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Affiliate Marketing Future Goldmine: Africa?

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Affiliate marketing is getting crowded. The good old days when this land of milk and honey was an unsettled wilderness are gone--unless you're talking about affiliate marketing in Africa. In that case, you're looking at a wide open field and maybe, just maybe, a future goldmine.

"Africa?! Ha! Yeah, that'll be the day."

Yes, it will be the day. It will the day some affiliate marketers get extremely rich and others completely miss the boat. Before you dismiss affiliate marketing in Africa as absurd, take a moment to read up on why we wouldn't recommend such a flippant attitude.

Affiliate Marketing and "The Third Billion"

It goes without saying that many parts of Africa are afflicted with crushing poverty. However, as Sam Walton will tell you, poor people buy stuff, too.

Very soon, millions of Africans will begin buying stuff online. The technology is being put in place. According to reports, the number of Africans who have broadband access will quadruple within the next three years, to 12.7 million in 2012. In the meantime, 80 million Africans are using their cell phones for applications such as text messaging, video games, and banking.

Currently, there are approximately two billion consumers in the world. As Africa comes online via the Internet, that number is going to go to three billion--and fast. Already, scholars and economists are debating what this "Third Billion" will mean to the global economy.

As an affiliate marketer, you may want to debate what this Third Billion will mean to the local economy known as your bank account.

Trust Is a Must

As anyone who's ever dealt with one of these Nigerian email scammers can attest to, the Internet and Africa have done some highly disreputable things while hanging out together.

But we all do dumb things when we're young. And with the exception of South Africa, most of Africa is in its Internet infancy. The mechanisms to create and maintain trust on the Internet--peer review, blacklisting of known offenders, SSL encryption--aren't built up yet.

Over time, though, trust will inevitably grow. How can we claim this? What's your guarantee that Nigerian email scams won't eternally be the only African Internet export?

Your guarantee is simple: follow the money. There's a lot more money to be made if Africa and the Internet can get their act together than if not. Bet with the house--on trust growing.

Cell Phone-Based, Price Sensitive

Two other things to think about when thinking about affiliate marketing in Africa:

One, much e-commerce in Africa will be done on mobile phones rather than PC or Mac. This makes "low wattage" affiliate marketing such as text links a better fit for African affiliate marketing campaigns than rich media offerings like video and audio.

Two, the vast majority of Africans can't afford to pay $99 for an ebook about African affiliate marketing. Instead, sell the ebook for a dollar and ask the customer to tell ten friends.

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