It’s called Affiliate Marketing and in a nut shell, it’s the monetization of word of mouth recommendations of products and services.
Yup, good ole Affiliate Marketing. It’s basically telling people “hey I like this cool thing. Check this cool thing out.” It’s sharing products/services and getting paid for it. That’s all.
Some of you may have never heard of this before and didn’t know it was even possible to make money that way, while some of you may have, but maybe felt intimidated by the fancy words (Don’t worry I have Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia too; the fear of long words), and too lazy to deal with it. Or maybe you already are an affiliate marketer yourself and just want a lazier/easier way to do it.
It’s sort of like how a cashier nowadays is called a “Point of Sales Associate” or a waiter/waitress is called a “Culinary Customer Service Specialist”
Every title is embellished nowadays, in this “work hard” society; a lot in our language is over the top, to make seem so complex and unattainable.
But it’s frankly, quite easy. Let’s simplify it, take it easy, and digest it slowly.
First, let’s look at just how common UN-monetized Affiliate marketing is. It’s in our every day little chats we have.
Pay attention to the conversations of what your friends, family, and people in general out in public for that matter, are talking about. Chances are the conversation will almost always have somebody recommend a product or service at SOME point-- whether it’s an exciting new first person shooter, an action packed character-driven movie, the delicious new Italian restaurant down the street the or whatever, chances are somebody will bring up something that s/he purchased and recommends.
I mean if you even look at what people post about on social media. It’s the movies they watch, the games the play, the places of vacation they traveled to. And maybe some political arguments sprinkled in. But people are generally talking about what they buy all the time.
You’ve probably even done it yourself. Maybe you just got a new sound system and someone says “Wow that sounds amazing" then asks where you got it or maybe you just had the coolest vacation out on an island resort no one has heard about and you feel the urge to tell people about the trip.
It makes sense to start making money off something you’re going to be doing anyway. That’s the Lazy Mindset method -- monetizing what you already do so you don’t have to work and do more. Do less with more strategy behind it.
The way it works is you join what’s called an Affiliate Program for the website/brand you are going to recommend products for. Once you get all signed up, you’ll get your own Affiliate Link. This is a magical little link that when clicked on and a purchase is made through said link, you make a commission based off the total sale price.
While you do make commission, it’s not exactly “sales” because you aren’t really “selling” anything, not in the traditional sense of being a door to door salesman and booking clients sense anyway. You are telling people about a product or service that they may be interested in and may find useful or entertaining. You are just giving a review, a small recommendation, you’re spilling your thoughts about something you’ve tried and enjoy. Easy, lazy, no big deal.
You can pretty much find an affiliate program anywhere. If you go to a brand’s website, literally almost every single store on the Interwebs, has some sort of affiliate program you can join. Heck, even Wal-Mart and Amazon have one.
Now Affiliate Marketing has been around since the early 90s, so this is nothing new, but recently it’s become easier than ever before thanks to a new app I’m going to talk about in a minute, but first I want to dive in deeper on how Affiliate Marketing has worked up until this point.
As I said, you suggest products/services and people buy them, but there’s only so much you can earn by telling your friends/family, not to mention many Affiliate Programs won’t even get you approved until you have a certain audience size. That’s where finding a niche and building an audience comes in. You can write about video games, for example, review games and hardware then include an affiliate link of the game or system you’re talking about in your posts.
Similarly, you could write about crypto mining and affiliate link to mining gear or new coins.
Finding an affiliate program for your niche is as simple as going to Google and typing in “[blank] affiliate”. You could do golf, board games, cooking, photography, writing, hiking, dance, literally anything that exists, there’s an affiliate program for it.
Consider it Rule 34 and a half of the Internet.
See when you build an audience that trusts your word (and your recommendations for that matter), they are likely to purchase things using your affiliate link, especially when they not only trust you as a person, but also have an interest in whatever product you’re talking about/linking to to begin with. The product/service you offer as an affiliate must be congruent with your niche and audience, of course.
You wouldn’t, for example, link to a sewing kit Affiliate Link if you’re writing about AR technology; that just doesn’t connect with the content or your audience.
The Affiliate Link MUST be appropriate for the audience, otherwise you probably won’t make any sales.
But anyway, building an audience within your niche and creating content for them -- that’s whole other topic entirely.
You look at big “social media influencers’ and this is essentially what they’re paid to do: recommend products to their friends, family and most importantly, fans. But these guys (and gals) had to build up a large following before starting Affiliate Marketing. The fact is: Affiliate Programs usually require you to have “influence” over a lot of people before they will even consider LOOKING AT your application.
This large audience requirement, has, up until this point made the entry level into Affiliate Marketing quite tremendous (which again we’ll cover how that has changed briefly).
The other thing that placed a limitation on streamlining Affiliate Marketing and doing it effectively is the fact that there was not one portal or hub to keep track of all your affiliate earnings, no “catch-all” mechanism.
You had to create a separate, individual account for each and every website then login, look
There are apps out there like ClickMeter and myDash that allow you to track your clicks and income in one spot, but in order to sign up for each program to begin with, you had to do that manually as well as in order to WITHDRAW your earnings and well, actually get paid in Affiliate Marketing, you still need to login to each individual account. It’s too much of a hassle. Also a lot of these Affiliate Marketing tracking services are paid services and require a monthly payment; money, I’d rather save.
But now you can signup, track your clicks, earnings, and withdraw all in one single Lazy mastermind’s Dashboard with this app called Wildlink all for free.
(And no, unfortunately for Zelda fans, it's not Link from Breath of the Wild.)
In the same vein as iTunes brought online music to the mainstream, Wildlink brings Affiliate Marketing to the mainstream(or at least has the potential to if this picks up, which I imagine it will).
Prior to the release of Wildlink, you HAD to be a Marketing Geek just like prior to the release of iTunes you HAD to be a computer geek and/or audiophile to download digital music.
Wildlink enters the playing field with a crazy new set of rules.
All you do is download the app and register and that’s it: you’re an affiliate for over 20,000 stores, including WalMart, Kohl’s, GameStop, Target, Sephora, BestBuy, Trip Advisor, StubHub, Groupon, man the list goes on and on.
No need to register for each individual store. No applications. No Excel spreadsheets.
And I mean even as an affiliate marketer myself, I may be a part of a few programs but definitely not thousands upon thousands of them. This is a MASSIVE jump start in Affiliate Marketing, and it requires NO website, NO blog, NO podcast. NO YouTube or Twitch channel.
Just an e-mail address, device, and phone number and that’s it, you’re good to go within minutes
(It’s important to note that you do need a text verification, which may be a deal breaker for some)
Even the best and the brightest of Affiliate Marketers are certainly not registered for one thousand, yet alone twenty thousand different programs. The access to variety is unreal and unmatched.
Once the app installed on your iOS/Android smart phone or Windows/Mac computer (and you register/sign up for a free account), any time you copy a link in your browser from one of the thousands of stores, Wildlink will AUTOMATICALLY convert that link into an affiliate link. You don’t have to rummage through your bookmarks to find it, like old school Affiliate Marketing. It’s a lazy way to start affiliate marketing. Any purchase made through that Wildlink you share earns you credit in your account.
This is convenient and lazy, but also “forced” and unavoidable because just in case for whatever reason you don’t want to copy an affiliate link, there’s no toggle button to turn it off, unless you uninstall the app then reinstall it, but no one wants to deal with that nonsense. It will convert links that aren’t even affiliate links, like forum or blog posts and that can be quite annoying. Not only annoying, but think about it: they’re tracking every link you copy to your clipboard.
You can also browse through dozens of categories directly through the app: fashion, travel, garden, health, etc.
The HUGE down side of Wildlink is that they are basically offering you a SHARED commission. So rather than eating the full piece of pie for yourself, you have to split it with Wildlink, which according to their terms of service they are “subject to change" at any time. There’s no transparency in how much you are earning versus how much they are taking, which is a little sketchy to be honest; I prefer open communication, especially when they’re asking me to be so open about my information but we’ll get to that later. They do provide a tiny little payout rating (1-3 coins) underneath each listing, with the higher rating being the larger payout, but it doesn't provide any specific numbers.
I bet you a bunch of affiliate marketers and programmers are just about kicking themselves in the butt right now wishing they had thought of this simple yet intelligent idea. I mean this is absolute Lazy Mastermind material right here at its very core.
Don’t feel like making or selling a product? Start Affiliate Marketing.
Don’t feel like doing the actual marketing? Get other people to do it for you.
The other down side is that the minimum cash out is $20, but depletes if you account is inactive. In other words, they keep your money if you don’t hit the cash out minimum. Most people, to be honest, probably won’t hit that.
Typically, a big brand affiliate store program will pay you a commission of around 2-5% (some services and products with affiliate programs offer a much higher commission, like up to 50%,, but usually the larger brands are in the low single digit numbers)
Since Wildlink is taking a cut of the commission, it will take upwards to $2000+ worth of affiliate sales to reach cash out. That’s an awful large threshold, especially for their target audience of the general public, who are likely just sharing with their family and friends, and not their readers, viewers and listeners to cap out on.
They’re no doubt banking on the possibility of people selling a product via their affiliate link, then leaving their account inactive for some time so they can scoop up the commissions s/he earned.
I really think they should lower the cash out threshold to like $5 or something, but like I said, it’s probably not going to happen because it’s literally part of their profit model. They basically get a bunch of people (thousands of users) to promote THEIR affiliate link for THEM and make money off other people’s promotions, marketing, and sales. A little shady if you ask me.
From the Affiliate Marketer perspective, this is absolute genius -- get people to mass share your own affiliate link and share the scraps.
Ironically, in this Affiliateception concept that Wildlink created, they don’t have THEIR OWN Affiliate program. In other words, I can’t give you an affiliate link to sign up under and earn a a part of your commission; likely so they can keep the profits for themselves.
Also there’s a bit of a privacy concern: you must share ALL your messages, texts, images, audio, and video with them. Every single link you copy is shared with them, even if its not a aprt of their affiliate program list. It seems quite ironic that a company asking me to share all my content with them won’t share with me how much of a cut they are taking out of my total affiliate sales. It’s hard for me to build a trusted relationship with someone that expects full disclosure from me but keeps their secrets.
If you sign up individually for your own Affiliate Link (not through Wildlink), you don't have to share everything. I mean you might have to share some information (billing address, social security to get taxed and paid, etc) but they’re not going to look at your text messages and everything else in your phone or computer.
This is targeted at the large mainstream audience though, and just look at what Facebook is doing with their sketchy invasion of privacy, and people’s continued use of the platform despite FB’s shady behavior. Also, look at Equifax that had half of Americans’ financial and private information leaked -- the company recovered its price on the stock market and people continue to use their service today. They’re job was literally to protect and store people’s data and they failed to do so. They should be out of business! I digress, but these two anecdotes highlight an import fact: If the service is something people use and like, privacy is no concern to them. So Wildlink probably doesn’t have to worry too much about people bailing out from their service due to privacy concerns, but it’s something you should definitely keep in mind when deciding whether or not to jump on board.
For serious online marketers, I don’t think its worth the privacy risk or the lower profits. For the average procrastinator, or just someone starting out, though, I think Wildlink is a good spring board to launch off into the world of Affiliate Marketing. Like I said, acccess to over 20,000 affiliate programs in one click is just mind blowing! But I probably wouldn’t stick with it in the long run. Using Wildlink would be good opportunity to take a specific program out for a test drive and see what kind of sales you can get, without having to go through the whole process of filling out an application, waiting for approval, etc. You can test a mass amount of affiliate stores and stick to the ones you like (the ones that are most profitable) by opening your own affiliate account with those specific stores. Wildlink can be used to save a lot of time testing out different affiliate programs without having to take the time to fill out forms and register for each one separately; it’s all under one account: your Wildlink account.
While I am tempted to remain active with Wildlink because of just how much it allows me to embrace my laziness; I mean it really takes away a lot of the work flow involved with affiliate marketing, not that affiliate marketing is much work to begin with, I can’t ignore the elephant in the room, which is the fact that they are tracking my every move and that I have absolutely no control over the negotiation of how much of the cut I’m getting paid. Do they lower my profits when they see I’m making a lot of affiliate sales form their links? Are they going to be sending me spam texts and e-mails based on my browsing history?
I don’t know but they certainly could.
Overall, I’d give the Wildlink app a Procrastin 5/8 score.
P.S. If you are getting into Affilaite Marketing be sure to mention that the link you post, wherever you post it, is an affiliate link and you make a commission from sales via that link.
It’s actually legally required by the FTC to do so, so yeah let’s not be criminals here.
Also, you can’t make purchases yourself through your own affiliate links. No cheating.