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An Interview With Shawn Collins of AffiliateTip.com

Posted on November 20, 2009 by Tim Schroeder

shawn-collinsWho is Shawn Collins? Shawn is one of the most respected and well know faces in the affiliate marketing industry. Chances are that if you are in the industry then you already know him. Shawn Collins (along with Missy Ward) is the co-founder of the affiliate marketing convention Affiliate Summit and also well know for his blog at blog.affiliatetip.com

I first introduced myself to Shawn at an Affiliate Summit convention. If you can only attend one convention each year then this THE affiliate conference to attend. I hope to get to know Shawn on a more personal level over the coming years.

Shawn Collins was nice enough to allow us to interview him. Thanks Shawn! Here we go:

An Interview With Shawn Collins of AffiliateTip.com

1. How did you get started in the industry?

I was looking for a way to supplement my income back in summer 1997 and I joined the Amazon.com affiliate program to monetize a horrible site I’d created on AOL. In November 1997, I got a job running the affiliate program for Medsite.com – while I had no marketing experience, I understood affiliate marketing from being an affiliate and could hand code HTML. I guess they were desperate.

2. What was your biggest learning experience to date?

It was one that came gradually – that creating content for people, and not spiders, is the best plan if you want to be in affiliate marketing for the long term.

3. What was your biggest success to date?

My biggest success in terms of ROI came back when I was getting started. I was buying targeted traffic from GoTo.com for $0.01 a click and pointing it to CPC affiliate programs that paid back high multiples of my investment.

4. How did you learn the business? (eBooks? Webinars? Membership sites? Freebies? Paid services?)

I learned by doing. There were no resources to help when I get started. After two years, I moved on to Refer-it.com, the first affiliate program directory, and began attending their Affiliate Solutions conferences, where I started getting more of a formal education in the business.

5. What do you think is the true value to consumers in affiliate marketing?

I don’t think affiliate marketing overall is valuable to consumers, but certain affiliates who create value by solving problems and providing shortcuts for consumers are valuable.

6. Do you think sponsored conversations have their place in the industry?

As a consumer, I am cynical about the usefulness of the sponsored conversations, as I think it’s too tempting for some people to take money for products and services they don’t believe in.

7. Besides yourself, who do you think is the most valuable resource to the affiliate community?

I couldn’t sum it up in one area, as I am consistently inspired and educated by a wide variety of forums, blogs, Tweets, conference speakers, book authors, etc.

8. How do you balance professional v. personal?

I work from home and work around my personal commitments. Work starts after my kids are at school and it stops at 6pm EST. Then I pick it back up after everybody else has gone to sleep. Also, my Blackberry is never far away, so I obsessively check on things when away from my home for errands, meals, etc. I was at a dinner party last Saturday, and I am embarrassed to say I excused myself to go to the bathroom a few times just to check email.

9. How often did you check your stats….1 month in? 1 year in? Today?

In 1997, Amazon used to email the stats on a monthly basis, so there wasn’t an option. As stats became more available, I came to expect more immediacy. These days, unless there is a big event like Black Friday, I typically check them a few times a week.

10. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?

I’d have to go with Campbell Scott when he was in Singles, but not any other roles.

11. OK, now who would REALLY play you?

Vince Vaughn – the version of him in pretty much any role.

12. What are some of the key differences between a ‘super affiliate’ and the veteran, less successful affiliates?

I’d say “super affiliates” are bigger risk takers – they have often put lots of money into the game or taken different risks like building up a company for their affiliate operations, and meanwhile the affiliates that have been around for a while, but haven’t become “big” are following a more slow and steady path to success.

13. Is where you are now where you thought you’d be…10 years ago? 5 years ago? A month ago? Why/ why not?

I had no idea where I’d be 10 years ago – the thing I most enjoyed about my job then was the ability to write columns, because writing has always been my primary interest. More recently, I sort of backed into the conference business, as Missy and myself created Affiliate Summit as an alternative to the old Affiliate Force conference. The growth and success came as a pleasant surprise, as I saw it as something positive for the industry that would supplement my affliate manager and affiliate income. Currently, I am loving what I do, especially the marketing, and the opportunity to work with a magazine and book publishing.

14. Explain affiliate marketing so a child would understand it. *Note- Please don’t just say I make money online. Assume the follow up to that would be ‘How?’

Affiliate marketing pays people for successfully accomplishing goals, just like you get your allowance for completing your chores. But it’s a little different – just doing the chore in affiliate marketing doesn’t earn the allowance. You make more money for doing a better job and working hard to take on more chores.


Shawn, Thanks again for doing the interview with eMonetized! You can read more about Shawn at AffiliateTip.com and can follow Shawn Collin on Twitter here. If you attend the next Affiliate Summit then be sure to introduce yourself to him.

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9 Responses to “An Interview With Shawn Collins of AffiliateTip.com”

  1. Murray Ross Newlands

    - 22nd Nov, 09 11:11am

    Shawn is a great guy and an asset to the industry

  2. neelmoney dot com

    - 22nd Nov, 09 10:11pm

    nice article about Shawn, and I got some idea about affiliate tip.

  3. Ad Hustler

    - 23rd Nov, 09 02:11am

    Shawn Collins is the man. Enough said 🙂

  4. Amit

    - 23rd Nov, 09 08:11am

    This is really nice info.Thanks for such a wonderful post.

  5. Mark

    - 23rd Nov, 09 04:11pm

    I was expecting a more in depth interview…Maybe with your top 5 tips for Affiliate Marketers. Being a newbie, we look to pros like you for your advice and any insights are always appreciated.


  6. peter bordes

    - 23rd Nov, 09 05:11pm

    thanks for the post. good info and would love to see more of these interviews . its good for everyone to get thought leadership perspective on our industry.where it been , where its going, and what we need to do to evolve and grow.


  7. Tim Schroeder (author comment)

    - 23rd Nov, 09 07:11pm

    Thanks for your comment Peter. We have a LOT more interviews on the way!

    I hope all is well with Media Trust.

  8. Social Media

    - 3rd Dec, 09 09:12pm

    Great post! Nice reading about Shawn!

    Magnus // Sweden

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