An email inquiry for a coaching call came into my inbox. There was no way I could guess that this would change my life completely over the next 2 years.
This call was different. It was only at the very end of it, that the contact on the other end of the line told me what it really was about. “I wanted to check you out first” is what he told me a few months later when I was addressing our first call during a conversation.
He was putting his business idea on the table, letting me know that he was searching for a business partner. His problem: his 4-digit monthly cash flow had crashed and was down to 0.
We were talking about an Amazon Affiliate Marketing business that was done through Google SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It was done in a very specific and different way.
This is how typical Amazon-Affiliate Marketing through SEO works:
1) You build a webpage on the internet about a specific niche and rank it on the top of Google so that your content can be found easily. For example, the webpage could be about coffee makers.
2) On this webpage you offer valuable information and recommend products to your visitors.
3) You link these products to Amazon so that your visitors can immediately find and buy them.
4) Through a specific affiliate link, Amazon knows that the recommendation came through you and you get a commission for the sale.
That‘s how typical Amazon Affiliate Marketing works. So what was special about our concept?
How our approach was different
1) The way the niche pages were created
2) The speed at which these web pages ranked in the top search results of Google
Oh, and there was another thing to consider: his Amazon Partner account had been shut down. His efforts to try the same thing with other accounts showed the same result. All of these accounts had been closed. This problem needed to be solved.
What he was missing was technical know-how about internet software and entrepreneurial experience. I saw the potential and possibilities to solve the issues with the Amazon accounts and recognized that we could automate business processes massively with the help of programmers.
What happened? How was it possible that just months later millions of euros worth of products had been sold on Amazon through our system?
This is what happened in 2 years of Amazon Partnernet Marketing
Shortly after we started out together, a wild roller coaster ride was about to begin.
At this point the project looked somewhat like this:
There were a few WordPress web pages on domains that were named something like “buy-now-for-top-prices.de” or “deal-land.de” (equivalent in German language). These webpages were simple product platforms and you could see at a glance that design was not important.
What was important was these websites were ranking high on Google and each sub page was filled with product information about 50 similar products. They ranked for so-called “long tail” keywords.
A “long tail” keyword is a very specific keyword that does not have much competition on Google, e.g. “Anti Killer Clown Spray 300x”. It was all about extremely specific product names or descriptions.
So far so good – but why would Amazon close the partnernet accounts?
Good question. We tried to solve this through the Amazon support platform only to find that it was not very helpful. It took a long time before we received a response to our emails and the answer was always the same template email with a pointer to their rules.
These rules were not specific enough for us to figure out what exactly they needed us to change in order to have our web pages approved. Additionally, they told us that all the closed accounts were going to remain closed. They also kept thousands of euros in commissions that had been earned on these accounts.
What this meant was for several months we were organizing new partner net accounts through other partners, creating adapted web pages, ranking these pages on Google, creating revenue on the affiliate accounts and then boom! ACCOUNT CLOSED BY AMAZON! All this happened while we were working on a Plan B – more about this later.
This was an especially bitter pill to swallow during the Christmas season when we actually created more than 50,000 € in commission on the Amazon accounts. That means we had sold products on Amazon worth between 1 million and 1.5 million Euros in December only.
Around that time Amazon had already kept more than 100,000 € in commission on closed accounts. It was even harder to swallow because we also had costs like the following:
- New domains needed to be bought
- Product information had to be acquired
- Programmers had to be paid
- Server infrastructure needed to be covered
At that point in time, we had no idea how exactly we were going to pay our rent or buy food to survive. We invested EVERYTHING in the business and whatever we got out we reinvested everything again immediately.
When Amazon is not helping you, help yourself
We really tried our best to work with the Amazon rules but our inquiries for specific hints went unanswered everytime so we had to dive into Plan B. We had to trick Amazon in a technical game.
We would build a website after the concept of a product portal on the internet that seemed to run well with Amazon. The problem was we could not rank the contents with the SEO techniques that we had used before.
We decided to use this web page as a “trojan Amazon-horse” and this is how it worked.
At this time we already had more than 1,000 websites built. Each of them had around 50,000 sub pages with product information from different niches and a lot of it was ranking high on Google.
Noteworthy: some of it was even outranking Amazon as well.
This is what we did: we redirected the visitor streams through our “trojan Amazon-horse” portal to Amazon.
Basically, for Amazon everything looked as if the visitors came directly from that one “trojan Amazon-horse” webpage even though it did not rank on Google at all.
This did not work out perfectly, but it worked way better than what we did before and we started making a lot more money on our actual bank accounts. Eventually, we had a new problem arising. The new set up was not very scalable anymore for several reasons.
Later on we were able to solve the scalability issues by having an additional partner on board (one of the biggest Amazon-Partners in the German speaking market). We were thrilled and grateful to work with this new partner.
Reasons to celebrate
Thirteen months into the project we reaped success and had another vital puzzle piece moved into its place. This actually helped us to generate one hundred percent of the revenue on our bank accounts so we could focus on scaling.
At the time when I left the project after about 2 years of working like crazy, and finally selling my shares of the project, we had:
- About 5.000 websites built through our software (most of them were running on their own .de domain)
- Generated between 100,000 and 300,000 visitors per month
- In the last 12 months we had generated more than 300,000 € in commissions
- Gained a huge amount of knowledge
Last but not least, we had survived what looked like “the unsurvivable”. We finally had enough money for food again! 🙂
I would never have imagined that something like this could come out of a coaching call. To my past business partner, thanks again for the roller coaster ride! Also thanks to our mentor, without him some of the hurdles might have been too high for us to jump alone. Now I have so much knowledge at my fingertips.
Why I would not go into the same Amazon-Affiliate business model again
First of all, I have to say that I am really glad that I accepted the opportunity. The knowledge and experience I gained created immense value now that I’ve had enough time to reflect on everything. I made a personal decision to leave the project and today I can say it was the right decision. Here’s why:
- I was not happy anymore with how the business partnership was developing
- The business model was not sustainable enough (we had to trick Amazon, but technically we also we had to trick Google in order to make the whole thing scale better, which led to new fluctuations)
- The webpages did not show quality. Everything was about technical automatization and optimization only.
- Working with this type of “black hat SEO tactics” (in this case, technically tricking Amazon and Google) means that people in the same scene would be very secretive about their know-how. I love sharing my know-how and insights freely as much as possible.
- I understood that I would not go into a shared project ownership like this again (sharing all resources and the same team). Instead, I am now building my own company with my own team like I have done in the past. As an external partner, I am happy to help other companies to grow.
- I like other forms of marketing that lead to stable results long term and do have an aspiring vision better.
What I am doing now specifically and why
Apart from having realized my dream of travelling the world extensively and moving to a Caribbean island within the last couple years, I am deeply happy. I am continuing to follow my heart in business. This is exactly what I am doing now:
- Building an exclusive agency for Google and Social Media Marketing to support aspiring projects with a long term vision that are in some way connected to a personal brand.
- Building my personal social media channels on which I will share my know-how and experience in the field of online marketing, business and personal development.
- Offering professional mentoring to a limited amount of people who want to create their next breakthrough in life. This is how I see it: you‘re wasting your life every single day if you‘re not living your dream right now. I am here to help you move your ass, help you grow into the right mindset and hand you the right strategies to transform everything radically.
- Writing my first book.
I strongly believe that our life is about having the guts to make our dreams happen and being happy to share it with others.