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  1. #1
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    Affiliate Network Recommendations
    To preface, I am in the position to bring several highly respected brand's into the affiliate marketing model. These brands are in a variety of industries (auto aftermarket, sporting goods, outdoors, maternity, pet, etc).

    As affiliates, what networks do you prefer? Obviously CJ and Linkshare are the gorillas, but they are less appealing to me for a variety of reasons. I am looking for an up and coming network or two, to test with a couple of clients. Ideally these networks have good reputations, fast response time, strong affiliate/merchant bases and are evolving.

    Currently I am looking at ShareASale, PepperJam, AvantLink, to name a few.

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Michael Coley
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  3. #3
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    Just my opinion but that poll is nowhere near scientific. Knowing what I know, I would not use it to make a decision on which network to use. The best strategy would be to find a few advertisers that use more than one network and talk to them on the phone and get a feeling for how well each network performs as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
    Todd Crawford
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  4. #4
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    The question was what networks do affiliates prefer. The survey was a link to the answer.

  5. #5
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProWebAddict
    The question was what networks do affiliates prefer. The survey was a link to the answer.
    My point was the answer does not encompass enough affiliates (participants) to equal a valid answer. Further, I would suspect that the results are biased based on those that participate here and do not represent the overall opinion of the majority of affiliates (again IMO).

    One additional point - choosing a network based on which one affiliates prefer does not necessarily mean your program will be more successful than picking the right network for your particular business model.
    Todd Crawford
    Co-Founder, Impact Radius

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  6. #6
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    You should read through the Pepperjam forum before you seriously consider them.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
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  7. #7
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Are you the CJ Todd Crawford?

    If you are - Hello.

    We haven't heard from you for a while now.

    Start posting more and helping with answers here - they would be great answers with all of your experience.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  8. #8
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    I would love to know what network the majority of affiliates prefer. Please do enlighten me.

    I'm not being sarcastic, I'm serious.

  9. #9
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProWebAddict
    I would love to know what network the majority of affiliates prefer. Please do enlighten me.

    I'm not being sarcastic, I'm serious.
    Any network where they have the best tools for affiliates to use to help us make more money.

    AvantLink has some great tools for affiliates to use.

    And a network who has tracking that always works and the ability to access the network all the time instead of all the (network) down - I can't login - (so and so is down).

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Different networks work for different merchants depending on what their program requires. Bigger more technical programs can't always use networks such as Shareasale or Avantlink.

    I think it best to focus on which network will be best for your program, not which ones affiliates prefer. Pretty much whatever network you choose the affiliates will not mind as long as your program terms are fair and you have the right tools they need.

  11. #11
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy
    Are you the CJ Todd Crawford?

    If you are - Hello.

    We haven't heard from you for a while now.

    Start posting more and helping with answers here - they would be great answers with all of your experience.
    Yes, that is me. I might start lurking...kudos for Haiko for adding new threads to Twitter.
    Todd Crawford
    Co-Founder, Impact Radius

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound
    You should read through the Pepperjam forum before you seriously consider them.
    I have been reading up on them for a while. The concern that has been brought up (conflict of interest), seems a bit off to me. If anything, affiliates should be concerned with merchants (in any network) mining the data that is ultimately driving sales and then cutting off the affiliates & network entirely.

    Being an affiliate network that takes 3% of every affiliate sale in the end is more profitable than performing as a superaffiliate.... so why waste the time competing with the people that drive your bottom line? If they were to drive the affiliates out of their network (via outbidding, outranking, etc.) ultimately they would lose more than they stand to gain.

    However, the fact that so many affiliates here are put off by the situation, is a bit troubling.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToddCrawford

    One additional point - choosing a network based on which one affiliates prefer does not necessarily mean your program will be more successful than picking the right network for your particular business model.
    Indeed. It seems avantlink is tailored more for outdoor industry, while pepperjam is more fashion/trendy clothing. I would expect the majority of affiliates to be pushing the majority of their traffic in those niches.

    Shareasale seems to cover the full gambit and most likely has the largest affiliate base out of them all.

  14. #14
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diggz
    I have been reading up on them for a while. The concern that has been brought up (conflict of interest), seems a bit off to me. If anything, affiliates should be concerned with merchants (in any network) mining the data that is ultimately driving sales and then cutting off the affiliates & network entirely.

    Being an affiliate network that takes 3% of every affiliate sale in the end is more profitable than performing as a superaffiliate.... so why waste the time competing with the people that drive your bottom line? If they were to drive the affiliates out of their network (via outbidding, outranking, etc.) ultimately they would lose more than they stand to gain.

    However, the fact that so many affiliates here are put off by the situation, is a bit troubling.
    Remember, you asked affiliates which networks we prefer. I'm not sure if that's the best way to choose a network, but our responses are going to be from a standpoint of what we see as best for us. You may want to put the same question to the various merchants, AMs and OPMs that participate here to get their responses.

    You have to understand that as affiliates we are always in a position where we must trust that the networks and merchants that we are working with are protecting our interests. When a network or merchant engages in any practice that goes against our natural tendency of self preservation it gets our attention.

    You are absolutely right that it is more lucrative for a network to be a network as opposed to being a super affiliate. So why do it? Especially when so many of that networks potential affiliates are so dead set against it. Any potential conflict of interest upsets an already fragile relationship. The network is supposed to be a "trusted third party", where is the trust when they have access to all of my data and choose to compete with me? Especially if as you say, "ultimately they would lose more than they stand to gain". Wouldn't it make more sense for them to back off of that issue as a sign of good faith as opposed to trying to justify the conflict? (Nooo, that's not really a duck, it's a goose that quacks.)

    As an affiliate, too much of my income relies waaaaay too much on trust. I have to choose networks and merchants which I at least perceive are trustworthy.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  15. #15
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    diggz - while pepperjam is more fashion/trendy clothing.
    Look closer and deeper. Most of the brands listed, many different programs, a bunch of different sites are from the same merchant. Is it more attractive for an affiliate? Not at all if each brand promotes openly the other brands/sites and if our cookies are washed each time our visitors leave one site to check an other one. Big, huge leaks.

  16. #16
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    Hi Todd,
    Welcome back!

  17. #17
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    Hi Todd,
    Welcome back!
    thanks Zeus!
    Todd Crawford
    Co-Founder, Impact Radius

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  18. #18
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Nice to see you return again!

    Quote Originally Posted by ToddCrawford
    The best strategy would be to find a few advertisers that use more than one network and talk to them on the phone and get a feeling for how well each network performs as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
    If one needs others to guide them, I assume they lack some experience. If that is the case, how does this merchant / AM exec make sure these few advertisers that they talk to understand what performs means?

    You know very well how misleading reported sales can be. To me, your input sounds like the same old stories you told when you were at CJ... like weatherbug has been vetted...
    http://forum.abestweb.com/archive/in...61382-p-5.html

  19. #19
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    IMO you can't go wrong with Shareasale and I have a feeling most of the affiliates here feel the same. One network that you may also want to also consider is Link Connector.

    You could always set up an additional affiliate network on your own if you have a number of merchants to work with. It seems like several others have done it. Hmmmm..... I guess there are enough networks at the moment and it probably isn't worth the effort.
    Larry Wentz
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  20. #20
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Bigger more technical programs can't always use networks such as Shareasale or Avantlink.
    I wanted to chime in because I think it's important for diggz to know that we're very capable of handling both larger programs, and programs in need of added or advanced functionality. diggz drop me a line if you would like me to elaborate.

    Gary M

  21. #21
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    Well Avantlink just rejected my affiliate application yesterday so they really would be a "very bad choice" in my opinion.

    It went like this - "At this time we are not able to accept your Affiliate application to the AvantLink Affiliate network. At this time your site either does meet our acceptance criteria or there is no match with our merchant list. If there are changes to your site in the future that would make a better fit, please apply to AvantLink." (ummm... I don't think so - I'll just tell everyone that I wouldn't recommend Avantlink and tell merchants to go elsewhere. What a stupid move! They do a good job at pissing off affiliates however IMO.)

    I have about 50-60+ target niche sites and spend thousands monthly promoting my sites and generating sales for merchants. I thought I would give them a try as they have a forum here but Avantlink apparently doesn't have a clue about running an affiliate network.

    Shareasale, Pepperjamnetwork & LinkConnector are the best options for you (don't bother with Avantlink - waste of time). Both Pepperjam and LinkConnector actively try to get me join merchants for certain websites of mine - they are trying to grow merchants sales rather than to reject affiliate's business. Shareasale, of course, is firmly established and highly respected by mostly everyone - large affiliate base - a wise choice.

    I also wouldn't totally overlook lead networks like Hydranetwork, AzoogleAds, MaxBounty for certain merchants to utilize.
    Larry Wentz
    <a href="http://twitter.com/LarryWentz">Twitter.com/LarryWentz</a>

  22. #22
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Hi Larry, Feel free to email me a few of your sites and perhaps based on those we could reconsider. I haven't looked at your application, but the rejection could have been based on the default site you submitted with your app...or for any number of other reasons. Gary M

    Edited to add: Larry I just checked out your application record and it looks like you applied with the site in your sig file here at ABW. I am more than happy to reconsider if you send me some other site(s) to review.. preferably site(s) that might work with our current active merchant list. Thanks

  23. #23
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    Gary,

    I listed that site because Avantlink only gave me one choice. An affiliate network should realize that many affiliates have multiple websites targeting different categories and have the application system set up so affiliates can add multiple websites (like Pepperjam, LinkConnector, ClixGalore, Etc....)

    With that said - I did mention several of my other websites in the "description" area that was provided but apparently that was overlooked. I really don't want to jump thru hoops applying to an affiliate network and totally frown upon rejection. I've been declined by affiliate programs before (as most have) but don't ever recall being declined by an affiliate network.

    Let me make this statement which I believe to be 100% accurate - "Rejecting affiliates is always a stupid thing to do" (unless porn, illegal activities, parasiteware). You never know who will end up being your top affiliates (unless you are the world's best fortune teller). If you rejected a potential top affiliate - you have likely permenantly lost their business. Diggz mention that he is looking for an affiliate network that is evolving - it's important for all affiliate networks and affiliate program managers to realize that affiliates evolve and grow as well. Show me an affiliate who makes 5 figures monthly and I will show you an affiliate who at one time had no websites ..... but evolved. Those merchants and networks who worked with that affiliate ended up being rewarded. Those that rejected that affiliate lost out.

    Let's look at this statement that I received "At this time your site either does meet our acceptance criteria or there is no match with our merchant list." Hmmm.... what happens if your network adds merchants that fit my website categories? For example - let's say I sell thousands of dollars monthly in a clothing niche (which I do). Let's say one day that some merchant joins your network that is in that niche. Could I add their links? Nope .... BECAUSE I WAS REJECTED BY THE NETWORK!

    I tell you what Gary ..... if your network becomes more affiliate friendly by changing the approval methods - let me know. Until then - I wouldn't recommend merchants to use your network because of the affiliate approval process and lack of ability to add multiple websites into the system. You are not an affiliate friendly network at the moment.

    Let individual merchants decide who get's approved or not and have the system set up so when affiliates apply to a merchant that they can apply for certain websites or provide the potential merchant with info regarding where they will be sticking the links up and/or promotion methods (Shareasale has that set up and it works great).
    Larry Wentz
    <a href="http://twitter.com/LarryWentz">Twitter.com/LarryWentz</a>

  24. #24
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Larry, I would have rejected you for the 15 brands I manage programs for if your application was for the site listed in your signature block. It is not the AM/OPM or networks responsibility to ask you for all of your sites. AvantLink is a network started by affiliates who were frustrated with the limitations of the existing network tools. They have a stellar record here. So, did you bother contacting them with a rebuttal or are you so hypersensitive that anyone who rejects you is your enemy for life?

    AvantLink, if you don't have a method where an affiliate CAN list the sites they market I would recommend adding it. CJ has the best system but it is not infallible.

  25. #25
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    Hey Chuck,

    I did list several of my sites in the description area provided as there was no other place to list them. (You must have overlooked my statement as well ... seems to be catchy lately among people making approval decisions on affiliates) . I stand by my statement that rejecting affiliates (unless for porn, illegal activities, parasiteware, etc.) is stupid and you alienate affiliates by shutting them out. You aren't fortune tellers on who will succeed or not. You are not affiliate friendly by rejecting affiliates - that's common sense IMO.

    CJ does not have the best system of affiliate approval and I have learned from experience that when you apply for a CJ merchant that doesn't have auto-approval to email the affiliate manager right after applying to let them know which site you will be sticking the links up on (that has worked pretty well). Yes - CJ merchants can see all my sites listed but it is best for merchants to know where you plan on sticking the links especially if an affiliate has numerous sites. I love CJ by the way and appreciate the fact that they gave me a chance eons ago and I generated my first affiliate commission ever with them - THANK YOU CJ! Because CJ gave me a chance - CJ, their merchants and myself generated many thousands of dollars of business over the years.

    Shareasale has solved the problem with a message area when applying to a merchant where you can let them know where you will be sticking the links up and how you will be promoting the merchant. Linkconnector - you apply for the merchant on a site-by-site basis (similar to Linkshare). That works well too.

    I see no indication of stellar record with Avantlink so far. Of course I'm just making that statement from personal experience. As I said - my feelings would change if Avantlink had a different approval process and let merchants make the decision on approving affiliates. I hope they evolve ... I really do. I can not honestly recommend them to a merchant at the moment. I decided to make my rebuttal here in public as I saw Gary had replied to Diggz saying that they could handle larger affiliate programs to Diggz and then seeing my rejection letter. I say that with Avantlink's current affiliate approval process system - Diggz would better served going elsewhere.

    IMO - Diggz needs to go with Shareasale, LinkConnector and/or PepperjamNetwork. Diggz - I truly hope you understand my feelings on affiliate approval and don't try to predict which affiliate will work for you or not. Your top affiliate some day may be the affiliate you approved and didn't generate any sales for months and then all of a sudden one day ......... WHAM! If you didn't approve that affiliate then there never will be that potential WHAM! I do however understand that an affiliate applying for a mortgage affiliate program with their bikini website doesn't make to much sense.
    Larry Wentz
    <a href="http://twitter.com/LarryWentz">Twitter.com/LarryWentz</a>

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