325 Seven Things Podcasters Need To Know About Affiliate Marketing

by Cliff Ravenscraft on September 12, 2013


sksLet’s Talk Affiiliate Marketing
In this week’s episode I am joined by my great friend, Mark Mason, from the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast. A majority of this week’s show is focused on things that podcasters should know when it comes to affiliate marketing. (This Topic Starts at 00:12:34)

The seven things we cover in our discussion:
1. What is affiliate marketing?
2. Why is affiliate marketing great for podcasters?
3. What products should I promote?
4. There are products that match your niche.
5. You must disclose.
6. Beautify and simplify (redirect) your links.
7. Affiliate marketing is a math problem.

Personal Plug of The Week
This week’s personal plug of the week goes out to Jeff Brown of the Read To Lead Podcast. Jeff believes that intentional and consistent reading is key to success in business and in life. Each episode features a conversation with a successful and inspiring nonfiction author. Authors discuss their latest book and their unique perspectives on Leadership, Personal Development, Business, Marketing, Career and Entrepreneurship. If you check out his show and like it, please be sure to tell him that you heard about him from The Podcast Answer Man.

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Upcoming Event Schedule
220calOne of my favorite things about traveling to, and speaking at conferences, is meeting members of my community. I always make it a point to host a community meetup wherever I travel.

Below is a list of events that you might be interested in. If you can make it to any of these events, I’d love to have the opportunity to meet you. If you are not able to attend the event, but are in that area, I’d still love for you to come to the personal community meetup that I will host in that town.

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Blue Host Affiliate Signup
BlueHostI want to send out a special word of thanks to the folks behind the following domains that were used to create a new hosting account with BlueHost with my Blue Host affiliate link recently. As you know, I earn a commission each time someone clicks through my link to sign up with Blue Host. So thank you!

Accounts that were created recently:

- http://ASplendidTime.com
- http://ListenWhenITalkRadio.com
- http://TVNursesTalk.com

Note: The fact that I have linked to these accounts is only to acknowledge that these folks have used my affiliate link to create a hosting account with BlueHost. These links are not an endorsement of any content that may be posted to these sites. If you ever recognize content blatantly offensive at any of these links, please let me know and I will be sure to evaluate and consider if the link should be removed from this post. These accounts are all brand new and may not be active yet. Also, it is possible that some of these domains were previously owned and may not have been transferred to BlueHost just yet.

Free Month of Media Hosting With Libsyn!
Because of all the years of sending clients to sign up for accounts with Libsyn, they have created an affilate program only given to a hand selected group of podcasting experts. I’m delighted that I am now able to offer your ONE MONTH FREE when you sign up for a new account with Libsyn. Simply use promo code GSPN when you sign up! For my complete thoughts on podcast hosting, click here.

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I do enjoy your show but really got upset by Mark unthinkable comment of calling out Nigerian thugs trying to scam. Am a Nigerian who have been listening to your show for over nine months and really felt disturbed at that comment.  Every single country have the good, bad and ugly, for him to single out Nigeria as a country is huge disrespect to the over 160 million Nigerians and a lot of entrepreneurs like myself who are making a difference. I know this comment may have come in late and that's because I was listening to the back episodes and catching up when I heard that comment.

Really sad :(


Cliff, I'm so glad you guys are talking about affiliate marketing. I have an important question I've not been able to get a clear answer to. About a year and a half ago I tried to set up an affiliate relationship with Amazon and CBD (Christian Book Distributors). I was informed that neither one did business in Illinois because it is a Nexus State. That is, there's a complicated tax system set up (that not all states have) designed to tax internet sales. So is that it? Does ANYONE do affiliate marketing in Illinois or any other Nexus State? If so, how is it set up? How does one find out? It's all pretty confusing. I can't believe that no one participates in affiliate marketing in Illinois. It makes me want to move a half hour north to Wisconsin!  Eric Walker


Thanks for the awesome educational content on affiliate marketing. Very helpful. This truly is Podcast University. Cheers and Gd's continued blessings--Ernie Lansford.


Excited to hear how well Derek Olsen and you connected at the Speak It Forward Boot Camp. How cool is that?!

Also, I'm jealous. If I knew Andy Traub, Jared Easley, and you were going to be up in Nashville this weekend, I would have crashed the party myself. 

Keep serving and leading with excellence, Cliff. You are the real deal!


Thursday afternoon release AWESOME!  

Cliff, I would guess that several hundred of your followers/fans check your website each and every Thursday afternoon looking for this weeks new PAM podcast. 

Christopher Hawkins
Christopher Hawkins

I've been terrified to touch affiliate marketing, but...this is food for thought.  


Hey Cliff.  It was a real pleasure to be on the show today.  Thanks so much for having me.  Have a safe trip to TN later today.



@IllohIfeoma  Hello Ola;

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

First, let me say that I am very sorry that I offended you.  I certainly did not intend to do that.  I understand why you are offended, and I regret being the cause.

I have often said that podcasters have a "responsibility" to be careful about the language that they use.  To me, this has always meant being responsible not only for what I intend to say, but also what I ACTUALLY say.  I try to be completely honest but fair and fact-based.  

But sometimes, I say things that hurt people's feelings.  I personally hate that.

In this case, I certainly did not say (or intend to communicate) that all Nigerians are thugs.  There are Nigerian thugs, and there are American thugs (and some of those American Thugs live in Kentucky close to Cliff I bet).   So please understand that I don't think people from Nigeria are thugs.

The reason that I (perhaps unfairly) singled out Nigeria is that  I have personally dealt with many (perhaps more than 10) instances of credit card fraud in my business originating from Nigeria.  That, combined with the constant barrage of phishing spam I get claiming to be from Nigeria, caused me to refer to "Nigerian thugs".

That's not an excuse -- I just wanted you to understand where I was coming from and what I meant.  If I were from Nigeria, this comment would bother me too.  The comment is a bit insensitive.

Clearly, most Nigerians are wonderful.  Most people in the world are in fact wonderful.

Hope that helps -- and in the future I will try to be more careful.

Best regards,


Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

@IllohIfeoma  Ola, I'm very sorry that this statement offended you.  I can certainly understand your point of view on this matter and I certainly sympathise with it.

Here in the states, the number of emails that we receive from someone claiming to be a Nigerian Prince (or other 419 Scams From Nigeria) in a scheme to get an average person to send them money is staggering.

Have a look at this WikiPedia Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/419_scams.

These types of scams are certainly happening in many other countries.  However, even the "name that we use for this type of crime is associated with Nigeria.   The number "419" refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud."

I have not gone back and listened to Mark's actual statement.  However, Mark and are very close friends and I feel that I know this man's heart and I don't think he meant the comment in the way that you are taking it.  

From my perspective, he was calling out the "Nigerian Thugs" who "send out do the "Nigerian Scam Email Appeals" and was not at all a reflection of all people who use social media or have legitimate online businesses from Nigeria.

I have often stated that I am not a fan of "Sleazy Internet Marketers."  The reality is that I am an internet marketer myself.   When I use the term "sleazy internet marketer" I am referring to a definite stereotype for which my target audience will immediately relate to.  

My audience knows that when I use the term "sleazy internet marketer," I am referring to internet marketers who use GUILT, SEDUCTION, and MANIPULATION to get you to buy their stuff.  Furthermore, these types of markets are usually only concerned about how much money they can squeeze out of you and to them, you are nothing more than a "number" in their formula for a well optimized sales funnel.

I suppose that when I use the term "sleaszy internet marketers" most people who have online businesses with optimized sales funnels could be offended by my using such language.

However, the reality is that this phrase is not meant to include those who do market their products and services online who have a high level of integrity and who genuinely are concerned about making sure that those who purchase the products and services get equal or greater value than what they paid for them.

Ola, I have enjoyed the few exchanges that we have have had via email since September.   I am very sorry that you found Mark's comment offensive.  If I ever hear the phrase "Nigerian Thugs" ever come up again, I can assure that I will make it a point to clarify that we are referring only to those who attempt to pull off these email scams in an attempt to defraud people and that these people are not even close to a representation of the more than 160 Million fine Nigerian people.

I ask you to forgive me for not making such a clarification in this episode.

Very Sincerely,


Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

@ewrockford Eric,  I am delighted to see that Mark has responded to this for you.  He is certainly more involved in this than I am.  You can be sure that he knows his stuff.   If you are not 100% confident, I recommend seeking the advice of a tax professional in your state.


@ewrockford Hey Eric.  Glad you enjoyed the show.

I'm neither a tax attorney or a resident of Illinois, but I will tell you what I think is true.  As with all legal/tax matters, you should consult a professional before making any business decisions.

The term "Nexus" essentially means "connection."  Illinois is basically claiming that Amazon has a "connection" in Illinois (like a physical presence) and therefore must pay state taxes just like Best Buy or Target.  The argument is that has an unfair advantage over  physical retailers in the state that must collect and pay state sales tax.   But the truth probably is that the state needs the money.

By the way, John Cullerton (a democrat from Chicago) was the champion for this in Illinois two years ago as I understand it.  After this law was enacted, business left Illinois and the law is generally considered a total failure.

This has been a terribly difficult issue for affiliates across the country.  Amazon is playing hard-ball with state governments.  Amazon's position (as I understand it) is essentially that interstate sales taxes are unconstitutional, and they are closing their affiliate programs in states with an internet tax as a way to put pressure back on state governments to reconsider.  Angry affiliates end up complaining to their state representatives (mostly to no avail so far).

My understanding is that Minnesota and Missouri were the latest states to "fall victim" to this over the summer.

In Texas, we have not had to deal with this as our entire state government posture is to be "business friendly" (to an extreme).   Amazon actually has physical distribution centers here (at least they did -- not sure current status) and reached an agreement to collect Texas state taxes (thereby protecting Texas affiliates like me).

Amazon has been pushing for Federal legislation that would make taxes uniform across the US ....in the Minnesota case, they sent affiliates the following statement...

While we oppose this unconstitutional state legislation, we strongly support the federal Marketplace Fairness Act now pending before Congress. Congressional legislation is the only way to create a simplified, constitutional framework to resolve interstate sales tax issues and it would allow us to re-open our Associates program to Minnesota residents.

Amazon and some others are playing hard ball.  But that is not the only choice.  There are affiliate programs that work just fine in Illinois -- they just collect sales tax.  

My understanding (this is NOT LEGAL/TAX advice) is that you can form an LLC in Delaware and get around all of this.  Again, my understanding is that this can be done on LegalZoom for under $200.  I have not done this, and I would certainly do more research before taking action.

Hope that helps.



Typo Cheers and GOD's continued blessings... Crazy virtual KB ;). EL

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

@KentJulian Thanks Kent.  I was going to email you and send you a link to this episode so you could hear that story.  Don't feel bad, I just made the decision to come here on Wednesday afternoon. ;)  Looking forward to when our paths will cross again.

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

@akaTGIF  They do.  If my show notes are delayed until Friday, I hear about it. :)  It feels so good to know that people look forward to what you have to say.  #Blessed


@Christopher Hawkins I am very interested to hear why.  I'd love to try to answer any questions that you have.  Maybe I can move you from terrified --> simply afraid.  LOL   

Seriously, do you have any questions/concerns that I can address right here in the comments?

Thanks for your comment -- 


Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

@masonworld @IllohIfeoma  Can I just say that I'm incredibly thankful for the honor of knowing you both?  I love the community that is built around podcasts such as this.  Let's all take this experience as a way of helping us take what we do to the next level.


@ewrockford I should have also said that Amazon is not just canceling the affiliate programs to put pressure on state governments.  Canceling the affiliate program also deals with the argument that some states make that it's the AFFILIATES that give Amazon a "presence" in the state.  So, Amazon says, "Fine -- we'll fire them".  In the case of Illinois, this resulted in CouponCabin and FatWallet actually packing up and leaving the state.  It also resulted in Amazon and Overstock killing their affiliate programs.  The tax money that the Illinois legislature expected never appeared from what I hear in the press.   Mark


@Erniejazz I'me really glad you enjoyed it too.  It's really fun for me to be on Cliff's show.  I have a ton of respect for him (and the way he runs his business/life).  Mark

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

@Erniejazz Thanks Ernie.  Glad you enjoyed the episode.  Will have Mark on board in a few more weeks out.  We will then discuss some great ideas on how to market affiliate products.


@Cliff Ravenscraft @akaTGIF  - I could see you hosting a nationally syndicated radio show "The New Media Answer Man."  Record a few pilot episodes and secure your booking agent and Cliff is now Leo Laporte's competitor.  haha!  

Christopher Hawkins
Christopher Hawkins

@masonworld @Christopher Hawkins 

I don't know that there's anything you can address directly.  My podcast is an informational (but not calendar-topical) one, meant to impart actionable knowledge for software developers and web designers looking to launch their own software products.

Amongst that crowd, there's a real concern that if I start putting affiliate links in my show notes (when I mention a book on the show and then leave an Amazon link in the show notes, for example), the reaction will be "Wait a minute - I thought you were trying to provide legit value, but you're just MARKETING to us, aren't you!".  

I don't want to introduce something that would even potentially give the appearance of a conflict of interest, or that my reasons for producing the show are anything other than stated.  It just seems like the risk of damaging credibility with affiliate links is not worth the potential upside of making a few dollars.

Perhaps this isn't a concern with other shows.  But in my experience, tons of software developer types are naturally suspicious of marketing in general, and I don't want to poison my show.


@akaTGIF  @Cliff Ravenscraft Or possibly "Nude Media Answer Man" which would be very different and much more controversial.   No idea where that came from.  I need more sleep.


@Christopher Hawkins @masonworld 

Well, there is always something to address directly....LOL

So, I totally get the idea that you want to make sure that people understand that you are trying to help them and that your show is not about the money.

But the fact of the matter is that your time is worth a lot of money, the show costs money to produce and deliver, and the content is worth lots of money.  Most programmers have spent thousands of dollars getting trained (I know that I have over the years) and hundreds buying software and books.  

Also, most programmers expect to create products that people pay for.

So, the idea that you should not make money from your show is not valid -- but that does not mean that your comments aren't equally valid.  In fact, I completely understand what you are saying, and I agree that the last thing you want to do is alienate your audience.

So, I recommend you start soft.  Two suggestions.  

One:  Use language like "if you would like to support the show, please feel free to use my affiliate link";  "know that if you buy through my link that I get a commission and that money is used to support the show."

Two:  Offer two links.  If you'd like to support the show, i've provided an affiliate link -- but if you prefer I have also provided a non-affiliate link because I never want you to think that any of this is about the money.

Hope that helps in some small way.


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