PepperJam Network “Meet the Affiliates”

Written by Zac Johnson
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Recently PepperJam Network started their own weekly series called, “Meet the Affiliates“, where they interview one of their top affiliates each week. This week, I was profiled as their affiliate. You can read the full interview below.

Welcome to Week #5 of the Pepperjam Network “Meet the Affiliates” Interview Series! This week I interview Zac Johnson. Aside from being one of the most recognizable affiliate marketers because of his wildly popular blog – www.zacjohnson.com – as well as being a regular speaker at Affiliate Summit, Zac is one of the most open and transparent affiliate marketers in the biz! Through his blog and speaking engagements Zac shares step-by-step how he has become a successful affiliate marketer. At the same time Zac is a sincerely nice guy with an interest in making the affiliate marketing industry a better place to do business.

I am confident that you’ll enjoy Zac’s interview. If you don’t already, I hope that you’ll follow Zac through his blog and allow him to become a resource that will help you make more money!

– Kris Jones

Meet the Affiliates: Interview #5


Zac Johnson
MoneyReign, Inc. / ZacJohnson.com

Question #1

KRIS: Tell us the story of how and when your first got involved in affiliate marketing…

ZAC: I made my first “dollar” online when I was around the age of 14. At this time I was already playing around with some funny web sites I had created (on my free AOL web space) and also did some graphic designs for my pages. I was using AOL for internet access, and they had a chat room dedicated to people with web sites, called “The Web Diner”. Several people in the chat room had web sites, but didn’t know how to make graphics or anything, so I offered to make 468×60 banners for people for $1 each. I had a few people request banners here and there, and I would send them their banner and they would send me a dollar… well, sometimes they did. This was way before Paypal was around, so many people would never send payment. My first “dollar” made online, was actually a dollar that someone sent me in the mail!

I would eventually go on to join programs like AllAdvantage that would “pay you to surf”, and run the Pacific Coast pillow affiliate program banners on my sites (which paid only .01 per click, and a payment minimum of $100… so basically no one got paid . I even spent some time on web hosting affiliate programs, that I would pitch to companies in AOL Business Chat Rooms, which was successful! I would then go on to focus my efforts on the Amazon.com affiliate program and send them over $100,000 in sales, but only earn a low 5-15% commission on all sales. I did this by creating niche celebrity pages and sold books and movies relating to specific celebrities. As affiliate marketing kept expanding, so did my interest and dedication. After having made a decent amount of money in affiliate marketing, I decided to startup my own affiliate programs and merchant accounts with various networks, including Commission Junction. In 2000 I traveled across the country with my father to attend CJU 2000 and got my first real life networking experience. Not only did I get to finally meet all of the companies I had been working with for years, but it drove my dedication and passion that much more… and to this day I still love and focus on affiliate marketing.

Question #2

KRIS: Could you share Five (5) Tips for how to build readership and become a successful blogger…

ZAC: 1.) Be Personable: Everyone wants to see an real life success story. A face and personality gives so much more than a name or company logo.

2.) Be Different: So many people out there are doing the same thing, do something different to stand out of the crowd.

3.) Relate to Your Readers: Talk to your readers like you are having a regular conversation, and not trying to sell them something.

4.) Show Results & Examples: Anyone can proclaim to do anything… showing results and actual examples will help to inspire others.

5.) Communication is Key: Respond to readers comments, emails and try to network with other bloggers.

Question #3

KRIS: Where do you live? Are you married? Any children? Animals?

ZAC: I recently purchased a house in NJ and live with my beautiful girlfriend Reena, and our new dog Foxy.

Question #4

KRIS: One of the things you are known for is making $860,538.38 profit in 4 Months! Now that’s pretty awesome! Can you share for us the story behind how you made the money?

ZAC: My $860k profit story is pretty interesting to hear, but was even more amazing to live through it. For the longest time I knew there was a way to make money off the millions of people using MySpace everyday, but I just couldn’t figure out how. To make a long story short, I decided to create a new site which provided images and tools for people to use on their MySpace profile pages. The idea behind the site was to provide a service and resource to MySpace users and make it easy for others to add content to their pages. What started off as a couple hundred pages, turned into over 10,000 pages! (no programming at all I might add, all straight html!) I would host all of the content, create the sites, import content and tools for people to use… and the site would generate money from all of the page views and visitor interaction. Basically, the site went viral and as people kept grabbing content, it just kept getting bigger and bigger… to the point where the site was receiving over 180,000 unique visitors per day. (You can read the full story here.)

Question #5

KRIS: Can you share at least three tips for how an average affiliate can become a super affiliate like you?

ZAC: An average affiliate can make the jump to super affiliate status by pushing themselves and dedicating themselves to their goal. Three quick tips to help improve your earnings are:

1.) Adjust with the times and not always stick with the same concept or idea. I would not be where I am today if I continually tried to promote the Amazon.com affiliate program or made banners for $1.

2.) Dedicate yourself to something you enjoy. If you are selling or promoting diamonds online, you can make good money… but if you have no interest in jewelry or diamonds, your full effort won’t be there. Focus on your passions and it will be that much easier.

3.) Networking. It sounds easy and it sounds cliché… but it’s the honest truth. Once you start networking and establish yourself with other well known marketers, not only will you have a group of people to bounce ideas off of, but also people to keep you motivated.

Question #6

KRIS: All things being equal, what is the easiest way for an affiliate to increase revenue? Bid on Trademarks? Long-Tail PPC Arbitrage? Build a Facebook Application? Or something else?

ZAC: I would recommend that a current affiliate steps back and looks at what they are doing to generate the current revenue that they have. Once doing so, they should try and target any open source they aren’t currently acting on. If you are focusing on only paid search marketing and sending traffic to advertisers landing pages, you could then focus efforts to SEO or building a web site that will continually earn revenue, without having to pay per click for traffic. In this same example, with that same web site, you could build up a newsletter list and follow up with related products or blog posts on the topic. There are so many different ways to advertise a web site or product, make sure you are targeting them all.

Question #7

KRIS: What are some of your favorite online resources for learning more about affiliate marketing?

ZAC: Lately I’ve been focusing on blogs and forums for ideas and motivation. There are a lot of people complaining that there are too many “make money blogs” out there, but even the newbies bring new ideas to the table. It’s the affiliate bloggers that present real examples and results that will weed themselves out from the rest. Not to “toot” my own horn… but the feedback and contacts I get from running my own blog, has been an amazing resource. I highly recommend everyone start their own blog, no matter what niche market you are in.

Question #8

KRIS: Share with us what a typical “Day in the Life” of Zac Johnson is like…

ZAC: Super Affiliate by Day… Super Hero at Night… just kidding.

My whole life I’ve been a night owl and worked non-stop through the night pushing out new sites and ideas. Since moving into my new home, it’s almost a complete flip. Now I usually wake up early during the week (and see Reena off to work) and sleep in on the weekends. I usually start out my day by going through email and checking out how my campaigns performed over night. When possible and inspired, I try and make a new post to my blog before noon… but it seems that rarely happens. Depending on my work level that day, I might head off to the local LA Fitness and play basketball for a few hours. Once I return I check my email and campaigns again and might write a blog post then, if I hadn’t already. During the course of the day I like to talk with my affiliate managers and friends on Instant Messenger and Twitter. I much prefer talking with people over AIM than on the phone, and it makes for much better multi-tasking. My business day usually starts around 9am and could go till 6pm… Of course it’s much more fun when it evolves 3-4 hours of basketball, but with each day you never know what will you might be working on! It’s great and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!

Question #9

KRIS: Have you ever had to overcome any obstacles that have helped define who you are as a person? If so, could you please share the story and tell us how you were able to address a challenging situation and make yourself stronger…

ZAC: I wouldn’t say it’s an obstacle, but my presence in affiliate marketing over the years has given me the reputation of being very passionate in this industry, and I am. There’s nothing worse than having to work your life away to make someone else rich, and losing time with your family. If you had to ask others in the industry, I think they would describe me as very dedicated and passionate.

As for an obstacle… I’ve always done everything myself. Ever since I started making money online when I was 14, I’ve always done all of my own work and never had another company employee. I’ve always wondered what it would be like if I was to take it to the next level and hire a staff and become a huge marketing company or whatever… I always found that it was too hard to trust anyone else to get the job done right, or that would be in the same effort. However… in the end, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at now and not sure if a full time company and staff is something I would want anyway. My point is… taking the leap, learning to let go and expand/outsource areas of the company to other people.

Question #10

KRIS: Who is the most important person in your life and why?

ZAC: Instead of just one, I would have to say my girlfriend Reena and my family. Without them, none of this would matter… and I would never trade them for anything.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend joining the PepperJam Network. In addition to a ton of exclusive advertisers and companies you won’t see anywhere else, PJN just recently added eBay to their list of merchants.

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24 Replies to “PepperJam Network “Meet the Affiliates””

  1. Nice interview Zac but I was kind of disappointed with one thing you said:

    "Now I usually wake up early during the week (and see Reena off to work) and sleep in on the weekends." – You just made 800k and your blog makes 5k a month. Isn't that enough for both of you? I would hire her to be my assistant if I were you. 😛

    1. C'mon, Kristy, you know hiring family, friends, girlfriends, etc., is the biggest no-no a business owner could do. EX: What happens if he and Reena break up?

    2. I just want Reena to be happy with what she is doing. Reena went to school and got her Psychology degree and wanted to work with kids. Right now she is the head managing director at a day and will be starting her own day care next year.

  2. I agree, you are just a "down to earth" guy in my eyes. Atleast that's the impression I get. Great interview! I love the story of how you made your first dollar online!

    You rock dude! 🙂

  3. As someone just starting out in this field, I appreciate all of the great content. Plus, it's a bonus that you like hoops as well!

  4. zac you the man

    you one of few affliate marketers that actually give newbies helppful tips and not the typical buy a site and sign up here crap

    great intervioew by way

    1. I Second that praise! You are the man. I have learned more from you in a few simple posts than most of the others. Thanks.

      1. Yeah this site does have a lot of useful information for a new affiliate and even a advanced one!

  5. i really like pepperjam so far. they are extremely helpful and have great customer service. now that ePN is supporting PJN, i will hopefully start making better money.

  6. WoW ! Very nice interview, it's something that everyone should read. I like the way how you made your first $ Zac 🙂 BTW my name is Zak

  7. So what blogs and forums do you frequent recently? Specially the hidden gems.

  8. Great interview Zac. Congrats on being selected to do it as well.

  9. Hey Zac – Your blog has actually given me that get up and go to finally start mine.

    Thanks!

    1. The same thing.

      I can also tell about Yaro's and John's blogs in the same line with Zac that gave me idea to start blog.

  10. Thanx for your answers, especially Question #5 (I could also thank you about Question #4 but I have already read about it and have already noticed that it was amazing)

  11. Very inspiring site, My buddy and I are full blown bloggin now. Up and running for four days. We are now looking for ways to get our blog noticed.

  12. ZAC…your a hero…how much for a paid post on your blog…i got some dough I want to "invest" ?

  13. A very nice interview that gave us an insight in your affiliate life. It's always good to know more about a super affiliate.

    thanks for sharing it with us.

  14. Hello Zac,
    This is a very inspiring interview with Kris Jones. I learned a lot and will use some of the tips. The most important thing I learned was that you did not give up and kept developing new ideas and paths.
    I love your site and appreciate you sharing so much.
    Thanks again,
    Thelma
    My recent post Holiday Gifts of Food

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