When I first started out in affiliate marketing I sucked up information like a sponge – I wanted to learn everything I could about the business. Unfortunately at the time there were a number of people who preyed on people such as me, they always had so-called secrets to sell, the answers to being successful without much effort, and there were plenty of courses that promised far more than they could possibly deliver.
At the beginning of 2011 there were hordes of these guys who would tell you anything to get your money, and if you had followed some of their advice, today you might be the owner of hundreds of worthless affiliate sites with few visitors and even fewer sales. You may have even had your Google Adsense account suspended indefinitely.
It was fascinating to watch my favorite marketing forum shortly after the major Panda algorithm change at the beginning of 2011. People who had “thin” sites offering little in the way of information that may have attracted some traffic via organic search suddenly found they were dead in the water. I really wanted to say “I told you so”.
Google has always made it quite clear what they want and that’s informative and useful websites that are built to attract visitors rather than bots. They want quality, not an information highway that at the time was rapidly becoming rather like an online yard sale.
Some gurus at this point simply changed tactics and quickly rolled out quick fixes for getting around Google’s stipulations. Many of them are still at it, some continue pitching the idea that spinning articles is a good idea and that splattering them all over the internet will actually serve some kind of purpose. Their mantra is that the key to high page ranking is largely based on getting backlinks and they touted every devious or “easy” way to get those backlinks, if you only sent them $37.
Recently Matt Cutts mentioned in a YouTube video that Google has started taking much closer notice of traffic generated to sites via social media. The proverbial thumbs up from real human beings – wow doesn’t that make sense?
Along came the spiders and again things are beginning to change online. Page ranking is probably going to be the next thing that disappears, along with the weight that backlinks have carried for so long. It actually makes a lot more sense – it’s easy to pay somebody else to build backlinks, but it’s far more difficult to build real relationships on social media sites if it’s not you that’s doing all the work.
Many of the “guru” products that I mentioned above were sold through ClickBank, and lots of people looked upon the company itself as being the problem. The real problem was the large number of those opportunists who were selling their dubious/worthless products there.
Much to ClickBank’s credit they realized the problem and changed many of their rules and terms of service. These changes are specifically aimed at products that under-deliver, contain more than one upsell and basically leave the customer angry and disappointed, not to mention the amount of refunds that ClickBank had to process as a result. To their credit they have always processed refunds without any questions asked, and no one should blame them for striving to protect their reputation.
So now we have a definite improvement of quality on the internet thanks to the Panda algorithm change, Google is trying its best to provide the everyday internet user with a good quality experience. Those people who want to pursue an affiliate or internet marketing business can now feel a little more confident that they’re only going to be offered quality digital products on ClickBank that they can use or offer their customers without fear of damaging their reputation.
Have there been any changes that you’ve seen in 2011 that have made a big difference to the way you run your business or use the internet? We welcome your comments.