Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Make the Loud Talking People Stop, Mommy

Here's the thing. If you put potentially valuable content up on a publicly-accessible web page, someone will eventually steal it. I guarandamntee it. There will always be an opportunistic monkey of low moral fiber that will eventually find it, steal it, and try to make money off of it. That's just the way this damn Internet thing works.

95% of the time it won't matter. If someone is lazy enough to throw up a banner farm and populate it with content from RSS feeds, they're too lazy to make money off the content. That's not a viable model. It fails. Yes, it sucks that they rip content like that, but they're lazy failures and won't make a dime from their thievery. These lazy monkeys will always exist but, frankly, aren't worth your time getting upset about, threatening to sue, etc. These failures come and go and eventually get frustrated and go back to occupying their spare time having carnal relations with goats.

If you're worried about your content being thieved and repurposed, the following is a nice free tool to check to see if your content is duplicated elsewhere on the Web:

CopyScape

As far as assorted accusations being flung around about bloggers capitalizing on the community by being affiliate shills, well, that's a whole other can o' worms. But, if you really want to open it, sure, we can do that.

You can't simply say "Hey, you suck. I checked out the affiliate program details and you're getting like $100/signup for every player you refer to IBlowGoats Poker. You're getting rich because like fifty or sixty people are going to sign up through your links and you just want the money and don't care about any of us or if the site is a good one or anything like that. Waah."

99% of the time, the people spouting such stuff are failed affiliates themselves, and have put up some links, check their stats constantly, yet never see a single signup or sale. They make the mistake of thinking that if they just had the same traffic as BigShot McGee, they'd be making thousands and thousands of dollars, living the high life, smoking thick cigars. What they don't realize is that the reason they're not successful is because they're not willing or able to do the work necessary to be a success.

If you want to make real money from affiliate programs, you can't just throw up banners and links. That doesn't work. It doesn't work for Iggy, it doesn't work for anyone. You have to create valuable, useful content. You have to create valuable, useful content on a regular basis. You have to constantly respond to emails asking for advice in relation to the useful, valuable content you provide. You have to constantly produce new, unique content. You have to optimize that content so that it gains traction in search engines. You have to constantly monitor the algorithms that search engines use, constantly frequent forums and message boards. You have to deal with people constantly stealing and re-purposing your content in a variety of ways.

And all of that is maybe only half the work you have to do. You also have to ocnstantly harass some affiliate programs to pay you. You have to deal with the fact that some will abruptly decide to not pay you, or to change your commission structure because you're not producing the types of players they prefer. You have to deal with programs that skim (intentionally not crediting you for players you refer). You have to deal with cookie hijacks, affiliate code redirects, and all sorts of other fun stuff.

And yes, you have to deal with the occasional bad apple readers that read your content, benefit immensely from your advice, and willfully avoid using your affiliate link, because if they're not getting anything out of it, why should a lazy, "shilly" affiliate get something. Because some people are just like that.

On top of all of that, probably 75% of the affiliate programs out there only pay you when the players you refer lose. Or, in the case of nearly all poker sites, they deduct any bonuses given to players before they pay you a penny. If you're providing content that is useful and valuable to readers, enabling them to make money, this means that you effectively never make a single penny from 75% of the programs you serve as an affiliate for.

Long story short, of all the work I've ever done, affiliate stuff is the hardest, most challenging, and least predictable. Yes, it can be profitable, and yes, I make pretty good money at it, but the old proverb of walking a mile in a monkey's shoes before criticizing is very applicable here.

Or, as Otis put it much more eloquently and succintly:

"My c*ck is THIS big."

12 comments:

Drizztdj said...

Unlike most of the bloggers, I don't think I need to worry about "stolen contents" :D

StudioGlyphic said...

Now that you've set it all straight, I'm hoping I never make you any casino affiliate money. :) Go blackjack!

Dr. Pauly said...

Excellent post, Dog.

Remind me to buy you a drink in Vegas... I'll use some of my affiliate revenues which I funnel into my Swiss bank account.

Ignatious said...

great post, scurvy.

Mr Subliminal said...

These failures come and go and eventually get frustrated and go back to occupying their spare time having carnal relations with goats.

As a seasoned goat herder, I can assure you that goats have higher standards than that.

JasonSpaceman said...

I was offered an affiliate deal from Empire not too long ago. I turned it down because I'm not willing to work at making money from it. I write my blog without regard to readers; I figure anyone who stops by to read me is probably someone who knows me IRL or has met me at a poker table somewhere. That means an affiliate deal won't do me any good at all. Also, my super-cool neutral-tone design scheme would be wrecked by a banner, and my pure sense of aesthetics just won't allow that. :-)

I think anyone who can make a buck off blogging, through affiliate schemes or otherwise, deserves it. I know from experience that most of the jobs in the world suck because someone else hovers over you telling you what to do. When you get to be your own boss you may work harder, but at least at the end of the day you know where the profit is going. Kudos to you and your work ethic, ScurvyDog.

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