Jul 20 2010
My Affiliate Marketing History
I’ve been around affiliate marketing for quite a while but I have to admit I’ve recently lost my motivation. It still pays the bills etc but I don’t think I enjoy the work as much as I used to. It’s obvious from my blogging (2nd post of 2010!) that I’m not as engaged with things but I thought I would take a look back over the years to remind myself of the high points and find that original motivation
15th March 2001
Earned my first ever commission via DatingDirect on Tradedoubler.
It all started here when I was amazed to earn money this way. Previously I had been running a small web development business but I was always just selling time so if I went on holiday or couldn’t find work etc then I didn’t earn.
Back then I remember getting my advice from alt.www.affiliate, an old Tradedoubler Yahoo Group which I think was started by Andrew Girdwood and of course the very early versions of Affiliates4u when it was on ezboard and still well worth a look for a trip down memory lane. Like when we all got excited about the launch of Google Adsense
Over the next couple of years my business started to shift away from having clients and doing web development and more into full time affiliate marketing and I seem to have been there since.
I organised “The Limo Club” where a bunch of affiliates got together and hired a limo to go round London and try to meet all the major networks in one day.
As well as being a great day out it was a series of useful meetings and also a chance to put some pressure on the spyware issues of the day.
The following day was an affiliate get2gether at the Kensington Roof Gardens. This event was a big step up from the previous pub based events but no one could have imagined the a4uexpo in the future.
Over this time I had expanded with a few different sites but my most successful was FullSteamAhead which is now a shadow of it’s former glory. It was a general shopping directory, list everything, datafeed & more site. I can’t track it down now but the Alexa graph showed a steady ascent with loads of traffic followed by a cliff drop on the graph when Google kicked me out. I think it just ended up being too successful and the overuse of datafeeds meant I ranked for every random product that was going. Lesson learned and time to move on.
Around this time I seemed to be doing well for Euroffice, Dabs, Figleaves & ASOS but the fields I worked in changed so much over the years. For example I’ve had a good few years of doing well from gift experiences with buyagift and also a good spell of ranking number 1 for ‘ghd hair straighteners’ which was nice. These things come and go for example I don’t think there will be an old timer in the industry that doesn’t remember jumping on the Britannia DVD Club program when it launched on buy.at
When I look back I know I should have worked harder in one field to dominate and built a brand but instead I’ve always jumped about a bit getting tempted by the next new project to work on and moving into a different field.
For a spell I did well from adsense alongside the affiliate stuff as many people did but over time my sites and interests changed again. On my best Adsense day I sent 1,457 clicks earning a couple of hundred pounds at which point I probably put my feet up for a few months and paid the price again Yesterday I earned £2.10
Around 2004, 2005 spyware was really at it’s peak and the affiliates of a4u did a great job of working together to get some regulation in place by the networks. I remember taking an old laptop, getting it infected and recording just what was going on. Slowly the networks adopted some rules against this and to date I don’t think it’s as much of a problem here as it is in the US.
2006 The Podcast Years
In June of 2006 I started recording podcasts with various people in the industry. To date I think I’ve recorded 34 podcasts but haven’t added to them in the last couple of years. It was a fun way to learn and share more about the industry but the time involved just became a bit too much and had to give way to real work that had a financial return. I enjoyed speaking to everyone involved but a few of the more popular ones in terms of comments were Doug Scott for some straight talking, Kieron Donoghue about how he got started & a group discussion on discount codes. Here’s one from 2007 that’s topical now.
I got married in 2004 and then in 2007 my daughter was born and my business week changed completely. Very much like John Lamerton’s recent post I’ve been kind of part time since then. I don’t really work outside of Monday-Friday 10-5 and spend a heap more time with my daughter including regular half days here and there. In the early days I would regularly have been working at 2 or 3am but it just doesn’t fit with life now! Leaving the world of affiliate marketing and entering the world of mother & toddler groups has been a good change and my wife and daughter always come first for me.
2008 saw me get along to my first a4uexpo and it was amazing to see the change in the industry. It’s great to see the growth and the recognition that the industry gets and to have things on a professional footing but I confess I do miss the atmosphere in years gone by. No one would ever dream of sharing this kind of information in a post like this these days. What’s changed? I’m not sure I guess it’s inevitable as things grow that it can’t have that small team feeling where we all know we’re doing something new.
Now I’m working on a number of hopefully good quality content sites and slowly trying to build brands around them. I’ve learned that I can’t have all my eggs in one basket and I can’t keep starting new things. I don’t have as many working hours so I need to be careful with how I spend them and accept I can’t do everything. I’ve accepted that I don’t need to earn millions but I’d rather enjoy life. Like Kirsty I want to be a Pretty Good Affiliate and don’t wish I was ‘Super’. Slow and steady is the way forward even if it is a little dull these days!
Sorry for the self indulgent trip down memory lane but if you’ve read this far you must have some memories to add in the comments about the last ten years or so