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Making Money While Others Do the Work

Posted By Darren Rowse 3rd of May 2006 Affiliate Programs 0 Comments

Over the weekend I made close to $1000 more than my normal level of earnings without doing anything different at all.

In fact I didn’t intend to make the money and for 24 hours or so I didn’t even know anything abnormal was happening.

How can this be so? Let me explain….

12 or so months ago I discovered an e-book that related to one of the niches that I blog in (I’m not going to name it as I don’t have the author’s permission to talk about their strategy). The e-book was a quality product and was quite relevant to my blog’s topic and so after buying it myself and reading it I began to promote it on my blog. I used a variety of strategies including a review of the book, linking to it prominently from my blog and by working with the author of the e-book to promote it with some articles that they wrote for me.

The results of this were that over time I referred significant traffic to the sales page of this e-book.

Some of those who I referred purchased the e-book (and earned me a commission each time) while others (the majority) just signed up for free taster products and free email newsletters that the author provided. The key was that the author of the e-book captured (with permission through an opt-in program) the email details of many of my referrals.

In the early days I didn’t earn a lot from this program (probably around $25 per week) but it was a nice little bonus.

Over the last 12 months the author of the e-book has produced a number of other e-products ranging from free tasters through to more expensive membership programs. He’s really grown in reputation in the niche and instead of branching out into numerous different topics he’s going deep into the one he started with – producing an array of products that all relate to one another.

The great thing for me as one of his affiliates is that each person I’ve referred to him over the last 12 months earns me an income on any purchase that they make not only the first time they purchase something but ANYtime they purchase something for as long as he continues to produce products.

Last Friday the author released a new product to his email list. The product paid a commission of around $30 per sale to the person who referred the customer (me). Over the weekend 33 people made the purchase (and more have signed up since). I’ve not had to do any work at all since sending this traffic to the sales page of the e-book – the author has done all the work since this time by building his reputation as a quality producer of content.

Heres hoping he’ll continue releasing more products because I’ll continue to refer traffic for as long as he does.

Take Home Lessons:

  • Find quality affiliate products that have high relevancy to your blog’s topic
  • Seek to build a relationship with the developer of the product (they will often offer you resources to help you promote it)
  • Be patient with these types of affiliate programs (in the early days I was a little disillusioned with this affiliate program because most of the traffic I sent didn’t make a purchase but just signed up for the free stuff. While there is little short term gain in this the long term impact can be quite lucrative if the program is developing quality new products). Please note that not all affiliate programs are like this – most have a limit to how long after the referral is made that you earn a commission. Finding affiliate programs with long or indefinate time limits and you can make significant money over time.
  • Going deep into a niche (like this author has done) is a very powerful thing – particularly if you’re going a route of developing e-products for sale.

One last thought:

While I’m doing pretty well out of this affiliate program the actual owner of it must be making some serious cash. For every dollar I make he makes one from the same sale. Keep in mind that I’m just one of his many affiliates and so over time (and as he collects more and more members of his online community at many different levels) he grows the potential earnings of each new product in his range.

The model that this person is using is one that I’m seeing more and more bloggers getting into both as affiliates but also as producers of e-products.

I suspect that in the year ahead we’ll see this area grow further as bloggers work out that their expertise in their niches can not only be monetized via advertising and affiliate programs but by directly selling their expertise to readers.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    That’s interesting… I didn’t think many people bought e-books anymore. But I’m totally out of the loop with what’s going on in that world.

    Perhaps I’ll give another affiliate program a shot.



  2. Darren, if you have the time to answer, what do you think of CJ?

  3. It’s amazing that e-book affiliate programs are still going strong. From what I saw when I was a memeber of clickbank, the actual e-books were pretty trashy looking and suffered from a lack of originality. This post shows that there is still some life left in e-books and their affiliate programs.

  4. Please do not waste time in such programs.
    Don’t be driven by such stuff unless you have plenty of time.


  5. […] I was reading my RSS feed over at ProBlogger this morning and I came across a very interesting post entitled Making Money While Others Do The Work. This post details how a blogger started to advertise an e-book that took off and made him a huge amount of money in a short period of time. […]

  6. It still is interesting that such a “low” form of making money online still have potential to create such a large income stream.

    I do agree though, you have to be careful.

  7. I’d be highly interested in learning which ebook publisher you’re talking about. Can I bribe you with some coffee or something? ;)

  8. […] We can also be making money while others do the work and if that interests you then follow the link to a story over on Problogger. […]

  9. This is actually something that I’m slowly getting into.

    On one hand, I have affiliate links to a dating ebook and one to a CD attract & date set. I’ve also set out to write up both a free seduction e-course and a much fuller paid seduction e-course. Paid phone consultations are also coming up.

    In time, I may even write an ebook, but that will take a while.

    It’s not easy coming up with the necessary content not to mention the fact that I’d have to learn both the business aspect of it as well as the internet mechanics of implementing it.

  10. Jason – I’ve reviewed CJ here – my thoughts on it have not changed much.

    Nichal and Henry – I agree that you need to be careful with affiliate programs. My approach is to find ones that offer quality products in your niche rather than any old one. If your niche doesn’t have a quality one either don’t use the dodgy ones or make your own quality one.

    Robyn – it’ll take more than coffee :-) Actually I’m hoping to interview the author at some point in the future, although these guys tend to be a little secretive as they don’t want their niche to become crowded.

  11. There are plenty of affiliate opportunities out there but I found out that only a few of them can really generate enough interest and income from your visitors. Here are some of the affiliate programs that have excellent success with webmasters and website publishers:

    Autos affiliate program – this is another extremely popular affiliate program category.

    Computers affiliate program – computer affiliates are numerous and present some of the most dynamic market values in online advertising.

    Fitness affiliate program – “fitness” is one of the most popular terms on the Internet. Many webmasters are making money from home with their fitness related websites, and you could be doing the same. Together with weight loss, this is one of the most competitive and rewarding affiliate program categories.

    Real Estate affiliate program – when it comes to competitive affiliate program categories , real estate is one of the top examples. A lot of money goes through the real estate industry, and a lot of that cash also journeys online. By joining a real estate affiliate program you can transfer some of that money in your own account.

    Hope this helps – let me know if you found other categories where the CTR and income are above average.


    Michael Rad
    Web2earn.com – online moneymaking opportunities

  12. Darren,

    At first I thought you must be referring to the RSS Book that a lot of A-List bloggers (like yourself) talk about, but now I’m thinking Joel Comm, that guy who started making $500/per day with adsense.


    Darren.. blink once for yes and twice for no.

  13. Nice post, given me some ideas :)


  14. can you share what e-product you are promoting?

  15. Thanks for the tip.

  16. Thanks for sharing this info. Will check it out!

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