First launch in 2020: AffTable – A listing for affiliate programs related to SaaS

In 2019, I joined an accelerator called Entrepreneur First (EF). Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for me. I spent 6 months developing a work log for scientists with another teammate. The project was called MyBioDiary. But our synergy was too bad so we decided to shut down the project before launch. The experience was disheartening for sure. After thinking for a while, I decided to go as a solo founder again in 2020. I deadly want to be my own boss, live on my own terms. 💪🏽

Is it scary? 😟

Yes, it’s definitely scary! I’m on my own again. In March, I’d been thinking hard what’s next for myself? What should I build to generate some revenues? I’d been thinking hard but there is no answer at all. I was stuck in analysis paralysis.

Stuck in analysis Paralysis

Whenever I had an idea, I would doubt whether the idea was feasible. How could I make money? I was hindered by my previous experience. But I need to go out of the maze asap. Otherwise, I can’t make a living for myself.

Fortunately, I’ve been maintaining a Shopify App called SEO Product Optimizer (SPO) since 2016. There’s a monthly recurring revenue from the app around several hundred dollars per month. Also, I’ve been saving the money in my Paypal account and don’t spend a lot after the app launched. It can help me to eat ramens for a few months. Besides, SPO gives me a chance to reflect on a problem when I was doing content marketing for SPO.

Why another listing site?

Directory or listing site is one of the earliest forms of websites exists since the Internet is invented. Yahoo & Craiglist (Alexa rank: 187) are the largest directories in the world. Why directory is useful till now? It’s because directories can give visitors the answer in the shortest time even shorter than googling back-and-forth.

Why affiliate programs? Are they scam?

Affiliate programs are notoriously thought of scams in the early time. Many spammers and phishers are leveraging “black hat” techniques to stuff cookies into visitors’ computers. However, affiliate programs are becoming more reliable due to the advance of web technology. I see that many bloggers are monetizing very well with physical good programs. On the contrary, SaaS affiliate programs are underrated as it’s harder to sell.

But time has changed. Since Amazon drastically slashed its commission rate in Mid April, there will be more bloggers, podcasters, or influencers more interested in other attractive affiliate programs. SaaS affiliate programs can serve as an excellent alternative to monetize their traffics. Very often, SaaS programs will provide a monthly recurring commission to affiliates.

What is AffTable? The Problem?

Aff stands for “Affiliate”. It’s a common abbreviation used by affiliate marketers.

AffTable is a very simple project. When I was developing my previous product (a Shopify app), I tried to write a long blog post to talk about my journey. it took me a week to finish the post. Since the time taken was a bit long, I wanted to compensate for my cost by adding affiliate links to the tools I used. When I was googling, I found that there wasn’t a listing about these affiliate schemes. Therefore, I’ve analyzed 100 SaaS companies and carefully handpicked more than 60 affiliate programs from them. The information will include crucial data like cookie duration, lock period, payment method, etc. I hope these data will help all programs to become more transparent.

I thought that it might benefit other podcasters, bloggers, influencers, YouTubers, small communities, or makers if I shared the data with the public. Also, the jobless rate is surging to an unprecedented level due to the coronavirus. It may help others to make a side income by monetizing their content.

Moonshot? No! 🌜

I don’t aim high for this project. Moonshot is not for bootstrappers. There are 3 purposes:

  1. Find out the idea for my next project
  2. Build up my Twitter followers
  3. Get back my capital investment within a year

2 weeks and the website is done!

In total, I spent 7 days in data collection and cleaning, 3 days for building the site. To save the development time, I stored the data in a spreadsheet and generate the site with a tool.

The hard part is dealing with the domain. Many possible names are dominated by domain hoarders. I tried to come up with a name AffiliateWorld, AffiliateHunt but these domains are all registered and placed with a skyrocket price tag. Finally, I asked redditors “What is the abbreviation of Affiliate?” and they told me “Aff” a common term. And I just use a simple name “AffTable” with a cheap domain.

The material cost? 💸

That’s all!

Launch! 🚀

After the site is done, I put up a product page on Makerlog, Betalist, ProductHunt & IndieHackers. At the time of writing, I’ve just launched AffTable on PH. Please check it out and leave a comment!

What’s next?

Currently, the site has just launched. I will consider monetization when there are more visitors. In the meantime, I’ll add more programs to the listing. I am sure there are plenty of affiliate marketers working on SaaS affiliate programs. However, I am not sure which type of content creators are most interested in SaaS affiliate programs.

If you would like to follow my journey, please follow my twitter @bennyyChan

Note: According to the FTC disclosure requirement, there are affiliate links included in the post. If you find it offensive, please google the text yourself.

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