AWA 2017 Interview Series: Matej
Affiliate World Asia is a gift that keeps on giving.
We had the chance to meet and speak with some of the industry’s most revered pros.
One of them was Matej, a wicked affiliate marketer, STM king, and a contributor of your beloved Mobidea Academy!
Ready for a cool interview with Matej aka Matuloo?
Prepared to see what this affiliate expert has got to say?
Check the video, then!
Then go ahead and dive into this juicy content!
Matej Interview at AWA 2017
1. Tell Us About Yourself
I’ve been in the industry for the past 20 years.
I actually started while I was still living with my parents.
It was 1997.
At that time, the internet was just starting in our country (Slovakia).
It was the first internet connection that was installed in our home.
It was a whole new world to me.
I was looking for ways to understand what I could get out of this new technology.
Somehow, I landed on some sites.
I looked at the text link at the bottom of the site.
I read it:
“Webmasters, click here to make money!”
As they say:
The rest is history.
That’s how I discovered my first affiliate program.
That was 20 years ago.
During all these years, I’ve done a lot of different things.
At that time, there was no Google.
There was no Facebook, no nothing.
The traffic that we’ve been getting to our sites…we’ve been linking to some sites.
They’ve been linking back to our sites.
We were exchanging traffic.
That’s how it all started.
Then, Google emerged.
Other search engines.
We moved to SEO.
I say “we” because I always had a business partner.
He’s been with me for many years.
He’s a partner in my company.
He’s someone who takes care of things when I’m away, travelling, or in a conference such as this one.
We started traffic trading.
The SEO world.
And then Google became more and more complicated to work with.
Getting traffic was harder.
Keeping the traffic was getting even harder because they loved striking me with the ban hammer left and right.
That’s how I found myself in the paid traffic world.
Right now, I’m playing with paid traffic.
2. Did You Ever Think About Quitting Affiliate Marketing?
I was about to stop.
Google killed a review site we’d been running.
It was a big review site.
It was making a lot of money and then suddenly – from one month to the next – we lost a large part of the traffic.
It was filled with quality content and it was all written by me or high-level writers.
All of a sudden, Google decided it was no good for the index and they just wiped it out.
In one month, we were making a lot of money.
The next month, we had nothing.
I felt really frustrated.
I was done.
I had been following all the rules you could find on the internet.
The content was unique and it had quality.
I had never done any spam.
I didn’t buy any links.
But then…there’s one thing about me:
I hate to fail.
That’s probably the reason why I’m still in the game.
I couldn’t give up.
I had to find a new way.
That was the impulse for me to switch to paid traffic.
What keeps me going is the fact that I hate to fail.
I have to discover and play with new things.
At the same time, I have a family.
I have to take care of them.
I need to make money for our family.
I just can’t stop.
3. Strategies to Succeed
I think this is one of the mistakes that many new affiliates are making:
They are waiting for someone to tell them to do a specific vertical.
It’s a problem.
They shouldn’t do it.
In a way, all verticals can work out.
You just have to find the right way.
Don’t wait for someone to tell you to do this or that.
Just start somewhere.
And then your story will unfold in front of you.
Just start somewhere.
Learn the basics somewhere.
As you go, you’ll be able to understand what you enjoy and what you don’t like.
Then, somehow, you’ll be able to navigate it on your own.
I wouldn’t say:
Let’s just take action.
4. Biggest Challenge for an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate Marketing is a new industry.
It’s not a completely mature market yet.
It is still changing.
New rules are coming in all the time.
This is one of the biggest challenges.
People love to explore or work in markets that are not regulated.
As new rules come in, it’s getting more complicated, in a way.
There are more rules to follow.
People aren’t willing to follow rules, especially affiliates.
This is one of the challenges I see.
All the new rules that are coming in make things complicated, especially for new people.
They have to get used to rules.
There have to be some rules.
It’s possible to find ways to profit and still respect the rules.
You have to find a way to operate within the frame the industry allows.
Moreover, new affiliates have to perform a lot of testing.
There are lots of offers and multiple verticals.
You at Mobidea alone have a couple thousand offers.
It can be a challenge to actually find the good ones.
There’s a lot of testing involved.
It’s a painful experience to be buying traffic, sending it to offers and then seeing one offer after another fail.
It takes some time to find the goldmine.
But they are there.
You just have to find them.
5. How to Become a Super Affiliate
You need to learn how to look for information because information is everything.
You need to know where to look, where to find good campaigns to work with.
You need to learn how to find partners to work with.
That’s one skill:
Knowing how to look for information.
You need to be persistent.
It’s so easy to just give up.
There are so many obstacles to overcome.
You need to perform a lot of testing.
It’s easy to just give up in the middle of the process.
I think we all have seen that picture of the miner searching for diamonds.
And he just gave up with one more hit needed to find what he was looking for.
That mistake is so easy to make.
You need to be persistent.
Listen to advice.
I’m giving advice to so many people.
They listen and then they just do something completely different.
There are people who are willing to help you so just listen to them.
Find the information, listen to the right people and be persistent.
You’ll get there.
6. How to Deal with Changes?
Mobile has been driving this industry for 5 years.
Mobile billing was so easy to make money with when it started because there were no regulations back then.
People were able to make all kinds of offers but many of those offers were shady.
They were converting.
People made a lot of money.
Now this is over, for the most part.
But the way I personally see it this really is an opportunity in this market.
Mobile billing is becoming a regular billing option.
People used to pay with credit cards.
Now, they’re paying with their phones.
I think that – in the future – we’re gonna see legit offers selling services to content members and they’ll only have mobile as a billing option.
It’s what I think we’ll be seeing in the near future.
Mobile isn’t going anywhere.
It’s not dying.
Everyone has a smartphone.
More and more people happen to be buying smartphones in emerging countries.
It’s going to be there but it’s just going to be different.
Companies which are creating these offers have to realize that they have to add value now.
It’s not like:
“Give them something and hope that they don’t notice they’re being charged.”
Provide the value and use mobile as a way of billing.
It’s becoming more and more of a billing option.
7. What Would You Tell Affiliates Who Are Experiencing Difficulties?
We need to realize one thing here:
I’m talking about the regular traffic sources that all of us can use based on billing.
It’s not like they’re making sure these prices go up.
It’s because the market tells them.
If these prices are going up it’s because it’s working out for someone and they’re able to afford paying these high prices.
It’s not like the traffic sources are manipulating the market:
There are some offers or some business opportunities that make it possible for someone to pay these high prices.
Just find the area where the money is being made.
I don’t think traffic sources are manipulating prices.
There can be one problem, though:
When direct advertisers enter the market, they obviously get to keep the amount they charge.
But we – as affiliates – will only get a share.
Direct advertisers don’t usually happen to be skilled media buyers.
Skilled media buyers are working all around.
I’m able to optimize my funnel better than most advertisers.
I can match their payout.
If the prices of traffic are too high for some, the problem lies in their campaigns.
It’s not the traffic sources.
8. Best Tools & Resources
You need a fast server.
Your landing pages and all the parts of the funnel must load as fast as possible.
This is one thing.
You need to be able to track your campaigns so you need a high-level tracker.
Make sure you’re able to have as much information as possible.
As for intelligence, I think a spy tool comes in handy.
It’s what I use all the time.
I’d like to give everyone a piece of advice:
Don’t use spy tools as the sole sources of your creatives.
It’s a source of information.
You go there to get inspiration.
It’s what I do all the time.
If there’s some kind of a picture, I just replace it with another one.
Or I tweak the design a little bit, or change the color.
I make the CTA buttons smaller or larger, whatever.
I enter, get inspired.
That’s how it works for me.
If you enter a spy tool and simply take someone’s funnel, you can use it in the same way.
You’ll be creating copies of the same stuff over and over again.
That’s just not working.
It can work for a day or two but then it gets saturated.
At least in a small way.
Just make something.
9. Affiliate Marketing Mistakes
One mistake that I still fail to understand:
They come to me or to anyone else asking for advice.
They get it and then they don’t follow it.
I tell them:
“You need to test a lot of offers because you need to find the best one.”
They then test two offers and come back to me saying it’s not working.
Of course it’s not.
You just tested two offers and you’ve hit two bad ones.
This leads to another mistake:
They’re not testing enough.
There are a lot of offers.
Lots of companies willing to make money on the internet.
Lots of companies creating offers.
Not all of them are able to create good ones.
You need to find them.
So that’s another mistake.
Connected to this one:
They give up too early.
When I started out in paid advertising a couple years ago I had to come up with 300 banners that I had to make and I tested 100 landing pages and a lot of offers until I found a winning campaign.
It’s easy to find a campaign that’s profitable but just for a day or two or a week.
But to become profitable day after day, it will take some time.
It literally took me hundreds of banners and hundreds of landing pages.
A lot of tests.
And I never gave up.
I made it.
A lot of people just perform a bunch of tests.
They pick five offers and banners.
And they think that’s what it takes.
You need to test way more.
You just can’t give up.
Affiliate Marketing isn’t rocket science.
The basic rules, the basic principles, the fundamentals.
It’s public knowledge.
There are no secrets.
You just need to test it and find the good stuff.
Then, it can work.
10. Favorite Traffic Sources
I consider myself a fan of banners.
Many people start with pop traffic or something like that.
I’ve always liked the fact that banners give you one more chance to optimize something.
You can pre-filter your traffic with banners.
It’s always been and it probably will remain my favorite type of traffic.
I bought a lot of CPC-based traffic.
From Google AdWords, for example.
It’s a great channel for certain products.
You could say that I probably tested all of the traffic sources or traffic types:
CPC, banners, pops, redirects, domain traffic, native traffic, Facebook, everything.
I’ve done a little bit of everything but I somehow always return to banners.
That’s my playground.
11. Affiliate Fraud
As an affiliate, you’re basically dealing with two types of fraud:
Ad fraud and affiliate network fraud.
The traffic side of things?
We all know that – pretty much – every traffic source is selling bot traffic as well.
Some may say they’re not aware of it.
I think they are.
It’s part of the game.
You need to learn how to live with it.
There isn’t much we can do about it, unfortunately.
The good thing is that traffic is sold based on the bidding.
That which you’re able to bid on is also taking the amount of bot traffic into consideration.
I see the final result.
I bid based on the final sales and conversions that I’m able to make with the traffic.
If the bots are in it, the final result is lower per click or per impression or whatever metric you want to use.
It’s not like I’m losing a lot of money to ad fraud because – after some time – you’ll learn how to cut the bad placements really quickly.
It’s more of a nuisance, really.
Even the bot traffic that gets into my funnels gets distributed to the buyer’s landing pages and offers and it’s basically just screwing up the optimization process.
Even if it’s bot clicks, the numbers are changing.
It’s a nuisance we have to live with.
I’d certainly love ad fraud to go away.
Maybe at some point it will.
I’m not sure.
But for now it’s something we have to live with.
On the other hand, there’s the fraud that we can experience with affiliate networks.
Lately, I’ve seen a few people post on the STM forum that affiliate networks have refused to pay them.
I’m not sure who to side with because it’s a hard call but the only advice I can give people is to communicate with the network.
Ask them about the quality of the leads you’re sending.
Ask them if there is any problem.
Make sure they want more of your traffic.
If they don’t, don’t send it to them, send it somewhere else.
You should also keep a record of the conversation.
If you get a green light from an affiliate network, save it.
Take a screenshot.
Later – if they complain about your quality – you have something to show them.
To many affiliate networks, reputation means a lot.
And then there’s…some affiliates just do whatever they can to make an extra dollar here and there.
I say don’t do it.
Play a fair game.
It makes more sense, in the long run.
A quick dollar today is worth less than the thousand you can make in the long run.
If you’re playing an honest game…it’s the best way of doing business.
12. How to Develop Your Skills?
I don’t want to pitch the STM forum because I’m a moderator.
But the truth is that it’s a really good community.
There are many skilled affiliates hanging around.
It’s also a very open community.
People share quality information.
When I started with paid traffic, it helped a lot.
Then there are blogs.
There are people who simply post articles.
I post articles.
The Mobidea Academy is an awesome source of information.
There are many bloggers.
You can easily choose 10 to follow, depending on the kind of business you are into.
Read the blogs, look for information, become a member of some forums.
There’s good information to be found everywhere.
You just have to learn how to read between the lines.
There are people who love pretending they are experts in something they are not.
Affiliate conferences, such as this one, are also an awesome source of information.
Especially high-level conferences.
There are great speeches.
And then the networking.
It really is priceless.
People that you can meet here and become friends with.
That can really help you a lot because people are more likely to share quality information with someone they know.
If you see someone face to face or even at the parties…nothing fuels the conversation like beers.
The knowledge bombs are gonna drop.
Forums, blogs, networking, private communication with people at conferences.
13. Should Affiliates Read a Specific Book to Succeed?
I get most of my information online.
I love to read books but I prefer fantasy books.
Life, I’m living.
Business, I’m doing.
It’s part of my everyday routine.
When I find some time to read I prefer to read something that’s out of this world like fantasy books.
I do read a lot, daily.
But it’s online.
The source of business-related information is the internet.
I spend a lot of time on the forums.
My friends send me articles that they find interesting.
It’s like an exchange of information.
Most of my information is gathered online.
14. Affiliate Marketing Trends
What we’re seeing now is a kind of a shift to different GEOs.
Countries like…the Arab world is booming.
These are markets we weren’t able to monetize a couple years ago.
We are now.
Mobile helped a lot.
A lot of businesses are moving to these countries.
I kind of hope China will open up at some point because it’s still…they are protecting their market.
It’s kind of hard to penetrate.
I met a few people from Japan in this conference and they’re looking to expand into European markets.
Japan is also an undiscovered territory.
And it’s a rich country.
Quite the large GEO.
There should be a lot of opportunities.
In terms of verticals, we see that everyone is going crazy about E-Commerce.
It’s probably going to stay a trend next year.
15. Surprises in 2017
The large amount of regulations in the mobile market came all of a sudden.
We probably could see it coming but it happened too quickly.
We had to stop a lot of campaigns we’d been running in the mobile market.
Some are still running so it’s not like it’s dead but it’s certainly way more regulated now than it was before.
This was something that I expected would take a longer time to happen.
There’s another surprise:
Google made some announcements.
They modified the Chrome browser.
It should be able to block pops.
Many people fear that pop traffic is about to die.
It may be the case.
During my twenty years in the business, this is the fourth attempt at killing pops.
So far, it hasn’t happened.
Google certainly has the firepower to do something so we shall see but I still think it’s just about…pops are launched with a script.
Google will try to block the script.
Maybe all it takes is to modify the script again.
It may be a mouse and cat game.
Back and forward.
We shall see.
So that’s another thing that surprised me.
Also the E-Commerce boom.
I’m quite surprised that it’s that huge.
Running an E-Com store is not as easy as running affiliate campaigns.
There’s more to it.
It’s more like running a regular business.
There are all the customer care issues that affiliates usually hate to deal with.
And still you see a lot of affiliates moving into the E-Com space.
It came as a surprise to me as well.
16. Opportunities & Threats
It’s gonna be a huge thing.
It seems to be the next big thing.
I see that affiliate networks are using crypto-related offers left and right.
Since the momentum is huge, this could be something we should look at.
There’s definitely an opportunity here.
It’s not just about investing in cryptocurrencies or learning how to trade but it’s also about promoting related offers.
And there are things like shared mining.
You can buy mining power and these people are willing to take a share of the revenue they make with it.
This might be something to promote in the future.
I think…Cash on Delivery.
It seems to be quite the big trend lately.
I think this will be growing.
This enables us to reach markets that were not monetizable before.
I see a few affiliate networks that specialize in Cash on Delivery now.
You can sell to regions like Eastern Europe where people are traditionally not so happy about using credit cards, for example.
I’m from Eastern Europe.
I know the people.
Everyone is using Cash on Delivery.
Nobody is paying upfront anymore.
Just wait for the courier to deliver the goods and you pay when you receive them.
That’s another big thing for the future, I think.
There are also some evergreen verticals.
Markets that are still running strong.
Still running strong.
Casino, Gambling, Dating.
These things will remain and flourish.
17. How Do You See Mobidea?
When I first started working with Mobidea, three years ago, I was crazy about mobile offers.
I like the fact that you have the Smartlink option.
You also have a lot of offers.
It was a good platform to use.
I’ve been watching you closely.
You’ve evolved into a great platform for people who are starting out in affiliate marketing.
You still have those Smartlinks, those offers, you have the tracker.
I know you’re working on a DSP.
I know you’re planning to release the tracker to be used with other offers as well.
We’re doing really well with you in terms of the STM forum as well because when the new people are asking “where should I start?” we feel comfortable sending them to Mobidea.
We know you have a really strong support team for affiliates.
You have the tools people need to walk their first mile in affiliate marketing.
The way I see Mobidea?
You are a really good platform to start with.
18. What’s Your Opinion of Adult Traffic?
We run Adult traffic.
I think affiliates should run all types of traffic.
We shouldn’t stay away from Adult traffic just because it’s Adult.
It’s the same people.
They’re just watching different content.
When talking about changes…actually the problem is that there are no changes at all.
The market is so stale it’s not fun anymore.
Everyone is pushing the same offer type.
Using the same type of creatives.
Using the same landing pages.
There is a need for something new.
We all love the Adult industry.
They revolutionized a few things, though.
There’s no more VHS, for example.
The war among different formats.
The adult industry had the power to change.
Even when the internet emerged, they were pioneers in many ways.
It seems to be working for now.
I’m not sure why.
And I’m certainly waiting for the next big thing in Adult because Adult has the power to make a lot of money.
Whenever something new emerges, there’s a lot of money to be made in the Adult industry.
I hope something new will emerge because it’s really stale right now.
Nothing is happening.
19. Future Plans
I just plan to keep running my affiliate campaigns, posting on STM, writing for my blog.
I’ll keep trying to help people through the different steps of affiliate marketing.
I plan to keep on caring for my family, and to spend time with my children and with my wife.
It’s what I like doing the most, I would say.
Business as usual.
What an amazing and insightful interview, Matej!
Thanks for giving such awesome tips to our eager affiliates!
As for you, our reader, keep on checking the Mobidea Academy because we’ve got a whole lotta hot content coming real soon!
Get ready to check an insanely informative interview with Charles Ngo and learn from the ultimate affiliate marketing master!