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Affiliate Classroom Program? How to Monetize New Dating Site

cyoucme

Affiliate
affiliate
Hello 5 Star Community,

I'm wondering if anyone has subscribed to the Affiliates Classroom program and what their experiences were. It seems pretty interesting, and I'll admit that at $1 for a 14 day trial you cant go wrong, but I've also seen a lot of very convincing ads for services like this before.

I would appreciate any assistance on this.

Thanks!
 
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Linda Buquet

Affiliate
affiliate
Hi cyoucme,

Welcome to 5 Star.

I know Anik the owner personally and he is a very high integrity guy.
The Classroom used to be a 5 Star client and I only heard good feedback
about the program. So it's definitely worth your time to take the free trial
and see if the training suits your learning style.
 

Rob_TID

Affiliate
affiliate
It is great for a newbie, but if you are more advanced then it may not be what you are looking for.

For $1 though, it's worth a go.
 

cyoucme

Affiliate
affiliate
Hi Linda,

Thank you for your response and for putting together these boards. A friend and I are starting an online dating site and given that we don't have a large budget to work with, felt affiliate marketing would be the best way for us to drive as much traffic to our site as possible.

Based on your considerably more extensive experience, and your personal friendship with Anik aside, do you feel this course can help us in attaining this goal?

Thanks.
 

Linda Buquet

Affiliate
affiliate
So let me be sure I understand.

You are planning to start your own affiliate program?
So you will be the merchant, not the affiliate?

If that's the case then The Classroom is probably not going to help you much.
It's more designed for affiliates - newbie affiliates.

It would be good for you to take the trial to learn how things work from the affiliate side and you can probably pick up some "do's and don'ts" type tips. But the classroom I don't think will teach you how to set up and manage a successful affiliate program.

Anik had an Affiliate Manager Training course (books and CD) probably still sells it, but if I remember right it was $995. I also don't think it taught the very basics of how to set up a program.

NOOOOOWWWWWWW

For the TRUTH that you aren't going to want to hear...

I'm not so sure an affiliate program is right for you right now for a couple reasons.

1) You should not even consider starting a program until your site is up and you've done PPC and conversion testing, tweaking and optimization. (OR natural search but PPC is fastest and best for conversion testing.)
You need to be sure your site works and converts and that could take some time and tweaking - before you even think about starting an affiliate program.

2) If you just want a low cost way to drive traffic then I think you are doing a dis-service to affiliates and I fear you may not have the resources and commitment to build and grow a quality program - the right way and for the right reasons.

3) Affiliate marketing DONE RIGHT can be your best ROI sales channel over time. But it's not cheap, it's not easy and it's not quick. IF YOU do it right.
And IMHO unless you are committed to doing it right it's best not to start at all.

There are a thousand affiliate programs out there someone just threw up hoping it would be like a magic pill. They didn't invest the right resources, and got back what they put in - not much!

Sorry, based on what you've told me that's what I think.
However I admit I have very limited info on you and your goals,
so forgive the sermon if it was mis-directed. :p

Maybe if you tell me more I can offer some better advice.
 

cyoucme

Affiliate
affiliate
Hey Linda,

Thank you for the very informative response. I believe we are in the position to be merchants, but we're hoping to engage in banner exchances and commission-based exchanges. We're a site in the online dating industry but not porn. We're going to have a membership who'll use the site on a pay-per-use basis.

I'm looking to get instruction on the best way to do affiliate work to help us with our advertising.

Does this change any of what you wrote in your last post?
 

cyoucme

Affiliate
affiliate
Although we'll be in the position to sell advertising space at some point, initially to start, we'll have to do a bit more groundwork: trading banners and such.

I'm trying to come up with the best strategy really and trying to educate myself before making big decisions like this and when it comes down to it, I just want to learn from professionals in field with experience.
 

Linda Buquet

Affiliate
affiliate
Well if what you want is advertising and traffic it sounds like you are on the merchant side right? You want affiliates to send you traffic?

I think there may be a lot more to setting it all up than you realize and I guess thats why you are asking, so you can learn.

About the best free resource about how to set up and run an affiliate program
is Shawn's site. Affiliate Manager Guide

If I'm correctly sensing the level you are at - if I were you, I would do some studying there to gain a little bit better understanding before you decide which way you want to proceed.

Hope this helps and best of luck!
 

cyoucme

Affiliate
affiliate
Thanks a lot Linda. I will definately read that site thoroughly.

Question: If I'm willing to help divert some traffic to other sites (in banner exchanges, for example), doesn't that also make me an affiliate?
 

Rob_TID

Affiliate
affiliate
Just remember that if a merchant program has other advertising on their site like banners or adsense or affiliate links (aka page leakage), then many professional affiliates will not be their affiliate.

The reasoning is that why should an affiliate spend their money and effort to drive you traffic, if you are going to onsell that traffic and give them nothing for it?

Shawn Collin's ebook might be worth a read for you. It's old but the info is still decent.

Good luck wioth your program.
 

Linda Buquet

Affiliate
affiliate
"Question: If I'm willing to help divert some traffic to other sites (in banner exchanges, for example), doesn't that also make me an affiliate?"

I thought it sounded like you werent really clear on that. It's not as gray and meshed as you are seeing it. You can't just kinda sort dabble and go back and forth in both directions. I mean you could, but you would not have any success as a merchant getting other affiliates to promote you.

ROb is right, it's really bad for a merchant to also be an affiliate or have banner exchanges or advertise other services on the merchant site.

You can also be an affiliate no problem, but on another site you own in a different niche so there is no conflict of interest.

Pretend you are an affiliate that only make $ when someone buys a product (or joins a dating program.) Would you want to pay for PPC or work your tail off to drive traffic to a merchant that has advertising leaks so the hard earned traffic you send to HIM make HIM money and you don't make a dime?

Thats also why I said you need to have a site up, tested and converting well before starting a program. Affiliates don't slave away just to do free advertising. They only make money when sales are made and won't waste time with merchants that are not responsible about making sure their conversions are up, the site has no other advertising leaks and the program is fair.

Sending traffic to merchants that convert, pay and
value the partnership is a BUSINESS and their livelihood.
 

cyoucme

Affiliate
affiliate
Hey again,

Thanks for the advice so far. I'm must say that I feel like I'm in a bit of a catch-22. I know what the industry averages are for the % of members who sign-up on a personals site when they get there, at a set cost (if you set a max CPC with adsense, for example), which is 1-7% for my industry. Knowing this I can predict how much a member will cost roughly to attain, although the difference between the min and max retention percentages (in this case, 1-7%) results in very large disparities in cost of aquisition (if at $.10 a click, it can cost as much as $10, or as little as $1.43).

My problem however lies in part because I cannot offer the service for a fee to start and hence will need to take a significant hit in advertising and general maintenance of the site till the membership is up and I can start introducing fees, which I plan to do on a pay-as-you-go basis anyway.

Have you heard of trafficholder.com (took out live link) I'm wondering what your opinion is of purchasing traffic when the site is initially launched.

Thanks in advance for your informative response.
 
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Linda Buquet

Affiliate
affiliate
Buying traffic is not usually a good way to go. Don't know about that company.

Here is an article you may enjoy about how Marcus from Plenty of Fish got his start.
He's making around $300,000 a month from his FREE dating site.

How I started A Dating Empire

Here's another article about him:
<a href="http://www.webpublishingblog.com/how-to-make-300000-a-month-from-free-online-dating.htm">How to make $300,000 a month from free online dating</a>
 
F

fitnfree

Guest
Have you heard of trafficholder.com (took out live link) I'm wondering what your opinion is of purchasing traffic when the site is initially launched.

I'm with Linda on that one -- you usually don't get targeted traffic when you do this and would most likely be wasting your money.
 
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