Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 26, 2010
I participate on a lot of industry forums where web designers, seo guys, AdWords campaign managers and other Internet service providers hang out and talk about a variety of topics. Year after year I see the same question come up where someone just getting started with one of these businesses is looking for a domain name affiliate program.
In case you’re not sure what an affiliate program is, it’s a way for you to become a virtual salesperson for someone else’s product or service. Meaning, you get paid sales commission whenever you make a sale but you don’t have to ship any product or do any support on the back-end.
If you have clients of any kind, you should be recommending a way to them register domain names. Many people use GoDaddy or Network Solutions or one of thousands of other domain name registrars, for example. Not all domain registrars have affiliate programs. Some do, but they have heft up-front charges or pay next to nothing commissions or are just plain shady somehow.
About every six months I poke around the web to find the latest and greatest domain registration affiliate program that might meet or exceed my stringent criteria of endorsement. And, every year, I come back to the same system I’ve used since 2003 and have recommended to who knows how many thousands of business owners, authors and speakers.
Here are my qualifiers of what I look for in an affiliate program for domain names:
Proof of Residual Payment – If I’m going to put my effort into promoting anything online, I want to be assured I’ll be paid for my efforts and I want my commissions to be automatically deposited into my bank account. And, I want those payments to be recurring by the month and year.
The one I use: Pays every month right into my bank account and every time a customer renews a domain name, I get another commission payment. These add up over time and every year those renewals just double! Never has a payment been missed; it’s always automatic and I can cross reference my payment with online reports down to the day of the transaction.
Proof of Domain Name Rights – I remember a client that had some hosting company in Australia that gave them a free domain name with their website hosting. After repeated downtimes, the client decided to change their hosting. Their Australian hosting company told them to go fly a kite! Any system I recommend to others has got to give the client rights to their own domain name.
The one I use: It is your domain name, registered in your name, controlled by you when you login to your own account.
Proof of Process – The system has to “work” and be easy to use by even my most non-technical clients. After all, the domain names will be registered in their names by them.
The one I use: Yeah, well, it has a bit much on the upselling attempt which might get a little in the way of usability for the customer, but even when the company upsells one of my referrals, I get even more commission for the sale.
Proof of 24/7 Support - Nothing is more irritating than having a domain name registrar company that only supports your domain names by email. There are just some times when you have to pick up the phone and call someone, y’know?
The one I use: When the support department answers the phone, the person on the other end is always English speaking and answers in the voice of the name I gave my domain name registration website, which is “U Own it Domains.”
Proof of Involvement – I want the affiliate system to allow me to be involved. If I recommend the domain name system for someone to register domains and then they do so, I might get a call someday with a question on the operation of the system. Say for example, the customer cannot get logged in and for whatever reason they don’t see the support phone number on the registrar’s website. They’re probably going to track me down and contact me as the recommender (yes, this has happened before). I need an administrative area where I can login as the affiliate and find that customer and at least get access to their customer number so I can help them get support. This demonstrates to the customer that I am involved in the process and the product. And, I will have a devoted domain registration customer for life as a result.
The one I use: I have a simple and secure login admin console to login to that gives me all kinds of reporting capability to help my customer when I need to.
Proof of Longevity – A new domain name company that just started up yesterday is not one I’m going to put my trust in being around next year. Most of my domain names I register for 5 years or more. I can’t afford to have some bigger company buyout some little registrar company I’ve signed up with only to have their entire process, back-end management area, support methods and pricing change on me mid-stream. It’s just not one of those things I want to worry about.
The one I use: GoDaddy uses the same technical backbone. Think of GoDaddy as a big giant affiliate for this company where the actual machinery is stored to make the domains happen. That’s some pretty big longevity factor there!
Proof of Protection – If someone is trying to steal my domain name, I want to know about it and I want to know that my registrar has protocols in place to identify when domain thieves are at work.
The one I use: You can hide your domain name identity from public view with some slightly higher paying costs for each domain and if anyone tries to steal your domain by transferring it, you will get email notices which you can de-authorize and keep the rights to the domain name.
Proof of Competitive Pricing – If I’m promoting someone’s domain registration system, I should get a discount on domains I want to buy for myself. Plus, people I refer to the system should see that my pricing is competitive too. Which brings me to my next point…
The one I use: Sure, there are systems promoting $3 domains now….but you have to get a hosting account with them or buy other services for a certain amount. Prices with my system are low enough to be competitive and stand on their own.
Proof of Partnership – As an affiliate, I need to be able to prove to my clients and people I recommend the system to that I am in affiliation with the domain registration company. The way that happens is by the affiliate company supplying a website and purchase process that has my name on it; a way for me to integrate my name and my message on their website. Think of it as “co-branding” where both the registrar and I share ownership in a website.
The one I use: Allows me to have a custom header image. So, I can add anything I want. My logo, my name, the affiliate company, whatever.
Proof of Customization – Finally, I need to be able to get into that website offered by the domain name affiliate host so that I can customize my message to people I’ve referred.
The one I use: Can customize many areas of the website and all of the pricing. Plenty of customization to allow me to make it my own for sure.
Proof of 2-Tier Affiliate Tracking – This seems to be a serious limitation of other registrar affiliate systems. Once I find an domain name affiliate system that accomplishes all of the proofs I need as listed above, I need to be able to recommend it to other service providers who might become affiliates too and get a commission from sales THEY generate. This is called “tier 2.”
The one I use: Gives me a completely separate website that I can customize to promote as an affiliate program. After I signed-up for the 2-tier affiliate level, called a Super Reseller, I was able to login to one area and get access to the control panels of both my main affiliate account and also my Super account.
“So, okay Marty, let the cat out of the bag already! What is the golden egg system you recommend?”
Well, first of all, let’s put it this way…
#1) If you’re looking for a great place to register domain names, I suggest BestDomainPlace.com.
This website is my affiliate website. So, when you buy domain names through it, yep, I’m going to get a commission from the sale. There are several reasons why I recommend this website to my clients for their domain name registration, but two additional important reasons are cost savings and control.
But, look at the “partnership” between the two companies, affiliate and affiliate system provider. It’s obvious that I’m promoting it and it’s obvious that there’s some other system that I personally endorse.
#2) If you’re looking for a domain name affiliate program to recommend to your own clients, go to BestResellerProgram.com and you will see the two options. Pick the one that is only $97 setup fee. I think they charge this amount just to weed-out those who are not really serious about promoting the system. To someone that has two or three small clients to recommend to will be totally turned off by a $97 affiliate price. But, heck, I make that back every year just by the “discounts” I get on the domain names I purchase for myself! Then, tack on the year after year residual income I get from my domain customers renewing their payments. It all adds up, I can tell you that for sure.
#3) Once that $179 pays for itself, you will want to tell other service providers (like I’m doing here) that an affiliate program for domain registrations exists. If you have contacts in the Internet marketing or business area (and who doesn’t these days??) consider signing-up for the higher level 2-tier affiliate recommender level for the $197 also found on the same page at BestResellerProgram.com.
And, once you do either of the 3, (sign-up to buy domains, sign-up as an affiliate, sign-up as a Super Reseller), be SURE to send an email to me at Marty@HereNextYear.com so that I can send you my personal checklist for a whole slew of tips for using these three tools.
So, there you go. My recommended process for evaluating domain name affiliate programs and my official recommendation for the system I use. Now go get signed-up and start referring this system to your clients! It just works.
Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 21, 2010
Whenever the economy goes downhill, every Internet marketing millionaire under the sun goes into hyper mode to devise the next great scheme to inspire people to get started making their millions on the Internet. I guess this product is always on the mind of Internet marketers…especially Internet marketers who make how-to Internet marketing products. But, I’m seeing even more new so-called “systems” being made available this month than the last 6 months combined.
Why? Because layoffs are still happening. People are getting more desperate than ever. And, the last holdouts, those who have scoffed the Internet for years are finally giving in, so to speak, and trying to figure out how to take the plunge and start making millions online.
The truth is, I don’t care what process or system you buy into. If you are new to the Internet, you are going to have to go through the wickets just like everyone else. You’re going to learn some things the hard way. You will attempt to learn some things on your own and get massively discouraged when things don’t quite work the way you planned…even if you follow their systems step-by-step. You’ll be scratching your head wondering why Internet marketing comes so easy to everyone but you.
You’re going to spend some money and see little or even no return. You will be tested to see if you have what it takes to persist.
How’s that for some Friday encouragement? Not very inspiring is it? Well, I’m just telling the truth. Whether you follow someone’s proven system or go it alone, nothing comes easy on the Internet or any other part of operating a business. Even the hotshots you’re getting emails from that want to tell you their stories of how they got started online and how non-technical they were and how they didn’t do any work or didn’t even have a computer…have gone through the wickets to get to where they are.
Some have made their millions faster, some slower. But all have three things in common, these are:
1. Crash and Burn – If you think every Internet marketer just came from some corporate job and one day, threw a YouTube video together in the backyard and made millions from it going viral, well think again. They’ve all had ideas that were tried but their hopes and dreams of immediate success just vanished before their very eyes. But, that didn’t stop them because they were….
2. Starving for Success – Every successful Internet marketer I know was so hungry and even starving for success that nothing stood in their way. If one thing didn’t work, they changed course and tried something else. They lived and breathed Internet marketing because making that success was more important than anything to them. The question, “How many hours of my day do I need to spend on (fill in the blank)?” NEVER entered their minds!
The crash and burn experience and their starvation for success wasn’t enough either though. They needed one more thing…
3. Charisma – You’ve seen the speakers on-stage with their jokes, stories and sales pitches that you just can’t say no to. Many Internet marketers do not have that kind of charisma, but some have charisma in what they write. Or, they have charisma in how they participate on social networks. Some simply have more of a psychological or scholastic charisma in that they have a knack for looking at statistics and predicting what kinds of promotions people online might respond to.
One of my former clients who went off on his own makes $50K a month online doing just that. No speaking gigs. No books written. Just has a knack for looking at stats and promoting affiliate products online.
So, my point is that you should beware of falling prey to the get started online pitches you’re hearing about because most of them know first-hand that most people will not have the experience, the starvation or the charisma to work through their systems and methods. But, they also know you’re not going to ask for a refund either. They’ll gladly take your money though!
If you do buy into any Internet marketing educational products, be easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t “get it” or discover it’s more work than you thought. Because any process to make a dime online will be a process and something to achieve over time. Enter into the process with that in mind and you will have peace of mind and accurate expectations.
So, What CAN You Do to Get Started On the Internet?
If you have a few bucks to spend, I suggest buying my book, Web Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. They tell me it’s on shelves in bookstores around the world. My portion is the first 190 pages or so.
Then, head over to facebook and “Like” my facebook page that I’ve setup where we discuss all kinds of different Internet marketing related topics.
If you’re really strapped for cash, you should at least sign-up to be on my main email list. When you sign-up, you’ll get immediate access to my new whitepaper that describes the 6 steps of the A.C.T.I.O.N. process, a step-by-step guide for starting online or taking your business to new levels using the Internet.
Finally, I’ll just close this blog post by saying, getting started online is no overnight process. You’re going to need to really focus on this and make the commitment to persevere for an entire year. Make it a part of your life and your lifestyle. That’s when you will start to see the rewards. Let me know if I can help along the way. Good luck!
Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 11, 2010
Whenever I give a workshop and start talking about selling on Facebook, someone eventually raises their hand and comments, “I thought if I try to sell something on Facebook that they would shut me down.” If you try to blatently spam your followers like crazy from your main Facebook account, then sure, you run the possibility of Facebook blocking your account.
But Levis are selling on Facebook just fine according to DMNews, where they talked about how Levis has made a page for their pants and are building quite the following as a result of their Facebook page promotions.
You don’t have to be Levis to sell product through Facebook. You just need to create individual Facebook “pages” for the product you’re wanting to promote and do all your promotions through those pages.
Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 5, 2010
Zakary Barron is doing a great job presenting best practices of email marketing. Focus on email marketing is a great follow-up to what I was presenting to the group, which was social networking on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.
1. Email is not dead: Proof: Didn’t you check your email this morning?
2. What are your goals?
3. Your welcome email is gold! Include your logo, salutation, welcome sentence, privacy reinforcement
4. Keep your list current
5. Provide link so people can change their profile
6. Ask for feedback
7. Survey customers to understand interests then target messages & offerings
8. Expect 15-30 open rates for emails sent out
Zakary told me our workshop was closed off to registration at 120. We had a couple of walk-ins that we managed to squeeze in, but we’re definitely going to do this again. Zak says there were 40 on a waiting list. So if you missed it, look for another workshop day to be scheduled soon! Great job Zak!