I came across this site just recently, Lemonade and a couple of things came to mind. The first of which is that essentially any name can be turned into a website anymore. Oh to have cybersquatted on hundreds of generic terms back in the early 90’s! My second thought was though at first a novel idea, Lemonade has highlighted a nagging pet-peeve of mine and that is the assumption or ascension of affiliate marketing as the way to go in regards to making money online. It may have worked for Amazon and for a handful of others but to me it just seems like a tough road to hoe for the average site owner.
I suppose that the efforts made by the Advertiser is nill and equally as such for the Publisher, bearing in mind that it really is the strength of the network that makes it work, along with price, quality and payout…(lots of intangibles there don’t you think?) but to have it as the sole business model for your site to make money, just seems to be looking at the world wide web through rose colored glasses.
The first and foremost issue with most affilate programs is that they don’t pay. If you are looking to join an affiliate program you need to know that you are not likely to have a huge sales volume. The problem lies in the fact that any affiliate marketing system you do use needs to get good results for both the advertiser and the affiliate. So You have to identify sites that target similar audiences and have traffic. But here’s the kicker: You have to make sure you pay them enough to make it worth their while.” There is a but here, but wait there’s more…
Even for for the serious players, affiliate marketing should be looked at as a way to market products and services without utilizing the reseller channel. The affiliate’s job is simply to generate qualified leads, in the case of Lemonade, they are looking at affiliates to push the products of the participants in its network. So really no sweat equity for them. The serious “Playa’s” can save money on marketing, increase branding to core audiences, broaden the reach of current marketing campaigns, decrease dependance on resellers and increase the amount of leads flowing to the sales team, and or flat out, sales.
So does it work? yes and no. If you have the product, then yes it can work. If you have the traffic, yes it can work. If you have one without the other, it will not work. But the product has to fit the type of traffic you’re getting. If I have a knitting website and I’m trying to push printer toner, what do you think will be the result?
One other thing, like MLM’s, what works best is an awsome affiliate, someone who has the viral capability to make your product fly off the shelves. Pay them well, and they will evangelize the hell out of your product to their network. But these are few and far between.
So will Lemonade work? In this Web 2.0 world it’s hard to say. I suppose it’s a matter of how many widgets can your site, blog, page sustain? With some affiliates or folks who have the right trafffic and are selling the right product, they might be able to hit the ball out of the park. For others, go ahead and put up your Lemonade stand and watch the lemons whither.