I am pleased to bring this next interview to you. Of all the people I have interviewed thus far – Ruck has been one of the most unassuming people I have come across. Their booths always have a “rock star” feel to them and if you are a publisher, you get to have a back stage pass, well that or a beer at their open bar. :-)
I wanted to find out more about him and he was nice enough to do this for me so I bring you – Ralph Ruckman.
1) Ruck, tell us briefly about yourself and how you got started in this industry.
Ruck is currently one of the trifecta marketing phenoms behind the Convert2Media Affiliate Network and one of the Managing Partners at Million Mentors (an elite marketing coaching program). I got my start in the industry as a content writer for various companies online before moving into the MySpace marketing craze. I’ve owned my own digital products (one of which was the Top-Selling program on Paydotcom in 2007). I’ve been a forum moderator in various communities online including being a current Moderator at Wickedfire. I started in the Performance Marketing Industry as a Pay Per Click Affiliate and Email Marketer. After a couple of years doing that full-time I met with my two partners Steve and Michael and the Convert2Media Affiliate Network was formed.
2) When and why did you decide to launch C2M? Was it the inability of other networks to deliver or something else?
We decided to launch Convert2Media at the start of 2008. For a number of reasons really. My partner Michael had previous experience owning a network and Steve was an Affiliate Marketer along with me whom had been working alongside me for awhile. I can honestly say we launched it at first to be closed off to a select amount of publishers whom we had experiences with online. At the time I owned and wrote the Cashtactics Marketing Blog, owned and managed the Cashtactics Forums and was a Moderator at BlackhatWorld and Wickedfire. So yea, I had a few connections right off the bat that we used to get the ball going. After awhile though yes, we molded our network against a lot of what we didn’t like in the industry whole. For one, we didn’t want dipstick managers handling our Affiliates businesses. We already had enough of the networks doing that so we figured at the very least if had knowledgeable Managers such as ourselves; we could cut into the pie as well.
3) Do you ever get complacent with the success C2M has achieved? What do you do? Where do you find your motivation?
Complacency is a real b*tch. It’s evil. In all honesty, yes I have a few times actually. Luckily with partners we are there to fire each other up if something is not going the way it should or we aren’t pushing as hard as we should be. We basically sit down and strategize. That’s all you can do in this business if you get behind. Adapt, Develop, Progress. My motivation would have to know that we have a company to run, with employees to take care of and ultimately, Steve, Michael and I only have each other when push comes to shove. We’ve been together for four years+ now and going stronger than ever. We were recently named the Top 14 CPA Network by mThink. A great accomplishment considering we kind of ignore the normal formalities and run our network the way we see it instead of what others think it should be.
4) How important is it to you to communicate with your publishers? Do you know them by name?
The most valuable commodity I know is information Ricky. I find it absolutely vital to communicate with our affiliates. I can honestly say that I’ve seen a lot of affiliates gripe in forums and online in general that their affiliate network “spams” them with their top offers. That’s why I make it very apparent to publishers whom I speak with and we train our managers in the approval process to let affiliates know, we do send a lot, and I mean a lot of updates. Last Thursday, I sent out 4 Network Twitter updates and 5 Emails and all of my Affiliate Managers are required to do weekly newsletters to their publishers. Now the funny thing with C2M is I’ve never once seen a single person gripe about how many network emails they receive from us. Like I said, we run our network how we want, not how someone thinks it should be. We have a leg up on competitors because I make it very apparent that the tips and strategies we give out to affiliates are superior to any other affiliate network. Some networks claim to give the best advice but that’s just a show to acquire new affiliates. You don’t see Convert2Media advertising our network for new publishers nor do you see us bragging about blah blah we gave you. We only care about one thing and that’s scaling businesses. Period.
5) Talk to us specifically about your experience and frustrations in dealing with other affiliate networks and publishers?
Some networks have been great to work with. I’m not afraid to say we like working with Clickbooth and Ads4dough. There are more but Geoff and Smaxor’s team have been absolutely great to us. Frustrations, how about CX Digital stiffing Convert2Media for over $100,000.00? They paid some of the same publishers who were running the same offers out but when it came to paying another network their CEO Geoffrey Rothstein decided to tell us that “CX is not paying because the advertiser is not paying us”. This is frustrating but honestly CX Digital’s stance on that was uplifting for C2M. We realized what a joke they were. I personally saw 3 managers leave in a span of just a few months since the whole XM Brands and CX Digital crap went down. Networks that stiff affiliates, well karma is a bitch. Networks that pull this crap just make it easier on us. Honestly with this year’s revenue, I take the 100K hit with a smile. We paid out every single dime to our affiliates and they know it. Many of whom, published with CX at one point. Publisher frustration. There really isn’t much frustration with publishers. We screen affiliates pretty rigorously in the beginning before allowing them on the network. If we don’t like what we see and hear, we don’t let them on. It doesn’t matter if they generate 100K a month. We’ve turned down publishers because we thought it might be a hassle or their model didn’t mesh with ours. We look for specific criteria, strengths and motivation from affiliates.
6) You are obviously well known in the industry and often referred to as a “Super Affiliate”, in your mind – what does that mean? Is it based on how much revenue an affiliate generates or is there something beyond that?
I don’t like that term. I don’t care for terms really. I care about business and money. That’s why I do this. If someone wants to label me as a super affiliate because I’ve been online for quite some time and a lot of people know some of the things I’ve accomplished then I guess I take it as a compliment however that term is really ridiculous. I’ve seen so called “super affiliates” who done $xxx,xxx.00 a month call me up and ask how to setup an Aweber Email Auto responders. Just because you can run weight loss, rebills or whatever other offer doesn’t make you king Kong. If super affiliate is the term we want to coin high rollers with then I would have to say a “super affiliate” is someone who has been online fulltime for over 2 years making their living. 10K or 100K it doesn’t matter. Whatever you are doing, if you make a living at it for a couple of years you are doing a pretty damn good job.
7) What do you think is the impact of the “new” media on today’s publishers and affiliates? Are they leveraging it effectively and more importantly – are they leveraging it for the betterment of our industry?
I think the impact so far as been a positive but very dismal one at best. A lot of affiliates in the performance marketing industry are still the type of affiliates who strive for the quick buck instead of consistently building new businesses in other sectors of the performance marketing industry. For instance, I know publishers who still run continuity offers on Pulse 360 and Adblade but if that were to end tomorrow they would be completely screwed because instead of building out new revenue streams they would rather refresh their stats in between their call of duty playtime. So no, I do not believe the “new” media such as Cost Per Click, CoReg, Content Locking, WAP marketing and others are being taken advantage of on a majority level. I do know some publishers raking it in, in these areas but the barrier of entry for copying other marketers in the continuity space has a hold of a lot of marketers right now and as long as the easy buck continues to flow, they will typically fail to branch out in other areas of media in the industry.
8) There has been a recent craze about “content unlocking” networks and offers, do you partake in that and what is your overall feedback on it for those on the fence?
Tough question to answer Ricky at this point. My partners will murder me if I answered you directly so I’m going to have to tap dance around this one sry! I tell you what, how about in 90 days from now you ask me when I’m able to reveal that answer…
9) Which tools/websites do you use to efficiently manage your publisher base and your campaigns? Any widgets or tips you would like to share with our readers.
2 tools. I’m a simple man. Cake Marketing handles our affiliate network publishers, campaigns, advertisers, tracking and accounting. That’s on the network side. Jeff and his team at Cake are awesome! I also use Google Docs with my managers. We use phones, Skype, aim and IRC. Pretty basic for us. That’s how we always have been. Now if you were to ask me what tools I use on a personal level, well that’s a different story …Let’s just say we can track any network, any advertiser, any affiliate, any offer, any campaign, any traffic source. Ruck keeps his ears to the ground and his eyes to the sky.
10) What are you working on nowadays?
1. Convert2media – Day to day operations of the network.
2. Millionaire Mentors – My partners, Steve, Michael and Ryan are almost done developing our coaching program. It’s cliché to say “it’s unlike anything you have ever seen” so for most of the people who don’t know me that’s what it will sound like. For the people who do know me, they cannot wait until it’s finished. I get hassled daily. Remember, I’m a member of over 20 forums and a Moderator so I know what’s being said and taught out there. I assure you, with our core group of affiliates in this coaching program we already have several multi-millionaires joining up along with those striving to hit that 7 figure mark. I’m also involved in our day to day advertising agency. We own a dozen of our own proprietary properties and sites. My partner Steve just finished our internal Advertising Subid tracker that is used in conjunction with Cake Marketing so we have some affiliates who have become advertisers currently beta testing that and last but not least we are working on another large business that will be revealed to the industry in the coming months.
11) Any words of wisdom for my readers looking to get into affiliate marketing and more over looking to work with C2M?
I’ve said it a hundred times, so many times I see people in forums with it in their signatures but I will say it one more time here and I’ll be blunt. Nobody is going to give you shit, nobody owes you shit. If you want it bad enough then you need to step up and take it. If you are looking to work with C2M then you had better be ready to start making money and fast. I don’t accept excuses. We make affiliates aware from the beginning you will make your first $1,000 in your first 30 days with us but you better come ready to implement what we say. We don’t accept affiliates who are just looking to get started, or want to see what offers we have. We take on serious marketers and do our best to get the offers they need, the traffic sources and strategies that will make those offers get them to the 7 figure mark the fastest. Period.
Trackbacks and pingbacks
No trackback or pingback available for this article.