Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.
In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy. By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking. In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.
In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.
Take advantage of marketing tools whenever possible. Many affiliate programs offer useful resources to their affiliates aimed at helping affiliates make more sales. These range from monthly newsletters highlighting upcoming sales, tips or affiliate case studies, Facebook Groups just for affiliates, private webinars explaining marketing strategies in depth and more. Ultimate Bundles does this exceptionally well.
At times, things can go wrong, and it is good to be aware of the issues that might occur. In this chapter, you will learn about fraudulent affiliates, whether the automatic approval of affiliates really is a time-saver, what cooking stuffing and trademark violations are, and about affiliate scams. Motivating affiliates can become an issue for merchants, which is why you will also learn about tactics that can help you motivate your affiliates.
Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates' cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.
The next thing you want to take a look at is the bottom of the page. At the bottom of almost every page for Clickbank products, whether it’s a video sales letter like this or more of a text-based sales letter like this, there’s usually a little affiliates link. Basically, that’s a link to a number of affiliate resources that help you promote the product. You want to look for that, and then click on the link if it’s there. You want to take a look at basically what they offer you; so whether it is some banners to help you out, whether it’s a dedicated affiliate manager. If they make you sign up, you usually don’t have to do that. They usually have this ‘Already a member? Click here’, and you can just click on that and get access to the resources right away. In some cases, they have contest like this, and a lot of times they actually offer you a lot of things that can help you, like swipes and banners. Just look for things like banners, or creatives as they’re often called, and just take a look at them and see if they would be a good fit for your site. If not, no big deal; you can always go to Fiverr and get a banner made pretty cheaply. In general, I’ve found the more stuff that they give you to help you promote their product, the better, especially because when you’re first stating out, you don’t really know whether or not this is going to go well. It helps if they give you a quick banner that you can just throw up on your site to test the waters and see how well it converts on your site. If you see that they give you a lot of support in terms of creatives, then that’s a good sign that they’re going to be helpful when you actually sign up as an affiliate. Even if you don’t see a lot of banners, it’s not a deal-breaker; it’s just something that helps make the process of promoting that product a bit easier.
Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks. Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.