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Affiliate Marketing: Lessons from Publishers Past

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As a webmaster who practices affiliate marketing, you may not view yourself as a publisher; that appellation may seem strange, even far-fetched. But publisher you are. You create (or hire other people to create) content, and then you sell advertisements that appear along with that content.

That's publishing, and you're doing it.

As a publisher, you are part of a storied, colorful, world-changing history. What can you learn from that history? What can you learn from the publishers that came before you?

Johannes Gutenberg: The New Technology Asteroid

Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440, bringing the written word to the masses. Nearly 600 years later, it's easy to classify Gutenberg as the epitome of old news, been there, heard that, lots of other things to do beside rehash old Johannes.

If you're looking to make more than chump change in the affiliate marketing business, however, you are well-advised to not only learn but completely internalize the lesson of the printing press:

New technology really can, as the tired saying has it, "change everything."

Affiliate marketers who aren't monitoring massively impactful technological developments such as the rise of Facebook and the increasing ubiquity of the mobile Internet are asleep at the wheel.

Wake up before the asteroid hits.

William Randolph Hearst: An Expansion-Minded Man

William Randolph Hearst started his career as a publisher in San Francisco as the head of a no name newspaper called the San Francisco Examiner. Upon taking the reins from his father in 1887, Hearst deemed his humble paper "Monarch of the Dailies" and put Mark Twain on payroll.

Over the course of the next 40 years, Hearst showed a ravenous appetite for expansion, eventually controlling no less than 28 newspapers, meanwhile adding magazine and book publishing to his empire, meanwhile participating in various hotly contested political battles.

Without doubt, Hearst's life had its tragic elements. Nevertheless, successful affiliate marketers must admire--and may want to imitate--the acquisitive nature of this extremely bold man.

Malcolm Forbes: Throw Big Parties, Get Good PR

Malcolm Forbes, whose father B.C. founded Forbes Publishing in 1919 and whose son Steve now heads up the organization, was famous for throwing big parties and getting good PR.

For his 70th birthday, for instance, Mr. Forbes hired planes, trains, and automobiles to transport hundreds of world famous guests (Elizabeth Taylor, Henry Kissinger) to the Palais Mendoub in the city of Tangier in the country of Morocco on the continent of Africa.

The party cost $2.5 million and Mr. Forbes owned the palace.

The spirit of Malcolm Forbes can be seen, albeit on a vastly smaller scale, in Shawn Collins, who created Affiliate Summit, the biggest party in the affiliate marketing industry. By bringing people together over food, drinks, and ideas, Mr. Collins made himself a major player.

Making serious money as an affiliate marketing publisher? Throw a serious party to celebrate-- and, more importantly, to bring together the people that can help you make more money.

That's what publishers do.

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