Affiliate marketing is undead

October 29, 2005

Dear Internet marketers: affiliate marketing schemes that pay money are dead, killed by spammers. Please get over it and find a marketing technique that doesn't cause spam and attract spammers. (And if you are actually a spammer hiding behind 'affiliates', sorry, no one believes that any more.)

Affiliate marketing pays people for traffic. When people are being paid for traffic, spamming becomes the most cost effective way of generating it. So people spam. Anyone who opens their eyes can see this all over the Internet.

On today's Internet, spam is the inevitable consequence of 'affiliate marketing' schemes. There is a word for people who knowingly do things that cause spam: in many eyes, it is 'spammer'. (Or worse, for people who are trying to profit from spam without catching the blame for it.)

The other inevitable consequence is a bad reputation, because you can't throw a stone at spam without turning up (claimed) affiliate marketing or 'pay per click' programs. Consider that my referrer spammers, my comment spammers, and even the spam blogs I found are all doing it.

Affiliate marketing should be dead. But people prefer not to see this or believe their scheme will be an exception. As a result, affiliate marketing schemes lurch around the Internet, shedding spam everywhere they go, dead but still moving. In short, undead.

Unfortunately, I believe that this means that Google AdSense is probably doomed. And as the spam blogs I found demonstrate, spammers are already exploiting it. (Google can work to stop spammers, but there are lots more would-be spammers than there are Google people working to stop it.)

(If you don't 'pay' affiliates in money but instead use moderate discounts of not very liquid merchandise, you may be able to survive. See Amazon.)

Written on 29 October 2005.
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Last modified: Sat Oct 29 21:20:27 2005
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