Affiliate Pinball: How to Stop Bouncing between Online Business Models


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One of the things I’ve learned during the last 3 years online is the power of FOCUS and PERSISTENCE.  I see a lot of newbies spinning their wheels (been there, done that), bouncing from online business model to online business model – usually models that have to do with making money as an affiliate.

In fact, I even have a name for it: affiliate pinball. You spend months – or years – bouncing between the latest and greatest affiliate marketing courses, but never achieving your goal: a full-time online income.

If you’re feeling like a pinball, here’s what I recommend:

  • Spend three months learning about the various online business models. Spend some money on courses, but put a cap on it (whatever you feel comfortable with personally). During the three months, read some good blogs, too. Here’s a list of my personal favorites:
  1. Entrepreneur’s Journey
  2. Smart Passive Income
  3. Jonathan Volk’s blog
  4. Internet Marketing Speed
  5. Matt’s Marketing Blog
  6. Rie’s Pieces
  7. Viper Chill
  8. Think Traffic

And, of course, Tim Ferris’s blog.

Most of the blogs listed above have good free resources for people just getting started. They’re all highly recommended.

  • Choose an online business model. The model that works best for you will probably be the one that you enjoy the most, and fits best with your personality.

Here are some of the major considerations that you should keep in mind when choosing your business model:

Risk. If you can’t stand risk, or can’t afford to lose any money at all, then creating your own product and using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising as your promotion method probably isn’t for you. You would do better to promote other people’s products (i.e. become an affiliate), and do your promotion through search engine optimization (SEO).

Patience. Do people generally see you as a patient person, or are you a “ready-fire-aim” type of guy/gal? Some “type A” people get frustrated with internet marketing, because they aren’t seeing results fast enough. If that’s you, promoting affiliate products through PPC is probably the way to go – because you can be up and running in a day (but you’d better be comfortable with risk). If you’re more patient and have a long-term perspective, creating your own products and promoting them through SEO has the potential for greater profit and less risk.

Interests. Is there one particular niche topic that you’re DYING to start a website about so you can share your passion with the world? Or is your interest solely to make a lot of money?

These days there are a lot of internet marketers who basically act as “traffic brokers” for CPA (cost-per-action) offers. These people are constantly looking for new CPA offers (such as free trials of weight loss supplements or dating websites), and cheaper paid traffic sources to promote them on. I see these as people who are primarily into internet marketing to make as much money as they can, as quickly as possible.

On the other hand, there are marketers who set up websites around their passions. Most would like to turn their passion into a full-time income, but they don’t mind taking the time to make it happen. For these people, creating their own product, and promoting it through SEO, social media, etc. is usually the way to go.

  • Spend the next three months putting up websites. After you’ve chosen a suitable business model, it’s time to put up a few websites. Not one website, but a few. Build the websites using WordPress, and make sure to use different design templates.

Why should you put up a few sites, instead of just one?

Because each site will perform differently. One site might take off in the search engines and give you great organic (i.e. free) traffic, while the others get only a trickle of organic visitors. One site might get a great click-through rate (CTR) on your Adsense ads, while the others have a pathetic CTR.

Burn this into your brain: internet marketing is a numbers game. If you build one site and expect it to pay for your next trip to Bora Bora, you’re likely to be sorely mistaken. Better to “play the numbers game” and prosper.

  • Observe what’s working for you, and what’s not. I know that this is pretty obvious, but what I’m talking about is observing things in a systematic way. Being systematic means developing metrics for success.

What kind of metrics? Here are a few:

–         Increase in organic traffic this month versus last month

–         Increase in email opt-ins

–         Increase in click-through rate on Adsense ads

–         Increase in conversion rate (affiliate sales)

As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets managed”. If you’re not measuring traffic, click-throughs, sales conversions, etc. then you can’t improve on those numbers.

  • Scale up what’s working, and cut out what’s not. This is another obvious piece of advice, but something that a lot of people ignore – myself included. For a year I was profitably selling one health e-book on Google Adwords, but didn’t bother with Yahoo or Bing. As soon as I started advertising on Yahoo, that campaign was also profitable. So I missed out on a year’s worth of profits by neglecting Yahoo. Bah!

Similarly, had I more closely measured/observed what was happening with my top Adsense-earning site, I would have realized that long-tail keywords were the key to greater organic traffic – and Adsense revenues – for my other sites.

Summing Up

Succeeding online (or offline, for that matter) means striking a balance between learning and doing.

Many of us fall into the “analysis-paralysis” trap, spending months or years learning the newest internet marketing fad, but never implementing. I’m convinced that success comes only with massive implementation, and my own (recent) experience confirms it.

But implementation also needs to be coupled with analysis of what’s working, so we can scale up our successes.

That’s my take. How about you? Please leave your comments below.

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  1. says

    Hi Moe

    I agree with everything you have to say, although you may have to expand on what you mean by “massive implementation”. Do you mean massive depth of focus on implementing something (even one thing) or do you mean “massive” in terms of a vast breadth of diversification?

    Personally, I teach “Just Do It!” (I may have borrowed that from some brand or another) and PERSISTENCE. More people have gained from persistence than talent.

    “Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”
    Bill Bradley

    “Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
    Benjamin Franklin

    I’m also one of the world’s greatest “tweakers” – I tweak and refine everything according to stats, data, feedback etc. Once something is up and running you can improve it. If you don’t put anything up then you’ve got nothing but some binary code and a daydream.


    • Moe says

      Hi Richard,

      Good point about “massive implementation”. I used the word “massive” on purpose – because I know that a lot of people are so scared of making mistakes and losing money, that they take baby steps (which is fine at first, but eventually a person has to take bold action).

      To your question: I think that a focus on getting one thing done at a time AND implementing a wide breadth of activities are important.

      Your point about persistence is well taken. Quite a few books have been released lately that touch on the science behind persistence and its role in success, notably The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle (if you’re interested in the nature vs. nurture debate, I highly recommend this book). It appears that natural talent is overrated – the majority of successful athletes, artists, business people, etc. reached the pinnacle through practice and determination.




    its very very useful and informative.I am a beginner in net marketing.

    Thank you very much.

    With regards,

    mohammed ashraf

  3. says

    When people dream about becoming an internet millionaire they are so enthusiastic and suck up all the info they can find until their bank balance is zero and their hard drive is full. They have so much conflicting info they end up totally confused.
    Your approach will help guide the newbie in the right direction and save them a ton of cash.

  4. Morgan Supramaniam says

    Hi Moe
    I have just started Affiliate Marketing and as a beginner I find your blogs very useful and also I was sort of going crazy doing exactly what you call “affiliate pinball”. I am still not out of it yet but somehow after going through quite a few websites I have found my passion in Clickbank. What would you suggest a beginner like me starts with ?

    Thank You


    • Moe says

      Hi Morgan,

      I can understand your passion for Clickbank – it’s my favorite affiliate network, too.

      In terms of how to start, you should visit the Clickbank Success Forum and spend some time browsing around (the forum owner, Harvey Siegel, also has some free resources for Clickbank newbies).

      In terms of general affiliate marketing material, Mark Ling has some good free affiliate marketing material. Of course, he’s also going to try to “upsell” you to his paid products! But if you’re just starting out, you might want to ignore his paid offers, and read his free stuff first.

      If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.


  5. says

    Hi Moe,

    To date, I have spent $1856.43 “making money online.” Because it took me one year to make $100, (yes a whopping one hundred dollars) online I lost the belief and support of my spouse.

    Two weeks ago, I discovered that I have been an IM guru’s niche for about 18 months! My wife was pregnant when the company (a big one) went bankrupt, and I needed to make money in a short period of time to support my family.

    After months of trying to find work by day and getting milked by IM guru’s by night, I had decided not to spend another penny and to re-analyse my strategy and direction.

    I then discovered your posts, and 60 page free guide. Although I can’t afford another course, the mistakes I’ve made, and the information you provide has helped me make $238.12 since finding your site.

    Although my spouse is still a skeptic, I am curious to know. If there were one, or two courses and you only had literally your last investment dollar to invest, what courses would they be?

    • Moe says

      Hi John,

      Awesome to hear that you’ve started making money – that’s how to build confidence! Slowly but surely.

      Regarding the courses I would recommend: you mention that you’ve invested $1856.43 so far. I assume that includes purchasing some courses. If that’s the case, you’ve probably learned enough from others for now. I wouldn’t buy another course until you put your money into implementing what you’ve learned, and start learning by doing.

      Putting your money into implementation should involve investing in one or all of the following: (a) niche research to get to know the needs of your target audience, (b) the creation of your own product (not necessary if you’re focusing on affiliate marketing or Adsense), (c) putting up a few websites targeting your niche audience, and/or (d) buying traffic (i.e. pay-per-click advertising).

      I haven’t bought a course in some time, and I will be REALLY picky about what I buy going forward – because I’m re-investing profits into my business (SEO, paid traffic, and content/product creation) and tracking key metrics.

      Simply put, there is no “silver bullet” course out there. Yes, there are some good courses, but the vast majority deal only with one narrow aspect of making money online. And none of them can take the place of implementation and analysis.


      • says

        For me it is not just the money, although that just adds insult to injury, it’s the time and life force that disappears while we are still becoming more confused.

        And as John says and I can relate to – the confidence of self and others

        In hindsight I sometimes would have been better off giving them a donation.

        • Moe says

          I think the biggest problem with IM is the number of “moving parts” that one has to master (or at least be decent at) in order to make good money. THAT’s the thing that really sucks the time and life out of people.

          In my experience a person has to be either too stubborn or too dumb to quit this business. It’s the pig-headed who finally climb to the top of the heap.

  6. says

    Moe, you’re just an incredible person. I enjoy reading from you because your post inspires and build confidence in newbies and struggling internent marketers. You are not in this business to milk ordinary people struggling to make a living dry but in it to educate, show us practical and affordable strategies that is working. Thank you

    • Moe says

      Many thanks for your kind words, Nosa. I really appreciate it.

      You know, despite the fact that one of my info products is in a farming niche, I’m not interested in “milking” at all!

      All the best,


  7. says


    • Moe says

      Hi Bappa,

      Thanks for your feedback. Your question about product selection is one I get fairly often from my subscribers, so I’ll try to put together a post on that topic.

      In the meantime, the most important thing to look for when choosing Clickbank products is the “gravity” of a product. Gravity is a measure of how many distinct affiliates have made a sale of that product in the past 3 months. So, for example, if a product has a gravity of 30, it means that approximately 30 affiliates have made a sale of that product in the past 90 days. (I say “approximately”, because gravity is a “weighted” index, and Clickbank gives more weight to recent sales. So just because a product has a gravity of 30, it doesn’t mean 30 affiliates have made a sale of that product in the past three months. Twenty affiliates might have actually made sales, but many of them have made recent sales, so gravity would be higher).

      Keep in mind that products with a higher gravity are usually also more competitive, so keywords related to the product might be more expensive to advertise on and/or rank for. You might want to look for the gravity “sweet spot” – a product that has a gravity of, say, between 10 and 30. I know from experience that some of those products can be easier to promote – because there’s less competition – but they still convert.

      Hope that helps,


  8. Chelo says

    An other very usefull post here.

    I have a question for you Moe: what´s better for star a online marketin business? A blog or a regular website? And, why?

    Thank you Moe for all your effort puting your best in here!! The world need more inspiring people like you!!


    • Moe says

      @Chelo –

      Great question, and one I’ve been asked before. Whether you put up a blog or regular website depends (I think) on the niche you’re working in. In more “personal” niches (like dating and health), your site visitors will probably want to establish a personal connection with you, the site owner. In that case, you could try a blog format for your site, including a small bio on the homepage, a picture of you, etc. In less personal niches (such as auto insurance, mortgages, etc.) you might try a regular website design, i.e. something that looks a little more “corporate”.

      Having said all of that, the type of site structure you use also depends on your objectives for the site. You have to clearly outline what you’re trying to achieve, then map the features of your site to those objectives.

      Hope that makes sense,


  9. Michèle says

    Hi Moe!

    Michele from Montreal here and I must congratulate you on another stellar post on your part!

    When I last contacted you, I told you I had unsubscribed to ALL the other stuff I was getting – reducing my inbox from about 6000 to 200 messages. Got rid of all the “gurus” who had told me to buy x product to create y$ in z hours. I now only subscribe to the “hand holders” as I like to call them…REAL TEACHERS! You’re in there, I read you first. I realized that we all need less gurus and more teachers. There is nothing mystical about following a plan of action to make money.

    And, the purging continues…less stuff (courses) to confuse me! Well, I’ve stopped spinning my wheels, chose a single plan of action and for the first time, I have a direction! I picked something I’m following from beginning to end. (I am replacing the teacher’s Keyword Research segment with yours…tee hee). I am much more confident about my journey.

    Keep up the amazing work you do! I’m sure I speak for many when I say that you make things doable. This is the greatest gift!

    Thanks again and happy holidays,


    P.S. Are over the snow yet? We’ve had 3 whiteouts in 2 weeks! IMHO, white Christmases are beautiful on postcards, but highly over-rated…bah humbug!

    • Moe says

      @Michèle – I appreciate your feedback, as always.

      Re. the snow – I’m currently in Goa, India, so all I see are piles of beach sand!

      Have a great Christmas,


  10. jesus quiceno says

    Gracias se aprende nucho y se puede recoger otros recursos que mensionas sobre todo de ClickBank, la Universidad


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