Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 29
  1. #1
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    Should I work with networks I don't like?
    As many folks know, I despise several of the "major players" in the affiliate technology industry (LinkShare, Commission Junction, Kowabunga) and I have reasons to dislike some others (Performics, PepperJam).

    In early 2007, I made the decision to simply "pull the plug" on CJ, ending my affiliate account there (over the preceding year, I'd shifted links to emphasize non-CJ merchants, so that when I finally made this decision I only gave up about $50 per month). In 2007, I also ended my relationship with my last remaining Kowabunga merchant (they chose to offer programs instead at CJ and Performics). And my brief attempt to work with Performics left me quite disappointed -- I don't think they serve merchants well at all.

    Since there are many merchants offering affiliate programs outside these "detested networks," I chose to simply refuse to do business with the networks I didn't like.

    This month, I am returning to my long-time emphasis on "building niche web sites," and I'm trying to decide whether I should consider re-establishing relationships with any or all of these "affiliate networks" in order to maximize revenues and profits.

    My question is: Should I work with CJ, LinkShare, Kowabunga, and/or Performics in order to work with select merchants who don't offer affiliate programs through other channels? Or should I maintain my "embargo" of companies that I consider to be unethical, unprofessional, and frequently incompetent?

    Should I continue to refuse to do business with intermediaries I don't like, or should I hold my nose and do business with scummy intermediaries in order to build relationships with specific merchants in the new niches where I am building new sites?

    Of course, it's hard for you to answer my question without knowing exactly what kind of niche sites I'll be working on -- but I don't intend to share that information. It's safe to assume that I'm going to create a site that's "functionally similar" to LitPlans.com (which I sold last July); LitPlans is a theme-based directory of products and web links. I expect my new efforts to include more original editorial content.

    One key issue is "inclusiveness" -- for example, if I create a site about "sleeping bags for mountain climbing expeditions," I'd probably want to include products from one or more merchants who only offer affiliate programs through CJ. Omitting those merchants might lead consumers to view my site as superficial, "thin," or less helpful in their purchasing decisions.

    I am not asking for folks to endorse or condemn particular companies or particular practices (let's not make this a network-bashing thread -- let's ignore the reasons why I dislike these intermediaries, and focus on whether I should do business with them despite my belief that they are unethical, incompetent, misguided, dishonest, or whatever).
    Last edited by markwelch; June 11th, 2008 at 07:24 AM.

  2. #2
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
    I decide when the pigs fly!
    Rhea's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    New York, USA
    Posts
    6,195
    I despise several of the "major players" in the affiliate technology industry (LinkShare, ShareASale, Kowabunga)...
    Why do you despise Shareasale?

  3. #3
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    Oops - Rhea, that was a bizarre typo which I've corrected by editing the original post. I like ShareASale. I despise LinkShare, Commission Junction, and Kowabunga.

    Thanks for noticing my mistake!

  4. #4
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
    I decide when the pigs fly!
    Rhea's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    New York, USA
    Posts
    6,195
    I kind of figured that was the case.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    4,327
    I don't like the networks much myself. However, if I want to provide my visitors with the most useful information, then I need to use some of the merchants from the networks.

    Can you provide a well rounded affiliate site (or sites) based around the non network merchants? Or do you need some of those merchants that would add value to your visitors?

    Hating the networks might be counter-productive for you. Hating the network shouldn't stop you from working with a particular merchant

    Shareasale may well be a great network, but they can hardly be considered to full of quality merchants (or even 10%)

  6. #6
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    Some of my reasons for not wanting to work with certain networks:

    (1) If I work with a network, then I can't fairly describe any of their practices as "unacceptable." Actions speak much louder than words. My action in working with a particular network says that even if I dislike them, I have "accepted" their business practices.

    (2) If I drive sales through that network, I am supporting their role in the industry, and helping to "prove" that they are effective (even if I am effective only "despite" and not "because of" their actions).

    (3) If I generate sales, I am bringing them revenue that will help them to continue to engage in the same behavior.

    (4) If I participate in the network but don't generate trackable sales (perhaps because of the network's ineptitude, dishonesty, or allowance of parasitic activity), then they will tell merchants that my negative comments should be ignored because I don't generate sales anyway.

    (5) If I participate in the network and drive sales transactions which are not properly tracked or are intercepted by parasites, then I am actually supporting unethical practices by pushing revenue to merchants and parasites.

    (6) It was a waste of effort to try to "work from within," by making suggestions from my role as an active, revenue-producing affiliate. At best, I received patronizing responses, but mostly I was completely ignored.

    [This post was edited after Steve's comment was posted below.]

  7. #7
    No Longer Banned!
    Join Date
    January 19th, 2008
    Location
    Wilmer, Texas 75172
    Posts
    939
    Mark Wants To Know If He Should Work In A Pool Of Sharks....
    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    As many folks know, I despise several of the "major players" My question is: Should I work with CJ, LinkShare, Kowabunga, and/or Performics in order to work with select merchants who don't offer affiliate programs through other channels? Or should I maintain my "embargo" of companies that I consider to be unethical, unprofessional, and frequently incompetent?
    .
    Mark

    I was watching a movie once that said "I am not a monster, Though I sometimes work for monsters."

    The fact is that most of the people on earth are like this in some way or another. Some do it deliberately, some do not. Most won't care that they contribute to it in some way. Pretty much all of them will tell you take it or leave it. Many will figure you can't do anything about it, so why listen or change ?

    My suggestion, sir, is that it is a transaction. Immoral people abound every where & it is best to focus on your next big thing and your ultimate exit strategy.

    You could take a 20 dollar bill out of your pocket & it'd quite likely have cocaine on it. It's all blood money. Rather disappointing really.

    Take they money. It'd also be great if you could get the investors together to buy one out. ~ Just a thought though.

    Hope this helps bro.

    Steve
    DreamLinux.net | Registered Linux User 453976 | PM me to view our sites. It's a Google thing.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
    Join Date
    December 30th, 2006
    Location
    Mansfield, Texas
    Posts
    1,561
    Mark you have identified a true dilemma: Do you knowingly work with unethical businesses or take a stand and refuse to do business with them.

    I would suggest that in order to come to a rational conclusion you would have to really determine the intent of the unethical behavior. If the business is truly evil and intentionally trying to further its interests at the expense of everyone in its way than you have a much clearer answer.

    I would suggest, though, that although some of the network practices are less than desirable for many affiliates they are not irrationally evil. I believe they are attempting to make the best business decisions possible for their models. Many of those decisions are clearly not in every affiliate's best interests though. The networks are forced to look at not only the smaller independents but also the larger generators of income that have different needs.

    I can not think of an accurate analogy for an affiliate but I believe someone can find fault everything anyone does at some point.

    Of course the end doesn't always justify the means meaning there are practices that are so wrong it would be nothing short of aiding crimminals to work with those perpetrators but I do not think the networks fit this mold.
    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.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    1,350
    I select merchants, not networks, for the most part. I work with Performics, LS, CJ, and Shareasale as well as indies. I've decided not to work with Pepperjam, not because of ethics, but because I don't want to give competitors my overall strategy.

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 13th, 2006
    Location
    Colorado / Florida
    Posts
    4,411
    "let's ignore the reasons why I dislike these intermediaries, and focus on whether I should do business with them despite my belief that they are unethical, incompetent, misguided, dishonest, or whatever."

    I'm not sure that I understand the dilema here Mark. If you despise these networks for their unethical behavior (as you have emphasized several times) and you do not want to be associated with their practices, it seems that you have your answer.

    If the deeper question is: "should I overlook their ethics in favor of enhancing my income" - you are into a totally different decision making process.
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  11. #11
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    While I disagree with many of the things done by the networks and many of the things they do are just outright stupid, I've found it more effective to work from within to try to get them to improve. That's why I'm on advisory boards at both LinkShare and CJ, and I have to say that both of them (and Performics also) have made significant improvements as a result of their advisory boards.

    What can really be accomplished from the outside? One affiliate boycotting a network will make absolutely no difference. Even 10% of affiliates (which will never happen) wouldn't make much difference.

    I don't think the big networks are anywhere near as evil as people make them out to be. There are some good people at every network. They've made some decisions (particularly with parasites) that we don't agree with, but they're on the same page as us in most areas.

    Given a choice, I always work with the networks that are most affiliate friendly. But my business models don't allow me to isolate myself from any major network. I would under extreme situations, but I don't think anything any of them are doing justifies it at this time.
    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

  12. #12
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    12,360
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Given a choice, I always work with the networks that are most affiliate friendly. But my business models don't allow me to isolate myself from any major network. I would under extreme situations, but I don't think anything any of them are doing justifies it at this time.
    Ditto
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    3,960
    Yeap, agree with Michael and Rexanne. In a perfect affiliate world would only work with a couple networks that I like a lot and think are good. But.....umm only problem is a lotta merchants I want on my site aren't in those networks. (maybe not necessarily merchants I like, but ones the consumers like)

    So....I promote merchants more prominently on my site that are either with the network and/or with an affiliate manager I trust, but still work with places I don't like cos some merchants I want on my site are only there.

  14. #14
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    May 31st, 2006
    Location
    Houston TX
    Posts
    4,731
    You have to take into consideration what your customers are looking for too. If you have a niche market and you know that your customer are looking for "Pink boots with Peacock feathers" by Vera Wang and the only player carrying that is Bloomingdales, what are you going to do? Not offer it because you do not want to work with the network?

    I understand the points that you broght up and I have been on Linkshare merchant advisory board on two occassions. There are merchant who are pushing for what affiliates are looking for and I can tell you that they are listening and making changes. Suggestions / things brought up are not implemented immediately but they are listening and making improvements.

  15. #15
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
    Join Date
    October 17th, 2005
    Location
    Bayou Country, LA
    Posts
    3,432
    I'm ramping up with CJ and LinkShare and only wish that I had done so sooner. It doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy, but it needs to be if I'm to get the merchants. I think that the bias here at ABW got in my head and delayed the inevitable.


  16. #16
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 27th, 2007
    Location
    Lower Left Coast
    Posts
    1,167
    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    Should I work with networks I don't like?
    No.

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Nunya, Business
    Posts
    23,684
    That's where most of the merchants are at. I would never close myself off to good merchants just because of what network they're on. Shoppers shop at merchants, not networks.

  18. #18
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    jacked by sylon www.sylonddos.weebly.com
    Posts
    9,618
    Thumbs up
    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Lily
    I select merchants, not networks, for the most part. I work with Performics, LS, CJ, and Shareasale as well as indies. I've decided not to work with Pepperjam, not because of ethics, but because I don't want to give competitors my overall strategy.
    Same here. I do what I think is best for me.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
    ABW Forum Rules - Advertise At ABW

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador IOWNIE's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 23rd, 2006
    Location
    Katy, Texas
    Posts
    634
    It would be hard to go through life NOT working with the ones you don't like. For example, I bet you don't like the Oil companies large corporate profits but I bet you continue to buy their gas and support their behavior. Or perhaps you don't like what Starbucks charges for a cup of joe, but you find yourself still getting one on occassion. Or perhaps you don't like John McCain but you dislike that fancy talking well dressed hansome dude who is promising change with the disrespectful wife even more so therefore you will still "work" with the Republican party even though you don't like them. Or maybe you won't like your bank - when they start hitting you up on all those return check fees because you chose not to work with the despised networks that would have made you alot of money?

    For me, I personally hate the thongs that the women in my hood make me wear when I come over to tan with them everyday and I hate the fruity passionate girly drinks they serve me and I hate the smell of the cocoa butter hot oils they rub all over my body so I won't get burned. And I especially hate it when they feel like they can fart in front of me just because they call me their girlfreind. So even though I despise all of that - the reward of my bronze George Hamilton tan outweighs the horrible stuff I have to go through to get it.

    If you really REALLY despise them - don't work with them. If you just like to complain about all their deficiencies, have your cake and eat it to.

  20. #20
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    jacked by sylon www.sylonddos.weebly.com
    Posts
    9,618
    And where is that tanning spot you go too?????????

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
    ABW Forum Rules - Advertise At ABW

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Trying to Win's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 7th, 2006
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    503
    I will say that I do have networks I like and those I donít, what I have found is that it is not only the network but the merchant you chose to work with that is very important. From what I have seen some merchants track very well and some do not regardless of what network they are on.

    Are some networks more affiliate friendly than others? Everyone knows that to be the truth. In most cases I am forced to work through networks that I am not fond of, but when paired with the right merchant it works.

    For the time being for my business to succeed, and provide quality content to my visitors working with the networks is a must.

    Having said that I do have a vision in my mind of a day when affiliates will unite, and big merchants will realize that they do not need networks to sell their products through the affiliate channel and it would be more profitable and in their best interest to handle it in house.

    But than again Iíve been diagnosed with having delusions of grandsire now and than.
    Just a squirrel trying to get a nut, in the Internet jungle.

  22. #22
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    FYI, I've finally made the decision to re-join CJ and GAN as an affiliate, despite my reservations about the companies' practices. I also plan to increase my activities with other affiliate networks, including AvantLink and a number of smaller networks.

    For merchants who offer affiliate programs through multiple networks, I will use links from my "preferred" network among them (ShareASale first, Avantlink second), unless the affiliate manager requests that I use links from a specific network for some reason.

    I re-joined Commission Junction this weekend, and applied to nearly all merchants who appear to have datafeeds; I've already been approved by 445 merchants (mostly automatically), and declined by another 45 (apparently these were also mostly automatic). Of course, actually getting access to datafeeds for my CJ merchants will likely be a separate battle.

    I also re-applied to the Google Affiliate Network (formerly DoubleClick-Performics/ConnectCommerce) this weekend, but have not yet received any response.

    I do not intend to re-join LinkShare or Kowabunga/Kolimbo, nor to join the PepperJam Network.
    Last edited by markwelch; July 14th, 2008 at 12:13 PM.

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    November 1st, 2005
    Posts
    2,064
    If I worked with networks I only like then I would be living on a very tight budget. Most of the networks have severe problems but you have to live with it. Posting all the problems you have here can help you cope some-what and can help relieve some of the frustrations. If it was all easy then only a select few would make money. With networks how they are now (all messed up with many problems and outdated websites etc) at least we all have a chance to do something different and work out a way how to put it all together and make a living. If it was all just plain sailing and the networks were perfect then it would only suit a select few who can work the system to their benefit. That's why I would hate to see a large company like Google etc come along and make the perfect network that only a select few make large profits on.

    But in saying that there are some networks I won't touch....
    Hosting Discounts from Professional Rates Hosts - Deals and Coupons on Domain Names from GoDadday, Namecheap, Domain.com and more top registers.

  24. #24
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 13th, 2006
    Location
    Colorado / Florida
    Posts
    4,411
    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    I re-joined Commission Junction this weekend, and applied to nearly all merchants who appear to have datafeeds; I've already been approved by 445 merchants Of course, actually getting access to datafeeds for my CJ merchants will likely be a separate battle.
    For informational purposes only Mark, I'm curious as to why you would sign up with 445 merchants in one swoop? Don't misunderstand my intent here. I am genuinely interested in learning more about how different affiliates think and the thought process behind decisions they may make. So when I noted your post above, curiosity led my fingers to the keyboard.

    From my own vantage point, it seems that it would be counter-productive to sign up for so many programs at one time when I would guess that you can only effectively handle a few each week. I'm truly interested in whether I am missing something here.

    Also, when an affiliate signs up for hundreds of programs, does it potentially have an adverse impact on merchants epc's?

    I appreciate hearing your thoughts on the above as well as other affiliate opinions.
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  25. #25
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    6,795
    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    FYI, I've finally made the decision to re-join CJ and GAN as an affiliate, despite my reservations about the companies' practices. I also plan to increase my activities with other affiliate networks, including AvantLink and a number of smaller networks.
    Mark, you made a wise decision!

    Unless it's something that goes against your own prime principles, you have to take in to account that whatever your main competitors bad mouth about CJ, or any other network, it shoud make no fkng sense, as long as they are making money on those networks they say they don't like.

    It should be up to you to decide if the end justified the means.
    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    I re-joined Commission Junction this weekend, and applied to nearly all merchants who appear to have datafeeds; I've already been approved by 445 merchants (mostly automatically), and declined by another 45 (apparently these were also mostly automatic). Of course, actually getting access to datafeeds for my CJ merchants will likely be a separate battle.
    Good luck!

    Getting acces to your CJ merchants datafeeds should be no problem, but using some of those merchants datafeeds is going to be a royal pain in your you know what! (What do you think I have been going thought this month?)

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Are there any networks you would never work with?
    By MichaelColey in forum Voting Booth
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: November 4th, 2010, 08:50 AM
  2. How many networks should I work with?
    By piotr klementowski in forum Starting an Affiliate Program & Merchant Q&A
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: April 9th, 2010, 05:38 AM
  3. Best affiliate networks to work with
    By id2k in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: February 11th, 2009, 02:27 PM
  4. Do backlink advertising networks really work?
    By sdonovan1978 in forum Marketing Resources & Power Tools
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: June 27th, 2005, 02:14 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •