You open up your mailbox – the real one – and amongst the regular assortment of bills, junk and more bills you find an unremarkable envelope, addressed to you.
You are a little hesitant to open it because the sender’s name seems deliberately innocuous.
As you slide your finger along the gummed seal, you wonder if what is inside is just another bit of timeshare investment nonsense or perhaps a scary warning from an omniscient government agency.
In the rapid-fire milliseconds before you pull apart the flaps of the envelope and remove the thin sheet inside, your mind shuffles through all your dealings, trying to match one of them to the innocuous company name printed on outside.
You have extracted the contents of the envelope and are now holding it in your hand.
It is a Check, Made out to YOU.
WTF? Is this more junk mailer trickery? What if you try to deposit this thing at your bank and the teller laughs in your face? It is not a big check.
The amount is not going to change your life, much less your tax bracket.
Just the same, money’s money. If only you could figure out who the hell cut this check. If only you could determine the nature of the company with the boring name, and then, it hits you:
It is an Affiliate Check.
It is an affiliate check. You Google the company name or ask around on the webmaster message boards. You figure out who the sponsor is and you scour through your files to locate your user name and password because you totally forgot them and you log into your affiliate dashboard to check your stats.
There it is: X signups = $$$. That blog post or page you made and blew off finally paid off. You deposit your check and now you have more money than you had the day before.
What Is Passive Income?
Ultimately, most sponsor revenue is passive. When a surfer signs up under your affiliate ID, it is not like you were physically in their house, closing the sale.
Passive sales are the very nature of the affiliate/sponsor model.
You create a blog site and create new posts regularly. You build a gallery of video clips and get it listed on various sites.
You post a blog entry that lives on via permalinks and a serendipitous use of keywords and subject matter.
Weeks (or even months) later that old bit of marketing renders a return.
You make sales when you are not actively trying. This is passive income. This is the magic promise of the Internet – making money while you sleep.
There is also passive income to be made from recurring memberships or webmaster signup programs.
Out of those ten or twenty signups you got from that awesome listing last year, one or two members continue to pay for their accounts and you reap the benefits because you chose a recurring payout program from that particular sponsor.
That barely-coded webmaster referral page you made and linked to at the bottom of some ancient blog is suddenly showing up in search engines and garnering you some green.
You do not question it. You probably have no idea why it is happening, but it is happening and you now realize the wisdom behind that webmaster saying:
Build it and forget it.
But there is more to passive revenue than old pages, galleries and blog entries.
You need to consider the affiliate ads on your main websites before you go messing with their placement in your next redesign.
There is another bit of webmaster wisdom:
If it is making you money, leave it alone.
That animated banner might be as old as last century but if your visitors are still clicking on it and still clicking all the way through to payout, then that banner stays – exactly where it is.
You might be ready to move on but change is not always a good thing. There is a reason why some of the most financially prolific sites have not updated their layouts or logs and it is not because they are afraid of new things.
So, the next time you are assessing your promotional strategy and you think, “Fuc# it! I will throw out everything and start over!”
Take a moment to seriously consider the implications. Go visit those sponsor dashboards that have slipped your mind and seriously analyze your stats.
If you have got payouts coming, leave their income sources alone. File those antiquated yet productive pages under: Passive Income and remember…
Old Blog Posts Never Die.