Affiliate Marketers - Food for Thought & Discussion

9 replies
A thought crossed my mind that I think may be worth talking about on this forum.

The context is affiliate marketing:

Over time I've become aware that a number of affiliate marketers market products based NOT necessarily on personal experience with a product/service they found useful, but rather based solely on market research on a niche, keyword research, competition research, traffic research, and so on.

And then making a go/no go decision to enter a market - then comes product selection.

So far so good and I (and ostensibly people much smarter and more successful than I such as Ed Dale) agree that this is good business practice.

BUT BUT BUT - I wonder if there's a problem lurking - please read on and I'll make this as clear and succinct as possible:

The genesis of this thought/thread comes from me being an author of a book in a niche that has attracted affiliate requests to sell my product - not one person who approached me has every purchased my book and read it, much less used the information in it.

Now, a large number of people who HAVE read my book have contacted me to thank me for what they consider to be one of the few quality products they have purchased in this niche. In fact, they've gone on to tell me exactly who they made purchases from, what they received, and exactly why and how they considered the competitors' products/services far inferior, and in some cases, completely worthless. Even extremely expensive and extensive products/services.

So the issue or even potential problem - and the discussion I'm raising here - is this:

Given the "good business practices" of doing research and then choosing a market to enter, and then choosing an affiliate product to promote - which I agree is sound business practice - this approach seriously ignores whether the product(s)/service(s) chosen to promote in a particular niche is a quality product/service that really helps people, or is just low quality, or worse, pure garbage.

If the affiliate marketer does not / has not personally used the product in question, is not an expert in this field, how would they know if what they're promoting actually helps people or not?

Sure, the affiliate marketer could try to look at reviews, try to choose a *popular* product assuming popular translates to quality (which it does not; if it did, then McDonald's must be the highest quality food in the world; further, popularity may speak to terrific marketing and not necessarily a terrific product).

Now, understand, I'm not against making money - no no no, in fact I'm quite the opposite, I'm all for people making money - but shouldn't money generated be done in an ethical manner with integrity?-and that means by providing real solutions to problems, providing real value and not regurgitated crap (or worse)?

I think that in people's rush to make money, and with affiliate marketing being a very popular choice rather than choosing to produce quality original products, there's a very serious risk of being "blinded by money" and not paying attention to the fundamentals of the market - which should be providing quality solutions that are worth more to the purchaser than the money they paid for it.

Haven't you ever bought a crap product you wished you hadn't bought? Sure, there might be a guarantee but we all know that most people just "eat it" when they're not happy many times figuring it's not worth the hassle, never get around to it, etc.

Is it incumbent on an affiliate marketer to not promote crap? Aren't affiliate marketers "on the hook" and responsible if they promote a product, especially one they've never used in a field in which they're not even an expert?

What are your thoughts? I'm not trying to impose my values or opinions on anyone here, I'm truly interested in what you have to say and what your thoughts or opinions are...

David Portney

PS: Please note that I do not have an affiliate program for my product, so no, this is not a 'disguised search for affiliates'!
#affiliate #discussion #food #marketers #thought
  • Profile picture of the author ragstworiches

    As some one who has done affiliate marketing and has his own products I always try to get a copy of someone product before I push it onto my own list, most people who have quality products will do this, but it is often the case that some marketers won't even give you a copy to look at? I guess they have something to hide.

    I would guess that when people are affiliate marketing they are generally looking for the best return for the work they do, while someone may have a product that sells for $7 and is a quality product at a bargain price the affiliate is much more likely to plug the $197 product and take the money.

    I don't think the affiliate should feel too much responsibility for what they promote. The affiliate is simply they're to sell the product, they can only really guess which products are in the customers interests, just because they think a product is poor, perhaps the person who is buying it might love it.

    The customer in most cases is always free to make the choice for themselves and they can usually get refunds if the product is sold through a legitimate network.

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    • Profile picture of the author JustaWizard
      Hey Phil - thanks for joining the discussion and offering your opinion.

      As a product producer, I can understand not passing out free samples because surely a number of those requests are just people looking for freebies, I would presume (?). Maybe the problem of freebie seekers is offset by sincere affiliate inquiries (?)

      Subjectivity is something I was going to mention in the post, but decided to leave out, but I'm glad you brought it up because it's a very good point: the book I mentioned has received 100% positive reviews to date (that I've heard) but other products I have out there have really gotten widely different reviews - from "this product is pure garbage" to "this product is terrific and I received huge value and benefit". So subjectivity is an important factor, no doubt.

      Thanks Phil!
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      • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
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        • Profile picture of the author JustaWizard
          Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post

          Most of the ones who won't give out review copies are just plain sick and tired of people trying to get a freebie, not that they have something to hide.

          Many of us actually purchase a product and read/use it before promoting.

          Tina G
          Tina, that's comforting to hear; I wonder, respectfully, how you know that "many" affiliates do purchase and read/use prior to promotion? Not a challenge, just a question born of curiosity as to what data / experience you have to support that....

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  • Profile picture of the author billionareHuman
    People shouldn't try to sell something that they wouldn't use themselves! Why push something onto someone else that you don't even know if it's useful, it's unethical and does not help anyone, it's just trying to make a profit and hurting people in the long term.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nathan Hangen
      I think it is fair to hold back on giving a review copy unless someone shows you a website or you know them as an affiliate already. I make sure to forward my website info anytime I ask for a review copy.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Hartman
    Originally Posted by JustaWizard View Post

    Is it incumbent on an affiliate marketer to not promote crap? Aren't affiliate marketers "on the hook" and responsible if they promote a product, especially one they've never used in a field in which they're not even an expert?

    What are your thoughts? I'm not trying to impose my values or opinions on anyone here, I'm truly interested in what you have to say and what your thoughts or opinions are...

    David Portney

    As an affiliate marketer, I am only responsible for connecting people
    with the products they are searching for.

    I am not responsible for anyone making a poor buying decision, for
    whatever reason that may be.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Hi David,

    You're right, there are problems with the model - however, some people (guru titles or not) do not really care what the product is like - as long as they think they can make money selling it - that's all that matters.

    Many IMers sell stuff in markets they have no proper knowledge of, but just apply the IM approach to the niche and sell whatever they can find to as much of the market they can get. The quality of the product and the actual needs of the customers are secondary to them.

    You can make money doing it, so that's enough for some people.

    But not everyone - of course.

    nothing to see here.

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    • Profile picture of the author CBA
      I think affiliate marketers should always promote the highest quality products they can, but I don't think they need to use every product they promote. In many cases this would be impractical.
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