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  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Merchants: Get The Most Out Of ABestWeb.com
    I had jotted down these notes a couple days ago, thinking that they might fit into the ABestWeb panel at Affiliate Summit, but I never used them. I figured they might be useful for merchants who are hesitant to participate or who don't think they're fully utilizing everything ABestWeb.com has to offer.

    I really see three different levels at which merchants can benefit from using ABestWeb.com: As a READER, as a POSTER, and as a SUB-FORUM OWNER.

    Utilizing ABestWeb.com as a READER:

    1. There is a wealth of information here. Browse the sub-forums that are most appropriate for you. Peruse the newest posts regularly. Soak it all up. Learn to use the Search features. Some quick tips if your searches turn up too many threads: Specify a user name if you remember a specific person saying something. Specify a specific sub-forum if appropriate. Specify that you only want threads with more than a certain number of replies, as most of the better threads have more replies.
    2. Read every single thread in the Merchant Best Practices Forum, especially the Consolidated List of Affiliate Friendly Policies.
    3. Watch what other successful affiliate managers and OPMs do and implement those practices into your programs.
    4. Learn what affiliates want (and what they hate)!

    Utilizing ABestWeb.com as a POSTER:

    1. You need to have a thick skin. If you're around long enough, you will have people respond to you negatively (even more so if you do something stupid). Don't take it personally and don't respond negatively. Don't be afraid of this. Work through it. If you know the hot buttons that infuriate affiliates (parasites and removing inactive affiliates are two big ones), you can avoid most of this.
    2. Don't spam or do anything even vaguely spammy (especially on your first post). Don't make your introduction spammy. Know (and follow) the rules, particularly about signatures.
    3. We're all marketers, so we're very aware when we're marketed to. Don't market to us. If you're going to post something promotional about your program, talk to Haiko first and pay for it.
    4. Don't come in and try to pass yourself off as an expert (even if you are). Don't talk down to us. We're your peers. Be helpful without promoting yourself, your company, or your site. We can tell when you have alterior motives.
    5. A forum is all about community and relationships. Establish and build those relationships. Participate in the "Affiliate Lounge" areas such as the Daily Chuckle, the Voting Booth, the Photo Gallery, etc. The more we know about you, the more we'll be interested in working with your company. A picture in your profile can help. You want a closer relationship with your affiliates, and this is a great place to build it.
    6. Identify yourself where appropriate (like if you're responding to a thread about your company), but don't be spammy about it. For instance, don't respond in negative threads about your competitors.
    7. Don't expect people to do your work for you. If you're going to ask a question, show us that you've done some legwork already and that it's not a question that's already been asked over and over again. Be specific in any questions you ask.
    8. Realize that there is an incredible amount of transparency on ABestWeb.com. Anything you're doing or have done in the past will come out. Keep yourself clean.
    9. If you have something you want advice about that you're afraid might be controversial, post it in the Affiliate Manager Only forum. There are no affiliates (other than a few Moderators) or network representatives there. There are some very helpful affiliate managers there and they can usually tell you how affiliates will react and alternatives that might be better.

    Utilizing ABestWeb.com as a SUB-FORUM OWNER:

    1. Make sure you've implemented affiliate-friendly policies first. You won't get a second chance at a first impression. Especially make sure you're not working with parasites, as that's the first thing many affiliates here check. If you are, you will take heat for it.
    2. Stay professional in all of your responses. Even if the person you're responding to is a moron and deserves to be blasted, how you respond makes a huge impact on how you are perceived. If you keep your cool and respond in a professional manner, you win. If you drop to their level, you lose.
    3. Don't censor negative feedback. Act to improve things. Respond quickly. Move forward. It's much more impressive to see that you handle problems well. Just covering them up (by removing them) leaves a very bad taste.
    4. Run frequent (and varied) promotions to get participation in your sub-forum. Give out prizes. Give out increased commissions and return days. Solicit feedback.
    5. Look at what some of the most successful OPMs do and try to come up with similar ideas.
    Last edited by MichaelColey; March 6th, 2008 at 11:21 AM. Reason: Added a note about the Affiliate Manager Only forum.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    Well said Michael.

    Might I add that this is a great forum to develop more personal relationships with some decent affiliates.

    I can tell you that we have continual discussions through this channel with some of our most successful merchant relationships. We get their opinion on some aspect of our sites and they are open to our suggestions to help us increase sales.
    I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die
    to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there
    isn't and die to find out there is.

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  4. #3
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Great post Michael.

    I would like to add two things under POSTER.
    1) Be helpful - If you know the answer, be humble and try to help people either on the board or privately. It could be another merchant or affiliate. Look at building a long term relationship as I believe "what goes around comes around".. so in the future, some people will not hesitate to help you when you are in need.

    2) Be Professional - Be professional in your posting as you are representing your company, so project the right image. Calling other merchant, affiliates or just people in general "slime ball", "flee infested" will not help your image. Put all that energy into making your program better.

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  6. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Great complete post MC. I think I always mention a few of those to prospects in emails but adding this one this time to my sig as it is very well explained and with all the approriate links, less searching around for them. Thanks for taking time out to say and do this for current and future ABW members.


  7. #5
    Full Member
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    Thank you Michael. Well done and thoughtful, you do such a great job with these lists. As with all your posts, this is well organized with a nice list of links that will help many people.

  8. #6
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Thanks MC.

    I'm guilty of some of the bad things you mention myself, on occasion. Namely, not always responding 100% professionally when someone is REALLY irking me
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  9. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Excellent Coley, thanks!

    A note about transparency... at first, many here seem anonymous, we're really just picky with our time mostly and avoiding being jacked by newbies we haven't flushed out yet as thieves or otherwise lazy copycats. The vast majority of active posters here know me and my business in great detail and we talk about all kinds of things and people when we get together and are otherwise away from ABW. This place isn't nameless and faceless to us, nor will it be to you, once you start building relationships here based on honesty and openness - the unsecret key to getting the most from this place.

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  11. #8
    Newbie
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    Michael - Great post and thansk!

    As a newbie, I am working to learn the community and to be more professional in what I do. The links are great and helpful.

  12. #9
    Affiliate Manager Veena krishnappa's Avatar
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    Smile
    Than u Mr Coley,
    its really a great post and is helping me a lot as im one of the complete strangers who is still learning about affiliate marketing from a merchant point of view.

  13. #10
    Affiliate Manager Sharon.Mostyn's Avatar
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    Thanks Michael, I'll keep these in mind!

  14. #11
    Newbie BoostSilver's Avatar
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    Thumbs up
    Thanks Michael, this is a big help to a new guy on the forums...

  15. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager Sarah Bundy's Avatar
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    Thanks Michael, I know you posted this ages ago but it's the first time I read it. I have only been half hearted about posting in ABW and have been so tied up trying to survive my first year of business on my own as a new mom that I haven't really been as dedicated to this as I should have been. I'm ready to change that now. I'm also going to be launching an AIM Group forum in here finally, now that I have some more cashflow. Just waiting on a couple more programs to launch soon.

    Just wanted to let you all know that I'm here now, and that I appreciate everything you guys do, my collegues. You give me something to look up to and something to strive for. This community definiately makes the industry better and I'm looking forward to being a bigger part of it.

    Talk soon,

    Sarah

  16. #13
    ABW Ambassador
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    It's a good read for everyone!.

    As an affiliate I can tell a little bit about how I got on Abestweb almost by accident. I was forced to come in a way as there was some allegation related to our site. My initial purpose was to address and rest the issue which I believe meant facing a hostile and rowdy crowd. But did I put through it all?. Oh boy, it was good I did put through it as most of that rowdy crowd would be pals over the time.

    What's more, I did find some more networks to work or re-work through as a result of their outstanding recommendations and it only helped us in every aspect. In a nutshell, the bad episode yielded nothing but a long term positive results/relations for me overall. Thanks to ABW!

  17. #14
    Affiliate Manager affiliateaholic's Avatar
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    Lucky for me to find this post & first time to find it is not just marketing spam in signature.

  18. #15
    Newbie NikkiRitter's Avatar
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    appreciate the tips. This is one place I definitely don't want to post without thinking. :-)

  19. #16
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Great tips. I wish I would have read this before. Oh well, live and learn.

    Thanks for the post

  20. #17
    Newbie Bigdoggpinc's Avatar
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    I am going to sit back and enjoy the ride!
    Just joined AbestWeb and I agree. The best thing is explore all this site has to offer. When I started in online marketing years ago I went to classes on how to make a website that works, what is best colors to use on your web page. Knowing high tech gadgets and really cool animation is really cool but not for serious marketers. I will try to just relax and read my but off while I am here. Hope to gain a friend or 2 while I am here. - thanks for the information Mike

  21. #18
    ABW Ambassador Adarsh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdoggpinc View Post
    Just joined AbestWeb and I agree. The best thing is explore all this site has to offer. When I started in online marketing years ago I went to classes on how to make a website that works, what is best colors to use on your web page. Knowing high tech gadgets and really cool animation is really cool but not for serious marketers. I will try to just relax and read my but off while I am here. Hope to gain a friend or 2 while I am here.
    I agree with you, ABW is the best affiliate marketing forum where you can find loads of information and definitely a place to find some good friends.

    By the way, a correction:
    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdoggpinc View Post
    thanks for the information Mike
    His name is Michael Coley and I would appreciate if you can call him Michael or Michael Coley, with all the due respect. Thank you.

  22. #19
    Newbie
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    Excellent ingo
    I'm really new here, but can say ABW is a great source of info for everybody.

  23. #20
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Content_creator View Post
    I'm really new here, but can say ABW is a great source of info for everybody.
    It truly is a great source of infomation for affiliates and merchants.

  24. #21
    Outsourced Program Manager Ashish Selarka's Avatar
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    Thanks Michael, I know you have posted this a long time ago and I have glanced over it in the past, but this is the first time that I have really gone through the whole thing, which I should have done a long time ago.

    I have only been half hearted about posting in ABW, this is mainly due to myself being occupied with starting my own business, getting married and having a kid that I haven't really been as dedicated to this as I should have been. Since this is what I want to do full-time. I'm ready to make the commitment now.

    I want to thank you all and I appreciate everything you all do. Without this community, I wouldn't have even thought about heading out and starting something on my own.

    Hope to meet you all in person someday soon.

    Ashish
    [B]Ashish Selarka[/B]
    Outsourced Program Manager (OPM)
    [COLOR="Red"][B]Programs Managed[/B][/COLOR]: Coming Soon.

  25. #22
    Affiliate Manager
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    Newbie Thanks You!
    This is an incredible help to me, Mr. Coley! I have been doing affiliate management for all of 4 weeks now, and have very little idea of what is even expected of me. But now I feel I have found a great source for some wisdom. I totally get what you're saying, and I want to start off my business on the right foot. Thank you so much!

    Candy

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  27. #23
    Member Ashley Edwards's Avatar
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    I realize this is a pretty old post, but as a new member, this is great insight!

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  29. #24
    I'm new here but very grateful for all the good info. I'm new to the affiliate management side after years of just being an affiliate so there is much I can learn.

    I'll be quiet now and continue being a reader....

    Bryant

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  31. #25
    Newbie
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    Great post, and thanks for the information. Especially:

    "2. Stay professional in all of your responses. Even if the person you're responding to is a moron and deserves to be blasted, how you respond makes a huge impact on how you are perceived. If you keep your cool and respond in a professional manner, you win. If you drop to their level, you lose."

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