OK, so this came up in me mind with the recent boom of both reseller hosting opportunities and the expansion of the different virtualization technologies, both as VPS hosting or the Cloud computing in all its dimensions.
Most of the affiliate programs – ones meant to be for the publishers had one main goal in the past – driving more sales and branding the name of the respective company. Of course this was strongly related with the word of the mouth that spreads the news that company A offers super affiliate program and it pays!!!
We’ve seen that many companies offering scam offers and non realistic commissions to the affiliates – this is over now but it has been part of the Affiliate Marketing era.
We see and some very big names that are specialized in affiliate programs – those are probably the only properly working signs of affiliate marketing around. These pay off to the affiliates, but the commissions they receive from the companies are huge – and this is what made the first hosting affiliate war some years ago.
Then, we started to talk about how saturated the web market is as whole – and everyone started to think about the customer. Don’t get me wrong – not the customer and his real needs but the customer in numbers.
How to get more and more customers, it really did not matter the price – then we came up with all those loss leading strategies and shiny discounts, free domains for life etc! And there you go – Overselling came to make it “even better” to find a stable niche if you want to offer good and reliable hosting services.
All this was totally connected with the development of the online affiliate marketing – and the hosting affiliate programs are ones of the most used and preferred by the ‘make money online’ people.
What an affiliate program gives to you as possible customer of a hosting company? It actually does not give anything special – it can only mislead you and second, you are making money for someone else. But all this is almost gone – the web hosts do not count on the affiliation anymore – its just part of their services and the most important job that the affiliate programs do now is just for branding. The internet users now know what lies under the URL they click on – it is enough to read the name of the host that’s been marketed and you can go directly to the web site and order what want.
The next thing that makes the affiliate programs do look not that popular now is the fact that reseller hosting has been in its peek for over 2 years and only this year we started to see that people are looking not only for the cheapest available offer but for reliability and quality.
This has been foreseen and by the resellers – they started to expand and are moving to VPS services or even Dedicated servers to expand their business and in the same time – to provide more quality to their end clients. Some of them are starting to move in the clouds – which is even better and proves that the internet entrepreneurs are quite ingenious when it comes to development of the technology.
One other point in the affiliate marketing strategies is to offer even more to your affiliated clients – different bonuses and incentives for bringing more customers to the business. What I am talking about is the company I am related closely with – Host Color. The Affiliate Program is quite simple and in the same time it is very flexible and promising – it gives the affiliate percentage of each sale made, but most important – it pays and for each unique visitor, does not matter if he buys or not.
But what I think is very unique and brings even more trust to the program is that with every step – sold product, new customer, bought hosting service, unique visitor, even review or few good words for the host’s reputation or bad but objective ones will give the so called Reward Points that can be used for exchange of a services or cash.
Still, even I am recommending the company’s services and affiliate program, I think that the good days of the affiliate marketing are almost over, at least for the hosts that what to make money out of it.