The Truth About Affiliate Marketing (Read this before it’s too late!)


I came across a well-written post on the ultimate truth about affiliate marketing.

You should definitely read the following piece of advice if you want to venture into the affiliate marketing business.

No one will tell you this, except him – Jerry. The article is first posted on

Jerry, if you are reading this, I would like to invite you to contribute your awesome views on various online business here in

The Truth About Affiliate Marketing, Comprehensive and unadulterated version

For those who have aspirations to succeed in affiliate marketing, read this first.

It’s the absolute truth that you will hardly find written anywhere else on the Internet.

I assume that you have read a variety of articles before, detailing what affiliate marketing is all about.

  • I am also assuming that from your understanding, it’s building a content website, building links, getting traffic, and then monetizing the traffic into sales.
  • Or a twist is to build a subscriber list, then monetize the subscriber list.

Whatever modus operandi you choose, the final goal is to persuade buyers to buy a promoted product, and for you to earn your cut.

Sounds easy, or rather, it doesn’t sound too complicated.

Hey, just install WordPress. Get a domain name. Slap together some content. Traffic will grow and soon you’ll be earning a consistent side income.

Doesn’t it all sound very logical and level-headed, when piece together like that.

Here’s the curveball. What will happen is this.

  • You spend money getting a domain.
  • You spend money and time and effort to build a content website.
  • You may even spend money getting a developer to put the site together.
  • You may even spend money buying some backlinks.
  • You may even spend some money buying ads.

You soon get 10 to 20 visitors daily to your website.

Then maybe 20 to 30 a day and eventually hitting 50 people a day.

Then you observe something that all those educational articles didn’t tell you. Nobody buys the product you’re trying to sell.

Monthly hosting fees are running. With everything spent, you might get 1 sale or 2 in a month (if you’re lucky, and most are not).

You feel disappointed and demotivated.

Then, some of the more advanced marketers would have read on building a subscriber list.

  • You sign up for Aweber or MailChimp or some autoresponder system.
  • You start paying more monthly fees.
  • You start sending promotional emails.
  • Still no sales.

Now you have monthly hosting fees and autoresponder fees but no sales. Net loss again.

More advanced marketers will then read on A/B Split testing or Landing page optimization.

  • Maybe you’ll pay for some extra service to measure changes to your page.
  • Perhaps you’ll pay for a WordPress plugin for split testing.
  • You start testing headlines, email subject lines, button colors.
  • You waste more time and effort with all these nonsense, just like those sites told you.
  • Again, no sales. More costs to pay. Net loss again.

Do you know what the problem really is?

Firstly, it’s the Internet. It’s full of bullshit on a wide variety of topics.

It’s regurgitated content.

Whether on health, money making, advice, there is a whole lot of nonsense out there that does not correlate well with reality.

Secondly, it’s this human habit of just attributing that something will just work, without thinking out the details at the pixel level.

Ok, let me give you an example.

Supposed in a small community in your Taman, consisting of 1,000 people, you open a neighbourhood shop and sell knives.

Now, in reality, 1,000 people is the total population, not the market size of buyers wanting to buy knives in any given month.

In any given month, let’s just assume that only 5 people will want to buy knives.

Because the other 995 people already have knives and have no desire and no need to buy it. So we’ll assume that every month, for some reason, 5 people will develop the need to get new knives, and this is a consistent cycle.

As a result, each month, you can expect a maximum demand of 5 knives.

Regardless of how you try promoting your knives, with bigger banners, better write-ups, neon signs, only 5 maximum knives can be sold that month.

This is one thing affiliate marketers totally fail to understand. They always assume, the Internet is global, and demand is infinite. Affiliate marketers always assume, they, get more traffic, then they’ll sell more.

But in reality, the traffic (quality traffic), for people searching to buy knives will be limited.

Now, online affiliate marketers pick a niche product to sell, expecting to make maybe RM3k a month from that.

Firstly, get real. Each month, only a tiny amount of people would be interested to buy that product.

Secondly, there will be a few more thousand sites also promoting that product.

If your website can get 100 targeted people a day who are searching for very keyword specific terms and they come to your website, most likely 1 in 250 or 1 in 300 people will buy.

The conversion rate is not going to be 1% or 2% like what most people say.

That’s regurgitated content, I, on the other hand, have been testing different products for years.

Honestly, consider yourself a pro already, if you could get 100 people a day, searching for very keyword specific terms for that product.

I’m not referring to scattergun approach, where you get people coming to different pages on your website based on a wide variety of terms not closely related.

Then they’re not going to even be remotely interested in buying that product.

Now, back to your Taman with 1,000 people and 5 people will buy knives each month.

Now assume out of that population, 4 people will have a need to buy pots each month, following the same concept. Hence, you as an affiliate marketer can now start promoting a second product to sell more items in total each month.

Or, you could expand the market by selling to different Tamans as well.

However, on the Internet, where everything is global, we’ll consider it just one big Taman with a finite monthly demand for a product, and a fluctuating number of competitors also selling those products monthly.

This leads to the real truth. To even make RM10k a month consistently, and assuming each product you promote can sell 4 items a month, with an RM100.00 commission each, you would be looking at promoting 25 different products.

However, as time passes, the lifespan of a product decreases (market change, no more excitement, new products come out), and you would need to top up with content promoting new products to keep your income stable.

Now, this assumes if you can even get 100 people a day, looking for each product to be able to sell 4 items a month, you would need 2500 unique visitors every day, that came to your website with highly targeted keywords, commercial intent keywords at the buying stage.

We don’t want customers who are looking for keywords too early in the sales funnel, they’re there for research only.

And do you know how tough it is to get 2500 unique visitors a day from the search engines organic search results?

That’s why I won’t even say that 99% of affiliate marketers fail, I would say, 99.9% would fail at making a decent amount each month.

I’m not including those making 1 or 2 sales a month to buy a meal, I’m saying, at least RM5k a month from just commissions.

I’m not here to discourage you, I am here to lay down the non-sugar coated version of affiliate marketing.

I have been doing this for 15 years. I have been analyzing different groups of data to understand the correlation to a successful execution, I have been studying traffic generation and I have been selling all sorts of products online.

When you start promoting one product, you only have a tree with a twig.

It will only be a money tree as you add more and more products, build more and more content, and if you choose the products correctly.

It will take years to have thousands of pages of content to build up to anything significant.

This is definitely the best article regarding the truth of affiliate marketing.

Although there are lots of downside to the affiliate marketing business model, there are still ways to mitigate them. I will list down the key elements to take note of when I have time later.

Make sure you share this article with those who would like to start an affiliate marketing business.

Also, you might be interested to read the 10 Things I wish I knew before taking any Digital Marketing Courses.

Simon K.
Simon K.

Founder of Skeneur. He has vast experience in the field of Digital Marketing & Search Engine Optimization (SEO). He loves to talk about business strategies and helps business owners with their digital marketing campaigns and web designing needs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.