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The Changing Face Of Affiliate and Viral Marketing

By Darin Park Published 06/5/2006 | Business and Finance

To equate today's marketing techniques let's take a quick step back in time before the ever-increasing presence of the Internet.  Starting first with affiliate marketing, remember the time when you saw the gentlemen step out of the car in front your house.  You held the curtain gingerly as you watch him take out his products and start trudging his weary way towards your doorstep.  Should you answer the doorbell or knock?  You knew if you did, you'd be kept for hours in a "mesmerizing" sales pitch, yawning and hoping somehow this boring individual would get tired of trying to sell you the product and go away.  That, my friends, is affiliate marketing.  He is at your house with someone else's products trying to "sell" you so he can claim a piece of the company's pie.

On the Internet, enter http://www.clickbank.com - they have the products, their affiliates are you and I and we spent thousands of dollars promoting someone else's products.  If we're lucky, we'll make a percentage off a sale and score some big bucks.  If we're unlucky, we spend our money, see little return, then go away disgusted, never to dabble again.  Clickbank is one of the biggest online download sellers on the internet with over 10,000 "sellers" hawking their wares.  Inside the Clickbank empire are products and, yes, you've guessed it.  They have programs and products that show you how to sell - you can buy them yourself to promote the products - where?  You've guessed it again, Clickbank.

There are tons of affiliate programs on the internet.  You can't run a business search of any kind without running into them.  Why are there so many?  Because some people DO make money with affiliation.  But not as many as are claimed by every site you visit that makes the promise of big dollars.  Tread with care - don't quit your day job - and take it slowly with a good product.  You may end up making some money.  You won't get rich, but you can make money.

A spin-off from affiliate programs are reseller programs.  Going back to pre-Internet days, do you remember that little piece of mail you received telling you to send 10 to each person on a five person list to receive a report and then send out 200 pieces of mail to a list you magically put together from an address book.  Your name would be in every one of those letters, and would be moved up or down a notch with every successive mailing.  It was assumed that the recipient would follow the letter perfect instructions and you would receive 10 for every person that took up the task.  Multiply that person by 200 more mailings from the active marketers and your source of income could reach 54,000 in a matter of 30 days.  That, in a nutshell, is viral marketing.

Again, you can find this type of marketing EVERYWHERE on the Internet.  Some are blatant grab your money and run sites; others are so twisted you don't know what they are talking about and you are confused by the math by the time you reach the last word of the site where they want you to press the button for your money.

But once in a while there comes along a genius who knows exactly how to market virally and he gives you the magic key - for free.  At http://www.runurl.com/xx.php?13f not only do you receive the key, but if you understand viral marketing at all, you will be flabbergasted by the time you read the last page of the e-book.  And you have to read to the last page.  You are actually hynotized into turning each page because this marketer knows exactly what he's talking about, and you know he knows.  The very last page is the one that smacks you in the head with the dunce cap.  Most known reaction to this information - a big grin as a million ideas bounce through your head.  Best of all, the book is totally free.  The author does not even ask for your email addy.

Viral marketing is basically a reselling of products.  You buy a product and all the tools that come with it and promote it as your own.  You promote it in the way of the 200 letter system where exponentially you can achieve a mass audience as more and more people take up your offer - because your name (or website or email addy) is on the list.

To break it all down into a summation, the way we market to our potential customers has not changed, either by affiliation or viral techniques (look at any chain restaurant as a prime example of a combination of the two).

What has changed is the medium we use to promote products.  With the Internet as widely available as it is, we can promote cheaply and en masse any product we can dream up - even the not so "legal" type.

Until next time.