Category Archives: Affiliate Marketing

What Internet Marketers can learn from George Lucas

George Lucas is a multi billion gazillionaire. He’s made more money from Star Wars than I have Star Wars figures, but then by virtue of the fact that I have a lot of Star Wars figures he’s bound to have a lot of money. That’s economics!

s George Lucas seems to be all about making money, it makes sense that Internet marketers could learn a lot from him, so without further ado…

If you find a niche market, exploit it.

It really doesn’t matter how good you are at something, if you find a niche market that no one else has discovered, exploit the living crap out of it. George Lucas isn’t the best director in the world. His script writing skills are entirely suspect or ‘shit’ as Harrison Ford once labelled them. This didn’t stop George creating one of the biggest franchises in movie history. He found that he could exploit the nerd culture for every penny of their allowance, and he gleefully took it.

This applies to Internet marketing as well. You don’t have to create the best website, or the biggest, or have the most Wookies. You just need to attack the niche with a fervent passion and saturate it. If you own the leading news site, the leading forum and the leading community site all within the same niche, you become the dominant player. As George Lucas has found, this brings very lucrative rewards.

If something works, re-skin it and use it again.

How many costume changes did Natalie Portman have in the Star Wars prequels? I’ll tell you, it was 7,963*. The reason for this was that George Lucas could then sell 7,963 different Amidala Star Wars figures. She’s the same figure, but with a different costume; and the nerds bought them. This couldn’t be truer of Internet marketing. If you create a site that works and earns you money simply copy the site, re-colour it, re-package it and use it for another site.

Repeat the process ad infinitum and then in a few years you might have as many websites earning you money as I have useless Amidala figures, all running off the same template.

Know when to delegate

Even a megalomaniac control freak like George Lucas knows he can’t do everything, so should you. If ideas are your forte and your time is best spent thinking, pondering and coming up with obnoxious CGI characters then that is how you should spend all of your time. If you need someone to write the code or design the site for you, hire a freelancer. Prices are cheap and money spent at this stage can be recouped easily on the time saved and the fact that you’ve had something done correctly by a skilled professional.

George Lucas tried to re-edit Empire Strikes Back when he thought that Irvin Kershner was ruining his film with all that ‘love’ crap between Han and Leia. Thankfully for all of us George quickly realised that Kersh was in fact correct and he let him finish the film his way.

See the bigger picture

I constantly get people wondering what it is I actually do, and how I make money. It’s not obvious to the average 9-5 guy. When George Lucas made Star Wars he waived his director’s fee in exchange for merchandising rights to the film. People at the time wondered how he was going to make any money from the project, now he has enough money to buy a small island, Australia perhaps. George had faith in his idea and knew it would work. He could see the bigger picture, something many people can’t.

To succeed in Internet marketing, particularly affiliate marketing you need to be able to look beyond the wage-slave existence that most people experience. Being paid a flat rate fee for a set amount of hours didn’t interest George, and it shouldn’t interest you.

Don’t be precious about your website

In ‘Return of the Jedi’ the battle on Endor between the Ewoks and the Storm Troopers was originally supposed to feature Wookies. I know, Wookies don’t live on Endor, but they nearly did. George changed the battle to Ewoks because he thought fluffy cuddly teddy bears would be more merchandisable. When everyone else told George that 3 foot teddy bears fighting Storm Troopers was ridiculous, he said “No… I’m going to make more money this way”. By Christ he was right.

The moral here is that you shouldn’t be afraid to make changes to your website that, although may appear to be at the detriment of the website, in fact make more money. George Lucas’ goal wasn’t to make a compelling film; it was to make a mountain of cash. He did this spectacularly well because he never lost sight of his goal. Always remember why you’re in Internet marketing.

* The figure of 7,963 was made up. I’m not certain Natalie Portman had this many costume changes during the Star Wars prequels as I fell asleep during the Phantom Menace and woke up around the time R2D2 was flying in Attack of the Clones. I presume the figure is fairly accurate however based on the crap that filled the shelves in Wal-Mart shortly after.

Affiliate Window bug

While adding a product to a website today through Affiliate Window I noticed that an Amazon product showed up. This is odd I thought, Amazon using Affiliate Window. So I added a post on the A4U forum about the incident. Further investigations showed that the Amazon link actually had the Amazon affiliate ID for News International (The Sun) embedded into it. They would receive all commissions from any sales I generated!!!

Within 10 minutes of posting the thread I received a phone call from Chris at Affiliate Window saying that it was an error and that their engineers had no idea how it happened. It appears that the Sun website receive Amazon products through Affiliate Window, but the rest 0f us shouldn’t. I, apparently, managed to break the system.

Go me.

Thanks to Chris for jumping on this so quickly as well.

The moron phoned back

Just like he promised, the idiot who wanted me to tell him how he could make money online phoned back. Trouble was this was just as my flatmate was coming in pissed up. You’ll notice his voice, he’s the one I had to bleep out twice.

This moron started by saying how he has websites and he’s making some money, but then reveals he was lying. He doesn’t have any sites at all.

Still, this makes for a great podcast, so thanks mate!

Tell me how to make money online NOW!

I’ve just had a phone call from some guy who I’ve never met asking me if I can tell him how to make money online. It’s Saturday night, he’s withheld his number and he’s getting angry that I won’t spare my time to tell him how to get rich from the Internet.

For a second I thought this was the Fonejacker, some part of me thinks it maybe, but who knows.

I’ve had emails before from people asking advice on affiliate marketing and if they’re good questions from people who are trying but need help I’ll reply. If they’re just from people asking me how they can make money I don’t. When I get a phone call from some moron demanding to know how to make money…

Anyhow, listen to this idiot and the crap he comes out with. I missed the beginning of the call, but I recap for you. Then I’ll post the second call where he phoned me back and my drunken Stoke house mate got involved. He wasn’t as tolerant as I was.

Affiliate Window’s Christmas Presents

Affiliate network Affiliate Window were running a promotion this Christmas where you could collect coins each week in exchange for a surprise present from one of their merchants on Christmas Day. I’d collected the full 8 coins but when I logged in using my HP Smartphone after 3:00pm on Christmas Day I found I couldn’t select a present because my phone couldn’t handle their JavaScript menu on the promotions page.


Never mind I thought, I doubt I’ve missed anything too fantastic.

Would you believe it but they were actually giving away LCD TVs and iPods? What’s more, it appears that some people were even complaining about the gifts.

I’d have been well chuffed with a bottle of champagne. In fact, the lover of tat that I am I’d have been pleased with a pen. It’s a pity then that Affiliate Window’s gesture fell on people who were largely ungrateful, and someone like myself who would have been pleased with any old dross missed out.

I’ll have to get a laptop next year. My phone’s good, but it’s cost me a shot at an LCD TV.

My first Affiliate Window Payout

Today I had my first payout from network AffiliateWindow, who I’ve only been with now for a few weeks. This is a very positive start because it took me months to get my first Adsense payout in 2003, and even longer to get my first Amazon payout back in 2000.

Maybe I’m better at launching with new networks, maybe Affiliate Window have better potential. Whichever the case I’m very pleased with the performance of the network and encourage anyone who’s interested in making some serious money online to give AffiliateWindow a try.

On a related note, one of my best performing merchants is Toys R Us, so if the guys at the nation’s favourite toy store are interested in keeping affiliates sweet, I’m very into Transformers and Star Wars.

Just a hint!

eBay say ‘OI, PPC affiliates… NO!’

eBay today announced they were changing the rules for their PPC affiliates.

Unfortunately, from 1st February 2008 we will no longer compensate for Paid Search traffic from Google, Yahoo or MSN, if directly linked to an page. After this time, any earnings from revenue or ACRUs generated through direct Paid Search will be reversed. This applies to the UK affiliate programme only.

This doesn’t affect me but I know a few people who will be severely put out by this. I wonder why it’s only the UK that’s affected?

Earn money with YouTube

As I have several videos on YouTube that have received several thousand views each, and as I have a degree in Film I was quite interested to hear that YouTube now offers a partner program that allows you to earn revenue from the videos you make and upload.

This is great, I can earn money for my fonejacker style videos and any old spoofs I’ve made.

My excitement was tempered slightly however when I read the terms. They are as follows:

  1. You create original videos suitable for online streaming.
    No problem, all of my videos are original and they’ve been streamed on YouTube and Google video for some time now.
  2. You own the copyrights and distribution rights for all audio and video content that you upload — no exceptions.
    Yeah, all of my videos are original. This is all sounding good so far.
  3. You regularly upload videos that are viewed by thousands of YouTube users.
    Again no problem. I’ve had videos with tens of thousands of views each.
  4. You live in the United States or Canada.
    You fuckers. Why restrict this to US and Canadian residents? My videos are watched by people all over the world, where I live is irrelevant.

So you see, once again a great opportunity to make money online is denied the UK public because we’re not Americans. Wake up Google and realise that people live outside of the USA.