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Affiliate AND OPM: Conflict of Interest?

 
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  #1  
Old
ABW Ambassador
Join Date: December 11th, 2005
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 651
Affiliate AND OPM: Conflict of Interest?

One of my advertisers approached me recently and asked if I would be interested in managing his affiliate program.

I'm an affiliate myself, and assuming one his top-performers (otherwise why would he ask...?).

My gut reaction was that this would be a conflict of interest -- access to his list of affiliates and their websites and being tasked with growing the program, all while trying to still perform as an affiliate myself. Part of me doesn't want the extra competition... unless the OPM compensation would exceed my commissions.

In my mind I'd like to think I could separate and isolate the two roles, but in reality it might be difficult. Flipping it around, I don't know how thrilled I'd be if a competing affiliate was also the affiliate manager for a particular program.

On the other hand, I've been an affiliate for a long time and trying my hand at program management on a small scale would be a cool experience.

Either way, just turning to the ABW community for some advice and recommendations as I have for years.
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  #2  
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Join Date: June 24th, 2005
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Send a message via AIM to Convergence
My understanding is that it is not uncommon for AMs/OPMs to also be affiliates. Is what it is. However, for an AM/OPM to be an affiliate in the same niche is unacceptable...
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  #3  
Old
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Join Date: April 5th, 2005
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It is definitely a conflict to be an affiliate in a program that you manage as well as be an affiliate in a network where you work (CJ/Befree). I worked for an agency where an employee was an affiliate doing PPC and also managing the PPC for the merchant. That was a big conflict in my opinion but I was not involved with those programs. I would not work with the employee after I left the agency when he approached me on becoming a PPC affiliate.

If they hired you because of your expertise as one of their top affiliates and the compensation was much greater then it would be worth considering. You would have to stop working as their affiliate and in good faith not use that "inside" information if you left their employment. Some here have not done that and its considered unethical.
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  #4  
Old
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Join Date: April 6th, 2006
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If I knew a fellow affiliate was managing one of my merchants, I would leave the program immediately.

Big picture - depending how it's handled, as indicated above, it could be perceived as a conflict of interest. But personally, I would flip... I would never knowingly allow ANY competitor access to my stats, whether it's impressions, clicks or sales.

Affiliates are publishers... merchants sell products... and OPMs should manage that relationship, not access confidential stats (on both side) to benefit their own affiliate site. That's my view, anyway.
  #5  
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Join Date: January 22nd, 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
...You would have to stop working as their affiliate and in good faith not use that "inside" information if you left their employment.
Expanding on what Convergence said, I think leaving the niche would absolutely be necessary, not just no longer being their affiliate. If you change out their links to those of a competitor, either consciously or unconsciously you will be using privileged information to the detriment of both your new employer and their affiliates who you are now charged with assisting.
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  #6  
Old
ABW Ambassador
Join Date: December 11th, 2005
Location: Nor-Cal
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Thank you all for the excellent and honest feedback, and for confirming my gut instincts on this one!

I may point the company to this thread, in case they try and recruit another affiliate to run their program after I decline!

This is what makes ABW a great resource. Many thanks.
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  #7  
Old
Member
Join Date: April 12th, 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 125
Opinions

The whole issue of affiliates being affiliate managers as well as an affiliate is a sticky topic. Truth is, you have to weigh out what you want to accomplish in your business. Sometimes leaving a niche just because a manager becomes an affiliate is not the smartest thing to do business wise.

With all the hundreds of ways you can promote a business both online and offline, completely duplicating someone's efforts is difficult. Although it is extremely annoying and probably unethical, no one really has control over that.

Information is power and it really should be controlled by some business regulations, but as far as I know there is nothing that regulates or legislates this.

My advice is to do what is in your best interest for your business and financial goals. Act in an ethical way yourself when conducting business and do your best at really getting a handle on building your site to it's maximum potential.

Good luck with your decisions.

"It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are." ~Roy Disney
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  #8  
Old
ABW Veteran
Join Date: January 18th, 2005
Posts: 6,780
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teezone View Post
Affiliates are publishers... merchants sell products... and OPMs should manage that relationship, not access confidential stats (on both side) to benefit their own affiliate site. That's my view, anyway.
Sometimes it's too late to avoid that situation, specially when OPMs become affiliates of the same program they were managing a few days, or weeks before...

Because by now they allready have all the confidential stats and info from all other affiliates in that program, giving then the ability to become a supper affiliate in that niche, since by now they know what works and what to avoid, if they choose to compete with your site...

...
  #9  
Old
ABW Ambassador
Join Date: January 18th, 2005
Posts: 3,918
"In my mind I'd like to think I could separate and isolate the two roles, but in reality it might be difficult. Flipping it around, I don't know how thrilled I'd be if a competing affiliate was also the affiliate manager for a particular program."

Kinda not absolutely sure how I think on this. If you're an honest person (don't personally know you but think you are just by the fact you posted about it here ) I think it could be done. As you said, may be difficult but if you're an honest, decent person don't know why it couldn't. Perception by others probably might be the problem tho??

This scenario: You decide you might want to do this for reasons you said. (depending on things, might be a boost in income as well? or maybe not since I don't know anything about your sites) Why should you not be able to try? Admit, I umm have been told by my hubby he thinks I live in a fairytale world at times lol Always try to see the best in people, instead of the worst, not being able to understand why people aren't just basically nice to people, etc. )

If you have an established site, why should you have to give it up. (there again am assuming you're an honest and good person which I think you are ) you may decide after a while you don't want to be an affiliate manager so would go back to just your site.

As an affiliate myself, would have a problem with unless I knew and respected the person doing so. Problem is amount of those people that fit into that category seems to get less and less as time goes on.

Definitely agree with what others have posted. Don't like the revolving door at all that seems to go on more and more. If I had things to do over wouldn't even let anybody but those I really trusted even know about my sites.

Started out trusting everybody, after a while learned of affiliate managers managing programs and being affiliates themselves (some maybe not themselves but family members who were) Since I don't know most of them personally I have trusted them only to learn from others that I shouldn't have.

So, umm not really sure how to answer you. Think a good, honest, decent person should be able to do this if they want but am afraid most people aren't and most people probably wouldn't like it if you did even if you were a good, decent, honest person.
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