The Ugly Truth About Affiliate Marketing

The Ugly Truth About Affiliate Marketing

In this blog,”The Ugly Truth About Affiliate Marketing,” not only are we going to be discussing the good and positives, but also the bad and ugly truth related to affiliate marketing.


First though, we will commence with a definition of the term affiliate marketing.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

It is a marketing strategy that is utilized by a vendor or company, to drive traffic to its website, with the express purpose of selling products or services.


To attain that goal, it partners with affiliates/publishers, allowing them to market its products, by way of a unique link which the company provides that identifies each affiliates.

The affiliate promotes the link, and if someone clicks on it, and a purchase is made, the affiliate is paid.

How Did Affiliate Marketing Get Its Start?

The marketing principle that preceded affiliate marketing was the concept referred to as revenue sharing, whereby businesses rewarded people who brought in new customers.

Affiliate marketing however, did not get its start, until the mid 1990s, which was due to the actions of W. Tobin, founder of an online flower shop called, P.C. Flowers and Gifts


William Tobin pioneered the concept of affiliate marketing, put it into practice and patented it. He was so successful with this new marketing strategy, that he was able to generate by 1993, revenue in excess of $6 million. His success led many others, including Amazon to follow in his foot steps, in the affiliate marketing field.

Growth Of The Industry.

There are many factors that have contributed to the growth of affiliate marketing as an industry. We are going to focus on just few of these factors.

The Internet

The Internet has played a major role in the growth of the affiliate marketing industry. How so? People around the world have access to the Internet. It keeps them connected and informed.


They have come to understand that, by way of the Internet, you fave the ability to buy and sell things online. Furthermore, they have become aware of online opportunities. This is due to the actions of the so called gurus, who are promoting affiliate products, and by way of clever advertising, are enticing them to join their affiliate programs, claiming that they will make lots of money. The result? Masses of people are coming online, with hopes of making money as affiliates.

The Economic Conditions.

The economy in many lands, in conjunction with the Internet is also a contributing factor.


In many lands, the economic conditions are worsening. As a result, many are finding it increasingly difficult to provide for them self and family.


In view of this, masses of people around the world are flocking to the Internet, with the hope of striking it rich, as affiliate marketers.


This reminds me of the California Gold Rush, when as influx of fortune seekers flooded California after gold was found at Stutters Mill in early 1848 and reached its zenith in 1852.

Covid-19 Another Growth Factor

Another major reason for the growth of the affiliate marketing industry, was the Covid-19 global pandemic that started in full in 2020.


During this period, because of the worldwide lock down, many lost their jobs, which made it difficult to provide. As a result, many turned to the Internet, to find a way to meet their financial needs.


Moreover, not only did this pandemic affect people, but it also negatively impacted businesses. How so? Many businesses were not able to survive, so they went out of business. And for others, in order for them to survive, they migrated to the online business landscape.

The Ugly Truth About Affiliate Marketing

As we can clearly see Covid- 19 and other factors discussed above, have all contributed to the growth of the industry. Today, affiliate marketing is said to be worth about $12 billion.


And as it continues  to thrive and grow, it will continue to attract people globally, who are looking for opportunities that affiliate marketing provides.

Why Affiliate Marketing Is Beneficial?

There are many reasons, why affiliate marketing is beneficial. In this section, we are going to consider the reasons.


One of the fundamental reasons, is that affiliate marketing has leveled the playing field. It has opened up doors of opportunities that were once closed to the majority of the world’s population. How so?


To start an offline business, is beyond the reach of the average and ordinary person, because of the cost involved. Hence, many cannot afford the capital it takes to invest in an offline business.


However, the online opportunity, has made it easier for such ones, to start their own business with very little money.


Therefore, the millions of people around the world, who had no dreams, are now able to dream. And those who lost the desire to dream, can now dream again. Their hopes have been rekindled because of affiliate marketing.


In view of this, anyone, regardless of race, nationality, education, gender or status in life, are able to start an online business with little or no money. And many have done so successfully.


Truly, affiliate marketing has leveled the playing field, and opened up doors of opportunities, that were previously closed.

The Ugly Truth About Affiliate Marketing

Other Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is also beneficial, because it is performance based. What does that mean? It means that an affiliate gets paid only after a desired action or objective is met. In the case of affiliate marketing, the desired action can be somebody clicking on a link and buys something. Only when this happens, is the affiliate paid a commission. Hence, it is performance based


This is very important because, it can be used as a tool to motivate affiliates to produce.


This is quite different from most offline jobs, where in employee pay is not tied to performance. Therefore, employees are not always motivated to produce.


Another benefit of affiliate marketing is the fact that as an affiliate, you don’t have to worry about product creation, and all the head ache and challenges that come along with it. The company creates the product, your responsibility is to promote the product.


In addition, you avoid the difficult task of setting up distribution centers, and transporting products from these centers to stores. This can be very expensive.

Work from Home

More over, affiliate marketing affords you the opportunity to work from the comfort of your home. It allows you to work in an environment that is less stressful, and therefore conducive to productivity. It is also very cost effective.


As can be seen, affiliate marketing is truly beneficial. But does it have an ugly side to it?

The Ugly Truth About Affiliate Marketing.

We have highlighted all the positives about affiliate marketing. But do you also know dear reader, that affiliate marketing has ugly truths attached to it?


Sadly though, most of the writers, write about affiliate marketing in glowing terms, always ascribing to it the highest praise, and never mentioning its flaws and weaknesses. In essence, they fail to expose the ugly truth about affiliate marketing.


Such ones fail to realize that affiliate marketing will only continue to grow and prosper, if the ugly truth that hangs around it is exposed and eliminated.


Therefore, in this blog, we are going to do our best to reveal these ugly truths.

Failure Rate An Ugly Truth.

What is the failure rate of affiliate marketers? The failure rate stands at 95%. So what does that mean? It means that only 5% or even less, succeed online. That is truly an ugly figure won’t you agree? Such a high failure rate is unacceptable.


People come online with dreams and hopes, But yet these dreams and hopes quickly evaporate when they face the harsh realities of the online business world.


Therefore, instead of always speaking in glowing terms about affiliate marketing, people should also be made aware about this ugly truth of affiliate marketing. That the vast majority who enter this industry as affiliates, fail. Hence, starting an online business as an affiliate carries with it much risk.


Such transparency will help them prepare themselves, as to what to expect, and how to deal with whatever might result.

The Ugly Truth About Affiliate Marketing

Misleading Statements, Ugly Truth About Affiliate Marketing

Another ugly truth about affiliate marketing, are the lies and misleading statements that marketers make. For example marketers advertise that, in affiliate marketing, no work is involved. That you can make money, without any effort, all you have to do, some might claim, is to push few buttons, and you will start making money. They have portrayed it as a get-rich-quick scheme.


These advertisements are deceitful, misleading, and outright lies. Those making such claims are doing so for their own selfish interest. What has been the result?


Based on these false claims, many come online with no desire and motivation to work, but yet expect to make money and be rich quickly. They come online with a false expectation and exaggerated view.


Marketers who make such outlandish claims, fail to realize that by their misleading and exaggerated claims, they are destroying the hopes, dreams and any chances of success of those who blindly accept their false statements.

One Has To Be Reasonable.

One has to be reasonable in this regard. Aspiring affiliate must realize that in the real world if you own a business, work has to be done, before you can make money and succeed. This is a simple and basic truth. You must not allow anyone else, to tell you anything otherwise.


Always remember, that affiliate marketing is a business like all the other millions of businesses. And one thing they all have in common, even though they might all be different, is that they all require work. Failure to work, your business will not survive.


So don’t allow yourself to be deceived by those making such false claims. You are being lied to. The intent of such ones, is to make money at the expense of others. This is an ugly truth of affiliate marketing.

Selling Dreams And Life Styles

Here is another ugly truth about affiliate marketing. In order to promote their programs and courses, some marketers resort to the deceptive practice of selling dreams and life styles. How do they do so?


They flaunt their so call material possession in front of the potential customer, by showing pictures of beautiful expensive sports cars, houses, boats and vacation trips in far away places.


They give the aspiring affiliate the impression that by buying their program, they too will be able to enjoy the life styles portrayed in the picture.


These marketers, shamefully fail to tell them that in order to be a successful affiliate, much work is involved. It is going to take devotion, determination, dedication and much sacrifice before success can be achieved. It is not going to happen overnight.

Many Good Programs/Courses

I am not in any way, saying that all marketers are dishonest. On the contrary, there are many successful affiliate marketers, who are making extremely good money online. They are doing so the proper and ethical way. They are transparent in what they do and say. These work very hard, because they are aware that success can only be achieved through hard work.


As mentioned, there are programs/courses out there that can really benefit you. They provide real value, and help you to not only have the proper mind set, but help you acquire the skills and training you need to succeed. You have to make the effort to diligently find such courses/programs, and avoid like a plague those that are useless, worthless and of no value.


Such programs/courses, will never contribute to your success, but are designed to separate you from your hard-earned money. The ugly truth of the matter, is that the Internet is saturated with such programs/courses.

You Might Not Make Money At All

As indicated in previous paragraphs, people come online, with the expressed purpose of making money online. However, the ugly truth about affiliate marketing, is that the majority are not making a single cent.


In an offline job, by trading your time and effort, you are at least guaranteed to receive a set amount every month. This however, is not the case with affiliate marketing, there are no such guarantees. There is the harsh possibility you might not make money for a whole year.


This is another reason, why the dropout rate is high in affiliate marketing. How so? When people who are accustomed to making income monthly on a job, now start seeing zero revenue coming in, this becomes unbearable, frustrating and discouraging for such ones, hence the end result is, they drop out. This is an ugly truth about affiliate marketing.

The Ugly Truth About Affiliate Marketing

Intense Competition, Ugly Truth About Affiliate Marketing

Another ugly truth about affiliate marketing, which you might have never been told, is how fierce the competition is. This intense competition has also been a contributing factor to the failure rate of affiliates.


To be able to succeed online, an affiliate must have an edge over the competitors. Sadly though, the majority who journey online, as entrepreneurs, lack the required skills, knowledge, training and tools that will equip them to compete effectively.


Such ones can be compared to a soldier who enters the battle field without, the proper training and equipment. He will easily become a casualty of the war. Won’t you agree?


Similarly, the same can be true of the many affiliates who enter the war zone of affiliate marketing without being trained. They quickly become victims of the fiercely competitive affiliate marketing business world.

Other Ugly Truths

As a result of the little control over affiliate activity, unscrupulous affiliates are using spam, false advertising and forced clicks to send suspicious traffic to their sponsors web page. By so doing, they receive credit for any purchase made by the user, without promoting the merchant.


Furthermore, there are affiliates who make the claim that they have a huge engaged social media following. But their claim might be far from the truth, because the so call audience might be fake.


In addition, the Internet or affiliate marketing is awash with scammers. There are different types scams in the field of affiliate marketing that one must be aware of. These are:


  • Get-rich quick schemes
  • Pyramid schemes
  • Phishing scams
  • Malware scams
  • Gift card scams
  • Fake review scams
  • Stolen account scam
  • Advanced fee scam


These are just but few of the ugly truths about affiliate marketing world that must be exposed

How Affiliate Marketing Can Survive

With all that has been said about the ugly truths of affiliate marketing, what does the future look like for this industry? Affiliate marketing which is like a magnet, will continue to attract masses of people online.


However, instead of just few people benefiting from the opportunities it provides, more should be helped to become successful affiliates.


Further, I feel that the reputation of the industry must be protected against unscrupulous, selfish and greedy elements.


The industry should either self-regulate itself or have an outside body to do so. With full authority to remove elements that are tarnishing and destroying the good name of the industry.


In this regard, aspiring affiliates must be of help as well. They should obligate themselves, not to fall for misleading and deceptive advertising made by marketers.


Be willing to adopt the proper mind set, that an online business requires hard work. When you refuse to listen to such lies, you are helping to put an end to these ugly truths about affiliate marketing.

Take Full Responsibility

In addition, you must take full responsibility for your own success. You should not adopt the view point, that you can come online and be successful in a business, without the proper training, tools and investing in yourself. It does not work that way.


So take the time to educate yourself, and acquire the necessary tools and skills needed. By taking such positive actions, you will join the ranks of those who are successfully running an online affiliate business


Finally, before you join any affiliate program, do your own due diligence by researching the company, to make sure it is a reputable company, the product is of high quality, and offers good training and support.


If you take your own responsibilities seriously, you will be contributing to the continued growth and prosperity of affiliate marketing for many years to come.


We have clearly seen that affiliate marketing is not only beneficial, but also a flourishing industry.


However, we mentioned that, even though it is thriving, yet it has ugly truths attached to it. Some of the ugly truths discussed are:


  • The failure rate, which stands at 95%. This is a very high figure.
  • Misleading statements, that you can make money without any work involved
  • Selling dreams and life styles, this gives people false hopes and expectations
  • Worthless programs and courses, that will not contribute to your success
  • You might not make money online
  • Intense contribution
  • Industry is saturated with spammers and scammers


In spite of these negatives, we indicated that the industry can survive, if the majority are helped to be successful affiliates. And the industry self -regulates itself or appoints an outside body to do so.


Such a body will be given full authority, to weed out the elements that are tarnishing and destroying the good reputation of the industry.

It was further stated that aspiring affiliates, must play a key role in this regard. How so? They should obligate themselves, not to succumb to misleading statements made by marketers. They must accept the fact that affiliate marketing is a business and should be treated as such.

Also, it was mentioned that before joining any program you research the company to make sure that it is a reputable company. Finally, it was made clear that, new affiliates must shoulder the full responsibly of educating themselves, and acquiring the necessary tools.

It is my hope dear reader, that you found this blog,”The Ugly Truth About Affiliate Marketing,” to be helpful. And I am convinced that, if you apply some or all of the points discussed, you will not only position yourself to be a successful affiliate, but you will also contribute to the continued growth, positive image and prosperity of affiliate marketing as an industry.

I am also requesting help from you. If you feel that I need to make improvements in any area of this blog, please leave me a comment or two. Furthermore, if you found this blog to be beneficial and helpful, I would appreciate it, if you can share it with others.





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