Why I Chose Affiliate Marketing Over E-Commerce

affiliate marketing

Recently, John Chow posted a piece on his blog titled The Problem with Affiliate Marketing, where he states that the affiliate business model is flawed, and how you should really be selling your own product instead.

Now, as someone who’s been on both sides of the business, I respectfully disagree with John’s reasoning, and I’ll explain why. John makes money selling informational products and training courses, and thanks to his massive e-mail list, he’s able to promote the hell out of himself and his products, resulting in decent conversions.

This is not real life.

Let me tell you my story. In 2004, I left the world of IT and became a ticket broker. Back then, it was still an old-fashioned operation – Sales were done over the phone, credit cards were run by hand, fax machines were used to send invoices, etc. StubHub was just starting to advertise on local sports radio stations and had limited inventory.

We were one of the first outfits to drive sales through our website, and because of my self-taught SEO skills, I was able to rank well for a number of keywords, which brought in PLENTY of sales. It was exciting, but it was a lot of work, with a LOT of overhead.

Over time, I became a slave to the business. I couldn’t go on vacation in July, because that’s when MLB All-Star tickets were selling. And forget about the fall, as football tickets were our bread and butter!

Despite it all, we kept going until 2009, when the recession hit hard and caused people to scale back on expensive treats like concert tickets. Out of options, we decided it would be best to shut down the business. And honestly, that ended up being the best thing that ever happened.

Why, you might ask? Because that’s when I decided to partner with another online broker, selling their tickets through our website for a nice commission. Our website had been optimized over the years and brought in a ton of organic traffic. Now it could run on auto-pilot, freeing us to focus on other projects.

And that’s exactly what we did. The site still runs today, and every month I get an affiliate check in the mail. No longer do I feel like a prisoner within my own business, I can come and go as I like without a care in the world. To me, that’s what affiliate marketing is all about.

Everyone’s situation is different, so think twice before blindly following the advice of some guru.

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One Response to “Why I Chose Affiliate Marketing Over E-Commerce”

  1. Fernando says:

    Great story, but when it all comes down to it, that is still considered affiliate marketing. Its a great transitional story though, going from old tactics to the more advanced strategies. But going back to the email list you spoke about. Yes this is very tough and can be considered “not real life” but all in all it is very possible to build an email list pretty quickly when placed in a great sub niche coupled with a great free offer. Just need to find that hungry crowd and give them what they want from the get go and build a relationship. Great post!

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