Fad Diets and Affiliate Marketing
WebMD - Fad Diets This article on fad diets was an interesting read for a lot of reasons. One, I don't have a lot of faith in fad diets. But, as odd as this may sound, I think a lot of what's said in this article applies to affiliate marketing as well.
Here's a list (taken from the article) of ways to spot a fad diet:
- Recommendations that promise a quick fix.
- Dire warnings of dangers from a single product or regimen.
- Claims that sound too good to be true.
- Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study.
- Recommendations based on a single study or testimonials.
- Dramatic statements that are refuted by reputable scientific organizations.
- Lists of 'good' and 'bad' foods.
- Recommendations made to help sell a product.
- Recommendations based on studies published without review by other researchers.
- Recommendations from studies that ignore differences among individuals or groups.
- Eliminating 1 or more of the 5 food groups.
Some of these apply more than others, so let me just talk briefly about the big ones.
Recommendations that promise a quick fix
Claims that sound too good to be true
My time in affiliate marketing has taught me that the whole industry is often advertised as a get-rich-quick scheme. (If you're under that impression, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it's really not.) We've worked hard to make sure it's easy to work with us, but our most successful affiliates are still the ones that work the hardest. Just like there are no shortcuts to good health, there are no shortcuts to quick, sustainable riches.
Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study
Dramatic statements that are refuted by reputable scientific organizations
Watch out for references to startling new studies that you can't actually find elsewhere on the Web. Granted, a lot of the secrets in online marketing are closely-guarded; but helpful studies usually find their way onto the Web.
Also, consider the source. A website devoted entirely to Internet marketing news has more clout than starwarsfan315 on some message board. Sometimes bad conclusions can be drawn from a legitimate study too, so beware hair-brained schemes from the Internet.
Recommendations made to help sell a product
This is a huge red flag that almost always throws the recommendations into suspicion—especially in this industry. As mentioned above, many people regard affiliate marketing as a get-rich-quick scheme. Well, marketing to affiliate marketers is another get-rich-quick scheme. Don't be taken in by a biased news source.
One classic example is link cloaking. We had a few people ask about link cloaking a while back, so I looked into it. Most of the information I found came from some software company that was selling link-cloaking software. And, as you can imagine, they made it sound like a massive conspiracy on the part of bad men on the Internet. The plain truth is that commission stealing is not as big a problem (in the education sector, at least) as these sellers would have you believe—and on top of that, link cloaking isn't even that hard to do. Search for "affiliate link cloaking tool" and you'll find several free scripts that will generate the code for you. But despite this, I'm sure that software vendor made a pretty penny selling two-bit software.
Do your research before you invest in any miracle tool or service. It could end up saving you a lot of money and headache in the future.
Recommendations from studies that ignore differences among individuals or groups
Know your target audience. Just because you're really good at affiliate marketing in the home loans sector doesn't mean you'll be really good in the education sector. Make sure you do research not only in the area of affiliate marketing, but also in marketing to your demographic.
Eliminating 1 or more of the 5 food groups
Fad diets can offer fast results but have long-term consequences. Taken from the article:
- "These diets lack major nutrients such as dietary fiber and carbohydrates, as well as selected vitamins, minerals, and protective phytochemicals, such as antioxidants (substances found in vegetables, which are protective against disease). Over the long term, by not receiving the proper amounts of these nutrients, you may develop serious health problems later in life."
Search engine spoofing and misleading or incentivized marketing may offer quick results, but don't pay off over time as much as a genuinely useful website that's been indexed in search engines. And when a vendor finds out about dubious practices (and we will find out), you get cut off pretty quickly.
Affiliate marketing can be a fantastic way to make money, and we have a good number of affiliates who do it well and make a good living of it. Just be prepared to do it right.