Free iPhones for you and your family? Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? The latest craze sweeping the internet is affiliate marketing, and it’s building up quite a head of steam. There are of course sceptics, but those who have been getting involved seem to be happy enough, and the affiliate sites themselves seem to be growing in number. They promise iPods, iPhones, digital cameras and PS3s to ‘members’ who sign up for a trial promotion, and get others to do the same. Are these sites for real, are they a scam and how can they afford to give stuff away for nothing? Read on and I’ll explain.
So what is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a simple way to improve traffic and sales to a site. It is cheap and effective for advertisers and it almost always delivers the goods for a good return on investment. The most simple form of affiliate marketing is a google adword (you know those little links to the right of your google search page?). Links like these pay commission to the hoster of the link when they deliver someone to the site or get a sale out of them. For a click you might get a small amount, for a site where you get a number of people to sign up and take out a trial offer, the commission is considerably higher.
How do they afford giving away gifts such as iPhones iPods and Playstation 3’s?
Simple. if they persuade you to sign up to their site, and take out a promotional offer, and then persuade a number of people to do the same, then you are generating business for them. Sites like freebiejeebies and kudosnetwork (aimed at the UK, USA and Canada see below) structure their incentives this way. You sign up to the site, take out a promotional offer which is often free, and persuade a number of people to do the same. Once these have all been validated, you get your gift. But you only get credited when the people you have referred take out a promotion themselves. If you need 18 referrals and each of those 18 people need 18 referrals to get what they want, then the site has gained 324 customers. The next 18 from each of those 18 gives 5832 people, yet the site has only given away 19 iPhones. The numbers stack up very quickly, and as you can see, it makes perfect financial sense for them.
Advertising is not cheap, and when the consumer is paid instead of the advertising company, it adds up to quite a lot of nice free ‘stuff’. Of course they say ‘free’, but there is time involved although little or not money leaves the hands of the savvy. Hence the appeals to youngsters (who tend to have lots of the former and rather less of the latter).
What’s in it for the site owner?
The website owner doesn’t have to do the hard work, as you’re doing it for them. And you only get paid by them once you reach your target referrals. Meanwhile your referrals are out there doing more work for them. It’s you who has to do the clever thinking about who would be likely to sign up to the scheme; you filter out people who you think it would be wasted on; you find clever ways of targeting those who might be in the market for a new iPhone; effectively you are doing their marketing work for them. The affiliate site sits as the middleman between the advertisers and the target audience, and takes his cut like everyone else.
But if everyone completed their referrals, would the site lose money?
It is possible that if everyone suddenly did complete all their referrals, that the site might temporarily be out of pocket, but they would raise the amount of referrals required to ensure that they are always making a profit. As you come at the bottom of the chain, you are the last to get paid, so to speak, so know that the sites always have cash, and that’s how they honour their contract with you, and give you your iPhone. Also remember, it pays for them to keep their reputation sweet amongst their agents (you guys), as without you and your clever efforts, they are nothing. Can they really afford to go around making promises they can’t keep? Not for long, and these sites are alive and well and have been for some time, so it appears they’ve got the balance right.
What about the advertisers?
Again, they probably would lose customers (and money) if all people cancelled, but this is never the case. There are always people who forget, or who don’t know how to cancel. More importantly, the company gets one very important thing; your attention. They get a chance to make a good impression. Think of it as a ‘loss-leader’, a sales call. If they can convince you that what they are selling you is good, then you will buy it and they will have a happy customer and a revenue stream. The reality is that some will stay, some will go, and some will forget to cancel their direct debit (and so remain ‘gym’ members by default)
So, is affiliate marketing worth getting involved in?
Yes, absolutely, categorically, and for all parties involved. Is it free? Not completely, but if you are wily, it won’t cost you a penny, just some time and some clever thinking. Find a list of people want a new iPhone themselves, and get them signed up ASAP.
The two main sites for UK, USA and Canada are Kudos Network and freebiejeebies Enjoy!
Check out www.thebestthings.co.uk to get more info about affiliate marketing and viral marketing tips, and how to start on the path to achieving your free iPhone.