The 7 Deadly Sins of Dating Ads
Attention: Plentyoffish Dating Affiliates
How To Fight Back Against Rising Click Costs

The 7 Deadly Sins of Dating Ads

I remain convinced that most dating affiliates lack the balls to really get aggressive with their advertising efforts.

Why is it important to be aggressive?

Remember this. If you’re in the dating niche, you’re not marketing to the trendsetters and early adopters. You’re marketing to the crusty old goats who have had many chances to register before, and have found many reasons not to bother.

Why do you suppose the 600+ login crowd on Plentyoffish is deemed to be low quality traffic? It’s mainly because such users have had the chance to be converted, and the moment has passed.

You have to be aggressive if you hope to enter such a competitive market and walk away with conversions.

For that purpose, I’m going to suggest you sit back and watch Se7en – a masterpiece of filmmaking and one of my favourite movies of all time.

No, I’m not implying that all of your dating creatives should be littered with quotes and photos of Brad Pitt. It’s the seven deadly sins that I’m interested in exploring. These sins provide valuable angles that we can use to get aggressive with our marketing efforts.

There’s a sinner in each and every one of us. And if you match the right pair of eyeballs to the right angle, your hopes of a conversion will rocket so far through the sky that you’ll begin to wonder why you wasted so much time spunking dollars on that whimsical “Oh hello darling, come join my dating site, It’s free” bullshit.

Who do you think you are? Hugo from Made in Chelsea?

Most dating affiliates seem to be experts in pandering to the proletarians, while the successful guys are busy exploiting them. That may be a cynical attitude towards life, but forgive me, I’m a cynical bastard and it’s early in the morning.

Converting Users with The 7 Deadly Sins

I’ve replaced lust from the list. If you can’t see a way to use lust to your advantage on a dating site, it’s probably time to find another niche.


Many singles have legitimate reasons for not meeting enough members of the opposite sex. Socially accepted reason #1 is “Oh, I never get time to socialise outside work.” For these users, frank and to the point is the way. A sloth responds to instant results.

Sloth sin


Dating sites give keyboard charmers the opportunity to test-drive seduction techniques on large samples of women. No keyboard charmer can resist the chance to message as many women as his Sent box can handle, even when he’s found one he likes.

Online dating to a man, is what Pick ‘n’ Mix was to Finch as a child.

Greed sin


Envy is a natural by-product of dating sites where the women are severely outnumbered by guys actively messaging them. A lot of men are competing with each other, and as we all know, men don’t compete with each other particularly well.

Envy sin


Acedia is the overwhelming feeling of listlessness. Which is how a lot of singles feel about their love lives when making the decision to join a dating site.

Acedia sin


Pride is the most dangerous sin of all, and it goes hand in hand with bitterness – one of my favourite cards to play when advertising a dating site. If a man’s pride is at stake, persuasion is simply a case of channeling the raw inevitable. Perrrfect for recent divorcees.


Dating sites can be infuriating for Alpha Males who aren’t used to dealing with women who have the time and space to say “No!” to their relentless advances.

Wrath sin


Okay, we’re pushing it. When I came up with the idea of this post, I forgot that one of the 7 deadly sins involves eating too much. Forgive me if this example gets you banished from multiple advertising platforms in one hit.

Gluttony sin


Vanity is a quality nestled in just about every idiot who ever joined Plentyoffish and posted a small essay to justify something as retarded as his favourite colour. Those users who post endless surveys in the style of this or that? Yep, you know who I’m talking about. It’s a textbook exercise in the art of convincing yourself that somebody gives a crap.

Vanity sin

Disclaimer: I will leave it down to you guys to interpret and replace the sarcasm in each ad. It’s my new way of punishing the guys who rip ads word for word.

To summarise…

Because a post like this needs a summary to actually have a point.

Airy fairy dating ads that throw out broad headlines such as “Want a Girlfriend?” may have worked in 2009, but times have changed and it’s time for you to evolve or get out of the game.

I encourage anybody who has anything to do with dating, or Plentyoffish, or affiliate marketing in general, to check out this month’s Premium Posts. They will point you further in the right direction.

Recommended This Week

Attention: Plentyoffish Dating Affiliates

Can’t get profitable on Plentyoffish? Fantastic! I mean, shit, that’s tragic, let me help you feel better.

I’d like to invite you to check out the very first edition of my brand new Premium Posts.

Now just what in the hell are so premium about these Premium Posts?

Good question.

It’s extremely difficult for me to give away my best advice for free on this blog, knowing that it will be rehashed and beaten to death within a few days, along with a chorus of “Hey arsewipe, stop outing my shit.

Premium Posts are going to be a monthly (or bi-monthly) collection of the very best tips I have to offer in a specific area of our industry. This month it happens to be geared towards Plentyoffish dating affiliates.

Each pack will serve up something different, informative, funny and – I hope – damn lucrative to your business. Will it affect my usual posting schedule here? Not at all. I’ll still humour your peasant monkey brains for free.

Premium Posts are simply my method of monetizing what I write, giving away a little extra and hopefully making this shit a little more fun than it has been for a while. Check out the first pack here, or don’t. The choice is yours.

But seriously, kiss my balls if you don’t.

UPDATE: Wow, maybe you guys don’t deserve to kiss my balls after all. I’m flattered and slightly blown away by the feedback and sheer number of people who have contacted me to say they enjoyed the posts – even affiliates who don’t touch POF! A major thanks to everybody who has bought so far. Enjoy your weekend!

How To Fight Back Against Rising Click Costs

If your inbox is anything like mine, your Monday mornings are probably spent combing through network emails of what to promote, what to test and where to send your traffic. Of course, working out what to do with our traffic is a minor point. Getting it profitable is the hard part where we’d most appreciate advice!

Good old fashioned affiliate arbitrage is beginning to feel like running from a tsunami of problems.

Spiraling click costs, weaker inventory, stubborn advertisers. Sound familiar?

If it does, we have something in common. I’ve been looking at several ways to combat the challenges faced in advertising on the major social platforms. Let’s face it, neither Facebook or Plentyoffish are getting any easier to crack. You can concede defeat, or you can retreat and regroup.

So what actions can you take to avoid becoming the next affiliate casualty?

Open your mind to new bidding strategies

This is particularly important on Plentyoffish. Bidding strategies can make or break you. Making a simple change can completely turn around your fortunes. For example, I’d gotten it in to my head that bidding $0.67 with a frequency cap of 4 was the sweet spot for one of my campaigns. For a long time, this was very profitable. But you shouldn’t be afraid to bid on different groups of traffic. When my campaign ran dry, I was forced in to a change. Eventually I regained profitability on the same offer, with the same creatives, just by bidding $0.48 with a frequency cap of 7.

Sometimes you have to bid less, and live with the lower conversion rates, to achieve a greater ROI. For Christ’s sake, don’t live and die by your conversion rates. Live and die by what’s making you money.

Dayparting, weekparting, monthparting, retardparting.

Have you scrutinized your stats and analysed them on an hour-by-hour basis? If you’re working in the dating niche, this is pretty fucking significant. Forget about conversion rates. Look directly at the EPCs vs. CPCs over a 24 hour period.

You also need to consider a variable bid approach. Many affiliates say that you simply shouldn’t advertise dating offers during certain hours. On the flipside, traffic is a lot cheaper for those of us who decide to take that path. Probably because those saying you shouldn’t bid in the morning, are the same idiots bidding the same fixed amount 24/7 and then wondering where their profitability went. Well, duh.

Use language that sells your offer twice as hard.

If you’re not yet using landing pages, you might as well be a dinosaur dodging asteroids. It may be fun for a while, but sooner or later it’s going to be game over. Something I always look to do when my ROI drops is sell the offer twice as hard. Particularly if I’m in a small demo where a lot of eyeballs have already seen my main sales pitch.

Go back and look at your landing page. Give it a language makeover. Take every single descriptive word and ramp it up a notch, particularly the words that are being used as anchor text. Bust out a thesaurus and leave no corner of your landing page untouched. Every single conceivable concern or restraint from joining Site X now needs to be dispelled and extinguished. You simply can’t afford to lose as many clicks as you used to.

And for this, I’d give you one piece of advice. Don’t write on your own level. You’re not trying to sell a Rocket Science degree. Write as if your landing page is going to be read by the dumbest idiot in America.

Scale away from the competition.

This is the single easiest way of regaining profitability that you’ll still choose to ignore. It simply involves taking the components of your most successful campaigns, having them translated, and targeting non-English speaking markets. By advertising in non-English speaking countries, you instantly eliminate the competition that inflates your prices elsewhere.

But you’ve got to remain patient. Just because your campaign is nicely formalized in the mother tongue of the poor bastards you’re advertising to, that doesn’t make it a guaranteed success at the first time of asking. And many affiliates give up because it’s not as easy to optimize a campaign in a foreign market. There’s also lazy scaling syndrome. Where you translate your creatives but don’t bother with the landing page because it’d mean shelling out a few extra dollars.

This is particularly mind-boggling logic when it comes from the very affiliates who know first-hand what difference a landing page can make to ROI. Don’t be a fuck nugget. Do the job properly.

If straight arbitrage fails, capture the data.

The way we operate as affiliates, our mathematics are very simple. We need to get traffic cheap enough so we can sell it and make a profit. Okay, great. But most affiliates leave themselves exactly 5 seconds to play God with that data. If the click doesn’t convert, it’s forever lost.

Just yesterday, I received a network email advising me to target users earning over $100,000 to maintain maximum quality on an offer. It got me thinking. This moron earns $100,000 in a year and he’s clicking my link, just like I asked him to. In the absolute best case scenario, I’m only going to make $7 from him – if he converts on my offer. How much money am I leaving on the table by not keeping the schmuck to myself and upselling like there’s no tomorrow?

By building your own email lists and capturing data, you can afford to compete with the rising click costs. Because each conversion is worth so much more. You don’t even have to build an email list. Just brand your landing page in such a way that if the user decides not to click through, he has somewhere else to go where he can provide value to you. That’s a gigantic tip right there, and I’ll let you interpret it as you wish.

I’m guessing many marketers are finally recognising how replaceable an affiliate engaging in straight arbitrage actually is. It’s not too late to do things differently. But don’t say you didn’t see it coming when Plan A hits the wall.

Recommended This Week:

  • Looking to finally get your campaigns translated in to another language so you can start making money again? One Hour Translation is fast, cheap and thankfully much more accurate than the badass copy and pasting skills that took Finch to an unexpected C grade win in his French GCSEs. Viva Mon Francais!

  • If you’re not already registered on PPV Playbook, you are missing a beat sunshine. Easily the BEST place to learn from marketers who are actually making money. It has some awesome case studies. The catch is that you will need to pay some of your hard earned pesos to access it. I swear from the bottom of my black heart, joining is worth every penny

  • If you’re a new reader, please add me to your RSS. Feel free to add Finch to your Facebook. Yes, this is the right link. My real name is not actually Finch. Also follow me on Twitter Love you long time. Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2009-.