Affiliate makes thousands

Associate Programs Newsletter #245

Josh Kulp's affiliate site has been generating thousands a month, right from the start.

He agreed to tell us how he does it.



1. Affiliate makes thousands in first month
2. Keep up to date with the James Martell saga
3. Add income by adding links to songs?
4. Only for affiliates with a quirky sense of humor
5. Thought for today: Thinking...


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1. Affiliate makes thousands in first month

Josh Kulp had to overcome a series of challenges before he launched his affiliate web site,

He's glad he made the effort.

The site, launched in January, made about $4,000 profit in its first full month in business and its revenue keeps increasing each month.

His goal is to reach 15k a month net profit within 24 months of launch, and he believes he's on track to do that.

Josh, who is 23, lives in Jefferson City, Missouri. He began building and running web sites about 4 1/2 years ago.

"I had to have a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted, and the doctors didn't want me driving for six months.

"So initially I was looking to just make some extra money because I couldn't work outside the house, but it turned into a full-time job."

He began with some financial web sites but that became a little too stressful, so he moved on to something more enjoyable, his current site,

The site, aimed at U.S. residents, directs people to all sorts of bargains and gifts at favorite restaurants and department stores, DVDs, movie tickets, long distance calls, electronics, and so on.

To receive any of these offers, a visitor has to become a member, so Josh is collecting email addresses fast - he has more than 10,000 already.

Here's his progress...

Official launch date: January 10.

Received first order - January 27.

1,000 members - Feb 18
2,000 members - March 24
3,000 members - April 7
4,000 members - April 29
5,000 members - May 10
6,000 members - May 26
7,000 members - June 16
8,000 members - June 29
9,000 members - July 16
10,000 members - July 24

The site looks very professional.

"I found a template with a general layout I liked, and then made my own graphics and added my own text," Josh says.

"My programmer, who also hosts my site for me, does all the php coding, members area, etc. I have no idea how to do any of that."

When he was starting NoCostGifts, Josh knew what he wanted to do but wasn't sure how to do it.

"I didn't know how to sign up to be an affiliate for the various companies, how to advertise, I needed a programmer, etc.. I had a huge number of challenges facing me.

"Fortunately I have a very good friend in Seattle, who runs a site similar to mine, along with his own affiliate network. He helped me sign up with the various affiliate networks, let me know where to advertise, gave me suggestions on my site design, found me a programmer, etc... the list goes on and on really. My site wouldn't be where it is today without his help."

Josh works on the site five to six days a week, a few hours each day.

"Most of that time I'm updating the site, making a new promotional, or setting up a new ad campaign. Answering emails from members takes about 30 minutes a day.

"Two to three times a week I mail out all the orders placed. This takes about two hours each time."

If someone orders 5 DVDs for 49 cents each, for example, that is automatically taken care of by the merchant.

Members also earn points and can use those points to order a gift card, DVD, cash, etc.

"I head to the store to buy the gifts, and then package them, and take them to the post office for mailing. Depending on the gift, I sometimes will use a web retailer such as, or to purchase the gifts."

He also buys restaurant gift cards online.

It's basically a one-man operation. "My brother helps me out some, but he's in college most of the year so it's usually just me."

Almost all the traffic to the site comes from advertising. Josh hasn't tried to optimize the site for search engines.

Traffic varies widely.

"When I advertise I'll get anywhere from 5,000 to 25,000 visitors a day. On days I don't advertise I might get 500 to 1,000 visitors, and most of that traffic is current members logging in to their account."

His programmer sets up tracking for the pay-per-click search engine campaigns.

"I'm able to track each new member generated from a particular PPC campaign, how much it cost me to generate that new member, and see how much revenue they generate for me."

For pay-per-click traffic, Josh says he's found Overture to be the best, with Google AdWords second.

He has also promoted NoCostGifts via cost-per-action offers in email.

"Most networks which run email campaigns only do CPM offers. I've been able to negotiate a few CPA email offers. Basically I'm paying for results, instead of paying for a certain number of emails to be sent out. For example, I might pay x amount of dollars for each new member generated, instead of a fixed fee for 500,000 emails to be sent out."

Josh says he's always trying new networks, looking for the best results.

Right now he's using OfferFusion and The Vendare Group.

OfferFusion is a newer network run by his friend in Seattle. Because it's new, volume isn't high, but for each dollar spent results are good.

The Vendare Group is a very large network, and it's working out well.

"I really don't buy traffic, I buy results. All the campaigns I run are for new members generated, or orders placed. I don't run any campaigns on affiliate networks that are for clicks generated, or visits to my site.

Josh has also used co-registration deals.

"It can be more of a hassle than other forms of advertising, testing the various companies, and trying to find a mailing provider, but the results are usually very good."

However, he says he can't recommend any company for co-regs right now.

"For the last few months I had been using a company called ProPlusMedia, and they were working great. But last month they stopped providing co-registration, so now I am hunting for another company."

He also run pop-unders through

"Yes, I know everyone hates these, but they work."

Co-registrations and pop-unders are both geared to either generate new members, take the user to a special promotional page, or get the user to enter their email address into an autoresponder for follow-up messages.

I asked Josh if he had any special hints to give affiliates.

"The Internet and methods of advertising are always changing, you need to stay current with what's going on, that's very, very important. Whether you choose to go the search engine route or the paid advertising route, just keep at it. If you're using paid advertising: test, test, and test some more until you find the best results.

"I think the most important thing is to build a site about something you're interested in, something that excites you. If you're in it just for the money, it will get old fast, as I found out. It's taken me 4 1/2 years to get a site that is both enjoyable and profitable ... but it's well worth it, many times over!"


Don't be limited by your own skills. You can hire help.

Learn from someone who is already successful.

If you're paying for advertising, track results carefully.

Test, test and test again.

Pay for results, not just clicks generated.

Collect email addresses. To do so, provide incentives.

Do something you enjoy.

Here's Josh's affiliate-driven site:

[UPDATE: Josh is now providing a very reasonably priced mentoring program for people who want to build a similar profitable site.]


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2. Keep up to date with the James Martell saga

As you may have heard, super affiliate James Martell is finding that a number of his affiliate sites have been hit by a Google PageRank zero penalty.

Because James has a history of being publicly successful with dozens of affiliate sites, affiliates are watching anxiously to see what he does to correct the problem.

You can keep up to date with the saga - and make sure you have the full story - by subscribing to James's Affiliate Buzz audio newsletter.

Twice a month subscribers get to hear first hand about issues that affect all affiliate marketers.

It's friendly, helpful, no-hype conversation and tips from a phenomenally successful affiliate.

These days, each issue is even more eagerly awaited than usual.

Learn more about it here...


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3. Add income by adding links to songs?

If you have a theme-based affiliate site, perhaps you can add to your commissions by linking to songs that match your theme.

Apple has just launched the iTunes affiliate program, saying it's the first download music store to offer direct links to a la carte singles and albums.

Full story:
Affiliate program:

4. Only for affiliates with a quirky sense of humor

Here's a new affiliate program which appeals to my odd sense of humor.

If joking about God, nuns, hellfire and damnation offends you, please don't click on this link...

However, if you have a gifts site, a humor site, or you just want to liven up your site with a bit of fun, check this out.

Perhaps you know someone who would appreciate the "Turn or Burn" panties?

[UPDATE: This store closed.]

5. Thought for today: Thinking

"Sixty minutes of thinking of any kind is bound to lead to confusion and unhappiness." - James Thurber.

All the best

Allan Gardyne

September 3, 2004

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