Interview: Philip Shapiro (CPATrend)
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? How old are you?
Well, my name is Philip Shapiro. I’m 20 years old and from New York. I’m currently a student at CUNY Queens studying Political Science and Philosophy. Being a student, however, does not affect my online business at all. I’m basically your average 20 year old: I love sports, movies, playing the guitar, hanging out, etc. The difference, however, is my passion for starting and operating businesses, such as CPATrend.
2. How long have you been in affiliate marketing and how did you get involved?
I’ve been an affiliate marketer for about 4 years. I got involved when I purchased the complete rights to a marketing eBook, and started an affiliate program with paydotcom. This was a complete bust for me, but it opened my eyes to various new marketing methods. I then moved onto PPC with Adwords and continued to expand in the field, branching off to successfully buying adspace, and eventually Facebook advertising and PoF.
3. How long was it before you realized you could live off your affiliate income?
I’ve been running online businesses since I was 13, and have always been self-sufficient since then. So I guess you can say 13 years old.
4. What are the best places for the newbie to learn affiliate marketing? What advice would you give for them?
There’s several great resource sites that people can learn about affiliate marketing. Affiliatepaying.com is one of those great spots! Additionally, forums like DigitalPoint, WarriorForum, and WickedFire have tons of free, valuable information from affiliate marketers! I actually started up a blog to give people who are trying to learn about affiliate marketing and how to make some money with it as well: www.affmarketinginfo.com.
5. In your experience, what are the three most critical elements of run a successful campaign.
There are lots of aspects of a campaign that need to be looked at in order to turn it into a successful one. I believe that the most important element of running a successful campaign is patience. No ad will be perfect, at least on the first try. Putting in the effort to optimize the campaigns is essential. The second critical element is knowing who you’re advertising to. Demographics are key to optimization because if you are advertising to the specific types of people that will be most interested in an offer or product, it will be more successful, obviously, than advertising to everybody. For example, you would target people of the Christian faith for a Christian dating offer. Finally, the third critical element is split testing. Split test as much as you can. Find the exact, specific group of people (age/race/religion/etc.) and cut out the groups that are not converting for you. There’s obviously tons of things to do to get a successful campaign going (including using the best creatives as possible), but these three elements are essential to me, and many affiliate marketers.
6. What's the difference between a Super affiliate and an Average affiliate?
As a network owner, I see lots of different types of affiliates. Different affiliates push different amounts of volume through our offers. There’s affiliates making $50 a month, $500 a month, $1,000 a month, etc. Those would be the average affiliates. A super affiliate to me is somebody who is making at least $10,000 a month. Since super affiliates can push so much more volume than the average affiliate, they get higher payouts, as they make the affiliate networks more money!
7. Tell us a little bit about CPATrend and what you do over there?
CPATrend has been one of the most exciting businesses I’ve ever run. I love affiliate marketing, and I love dealing with affiliates and advertisers. Basically, we’re a small but growing network. On a daily basis, I make and receive lots of phone calls from affiliates and advertisers. I also do lots of phone interviews of affiliates as a part of our approval process. I enjoy the positive interactions with many quality affiliates, but I also enjoy spotting fraudulent affiliates over the phone calls. This probably wouldn’t sound fun to most people, but I enjoy the challenge some guys put forward. Fortunately, they never get by me.
8. There are already so many CPA affiliate networks out there. What makes CPATrend different?
Our support is second to none. Affiliates and advertisers are given phone numbers to their AM’s direct line, AIM/Yahoo/MSN support, as well as email support. I’ve worked with many affiliate networks personally and I know how many support teams are (some are not very friendly, some are rarely available), so I simply try to do the opposite. CPATrend takes a different approach than most networks. It’s not about the number of offers we have; it’s about the conversion rate of the offers we have. Simply put, we do not add offers to our network that do not convert. It’s useless, and a waste of space and time. We also offer a 5% referral commission, which is one of the highest rates in the industry. Our payment terms are standard NET-15, but for higher volume publishers, we’re able to make bi-weekly and weekly payments. Additionally, our network is set apart from others because we help our affiliate maximize their profits and conversions, as well as optimize their campaigns. By working closely with our affiliates, they simply make more money. This is great for both parties involved!
9. Which offers are performing well on your network?
The best offers in our network are high converting lead generating offers. We love these and so do most affiliates! We also have the highest paying eCigarette offer of any network. This is a great offer, and it performs quite well.
10. Which traffic sources prove to be the most effective for your top earning affiliates - PPC, PPV, Facebook, Media buys or any others?
Well, all of them! PPC will always have a special place in many affiliates hearts. We have lots of PPC publishers, and we are ecstatic to welcome that type of quality traffic. PPV does very well for certain types of offers, and certain affiliates, whereas others do not have success with it. Facebook is the hot marketing method right now! With 500,000,000 users now on Facebook, where better a place to advertise than with them? Also, Facebook’s demographic targeting is truly making our affiliates successful. Media buying is a great form of marketing, and we have several affiliates making a killing from it!
11. What are the criteria for a marketer to be accepted at CPATrend?
To be straightforward, we only accept quality affiliates. To be accepted into our network, you have to know your stuff, provide a reference, take part in a short phone interview, and be active in the affiliate marketing industry. Now this does not at all mean that new affiliate marketers can not get into our network. We are very open to helping new affiliate get started and become profitable, however, they really need to show great ambition and ability to work with legitimate forms of marketing. If you’re a fraudulent affiliate, don’t bother applying. Be open with us, and we’ll open our doors to you!
12. For those who are interested in working with you and your affiliate network - What's the best way/time to reach you?
I’m always online. You can reach me on AIM at CPATrendPhil, Yahoo at CPATrendPhil, or MSN at CPATrendPhil@hotmail.com. Additionally, you can also email me at Phil@CPATrend.com. Once accepted into the network, you will be given my phone number to call me at any time.
13. If you could change one thing about the affiliate industry, what would it be?
The one thing I would change about the affiliate marketing industry is the amount of fraud that is running through it. I’d say that at least 90% of affiliates are blackhat publishers using illegitimate/illegal/unacceptable marketing methods to produce leads or sales. This is simply tragic for affiliate networks and a reduction in the amount of fraudulent affiliates out there would make for a much more pleasant environment.
14. What do you think about where the industry is going? Where CPATrend may be going? What advice would you give to affiliates to keep up the pace.
Some people say that affiliate marketing is going to eventually die out. I completely disagree. I believe it is one of the most lucrative industries there is. The reason being, advertisers are always going to want to increase their sales/leads per day and affiliates are always going to want to find the great next product/offer to make millions off of. In affiliate marketing, everybody wins! For CPATrend, there is only one direction it can go, and that is up! As a relatively “new” network compared to many of the big dogs in the industry, I’m seeing a very gradual increase in our production and it’s increasing every day. Advice for affiliates to keep up the pace: Rather than picking an offer and finding different ways to market it, find the marketing method that you can become an expert with and then find offers that suit your marketing method. Also, keep up with the trends! Always look for less saturated niches and you will eventually make some good money.
15. What are your goals in 2010?
My main goal for 2010 is to increase CPATrend’s exposure and truly develop it into a top affiliate network. It’s been an exciting 2010 so far for myself and CPATrend, so I’m looking forward to a great finish and a successful 2011!
16. What's your favorite movie and why?
My favorite movie of all time is Rounders with Ed Norton and Matt Damon. Why? I love poker and these two guys know how to act. I’m also a huge comedy fan, especially Will Ferrell movies, Paul Rudd movies, etc.
Thank you so much to Leio and AffiliatePaying.com for not only conducting this interview, but for the great job you guys are doing. Your site is incredible, and one of the most valuable resources for any affiliate. Keep up the great work and thank you for your support!
Many thanks to Philip Shapiro for allowing this interview! If you have any experience with Phil's CPATrend affiliate network, please write a review for them on the CPATrend review page. Ps. If you are an affiliate marketer, AM or Network owner and are interested in answering a few questions about you, your network and affiliate marketing, please drop us a message.