Digital Real Estate vs Affiliate Marketing: Is One A Faster Way To Wealth?

August 20, 2023

Digital real estate and affiliate marketing offer a way to capitalize on current trends and take advantage of an online audience. Not only are they low-cost business models. But both promise a chance to harness time freedom and a steady cash flow. The key is deciding which business model best suits your goals and skill set.

For example, do you want to promote another business's products? Or would you prefer to own your virtual land? Of course, like any business, there are pros and cons. But there are other differences between the two. (Like start-up costs and time commitment). In this article, we take a closer look at the similarities and discrepancies. But we'll also cover topics like how to become an affiliate marketer.

Plus, how to start investing in digital real estate. Then discuss how you make money with virtual assets. And why local lead generation is the best digital real estate investment in 2024. Finally, we'll share how much you can make as an affiliate. Plus, what you can do with digital real estate to make money right now.

What Is Digital Real Estate

Digital real estate is anything that exists on the internet. Unlike traditional real estate, digital real estate isn't tangible. It isn't illiquid either. But if you own a virtual entity that provides value. Or one that sits at the top of the search engines. You hold the keys to a steady cash flow.

Consider that there are only so many spots at the top of Google. (Or any other platform). So those spots are prime real estate. Plus, they're front and center for tons of eyeballs. And people who are actively searching for what you offer. Not to mention that digital real estate is accessible, and you don't need a ton of money to build virtual land.

But like real estate, your digital asset appreciates over time. (Especially if you do the work to make it valuable). Then you can rent it as a lead generation site. Or use it to promote products like the affiliate marketing business model. But if you know how to leverage algorithms and can get your online real estate to the top of the page. Then you can make some serious money in 2024

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an online advertising strategy that leverages media and digital platforms to promote products or services for businesses to increase sales and brand awareness. Affiliate marketers don't need to own products or house inventory. And you don't deal with customer service issues.

Your only job is to drive traffic to your offers. Then you earn an affiliate commission for every sale. So, of course, it's a competitive playing field. But there are plenty of opportunities in untapped markets. First, consider that global affiliate marketing spending will reach $13 billion in 2022. And grow to $15.7 billion by 2024.  

Plus, data suggests that by 2040 an estimated 95% of all purchases will be online. So now is a great time to capitalize on this space. Of course, the secret is to build an online audience and find the best affiliate links to promote. But if you're prepared to do the hard work at the front end. Then you can make money with affiliate marketing in 2024

If you want to start affiliate marketing and build your own agency, and you are looking for a legit coach, check out Tanner Chidester and his course Elite CEOs. 

Which Business Model Is The Right Choice For You?

Digital real estate and affiliate marketing are online business models that offer a chance to make money on the internet. But, of course, both have drawbacks and benefits. So first, you need to decide what is best for you and your long-term goals. Then take a look at your skills. For example,

  • Do you enjoy writing content and publishing videos?
  • Do you have the time to invest and develop a trusted online presence? Like a blog or social media profile?
  • Would you prefer to build an asset that is primarily hands-off once it hits the top of the SERPs? Like the rank and rent model?

Next, weigh the pros and cons of each option that include the following:

Digital Real Estate vs Affiliate Marketing Pros & Cons

Digital Real Estate Pros

Appreciate quickly and boast high ROIs (10X in as little as a year)

You can scale quickly with minimal investment or overhead costs

You own the asset and have complete control over your creative process and how you monetize your digital property

Affiliate Marketing Pros

You don’t need to invest in physical products or house inventory

There are no customer service requirements

You have access to a broader market base

Digital Real Estate Cons

It can be time-consuming to develop an online audience or rank in the search engines

You need to have a specific skill set to be considered an authority in your niche or market

Algorithms can be challenging to manipulate

Affiliate Marketing Cons

There is potential for fraudulent contracts

The industry has a lot of unscrupulous affiliate marketers

You have minimal control over the creative process

What’s The Biggest Difference Between Digital Estate & Affiliate Marketing?

The biggest difference between digital real estate and affiliate marketing is ownership. You don't own any of the products you promote as an affiliate. Instead, you make a commission on sales. But with digital real estate investing, you own the asset.

Of course, you need to protect your investment and treat your digital real estate property or affiliate links like a real business. But you wanted answers to a few other affiliate marketing questions. And listed below are three of the most asked inquiries about the business. So let's check them out:

3 Affiliate Marketing Questions You Need Answered

1. How Much Money Do You Need For Affiliate Marketing?

You can start an affiliate marketing business for free if you're willing to invest the time. But you need to publish valuable content every day. And dedicate at least 6-12 months to building an online audience and creating trust with your target audience. But even then, you still need to track your campaigns.

Then you know what's working and when to pivot if your offers aren't getting traffic. In addition, insights into user behavior can give you an edge over the competition. So you need at least $500-$3000 to cover costs and have the funds to take advantage of third-party tools and software like the ones listed below:

Tracking Software:

Refersion for $89/month (offer a 14-day free trial)

Hosting Provider:

Siteground for $1.99/month

Spy Tools:

BigSpy for $9/month (they also offer a free version)

Landing Page Builder:

Clickfunnels $97/month

Affiliate networks are free to join, but most want you to have a website. So you need to pay for a domain name and hosting, which will run you about $177/year. You also need an advertising budget of at least $500-$1000. Of course, you don't need to use paid ads. But they're the best way to get yourself out there.

Then you can get your website in front of eyeballs fast while you grow your audience. You should also consider joining an online forum or paying for an affiliate marketing course. Then you get a roadmap on how to make money from an industry leader. Plus, you gain an online support system. And this can be invaluable to your success.

Remember, affiliate marketing is all about driving online traffic to your offers. But that traffic is not easy to come by. So you need to pay with your time or cough up the cash for paid ads. Consider that hundreds of people are competing for the same traffic. But this level of competition can result in some pretty unsavory behavior. (The estimated cost of affiliate marketing fraud was $1.4 billion in 2020).

Plus, fake traffic rates are currently between 15%-30%. And this trend has caused distrust in the business model. So as an affiliate marketer, you need to take the appropriate steps. And use the right tools to safeguard links from hijacking or false advertising, like Anura or ClickGUARD.

To make money with affiliate marketing, you need to take it seriously. The goal is that your business will be your income provider for the rest of your life. So not only do you need to invest the money. But you need to dedicate the time. You should devote a minimum of 120 hours just for trial and error.

Spend dollars on paid ads and test the market. Take the time to research offers, and analyze data. But you also need to learn the skills to succeed long-term. So plan to spend an additional 100 hours doing affiliate marketing and practice things like:

Become An Expert In Skills Like:

  • Paid Ad Types
  • Copywriting & Editing
  • Niche Products & Your Ideal Target Audience
  • Software Programs & The Platforms You Plan To Use

You need to become a master in whatever area you plan to advertise or develop an online presence. But if you treat it like a real business and you're prepared to grind and do the work. Then, you can win with affiliate marketing.

2. How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

To become an affiliate marketer, you need to pick your niche. What do you like to do? Where do your interests lie? Are you an expert on a specific topic? Choose a niche you enjoy because you will spend a lot of time writing content or creating videos. You also want to choose a niche with an active online community. 

So do some research and use tools like Google Analytics to access top search queries. Then, you can pick your affiliate network platform and find an affiliate program you want to join, like ClickBank or ShareASale. These platforms have numerous brands and networks you can choose from to find offers to promote. There are three main types of affiliate marketing:   

The 3 Types Of Affiliate Marketing:

  • Unattached: No connection to the product.

  • Related: You have the expertise for a niche-related product but don't make any claims about the product.

  • Involved: You're a trusted source and put your reputation on the line for this product or service.

So find offers that fit your target audience and mesh with your brand and beliefs. Now, most affiliate networks prefer you to have a website. But it's not an absolute must. If you have an audience, you can do affiliate marketing. Consider platforms like Facebook, TikTok, YouTube channel, etc. Wherever you have people following you is a chance to post your affiliate links. So you don't need thousands of followers or subscribers. But you won't be very successful until you can build your audience.

Again, your only job is to drive online traffic to your offers. Without traffic, you won't make sales, and you won't make any money. So you need to be prepared to do some hard work and publish content that offers value and either:

  • Solves A Problem
  • Saves A Person Time
  • Entertains Or Educates

You can create profiles on platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok. Share videos and reels with a clear call to action that will be seen in the search engines.

But the goal is to create videos that offer value. And focus on a group of targeted people that will bring you traffic to your link. (That's how you make sales and your affiliate income). So you need a video marketing strategy and a unique angle. But if you can create a video with virality potential, you can make even more money. So make sure that when people see your videos, they see the value. They'll be more inclined to click on your bio, offer or join your email list and leverage email marketing strategies to build a relationship and trust.

Then when you have a more receptive audience, you can introduce your offers. Of course, you can always leverage paid ads on platforms like Google, Facebook, etc. However, ad costs are rising (up to 15%-20% on some platforms). And while they're a great way to get some quick wins. You'll need a decent budget and the skills to post scroll-stopping copy. Or know how to create videos with virality potential to recoup your costs and generate long-term profits. You also need sharp ad targeting and be ready to pivot fast when campaigns aren't working. 

Getting traffic to your offers takes time and money. You're up against brands from all over the world. Some household names have spent decades grinding to get to the top. And they don't want to share their audience with you. So you need to be ready to work. Have a unique angle or find a gap in the market. Become an expert marketer. And choose offers that align with your audience but still offer generous compensation and can provide a solid income stream.

3. How Much Can A Beginner Affiliate Make?

A beginner affiliate marketer can make $0-$1000/month. Or you can tap into our three tips and make an income stream of  $700-$1000/day as a beginner with zero experience. Check it out:

3 Tips On How To Make More $$$ With Affiliate Marketing

Create An Email List:

Spend the time to nurture relationships and build a warm audience. Send out surveys and find out what kinds of products they're looking for. Then you can connect with a good product or service and promote your offer. 

Build An Organic Following:

Develop an organic online audience on a platform like YouTube, Facebook, or Pinterest. Publish valuable content and engage with your audience. Promote referral programs that align with their interests. Again, the more you know about your target audience, the better. Then you can build trust and present yourself as an authority. But be prepared to invest the time. (It can take 6-18 months to create a decent following). 

Leverage Paid Advertising:

If you're willing to spend to make money, using paid ads is a fast way to make some cash. But you need to optimize your listing. Find keywords that you can rank for with less spending. And keep an eye on the competition. See where they're lacking and do better. (Or where they're seeing success and emulate the process).

Average affiliate commissions sit around 5%-30%. But advanced marketers make $100,000/month, and super affiliates can make at least $100,000+ every month. As of November 2022, affiliate marketers in the USA averaged $154,983 per year

The key is to find high-ticket offers with generous commissions (50% or higher). And get in front of as many eyeballs as you can. Build trust or create an offer your audience can't refuse. (Consider adding bonuses or bundles). Use a variety of ways to promote your affiliate link, and consider joining more than one affiliate marketing program. But if you can drive traffic and use tools like HubSpot to set up your systems on autopilot, you can make a passive income with this business. If you want to start affiliate marketing, you can check the AMBSDR

3 Things You Should Know About Digital Real Estate

1. What Can You Do With Digital Real Estate?

Digital real estate offers all kinds of ways to make money online. But first, you need to decide what type of business is right for you. So consider things like:

  • Do you enjoy writing?

  • Are you looking for a less hands-on option?

  • Do you have tech skills?

  • Would you like to be a digital landlord?

  • Do you have a following on social media or YouTube?

Then you need to determine how much time you want to invest in creating a valuable asset. For example, do you have the time to publish regular content? Or would you prefer to invest in a short-term project? A few popular digital real estate ventures include things like:

Popular Digital Real Estate Ideas:

  • Buy & Sell Domain Names: Look on sites like Flippa, where you can buy low and sell high. Then, commit to refurbishing content, adding links and citations, etc., and reselling for profit.

  • Websites & Social Media Profiles: Develop a following or build a blog and use social media marketing tactics to drive traffic to your digital assets. Then you can monetize your online land with affiliate links, sponsored ads, influencer marketing, etc. Or you can opt for the rank and rent business model. You get your site to the top of Google's search engines and generate leads for local contractors. Then you can sell those leads for profit to make a steady cash flow.

  • YouTube Channel: Get subscribers, and you can promote brands. Or you can leverage paid ads and sponsored posts or influencer marketing methods.

Of course, you can also build a mobile app or start an ecommerce store. Publish an online program or develop a subscription business. But the best option for digital real estate in 2024 is to start a lead gen business. Not only is local lead generation a proven concept. But it's how I amassed a monthly income of $52K.

Of course, you need to do the heavy lifting at the beginning. Plus, it can take up to six months before your site ranks well. But once it's driving online traffic, it's pretty hands-off. The beauty of lead gen is its low start-up costs and marginal overhead expenses. But like all digital real estate, you need to lead with value if you want to make money.

The goal is to sit at the top of the algorithms. But those spots aren't coming for free. So you either pay with time or money. So you need to create an online entity that provides a solution or answers a question. A product or service that isn't easy to find or is better than what's on offer currently. But digital real estate is a chance to beat the trend and take advantage of monetization methods. But if you get it right, you can harness time freedom and generate a passive income.

2. Can You Make Money With Digital Real Estate?

Yes, you can make money with digital real estate. The key is to get the search traffic on your chosen platform. Like physical real estate, you want your virtual asset to be in a good neighborhood with lots of traffic where your online property is front and center for a specific target audience.

Consider that if you own digital real estate that gets all the traffic. Then you can make a ton of money and capitalize on things like:

  • Paid Ads
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Brand Affiliate Link

But you need to position yourself with your online land. So find keywords or search terms you can rank for quickly with tools like ahrefs or SEMRush. Be active and write about good topics. But if you publish high-quality content every day, then you will get online traffic. 

Consider that everyone is using search engines. And the majority of people use digital to find answers and products. Plus, the internet is still evolving, creating a ton of untapped markets and chances to make money with virtual real estate. The secret is getting in ahead of the curve. So stay one step ahead of trends, lead with value and find the right fit for your skill set. And you can make money with digital real estate right now. 

3. How To Get Started With Investing In Digital Real Estate

To start investing in digital real estate, you need to be prepared to take massive and imperfect action. Of course, there's never going to be a perfect time. So you just need to start. You want to get in on the ground floor and find a space with an opportunity. Consider that the internet is still growing. With the introduction of Web 3.0, there are things like investing in Metaverse land, buying and selling NFTs, crypto, and bitcoin.

So if you want to make money with digital real estate investing, you need to make your digital business stand out. So you need to find a super specific niche (the key is to dial down). Be specific and produce good content. (Niche-quality content that's better than the competition). And engage with your audience. 

The goal is to grow constantly. Of course, the competition is fierce, especially on specific platforms like Facebook and YouTube. For example, 3.7 million new videos are uploaded to YouTube every day. But you can still be successful if you're prepared to work hard and treat it like a real business. Plus, if you can get your online entity to the top of the SERPs, it's like a digital billboard. Then it's in front of people actively searching for what you offer.

So spend the time now, and you can own prime real estate. Then you can connect with brands who will pay big bucks for a piece of the action. Or you can rent your space like a lead gen business and earn a monthly income on autopilot. But if you're willing to invest the time at the front end. You can secure a passive income with digital real estate investing. 

Why Local Lead Generation Is The Best Digital Real Estate Investment In 2024

Local lead generation is the best digital real estate investment in 2024. (It's still my number one recommendation). Like affiliate marketing, you don't need to own any physical products or store inventory. But unlike affiliate marketing, you're in total control of every aspect of your business. You build and rank generic websites for phone-based services. Then get your sites to the top of the Google search engine. (By using the digital marketing tactics we teach in our local lead generation coaching program).

But once your lead gen sites are at the top, your digital assets bring in leads. And you can sell those leads to a small business owner for a profit. So your digital assets are like a rental property. Each one generates a steady cash flow every month. Plus, you own the website, the tracking number, and the leads. So you don't need to worry about affiliate programs changing contracts. Or hijackers who try to steal sales from your affiliate links. 

Local lead generation

Take this site above, for example. I built this site in 2015. It took me about 10 hours to build and another 6 months to rank. But this site has been making me a passive income stream of $2000/month for the last 7 years. But now that it's at the top of the SERPs, it's pretty hands-off. 

Plus, that's only one of over 80 lead gen sites I own in my empire of digital assets. So, of course, I did see success with affiliate marketing. But I could never consistently reach this income level. And I was never able to harness the time freedom I've been able to achieve with the lead generation business model


Digital real estate and affiliate marketing are two business models that give you a chance to be a real estate investor without having to invest a ton of capital. The key is to develop virtual properties that share value and sit at the top of a search engine on a specific platform. Then you own elite digital assets.

So not only do you diversify your cash flow with this passive income idea. But you can own a small business and build wealth. You can opt for a model like local lead generation. Build an empire of sites, and become a digital landlord. Then you not only have a monthly income coming in on autopilot. But you can generate a passive income and harness time freedom. And that's the fastest and best way to wealth in 2024.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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