1. Affiliate Product Selection: it may seem ironic to ask this after reading the above, but that's only because there are several affiliate products to choose from, while the site is going to be aimed at promoting one of the choices in particular (though not in an "all eggs in one basket" sense by referencing it in every article), and that's what this is question is about.
Alexa Smith has written some good stuff on no opt-ins, no leaks on the affiliate sales page and the logic behind that. It resonates with me, but to clarify: is it an opt-in when the only link into the product is through e-mail info (no "buy now" option)? This is popular approach among many affiliates in this particular niche, and as they all offer residuals, my guess is they do this for the progressive up-sell. Anyone making use of affiliates who use this method and have any feedback on it from your experience?
2. Deciding how long to promote the affiliate product to evaluate whether to keep it or dump it: this is probably a tougher one to answer and vague is okay as I'm not expecting any kind of specifics on this one. Its also more for future reference to critique the performance of the affiliate product, and some things I take as a given here. That would include sufficient traffic from enough sources (SERPs, back links, syndicated articles, etc.) and some arbitrary period of trial time (i.e., I wouldn't dump a product in the first week just because it didn't sell that week). Yet there are metrics of some kind I'm assuming you guys are using to judge how its doing, and after eliminating other factors like leaks, navigation and aesthetics, product placement, etc. Adequate pre-sell is assumed too.
Basically (because this is not as concise as it could be), once you've ruled out any other site related factors, how long do you generally trial an affiliate for, and is there any rule of thumb factors you use in deciding whether to keep it or not?
Of course, it would be nice to nail it the first time out, and even better to promote multiple affiliates, however the latter is out for now because it doesn't fit with the design concept and marketing plan. I'm familiar, from a psychology background (which may seem an odd one for IM but it provides a lens that suits it well IMHO, though its not a necessary one) of the concept of "false choice" (the term itself escapes me) where the consumer is persuaded toward choosing one option or the other, each of which benefit the marketer, instead of the psyche's default "yes/no" mind map.
That's an ideal approach from my POV because I've seen some really good examples of it in action, and it exploits an element of how choice selection works that is common to everyone; but I'm not going with it this niche until/unless I figure out a way to implement it without it backfiring and leading to the no choice scenario (and no sale). I also have another site that's broader in scope and where I can play with that idea.
All of which is a really long-winded way of saying its very likely going to be a single affiliate niche (but monetized later through other revenue streams that don't detract from the focus of it), and therefore any general feedback on product selection and evaluation would be welcome.
You guys have a lot more experience here and any feedback would be really helpful.