Almost everyone involved in making a living at the pointy end of affiliate marketing will have felt “The Affiliate Fear” – that little nagging feeling at the back of your head that everything you’ve built might get taken away from you. Why? Well, either because the industry attracts a higher than average proportion of poor souls suffering from paranoia, or because we spend a ridiculous portion of our working lives with the proverbial Sword of Damocles dangling about 3 inches above our unprotected internet heads.
Where Does The Fear Come From?
We don’t have a very hefty sword dangling above our heads and held in place by a single fragile horse hair – but our working lives certainly are plagued with uncertainty. Affiliate marketing is a unique industry – like any other it has a body (the IAB in the UK at least) that issues everyone with guidelines on how to play nice and generally be all round, ethically sound, good chaps. However, unlike other industries it’s not those guidelines that determine who sinks and swims in the affiliate world – it’s Google’s.
A Sword? That Is SO Last Millenium – Try a Google Bomb!
In a nutshell, these are as follows. “Make your site useful to users, add value over and above that offered by the merchants you feature. We hate pages occupying a space that might as well just be the originator of the product. Do not copy stuff from other people’s sites, please don’t use spammy tactics. Make it good.”
“Oh, and just a few small provisos. We like some sites more than others, so what one man can get away with will buy the next chap a one way ticket to Google-blivion. Failure to adhere strictly to the complex guidelines we have issued might result in your business being destroyed overnight. Or maybe not. Did we mention the nitty gritty of our guidelines are actually absolutely top secret so you won’t find out you’ve made a booboo, or we’ve changed them until you wake up one morning and realise it’s time to see what positions McDonalds might have available for you?”
And This is What Makes Us Unique…
If you’re a mortgage broker, insurance rep, own a shop or indeed any sort of business at all you’ll have a list of guidelines that governs absolutely every facet of your operation. They’re all designed to protect the consumer (as Google seeks to protect it’s users). They’re also written clearly in big letters where everyone can see them.
Affiliates? We have a regular prize draw type arrangement to see if we’ve still got a business or not! And my very favourite part – there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.
Use The Fear – But Don’t Let It Use You!
Now that I’ve set a mental picture of hollow eyed affiliates waiting for their ticket to be drawn in the “one way trip to Google-blivion” raffle extravaganza, I’d like to point out that using the anxiety of this ever present Damocles-esque threat is actually a very healthy thing.
Am I scared? Of course I am, all the bloody time!! But I never get to that sweaty palmed world is about to end stage. As I go about my daily affiliate business I constantly gather data about Google and it’s goings on. Eventually, little things will start tugging at the corner of my mind. When something’s been in there a month and won’t go away I know it’s time to do something about it. I’ve learned to channel my worries and anxieties into positive action, and it’s kept my business growing.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing, this will be the most important skill you can learn.
If you’re already in affiliate marketing and think you don’t need it – I’ll have a big mac, coke, and large fries thanks.