Affiliate Marketing Vs Product Creation

Nowadays, nearly all Internet marketers who strike out on their online business journey choose the affiliate marketing road. In fact, you’ll probably find that the ratio of affiliate marketers to product vendors is growing at an alarming rate.

Nearly all ‘older’ marketers – the guys who’ve been around for a long time – are the ones who have their own products. It’s virtually impossible to find any IM newbie with his own product. This could actually result in a huge loss of revenue for newbie IMs, as there are plenty of good reasons to create your own product instead of promoting someone else’s.NOTE: Remember that both strategies – affiliate marketing and creating your own product – are viable ones that can easily be sustainable business models. The model you choose will be largely dependent on our personality and skills.

Easier Done Than Said

If you ask most people, they’re likely to straightaway tell you that affiliate marketing is much, much easier than your own product? Why?

Well, duh, because you don’t have to create your own product. However, does that mean that it’s really that much easier?

Creating a product in a specific niche that could be sold at $20 shouldn’t take you more than a week, putting in only a few hours a day. It’s something you can do in your spare time, and at the end you would have a (relatively) fantastic product that can generate $20 per sale.

For me, creating a 10-20 page eBook in a niche in which I’m knowledgeable (which could sell for a few bucks) takes no more than a couple hours, max.

True, one reason is because I’m a prolific writer and can knock out 1000-2000 words an hour, but if you REALLY are an authority in your niche, product creation doesn’t take long.

However – creating the product is only one step of the process. You’ve also got to write gob-smacking (I use the word a lot, if you haven’t noticed yet) content and drive traffic to your product/sales funnel. However, that’s when the job actually gets easy.

Driving Traffic

Comparatively, driving traffic to an affiliate offer is much, much harder than driving traffic with your own offer. That’s the truth.

When you’re an affiliate marketer, you’ve got to start from scratch – the ground floor.

You have to regularly update and maintain a blog, do social media marketing, search engine optimization, backlink building, guest posting, etc. In short, you’ve got to work long hours generating traffic. No way around it.

With product creation, the only thing you have to do to gain traffic is create your product, write copy (or hire someone to write copy), set up your sales funnel, and e-mail affiliate marketers.


Think about places like ClickBank – a marketplace for affiliate marketers and product vendors to meet.

Usually, putting your product up on ClickBank without doing any additional marketing will anyways result in a few affiliates promoting – particularly if it’s in a niche where only a few informational products exist.

However, when you personally e-mail known affiliate marketers in your niche, there’s a pretty good percentage chance that they’ll be more than willing to take you up on your offer – provided that you give high commissions.

Yes, high commissions means less money for you per sale, but cumulatively, you’ll earn more, since you will have a whole army of affiliates backing up your product.

When you’re a product vendor, basically all your job (in terms of traffic) is to send out e-mails to people asking them to promote your product.

Simple – but not always easy.


Yep – here’s the biggie. This is the one that most people will be concerned with right off the bat – which one will make me more money?

As you can probably expect, there’s no real hard-and-fast answer to that question. You might have a product, and you might be able to get affiliates to promote your product, but if your product stinks, nobody’s gonna buy it.

Alternatively, you might have an amazing product, but affiliates might be unwilling to promote it since it violates one of their personal policies.

As an affiliate marketer, you might be able to drive high-quality, targeted, buying traffic from websites, but that doesn’t automatically translate into money – especially if the affiliate product is terrible.

On another note, you might pick the best product, but it’s possible that you don’t know how to drive targeted traffic.

Conversely, you might do everything right as a product vendor or as an affiliate, and still bring home tons of cash every day.

Pat Flynn makes upwards of $50K per month as an affiliate.

Marc Milburn makes 7 figures annually as a product vendor.

Both are incredible marketers, both make boatloads of money, and both have chosen different business models but have managed to score similar success.

Affiliate Marketer Overview


  • Free control over what products you promote.
  • If one product doesn’t convert well, you can always choose another.
  • One doesn’t have to go through the extensive process (cough) of product creation.
  • Customer support isn’t your headache.
  • Don’t have to go through the time (or expense) it requires to have excellent sales copy made.
  • Commissions range from 4{5579a4f790a1703f03f9e8973666cfa8cd3511cf74edb6fd520545ba0854a635} (Amazon – ugh!) to 50{5579a4f790a1703f03f9e8973666cfa8cd3511cf74edb6fd520545ba0854a635}-75{5579a4f790a1703f03f9e8973666cfa8cd3511cf74edb6fd520545ba0854a635} (ClickBank). In some cases, 100{5579a4f790a1703f03f9e8973666cfa8cd3511cf74edb6fd520545ba0854a635} commissions are given out.


  • You are not in control of OTOs, upsells, etc.
  • You are not in control of the product, period.
  • For certain niches, there may be a lack of high-conversion products to promote.
  • You have to do the ‘conventional’ traffic generation methods, which require time (and in some cases, money).
  • Information products have high refund rates. Even if you generated a sale, there’s still the possibility someone might send it back. Your commission will thus be refunded as well.

Product Vendor Overview


  • You don’t have to worry too much about traffic generation strategies.
  • Once the product, sales funnel, and copy is created, the only thing that remains is to contact affiliates.
  • It’s easier to build relationships with customers that could become potential repeats.
  • YOU are in control of the entire process when a visitor lands on your sales page.


  • You don’t get to keep all the sales profits if you use affiliates.
  • You have to actually create a stunning product.
  • If, at the end of it, the product doesn’t convert and instead fails miserably, you would have had nothing to show for hundreds of hours of wasted effort.
  • Customer service – which can at times be a PRO – is your headache.

Your Turn!

What’s your choice? Are you a die-hard affiliate marketer, or a passionate product vendor? Are you making money with your business model?

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