Get Targeted Traffic – Dominate Online Advertising

Hey guys, here is an interview with Scott Rewick, he is a very prolific media buyers that most people have never heard of.  Spending a mind blowing $100M in display based media over the last decade; Scott is one of the true pioneers of modern day affiliate marketing and high volume media buying.  Starting in 1999, Scott Co-Founded one of the earliest Affiliate Networks, Metareward, which ultimately was sold to Experian for $30M.  He then went on to co-found NetBlue, which became a $100M/year Lead Generation monster.  Heading up the media buying group, Scott routinely spent between $200k-$300k per day buying online display media (less than 1% of that was with Google).  Netblue ultimately raised over $20M in Venture Capital, and more recently merged with affiliate giant Epic Advertising (formerly Azoogle).  Most recently, Scott was President and CEO of AdEx, a public lead generation company, doing over $23M in revenue in its first year.

RA: Scott, you got your start early in Affiliate Marketing. Can you take us back to MetaReward?

SR: Sure thing.  I was really fortunate because I got my start back in 1999 with a company called Nefflip.  The thing you have to remember is that back in 1999, things were starting to collapse from the first wave of internet companies.  It was somewhat chaotic, but the company was started with a small venture capital round and some angel money.  What we found early on, was there was a need to help other companies by providing them access to the offers we had begun promoting.  Fulfilling that need is what got us from NetFlip to MetaReward.   Some of my earliest customers are guys that are still around today many years later.

RA: After MetaReward, you helped get the incentive craze going with Netblue. What was that experience like?

SR: NetBlue was really a gift.   I got connected with a great entrepreneur, Ken Chan, and we started off with next to nothing.  That is a good place to be, with your back against the wall.  We knew that if we failed, we’d be stuck having to go back to a normal job.  I had a 3 month old little girl at the time, so I had all the motivation in the world.   Netblue is where I learned so much, both about high volume media buying, and scaling a company…from a few people to over a hundred in a short amount of time.

RA: Talk about Media Buying back at Netblue. You guys were buying a lot of media.

SR: I think at our height, we were buying several hundred thousand dollars per day.  We had made a huge investment in both CPM buying, something most of our early competitors weren’t doing, and portal buying (MSN, Yahoo, AOL).  We knew that was where the volume was, and incidentally, the source of most of the cheap traffic, given the brand advertisers had abandoned the online space (temporarily) years ago. 

It was really a chaotic and fun time.  The company was moving so fast, and our media spends got so high.  It really became a 24/7 operation, as we were scaling the company quickly, and our media buys scaled right along with it.

RA: How have things changed in Affiliate Marketing over the years?

SR: I love that question, because in some ways, it hasn’t changed at all.  I look at the hundreds (thousands?) of networks out there and it really is the same business as it was nearly 10 years ago.  Provide 3rd parties access to great advertising offers under one roof, provide great customer service, and support.  Then in other ways, I feel like everything has changed.  Technology has advanced quickly, niche networks focus on serving both certain verticals and certain types of affiliates.   I mean, fundamentally, it’s the same thing, but I love how many twists and turns the industry has taken.

RA: Can you talk about what separates the true Super Affiliates from the rest of the crowd?

SR: You know..when you’ve done something as long s I have, you begin to see patterns.  Consistent behaviors.  Things people do differently than most that makes the difference between guys that never really get out of the gate, from those that are able to make thousands of dollars per day.  It’s really not rocket science.  Its just based on my observations of the space over the years.  Let me just say this. There are important differences between these guys and the average frustrated affiliate.  Probably the biggest difference is their ability to focus on solving one problem at a time, as opposed to feeling compelled to solve multiple problems simultaneously. 
Super Affiliates just have this ability to focus.

RA: You’ve got experience as both a Super Affiliates and an Advertiser. Can you talk about that?

SR: Well, over the years we’ve certainly bought a lot of online media (and also been the advertiser), so I feel well versed to talk about both sides of the equation.  I’ve just been really lucky to been a part of high volume media buying teams.  Groups of guys (and girls) that find out ways to exploit (in the nicest possible ways) sources of online traffic at a high level.  When you really get this dialed in, its super fun and you can feel the closeness these teams have.  Similarly, driving lots of volume as an advertiser gives you the similar rush.   The key in both of these scenarios is creating sustainability.  Making $1k per day is cool for a day…if you are doing it a year later, you’ve really earned my respect.  Those are the kinds of guys I like to study.

RA: What are some of the biggest changes on the horizon in Affiliate Marketing?

SR: Well, probably the biggest one is that many of our traditional channels we’ve been used to marketing on are either hostile or facing increasing scrutiny.  Google used to be the affiliates best friend.  Google 1.0 said “Do No Evil”.  Google 2.0 says “You Are Evil”.   Certainly there are many more sources of traffic opening up, but the affiliates faces additional scrutiny (which is a good thing long term).  It remains a competitive landscape, and bigger companies will go face to face with the 19 year old kid that doesn’t have the cost structure you do.

RA: Talk to us a little bit about going public in this industry. What was that like?

SR: Going public was certainly interesting, and looking back, I learned a lot.  I’m grateful I did it, but with where I’m at with my life, highly doubtful I’d ever do it again.  Our industry is known for generating profits.  When a lot of that profit goes to Accountants, Lawyers and feeding the infrastructure needed to be public, it can get awfully frustrating.

RA: What are you working on now?

SR: I realized over the last 10 years one of the things I enjoy the most is teaching people.  I created media-mentors.com as a way for me to apply my experience to people either just getting into Affiliate Marketing, or seasoned Media buyers.   I plan to create more and more content around how to be successful, if this is where you’d like to spend your time.  Also, finding unique ways to connect people is also a passion of mine.  These two things I like to do, and it makes me happy!

RA: Anything else you’d like to add?

SR: This is a really exciting and interesting time in direct response and online media buying. There is so much going on; so much growth in the industry, that I feel privileged to be a part of it.  If you are just starting off, or have been here for a while, I think things will get very interesting for the foreseeable future!

RA: What are your thoughts on the new Facebook group – Affiliate Marketing Mastermind Group? Do you feel it is a viable platform for affiliate marketers to meet and discuss current issues?

SR: I think it’s awesome.  There is more transparency in this space than ever before, which lets the good guys win, and chases out of town the bad guys.  Groups like this just add to the collective knowledge, and allow the free exchange of information; something that is a great thing.

RA: Can you offer any tip/advice to the readers of RickyAhuja.com which could help them get started on the path to making money in affiliate marketing?

SR: Well, before I go tell people to invest in the latest fad (“How I Make $5k Per Day on Facebook”), I say spend the time to build your foundation.   Most people want to jump right in, only to realize that you can waste a lot of time and money spinning your wheels.  Take the time to educate yourself first on this space, and that’s going to make your journey a lot more enjoyable.

RA: Thank you Scott, this has been enlightening and a pleasure. All the best!

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About the Author

Ricky

Ricky Ahuja is the serving as the VP of Marketing for ClickSyndicate.com and provides strategic corporate and functional marketing consulting services to early stage companies.

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