Thursday, December 03, 2009

Temporarily Closed

Due to other writing commitments (and the ongoing workload of a contractor), 'Best of Both Worlds' will be closing 'till further notice and there'll be no updates for a while. Alas (in the RL absence of time-travel or cloning) there's only so many hours in the day. If you'd like to stay up-to-date on what I'm up to and what I'm reading, watching, walking and enjoying, please follow me on Twitter at @nikhewitt.

I will be still writing monthly on the Conversify Blog, as well as the blogs and articles I write for customers and periodicals, plus maintaining all my other social media channels. I'm also doing the Dirty WHOers Doctor Who podcast, but take that one with a big pinch of salt.

So, for now at least...

"One day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye..."


Epic App Fail

Okay, perhaps not my best picture, but really, and this is the 2nd (and most looky-likey) attempt...

...this is
Coke Zero's new 'Facial Profiler', designed to find a facial match on Facebook. After you connect your Facebook account with it, the app scans your photos (or you can use a webcam pic) then use fancy facial recognition software to match your face against others in the database.

Nice idea, and the interface is great, but seriously, are they on drugs? I'd have settled for anyone with a beard. Epic, epic, epic fail.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody

If this doesn't virally trend to the top of YouTube I'll eat my own liver.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

'Chap-Hop History' by Mr.B The Gentleman Rhymer

30 years of Hip Hop history, in 5 minutes, featuring Mr.B (The Gentleman Rhymer) and his banjolele. Check out his tour dates on

Which reminds me, must renew my subscription to
The Chap...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Clicking for Charity

Okay, this is a blatant plug for something I'm working on, but it's cool and well deserves some serious attention.

I've mentioned in the past, I work for now, who in turn are doing the regional set-up for the social media channels of an unusually cool financial product called Kasasa. Anyway, as per the Kasasa blog, "...starting today, you can pick your favorite Kasasa slam poetry spots from the following five videos, and your vote will be matched by $1 to help support these causes. Simply click on the links below that correspond with each video, head over to Facebook, watch the spot, then if you like it, click the "Like" link under the video and leave a comment if you're so inclined..." The link to the blog, with more info, is here.

The Facebook video list is here, check out anything starting in the word 'VOTE'.

Please give them a click if you can, each click is $1 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Stand Up to Cancer and the American Humane Association. All they want is your opinion, and you can help raise $999 for some damn good causes.

"You won't even have to leave your chair" ;-)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Derbyshire Social Media Cafe

Just for info (and check out Social Media Cafe for further details), this Wednesday is the first Derby & Derbyshire Social Media Cafe at The Quad in Derby between 2 and 5.

See you there if you can make it. Twitter tag is #smcderby.

There WILL be cake, and the coffee in The Quad is pretty good.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Regarding Blogging...

...oh yeah, I remember now, I have a blog.

Pity it demands more than a daily witticism in 140 characters or a link or two. I wonder if it's writers block, apathy, or just evolution that's keeping me away? It seems like everything I'd want to post here can be summed up in a update on Facebook or a pic sent to Twitpics. I've never been a journalist at heart.

It's not like nothing interesting is going on.

Work with Conversify is still going strong, and the world of social media is throwing up fresh challenges for us daily. Meeting toy soldiers, coffee pirates and costume geeks at Steampunk convivials and Regency dances, and a plethora of real-world social events are keeping our weekends occupied as they invariably are at this time in the season.

The pets are still foolish and a money-pit of calamity. There's new apps to play with, and a fresh crop of TV to watch ranging from Dexter to Supernatural. SL ticks on, with the sim fully rented and the role-play moving forward (as time allows) and with the new copy write rules looming ever nearer (and me with a tonne of rebranding to do on over 200 textures). Aliza and I are still doing the Yank & Limey podcasts, as time and travel allows.

Somehow though, none of it seems worth blogging about. A little voice at the back of my head keeps telling me I should concentrate on doing rather than pontificating. Surely I'd just be repeating what I'm saying on other channels? Is it too trite to say "blogging feels so 2004"?

So, for want of this thing dying, I'll be using it as a hub for a bit. Posting pics, videos, and quick comments. Intermittently, obviously. Please bear with things until I can just turn this into my Friendfeed or something ;-)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Dirk & Steele Author at Athena Isle, SL.

Marjorie M Liu, the New York Times bestselling author of the paranormal romance series 'Dirk & Steele', is coming to meet her fans and friends in Second Life.

She will be joining us on
Athena Isle [SLURL], the virtual island and community for creativity and women's work in Second Life, on Tuesday the 4th of August from 11:00am PST (SLT) to 12:00pm PST. Liu will be speaking about her new book The Fire King, and in preparation for her first Second Life appearance she's gathered questions from fans through social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and several blogs. The intimate text chat event will take place inside a gothic castle in a roundtable format, providing fans with a 'close encounter' with the author.

The event is a joint effort between Endeavor Creative, the awesome folks work with at Conversify, and Athena Isle Women, a group for women in SL. Conversify sponsors live events on Athena Isle in Second Life to showcase women authors as well as their virtual world and social media work. It was founded by my good friends Aliza Sherman and Monique Elwell to bring smart, sensible and affordable social media plans and execution to companies and organizations (and keeps me as their token UK bloke and pet Socail Media Stratagist/Project Manager).

Endeavor Creative is an Anchorage, Alaska-based consultancy run by another friend of mine, Taughnee Stone, specializing in blogs and social media and regularly work closely with Marjorie.

Fire King tshirts will be given to all who go on the 4th, and a full transcript of the event will be available on the Athena Isle Women blog later in the week.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Have You Claimed Your FB Fan Page URL?

Just about everyone (and their dog) has claimed a vanity URL’s for their Facebook presence.

Last month, FB allowed users to grab custom URL’s for their own profile pages. For instance, you can find me on Facebook at and the good lady wife at Cool.

FB URL's used to be a right old hodge-podge and this is much better for branding, business cards, and generally professionalises your presence. Seriously, if you've been living under a stone and haven’t yet grabbed your custom URL, head to and get to it, stat!.

Now, if you’re an admin for a Fan Page, you can grab custom URL’s for those too. Head to as before and follow the "set a username for your pages" link, as per for one of our clients, etc. Here you can check no ones run off with your brand name already and grab those keyword friendly URL's. I thought this was a given, but, turns out a lot of folks don't know about the Fan Page bit. Only one small caviet, to make sure you're serious I guess, is the group MUST have over 100 members. Don't miss out on this, theres only 1 chance to grab the name your after.

Go do this, now :-)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Changing My Twitter Name (without losing followers)

I started on Twitter with a couple of friends the week it came out of Beta, and we had no idea just how big this would get a few years down the line. Back then I happily hid behind the nom de plume of 'Lactose the Intollerent' so that I could voice my opinion while being a part of a large news organization and with out the fear of repecussions. Times, however, have changed.

Now I work in social media and, frankly, my name is my brand. Hindesight is a marvelous thing, and it's unlikely back then we'd have gone for the names we did if we'd have know what Twitter was to become. Consequently I've decided to risk changing my username to my real name, and take close stock of the consequences.

Here is how I changed my Twitter name (hopefully) without losing any followers.

, I checked my name was available. Important one this..., all was clear.

, I made the name change. You can change your Twitter name at any time on the ’settings’ page at Piece of cake. Bob's ya uncle. Yada, yada.

Third, I create a new account with my old Twitter name. I added a pic, chanced the background, added a URL to the new @nikhewitt twitter account, and posted a single tweet telling folks my name had changed. I also had to change the graphic on my background which, luckily, I'd saved as a PSD when I did it.

, I let folks know through my old account, now @nikhewitt, that the name had changed but they needed to do nothing about it. I just did this for 'belt and braces' really, so they don't see something they don't recognise popping up in their stream.

, I ran around quickly changing the resorces I know used the old name/RSS stream, like the widget on the blog, FriendFeed, a few Ning sites, any links I could think of, PodBean etc. I'm sure there's a few stragglers, but I'll pick them up when I notice them and there's nothing important. Disco.

Including writing this post, the whole thing probably took about an hour.

Doing it this way I won’t lose any of my followers (touch wood) and they’ll all see the name change as their Twitter clients refresh. I did, however, miss a couple of @replys direcly after the switch. Most Twitter apps won’t update existing tweets with a new name until they are restarted, it seems. As a result a couple of @replys went to the old account. This was literally just for 20 minutes though, but if you're doing this yourself be sure to monitor your old account for a bit so you can catch missed replies and update your follower of the name change.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Podcast on Microblogging

Just for your info, our informal semi-weekly 'Yank & Limey' podcast is live at Podbean.

This week, a tiny bit late and in a change from the scheduled chat on Virtual Worlds, @alizasherman and I talk microblogging, applications we use to smooth the social media process, tweeting etiquette, and twitter journalism.

There's a good chance we'll be doing the Virtual Worlds cast later this week.

Yank and Limey is also available on iTunes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Online Journalism: Yesterday & Today

Found this in my inbox this morning.

Sad in a way, but probably true.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The League of Marvels

This'll thouroughly appeal to some of the folks I know.

A top-draw joint project from the craft knives of Bruce Ross & Joshua Izzo. There's more information and more pictures here, here, here, and here.

See if you can name them all before you go and look, I got 'em all right but one ;-)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Been Busy

Maybe I should just shoot this blog and put it out of it's misery?

Where have I been? Short answer, busy.

Suddenly, I was self employed again with all that that entails. It's been a long time and, at first, I didn't like it very much. Day time television is appalling and it's hard to go from a dynamic creative envoironment (even one within an old institution like Northcliffe) with good friends of some 6 years standing, to suddenly having to make all the running. Gotta be honest, it took me a while to get my head around it. I'm easing into it now.

So, what's been happening? Well, I've found a good company (actually, an 'excellent' company) to work with on a regular basis, and I've got a fine crop of social media projects to keep me interested. I'm working with a firm in the US called Conversify, AKA Aliza Sherman and Monique Etwell, social media and business marketing specialists and their awesome team of hard working researchers, writers, and community specialists. They're a joy to work with. They really know their stuff, which, in a world where every cybersquatter and his dog is trying to hop on the seemingly easy-ride of the social media bandwaggon, is refreshingly and amazingly rewarding. I've been working as project manager and strategist on campaigns as diverse as financial products, film festivals, college education (yada, yada) and across the full gamut of social media channels. I'm rather enjoying it and we're all hoping it turns into a permanent position :-)

I've been doing a few lecturing gigs for students, journalists, and PR companies. Including a chunk for my good friends at BCS in Notingham (who used to work with us on Lasting Tribute ) and who thoroughly understand the value of leveraging social marketing. If anyone's curious about arranging a presentation for a group, drop me an email and we'll talk. It's likely, if it's social media, I already something prepared that's suitable.

Aliza 'Cybergrrl' Sherman (of Conversify) and I have started a new podcast, 'Yank and Limey', under which we talk about social media & trans-Atlantic web habits. You can find it here at Podbean, and on iTunes. The first one's a bit of a ramble, but the second one improves and we've committed to a weekly slot and we've got bags of material to keep it going.

I've got back into using virtual worlds for pleasure instead of business (it might be time for another change of blog title, actually). I'm a sim owner now, renting out skybox space to fellow Dr Who geeks. It's not-for-profit, just covering the bills, but it means we have cheap prims and build space at our disposal.

I've been going to the gym as usual. Putting on weight through inactivity I guess. Getting some decent walks in, including 34 miles in 12hrs on The Sandstone Trail. Hoping to do some more while the weather's good. Looking forward to getting out on the hills so much it's promoted me to finally take some driving lessons and maybe sort out some transport of my own.

Anyway, that's me of late. Busy, but happy.

If you want to keep up on the usual crop of links and stuff, grab me on Twitter at @lactose or follow us on 'Yank & Limey'.

Doesn't blogging seem 'SO' 2004 :-)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Can Local Newspapers Still win at Digital?

Originally written as a comment piece, 03/04/09, for

While writing this post, I had an encounter I'd like to share. Stopping for a cuppa in a local cafe I found most seats full and asked a chap, sat filling in the crossword over a pot of tea, if he'd mind if I join him. He didn't mind at all and moved his papers so I could put down my tray.

"Help yourself," he said, nodding towards the tabloids on the table with a shrug. "They're todays papers, but yesterday's news."

We're living in the Information Age. We all know a local blogger with his iPhone can get a news story out in seconds and to a targeted audience via the likes of Twitter, Seesmic or to their active social group on one of hundreds of social networking portals. 

They can monetise this on a blog with AdWords or Affiliate Programmes, often automatically. The audience now expects content up-to-the-minute and are growing accustomed to having it on tap when it's convenient for them to read it.

A friend of mine made a comment last week: "The midweek Man City v Aalborg match went to penalties, so the paper couldn't print the score. I didn't know who'd won. What's the point?"

Familiarity with the internet, mobile, and the likes of iPlayer and Sky+, is slowly making the evening news a thing of the past. The rise of a tech-savvy new generation, born into an age where they can engage at any time, means we have to look to new ways of delivering our content. 

Plans have recently surfaced in th UK from Sir Jim Rose, former Ofsted chief appointed by ministers to overhaul the primary school curriculum, which said children are to 'leave primary school familiar with blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter as sources of information and forms of communication'. All this, and these fresh new consumers are getting used to getting their information for free.

Can we compete with this? Yes, I really believe we can. But we're going to have to seriously step it up a gear. Sorry folks, but things are going to have to change. Today. With the credit squeeze not run its course and readership down, sacrifices need to be made.

Sure, we dropped the ball a bit to start off with, a lot of folks did, but we're going to go seriously wrong and seriously miss the digital boat if we're not careful. I hope we haven't already. As large organisations, often spread out across the country and sometimes lacking those direct channels of communication, many have a certain resistance to change and a poor ability to respond. So do small local institutions. Put simply, we can't afford this any longer. If you sit around thinking about a new idea, you're invariably passed by someone else doing it.

We need to stop trying to sell papers through the internet for starters. Offering partial content and driving users to our print product is just alienating them. The online audience is a sceptical one, and who is going to rush out and buy today's paper when they are already sat at home surfing the net or reading this on the bus on their mobile? 

Digital is where we should be driving traffic, where we can provide the excellent journalistic content we have in abundance to a targeted online audience. Engaging them in debate. Allowing free commentary and inviting opinion. Giving the visitor a sense of ownership in our established and trusted local brands. Giving them resources and information they need to take their community forward. 

Here we can sell our advertising and upsell services. Here we can offer the audience a truly local and lasting experience they’ll want to revisit.

We live in troubled times. Redundancy overshadows everything these days. I appreciate cuts have to be made and the business has to be streamlined for the future for us to survive, but, let's make sure those cuts are happening in the right places.

Much of our industry, print journalism, is lacking perspective in this new arena. Many in print media have such a fondness for their medium and its tradition they're loathed to look beyond it. Many simply don't understand the urgency or the medium. 

We can't all stay up-to-date on what's happening out there in the digital soup and see what new avenues are open to us. Trust me, unless it's a full time job, it's almost impossible. We're dipping our toes in, sure, but we need to commit. We need to dedicate resources to staying informed and to moving forward.

It's important that we have digital teams with the resources they need to respond, fast, to changes and advances in digital media. If you already have one, hold on to it like gold dust. These are not the people you want to be making redundant right now, no matter how tempting it might look on paper. 

Invest: we have to give them good, industry-savvy, leadership. We need to grant these people the ability to control our digital brands directly, to say, 'we are going to make video for the website', and give them the power and resources to make that happen. Don't leave it too late. These people are the new Gutenbergs.

Results are happening, slowly. Internationally, ex-Morning Call editor Roger Oglesby is leading the first major American newspaper to switch from print to entirely online - the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published its last newspaper on Tuesday, March 17. 

The print world is watching as it maximises resources and cuts print overheads. 
Johnston Press is making a foray into social media and experimenting with 'embedding its sites at the hearts of communities' through Kick Apps etc; and have a remit to 'make sense of all the information that's bombarding people' on a local level. 

Northcliffe is great at exploiting specific database content (take a look at for an outstanding delivery system for white-labelled local obituaries) and its slow addition of video and RSS to the 'thisis' network is a good beginning. 

Trinity Mirror has started using Pluck's SiteLife features on its national sites, offering commentary on all suitable articles, the ability to build site profiles and to make recommendations, breeding social connectivity and community. 

It's not fast enough. This is stuff other news brands and the independents were doing two years ago. The internet is awake and generating news and ideas 24/7. We need to look our best and be there, front and centre, now.

Editors have to embrace digital wholeheartedly and journalists have to 'write for digital'. Look to those in your paper who write for digital already and strengthen what they have by giving them the ability to try out new ideas. Be open to those ideas and be ready to respond to what's new. 

Let's deliver our stories from where the story is happening and tell people directly that the information is there to be read. We need to write for online as well as offline. Write for Twitter, and RSS, and Facebook apps. Think titles, keywords, that important search engine optimisation that will bring in the long-tail traffic your advertisers need. 

We also need to let the user in. We need to grant them a platform for their content as well. While offering our own professional opinion, well crafted and respected as it is, we need to place that content shoulder-to-shoulder with the voice of our audience and of the community. 

We need to aggregate other local news and become portals for local affairs and information. We need to engage our communities in new ways, and to make ourselves THE place people come for everything local. 

We also need to present in a clear, concise, and user-friendly way. The search engines will bring us the traffic if we do it right, and right now that's one of the only online sales metrics easily available to us. We have masses of long-tail local content, information, and history - let's get it out there quickly (and monetise it).

To the larger brands I would say that you need to give a general directive to all parts of the business that an online experience MUST happen, quickly, with as little resistance as possible. Experimentation in finding other ways for us to distribute and aggregate our journalistic and advertising content has to be a priority. Nothing is yet written in stone. 

I'm sorry, but our print editors can no longer be expected to stay up-to-date on what's good for their local digital brand. This lack of information can't stand in the way of, basically, making money. Our large organisations move slowly and, at the moment, simply can't react quickly enough. This has to stop, even if (I hate to say) it means taking away the autonomy of local editors to affect what we do with mobile, online, and with our digital information. This is the future of the business we're talking about here after all, and our business is journalism and selling advertising.

We have the best content and well-respected brands. Get your digital team in sync and make sure the people leading them are tech-savvy early adopters who know the industry. Give them the power to react, and the funds to do so. We can still do this, and we know we have to. Let's keep our minds, and resources, open to a digital future.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Celebrate Life

My good friends at Lasting Tribute, the UK obituries site, have done a cracking fun video for a seemingly serious subject. This is the team in the video. Nice one folks. Well worth a look :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Journalisum News

I was asked for some comments on the state on regional media and how digital media can help the industry, for a short article on today.

On the whole, it caught the main points. While it's not how I would have presented it (specifically the graphic) but I guess they had to get the redundency thing in somehow (technically being the opposition to Hold the Front Page, which is a Northcliffe side-line). Anyway, I've been asked to write a 'Comment Piece' for their site, which I'll cross post here, in the next few weeks.

[5.30pm: I see Jon Slattery commented on the article on his blog.]

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Pizza Pi(e) of Rassilon [from iPhone]

Being Pi day, and my birthday tomorrow (42, I *am* the answer to the ultimate question), the loverly @SparklyJem spend 2hrs in the kitchen trimming Montery Jack into shape and creating the mother load of cool pizzas for a few assembled guests.

The '
piesta resistance' being this, the Pizza of Rassilon (additional 'Dalek bread' not shown). Home made pizza dough. Home made pizza sauce. More pics (inc. creation process) on Facebook and Twitpics.

My idea of a prefect birthday cake :-)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Plugging Wyoming

I'm doing a bit of work right now with Conversify, aka web pioneer @alizasherman, the incredibly hard working @MoniqueElwell, and their team of international bloggers, researchers, and social media specialists.

One of the projects I'm working on, is The Wyoming Film Office (yeah, I know, this is right up my street, that's how they do things at Conversify, targeting) and, though I wouldn't normally do this on this blog, I've got to draw your attention to their Short Film Competition which is in it's second year and right now accepting submissions.

When I was a student, this kind of prize money just didn't exist for a short film comp. I'm not even sure it exists now in this country. These kind folks are offering a whopping $25,000 first prize. To be eligible, all you need to do is complete the entry form and upload your film to the Wyoming Film Short Contest Channel on mDialog.  It's international, so anyone can apply. The contest "requires all entries to take place in Wyoming, feature Wyoming, or present Wyoming as a major character in the storyline", but, all formats (inc. machinima, animation, etc.!) are accepted, so "Bob's your uncle". I mean, come on. SERIOUS good deal here. I could fund 3 more shorts off those winnings, even with the crappy exchange rate. I'm tempted to nip to the Deadwood SL sims and knock out a quick machinima myself (but I'm pretty sure I'm no longer eligable cos of the work I'm doing) ;-)

Please, if you know anyone who might be eligable let them know about this. I never blog about stuff I'm working on in social and multi-media, but this is such a good oppertunity for someone out there.

Good luck ;-)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

WTF is 'Affiliate Marketing'?

It must be one of the new buzz words going around.

I was asked by a client the other day "Do you do affiliate marketing?". I said yes, it was something I could sort for them on blogs etc. to get a token gesture ROI back on their campaign, then I was asked "Er, great, what is affiliate marketing?". Despite the familiarity of the phrase, it's still true that a lot of folks are just not aware of what it is and what this 'type of marketing' is all about.

The term 'affiliate marketing' was one of these cross-linking terms used in the late 90's, it was up there with old ideas like 'link-farms', and it basically meant "flogging stuff your writing about by linking to it and banging a bit of tricksy code in there to make sure you got paid". In short, this was writing film reviews to sell DVDs, compiling vegan recipes to flog Jamie Oliver books (who probably should be flogged) or cutting a deal with some sci-fi shop to stick banners all over your site while you froth on about comics (a-hem). In short: "You big me up or link to me and I'll give you a cut of any sales". Opportunities for this, back then, were rare.

It never really dawned on me that the door swung both ways. It does. Both sides are getting something from this arrangement, and it pays to play both sides. "Endorse me and I'll give you a cut, but if I don't sell what they want then I'll do the same for you". While search engines, e-mail, and website syndication capture much of the attention of online retailers, affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile. Still, affiliates continue to play a significant role in e-retailers' marketing strategies.

For me, in my halsian SEO days, it was also a bit of grey-hat cheeky spamdexing too. A way to get your site ranked for selflessly (textually) linking out to related topics. All good stuff, but incredibly time consuming. Things, thank heavens, have changed.

A lot of people are enticed with affiliate marketing. It looks easy money and business can be run from the convenience of the laptop. There are, in fact are a number of programs and information that can help you get started should you be tempted.

Here’s a few I’ve tried at different times:

Google AdSense


The PPC everyone wants. I’ve done my time in the trenches on this one. I ran the 2nd biggest campaign in the UK for a year (shudders).



Get paid to blog reviews of products.

Text Link Ads


Links are sold ‘in an area of your site’.



Textual linking from your articles, a personal favourite I’ve included on some BIG clients sites. Not usable with Blogger, alas.



Ad banners, links, etc for your site.



Integrate ads into your pictures. Can be fiddly.



Sell items from ebay.



Sell items from Amazon. Good click-through rates in my experience.



Show ads on your site based on direct bids.

Anyone can add this kinda thing to their blog or site, and I recommend you do. If you have good content that brings in traffic, this is a perfect small revenue stream that soon accumulates. It’s not something I really do any more, but it’s certainly something you should consider to make a few pennies back. Writing good content should be rewarded, and if no one else is going to do it you may as well do it for yourself. If you have a niche topic, so mush the better for targeting.

Put it this way, this blog is about nothing. Jack, nada, bupkiss. Zero except my momentary rantings, and it's made between £15 and £65 a month on AdWords for the last 4 yrs. That's a lot of long-term Scooby Snacks for sweet FA.

Optimising this stuff to get max coverage is a hardcore dark art, and alas I’m a different kind of wizard (the 1d4 hit points kind) even though the merchant side of AdSence (AdWords) is probably still second nature. All the optimization of a big campaign isn't really your problem though, and not really needed where your just directing traffic and not paying for click-throughs (we're not The Daily Mail lets face it). The only tactic you need to consider is getting genuine visitor value in your keyword rich content and keep on trucking your SEO etc. Anyone can use affiliate marketing nowdays, and in moderation how's it gonna hurt?

So, WTF is affiliate marketing?
It's money in the bank and easyer than you think ;-)