Is Affiliate Marketing Too Competitive?

Ana says: "Like many other successful online marketers, Lynn started in the 1990s, a time when the digital marketing landscape was up for grabs, uncrowded.

Beginners today have intense competition to waddle through. One of the biggest challenges for me and others in highly competitive niches is how to stand out from the crowd..."

This is such a great topic. I discussed this 2 1/2 years ago in a post titled Is It Too Late To Get Started In Affiliate Marketing? (which I highly recommend you read first), but it's definitely time to revisit this topic...

Then vs Now

In February of this year I celebrated 15 years in business. And while it's true that business in general was less competitive back in the 90's, there were also a lot less resources. Creating a website meant you needed to know learn code. Creating decent graphics required experience and expensive software.

There were no ebooks, blogs, forums or guides. You had to figure everything out on your own by trial and error. A LOT of trial and error 😛 lol...

I spent an entire day trying to figure out how to bold and italicize text on a web page. I taught myself how to customize (expensive) shopping cart scripts in CGI code. And when something didn't work, you had to go line for line through pages of code trying to figure out what in the world went wrong.

There was no Google, there were no big events to attend, and Yahoo wasn't even a search engine - it was a directory. The biggest goldmine online was eBay.

Would I go back in time? NO WAY!

The opportunity is much hotter now than it ever was then! 😉

Now vs Then

Did I mention there were no (or VERY few) Affiliate Programs back then?

Fast forward to 2012, and you have an endless pool of resources at your fingertips. There are guides, blogs, forums, events, local meet-ups, webinars, podcasts, free video tutorials on YouTube, the answer to any question at Google, free software & plugins, free WordPress themes to design beautiful websites, etc, etc, etc.

There are also more affiliate programs, more ways to make money online, and more people to joint venture with and/or hire. More is better!

There are more ways to market your website or business online as well. We have Google, Social Media, YouTube, forums in practically every niche.

And almost everyone has an iPod, an email address, and a computer even! (lol, not the case back in the 90's...) Not only do you have more resources, and more opportunities, your target market is actually online and buying!

Competition is a GOOD thing!

Ana mentioned that it's much harder to "stand out" in niches that are now far more competitive than they once were. And while that is true from certain angles, and the way that many new online business owners feel, I tend to view it differently...

I see competition as opportunity.

The key is in learning how to leverage your "competition". And the more competitive a niche, the more leverage you have! You have more blogs where you can guest post and comment, more forums where you can network, more Facebook Pages to connect with, more JV Partners, more sites to get links from - the list goes on and on. It's actually harder to stand out in a niche where no one is talking. 🙂

My newest affiliate site is in a super competitive niche. Actually a double niche, where both niches are "saturated" (I love that word, lol). It's diet & travel.

And while I am leveraging my hard-earned visibility with this project, I am practically unknown in both niches. I'm having to carve out my spot, talk merchants & sponsors into working with a brand new site, work consistently on content & linking, and network like a mad woman - just like everyone else.

On many of my affiliate sites, I use a pen name. So I AM unknown. And I still choose "competitive niches". 😉

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic...

Also, I am in the process of publishing a book on Affiliate Marketing. It's a physical (paperback & Kindle) book, and will be out later this year. If you want to learn exactly how I do what I do, step by step, be sure you're on the notification list.


p.s. If you enjoyed this post, you'll also want to read 6 Ways to Get Free Targeted Web Traffic 😉 & you can subscribe below to get more free tutorials:

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. I understand your point clearly. The more competitive a niche is, the higher the opportunities to stand out and make a name for yourself. And when you finally achieve your goal, the benefits are far greater. But reaching the top in niches where there is high competition is relatively more difficult. The reason why IMers go after long-tail keywords is the same reason why they enter less popular niches. What do you think?

    • There are fewer long-tail keyword phrases in less competitive niches. The reason marketers go after the longtail is to get highly targeted (better converting) traffic IN competitive niches. 😉

      • ...and to reduce the competition. In fact it seems reducing the competitions is more important. There are broad keywords that convert well.

  2. Hi Lynn,
    Like in every business, there is a competition and as far as I'm concerned that's good. Sooner or later quality will come out. People usually think that AM is a quick rich scheme and for that 'later' there is no time. It's all about credebility and it takes a time.

  3. I used to think this like Ana too as I'm sure many peopl do. That is until I stopped thinking about a get rich quick scheme and started thinking about it as a business. I run a local business and in my local area when I first got started there were tons of people in my niche doing business. Did that mean I couldn't start a business, that there weren't opportunities? No. It meant I could do it better, find the gaps, approach other local businesses to work with etc.

    It's the same online really but instead of having access to limited numbers of a local market, I have access to billions of people worldwide and that's very appealing. The thing I've realized is that a good business takes time to develop, you need patience, persistence, and the guts to step out of your comfort zone and take risks, even if that simply means emailing potential joint venture partners or creating your first product.

    You've just got to get in there and do it! Competition is always there. But no one ever does it like you so it's not really competition anyway!

  4. Competition? Bring it! It’s game on baby! Yea! Now, competition is a good thing folks. Think about it. Was there really a need for another sporting apparel company? I mean, Nike, Reebok, Asics and Adidas had it in the bag right? After all…they were big ones for years.

    Now...Enter Under Armour. They took a product and made it cooler. When you break it down, they are just shorts and shirts. But damn, I’ve gotta have them. You why? Because they are cool, and they make me feel cool when I wear’em.

    So how does this tie into affiliate marketing and niches you ask? Well, just make your offer a litter cooler. Work on your copywriting skills until YOUR voice is what shines through the words. Remember, people buy from people they know, like and trust. Does the world really need another affiliate offer? I doubt it. But if you can make your offer just a little different…BAM! That’s where the fun begins my friend.

    Let’s face it folks. The entire SEO game has changed drastically in the past few months. Getting on top of Google is harder now than ever. But don’t let that stop you from building your blog. Build your site around any damn keyword you want. Then BUILD A LIST in that niche. Use your blog to write offers, promotions, tips, personal stories and such. Then send your blog updates to your list of subscribers. Good times fuzzy bunnies 🙂

    Happy marketing folks!

  5. kevin redman says:

    Yes Competition is good and bad. Good because you know there is a market there. Bad because the more Competition the longer it will take to make your mark. I am in the fitness field and my niche within a niche is I try to appeal to the over 40 year old. in conclusion any market you go into look for a different angle which makes you different then your Competition

  6. Lynn, I clicked on your link for "newest affiliate site" and it said access denied and an ominous "your IP has been recorded". Is the site not viewable to everyone?

    • We were working on security upgrades. That has been disabled, but you may need to clear your cache/cookies - or just click shift+refresh on this page before clicking it again. Hold down the shift key and click the refresh button in your browser. Let me know if that works for you. 🙂

  7. Lynn,
    I agree with you - each time has its good and bad points. there were no affiliate programs back then (or very few) today you have tons. there were no resources - today you have too many. but there will be always newbies who want to learn. actually a few thousand every month are more than enough 😉
    right now i have the problem to be in a very new market in germany - while it is very known in the US (digital scrapbooking i´m talking about) it is very less known in germany - here these are just some pictures 😉 still - we got up a website and yes, we get visitors. it´s not enough yet, not enough to live from it but it gets more every month. but i think it´s much harder than in other states where it is already known. so yes, there are always advantages and disadvantages on both sites.

    • Hi Monja!

      You might consider hosting some local workshops to better educate your target market and get them engaged in the FUN of what you do! 😉

  8. Hi Lynn,
    I have 1 question which i really need your answer. Recently, I have heard very much about that Affiliate Marketing will die. Will affiliate marketing still be around in a few years? (I worry that if I put all the work into now, it might all be wasted if affiliate marketing dies).

    Now, i want to join Affiliate marketing, i want to become an affiliate marketer as you. I want to build my site that guides everyone how to get start and earn money from Affiliate Marketing ( such as your site). But I don't know should I go? I don't care about competition, I like it. But i worry about the future of Affiliate Marketing. And can you give me an advice?.

    Please answer me.
    Have a nice day.

  9. Lynn, I'm honored that you cited my remarks and did so with your usual expertise. So my response is, yes, as I said we're in a much more competitive era, BUT, yes (a different take on "yes-but" 😉 ... more resources are available to us now, including how to make the best use of all that competition we grumble about.

    Don't mind me. I'll still grumble about it. I just made a list of new domain names I'm having fun with (I filled the page with 3 columns in less than a half hour -- told you it was fun), and there's not a one that wouldn't be in a super-competitive niche. They're all things I'm passionate about, all of them saturated to drowning.

    You might say I got my work cut out for me.

    Thanks a mil. I love sharing with everyone here.

  10. Hi Lynn,

    Thanks for this post. I totally agree with you that competition is good although this sounds strange (or maybe even crazy). 🙂 But if there is competition for some product (or niche) than it means also that there must be a lot of people who are interested in buying that product (more sales for us):D. So in my opinion to become successful affiliate you muss somehow become better than others are. You muss “stand out from the crowd”, doing something what others don’t do, giving more than others give, and so on. Either with awesome content or some useful tools.

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