It has been drawn to my attention that my recommended tools and resources in the Affiliate Toolbox are creaking, and soon to be irrelevant.
I decided to compile a list of all my favourite tools, networks, blogs and resources. Feel free to flick through it below. If just 1% of it is enlightening and/or informative, then this won’t have been a collossal waste of time.
(I’ll be editing the list regularly. Well, semi-regularly.)
FinchSells – Well, hello.
Mr Green – New Zealand’s best (and maybe only?) affiliate marketing blog?
IM Grind – Daily Internet Marketing news. Fetish for infographics.
Aff Helper – Regular contributions from all over the affiliasphere.
Charles Ngo – Popular affiliate and rightly so. Don’t think he’s ever put out a bad post.
Adult Media Buying – Man o’ Scandal? You’ll enjoy this. Sound advice for making a filthy dollar.
PPC.bz – Hilarity, affiliate marketing and… weed porn?
Wall of Monitors – The blog of affiliate marketer ‘HeavyT’. Shares more than just his monitors.
Perform(ance Marketing) Insider – The Daily Mail of affiliate marketing rags.
Perform(ance Marketing) Outsider – Amusing parody, that often manages to be more relevant than the above.
IPyxel – Lots of tips for getting profitable on Plentyoffish.
StackThatMoney – Head straight to the Case Study section.
Luke Peerfly – Award winning affiliate manager with a busted brand if he ever leaves Peerfly.
Nicky Cakes – The blog that got me in to affiliate marketing. No longer updated, some classic reads in the archives.
Aff Playbook Blog – Lots of practical tips, especially useful for PPV marketers.
Zac Johnson – One of the longest running CPA blogs out there.
CTRTard – Helmet wearing CPA dude. Where did he go?
Ian Fernando – Travels the world pointing his finger. One of the last remaining active CPA blogs.
Rohail Rizvi – Affiliate insights and regular ‘earnings reports’ if you need some inspiration. Doesn’t seem to post much these days.
Justin Dupre – Has been caught staring at more titties than any other marketer in Thailand.
Riley Pool – He said he was going to post a new campaign every day, then he disappeared completely. A recurring trend in the affiliate blogosphere!
Bryn Youngblut – I just love his name. Another once prolific CPA blogger who has vanished, presumably back to Monkey Island whence he came.
Inside Affiliate – Check out his older posts on PPV.
Affiliate Help – Covers a lot of the basics in an easy-to-read manner.
POF Blog – Advertising on POF? Ben can hook you up with some good strategies.
Who Is Andrew Wee? – The kind of guy who seduces affiliates with ice cream and chocolates.
AM Navigator – Interesting perspective from those managing affiliate programs. ‘How to monetise us pawns…‘
Moby Affiliates – One of the few blogs dedicated to mobile affiliate marketing.
Mob Aff Blog – Another one, written by an angry Russian dude.
Affbuzz – Aggregates the latest CPA news.
Affposts – Like Affbuzz, emphasis on newer posts.
UnBounce – Delicious landing page optimisation tips.
Conversion XL – ‘Extra Lucrative’ conversion advice.
Topping Two Percent – Excellent write-ups, lots of juicy info on how to squeeze the maximum out of your landing pages.
Boost CTR – Light a rocket up the jacksy of your search and social ads.
Optimizely – Full of A/B testing examples.
Shock Marketer – Consistently good advice, no fluff.
Conversion Voodoo – Company blog with plenty to say about improving conversions.
OKTrends – Unmissable insights for anybody working in the dating niche. You need to read this.
Kiss Metrics – More data analysis than a marketer can shake his stick at.
ViperChill – One of the most informative Internet Marketing resources on the planet. Featured in the Guardian.
Sugarrae – Impressive collection of straight shooting posts. Covers a spread of Internet Marketing topics.
Direct Response – One of my favourite direct marketing reads. Don’t just beat the competition; crush it.
Blue Hat SEO – Outdated as hell, still an epic read.
Shoemoney – Love him or hate him, you can’t not know Shoe if you work in this industry.
Inside Facebook – Essential reading for the sadists otherwise known as Facebook marketers.
Dukeo – Has really come on strong in recent months. Lots of great content for affiliates.
SkyRocket SEO – One of the few SEO blogs I keep coming back to.
Generation Y – Tips on how to survive working from home, from those already surviving it.
PPC.org – Tips and tricks for clickety clicks. Heavy focus on Google.
Skimlinks Blog – Regular dollops of advertising industry news.
Think Traffic – Consistently good advice for brand building and traffic swallowing.
There are so many networks out there. I’m only going to recommend those that I’ve tried personally, or those with near unanimous praise.
Adsimilis – If you’re sick of networks posturing over who has the biggest grapefruits or the dopest bling, then sign up with Adsimilis. They ‘get’ the affiliate mindset, without adopting it for themselves.
A4D – Led by Jason Akatiff, A4D is one of the most highly regarded affiliate networks in the business. You’ll be tough pressed to find a bad word said about them.
Convert2Media – Recognized by 500 INC. as one of the fastest growing companies in America.
Neverblue – Tons of great mobile offers, and one of the rare few genuinely ‘international’ networks. Made my first ever CPA commission with Neverblue. *le sniffle*
Above All Offers – If Eli Aloisi puts even half the time in to his network as he did with the BlueHat blog, this has to be worth joining.
F5 Media – Founded by the same guys who brought you the STM Forum, F5 packs a bunch of strong dating offers.
Monetise – Promising network with a heavy slant towards UK offers.
Peerfly – Strong industry following, popular launch pad network for beginners.
Incent.ly – Owned by Peerfly, dedicated to incentive traffic.
Mundo Media – I haven’t tried them, but I’ve heard good reviews. Mobile seems to be their specialty?
Ploose – Good for adult dating and hookup offers.
Cupid – Vast selection of dating offers from Cupid.
People Meet – Home to the People Meet brand. Excellent converters.
Date Connected – Another direct dating/hookup merchant, home to JustHookup. Can you guess which niche I work in?
CJ – Known for its shoddy treatment of affiliates, but with so many good offers, you’ll want to join regardless.
ShareASale – Much respected Chicago-based network. Large selection of boutique CPS offers.
LinkShare – Another colossal network. Better support than CJ.
ClickBank – Where many an affiliate marketer sold his first shining turd. Sketchy digital products galore. They have the audacity to start deducting commissions through ‘admin fees’, which will piss you off.
Amazon Affiliates – Underrated by CPA affiliates, overrated by everybody else.
Google Affiliate Network – Boo the irony.
OfferMobi – One of the leading mobile performance networks.
Revived Media – Created by the prolific IMGrind team. Dedicated mobile network with great reviews.
KissMyAds – Mobile affiliate network. Regrettable name for the dinner table?
Linking Mobile – UK based, recommended to me. I haven’t tried them.
Conferences and Meetups
Affiliate Summit – The premier affiliate marketing conference, where affiliates convene to talk shop and party in strip clubs (or drown in sausage).
A4U Expo – Popular performance marketing conference, especially in Europe. A bit suity.
ad:tech – Digital marketing conferences scattered all around the globe. Very suity.
LeadsCon – Vegas/NYC based event dedicated to lead generation.
AM Days – Specialised conference for the management of affiliate programs (aka, how to deal with unprofessional slackers in their underpants).
Self-Serve Traffic Sources
Below is a relatively small selection of traffic sources that I can personally recommend. For a more comprehensive list, see this sprawling bookmark cert on 3things.
Google AdWords – Still the King of search PPC. Not an easy dragon for the affiliate to slay.
Bing Ads – Closest alternative to AdWords. Less booty lashings.
7Search – You’ll need to be on your game to find a converter in here. Only troopers hit the green.
Facebook – Hugely competitive. Potential to make you rich. Quickly.
Twitter Ads – …Good luck.
POF Ads – Target dating users down to the hair color. Saturated but still powerful.
Adly – There’s something I find immensely entertaining about the prospect of affiliates soliciting celebrities for their ads. What’s the worst that could happen?
Cubics Adknowledge – Advertise across a selection of over 1200 Facebook apps.
Media Traffic – Good PPV network for single opt-in submits and gaming offers.
TrafficVance – Highest quality PPV traffic in the business. Requires $1000 deposit.
Lead Impact – Good starting point for PPV marketers. Lots of room to scale your campaigns.
DirectCPV – Haven’t tried them but they’re always giving free coupons away. Sign up and make the most?
AdBlade – Self-serve, popular choice for the CPA affiliate (particularly those who dabble in rebills).
50onRed – Intext and display ads available. $500 to get started.
BuySellAds – Buy direct placements on high profile websites. Easy to use. Tough to find the good spots.
Buy Ads – More direct placements.
Pulse360 – CPC-based with lots of high quality traffic. Expensive. Won’t work on lower payout offers.
engage:BDR – High quality display traffic that you’ll need some budget for.
SiteScout – Low risk media-buying entry point for affiliates. Suggest you start here.
MochiMedia – Great launch pad for newbie affiliates in the gaming niche.
Ad2Games – Lots of quality gaming traffic. Heavy German influence.
CPM Star – More gaming traffic. Only limited experience with this one, looks decent.
Juicy Ads – Incredibly lenient, self-serve adult dating platform. Cheap. Great for learning the ropes.
Traffic Junky – One of the most popular sources of adult traffic in the world. Big volume. Equal competition.
Exoclick – More adult dating by the bucket load. Probably not *quite* as good quality as TJ, but offset by cheaper traffic.
AdBucks – Don’t be fooled by the minimal interface. This adult display source packs a donkey punch.
AdRoll – Named the #1 Advertising Company by Inc. Magazine. Growing fast, seems to be everywhere. Oh wait…
Retargeter – Renowned for having one of the best customer service teams in the business.
Chango – Specialises in search retargeting rather than site retargeting.
AdMob – The daddy of mobile advertising. Now owned by Google.
Leadbolt – Temperamental but popular platform.
InMobi – Lots of traffic, not the best interface for a newbie.
Adfonic – Over 100 billion monthly impressions.
AdModa – Has a useful Campaign Planner to help you avoid desolate markets.
JumpTap – Hit and miss customer service, high quality traffic. Worth sticking with.
Search Marketing Tools
SEOMoz – Powerhouse in the SEO world. Monitors your search and social performance for a good price.
Open Site Explorer – Part of SEOMoz, but free to use. Offers a bird’s eye view of your site’s current standing in relation to competition.
Spyfu – Download your competitor’s profitable keywords (then do your damn best to find them).
SEO Book Tools – Useful all-in-one resource covering most of the SEO board.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool – Don’t live by this tool, but don’t completely ignore it either. Useful when applied in context.
Stack That Money – My forum of choice for affiliate marketing discussion. I’m a moderator here, and it’s the only forum I post on. This is high-end CPA advice for those who are actively running campaigns. Costs $99/month, worth every penny.
AffPlaybook – Another popular forum, particularly with North American affiliates. This started as a specialist forum for PPV, but it now covers pretty much every avenue for the CPA affiliate. Costs $67/month.
IMGrind – I’ve never seen it. Reports suggest it attacks Internet Marketing from a broader scope and is not aimed directly at the CPA affiliate. Costs $99/month.
The Dojo – New paid addition on the CPA Fix forum. Lifetime access for a one-time payment.
WickedFire – Where the occasional golden nugget can be found buried between tits, ass and Rick Astley. Generally NSFW.
Affiliates4u – Very active forum, heavy European influence. Better place to network with merchants and product owners than it is to find other affiliates.
ABestWeb – Largest affiliate marketing forum in the world, with a heavy corporate slant. Where the utterly blind converge with the suited and booted.
CPA Fix – Mostly focused on CPA marketing, seems to specialise in free traffic sources and generating leads on a budget.
The Affiliate Marketing Survival Guide 2013 – Written by yours truly. My uncensored take on where the industry stands in 2013, and most importantly, where your business needs to stand in 2014.
Ca$hvertising – A must-read for any direct response marketer. Golden tips for improving your sales funnel with an emphasis on getting the conversion now.
The Millionaire Fastane – A book of two halves. Skip the preaching first half, but burn the value creation tips of the second half in to your retinas and live by them.
Influence – A seminal classic from Robert Cialdini that many affiliates glow over as the most important book they ever read.
Ogilvy on Advertising – Classic work, now decades old, yet Ogilvy still speaks more sense than most. The lessons of an advertising great.
The Happiness Advantage – Wise words for those whose happiness depends on the next stats refresh.
Thinking, Fast and Slow – A modern classic on understanding people. A skill that pays the bills in this biz.
You Are Not So Smart – Light, fun, breezy read on the many psychological biases and flaws that an affiliate marketer could do untold damage with.
Outsourcing and Delegating
ODesk – Great place to hunt for programmers, designers and virtual assistants.
Easy Outsource – Hit and miss pool of Filipinos for hire. Some golden workers, some… not so much.
Elance – Slightly more expensive, and generally more ‘westernized’. Use Elance to hire specialised writers for your ‘money’ sites.
One Hour Translation – If you are running foreign campaigns, it can be tempting to cut corners with language translation. Don’t do it. Use this site to get your landing pages and creatives translated within the hour.
Guru – Another big cat in the outsourcing world. I’ve never used it.
Fiverr – Seriously, is there anything that can’t be outsourced to Fiverr? This site is like a slap in the face to every freelancer who cherished his hourly rate. Good for us though…
99 Designs – Crowdsource your design work. Pricy but spoils you for choice.
Mailing Software & Tools
AWeber – Popular email marketing tool. Loses points by charging for unsubscribers, still my favourite.
MailChimp – Has a free option up to 2000 subscribers.
OptinSkin – Sends your opt-ins through the roof. Used on this site. Developed by Mr. ViperChill.
Inside Mobile Apps – Probably the best resource on mobile app dev.
HowToGoMo – Test how your site looks on mobile devices.
Mobilizer – Great mobile browser tester, free app.
iMobiTrax – Mobile tracker from the guys behind IMGrind. Looks very impressive.
MobGrind – Useful aggregator for mobile news.
PPC.bz Mobile Resource List – A list within a list. So what?
WordPress – Has opened up content publishing to the mass market. Love you, WordPress.
Joomla – Flexible and aesthetically pleasing platform.
Clickthroo – Landing page builder with over 100 templates and split-testing functionality.
600+ places to share your content – Use, don’t abuse!
IMDB Coming Soon – If you like to monetize trends, this is probably the most underrated resource on the planet. Pick a blockbuster movie in the distant future, build your website, eat the traffic.
IMDB Just Announced – Get your first mover’s advantage on.
Google Search Trends – Analyse the latest search trends. You’ll need to act fast if you want to make any money from them.
Google Ad Planner – It’s almost like they want us to advertise with them!
Amazon Future Releases – Drill down your search by categories to find the hottest products coming soon to your niche.
Yahoo Clues Beta – Clues is a pretty good name for it. Data that gives you a headache.
Think With Google – Small mountain of research in to consumer trends. Broad in scope, interesting nonetheless.
Compete – Popular research tool. Scratch the underbelly of your competition, sniff out their popular keywords, monitor traffic metrics.
What Runs Where – Spy on the world’s most successful display campaigns.
Mixrank – Good, underrated alternative to WRW.
Adult AdSpy – For adult dating marketers with good self-control. Wank ‘o clock.
Offervault – Handy tool when searching for CPA offers.
oDigger – Network reviews and offer searcher. I wouldn’t place much faith in the star reviews, but the rest of the site is useful.
BannerSnack – Suck at making banners? Use this.
Icon Finder – More arrows and buttons for your landing page than you could ever possibly need.
Ugly Banners Work Better – Oh yes they do. This is a sweet tool for fuglifying your creatives and increasing that all important CTR.
Jing – Don’t miss inspiration when it comes. Jing allows you to capture images and clips on the fly. Great for scoping campaigns.
Convertasaurus – Select two calls-to-action and watch them fight to the death. Not sure how accurate but pretty cool?
Browser Shots – Always be testing how your landing pages look in different browsers.
BrowserStack – Best browser tester I’ve found so far. Works for mobile too.
CPV Lab – Premium but oh-so-easy campaign tracking. My favourite.
Tracking202 – More customisable than CPV Lab, and free. Can be a little fiddly if you’re a technophobe.
Bevo Media – ‘The only place affiliate marketers need to be.’ All in one suite. Never tried it.
iMobiTrax – Mobile tracker from the guys behind IMGrind.
Tracking Everything Else…
Optimizely – Popular A/B split testing tool with a free trial.
ClickTale – Spy on your website’s visitors.
Crazy Egg – More spying goodness. Eye tracking technology.
Google Content Analytics – Some very useful (and free) website performance insights from the big G.
Visual Website Optimizer – A/B testing, multivariate testing, heatmaps. Free trial available.
HasOffers – If you’ve ever wanted to create your own affiliate program…
Cake – See above. Another network favourite.
POF ExcelBundle – Free collection of Excel tools to optimise and manage your Plentyoffish campaigns.
Producteev – One of the best takes on David Allen’s Getting Things Done system to date.
Wunderlist – New favourite of mine. Simple to-do lists. No clutter.
Trello – Excellent tool for managing your workflow.
LeechBlock – A must have for ‘work from homers’. Block yourself from time-wasting sites.
Pomodoro Timers – Nine timers for the popular productivity hack where you break your day in to 25-minute work stints.
Yast – Track where you are spending your time. Needs a sand pit to bury your head in upon analysing results.
Sanebox – An absolute Godsend for anybody who spends Monday morning drowning in emails. Filter the chaff.
WriteMonkey – Spend a lot of time writing? This tool removes every last distraction from your screen. Write monkey, write.
Concierge – All-in-one shop for every service an affiliate could possibly need, from copywriting to server tuning to legal advice.
FTC Guidelines – Well, this you did not expect.
Evernote – Remember everything, everywhere. I could not live without Evernote.
Ad Calc – Estimates your anticipated CPCs, EPCs, CTRs, CPMs, BMIs and so on…
SimplyNoise – One of my favourite ways to stay productive. Use this free tool to increase your focus and block out any noisy distractions.
SimplyRain – Like white noise, but slightly more pleasing on the ear. There’s nothing like a heavy thunderstorm to block out the irritating arsewipe from across the office…
Flippa – Sell websites, buy websites. Flip your god damn balls for profit if you so wish.
UBot Studio – Beast of an automation machine. Amazing for web scraping and point-and-click task gobbling.
Mr Green’s POF Uploader – Carpetbomb POF with your ads. Nice time saver.
GeoSurf – One of the best proxy tools on the market.
Maxmind Geo Tools – A staple in affiliate marketing landing pages, this open source tool lets you serve different content to different countries. Worth thousands if used correctly.
OIOPublisher – Sell ad space on your websites. Full geotargeting available. Excellent plugin.
Slanguage – Good resource for local slang. Give your campaigns a local touch.
Cool Slang – More slang, careful how you use it.
The Premium Post Series – Seven volumes of explicit, juicy affiliate marketing tips, straight from this author’s arse.
LastPass – Because when you work with a gazillion networks and a billion traffic sources, remembering passwords can be a pain in the arse.
Crunch Accounting – £70/month for excellent accounting software and advice whenever you need it. UK only.
Web Page Test – Slow landing page = Low conversion rate. This tool checks the speed of your pages.
VTC – I have a soft spot for VTC. When I dropped out of school, I taught myself everything online-related using this site.
Lynda – Video tutorials for just about anything business related.
Useful TED Talks
‘How to get your ideas to spread’ – Seth Godin doesn’t like to play it safe.
‘The tribes we lead’ – Seth Godin on the power of building a tribe, and how to lead one.
‘Life lessons from an Ad Man’ – Rory Sutherland on the difference between ‘real’ value and perceived value.
‘The happy secret to better work’ – Shawn Achor shares some of the secrets from his Happiness Advantage philosophy. Enlightenment for affiliates.
‘The power of time off’ – Stefan Sagmeister on the revitalising effect of planned time off. When was the last time you did nothing?
‘The puzzle of motivation’ – Dan Pink on why most managers get it wrong.
‘Trial, error and the God Complex’ – Tim Harford on why trial and error is the way forward. It really is.
‘What physics taught me about marketing’ – Dan Cobley’s fascinating if slightly contorted slant on what marketing and physics have in common.
‘Schools kill creativity’ – Hugely popular talk from Ken Robinson that I wish I could have sent to my teachers 10 years ago.
I will be adding to this list over time, and it’s only natural that I will have forgotten a few deserving sites and tools. If you think something needs adding, feel free to plug it in the comments.