I love affiliate marketing, I really do! And right now, there´s loads of talk going on, about people earning less every year with Google´s AdSense program. I actually don´t do all that much AdSense anymore, although that was basically all I did when I first started doing SEO-stuff. The last couple of years (I´d say about 18 month now or so) I started to completly focus on affiliate marketing. Why did I do that? There´re a couple of reasons, mainly, that I was kinda fed up with the fact, not getting any decent stats out of AdSense (which click is worth how much etc.). Furthermore the US-Dollar lost more and more value compared to the strong Euro, which causes an enormous loss at the end of the month just due to the currency exchange (I know, I could have easily opened up an US-Dollar account, but when you rely solely on that income, you will have to exchange it eventually). It really kinda sucks, when you get only about 2/3s of the money in Euros…
Combined with the fact that my AdSense income shrunk too (which I don´t really understand, since prices for AdWords have been going up at the same time) although I´ve been delivering the same amount & quality (I just had to laugh all of the sudden – don´t know why… ) of traffic, I decided to focus more on affiliate-marketing!
But affiliate-marketing has it´s downsides just as well, with publishers taking their time to accept leads & sales, and doing opaque reversals, leaving you with a huge amount of expenses (for Online-Media buys, paying people and buying links … uh, did someone just say jehova? …). On the left you can see why I´m so upset, and what me actually got inspired for this post… … (I actually just got a huge chunck out of there – since I don´t want everybody to know what I do over Zanox – so the picture is a little biased, but I hope you still get my point – and it looks much cooler with the big zero for all my efforts…). That´s quite some stuff, you´d rather see in your bank account in Lichtenstein LOL
You also have a lot more work, especially compared to using AdSense, which is just putting up the same code on all your websites… With affiliate-marketing, you always have to do multivariate testing, to come up with the best solution for each particular site you own. Don´t even get me started, about having to rely on the merchant´s site to convert! Because you can be at your best, but if the merchants site doesn´t convert, you´re still screwed!
With AdSense it´s just games & fun – a lot less work, and WYSIWYG on your paycheck at the end of the month – that´s huge! Still, I don´t think I will ever turn back to AdSense overall, with all the downsides affiliate marketing has, you will still get a lot more money at the end of the day (If you´re willing to put a lot of time and effort into your stuff). If you have great targeted traffic, you will always get more for a conversion via an affiliate program, then for a simple click via AdSense! Just imagine getting 20 cents for a “loans” click, when you could get an actual conversion for a couple big ones out of there!
So, what do you think? Since we got Zanox on the roof next tuesday for an all new episode of Webmasters on the Roof (I still love you CJ !!), I think it´s a nice kick-off for a little debate about the eternal AdSense vs. Affiliate-Marketing struggle! So, why do you use / or not use AdSense, or maybe you use both (which for what?). Why do you love AdSense? Why do you hate AdSense? What do you like about affiliate-marketing… you get the point… I´d love to get some comments on this, so me and FridayNite got some stuff for the show (you can also comment in german!).