Saturday, 30 July 2016

Two types of affiliate marketing programs: One tilted towards display ads and other direct selling and how SFI stands out as a hybrid business opportunity



While terms and conditions of each affiliate program may vary from company to company, there are broadly two types of affiliate marketing ads:

1.  You display ads on your blog/website/social media account but not allowed to push sales one-on-one through these ads as in the case of Amazon. For instance you own a website MySite.com. If your friend intends to purchase a product from Amazon.in, you cannot invite him to your home, open your website, click Amazon ad placed there before the friend start placing order on
Amazon. They had a referral program for the same which is now discontinued.

As per Amazon's Associates Program Participation RequirementsYou will not purchase any Product(s) through Special Links for use by you or for resale or commercial use of any kind. Similarly, you will not request or encourage any of your friends, relatives, or associates to purchase any Product(s) through Special Links for use by you or them or for resale or commercial use of any kind. Further, you will not offer any Products on your site for resale or commercial use of any kind.

You are not allowed incentive for your own purchase/relatives/friends. If Amazon comes to know that it is through your IP address purchase made (which can happen if say you operate an Internet Cafe), they will not allow incentive. In other words, you are not allowed direct selling. This severely restricts the scope of earning big money and brings this affiliate program closer to display ads where you are paid for the number of page impressions/clicks though in this case number of sales generated. You rely on good contents, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO). 

2.  Other affiliate programs like the one by GoDaddy allow pushing sales through word-of-mouth/direct selling. As per GoDaddy: Just place one of our banners or links where your visitors, customers and friends will see it and you'll earn cash on every qualifying sale made through your ads. However, as per their terms, "You are not eligible for commissions on purchases made by you, your employees, agents, representatives, or contractors." They have a different referral program for the same.This can be confusing as at times there may be a thin line of difference between so-called customers and friends on the one side and employees, agents, representatives or contractors on the other. Also, cj.com, the affiliate network that manages GoDaddy affiliate program, stresses "the important part is to not run GoDaddy activity through the same computer or computers that you use," which may further complicate a situation. Neverthess, by entering into aggressive marketing (online/offline), you can make big. You can make things happen here by your offline efforts instead of remaining a silent spectator after posting contents and doing your own bit of SEO/SMO.

In between pure display ads (Amazon Associates program) and direct selling (GoDaddy as cited above), there is SFI. Suppose I introduce Amazon Associates to one of my clients. There is no way to sustain this move except one-time fee income that I may charge from the client. Now, welcome to the world of SFI where you are given credit for introducing that will last up to 12 levels.

As an SFI member Ben N points out, "SFI is a Hybrid of MLM & Affiliate Marketing. On the one hand the more people we recruit as affiliates, and train them to duplicate our efforts, the further we progress up the different levels of achievement and income levels, ditto MLM. The affiliate side of things is referring people to our TripleClicks store, and if a sale of a product occurs as a result of our referral, we get paid a commission for that sale. So on the one hand we're sponsoring new recruits, and train them to duplicate our business building efforts with the goal of achieving long term "residual income," ditto MLM. At the same time, we're also referring others to buy products from our TripleClicks store, and hopefully they will purchase products on a regular basis, thus we'll continue to earn more and more commissions. So as you can see how the two have been married, grafted into a hybrid business opportunity."