Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

A Super Affiliate or a Guru

This week I receive an email from some random guy asking me what made a super affiliate “super” or a guru a “guru”. And to be honest with you… I had no reply for the guy. Instead I have spent the last two days delving into the depths of the Internet to find out what made a guru a guru and a super affiliate super.

Unfortunately everone online has their own opinion on this subject. So I’m going to try my best to give my interpretation of these two terms we hear so often online.

First lets start off with a Guru. This one is easy. The definition of a “Guru” from dictionary.com is this:

1. A trusted counselor and adviser; a mentor.
2. A recognized leader in a field.
3. An acknowledged and influential advocate, as of a movement or idea.

Okay… I took out most of the definitions it gave. The term “guru”, when it was originally created, referred to an intellectual or spiritual guide/leader.

So when it comes to Internet Marketing who can we call a guru? ummm That’s a good question. These days there are so many “guru’s” that its hard to set apart those that are real leaders or guides against those that are looking to resell you information. Mike Filsaime… He isn’t a guru in my eyes. He’s a business man. An entrepreneur. But a guru… no… sorry. John Chow… He isn’t a guru either… He’s an entrepreneur. Shoemoney…entrepreneur. Will from PPC-Coach…Guru and entrepreneur. Ralph Ruckman over at Convert2Media… He’s a guru (although he’ll argue differently) and entrepreneur.

So whats the difference between those 2 that I feel are guru’s verse the 3 that I feel aren’t? The 2 are more than willing to help you out. You can ask them anything and they will give you the answers you need. The 3 just want you to be a follower. Buy their stuff… Use their programs… read their blogs… Shoemoney I do see answering questions… But he isn’t a guru… He’s a business man. And from what I can tell he’s pretty good at it. John Chow… He’s hardly a guru of Internet Marketing… Of “pho” food… maybe. Mike Filsaime, that guy just sells stuff. He is an excellent entrepreneur and marketer but not a guru.

Now for the super affiliates.

So I couldn’t really find a definition for this. So I’m going to just give my thoughts on the subject. First let me just say that by my own definition I am in no way a “super” affiliate… I’m not even a “guru”. I’m just a normal affiliate trying to help everyone else out.

A super affiliate in my book is an affiliate that can play in any niche. A super affiliate is a list builder, adverting junkie, and a niche researcher. If you make $600,000/yr from one niche with a handful keywords are you a super affiliate? No… Your just a lucky person. If you have to proclaim yourself as a super affiliate… Are you really a super affiliate… it’s possible, but I doubt it. So who decides your a super affiliate? Really it should be your affiliate manager or your affiliate network. They are really the only people besides yourself and your accountant that know how much money you actually make online. Plus know what niches you play in and your method of promotion.

Now… if you play in a lot of niches, run your campaigns through many different advertising platforms, and do a lot of “super” affiliate stuff, but at the end of the day you make $100 profit are you a super affiliate? No. You still have to make money to gain that status. A super affiliate is just another way of saying an excellent marketer of many products.

I hope this has helped you sort out the difference between super…guru… and everyone else. Me… I’m an entrepreneur. I love the chase of building a business. I love watching it grow and becoming successful. In no way am I a guru at what I do or am I even going to consider myself as a super affiliate.

My advice to you is to not waste your time reading “super” affiliate blogs or “guru” ebooks. Some of the best information that is out there can be found in smaller “start up” blogs. Why are those packed with information? Cause they have to give you something worth coming back for. People don’t read John Chow for information. People read John Chow because a lot of people know about him… All that being said, there are other blogs out there that are big and give good information.

Just be careful what you “buy” into. And don’t waste your time online.

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17 Responses

December 23, 2008


December 23, 2008

Excellent post. I think you’re talking about my blog since I don’t claim to be a super anything :) LoL

December 23, 2008

IMO the definition is academic at best.

While someone might’ve been an expert or guru (say in MFA blogs) in the past, his past achievement may not translate into current success.

Instead, I’d measure the effectiveness of any info or advice you might receive in terms of what it gets for you.

I’ve found that Ruck’s posted some good ideas for new affiliates in the c2m blog and forum, and likewise in your CT forum too.

So the end game is not to get hung up on labels and focus on results.
Even if some dude is dropping $1,000 on a dinner, it doesn’t matter much.

Not unless that dude is you.

December 24, 2008

You’re actually right on point with this post. A lot of people that read the “gurus” or “super affiliates” blogs, read them because they are well known, interesting people that are blogging. Some of the mroe useful information are stored directory at the small time blogs that actually post relevant topics which is more helpful in the long run.

December 24, 2008

Good thought.

Also, it will never help to strive to be a ‘super affiliate’ or ‘guru’. Most of the experts and leaders in this industry didn’t try to be the spotlight of internet marketing, yet they try to learn and master internet marketing to the best of their ability. If you do the same, you’ll see results.

“Super Affiliate” na, thats ok, you can be one if you desire. You can be the Steve Jobs of internet marketing. I’ll be the Warren Buffett of internet marketing.

Good Luck :)

December 24, 2008

Mike Filsaime isn’t a Guru or an Entrepreneur. Honestly, I hate when people use that term too loosely… an Entrepreneur is not a “business man,” nor is it someone who simply builds a bunch of Businesses.

I will definitely say that Ruck seems to have the Entrepreneurial spirit and I would say he could be considered somewhat of a Guru in this business, as well.

Will from PPC Coach is definitely somewhat of Guru type in this Business as well. I’m not familiar with anything else of his other than what I’ve seen on PPC Coach, but he’s definitely a great leader on that forum, as well as a teacher.

When it comes to all of these Smut Peddlers like Mike Filsaime, I would hardly consider them leaders in any way… they’re simply trying to find what people will pay for and push it through their lists, using their buddies to become their “Super Affiliates,” which they’re far from, in my eyes.

A Super Affiliate, in my opinion, is someone who reigns superior in their Niche. Not someone who makes a bunch of money… because, let’s be honest, half of the people we hear about on the daily DO NOT make as much as they claim, and even if they did — I can guarantee you there’s 10 guys just like them that don’t say a word about their financial status…so what makes them so Super?

We all know there’s guys out there making Millions of dollars per month as Affiliates, who never raise their hands online to speak about what they do… and more than likely, those guys make these self-proclaimed “Super Affiliates” look like piss ants.

Another thing I find funny about these “Gurus” is that they all try to push their little self-proclamations on us to make us feel as if they DO know something we don’t… Mike Filsaime has been said to be the Viral King of IM. WTF? Really???

Last time I checked, Tom Anderson and Chris Wolfe could be considered Viral Kings of IM, couldn’t they? Or maybe the YouTube guys?

It’s just pathetic when people (his friends) consider him to be “special” and can say it with a straight face… if it weren’t for his buddies, he would be nowhere and we all know that.


December 24, 2008

PS – If anyone wants to study Entrepreneurship, I highly suggest you read text books such as New Venture Creation by Jeffry Timmons and Stephen Spinelli. This book is used for students at Babson College, Harvard Business School, etc, etc.

Don’t get caught up in over hyped, over priced products that these fake “gurus” put out…

December 25, 2008

the fact that this is even a discussion proves how much of a bullshitting industry this is

December 26, 2008

Nice topic to focus on. Guru is one who as got abundant knowledge on his respective topic and shows the path to his fellow men. Yes, I agree with you, these days there are so many gurus in internet marketing. Every one is a master in his subject.

December 26, 2008

To me, “Guru” and “Super Affiliate” are not mutually exclusive terms. You can be both at the same time or just one. The big difference for me is that Gurus share knowledge. I’m sure there are lots of unknown, but rich, Super Affiliates. They just don’t tell others about how they did it (or how to do it).

So, why do I even care? ’cause Gurus make great “canaries in a coal mine”. I get ideas from Gurus. I can see what techniques are trending up and which ones are trending down by reading and listening to Gurus.

Personally, I track over 300 guru blogs and websites. I post many of the thoughts, posts and ideas at my site, Gururls. My selection criteria is simple:

1) Say something interesting about Internet Marketing-related topics.
2) Say something original – which includes personal riffs on topics others have explored.
3) Say something frequently – at least once a week.

Notice there is no criteria for size of readership. I agree with Kris that a lot of great ideas and content can be found at “small” blogs.

So, now that I’ve got all my guruthink collected in one place, I can easily skim and see what they’re all talking about. And, I can drill down to get specifics on topics that interest me.

This helps my business…and my wallet. I spend less time researching and more time implementing.

So gurus, keep those ideas and posts coming. I’ll use the good ones, toss the bad ones and make money from the implementation of the best ones.

Totally agree with this statement! You stated, “Some of the best information that is out there can be found in smaller “start up” blogs.”

January 7, 2009

For me, a super affiliate is a person that earns alot through an efficient affiliate marketing method.

For me, a guru is an expert in a field that has a good teaching skills.

January 12, 2009

Gurus, at least to me, are usually pseudo intellectuals who profess to know something about a particular subject, but never really provide much in terms of practical blue prints for online success.

Just basic rhetoric and rehashed information that can easily be found online. Claiming to be a super affiliate (which someone once classified as a person who makes over 10,000 dollars a month) is a different animal altogether.

Once again, IMO, if you are publicly claiming to be a SA, you better have the goods to back it up, and provide some “proof of ownership”. And, your methods better be applicable in today’s current Internet Market.

Honestly, I don’t think real super affiliates – the ones that are making over 1 million a year – are going to be sharing their methods. Most are too busy to put the time into forums and blogs..

Besides, I think that you can learn the basic blueprint of just about any marketing method you want to research from blogs like this and by performing your own due diligence.


January 19, 2009

@Gururls I agree with you about gurus.And with you also @Robert c. And yes, it is very very difficult to recognize guru.

January 19, 2009

Apt comments. Those looking for gurus are usually looking for “answers.” There is a certain amount of “self serving” here, since being named a guru gives you a certain status .. even if you just get your friends to do the naming!

Bottom line … use what information helps …. and don’t worry too much about semantics.

Now, if you want a good Ashram in India, have I got a deal for you …. ‘-)

Good post. My definition of a guru is someone who is ahead of the crowd. Someone who can figure out the best way to get the job done. I see alot of super affiliates that follow the same system that has been proven to be profitable. They are not gurus, they have just found a system that works and continue to profit from it.