how it should be done.              Don't make
If you are running these kinds of ads, reconsider your wording. The
Internet is no longer the Wild West, and lawyers trawl the Internet all day          negative or
long looking for possible cases. The digital ambulance chasers would
like nothing more than to sue you for a nice no-win, no-fee deal.                    false
If you can’t say anything good about a product, don’t say anything at all!
Finally, you should always treat your customers the way you would like
to be treated.
                                                                                     about a
If a customer emails you, reply promptly and be courteous. If they have
a complaint and it’s not something you can deal with yourself, then
direct them to the right person. If the merchant has promised delivery in
48 hours, and you know that they are unlikely to stick to that timetable,
then place a note on your site.                                                      Do treat your
It might seem like a lot of hard work to be a good affiliate, but in reality it
is very easy. Just be as honest as possible, and try to treat everyone as            customers the
you would like you or your products to be treated, and you won’t go
wrong.                                                                               way you would
About the Author                                                                     like to be
Mark Thompson spent many years working in an IT consultancy in
London. Following a re-evaluation of his goals and lifestyle in 2004, he
sold everything he couldn't fit into the family car and moved to rural
Spain, where he now pursues a variety of online ventures. Visit his
website to learn more about the
benefits of his low-cost online business coaching.

                                                                        Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
6     TIME                                               Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

    Ten Time Management Tips
    for Affiliate Marketers
    By Rachel Honoway

                            One of the great things about becoming an affiliate marketer is the
                            freedom that it allows you to do what you want, when you want.

                            However, all of that freedom can turn otherwise efficient people into
                            TV-watching couch potatoes in a matter of a few months. When
    Successful affiliate    nobody is holding you to deadlines, reigning in your expansion
                            ideas, and expecting you to be somewhere at specific times, you
                            may find your efficiency slipping.
    marketers will tell
                            Successful affiliate marketers will tell you that one of the MOST
    you that one of the     important skills they’ve learned, and one of the biggest factors in
                            their success, has been mastering the art of time management.
    MOST important          Here are 10 time management tips to help you efficiently use your
                            time, stay focused, and be successful:

    skills they’ve          Tip #1: Keep a To-do List in Front of You
    learned, and one of     Whether you go with good old-fashioned paper, the slightly higher-
                            tech dry-erase board, or the truly high-tech project and time
    the biggest factors     management software and apps (like Microsoft Outlook or
                   keep track of the things that you
    in their success,       need to do in a to-do list.
                            Here are a few rules of thumb when it comes to your to-do list:
    has been mastering      •   Keep the list in front of you so that you see it, can edit it,
                                and live by it
    the art of time
                            •   If it takes longer to write down the to-do task than it does
    management.                 to actually DO the task, just do it!

                            •   If something has been lingering on your list for more than
                                twice as long as other items, make a decision on its true
                                importance. Are you really going to do it? Is it worth
                                having someone else do for you? If not, erase it from the

                            Tip #2: Set Goals and Tight Deadlines
                            You are the boss now, but along with the perks come the
                            responsibility. Nobody (meaning you) is going to get anything done
                            unless the boss (yes, you again) is setting goals and deadlines.

                                                          Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
7     TIME                                                             Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

Think of your projects as something that you’re outlining for an
employee. What should they accomplish? How much time should it
take them? When should they show results?

Use this as your guideline to get things done. In fact, challenge
yourself to beat the goals and exceed expectations. You probably
did that for your last boss – give yourself the same respect.
                                                                                 As you think of new
Tip #3: Create and Stick to Your “Business Hours”
When you work from home, you’ll find that people around you will
                                                                                 ideas, or come
think that you’re not “really” working. Your spouse will want your help
around the house, the kids will want to play, and your friends will              across something
want to hang out. Before you know it, you’ll find that you’re giving in
to them, and in fact, you aren’t really working.                                 interesting while
But affiliate marketing takes time and effort. You have to invest your
time into making your business a success.
So, decide on hours that you are “at work.” You don’t have to stick to           another topic, add
9-5, or Monday through Friday. But you should have a schedule and
a place to go where everyone understands that you are “at work.” If              the thought to an
you stick to your schedule, your friends and family will, too.
                                                                                 “idea bank.” This
Tip #4: Give Yourself “Recess”
I guarantee that you will NOT be able to fight the urge to
                                                                                 will ensure that you
occasionally clean up a room, run to the store, water the plants, walk
the dog, play with the kids, change a load of laundry, or catch a TV             stick to your goals
show. When you are home, these things are all around you and can
trap your attention.                                                             and don’t get
If they do, let them. You deserve a recess. But give yourself an end
                                                                                 sidetracked by
Some experts say to set a timer for around 20 minutes. Do what you
need to do, get it out of your system, and then get back to work.                every new idea that
You’ll feel better knowing that the laundry is done, the dog is walked,          pops into your
and the kids got your one-on-one time. Plus, you’ll remember that
you had a 20-minute break and need to get to work to be sure you
meet your goals.                                                                 mind.

Tip #5: Maintain an “Idea Bank”
Affiliate marketing calls for a lot of creative thinking. Though this can
lead to a lot of great, profitable ideas, it can also lead to a lot of time
wasted on half-researching every little idea that pops into your head.

Keep the ideas flowing. But, as you think of new ideas, or come
across something interesting while researching another topic, add
the thought to an “idea bank.” This can be a notebook, a text file on
your desktop (this is what I use), or another dry-erase board.

                                                                        Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
8      TIME                                                     Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

                         This will ensure that you stick to your goals and don’t get sidetracked by
                         every new idea that pops into your mind. Plus, I’m certain that when you go
                         back to the idea bank later, you’ll think some of the ideas you had were
                         pretty crazy, and you’ll be happy you didn’t waste hours researching them.

                         For those ideas that are good, you’ll be able to spend adequate time
    Reinforcing          researching and planning them after you finish your initial set of goals.

    good behavior        Tip #6: Recognize Distractions
    is a time-           There is a reason why businesses block sites like Facebook, limit the time
                         you spend on personal phone calls, and try to keep office chit-chat to a
    tested               minimum. All of these things slow down productivity.

    psychological        These same distractions will slow down your productivity at home too. So,
                         do these things on your “recess” breaks.

    tactic. Believe      Don’t kid yourself about what is and what isn’t a distraction. If your two-
                         minute check of what’s new with your Facebook friends usually turns into a
    it or not, it will   half-hour-long trek, then it is a serious distraction for you. Recognize it and
                         plan for it. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do it – you just have to count it as
                         a recess or schedule it for non-business hours.
    work even if
    you are both         Tip #7: Reward Yourself
                         When you reach your goals, or beat your expectations, reward yourself. In
    the rewarder         fact, consider placing your potential reward in the goal.

    and the              For example, “When I make my first sale, I’m going to my favorite restaurant
                         for dinner,” or “When I reach $1,000 in commissions, I’m taking my spouse
    rewarded.            away for the weekend.”

                         Reinforcing good behavior is a time-tested psychological tactic. Believe it or
                         not, it will work even if you are both the rewarder and the rewarded.

                         Tip #8: Get Dressed
                         Yet another way to psychologically trick yourself into more successful
                         behaviors is to simply get dressed every day. This means you need to get
                         up and get through your morning routine — your shower, coffee, workout,
                         and breakfast — BEFORE your scheduled business hours begin.
                         Some experts will tell you that getting dressed and putting on shoes turns
                         on something in your brain that tells you it’s time to do something.

                         Even if you don’t believe that, you can believe that when you have your
                         morning routine done early, you won’t be tempted to waste time catching up
                         on these things during the day. Plus, you’ll find that your spouse, family,
                         and friends will appreciate not seeing you lounging around in PJs and old
                         sweatshirts every day. (Take it from someone whose husband threatened to
                         burn a certain pair of worn-thin flannel pajama pants and tattered sorority

                                                                Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
9    TIME                                                            Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

Tip #9: Leave the House
A lot of affiliate marketers get into the business specifically to stay
home with children or other family members who need care and

However, if you have the chance to leave the house at least a few days
a week, do it. This helps clear the at-home distractions like laundry and           If you have the
the dog. Plus, it’s another great way to trick yourself into getting things
done. When you leave, you’ll want to get everything done that you can
before you go back.
                                                                                    chance to
Try going to your local coffee shop, fast food restaurant, library, or              leave the
college campus. Many of these places offer free or low-cost wireless
Internet and a comfortable place to plug in and get things done.
                                                                                    house at least
Tip #10: Share Your Accomplishments and Failures with Someone

This is one of the principles behind community-based weight-loss
                                                                                    a few days a
programs, like Weight Watchers. It’s easier to let deadlines slip by and
goals disappear when you’re only responsible to yourself.                           week, do it.
So, share your goals with someone else. Your spouse is a good one,
and the members of the online communities like the forum at Affiliate               This helps
Classroom are another great group.

Tell them what your goals are. Let them know when you’ve reached
                                                                                    clear the
your goal and don’t be surprised when they notice that you’ve missed a
deadline or fallen short of an important benchmark.                                 at-home
Overall, remember that your success is tied directly to the time and
effort that you put into this. So, manage those two resources as                    distractions
efficiently as you can — your bottom line depends on it!
                                                                                    like laundry
                                                                                    and the dog.
About the Author
Rachel Honoway has a long history of experience in the affiliate
marketing and interactive marketing space dating back to 1997 when
she began working as an intern for KowaBunga Technologies, maker
of the MyAffiliateProgram (myAP) affiliate tracking and management
platform. Immediately after graduating from Eastern Michigan
University with a marketing-focused BBA, she launched her full time
career as KowaBunga's Director of Marketing. Throughout the 8 years
that followed, she held the positions of VP of sales and marketing and
general VP. A year after the company's acquisition in 2005 by Think
Partnership Inc., she was promoted to the corporate level and served
as the company's VP of marketing and later as its VP of marketing and
client services. Talk to Rachel about your Affiliate Management needs.
Email her at

                                                                      Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
10     FEATURE STORY                                        Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

     White Hat, Black Hat:
     The Affiliate Dilemma, Solved
     By David Long

                        Affiliates, new or experienced, are faced daily with an old dilemma.
                        Should I (re)build my website using white hat SEO techniques, or flirt
                        with the dark side and try on a “black hat?” There may be no one-size-
                        fits-all answer, but at the very least it helps to decide first what those
                        words mean. Then you can get down to business and follow your
 Black hat SEO is
 any technique          What Are Black Hat and White Hat SEO?
                        Naturally, the terms "black hat" and "white hat" will mean different
 used to game the       things to different people, in detail. But overall, there's a general
                        consensus that does capture a pretty good picture of the two.
 search engines,
                        In brief, black hat SEO is any technique used to game the search
                        engines, to trick them into ranking your site higher. But "trick" is a little
 to trick them into     ambiguous. After all, one affiliate's trick is another one's clever
                        technique. To squish that wiggle room, the search engines like Google
 ranking your site      and Yahoo provide lots of guidelines to keep website builders on the
                        straight and narrow. White hat SEO is any technique that doesn't
 higher. But            violate those guidelines.

                        As those guidelines change, what is considered white hat or black hat
 "trick" is a little    can change accordingly. But as you'll see below, several guidelines
                        have remained fixed over the past few years.
 ambiguous. After
                        Search Engine Guidelines
 all, one affiliate's
                        The engine companies frown on things like keyword stuffing, hidden
 trick is another       text, use of doorway pages, and (though it's more of a gray area)
                        dynamic page generation.
 one's clever           Keyword stuffing involves writing content that contains dozens or
                        hundreds of words solely intended to increase rank. That is, they have
 technique.             no valid purpose in the context of the words on the page. An obvious
                        instance are sites that put, say, the words "free supplements" five
                        dozen times at the far bottom of a web page, well below the fold, where
                        users won't see it but search engine spiders do.

                        The idea is based on the belief that the engine's algorithm will improve
                        your score (usually on relevance) if it sees the word appear on the page
                        many times. The spiders, so the publisher hopes, won't be smart
                        enough to know the words have to business appearing that way.

                                                            Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
11   WHITE/BLACK HAT                                      Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

                     Hidden text is similar, but the words are deliberately made invisible,
                     such as using a white font on a white background. The words don't have
                     to be repeated many times, as in keyword stuffing, but the technique is
                     still intended to fool the web crawler. Some prefer it to keyword stuffing,
                     since (they think) it achieves the same end but doesn't hinder the user's

                     Doorway pages are pages designed solely for the spider to see, never
 Black hat           the end user. Again the purpose is to increase the odds the engine will
                     rank your site higher. It's considered black hat because the search
 techniques can      engine's goal is to judge whether a person would be interested in the
                     information on the page. Clearly, a page that a user never sees doesn't
 be practical, but
                     Dynamic page generation is a borderline white hat/black hat technique.
 almost always       In one type of implementation, perfectly "clean" sites use it. When you
                     present product information based on search engine keywords on the
 just in the short   same page that might have contained a different product for different
                     keywords, that's a dynamic display. Reputable sites do it all the time.
                     Indeed, that actually helps the user's experience because it provides
 run. You might be   something they are more likely to value than a purely static page could
 clever enough to
                     Still, Google (while the company is a little vague on the subject,
 use a particular    sometimes) frowns if you go too far. Changing a single price or product
                     displayed because the keyword phrase contained the word "cheap" (say,
                     in the search: "cheap+Rolex+watch") will probably slide by. Using PHP
 shady technique     to present 75% different content on the page because of what it finds in
                     the search string is pushing it.
 and make some
                     It's a gray area because the search engine companies are in a tough
                     dilemma themselves. On the one hand, their whole reason to exist is to
 money. But you      deliver relevant links to searchers. Displaying a $40 Rolex knockoff to a
                     user who types in "cheap" is much more relevant — to that user — than
 run a very high     displaying the $5,000 genuine article.

 risk of being       Luckily, those words in bold contain the solution to the affiliate's dilemma
                     about white hat vs. black hat. I'll tell you how after a short interlude about
                     some practical pros and cons of the two approaches.
 banned, or at
 least detected.     White Hat vs. Black Hat — Pros and Cons
                     Setting any ethical considerations aside (let your conscience be your
                     guide on that score), there are several very practical factors that will help
                     you decide what to do.

                     Black hat techniques can be practical, but almost always just in the short
                     run. You might be clever enough to use a particular shady technique and
                     make some money. But you run a very high risk of being banned, or at
                     least detected by the program that processes what the spiders find.
                     (Google ain't dumb, I'm sure we can all agree.) Think about what that
                     means for a minute.

                                                         Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
12     WHITE/BLACK HAT                                             Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

You paid for a domain name and spent a long time and tons of effort (or
at least a lot of money getting someone else to) build a website. You
did it to make money as an affiliate, a noble goal. But abusing the
search engine guidelines in a blatant way can put you out of business in
a heartbeat. At the very least, your approach might be counter-
productive. You can wind up with a lower rank than you might have
otherwise.                                                                        Like TV, the
Sooner or later, you're very likely to get busted. The search engines,
after all, are being refined all the time to look for just such techniques.       Internet is
You can believe that the people who build them know all the ways to
game the system. And, the search engines are supplemented by an                   something of a
army of people who look for such things manually. Is it worth the worry,
and possibly the wasted time and money? Both white hat and black hat
techniques take a lot of effort to implement. Why throw all your hard
work away?
                                                                                  medium. That is,
You might get away with it, for a while. But there are lots of people
whose jobs are to see that you don't. Why have them work against you?             you don't know
On the other hand, there is an equally large group of other people
working for you: SEO experts, affiliate marketing managers, and more
who can help you make money the white hat way.
                                                                                  in advance
Your odds of making more money and having a sustainable income                    specifically what
stream are much better if you take a longer view. That doesn't mean
you should never build websites with a limited expected lifetime. But             type of person
even ones that cash in on fads can bring in more money longer if
they're built according to white hat principles.
                                                                                  might be
White Hat Marketing Principles                                                    seeking you out.
So, what are the white hat techniques that will give you a clear
conscience and make you more money at the same time? Sounds like                  You have a
an impossible task, since many people assume you have to cut corners
to make a buck. Not at all. The "trick" is to remember those words in             general idea
bold above: "to that user." Let me explain.

Like TV, to a degree, the Internet is something of a "blind" medium.
                                                                                  based on the
That is, you don't know in advance specifically what type of person
might be seeking you out. You have a general idea based on the                    content of your
content of your site. If you sell cameras, for example, you know that
someone in the market for cameras is looking for you.                             site.
One mistake novices often make is to try to be all things to all people.
They cram their site with as many different products or as much content
as they can and hope that something attracts the visitor's eye. That
invariably leads to a diffuse message and often information overload as

But Marketing 101 still applies. The better you can target your
audience, the better your chances of making a sale for a specific item.
After all, most people are not looking for "a camera." They're looking,
say, for a "Canon EOS XSi" though they might consider an XS instead.

                                                                    Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
13   WHITE/BLACK HAT                                  Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

                    Fortunately, there are lots of perfectly legitimate techniques you can use
                    to narrow down what type of visitor is arriving at your site. Search
                    engines and the Internet in general, unlike TV, provide you with extra
                    information about who is shopping and how, and even from where. The
                    more information the searcher provides, the better your odds of being
                    able to target them.

                    Suppose the user enters "camera gift for men." That doesn't look at first
                    glance like a lot to go on. But that fact is that, even in an area like
                    electronics, men and women tend to have different tastes. Most women
                    have smaller hands, so they prefer a smaller camera. And the keyword
                    phrase contains "gift," so that, whether a man or woman is searching,
                    you have a good idea that they're looking for something for a man.
                    In this case, presenting a digital SLR (like the Canon EOS XSi, for
                    example) is probably a better bet than a Canon PowerShot A590. They
 there are lots     both have similar specs, but the latter is a much smaller camera with a
                    fixed lens. Men like cameras that fit their hands better and prefer
 of perfectly       gadgets with interchangeable parts.

                    Notice that the example doesn't even rely on having any price
 legitimate         information. If the user adds the keyword "low cost" or selects a lower
                    price range in the Google results, you're in like Flynn, natch.

 techniques         By the way, I have no websites that sell cameras, so feel free to
                    substitute any product or service you sell. The idea can be extended to
 you can use to     just about anything.

 narrow down
                    So, don't despair. The white hat/black hat SEO dilemma does have a
 what type of       solution, one that lets you maximize the revenue of your affiliate website
                    and still sleep peacefully at night. How often in life do you get to say
 visitor is
 arriving at your

                    About the Author
                    David Long is a freelance writer and editor with over 20 years of
                    experience. His PLR articles and eBooks have appeared on hundreds
                    of websites. They cover topics that include Wine & Beer, Travel,
                    Gardening, Health & Fitness, Pets, Stocks & Bonds, and dozens more
                    subjects. He can be contacted for hire at

                                                       Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
14     FEATURE STORY                                        Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

     Ten Rules of Successful
     Affiliate Marketing
     By Kathy Jackson

                         Affiliate marketing is a unique business. Affiliate marketers are unique
                         entrepreneurs. Why are affiliate marketing and affiliate marketers so
                         unique? That's easy; only success produces success.

                         Affiliate marketers are successful only if they can convince a website
 Unless the              visitor to actually take action when visiting their affiliate marketing
                         website or clicking on an affiliate marketing link to a merchant's
 affiliate marketer      website. Unless the affiliate marketer is successful at convincing a
                         visitor to take an action, he/she is not going to be a successful affiliate
 is successful at
                         Because of this fact, affiliate marketers, no matter what niche they
 convincing a            work in, must follow these same 10 rules of successful affiliate
 visitor to take an
                         Rule #1: Know Your Customers
 action, he/she is
                         Remember that the main objective of affiliate marketing is to solve
 not going to be a       problems for potential customers. You need to know your customers
                         well enough to understand the problems that they need to have solved,
                         so that you can promote products that will help them solve those
 successful              specific problems.

 affiliate               Think about why your website visitors are coming to your site in the
                         first place. They're likely not just surfing, but are looking for a solution
                         to a problem; that's why almost all website visits happen.
                         People visit websites for a specific purpose, and most of the time that
                         purpose is to get information. They aren't likely coming to your website
                         to BUY a product, but rather to find answers to their questions.

                         If you know your customers, you'll know what questions they want
                         answered. And if you know what those questions are, you can offer
                         products that will help to provide the solutions the website visitor is

                         Rule #2: Be Honest
                         Today's web surfers aren't naïve. As a matter of fact, they look with a
                         jaded eye very often. They expect dishonesty, so you must provide
                         them with absolute honesty.

                                                             Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
15       SUCCESS                                                      Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

•  Don't promote products that you don't believe in yourself.
•  Don't load your website down with advertisements.
Do provide honest and accurate content.

Remember that website visitors rarely make a purchase on
their first website visit. You have to first convince them to
come back again, and you do that by being honest and
inspiring their trust.
                                                                          Choosing one product
Rule #3: Provide Help                                                     to promote over
Remember that your visitors are looking for information and
answers to problems. They didn't visit your website so that you           another simply
could make a sale. They came because they're looking for
help, and it is up to you to provide that help.                           because one pays a
Provide your website visitors with information that will help
them find an answer to their problem. Even if they don't buy a            higher commission
product from you this time, they will remember that you helped
them solve a problem, and they'll be back. They will become               isn't a good reason.
valuable (and repeat) customers.
                                                                          The idea is to
Rule #4: Say Who You Are
                                                                          choose the product
Don't hide who you are behind a wall of words about products
and services that you hope to make a profit on.
                                                                          that will best
Write the "about me" page and be absolutely honest about
who you are. Describe your affiliations; you ARE an affiliate             serve your
marketer, and there's no shame in saying so. Complete
honesty and full disclosure will inspire trust, and in the world of       CUSTOMER'S
affiliate marketing, that's vital. People purchase products and
services from those they trust, and they trust those who they
feel are honest and open about who they are and what they                 needs rather
                                                                          than you own
Rule #5: Choose Products Carefully
                                                                          need for profit.
Choosing one product to promote over another simply
because one pays a higher commission isn't a good reason.
The idea is to choose the product that will best serve your
CUSTOMER'S needs rather than you own need for profit.

It's true that the quality of the product is of the most
importance, and it is also true that the quality of the merchant
is of the most importance. You can't have one without the

A quality product and a quality merchant are an essential
combination but very often you will find several choices of
similar products that are all being promoted by quality
merchants. However there is one product that is superior to
the others. The problem is, the obviously superior product
offers a lower commission percentage than the others.

                                                                      Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
16   SUCCESS                                             Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

                              The objective is to make money, but it is often very wise to take a
                              smaller profit and promote a superior product. The sales of that
 Rule #1:                     superior product, and those smaller profits, will add up over time.

 Know your customers          Rule #6: Don't Be Afraid to Try New Things
 Rule #2:                     There are hundreds and hundreds of affiliate networks out there
                              and there are even more merchants who run their own affiliate
 Be honest                    programs and don't use affiliate networks at all.

 Rule #3:                     Just because one product is a consistently good seller doesn't
                              mean that you are all set up and need look no further.
 Provide Help
                              Consider the entire marketplace when you are choosing products
 Rule #4:                     and services to promote to your customers. Don't get "stuck in
                              the mud" with only one affiliate network, or with only one
 Say who you are              merchant, or with only one product.

 Rule #5:                     You should have an ongoing search for new and better products
                              that will help your website visitors solve their problems.
 Choose products carefully
                              Rule #7: Provide Relevant Content
 Rule #6:
                              The idea isn't to fill up all that empty space on your web pages.
 Don't be afraid to try new   The idea is to fill up all of that lovely blank space with information
                              that will help your website visitors to solve their problem. It's not
 things                       enough just to provide any old information, either. The content
                              must be relevant, and it must be current. Most importantly, it
 Rule #7:                     must be HELPFUL.

 Provide relevant content     Don't skimp on content. Don't just throw an article together that
                              consists of enough words to fill up empty space. Take the time,
 Rule #8:                     put forth the effort, and if necessary, spend the money on useful,
                              relevant, and helpful content.
 Provide consistent
                              Rule #8: Provide Consistent Calmness
                              All affiliate marketers want to make those sales and get those
 Rule #9:                     commissions, but that desire can't be what drives your affiliate
                              marketing website.
 Keep it relevant
                              Avoid those big, bold, all-caps headlines that "shout" at people.
 Rule #10:                    Your headline needs to be powerful, but it also needs to convey
                              consistent calmness. It needs to provide the offer for a solution to
 Make customer service        a problem.

 your highest priority        Don't overdo the exclamation points, either. One exclamation
                              point is used to make a point. Many exclamation points are used
                              to convey excitement (some say desperation).

                              Don't forget that you need a privacy statement, and you need to
                              give your website visitors assurance that whatever information

                                                          Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008
17               SUCCESS                                                                          Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

they might provide to you will not be sold, rented, or shared with anyone else – ever! (There's my one
exclamation point for this article.)

Rule #9: Keep It Relevant
Every word on your website needs relate to the problem that you are trying to solve for your website
visitors. Don't go off on tangents about unrelated topics that have no bearing on the subject.

Not only do your articles and reviews need to be relevant, but any advertising on your site also needs to
be completely relevant. If you are attempting to provide a solution for a dog owner's problem concerning
housing for his dog, don't have any copy or advertisement on your website about any subject other than
dogs and dog care.

Rule #10: Make Customer Service Your Highest Priority
The old saying "The customer is always right" still applies, and it's an excellent motto to adopt for your
affiliate marketing business. One unhappy customer who feels as though he wasn't treated fairly can do
more damage than just about anything that you can dream up. Everybody knows somebody, and bad
news travels like wildfire. Treat your customers as though each one of them had full access to the
national media. If you don't make them happy, the entire world will know by sundown.

Don't ever delay providing your customers with fair and adequate customer service; any hesitation on
your part can be disastrous. If your customer has a problem and you don't "fix" it, you have a bigger

The Bottom Line
The bottom line is your bottom line. If you are an affiliate marketer, your objective is to advertise and
promote products and services that people will buy and thus earn a commission on the sale for you.

But the truth is that if you want to succeed, or become more successful, in affiliate marketing, following
these 10 rules of successful affiliate marketing is your best bet – indeed, your only bet.

About the Author
Kathy Jackson is a Texas rancher and a contributing author for several farm and ranch publications.
She is also an experienced freelance writer of email newsletters, review copy, educational materials,
and blog posts on a wide variety of topics, including many aspects of online business and affiliate
marketing. Internet marketing is one of Kathy’s burning interests. You can read some of Kathy's articles
on the Affiliate Classroom Blog at She can be contacted via email at .

     Thanks for reading! Next month we'll review the past year in the affiliate marketing
     industry. AC Magazine is always free - no squeeze page, no email address required!
       Download your copy at the Affiliate Classroom website:


                                                                                                  Affiliate Classroom Magazine, November 2008

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