It felt like a mecca of vaping review websites were coming out of Southeastern Michigan in late 2013 - early 2014.
TJ had started venturing out and meeting like-minded business people through the Meetup app.
There was a guy TJ met at one of these meetups who happened to be friends with someone else that was running a vaping review site that didn’t live far from us.
TJ got his contact information and made the connect a few days later. His name was Tyler and he was one of our main keyword competitors who ran the website, quitsmokingcommunity.org.
We became friends with Tyler and started talking about search rankings in vaping, how we got started and what our future plans were. We also talked about how crazy the industry was at a time where everyone was just learning about vaping.
We had reached out to our other main search competitor’s at the time. The guys who ran the website TBEC, now called Vaping360.com.
Quit Smoking and V360 soon became our internal network within the affiliate industry of vaping. We gave each tips, advice and anything else we thought would help
“Hey, this is what we’re doing with this merchant.”
“What’s your guys’ click-through-rate on this new affiliate offer?”
“Hey, this is the commission percentage we’re receiving from the same vendors you guys are promoting”
Stuff like that.
It wasn’t like a competition, we both saw it more like a coopetition.
We were all ranking for the similar keywords with some overlap, it was more like “we’re all going to get a slice of the pie, but you might get a little more here and we’ll get a little more here.”
We were all ranking for the same search pie, it just varied month to month on how it got sliced up.
It was through one of these conversations with Tyler from Quit Smoking, that we found out a recent vendor we had both signed up for was giving a 40% commission to Tyler’s website, and we were receiving only 30%.
And we had a lot more traffic for more relevant keywords. This was a great opportunity.
We used this information from Tyler, and eventually were able to make the same deal with this new vendor, receiving the extra commission percentage.
Overall, because we had that conversation with Tyler, it led us to making an extra $10,000 dollars in commissions over the course of our relationship with that vendor.
If we wouldn’t have befriended people we were ranking alongside us in Google search, that would have never happened.