I have been getting some questions the past month about which forum to start in as I have written both about iAm Affiliate, AffLift and STM Forum. Both are solid, but which to start?
This is definitely a hard question because both have 2 different personalities. What I can tell you is that I personally am in both of these forums. I check them regularly and see what I can contribute.
But again, if you are a beginner where do you start for information? Let me create a comparison on these two forums and help you with that. What I will grade these forums on are the following:
- Content - How often it is updated. The communication of users. The style of content: pro vs noob.
- Members - the contribution of members vs the questions of members ratio.
- Assets - What you get with your membership besides just the community
- Attitude - Community attitude. Is it noob friendly? Will you get criticized?
- Moderators - the community check and balances of the community.
I think these are the main 5 things I personally look for when it comes to a community forum. Yes, there are free ones out there but sometimes the quality isn't there. You want experienced users and ones that are actually failing at campaigns to write about their failures.
But Why Join an Affiliate Forum Community?
One of the most important skills that I had as a successful affiliate marketer is the ability to always be able to learn something new. The reason is that this industry shifts so much and you need to be on the cutting edge of information.
I talk about how to start in affiliate marketing in this video and I even state that I have had months where I do not make any cash flow. Since I can not learn everything, I do want to try to catch up on what the industry is doing and what is being changed.
Joining one of these affiliate forums will keep you up to date and learn what others are doing. More importantly, you will have the support of a community to keep you on your toes when times do get tough.
iAmAffiliate - Hardcore Facts about Affiliate Marketing
If you’ve been involved with affiliate marketing for some time, you are likely familiar with iAmAttila’s free online blog geared towards informational posts around paid advertisement and making money online.
Stemming from the success of his blog, iAmAttila launched the online forum iAmAffiliate a few years ago and today it boasts well over 1000 active users. Just like Luke at Afflift, Attila is extremely participative in the community he has created. His insights are so sought after and respected because his actions have proven time and again that he is a genuine, high-quality resource in this industry.
The guy is always experimenting and literally teaches from experience, which is why he is usually one of my go-to resources for current industry tactics. Plus, he's upfront and has a very strong personality. Imagine the whole of the STM forum into a single person.. that describes Attila.
I would say the content is probably the most advanced of the three forums discussed here today, as the majority of the guides are provided by a seasoned affiliate marketer in Attila's blog. You have a front-row view of the techniques of one of the most reputable affiliates out there.
Perhaps the most valuable feature of this forum is the "Follow Along with Campaigns" section. If you’re a new affiliate marketer then this is a great resource for hands-on support in putting together campaigns. It’s also extremely beneficial to seasoned affiliates as it provides data on current trends in the space as community members are showing their actual results for everyone to learn from.
Aside from these real-time case studies to promote education, the forum also provides members with access to advanced step-by-step tutorials for all relevant traffic sources in the industry. The tutorials are quite in-depth, again making them not only a great resource for beginners but also marketers of any experience level who may have knowledge gaps or just need a refresher.
I can specifically point to is a thread dedicated to landing pages and offer spying where current converting offers are shown. Instead of having to purchase a spy tool like Anstrex, members can rely on the weekly data updates by Attila.
The majority of the strategies highlighted in the forum are gray hat style, high converting offers that take an aggressive approach to getting the job done. However, Attila is starting to get away from the cumbersomeness of black and gray styles and lean more into white-hat style campaigns going forward it appears.
There are substantially fewer members in this forum than either of the other two, creating a tight knit group of various personalities. The forum contains all types of marketers, from white hat to black hat and all the shades in between.
This dynamic creates a forum ripe for intense discussion with viewpoints of marketers from different facets of the space. Whereas other forums like AffLift are populated by mostly beginners seeking information, you can rest assured that an iAmAffiliate member already knows the intricacies of managing traffic sources.
I would be shocked if you found a member that didn’t at a minimum have an intermediate knowledge of affiliate marketing with experience in driving traffic through multiple channels.
Due to the smaller stature of the group, it is not as frequently participated in as the other two. From my experience, it may take a day or two for a post to be responded to, but Attila at the very minimum will respond in due time. For me, this is fine because instead of the unnecessary noise that can come with too many opinions, I know at least I am going to get a few high-quality ones.
The biggest asset of all is Attila’s community. Just like me, Attila creates communities in the industry from Facebook groups to Telegram Chats. This is a huge asset as it spreads out from his forum and you also get that personal touch from the forum.
Attila and I speak to each other on strategies in-depth and you can get the same style of conversation in the community. Heavily moderated to keep spam out but highly valuable to have an open discussion on how your campaign is doing or how to get ads approved on Facebook.
If 1 on 1 coaching doesn’t sound like enough support, what about access to ALL iAmAttila and iAmAffiliate ebooks? Here are just a few of the most recent titles...
Members are provided more than just the knowledge to carry out successful campaigns though. Access to the forum also supports members with special discounts on marketing tools and even allows members to start utilizing newly obtained knowledge quicker through fast-tracked approval to CPA networks.
With an iAm Affiliate membership, you can expect to partake in an open community of professional marketers eager to share experiences and techniques. This is an intense community dedicated to results as the majority of people are already well adept in their craft.
Attila really leads by excellent example, both setting a high bar in terms of marketing success as well as providing a very responsive helping hand whenever anyone in the community needs it. Aside from Attila, much of the group is more than willing to lend a helping hand or provide their opinions when called upon.
The forum really has that type of energy only found when you bring together the best minds for the same purpose, generating revenue. The confidence in this group is astounding and I often find myself keen for new challenges after interacting with the forum as everyone pushes one another towards greater heights.
Whereas STM and AffLift employ the assistance of numerous moderators to serve the community, Attila is heavily involved with the forum's oversight. The community is smaller and more intimate than the others, which allows iAmAttila to regularly be active in all forums and maintain group order effectively.
AffLift - Everything about Affiliate Marketing
AffLift is created by Luke (I was gonna type from Peerfly) it just flows. Anyways Luke is an affiliate marketer and I have met him a long time back. He has done very well by setting up tools, platforms, and now an affiliate community forum.
This is a fairly new affiliate forum but it is also rapidly growing with its members and the reason is because of Luke. I personally feel Luke is so dedicated to his community that he answers every post that is answered by its members.
I even remember chatting with him at 3 am his time, 2 pm my time (currently in Vietnam) - now that's dedication. He definitely is putting in 110% into all his projects.
AffLift is a very straight forward affiliate forum community because it has the basics that you are looking for. Everything is organized in a way that it is easy to get too. There is not a lot of clutter, no ads, just content, and the community. One factor that I think separates this forum from STM is that I believe he has JV partners in his forum.
What I mean is that there are dedicated affiliate managers, ad managers, account managers, traffic managers (these are all the same) that contribute content and provide discounts to AffLifts members.
In STM, they are there as well but I don't see them contribute as much as they do in AffLift. I want to say that Luke has formed some form of agreement between the parties to make sure that they contribute to the community for the exchange of its members.
One thing that I really enjoy is reading Luke's own case studies he generates as he also does run traffic online still. One of his guides is meant for Pop and he does very well on pop traffic himself. Even with guides, he has a lot of articles for the most basics of affiliates or traffic person.
One piece of information that is rarely talked about in the performance space is SEO. It is hard to talk about SEO in my opinion because it is too time-consuming. Like I said this forum is all about affiliate marketing and SEO is and can be part of the process. Not everyone has cash on hand for ad spend, so you may want to start with SEO which AffLift has a dedicated section for.
There are a lot of experts in the forum, from many years back that I know of as well. One amazing factor is that Luke encourages posts by new members. This is pretty awesome in itself and the reason why I think he has specific partnerships with traffic networks.
With this encouragement, the members are more helpful towards each other and not as much as an 'ego' driven community. Luke has done a great job of making every feel and stays on the same playing field with its attitude and community contribution. The way that happens is having open communication and the members have access to a real-time live chat room.
This chat room is on the main forum page and allows quick answers to be answered by the AffLift peers and its members. Definitely a pretty cool add on to a traditional forum.
There is a lot of beginners in this forum, which isn't bad because you want to grow with your peers. The members here pushes each other, beginner or veteran. A very beginner-friendly forum with great information to get started in affiliate marketing even if you have no prior experience.
Besides just the community, Luke has made deals with the traffic sources for any new sign-ups he brings on board to AffLift and test traffic. He does this on purpose because he wants you to start and not just consume information. So outside the content, he made deals with traffic networks and even discounts on online tools.
One big addition that is free with the affiliate forum is a landing page builder that Luke includes free to its members. You do not even have to join, it is out there for you to use right now.
The other amazing part is also getting free landing pages from spy tools. There is a section in the forum that is dedicated to free landing page ideas, courtesy of Anstrex. This is a really good perk if you do not utilize a spy tool yourself or if it is too expensive for you to get.
This is one very friendly community and I think that is the best environment for newbies when they are starting out in affiliate marketing. Since Luke has done a great job of making this feel like his home (I never been to his house, waiting for an invite and some milk and cookies), the attitude of everyone is very non-argumentative. The millennial safe box I can maybe say just because no one criticizes each other and if they do it is very constructive with a very open mind on the campaigns.
Luke will be the first, most of the time, to answer the questions and if not his moderators will be the ones to make sure everyone feels welcome and has the right information to start in affiliate marketing.
There are several moderators in this community and they came with experience. The best part about these moderators is they keep the atmosphere in the forum to where Luke's living room is. There are no idiocracy comments made by moderators or mud-slinging going on. The moderators on AffLift has made it in affiliate marketing and are now contributing to everyone's goal of being a better affiliate.
STM Forum - Premium Affiliate Marketing Forum
I have been part of STM since its infancy. The original name, Stack That Money (STM), represented how young we were as affiliates. Stacking. I even wrote an updated review on this forum as it has changed over the years.
They even had STM Meetups which now has evolved into Affiliate World Conferences. Started by a team of 3 guys in the affiliate industry and now are literally buying out all the ad inventory out there currently. I think they are anyway.
There are TONs of content in this forum. From posts about traffic sources to the very popular follow along. Honestly, this is one heavy forum that delivers the content where it is visible with the shift of the industry. I say this because this forum is the longest standing forum in the affiliate performance space, a paid forum that has a ton of value in itself.
Every year, they come out with a "What is Working in Affiliate Marketing" - they survey top traffic sources, top affiliates, top networks on what they see is happening in the space. This is not only very valuable information but information that is created by the community and long-standing affiliates.
You can search for amazing case studies that were once working and try to take 1% of that strategy to make it work in today's advertising world. You can even find real-time case studies that members are trying and even experience affiliates are doing. The biggest difference in the case studies between AffLIft and STM is spending and angles.
While there is a Newbie zone in the forum, it does have courses for making your first dollar in affiliate marketing. This newbie zone is dedicated to beginners for sure, but it is surrounded but other advance posts that can deter you from actually focusing on your core affiliate business strategy, whereas AffLift is for the novice.
There is such a high quality of content in the forum it would take days to write about it. It is an encyclopedia of past and present information on affiliate marketing.
Here are some popular ones:
While AffLift provides credit to its new users, most of the members in STM are using their own money. So the content contribution I think is much of higher quality and intent to optimize. Some people just act differently when money is free versus their own.
The range of ideas and thought process that goes into some of the case studies are pure gold. Even if some strategies do not work anymore, as advertising changes almost every 3-6 months, there is still value in old content. It helps with your creative thinking and how to go about when stuck on an ad campaign.
The members here are a mix of Black Hat, Grey Hat, White Hat affiliates or media buyers. This is a great mix because of strategy and contributions in the forum. These are also many high-level affiliates and more determined to find loopholes in their ad buying process.
I feel the members within STM Forum are far more advanced just because STM was one of the very first few forums that were meant for the ad performance space. They have a ton of rockstar contributors from private label to agency owners to full-time media buyers.
These heavy-hitter content contributors are in STM because it has the community that is just like them, a drive to be the best.
A lot of the affiliates also moved from Black Hat World, WickedFire, Digital Point, Warrior Forum, and many more. The members that transformed the STM community are a mix because back in the day there was no official form of community in the space.
These members all merged and shared their insights bringing the attitude towards the forum. With such a huge amount of members and community portals on Facebook, I can just post a message who is in this country and there is usually someone I can meet on my nomad travels, this is the best part about their community.
STM does have a lot of its own tools or partners with which they provide discounts on. When the team of 3 partnered up they brought on a programmer who created his own set of tools for affiliate marketing and then merge it into STM. That is not part of the member's area anymore as the tools have become obsolete in this day and age of online marketing.
One tool is a spy tool called Adplexity which finds ads that are already being advertised on the internet. Again not free but they do offer discounts to their members. Other tools they provide with a huge discount (total of 1650+ in savings) are...
- Tracking Platforms (FunnelFlux, Voluum, Binom)
- the Optimizer
- iStack Training
- Traffic Credit (adCash, PlugRush, RichPush)
The biggest asset is the community, the members are active and the majority all started when STM Meetups was popular and then evolved into Affiliate World. They will also provide the replays to members for free. The best part is also providing a big discount to the conference for its members.
The attitude of the community is 'strong' I say that because sometimes if a simple question is asked, there may be some comments some users can get discouraged. I think it is also helpful because it forces you to do your own research and work before asking.
I myself get annoyed when some users ask me the most basics of questions. If you are determined yo will search Google, Youtube, and more importantly the STM forum. But you are conversing with pretty top-notch affiliates and determined people on the community. A lot of the affiliates are also digital nomads like myself, there are Facebook groups meant for foodies, travelers, and mini meetups across the world.
The moderators are awesome, very similar to AffLift, they want you to win but also want to make sure you are putting in work. The moderators will also not take any abuse in the forum when it does go too far.
Just like any forum community, the moderators are experienced and want to help users in the community. They have credentials that date them back at least 10 years and even recent ones that will contribute to case studies of their own and contribute to content outside STM.
Overall Thoughts, What is Your Next Move?
These 2 forums I am part of and you can find me with the username IANternet in both. If I find a post that I can contribute then I go ahead and post. If I want advance strategies then I go into STM Forum.
So if you are just starting out, have no clue what affiliate marketing is or what media buying is then AffLift is for you. If you are already buying traffic and need help in scaling and trying to find a more intense strategy in your ads then STM Forum is for you. It is up to you on how you aggregate information and how you coupe with people online.
I am not leaning towards one or the other as both provide great valuable information depending on what you are looking for and how you want to organize the information you have gathered. I am active in both forums, find me and message me!