Top Affiliate Software For Small Businesses Who Want to Start An Affiliate Program

This year has really taken off as far as affiliate marketing after I quit my job in November to focus on affiliate and influencer marketing. I’ve advised several small businesses on setting up an affiliate program or even managing an affiliate program. In addition I’ve recruited bloggers (lifestyle bloggers specifically) to join affiliate programs in behalf of brands. I guess you could say I found my niche referring bloggers and managing that part of the affiliate relationship.

Content affiliates (as they are called in the affiliate world) can be gold for affiliate managers because they provide unique high quality content and they have an audience. They’re a little bit different than traditional affiliates who often hide away and don’t want to reveal their identity (they might get copied). You can wait for content affiliates (bloggers) to come to you or you can actively seek them out. Good luck on getting them to come to you! Most bloggers are used to being paid up front in addition to a percent of sales. I must add that it can be well worth that investment.

To get started you’ll need a way to track sales from bloggers. Note that most of the links are affiliate links.

Track Sales with An Affiliate Program

To engage bloggers you need to set up an affiliate program. It can be really basic or it can be sophisticated. I have one client who uses a code and that’s how we track sales. We give a discount code unique to our blog and they send a check for sales that are generated each month. Another one (a baseball team) tracks sales manually (they call in to order or order through a website I set up on Shopify). There must be high trust in these transactions and for both of these clients there is and everyone has been honest and fair. They are also very small programs. To scale you need to move from a free affiliate marketing solution to affiliate marketing software.

Many companies just starting out need to use affiliate software to track purchases that come from posts or social media updates from content affiliates. Most of my clients are smaller businesses who cannot afford to join an affiliate network yet (there are good reasons to as you expand). This way I can see what I’ve earned, get reports, and get links to specific products. It keeps everyone honest and is a record of all sales and leads. 

Referral Program vs. Affiliate Program
Most people set up a referral program that is only an affiliate program (which pays bloggers when someone uses an affiliate link to make a purchase). This is not the same as a referral program that gives your customer a discount or payment for referring a new customer. Zulily is a program that has both. See for an example of a referral program. You can use a site like Referral Saasquatch which is $500 a month for a referral program. The difference is one is just promoting to earn credit at the store and is likely a customer. The affiliate actively promotes and has an audience and original content and is motivated to earn money from their influence.

What Affiliate Software Does

On a basic level, affiliate software does the following:

  • Generating Tracking Codes: To track clicks, leads and sales you need a unique URL to give to your affiliates. This URL has the campaign number, affiliate id and more. Top affiliate marketing software takes care of generating unique URLs not only to your home page but to all of your products. You never have to send the URLs to your affiliate, they can log on and get them at any time.
  • Tracking Time and Location: Tracks time and location of impression, click, lead and sale.
  • Tracking Source: Tracks source of the click, lead or sale. So did that sale come from Facebook, a specific blog post or URL? Is SEO, reviews, coupons or other type of promotion working? This is how you know what is working so you can focus on it.
  • Tracking Affiliate: Tracks to help you see the performance of each affiliate. Then you can reward your top affiliates and do things to motivate inactive or low performing affiliates.
  • Fraud Detection: Fraud is a big issue that you need to combat. This feature detects the possible fraud attempts by publishers. There are too many possible fraud activities to detail here. As your program expands and depending on how careful you are about adding affiliates and seeing what they are doing, this becomes more and more important.
  • Provide Reports You get reports for both your business and for the affiliate to show what money is owed and program results.
  • Keeps track of what is owed and paid. At any given time an affiliate can log in to see what they have made so far this month. They can see payments paid and owed, what you’re paying each affiliate, etc.

 Top Affiliate Software

Every affiliate software I’ve used or researched is different on how they price their offering. Some offer unlimited affiliates but you pay on number of tracking requests.

Questions to Ask:

  • Will the affiliate software integrate with your other software (shopping cart, etc)?
  • Who will host the software and how much will it cost? Do not forget the cost of hosting the banners, ads and other images that you will give affiliates to promote your products.
  • Do they offer tech support (this is a big one – most offer limited support, just by email or forum)?
  • Is there a commitment or contract?
  • What is my total overall cost?
  • Will you need to hire an outside tech consultant or company to install and set up the software?
  • Is there an API that you can integrate with or customize for your site?
  • Does it have recurring commissions if you pay out on a monthly subscription?
  • Can it track recurring commissions?
  • Can you pay out more than one tier?

You can expect all of the software I review to do these things, so beyond that what should you look for? I’m often asked what is the best affiliate software for my small business? Here’s what I would recommend: these are options I’ve used, recommended, or researched and feel are the top.


Cake Affiliate SoftwareThis top affiliate software is used by Nume and other lifestyle brands. I would recommend this to a larger company that is in the fashion or beauty niche. Their branding and look/feel of their interface is top notch. However, I didn’t love the cost even with discounts offered. $1500 implementation fee, $1500 + fees per month. They do require a contract. For this reason I stopped researching Cake – it was too expensive for my clients. At that price I believe many should look into joining a network.

Post Affiliate Pro

Top Affiliate Software

Post Affiliate Pro is a solid choice. It’s what I often recommend and it’s what I use as an affiliate too. It’s harder to implement and that’s probably the biggest hurdle. While it’s affordable, there are some parts that you have to do to set it up yourself. If you don’t have someone to do the tech part, you may need to hire someone on a site like People Per Hour. Post Affiliate Pro is much more affordable for those just starting out. Prices starts at $49/month and even the most expensive option is just $99 a month.

Post Affiliate Pro provides the software as a service so it is hosted on their servers and you pay for it monthly but you will not have any file or database access. You can upload images and ads.

With the hosted with us accounts you pay month to month so there isn’t a contract. For the Ultimate $99/month account if you use the Full Integration service and decide to downgrade after the integration is complete, you have to pay the difference of integration cost, or stay on the plan for at least 3 months.

Post Affiliate Pro offers three basic packages, and they all allow unlimited affiliates. The $99/month ultimate package raises the tracking cap to 10,000,000, and adds integration service (which means the Post Affiliate Pro team will fully integrate the app with every part of your site). All of these plans include hosting on the Post Affiliate Pro servers, but if you want to host it on your own server, you can buy a license for the app for a one-time fee starting at $299.

Another feature that I just love is the ability to make multiple tiers – so you can pay bloggers a commission and then pay them for referring their friends to join your program (the second tier). Some are a one time payment and others are a percent of what the referred blogger generates in sales.


Has Offers affiliate software
HasOffers is my first choice after Post Affiliate Pro. They are very strong with mobile. Pricing is $279/month or $799 a month and they have a free 30 day trial. They have so many customizations possible and have a very robust solution. I’d say this software would be a good choice if you are sure you don’t want to join an affiliate network. It is very robust and they can do practically anything you need.

When polling business owners about affiliate software, I got this response:

I evaluated several affiliate platforms…having spoken with several friends who owned affiliate networks, Cake and HasOffers were clearly the best…I ended up choosing HasOffers. It’s more intuitive to use from a network and publisher perspective. In terms of actual functionality they’re both very good and comprehensive and it’s unlikely that If you’re doing mobile they were the 1st to track conversions on mobile. It’s unlikely that there’s any requirement either platform won’t cover unless you have an edge case. HasOffers may be more robust for mobile postback tracking as they were first to adopt and also operate


iDevAffiliateaffiliate software by idevaffiliate is another top affiliate marketing software option. Ideal for anyone who has a Shopify, Bigcommerce, Weebly, or Squarespace store. For $399 one time they install it for you and have a ton of other benefits (that’s what I’d do). However, there are plans starting at just $39/month that include hosting. They do not limit the number of affiliates or have a contract on any of their plans, making them a very attractive offering when you’re not sure how your program will perform. Check out affiliate software by idevaffiliate. You can add professional installation to any of the options for an additional charge. I would do that for sure!

iDevAffiliate is my second choice for a small business.

Terms and Conditions of Your Affiliate Program

After you choose an affiliate program, then you need to create an Operating Agreement/Terms and Conditions that states:

What is allowed or not allowed in your program.
Legalities. What types of affiliates (cashback affiliates allowed?)
Can people use your branded keywords for advertisements?
Do you allow paid ads of any kind (outline which ones and any rules)?
Disclosure requirements.
Terms of payment, how commissions are calculated and paid.
Commission Rate or payment per lead
Branded Keywords Bidding Allowed?
Website restrictions (for example, if you allow gambling sites, obscenity, nudity, etc.)
PPC bidding, advertising or rules for buying traffic

Top Affiliate Management Books

Once you set up an affiliate program, you need to communicate with your affiliates. They are essentially your online sales team so give them information about sales, products, campaigns, etc. to keep them motivated and generating sales. There’s a lot to learn! I have worked with so many programs and have made money from programs that were well run and from those that sort of ran themselves. However, I prefer to work with people who know what they are doing.

To learn more about managing an affiliate program, I recommend that you learn from experts. Check out these affiliate marketing books by my friends who are veterans and experts in the affiliate marketing management niche:

Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day by Evgenii Prussakov. Read Geno’s blog and follow him on social media to stay on top of the affiliate marketing industry.

Climbing the Affiliate Management Wall: How Merchants and Managers Find Growth Through the Affiliate Marketing Channel by Greg Hoffman.


Why I No Longer Write Press Releases

It took me a lot of writing to arrive at the conclusion of this story: it’s not worth the stress to continue to write press releases for clients when I can make a lot more money in other ways.

This year is the first year in many that I didn’t renew my press release subscription at Vocus. I’ve written and sent press releases for a long time. I have even loved doing it, but my business focus has changed and it’s tough to go back. For that reason I’m no longer taking most press release writing jobs.

Why did I decide to stop writing press releases? I have a tough time when I get a website or very little information and need to create something from almost nothing. I’ve always been better at riding waves than creating them (in a marketing sense). In my work now I only promote something if I think it will do well. It’s tough to fake.

Then, the expectations are sometimes unrealistically high. Journalists are not waiting for certain types of stories and never will be. I can take your money and you get very little in return. Stories such as your company winning an award are usually great for social proof so you can tout it on your website or have it show up when someone googles your name. It builds credibility. That’s a good reason to send a press release, but if your goal is to get an interview, it’s a long shot.

SEO is Still a Realistic Goal for Press Releases
A press release is still effective for SEO (search engine optimization). However, some announcements aren’t well suited for SEO because there is little search demand for the search phrase. Just like for regular press releases, you need to find an angle. For example, If you want to bill yourself as an “online dating expert” then that’s a decent strategy for SEO.  Journalists do searches to find people for stories they’re working on and it’s highly likely that they’d google “online dating expert” to find someone to interview.

Press Releases Can Still Be Effective at Selling
Press releases can also be an effective way to get new clients. I know this because I’ve gotten clients from people searching “press release writer”. However, you can achieve the same using a blog post).  I wrote press releases about baseball games and other tickets. I optimized the press releases to reach people searching online for tickets to specific games or teams. The biggest complement I got is that the client thought I was excited about the game. I wasn’t – I’m not a sports fan (but I love selling baseball tickets even today). After about six press release their customer service team started to get calls and sell tickets directly because of the press releases.  

Press Releases Are Ideal for Hot Topics You Need to Act Fast On
Another effective use of press releases is that your story is very hot. It’s timely. Let’s say you don’t have relationships with the media and your story needs to get out right away. For example, there’s a national story about something that relates to you or your business and you have a local or unique angle on it. That’s a great way to get press because people are talking about an issue and you’re adding something valuable to the conversation. This is my favorite example.

Press Releases are Effective When Targeted to Local Journalists
Local media is also a better route than simply using a national wire like PR Newswire. I wrote a press release about seeing The Social Network movie with a bunch of Facebook friends to talk about how an online marketing company rented out a theater to show the movie free. It was a local Utah event so it made sense to target it to the Utah media. We encouraged people to bring their phones to the movie, created a hashtag, had giveaways and a lot of fun. It got covered beforehand on local media blogs and radio. There was a TV station there and I was interviewed on a local TV station after the movie. To me the most important result from the entire campaign was the relationships and goodwill it created with influencers.

For Utah press releases I use Utah News Source (which I now own – the previous owner moved out of state). At Utah News Source you write the press release and we get it to Utah-based media, including print, TV and radio. We also publish your press release on our website and share it on our Facebook page (some stories get upwards of 500 views). You can pay extra to have it promoted.

Are Ads More Effective than a Press Release?
Another reason not to write press releases is because sometimes you are better off creating an ad that is targeted to the audience you want to reach. I love Facebook ads for that. Want to reach homeowners because you’re offering an incredible loan or special? Run Facebook ads or display ads.

Is Influencer Marketing a Better Fit?
Last of all, I’ve gotten so involved in influencer marketing that besides affiliate marketing, it’s what I do most. By influencer marketing I mean partnering with bloggers (or Instagrammers, Facebook page owners or YouTubers) to create content about or promote your product. I especially love working with businesses based in Utah to promote an event or activity in Utah. That includes restaurant grand openings, museums, exhibits, destinations, etc.

A supplement company wanted to work with me on a blogging campaign. After not feeling confident about how effective that might be, I recommended that they run Facebook ads instead. I see the ads in my feed regularly so I know they followed my advice. The thing is I don’t want to fail. You don’t want to either. It’s better to say no and not regret it if I’m confident it’s not a good fit. Sometimes I don’t know until I test or try though. Each business and product is unique and there are too many factors. This is why no one in the industry promises an ROI. There are way too many factors out of our control. Instead you get high quality content, social media shares and exposure to an influencer’s audience. If it’s a cold audience and not a very good fit, then it may not result in direct sales. It may just warm them up.

With influencer marketing you will get a story. I can guarantee that because we’re paying (and labeled as a sponsored post). Also, unlike the media you get the writer’s opinion and unique perspective. You get the graphic and the images of your product. The catch is it’s got to be a good product that they will love. It has to be done right. Send a blogger a poorly packaged item or if they are lukewarm about it and you probably won’t be happy with the outcome. Get it right and we’ll all be very happy. I’ve started to poll my network before taking a new client because sometimes they think of angles or are more excited about something than I expect.

My favorite influencer marketing campaign has an affiliate marketing component. One from last year still earns several bloggers $1,000 per month or more (me too). As an influencer I sometimes drive as many or more sales than the bloggers I work with. I may not have the highest numbers because I don’t blog as regularly and my blog is a business blog, but I’m well networked.

So before you decide to write a press release think about what you want to accomplish and consider your budget. A press release might be just what you need or another approach might be better. Whatever you decide, don’t hire me to write your press release (though I’ll be happy to send it through a wire service for you).

New: Etsy Store Owners Can Now Be Etsy Affiliates

Until now all my blogging friends who owned an Etsy store were not allowed to be Etsy affiliates too. That has changed. As of this week, you can now be an Etsy store owner AND earn commissions as an Etsy affiliate. You will not earn a commission on your own products, but you can earn on referring people to other products on the site.

First, you need to join an affiliate network that has Etsy. I use Affiliate Window. If you’re not already part of Affiliate Window, here’s how you can sign up: (my affiliate link). Note that you do have to deposit $5 to start your account (to combat fraud). You get it back when you make more than that in sales though. After you are accepted to Affiliate Window, you need to apply directly to the Etsy affiliate program.

Here’s a screenshot of how to join, under Advertisers –> Join Programs. Then search on the left hand side for “Etsy”.

Join Etsy Affiliate Program

Then once approved, go to “My Programs”, select Etsy and on the far right side under “Actions” you click to get banners and images to use. You can also create a link to any product and get the HTML code or link to insert into your post. Don’t forget to pin your products or posts on Pinterest now that it is ok to use affiliate links!

If you do own a shop, you need to follow these instructions when applying to the affiliate program: email and note your shop in your application.

After that, be sure to get Affiliate Window’s Wordpress plugin. It automatically turns a direct link to any product into an affiliate link. You put the link in how you would link to it, and it will magically redirect. It’s called Convert-a-Link. Once logged into your Affiliate Window account, go to Links & Tools > Convert-a-Link to find it. Read more here. It will save you a ton of time!

Commission rate: 4%
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ShareASale ThinkTank Conference Review

I just returned from my first ever ThinkTank conference for ShareASale affiliates. ShareASale (affiliate link) is an affiliate network that is especially blogger friendly. I recommend them all of the time. They’re actively reaching out to bloggers because as I’ve noted before, affiliate networks love bloggers for the quality content they can bring. ShareASale even graciously sponsored my ABC conference last year.

I didn’t really know what to expect as far as how big the conference would be or the format.

ShareASale ThinkTank


First, ShareASale CEO Brian Littleton is INCREDIBLY GENEROUS. He’s a bit of a hero (or should I say legend) to everyone too. It’s the ONLY conference I’ve been to that cost so little and delivered so much value. The hotel – Chicago Intercontinental on the Magnificent Mile – was absolutely gorgeous and the service was stellar. The food was incredible too. Not just meals but the snacks between every event. I was never hungry. They even had Chicago dogs and Chicago style popcorn. There were around 300 people with the majority being bloggers.


There were not very many sessions but the two classes for affiliates showed how to pull reports on ShareASale and how to elegantly direct people from your content posts to posts that make you money (see the image below). I learned from both – there were reports I had never checked until I learned about them. I want to try using a call out box in the center of a post to link to another post that has products in it.

They also went over the tools to create and share content from ShareASale merchants. Check out this post about using the Product Showcase or the Make A Page feature on ShareASale. I like how he put the products in line with the post.

ShareASale Presentation

We did have 15 minute discussions but it was super loud and 15 minutes goes by quick, especially when you’re sharing the table with about 10 other people. I did learn something from Missy Ward of Affiliate Summit (aff) and another affiliate that made it worth the effort to communicate. I’m so ADD that focusing in when there’s a ton of other things going on is really challenging.


I sat next to famous people who’ve made millions and next to brand new affiliates and merchants who were just beginning. The thing about this industry is if you put in the effort there are a lot of people willing to help. It’s not like a blogging conference where there might be some attitude (look at me, I’m internet famous!). You don’t have to worry about what you wear, your age, if you know anyone else there, etc. You can just be yourself. There’s no attitude and people are approachable. To illustrate this – I caught a Lyft ride with an affiliate I had just met in the closing session. Elaine and I talked for hours and we both learned even more just hanging out at the airport.


The most intense and valuable part of the entire conference are the one-on-one meetings with merchants. It’s a great way to brainstorm ways you can work together, get to know what they offer, and start a relationship. Like Joe from Fanantics says in his recap, you have to be open minded. There may be programs that don’t seem like a fit but end up working for you. As he said, just because you’re not a sports fan doesn’t mean your readers aren’t. Ironically, I started a private affiliate program of just me to sell baseball tickets for the local pro team!

Meeting with merchants was a chance to see and take photos of products that you otherwise just see online. I wish I’d taken even more photos of products. I’d even take them of the affiliate managers so I could remember them later. Here’s one I got though and it’s adorable. I fell in love with this romper Fanatics had on display even though they don’t have BYU (they have BYU and a ton of other teams though).

Florida Gators baby baseball outfit

To illustrate how helpful it is to know your affiliate manager, I pinged Joe on Facebook to get the link to the exact product I took a photo of. He responded immediately. Wow.

For example, there were several check affiliate managers. I learned so much about what each program offers. It’s not just checks either. If you have superhero fans, there are address labels with Marvel characters. If you are a Christian blogger there are checks with scriptures written on them. They also have RFID blocking wallets and purse organizers.

Here’s some checks that I added using the Make-a-Page feature. Unfortunately it doesn’t have all the products available to add to this showcase, but here are some favorites:

Here's what you can make on ShareASale, in honor of Fanatics, here's an example of ShareASale's Product Showcase. Rather than products that I selected, I put in a keyword and it shows products and rotates them based on that keyword. I put in BYU Cougars (where I went to college):

The Travel Blanket I Must Bring to Every Conference from Now On

I’m a bit of a conference addict. I like the temporary escape from everyday life, new people to talk with, and to learn ways to grow my business. What does that have to do with travel blankets?

Hotel rooms, especially conference rooms, are always cold for me. I can never pack enough scarves or wear jackets to keep me warm and still look professional, even in the summer. I always think I’ll be fine this time. I will be warm enough with a jacket. So I under dress.

Maybe this is you, too. You’re sitting most of the time and if you’re wearing professional shoes, your feet get cold. Wearing a skit? Your legs get cold. Even with a jacket you’re cold all over. It’s hard time to focus on the speakers because you’re so cold.

The cost of my stubbornness is that I’m almost always freezing in hotels around the country. That air conditioning that saves men in suits from excessive sweating is chilling some of us women like a bottle of wine on ice.

The Lightweight Travel Blanket I Will Bring to Conferences from Now On

If you are like me you are searching for the solution to being cold at conferences whether at home or on the road. You might like heavy blankets but I’ve fallen for lightweight blankets and lightweight things of all kinds. My absolute favorite are Eddie Bauer blankets. It has to be discreet enough that you can bring the blanket into the room and drape it over your legs underneath the tablecloth where no one can see, and then pack it up again.

I’m addicted to these blankets and even give them as gifts. Just be aware if you give it to a couple, they usually end up purchasing another one because they’ll fight over it until one of them buys their own.

I was recently in Chicago for a blogging conference (ShareASale ThinkTank) and although it’s May, it was cool, even cold. No matter how I cranked up the requested temperature on the thermostat to 74, I still froze. I called a truce by turning it off altogether. The hotel beds have sheets and they’re tough to pull up high enough and once again, I’m longing for my blanket. The one that I left at home because it’s May. I need a blanket that is easy to travel with, either in my suitcase or with it. This is it.

I like the travel throw, which has its own stuff sack and is small. It can also double as a pillow in a pinch. It’s made of 100% polyester and has a carabiner clip which you can attach to your carryon bag or just carry it around your shoulder. They’re a convenient size, very light, and surprisingly warm, and with the included stuff sack, perfect for travel. When I’m not travelling, I keep the blanket in my car. It’s great to use it on the road when I’m travelling with someone who likes the air conditioning on a lot higher than I do.

This blanket is ideal because it is really easy to clean. Spills and crumbs brush right off. The travel throw does not have fleece backing like their home throws. For home (we keep ours on our LoveSac) I prefer the one with fleece on one side. It’s super soft and cozy. For travel though it’s better not to have it because you can’t clean it as easily and it doesn’t come with a sack to carry it in.

Lightweight But Warm Jackets to Wear to the Office

As far as jackets, Eddie Bauer (affiliate link) has a lightweight jacket that I even wear in the house and it doesn’t feel like I have a heavy coat on – because I don’t. Since I work from home most days or in a cool coworking space, this saves me from having to do jumping jacks every half hour to warm up. I’d buy black because it can be more easily dressed up – although I do want one that is cut like a blazer.

Eddie Bauer is my favorite brand for jackets and coats. However, I’m not linking directly to the coat or blankets I have (2 coats, 3 blankets) because it’s not there and they’re always changing inventory. I’m a long, long time fan of Eddie Bauer jackets of all types and their generous return policy). So find it in the home category ? blankets and throws. I know this is a business blog but I also know I’m not the only woman freezing through the work day, almost year round. If that’s you, I hope this helps you too.

One of my most popular posts is a work wardrobe for women that’s practical and functional with a few basics that you can mix and match. You’ll notice that there and in this case, I’d rather spend a lot more up front for something that I love and that will last and last. It’s the same with the travel blankets. They’re going to make conference trips a lot more comfortable!

Note: all links in this post are affiliate links.

Utah Real Estate Startup Homie Launches Blogger Outreach Campaign

I recently held an event for Utah bloggers with Utah real estate startup Homie. The company aims to make selling by owner more effective and save Utah homebuyers and sellers on realtor fees – thousands of dollars.

Homie is only available in Utah right now but plans to expand into other states. If you want to use Homie’s technology to sell your Utah home without the need for a realtor, they can help.

Sometimes your entire profit from selling is eaten away by the commissions you have to pay. If you try the FSBO route, it’s pretty rough going and you’re likely to get a lower price. Homie occupies a middle ground.

We held the event with Utah bloggers at a museum. We had over 25 bloggers come for small plates, to network, and to learn about Homie.

Sell a home in Utah with Homie

Homie Utah Real Estate Services

Here is what Homie gives you to help you sell your home in Utah:

  • A phone number and screens calls for you so you don’t waste your time answering calls from realtors.
  • A professional lawn sign with your unique phone number.
  • Professional photos (the second biggest selling point) of your home from a Google Trusted photographer. They specialize in taking photos of homes and other buildings, and are very good at getting the right angles to make every room look its best. To hire a photographer to take photos of an individual house would normally cost $250 – $500.
  • A lockbox.
  • A team of real estate attorneys to consult about negotiations and to provide the paperwork for the offer and terms.

How Much Does it Cost to Sell a Home in Utah with Homie?

Homie charges $299 to sellers who want to list their home and then $99/month after the first month. The company says that most of the time people find the homes they want to see before contacting a realtor. They research everything online. Homie lists Utah homes for sale on their website (with the price to buy using Homie and a separate price if you have your own agent on the buyer’s side), as well as on Zillow, Trulia and KSL Classifieds.

Promo Code to Save $50 on Setup Fee

I worked with Homie to set up an in-house affiliate program. Bloggers who attended could also become an affiliate. In addition, everyone got an exclusive discount to offer their readers (even I did). My promo code is NPG-BLOG – which gets $50 off the setup fee ($299) when you sell a home with Homie. Enter the promo code at check out.

More info:

How Homie helps you sell your home:

Buying a Home with Homie

You can also use Homie to buy a home in Utah. Find your home on any website and make an offer through Homie at no cost. Using Homie’s real estate attorney instead of an agent, you will have the power to negotiate a better price. They will assist with all paperwork. No matter where you find your home, Homie can help you buy a home.

More info:
The real cost of using a real estate agent:

Several who attended were interested in buying or selling a home with Homie themselves. One blogger already had an appointment with a Utah realtor set (to sell her home) before the event, but decided to use Homie instead. I’m looking forward to reading blog posts about her experience. You have to love it when you get ROI that fast!

I’ve done so many blogger events in Utah but I rarely blog about them. Hopefully you found this helpful. My only regret is not getting a group photo.

Next I’m writing about the most successful blogging campaign I’ve ever done – and it was for a new product that launched on Kickstarter.

Arizona Deadbeat Dads: a Controversial But Effective Social Media Campaign

The state of Arizona has taken a stand against deadbeat dads owe significant back child support payments with a new social media campaign. It may not be popular with everyone, but so far it’s working.

The campaign started in January. The goal of the campaign is to publicly call out dad’s who owe child support on social media with their photo and how much they owe, along with the hashtag #Deadbeat

The campaign features tweets and Facebook posts that are quite popular, even viral. People then recognize and turn in offenders. Some turn themselves in.In an article in The Arizona Republic, cited how a father made a payment the day after being featured and another came forward and ponied up $13,000.

Note that you only get featured if you owe significant amounts of child support, not someone who is simply behind a thousand.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.19.25 AM

Apparently Arizona Governor Doug Ducey likes hashtags – he wants people to call him Arizona’s “Hashtag Governor“.

You can follow along on Twitter @ArizonaDES or on Facebook at

Some people suggest using shame like this for better causes, like, “Why don’t you shame people into giving money back to the public schools.” Maybe they should start taking and sharing photos themselves from teachers and schools with their own hashtag? Others call him a deadbeat governor for this idea.

I’m not speaking on his politics or the idea of using shame to enforce the law, but he definitely knows how to generate publicity! This story has been covered and covered. It’s been debated. As always you have to ask if the end justifies the means.

If there was a vote, the winner would be John Curtis of Provo City to be the hashtag mayor for his brilliant use of hashtags and social media campaigns. I wrote about how the city built up to the launch of Google Fiber and had everyone in suspense.

As for me, I’m always on the lookout for how governments use social media or PR effectively.

Utah Restaurant Packs Guns, Business Booms

Utah restaurant, Sea Bears Ogden Fish House, is getting a lot of publicity recently for their pro-gun stance. Along with fish and chips, there is some heat. The owner, cook, and servers all openly carry and many are family members. There are guns tucked into their kilts.

Utah restaurants packs guns with their kilts

Six months ago, the 2nd amendment loving owner, Tony Siebers wanted to show his love of the 2nd Amendment.  His decision to open carry which is legal in Utah created a lot of controversy. I saw them on Channel 2 News last night, they were picked up by another TV station, The Standard Examiner newspaper, and I heard them on KSL Radio this morning.

I stopped by on my way to work today. It’s Tuesday at about 1pm and they are too busy for an interview. This is the type of business that they usually see on weekends. This is the entrance – almost every table is full.

Ogden restaurant gets media coverage

Unfortunately, polarizing works very well as a way to get publicity. Want to get in the news? Make something that makes people talk. It doesn’t even need to be real, apparently…this company built a fake app, got a lot of coverage on it (check out the story on Medium) and landed some six figure contracts. Dubious? I think so. But effective? No one can argue with that.

Nowadays, potential clients care more about the name on the door than the agency’s portfolio. In order to survive, new agencies need to be heavily differentiated with unique voices.

Donald Trump does this very well (even though the skills to get publicity may not be the same skills needed to effectively lead a country). Even in Facebook advertising, it’s ideal to create an offer that only your target market would be interested in so you only pay for downloads or registrations from potential customers. Everyone else will just move along.

Will the Publicity Backfire?

When a business takes a strong stand or pulls a publicity stunt, it creates a lot of conversations. In this case, it obviously helped the restaurant bring in more customers. People who are pro gun will go there just because of the guns. If you look at their Facebook page there isn’t a mention about all the news stories (missed opportunity), but there are a few comments from customers who saw them on the news and pledge support.

Ogden Sea Bears Restaurant Facebook

I always look at Chick-fil-A and their anti-gay marriage stance. It helped them short term but long term, the polarization hurt. In an interview last year with USAToday the CEO said they were backing away from getting political. “While Cathy’s comments didn’t hurt short-term business — and even helped it — Chick-fil-A executives recognize that the comments may have done longer-term damage to the brand’s image.”

On a national level, Chick-fil-A decided not to continue to voice their opinions and focus on their product.

Does the same hold true for a small local business? Do these stances hurt long-term or help? I tried to find out by asking I Love Drilling Juice and Smoothie Bar in Vernal, Utah. I wrote about them 3 years ago, after they made national news for charging liberals $1 more on their orders. Wait, didn’t liberals invent juicing and smoothies? I don’t know any hippies who aren’t liberal.

The end of the story? The business was listed for sale for $6,000 on their Facebook page and reported sold one day later. I couldn’t reach them (no answer when I called) to find out if they still charge liberals more.  However, their name has been changed to Smooth Drilling.

My last example comes from an ice cream shop, Farr’s Fresh in South Ogden, Utah. They got publicity for promoting guns after they ran a gun giveaway on Facebook several years ago. I haven’t seen anything else on their Facebook page, so I assume it’s business as usual.

Polarizing can be very effective (get more visibility and bring more business), especially short-term. For bigger brands or businesses it can cut you off from potential customers and you may have to back away from the issues. For smaller businesses with one location or just a few it may be a risk worth taking.

For Sea Bears if they’re going to get this much publicity, they ought to learn from I Love Drilling Juice and Smoothie Bar and fan this fire. I would put up links and comments about every news story. I’d post photos and highlight the crowds, thanking people for their support. I’d keep playing up the pro-gun stance with promotions and campaigns.

Looking for Liberal Examples

My only question is, where are the liberal examples? I’ve got plenty from the right (probably because I live in Utah). What publicity stunts have you seen from the left? Also, do you think this is a smart move for a local business?

View story at

Recommended Affiliate Programs From Affiliate Managers Who Get It

When I went to Affiliate Summit this January I got to meet some affiliate managers and get to know their programs. I’m always looking for programs that are well-run and responsive. Greg Hoffman only runs programs in ShareASale and is top notch. Stephanie Robbins is another great manager. So is Melissa from Craftsy. I’m probably leaving some out. Some of the links below are affiliate links.

How The Best Affiliate Managers Can Help You:

  • They keep you updated on promotions.
  • They give you content ideas (StichFix does a great job of this).
    For example, if you’re VidAngel and Martin Luther King Day is coming up, you’d send an alert to your affiliates letting them know you have Selma and how it’s a perfect tie in.
  • They respond to email or other ways of contacting them (Jeannine at Affiliate Window is great at this).
  • They make it easier for you to promote their products. Melissa from Craftsy actually embeds your link into every email. She pre-writes tweets too. At a minimum you can copy/paste or edit then copy/paste.I referred a blogger to the Grokker program, where Stephanie Robbins is the affiliate manager. I noticed that Stephanie actually commented on a post.

    When I mentioned how great that is, and rare, here’s what the blogger said:

    “She is incredibly easy to work with and gets back so fast. This is the first affiliate program I’ve ever had good response. So I’m super glad you mentioned them. I’d just about given up on affiliate with shareasale for a while. Now I’m looking for more great companies on there.”

Affiliate Programs I Recommend

Affiliate programs can change and sometimes get better, but other times they get worse. There are programs I like but I don’t care for the affiliate manager – either you’re on your own or they do little to help out.

As of writing this post, these are some favorites:


At home online yoga, exercise and cooking classes. You get paid $10 for each free trial you refer. 30 day cookie.
Sign up here.
Sign up to try Grokker out yourself first to see if it’s a good fit for your blog: Ideal for fitness bloggers or lifestyle bloggers who attract moms that have a tough time getting the kids packed and out of the house and to a gym.

Healing Natural Oils
Essential oils from Amoils
25% 60 day cookie, Average order size is $62, 3% conversion rate
Sign up here.

100 Percent Pure
All natural, organic and vegetarian skin care.
10% per sale, 45 day cookie, average order size is $80
I got a sample of their eye cream and I’m a big fan. I use it every night and it’s really helped with under eye circles and bags under my eyes. First eye cream I’ve ever loved.
Make sure to read the part that tells how many customers were happy with various aspects of their specific products.
Sign up here.

Cover that slips onto sports shoes (like cleats) to protect & keep them clean.
$5 per sale, 60 day cookie
Sign up here.

Snake River Farms
Only 3% of all beef in the US receives the designation of Prime, yet Snake River Farms far exceeds the standard.
7% per sale, 60 day cookie
Sign up here.
This is a good one for food bloggers, anyone who has a higher end audience that will pay more for premium quality. BBQ bloggers, organic/whole foods bloggers are also a good fit.

My friends at Oakiwear just launched their affiliate program – they carry fashionable yet durable kid’s outdoor clothing. They’re on AvantLink.

Are you an affiliate of any of these programs? Which are your favorite affiliate programs or managers?

Utah’s Nexus Bill: Fighting for Utah Affiliates and Mom Bloggers

Utah Rep Mike McKell Republican, House District 66, introduced HB0235, the Utah nexus bill and one that would really hurt Utah bloggers. There are similar bills in the Senate. All of the bills concern internet taxation and trying to force online retailer’s hand by making them pay sales tax on anything sold to anyone who lives in Utah. Regardless if you like the term “mommy bloggers” (I don’t) the idea is that this bill will hurt mostly women, because out of the thousands of bloggers in the state, the majority are women and they are moms.

The intention is to “level the playing field” between online and offline retailers. The problem is it won’t work and in the process, yes, thousands of mommy bloggers will lose income and they will be mad. You know why? Because we’re a pawn in this game. I know your intentions are to help businesses in our state. This isn’t going to work though. I wish it would, but it won’t.

Here’s another take from a Utah blogger about why these bills are hurtful.

Utah nexus bill


You want to know how to level the playing field between online and offline? It’s not by charging sales tax. Online retailers win because of convenience and because they offer almost everything at the click of a mouse.  It’s not over 4.7% or whatever your sales tax rate is. Physical retailers around this country are closing. It’s not just a Utah issue and it’s not because of a few dollars.

Consumers love being able to shop from home at any time of day from their computer or phone. You can find almost unlimited inventory, compare prices, pay and have items arrive at your house within a day or two. That’s a lot easier and worth a few more dollars than driving to a store (pay gas, load up the kids, parking, etc), looking around to find what you’re shopping for, then waiting in line to buy it.

If you truly want to level the playing field, then every physical store would also have an online version and it would be mobile-friendly so people can easily buy from you at any time. They’d get a Shopify store (yes, that’s an affiliate link and I think they’re one of the best ways to sell online) that starts at $9/month and offer in store pick up for people want to come in. They’d learn SEO (search engine optimization) so their items come up in search engines, and get good at shipping.

You don’t level the playing field (which is actually impossible) by collecting sales tax. In fact, if I were the state of Utah, I’d much rather see incomes go up and collect on the income tax side.


Here’s how affiliate marketing works. This website sells personal checks. There are many designs and prices to choose from. However, notice there is no shopping cart. My friend who makes a living with this site never collects money from her customers at all. In fact if you click on a check it takes you to an online retailer who actually sells the checks. Affiliate marketing is referring a sale from your website to theirs. They have an agreement with my friend and pays her a percent of all the orders she refers to them.

Most bloggers have affiliate relationships with dozens if not over a hundred different online retailers. These retailers a presence in different states. If you somehow twist things to say that if you’re an affiliate then you have physical presence in the state, then bloggers have presence across the county and every state can use us to try and force online retailers to collect sales tax.

What happens instead is those retailers will refuse to do business with us again. Immediately. Within days we will get an email like this one which happened when Colorado passed a similar bill:

Valued Affiliate

We regret to inform you that in light of the recent passage of Colorado HB10-1193 Hayneedle has made the decision to terminate our relationship with affiliate partners based in Colorado. This means that effective Sunday, February 28th 2010, you will be removed from our affiliate program and will no longer be able to promote our products. All commissions earned up until February 28th will be paid in full.

We have appreciated your partnership and regret the turn of events that have forced us to take this action. Should this situation be resolved, we look forward to renewing our partnership with you in the future.

The Affiliate Team

It will happen and it will hurt Utah bloggers. In some cases 100% of their income is from affiliate marketing. A blogger I talked to makes $40k a year and most of it probably from Amazon. She will be terminated from working with Amazon. Then what?? Is that a level playing field?

The law would essentially attempt to classify bloggers as more of an “employee” of the retailers we link to / advertise for – thus creating an official “nexus” (kinda like a homebase) for those retailers. That nexus gives the State of Utah the right to force that retailer to collect sales tax on purchases.


I’ve been an affiliate for over 10 years. I am the cofounder of a conference that teaches bloggers how to use affiliate marketing to make money to support their family. Bloggers were already writing about what they do and their readers already want to know where they got those shoes their wearing or the exact sewing machine they use. Affiliate marketing just takes it a step further and incentivizes bloggers to link to those products (and make money if someone buys them).

Why do I teach affiliate marketing to bloggers? Because affiliate marketing is the best way I know to make money online – you don’t need inventory, you don’t have to ship products, and you don’t have to be a certain color to advance, be educated or be a man. In Utah we have a pretty wide pay gap between men and women.


I call Utah the mothership of blogging. We have so many bloggers and so many of us need to work to support our families. We have Dooce the original mom blogger, Crafting Chicks, Six Sisters’ Stuff, Pink Peonies, Cara Loren and SO MANY VERY HIGH PROFILE BLOGS.

Many are looking for ways to be at home with young children AND earn an income. That’s also why MLM is so big in Utah. We have a lot of moms with young children at home. We also have a very high level of entrepreneurship. These are avenues that are vital to us. I’m already getting KILLED on taxes because my husband and I are self-employed. If our income goes down because of this Utah’s not going to get a lot of sales tax but they’ll get less income tax.

Someone in my Utah Bloggers Facebook group asked what percent of income each person makes from affiliate marketing on their blog. It’s way too long to list but here are some highlights:

I don’t actually make any money from affiliate sales, my readers are just not shoppers. I might earn enough to buy one Blu-ray every year, however I am against this bill. I can see the harm that will come if this bill is passed to those who do make their livelihood through affiliate sales on their blogs and I see the harm that will come to the state because of it.

55% of my income is from affiliate marketing, all from Amazon. I have multiple blogs.

Right now I only make about 10% of my income from affiliate sales, but I’m just starting a new section of my blog where I’m hoping to make a lot more in affiliate sales. Now I don’t know if I should bother.

50%. Most of my sales are outside Utah.

Probably around 20%… and mostly through Amazon. I only started last fall. Thanks for fighting for this, you are rad!

[Main site] plus three other sites. 50% income.

Currently fluctuates between 10-25% depending on the given month.

And I was just beginning to branch out from Amazon! (That is all Amazon) so it will suck if this passes just as I’m getting traction.

about 10% in my letter I mentioned that bloggers rely on a community and with this bill potentially putting so many of our fellow bloggers out of business we would all be affected.


Here’s what a member of our group found researching the affects of this law:

28 States in which Amazon remits sales tax:
Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

28 States in which Amazon has a physical presence or one planned
Same list as above

0 States with nexus law, but no warehouses, that remit sales tax (this would be Utah by this bill vision)

11 States that have lost their affiliate program
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois and North Carolina. (all reinstated when Amazon built a fulfillment center in their state) Arkansas, Maine, Rhode Island, Missouri and Vermont (still shut down due to no fulfillment center). Hawaii lost their program as a result of a treat to pass a nexus law.

13 States in which Amazon now offers 2-hr delivery
Amazon offer’s 2-hour delivery from many fulfillment centers, directly competition with brick-and-mortar stores. The map attached clearly shows that they do not have a 2-hr delivery in the mountain west. As a result, if this does passes, I assume Amazon may announce a fulfillment center, which would help us, but would be DEVASTATING for the brick-and-mortar stores Utah lawmakers are trying to help.

Amazon’s track record alone proves this is a lose, lose for Utah.

There are NO states, no examples, where Amazon collects tax purely based on these types of bills. ZERO. It has never worked.

Most of this info comes from this Wikipedia article (, and Google.


I hope you realize why we’re fighting against a Utah nexus bill. I hope you’ll contact your representatives and ask them to vote AGAINST it. The legislature is almost wrapped so this bill will pass or fail in the next few days.

Sign our petition.

Contact your Utah state representatives. Find your representatives, just put your address and zip code in on this website to get your district and reps. Click to get email and phone numbers. Let them know you’re against this bill. Share your story.

We’re running out of time. I woke up in distress this morning. This hit fast. I have to work on my business and this takes a ton of time. I’m not a trained lobbyist. In fact, I’ve only lobbied once in DC (in college) and it was terrifying. Jim Hanson was so rude to us – I’ll never forget and it made me never want to try again. But I have to. This is too important not to give it all we can.

Right now, it’s up to all of the Utah Affiliate Marketers to educate and stand up for our livelihood.