27 Dec 2008

Confessions of an Affiliate Marketer

17 Comments affiliate marketing, outdoor activities, promoting yourself, social media, Stand Up for the Little Guy

I have to admit– the restaurants, hotel suites, and first class flights are nice.  It’s even nicer to be able to tell folks about it, since you’re getting twice the benefit (enjoying plus telling).  Is there anything wrong with wanting to enjoy the good life?  Does that make me evil or greedy?  Hey, you only live once.

pimp1 And as for showing off, isn’t that part of the game?  Just look at the food pictures that JohnChow.com takes or the lifestyles that other affiliates openly broadcast to the world.  In fact, I think it’s a legitimate business expense. My business as an affiliate marketer and ability to broker deals is largely based on my reputation.  Thus, when folks gossip about my lifestyle, I consider it to be free PR.  And it’s better than paid advertising– it’s more believable.   And why not take friends out to nice places?   You’re building relationships, plus they’ll return the favor to you.

But now that I’ve created a “baller” reputation, I’ve had to strive hard to maintain it, even when I’m broke.  The reason I fly first class now is that I’m afraid of someone seeing me fly coach.  Yeah, the seat is bigger and the food is much better.  But really, if someone who knows me happens to see me in coach, my reputation will be ruined.  They will go and tell everyone.  Plus, I’ll have less to talk about when I’m hanging around other affiliates that I’m trying to impress.  I might even be made fun of or folks might not think that I’m a serious player in business.  They’ll think that I’m just fronting.

The nice thing about affiliate marketing is that I can avoid discussion of what I actually do.  Obviously, because of my lifestyle, I “must” be successful.  But what offers am I running, how do I get that traffic, what’s my payout, do I actually have any true expertise– those questions will remain unanswered.  Of course, I’m not going to tell you– that’s how I make money and I’m not about to broadcast my secrets to the world, you understand?  If I was doing agency-level work, such as had clients, then you could look at the clients I have and evaluate my work and that of my “team”.

But I am a one-man promotional vehicle.  My “team” consists of loose relationships with other affiliate marketers and some contract Indians I once hired on a job board.  I actually have no operating or project management expertise.  In fact, I don’t understand the basic differences between personal and corporate finance– I run them all under my personal bank account, which gets me into trouble with the IRS.  But if you ask me, I will deny any problems.  My ego and image is priority #1.  Everyone else is boasting about their earnings that don’t exist, so this is just part of the game. And was with any game, you do whatever it takes to win.  All is fair in love and war and affiliate marketing.

Maintaining my front is getting increasingly difficult. Bernard Madoff was able to keep it going for 4 years before being found out a couple weeks ago.  Reed Slatkin, one of the other larger Ponzi frauds in history, was able to keep it going for 15 years.  But what you don’t know won’t hurt you.  Like they say– if you got it, flaunt it.  Or as Mark Twain would say, “The secret to success is to be genuine– fake that, and you’ve got it made.”

People, this is the American dream.  We know that Hollywood actors are just pretending and nobody has a problem with that. And nobody thinks twice about how most marketing is just thinly veiled lies about whether that attractive young lady will actually have sex with you holding that particular brand of beer, or whether a certain diet supplement will really make you attractive or increase/decrease a particular body part’s size. Hey– want to lose weight quickly, by the way?

There’s a sucker born every minute, so if it isn’t me selling you those items, it will be someone else. Caveat emptor (or “buyer beware” for those of you who don’t know Latin).  If you’re dumb enough to fall for these marketing tricks, then you deserve to have your money taken from you.  I don’t have time to discuss the difference between ethical and legal.  I follow the Golden Rule– whoever has the gold, makes the rules. Did I mention–there’s money to be made!  I’ll steal from you, too, if you’re dumb enough to be taken.  And what do you call a dumb criminal?  One that gets caught.

Do you know me? Is this you?

Tags: , , , , ,
written by
Dennis Yu is the CTO of BlitzMetrics. He is an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook marketing, having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. He is also a regular contributor for Adweek's SocialTimes column. Dennis has held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines. He studied Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you. You can contact him at dennis@blitzmetrics.com, his blog, or on Facebook.
Related Posts
Loading Facebook Comments ...