SFI News

SFI's Official News Blog


SFI turns 20!

anniversary celebration gold icon

We are now officially into our 20th year!  From but a small acorn, SFI has grown into a tall and mighty oak tree, with strong and deep roots.  But you ain’t seen nothin’ yet…because we planted an entire FOREST…and it’s spreading across every country in the world.

Happy anniversary to SFI and all its thousands of awesome affiliates across the globe!



SFI President & Founder Gery Carson remembers the day SFI was born:

gerycarson_headshot“As an entrepreneur, there have been very few holidays where I haven’t worked at least a few hours, and this day in 1998 was no different.  I went into my home office that morning planning to spend a few casual hours—on nothing in particular.  It was a holiday after all, and no one else on my staff at the time was working. So it was just going to be a relaxing day where I’d let my mind have a break from the typical daily grind.

I remember at the time that affiliate programs were becoming a big deal, thanks to the Internet, which made it very easy to track sales using affiliate links.  Numerous big-name companies were now employing affiliate programs as a part of their marketing strategy.  And I thought…why not us, too?!  

I remember being particularly impressed with Amazon.com’s affiliate program.  The word was, they had 60,000 affiliates.  60,000!  At the time, that number seemed enormous to me, a nearly impossible number.  But I couldn’t have been more wrong of course because, in just a couple years, we would be experiencing days where we’d sign up over 60,000 affiliates in a single day!  

But on this morning, I was simply sketching out a few basics on how our affiliate program would work.  At the time, we were publishing our magazine, Six Figure Income, which featured exclusive interviews with home-based entrepreneurs who were earning at least $100,000 USD annually from their business.  This magazine was essentially our one and only product.  By the way, it’s from the magazine’s name that the SFI Marketing Group name came to be (a few years later we changed the initials to stand for Strong Future International to better align with our vision for the program).

SFIMagazineCovers

Six Figure Income magazine’s premier issue was the March/April 1998 issue.  Prior to this, and stretching all the way back to 1986, we had published other newsletters and magazines devoted primarily to mail order entrepreneurs, including Mail Dealer Newsletter, Mail Profits Magazine, and Profits Magazine.  During those years, marketing by mail was the “Internet” for many entrepreneurs.  At least for entrepreneurs like myself, virtually all my marketing was mail-based (with a little bit of help from phone, fax, and conference calls).

Six Figure Income magazine was published just four times per year, and a one-year subscription was $49, so we had a healthy margin…enough margin to pay a handsome commission to anyone who wished to be an affiliate of ours and sell subscriptions.

Within days of deciding to create our affiliate program, I had published information on how to sign up online (supplemented, if I recall correctly, with a small direct mail campaign ironically).  To my pleasant surprise, sign-ups starting coming in almost immediately.  Not a lot, maybe a dozen or two a week, but that number rapidly accelerated.  Soon it was hundreds of sign-ups a day, then thousands, then tens of thousands!

Sashen_Strayer_WallenDriving this now hyper-growth was our decision to expand the program and compensation plan—many of the details of which were hammered out during a weekend at SFI affiliate Steven Sashen’s Boulder, Colorado, home with affiliates Gump Wallen and the late, great Richard Strayer (we miss you, Rich!).  By January 2001, we had exceeded one MILLION affiliates.  By the way, with our most recently assigned ID number, over 17 million others have joined SFI since, more than 18 million in total!

Yet, like many great accomplishments, it all started with a simple idea, a simple inspiration.  Today, SFI is the online home for millions of entrepreneurs from every country in the world.  Indeed, SFI today is very possibly the largest and most successful affiliate program in the world, and I couldn’t be more proud.  As for the next 20 years, look out, ’cause we’re just getting warmed up!”


SFI Milestone: 1 MILLION Posts at new Forum!

Wow! The SFI Forum now has more than 1 MILLION approved posts from SFI Affiliates covering 79,007 SFI-related topics!  Obviously, this is an extremely popular source of information among Affiliates, and the Forum is sure to continue to be one of our most powerful resources for Affiliates all over the world.

logo-forum_lg
At the SFI Forum you can:

– Brainstorm with your fellow SFI affiliates.
– Get your questions answered 24-hours a day.
– Discuss business strategies and ideas.
– Find a mentor.
– Help other affiliates.
– Share concerns.
– Become a forum guru.
– Learn about exciting new corporate developments.
– Search, using keywords, to find information on almost anything related to SFI.

The SFI Forum is a perfect place to get the education, encouragement, and inspiration you need to help you make your SFI business into a true success.

Learn more about the Forum HERE.

Get tips about using the SFI Forum HERE.


Are you an SFI Team Leader? Consider creating your own private forum…accessible only to you and your team! Just click the “Create Private Forum”button at the SFI Forum.

But don’t forget to share your SFI success tips, experience, and wisdom with ALL your fellow affiliates at the Forum! Remember, 40% of all CV in commissions come from the TripleClicks Executive Pool–which EVERY affiliate contributes to. The stronger the Forum is, the higher your income can go. By sharing your insights and tips with the entire affiliate base, you can indirectly grow your own income!

If you’re not already posting at the Forum, what are you waiting for?! Take a moment right now and check it out!


SFI Milestone: 300,000 Twitter followers!

sfi-WeDidIt

WOW…SFI now has more than 300,000 Twitter followers! If you’re not following us on Twitter, take a moment and do it now, and help us reach our goal of 500,000 followers. Just click the Twitter link within the Getting Started section of your SFI To-Do List  You’ll also earn 10 bonus VP!

Not on Twitter yet? Join the more than 500 million plus people worldwide using this real-time network to connect to the latest stories, ideas, opinions, news, and more. Join Twitter here.


New SFI Gateway debuts

We’re pleased to roll out a brand new Gateway for all SFI affiliates today.

screenshot_2425

This new Gateway is an adaptation of one of the pages in the New Affiliate Intro that new affiliates see, but that we think could be quite effective for your PROSPECTS, too.

What it addresses, specifically, is skepticism.  As the headline alludes to, trying to find a legit money-making vehicle on the internet is like trying to find gold in the middle of a minefield.

To this end, our new “SB” (“skepticism buster”) Gateway lays out the reasons why a prospect should give the SFI opportunity a try.  Indeed, we feel this new Gateway features some of THE most convincing information available for persuading a prospect to become an SFI affiliate.

You can check it out and begin using the new “SB” Gateway immediately.  The URL is:

http://www.sfi4.com/XXXXX/SB
(replace XXXXX with your SFI ID number)

Note that this new Gateway can be used as a “standalone” Gateway or in conjunction with other SFI Gateways or SFI promotions.


Icons of people with speech bubbles..Head over to the FORUM–to the SFI NEWS DISCUSSIONS section–to discuss this announcement with your fellow SFI’ers now.


SFI now in its 19th year!

We are now officially in our 19th year!  From but a small acorn 19 years ago, SFI has grown into a tall and mighty oak tree, with strong and deep roots.  But you ain’t seen nothin’ yet…because we planted an entire FOREST…and it’s spreading across every country in the world.

Happy anniversary to SFI and all its thousands of awesome affiliates across the globe!



SFI President & Founder Gery Carson remembers the day SFI was born:

gerycarson_headshot“As an entrepreneur, there have been very few holidays where I haven’t worked at least a few hours, and this day in 1998 was no different.  I went into my home office that morning planning to spend a few casual hours–on nothing in particular.  It was a holiday after all, and no one else on my staff at the time was working. So it was just going to be a relaxing day where I’d let my mind have a break from the typical daily grind.

I remember at the time that affiliate programs were becoming a big deal, thanks to the Internet, which made it very easy to track sales using affiliate links.  Numerous big-name companies were now employing affiliate programs as a part of their marketing strategy.  And I thought…why not us, too?!  

I remember being particularly impressed with Amazon.com’s affiliate program.  The word was, they had 60,000 affiliates.  60,000!  At the time, that number seemed enormous to me, a nearly impossible number.  But I couldn’t have been more wrong of course because, in just a couple years, we would be experiencing days where we’d sign up over 60,000 affiliates in a single day!  

But on this morning, I was simply sketching out a few basics on how our affiliate program would work.  At the time, we were publishing our magazine, Six Figure Income, which featured exclusive interviews with home-based entrepreneurs who were earning at least $100,000 USD annually from their business.  This magazine was essentially our one and only product.  By the way, it’s from the magazine’s name that the SFI Marketing Group name came to be (a few years later we changed the initials to stand for Strong Future International to better align with our vision for the program).

SFIMagazineCovers

Six Figure Income magazine’s premier issue was the March/April 1998 issue.  Prior to this, and stretching all the way back to 1986, we had published other newsletters and magazines devoted primarily to mail order entrepreneurs, including Mail Dealer Newsletter, Mail Profits Magazine, and Profits Magazine.  During those years, marketing by mail was the “Internet” for many entrepreneurs.  All the marketing we do today on the Web; in those years, at least for entrepreneurs like myself, was all mail-based (with a little bit of help from phone, fax, and conference calls).

Six Figure Income magazine was published just four times per year, and a one-year subscription was $49, so we had a healthy margin…enough margin to pay a handsome commission to anyone who wished to be an affiliate of ours and sell subscriptions.

Within days of deciding to create our affiliate program, I had published information on how to sign up online (supplemented, if I recall correctly, with a small direct mail campaign ironically).  To my pleasant surprise, sign-ups starting coming in almost immediately.  Not a lot, maybe a dozen or two a week, but that number rapidly accelerated.  Soon it was hundreds of sign-ups a day, then thousands, then tens of thousands!

Sashen_Strayer_WallenDriving this now hyper-growth was our decision to expand the program and compensation plan–many of the details of which were hammered out during a weekend at SFI affiliate Steven Sashen’s Boulder, Colorado, home with affiliates Gump Wallen and the late, great Richard Strayer (we miss you, Rich!).  By January 2001, we had exceeded one MILLION affiliates.  By the way, with our most recently assigned ID number, over 16 million others have joined SFI since, more than 17 million in total!

Yet, like many great accomplishments, it all started with a simple idea, a simple inspiration.  Today, SFI is the online home for millions of entrepreneurs from every country in the world.  Indeed, SFI today is very possibly the largest and most successful affiliate program in the world.  Aim high and dream big indeed!”


SFI Milestone: 400,000 Facebook fans!

sfi-WeDidItWoo-hoo! SFI recently welcomed its 400,000th fan on its Facebook page. If you haven’t already “liked” us on Facebook, please do it now, and help us reach our goal of 500,000 fans.  Like us (become a fan) by clicking the “Like” button on your Affiliate Center To-Do List.  You’ll also receive 20 bonus VP!

Not on Facebook yet?  Join the 1 billion+ Facebook users worldwide to stay in touch with friends and family, follow favorites businesses and organizations, play online games, and much more. Join Facebook at http://www.facebook.com.


Important new SFI gateway

screenshot_833With the big Signing Bonus announcement, it’s of course vital that this exciting new bonus is prominently promoted to all prospective affiliates.

To accommodate this, we are unveiling today an important, new, completely-redesigned SFI gateway:

http://www.sfi4.com/21505/free
(you’ll replace 21505 with your own SFI ID when advertising of course)

Key new features:

  • Fresh, modern look
  • Retooled ad copy to highlight the biggest and best reasons for becoming an SFI affiliate
  • Mobile-friendly (page adjusts for any screen size)
  • New, simpler built-in registration form (requires only name, email, country, and password to get started)
  • The old, clunky Captcha has been replaced with a slick, fast, and new security check that helps ensure no autobot can register an account
  • An income disclaimer and no-spam policy have been added (required by many ISPs, search engines, and advertising programs)

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Because it was not feasible to quickly alter every existing SFI gateway to include a promotion of the new Signing Bonus, we have configured our servers to redirect the following four SFI gateways to the new one:

  • /real
  • /real2
  • /first
  • “invite” gateway

So, if you’re currently promoting any of the above four gateways, you’re all set; your prospects will be now seeing the new gateway and be informed of the new Signing Bonus!

Note:  If you’re using the JMT (“Join My Team”) gateway, your prospects will continue to be directed to the JMT gateway.  However, they’ll still learn about the new Signing Bonus because we’ve added a banner about it near the top of the page.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: I’m already using the original /free gateway in my advertising.  What will happen now?
Those responding to your advertising will now see the NEW gateway design instead.

Q: I understand that other SFI gateways like the “/real” and “/first” gateways now redirect to the new gateway, but will you be reintroducing them later and remove the redirect?
We shall see.  We think the new gateway is far and away the best gateway of the group and will provide the best results, so there may not be a good reason to reintroduce the others again–at least not in the near future.  After we have at least a couple months of testing the new gateway, we’ll be able to better determine if /real, /first, etc. will get new life as separate gateways.  Stay tuned.

Q: The registration form doesn’t collect as much information as it did previously (e.g. city of residence).  Is that a good thing?
Less information asked for upfront will actually increase sign-ups.  And, don’t worry, we’re still going to be collecting city, etc, plus their primary language, too, but we’ll be doing it AFTER they sign up, at the Affiliate Center using a friendly pop-up message.  The idea is to make it as quick and easy as possible to sign up. That’s good for us and it’s good for you. We can collect other important information just a bit later.

Q: How do I know that when I refer someone to the new gateway that I will get credited as their sponsor?
You can confirm that you’ll be properly credited by checking the SFI ID number located at the bottom of the gateway under the copyright notice.  Your SFI ID number will appear there automatically if you’re using your SFI ID in the link you’re advertising.  And if it’s displayed on the gateway, you’ll be the sponsor!

Q: I noticed that if the reader clicks on the “Read more testimonials” button that the reader is taken to a new window.  Won’t I lose the prospect if that happens?
No. First of all, we’ll automatically transfer your SFI ID to the testimonials gateway when it’s opened by your prospect–so if they end up deciding to register directly from the testimonials gateway, you’ll be credited as the sponsor just the same.  Secondly, we purposely open the testimonials gateway in a new, separate window.  By doing this, the standard gateway remains for your prospect to come back to if they wish to.

Q: Does the new gateway do anything to help ensure that good email addresses are collected?
Yes, as always, any email address that is not properly formatted (e.g. doesn’t have an “@” sign in it) will be rejected.  But the new gateway goes further.  Upon entering an email address, the following alert (in red) appears:

IMPORTANT: A valid e-mail address must be provided to receive commissions and be eligible for the Signing Bonus.  

Please confirm that <emailaddress> is your correct email address.

The email address must then be confirmed to proceed with the sign-up.

Q: Why was the Income Disclaimer and No-Spam statement added to the bottom of this gateway?
This text is actually required by many ISPs, search engines, and advertising programs.  If we don’t provide this, you may not be allowed to advertise at certain places on the web–or your advertising may be automatically blocked from being viewed or otherwise “obfuscated.”

Q: But won’t the Income Disclaimer turn off prospects?
Actually, we believe just the opposite is true.  That is, we think most prospects will appreciate us being very open and honest with them.  Perhaps it will “turn off” people who are looking for a “pie in the sky” program that promises wealth without work.  The fact is, there’s no such thing, and we refuse to insult people’s intelligence by ever suggesting that success is possible without work and effort.  Frankly, we’d prefer that such persons pass on SFI (at least until they’ve figured out that there’s no such thing as a free lunch).

Q: What about the standalone registration page (/register)?
If you’re currently advertising the link to the standalone registration page, we’ve got some good news for you there, too.  That is, it’s been completely overhauled, made mobile-friendly, etc., and now sports a promotional banner for the Signing Bonus, too!  We also added links to the Testimonials Gateway and the new gateway, so the /register page is now equipped to work as a great back-end to, for example, your personal blog posts about SFI.

Q: The signing bonus of up to $100 is promoted near the top of the new gateway.  Where can I get the details on the signing bonus?
Review our announcement HERE.

Forum Discussion


DISCUSS IT!  Log in at the SFI Affiliate Center, then head over to the FORUM–to the SFI NEWS DISCUSSIONS section–to discuss this announcement with your fellow SFI’ers.