Allan Gardyne

PW: First of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your wildly popular site,

AG: Wildly popular? Well, it's the most popular site based in Tuan, anyway! Quite a few people say you need 500 visitors a day to be profitable. I seem to hovering just over that mark this week.

I live in Tuan, a tiny fishing village without a shop in sub-tropical Queensland, Australia, with my wife Joanna. We live in a pole house that we designed, among gum trees and jacarandas. It overlooks a little beach so secluded there's hardly ever anyone on it. I like borrowing a line from Zig Ziglar: "I wasn't born here. I just got here as fast as I could." I was brought up on a farm and I like wide open spaces. I love that fact that an Internet business can be run from anywhere.

Joanna and I were both born in New Zealand and we're both journalists - I work three days a week as a sub-editor for the Fraser Coast Chronicle and Joanna one day as a reporter. To try to keep up with all the e-mail I receive I usually work from 6am or 7am till about midnight. It's a crazy schedule, and definitely not what I intend to do with my life indefinitely. is a directory of associate programs. I started it because I was making $US10 a pop selling Jim Daniels' book, "Insider Internet Marketing" and wanted to find more associate programs. I hunted in several search engines and was amazed that I couldn't find a directory of associate programs. So I started a one-page "Guide to Associate Programs", which grew into the Directory of Associate Programs. I got my own domain name in March, 1998.

PW: Okay, to get really basic for a second here, what exactly is an associate program, and how do they generally work?

AG: Associate programs (or reseller/partnership/affiliate programs) are revenue sharing arrangements organised by companies selling products and services. Webmasters are rewarded for sending customers to the business. Usually, you place a banner or graphic on your site - or a link in an article on your site or in your newsletter. You are paid when someone clicks on the link and buys the product, or you may be paid "per lead". Web Cards, for example, pays $1 if someone just asks for a free sample.

PW: How does fit into things?

AG: It's a huge list of such programs, alphabetical and by subject. But what is unusual is that I allow people to recommend a program and include their own revenue-earning special URL or ID number in the listing. Companies may recommend their own programs, too. Whoever is first gets the listing.

Here's an example: In the directory, ValueClick was listed by Jim Reardon of . The link to it is and Jim will earn money from the link.

I get quite a few letters from people telling me I'm crazy - that I'm doing it all wrong - and that I'm missing out on a fabulous opportunity to make money. But people seem to like my way of doing things. And I get a kick out of the thought that I'm helping people make a little money. As Zig Ziglar says, the best way to be successful is to give people what they want. It seems to be starting to work.

Anyway, I can still join a few programs and sell advertising on the site, so I'm making an income, too.

PW: What advertising format would you recommend a webmaster use to promote associate programs on their site? Banners, text links, buttons or newsletter ads?

AG: All of them. Experiment - especially with the AIS range of products and services because it is so easy to check what works. You can put up a banner or write a paragraph including a text link and as soon as a sale is made you are automatically notified by e-mail. You can then tweak the write-up, the heading, or add a recommendation under the banner, and see if your sales go up or down. An AIS link looks like this: . See how you can change the last four letters/digits so you'll know which promotion is working? Of course, you really ought to have proper tracking so that you can track and tweak all your promotions.

PW: Do you have any tips or ideas to help our readers to get a better return from associate programs?

AG: Do something - anything - other than merely plonking banners on a page. Here's one of the most successful things I did. AIS had a pretty awful clause in its contract. People complained to me, I passed on the complaints and within 24 hours AIS had removed the bad clause from its contract. So I wrote a little paragraph praising Thomas Harpointner of AIS and saying how it was great to see a company so responsive to the wishes of its associates.

I included a text link to AIS.

For the time spent, writing that little paragraph must be about the best thing I've ever done. It worked so well that I left it on my main page long after it was old news - and it kept on working, making sales.

Personal recommendations work well, too. I know it's difficult if you're short of money, but take the plunge and actually buy the product you're selling, so that you can write from personal experience. I did that with Corey Rudl's marketing course and my sales soared - even though I said good and bad things about the course.

At the moment I'm promoting a book by Declan Dunn and because I have a copy I can quote from it and make it clear that I've read it. I'm sure that's helping achieve sales.

PW: Thank you for your time, Allan! Do you have any closing comments for us?

AG: I get a lot of letters from people who assume that because I'm getting a bit of publicity I must be some kind of an expert. I'm just a little guy who is finally making a little money after floundering around on the Net for a couple of years. I'm really not the best person to seek advice from. You're far more likely to get a knowledgeable, helpful reply from the people on the HelpDesk mailing list. There are thousands of friendly subscribers just waiting to answer your questions.

You can subscribe to HelpDesk by sending a message to:

with the word - subscribe - in the subject of your message.

If you do that, maybe I'll manage to get a walk on the beach today.

PW: Allan runs a valuable newsletter on the subject of associate programs.

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