Oct 14 2010

The Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Espionage

Learn the techniques I used to make over $4,000,000 in affiliate commissions! Check out my Free Affiliate Marketing Guide and learn the "how to" for Facebook Ads, PPC Affiliate Marketing, PPV / CPV Affiliate Marketing, And Media Buying!

Being able to spy on your competitors and capitalize on opportunities that are backed up with research and data, can really help you to make lots of money online. There are a number of tactics and tools you can use to help you better understand opportunities, your competitors and how they are going about marketing products.

Try out some of these strategies when researching the next big product you are going to promote and to find techniques used by the pros.

Spying on Competitor Adwords Campaigns

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could spy on what keywords your competitors and other affiliates are bidding on? Having that information can help you identify which keywords are more valuable. If you notice that someone is only bidding on a small group of keywords and they have been running for a while, you can make an assumption that they have done their homework and found the keywords that are leading to sales.

This tactic allows you to let others spend the money on testing lots of keywords to find out what works. Once they have their campaigns dialed in, you can take those keywords and create your own ad campaign. You can also get an idea for what type of budget the other competitors have to see if you can even compete in a particular niche.

Here are a number of tools to help you with this:

Keyword Spy

Probably the most in-depth tool, it has a database that is updated daily of your competitors and their keywords they are bidding on. See data like how much competitors are spending, and find profitable keyword/ad copy combination’s. It comes with a price tag, but the data is well worth it if you are a hardcore marketer.

SEM Rush

This tool will break down by organic and paid keywords for the domain you specify and their competitors. It also pulls unique ads that the domain is using in their PPC campaigns. This tool has free and paid options, however you can gather a ton of usual data by using the free version.


SpyFu gives you some awesome intelligence data to help find keywords that your competitors are bidding on. This tool gives you estimates on the advertisers Daily Budget, Average Ad Position, Daily Organic Traffic and Paid vs Organic Clicks Per Day.


This is probably the best tool for finding a competitors ad copy and destination URL. They do a great job of showing you all of the different ad variations and where the ad points to. You can also gather similar data like Top Keywords that the competitor is bidding on, estimated Ad Budget and other competitors in the space.

I should say that all of this data should be taken with a grain of salt. It is best to use multiple keyword tools to gather comprehensive intelligence and data on your competitors.

Create Bonus Offers if They Purchase Through You

What happens when there are 100 affiliates all promoting the exact same product? Odds are the affiliates probably have a lot of the same e-mail subscribers on their list. So if a subscriber is looking to purchase that product, how will they determine which affiliate will get the commission?

It may come down to who is offering the best bonus incentives. A great example that you may have seen, were the bonuses ShoeMoney was giving away for the launch of the AffiliateDotCom product. This is what he was giving away if you purchased the AffiliateDotCom product through Jeremy’s affiliate link…

  • Random CRAZY bonus – 25 random people who purchase through our link will receive iPads loaded with every video in the ShoeMoney System 2.0. We will ship them anywhere in the world. ($999 value)
  • SMS 2.0 DVD+Home Study Guide – Everyone will get the entire ShoeMoney System 2.0 DVD (14 full quality dvd’s) + 197 page home study guide sent to their doorstep (anywhere in the world). This is yours to keep even if you get a refund on the affiliatedotcom program for whatever reason. ($597 value)
  • Behind the Scenes DVD – Everyone will get the ShoeMoney “Behind The Scenes” DVD sent to their doorstep. This is a DVD where I pull back the curtain on my biggest successes (and failures). Want to know how I built membership site that brought in over 5m a year in revenue? Want to know how I built my own advertising network that made over 1m per month by the 3rd month in business and sold the entire company only after 4 months after launching? What about building a blog that brings in over 1 million dollars a year and the secret to monetizing it? Its all in this special behind the scenes DVD. ($499 value)
  • ShoeMoney Special one day workshop – If we sell over 200 total units we will hold a special 1 day workshop for all people who purchased through our link. This event will be 100% free for you to attend. I have never had an event that was less than $5,000.00 a person before. ($5,000.00 value).
As you can see, his bonuses were just as valuable, if not more valuable than the actual product itself. However to ShoeMoney or any affiliate for that matter, they can give away these bonuses because they know how much they are going to make off the commission if you buy through them. It’s a win, win for everybody. Basically it becomes a game of which affiliate will offer the best bonuses.

Rank Organically Before a Product Launches

If you are aware of a product that will be coming out a few months down the road, you may want to figure out a way that you can leverage the upcoming influx of searches in the search engines.

Here is what you do:

  1. Find a Product to Promote (preferably one that is hyped or is guaranteed to get lots of promotion)
  2. Sign-up to become an Affiliate
  3. Grab any and all promotional materials
  4. Register a similar domain name (ex: product+review.com or buy+product.com)
  5. Start adding content and building links
  6. Get ranked organically for that product search and drive traffic
  7. Make money through your affiliate links or adsense

Acting Fast on Breaking News and Upcoming Events

This is very similar to the previous method, but is slightly different. What you do is wait for breaking news to hit, then you be the first to setup a website that caters to that piece of news.

A great example is when Sarah Palin was picked as John McCain’s running mate. Nobody really knew who Sarah Palin was, so people started Googling Sarah Palin to find out more information about her. If you have a website that has adsense or an inciting CPA offer, you can make a lot of money from that huge spike in traffic.

Checking Up on the Leading Affiliates

I am always trying to do research to see what the leading affiliate marketers are trying to market. Odds are that if you can find the products and techniques they are using to market affiliate products, then they are making money. So how can you find affiliate websites or landing pages that they have created?

Here’s How:

  • Run a reverse IP lookup on an affiliate marketers website/blog
  • Run a reverse IP lookup on a landing page or website an affiliate mentions in a video or their blog

Tip: I would recommend this Reverse IP Lookup tool.

  • Try running a IP History lookup on their website/blog/landing page to see what other servers the domain was hosted on previously
  • Then run a reverse IP lookup on the previous IP(s)

Tip: I would recommend this IP History tool.

Once you have done this process, if the affiliate has not paid for private registration, you will be able to see what other URLs are on the same server. You can then begin to see what products they are promoting and how they are going about marketing those products.

About the Author

Mark is the creator of the popular SEO blog StayOnSearch and president of Search Creatively, a full-service Internet Marketing Company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sign-Up for his free 10 week Internet Marketing course.

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