Please stop the BS

Yes, new people, we get it. You came up with this genius idea:

I have a site/blog/whatever that earns $1/day. Now I just have to make 1,000 more and I can make $1,000/day!

  1. This is not an original idea
  2. This is not a realistic idea
  3. You will most likely fail
  4. Maintenance is a bitch on the few blogs I do have; imagine maintenance on 1,000.
  5. The reason you're making $1/day on one site is because you're putting effort into it. 1,000 would be beyond mind-numbing.
  6. I challenge you to come up with 1,000 completely unique niches. Or even 100. I will give you $20 if you show me proof that you did.
  7. Thousands of people have tried this and failed (hence #3).

So now that I've discouraged you from wasting everyone's time spreading this idiotic notion around, how about you spend some time building up a few EXCELLENT sites that will actually get you PAID, son?

You can thank me later.

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Should I Create My Own Product?

Your Product
Your Future Product

If you're an affiliate marketer struggling with making a decent profit, then perhaps you should consider the other side of the coin: creating your own e-product.

Sure, it's a lot of research and hard work but if you come up with a half-decent product to market, not only will it be profitable but most likely others will market it as well. And that's where you can make a killing. Market places like Clickbank's Market Place are a great place to get free exposure for your products. On top of that, Clickbank can handle billing (both normal and recurring) for you. But that's only part of the puzzle.

Creating your own e-product entails a number of things, including:

  1. Research & Development
  2. Branding
  3. Website Creation
  4. Billing
  5. Marketing

Research & Development

Now in terms of research and development, it's important that you either choose a niche that you're passionate about or that you choose a niche that contains information you are privy to. Of course, it's possible to come up with good material for products you have no interest in, but if this is your first product it will come out much more smoothly if you put a little bit of love into it.

Good e-books shouldn't be too short that people feel cheated when they purchase it, but also it shouldn't be too long that your customers won't even finish reading it. The best e-books I've read have been concise and informative. After all, that's truly what we're after in e-books: the information. Don't be afraid to add visuals either. This ties directly into branding.

Branding

Coming up with the right "look" for your e-book shouldn't be something you do in ten minutes. Colors matter, fonts matter and composition matters. I don't recommend stealing a "look" from someone else's e-book, but definitely pay attention to the way successful e-books and their corresponding websites are colored, the way they lay their graphics out, what sorts of graphics they use and the way that they organize text around graphics. If you aren't a wizard with graphics, don't be bashful about paying someone else to come up with something stylish for you.

In order to come up with a nice e-book graphic like the one you see above, either download software or read my post on creating your own e-book cover.

The way your e-book looks will tie directly in with how your website looks.

Website Creation

If you aren't a web developer, your best bet is to pay someone to build you a decent site. Creating a small site (5 pages or less) should run you less than $150 if there's nothing special to it. The best part is, they'll have your existing branded e-book to base the design on. A good site will do a great job of getting people salivating for the information in the e-book, which means excellent sales text. Again, if you aren't the best with words, don't be afraid to outsource that department either.

Billing

As I stated previously, Clickbank will handle virtually any kind of billing you'd need as well as refunds and things of that nature. Paypal is also a solid option, but requires a bit more work on your part unless you want to shell out some decent money for a web developer to custom-create part of your website that interacts directly with Paypal. There are other decent payment gateways out there (2Checkout, for one), but I've used Clickbank's billing with absolutely zero issues. All they require is that you deliver a decent product and that you have a return policy (60 days). And part of the perk of being with Clickbank is the market place.

Marketing

Here's the fun part. When you have your own e-product, not only can you market the hell out of it but so can affiliates. Clickbank in particular has an excellent tracking system for affiliates selling your e-product through their website. You don't even have to worry about your affiliates getting paid as Clickbank does it for you. And at this point you want to start focusing on getting affiliates to sell the product for you as that will only mean more money for you in the end.

Additionally, I recommend doing some heavy search engine optimization to guarantee more hits from search engines to your sales page.

Conclusion

This is not, in any way, a detailed guide to creating your own product. My motivation in creating this post was to illustrate how simple organization can yield great products that will most likely profit you many times over. For anyone struggling to market other people's products, I can tell you from experience that it's exponentially more thrilling to market your own products and even more so to see other people doing it for you.

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Creating Your Own Ebook Cover

3D Ebook Cover Generator
3D Ebook Cover Generator

For anyone in the process of creating their own informational product, I highly recommend using the 3D E-Book Cover Generator from 3d-pack.com.

Not only does it create the awesome reflection effect for your E-book cover, but you can rotate the image any way you want and the on-page Flash will render it to either a gif, a jpeg or a png image for you.

Creating each side could not be easier. Simply upload an image for the cover, the top, the side (and optionally the back, if you so choose) and voila -- you have a beautiful fake image for your e-book.

I was able to create this e-book in less than 10 minutes in order to demo it here:

Your Product
Your Product

Sure, you might notice that I could have spent a lot more time making it look fancy but I just wanted to show you how powerful this free online tool is. Here are the three graphics I used:

E-book Front
E-book Front
E-book Side
E-book Side
E-book Top
E-book Top

I just uploaded each image to the corresponding areas and within ten seconds, I had a beautiful E-book graphic. Could not have been easier.

If you guys have similar recommendations for creating 3D E-Book covers and the like, please feel free to share them!

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Tracking202 Pro Goes Live!

Tracking202 Pro Goes Live
Tracking202 Pro Goes Live

After several months of public beta, Tracking202 is finally opening its doors to the public!

Click here to receive a 10% discount off your monthly fee.

So just a gloss-over of features:

Full Integration with the Big Three

Instead of having to log into each advertising account (Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, Microsoft AdCenter), now you can interact with each one remotely from one interface. Tracking202 is fully integrated with all three and does nightly downloads of data.

This way, you can easily see which campaigns, ads and keywords are duds and, more importantly, which ones are profiting you.

Full Integration with the Affiliate Networks

T202Pro will download your earnings and subids automatically every few minutes and give you accurate earning stats! Now you can just login to the platform and all of your costs and conversions will be ready for your analysis right away!

This is an outstanding feature that I've been looking forward to. As I've been using the free version more and more for my campaigns, it's been a bit of an inconvenience to go back and forth between affiliate network and the database to update sales data.

iPhone/Smart Phone-friendly

Like checking your stats throughout the day? Do you own an iPhone? Well you're in luck! Use our Stats202 iPhone Web App that comes with T202Pro and check your stats on the fly wherever you are (will work on other mobile browsers for other phones but is optimized for the iPhone). Now you can, simply with a touch of a button, press on your Stats202 button on your iPhone and clearly see how much you've earned for the day wherever you are, anywhere and anytime. It will pull stats from every affiliate network you work with!

As an iPhone owner who checks stats like it's a crack addiction, this is a most-welcome feature. I've hacked together a script that does this but it only works for a few networks, so I'm happy to use the new application.

No More Re-Redirects

If you've used our old system, you'll understand that it relied on redirects. On our new Tracking202 Pro system, redirects are a thing of the past. Unlike the old system, we do not process redirects through our server anymore, so in a case of a system wide server failure, you can be rest assured your traffic will still be up and you'll still be banking! Should a storm hit, an earthquake destroy our servers, or something else go wrong, your traffic will still arrive to the offer!

I am honestly impressed by this feature. Adding another hop to any jump-link is sure to annoy possible customers, especially if it takes longer than half a second. Great going, guys.

Keyword-level Conversion Tracking

Our keyword conversion tracking isn't just about seeing a list of keywords that converting. It is about seeing all of your keywords across all of your accounts, where they exist in their associated adgroups, and being able to see 100% accurate cost and revenue data drilled down to each keyword. Then right from the interface you can resume or pause the keyword if needed. Imagine being able to see a list of all of your keywords, across all of your accounts and being able to pause them from one application, no longer do you have to login to your accounts to do it one by one. Also to be able to trace exactly where each keyword originated from, from which adgroup to which campaign to which account, something not present in our regular Tracking202 system.

If you aren't using something like Tracking202, you're losing money. Tracking at the keyword level allows you to see exactly which keywords are profitable and which are not, and for which search engine / social media you're advertising on. Being able to see which adgroup and campaign the click originated from in real time is just beautiful.

Conclusion

Not much I have to add besides what I've pointed out and described. Tracking202 Pro is a very welcome addition to the affiliate marketing world. The amount they charge is a small price to pay for the service you're getting in return.

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What Is A Zip Submit Offer?

Affiliate Questions

This question comes from one of our readers.

Dear Reader,

A Zip Submit offer is a lot like an Email Submit offer. In an Email Submit, visitors would submit their unique e-mail address for you to get the credit for the lead. However, with a Zip Submit, customers would simply need to enter their US Zip Code for your lead to qualify for credit.

That means offers like the ones discussed in this post would generate money based on a simple zip submission from a unique US-based IP address.

Zip submit offers are not very common, but networks like AzoogleAds and Neverblue do carry them.

Hope that clears things up.

Scott

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Acai Berry, Ringtones and The Rest

Snake Oil

How are those fads treating you, anyway?

Lately, I've been hearing people complaining about the saturated markets for the hot sellers, the latest of which is the Acai Berry. The list is long and includes things like Ringtones, Acne cures, the Dating niche and any other fad market you can think of.

What's funny about this complaining is that there's nothing special about the Acai fad; it's really just another weight loss solution on a long list of "solutions." There will be another fad and another fad will come after that. Affiliates like you and I will flock to it and try to get a piece of the pie before the fad dries up and people will complain that the market is much too saturated.

To all you complainers, here's a little secret: no market is ever saturated, angles are.

What that means is that the only thing that gets too expensive to compete in is the actual advertising method used to sell product X. If that means PPC, that doesn't mean trying organic won't work. If that means organic is saturated, what about e-mail marketing? If e-mail is saturated, try Craigslist. If Craigslist is saturated, try classified ads in your local newspaper. If that's saturated, get creative. Not even I'm above taking my bike out at 2AM to post flyers. But then, that's the difference between wankers and the people actually making money: action.

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What Are Your Favorite Affiliate Tools?

I've had over 500 RSS subscribers for quite some time now. While that might seem like a big number to some, I have a feeling most of it's fluff because if it's true, only a few of you visit regularly and fewer still ever comment.

So if you're out there, I'm interested to hear what you have to say.

As an affiliate, what tools do you use to make your life easier?

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Why It Pays To Be Fat

NOM!!!
NOM!!!

You are a marketer, a salesman. In the world of sales, those who know their product best usually know why other people want to buy it. They can easily relate to their customer base. It's a simple matter of sympathy that goes deeper than - I think this is how they might feel.

Chubs the hamster can probably whip up a pretty kick-ass sales page for dieting hamsters because he's been through the ups, the downs, the binges and crash diets. Now Christmas is in the air and Chubs can't help but indulge in some delicious holiday treats, but he can also use that shameful indulgence as fuel for the fire.

Put simply, in deference to you, Kent, it's like lasing a stick of dynamite1. Okay, maybe not like lasing a stick of dynamite but the point is that knowing is half the battle. Here's why:

  1. As previously stated, if you've been through it, you know it
  2. The emotions that go with it fuel your ambition to tell other people

As you might have guessed by now, I'm not targeting this directly at fat people. It applies to any person who has a characteristic that society deems "bad." People who have gone through the trauma of teenage acne, profuse sweating, hair loss, STDs, etc. have the kind of experience that goes a long way in selling other people. It's sad, but it's true.

However, what I've found to be even more valuable is actually having your own story -- preferably photo documented. You are the best person you could hire for this type of thing. For one thing, it's free and for another, you have no reason to lie. So if you're a little over weight (or even tremendously overweight), do yourself a favor and get yourself on the track to health and document the entire process. If you've got acne, stretch marks, baldness, whatever -- take some before, during and after pictures.

Shoot, you can even make a blog about it and people will eat it up (heh). Once you hit your goal, you've got a product with photos, a testimony and results. Now you're happy, more confident and you can better relate to your target audience.

And once you've got your product, if you want, you can go back to your old ways just like Chubs did. Poor bastard.

1. If you got this reference, you are bad ass.

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