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  1. #1
    Join Date
    June 4th, 2008
    Question Which affiliate applications to approve?
    Hello and thank you for this forum and for the opportunity to ask a question!

    I tried to post my question on the "Affiliate Manager Forum", but the system does not allow me to access the forum with a notice that "you do not have permission to access this page". Let me try here, then.

    I am an affiliate program manager of an online niche gift shop. I have a question that I would appreciate your advice on. It may seem a bit of a long question, but I do feel that it comes up to a single question :-) I feel that it may be of interest to other affiliate managers too. My question has to do with "Affiliate Types" and with affiliates several applications that I received recently through one of the networks.

    Recently we have applied to one of the affiliate networks, and have our affiliate program listed there. Since then, we received, very quickly, several affiliate applications. I checked the affiliates' websites, and I think that I can divide the websites/affiliates into these groups:

    1. Sites that present a collection of banners and links, with little or no original content.
    2. Coupon sites - focusing on sales promotion.
    3. Rebate sites - focusing, as well, on sale promotions.
    4. Shopping and comparison search engines, using a combination of a web crawler, artificial intelligence techniques, and a data extraction algorithm to seek out product information from online retailers.

    What should be my attitude toward applications of such websites? Here are my thoughts and questions with regards to each of the above mentioned categories:

    1 - My feeling that it would be better to reject these applications.
    2 - I am not sure what should be my attitude toward coupon site. First, our site does not offer any coupons, so it puts in a question mark our compatibility with these sites, right? Anyway, adding coupons to our marketing plan can be something to think about... How do you feel about coupon affiliate partners? What is their effectiveness? How would you categorize them with relevance to the "Affiliate Types" described on your book'?
    3 Here as well, I am not sure what should be my attitude toward these applications. Is it worthwhile to work with rebates site? Are they effective? Do you have any experience with this regards?
    4 - What about shopping search engines and shopping comparison engines? I wasn't aware that these engines work with affiliate links. One thing to note, is that I can already see listings of our products and shop, as well of those of competitors (that do not have an affiliate program) on the relevant search engine. It seems, then, that products are listed there without relevance to the question if the merchant has or doesn't have an affiliate program. What is the benefit, then, from the merchant's point of view, to allow these search engines to approve these engines' affiliate application? Do these search engines provide special benefits to their affiliate partners? Do you have any experience or knowledge with this regards?

    I have heard people saying that maybe it is best to approve all affiliate applications. I prefer to be more careful with affiliate applications. What is your opinion?

    Thank you very much and all the best!

  2. #2
    Online Marketing Consultant
    Join Date
    October 16th, 2006
    Washington D.C.
    What you need to do is think about what is best for your company and brand.

    If you cater to high end audiences and do not want coupons or people who look for lowest prices because you feel it may diminish your brand, reject them. However, there are a ton of those sites that also feature high end stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus so there is obviously value in them.

    With cash back sites and pay per sign up sites, you may see a ton of fruad coming in so you will have to do a ton of work evaluating them on a sale and percentage of fraud basis.

    Link and Banner farms usually do not perform well as they are just people who throw up a million links and expect a return without any work, however some of them will turn into super affiliates if they begin reading and learning about the industry and really focus on creating a business for themselves. There usually is not much damage done in accepting them.

    Shopping Comparison Sites are great because they are a targeted audience who is looking to shop and are already comparing prices. During sales and clearance times, you will be able to rock these guys.

    Some things to think about though are:

    Is the site a front for Adware users or trademark poachers who just wanted something to apply with?

    Is the major site who applied really that company or are they just using the name hoping you will not check into it?

    Is it a good fit within your brand and company?

    Could they have a lot of other sites which they have not listed because they do not want the AMs and networks to bombard them with spam recruitment emails.

    Basically, if you ever question a site, if they are a serious affiliate, write to them and they will respond back to you and let you know why they want to promote you and your brand. Then you can make an educated decision on whether to let them in or not.
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
    Do you need help with your Marketing or Sales funneling, write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me

  3. #3
    Join Date
    October 12th, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    I've always rejected coupon affiliates because we don't offer coupons for our affiliates. Even still, we've had dozens of affiliates create pages and optimize for keywords like phrases that include "coupons", "promotional codes", etc. They're usually sites that presented non-coupon sites when applying.

    When customers we've worked hard to get then go to Google and search for coupons, these affiliates are getting commissions for tricking our customers into thinking they have some kind of special coupon. Not only are they not adding value, but they're detracting from the quality of the user experience, and that just doesn't sit well with me.

    Aside from that and porn/sex/violence-related stuff, pretty much everyone else is welcome to our program.

  4. #4
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by pepo
    I have heard people saying that maybe it is best to approve all affiliate applications.
    Those people are daft.

    1. I decline all banner farms.

    2. We don't offer coupons either, but I've been happy to work with coupon sites, so long as they don't imply that we offer coupons. Unfortunately, most have totally ignored that policy which has muddied my opinion a bit.

    3. I decline rebate and reward sites. Too many of them are little more than scams. Should I trust them?

    4. I understand your point about shopping and comparison engines, but I have to ask two questions in return. 1) Will your products remain in the index if you decline, and 2) does the site make any extra effort to highlight merchants they are affiliated with?
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

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