Please Don’t Lynch The Affiliate Marketers

Mental note: don’t ever mention John Reese in a post again. My post the other day, about Twitter which mentioned John Reese continues to spill into unintended consequences. I’ve received my first ever hate mail since starting The Inquisitr, which was an interesting experience, but after my response to John’s interesting attack on me, via a third party I’ve had some correspondence from John and as far as I’m concerned the matter is over (I’m also told he’s a great guy from someone who is well positioned to make the call).

Again I find myself taking a moderate, middle stance, that may mean that I now face being attacked by all parties (a bit like copyright law), but I simply ask this: please don’t lynch the affiliate marketers.

Mark has some interesting words up on Mashable about affiliate marketers and I respect his right to an opinion, but in this case I don’t agree with his conclusion. Suggesting that all affiliate marketers are bad is like suggesting all black people commit crimes because some of them do (a stereotype) or all American’s are dumb because some may reasonably note that the current President is (another stereotype).

Here’s the thing: affiliate marketers are like any people in any space: you get your good people, and you get your bad people.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and/ or corresponding with a couple of high profile people in this space. Joel Comm for example is one guy I use to be quite hard on until one day I actually got to know what he was doing. Today not only do I think Comm is a great marketer, I also believe him to be a generous human being (he helped promote a Twitter charity cause a while back I was helping promote) and someone who is creating value by pushing boundaries and doing new things. There are others as well.

Another common stereotype is to lump multi-level marketing and affiliate marketing together as Mark has, and yet they are quite distinct. MLM is multiple levels of income based on a sale, where as affiliate marketing, for the purposes of someone selling online courses, ebooks or similar is one tier. The difference between MLM and affiliate is that with MLM your profit is dependent on building a network of people to sell for you, and getting them to do the same over and over again, where as affiliate marketing is either you creating a product and offering people a commission, or you selling someone elses product and getting a commission. I was involved for a short time in MLM in the 1990’s, I attended seminars, rallies, the whole works…and I hated it. I hated having to sell hope to people on the basis that they go and signup 6 people on one line then get those to sign up 10 then so on and so on. As far as I’m concerned the deeper the levels, the worse the product is. Affiliate marketing is a far more honest business, and I’d even extend that to 2 level programs where your affiliates might sign up other affiliates for a 5% cut or similar (note the difference to classic MLM is that the majority of the profit still comes from the first sale, not the tier.)

Is there bad in affiliate marketing? hell yes. I’ve seen some awful products over the years and the hype and rhetoric surrounding these products has been borderline criminal in context with what was being delivered. But the important thing is to note that this isn’t every person in the space. There are good/ great operators, and really bad ones. We don’t stereotype in other areas, we shouldn’t do so here.

And if you’re wondering whether I actually believe what I just wrote: I’ve only just purchased Secret Affiliate Code from Craig Beckta. I haven’t got through all the items so far, but what I’ve read is impressive, and the videos good value. Interesting that they’re still gaming Hubpages and Squidoo as a sales tactic though 🙂

Afternote: just as an aside, because I disagree with Mark on this point, I don’t disagree with his writing overall. It’s so good to see passionate, opinion based writing on Mashable.