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  1. #1
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    July 6th, 2008
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    best affiliate approach for a content site?
    Hi smart people.

    I am a premature newbie who is wading into this strange world. I have built a great content site and have two burning questions. Before I get there, let me tell you a bit about my site. My site rates certain service providers that are licensed in any of the 50 states. Users get good information about state laws and can see ratings from people who have used the services in the past.

    I want to get paid when I provide a lead to a licensed service provider. At least one service provider I contacted has an exisiting affiliate network that will be easy for me to plug into. They track the leads, conversions, and handle fulfilment etc. through their site. I know that others do not have such systems.

    Question 1) What is a good system that I can use in my site to handle the business side of sending prospects to a service providers site? I am not collecting leads on my site, just directing to a provider's site. I don't expect there will be more than 100 or so licensed service providers that I would need to provide this for. I want to be able to say, "hey, I can send you good prospects. All you have to do is join my network, we negotiate a lead or conversion fee and I handle the rest." Does it even work this way? Do content sites serve this role or should anybody selling products/service over the web have such a system on their end already?

    2) Any thoughts on the best way to start marketing my content site through affiliate networks.

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Member
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    October 10th, 2006
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    155
    Generally a webmaster will build a content site, join several affiliate programs, and link to the affiliate programs from that site. An example would be dmv.org, he joins insurance/auto warranty/new car/etc. affiliate programs and just links to them.

    Some webmasters also sell leads directly to buyers and generally have a custom system built for this. Like if you wanted to collect mortgage leads on your site and sell them to brokers, for example. An example would be juicyleads.com

    If you're just looking for a script to manage the content part of this, you might want to check out the various CMS's (content management systems) like Joomla and Xoops. If you just want to build a directory of external links, there is phplinkdirectory.

    But I'm not sure if either is what you want because you imply in #1 that you want the 'service providers' to be able to buy leads from you, but then say you're not collecting leads on your site? Who would be collecting the leads, the service providers? If that's the setup you want, then you would have to join their affiliate programs if they have them. If you want to sell them leads, then you need to collect the surfer's information and post it to them.

  3. #3
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Hi there,

    I may be misunderstanding your question so please feel free to tell me if my response is not what you're looking for, but I think what you're asking is how can you begin to make commissions off referring your traffic to relevant sources (other websites) for service providers across the country.

    If that's correct, I think you will be hard pressed to find just one application to manage all your referrals, unless you are not picky about the types or variety of sites you're sending your site visitors through to.

    In theory you could just join one of the major affiliate networks like Commission Junction, Linkshare, Shareasale or Performics, for example, and only put links on your site to products and services sold on websites registered to that particular network, and that would keep things relatively simple. But, it wouldn't necessarily make you the most money as you want to be sure the links you're putting onto this great content site of yours are relevant and useful to your visitors/reader audience, right? To give your readers/visitors the best product/service options for them which also make you the most commission per referral and/or sale possible, you'll likely need to join many networks, depending on the specific merchants you're looking to promote on your site.

    The best thing you can do is look for merchants who provide products and services of use to your readers, and if they have an affiliate program, join theirs, no matter what program/application/network they're using to manage their affiliate program. You may end up with a bunch of different affiliate accounts in various places, but you can easily keep that organized in a list, with login information at hand for when you need it.

    Most experienced affiliates have accounts set up at all the major networks and in many cases will join even new, smaller or in-house programs if they're really interested in promoting a particular product or service because it's in good alignment with the type of thing their site visitors are looking for, and they feel it has good earning potential for them.

    If you want to promote a particular merchant on your site that doesn't already have an affiliate program, contact them to encourage them to get set up. Tell them you'd love to promote them and introduce them to the world of affiliate programs if they don't already know about what they are.

    Or, work out an exclusive arrangement with them like maybe a flat rate per month paid to you for "renting" them the advertising space on your site (though encouraging them to begin their own affiliate program is always a good idea if they don't have one already because in many cases you stand to earn more than a few hundred bucks a month depending on what kind of traffic you have coming to your site and thru your links).

    I hope this is the answer you were looking for. I would start by signing up on all the major affiliate networks and exploring the merchants they already have listed which make sense for your site and your audience. I'm sure you'll find plenty.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    July 6th, 2008
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    Great information, thanks.
    Your advice is very helpful. To clarify, I will only be linking users to a provider's site, not collecting and selling leads to providers.

    What confuses me about affiliate programs is that the benefit of my site for users is that they will be directed only to providers that are licensed under state law. So the service providers will have to join my site and I will check to ensure they are properly licensed. At that point I want to ensure there is an affiliate arrangement when I send prospects to them. Also, I know there are more than 1,000 such providers, yet only around 100 that are licensed. I can't join an affiliate network that includes unlicensed providers since that would defeat the purpose of my site. Within such networks is it possible to employ a filter that says I will only work with certain marketers in your network within the class of product/service I am looking for?

    I like the idea of 1) joining existing affiliate networks of licensed providers, and 2) encouraging providers that aren't in a network to join one so we can work together.

    Any suggestions on the right network for such a purpose.

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    Member
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    October 10th, 2006
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    The service providers are not joining your site. You are joining *their* affiliate program and putting the links on your site. You would only work with the ones who have affiliate programs. The licensed providers that don't have affiliate programs are off the table since you are not interested in collecting the leads yourself and selling them. They aren't going to invest in an affiliate program just to do business with you, but you might want to contact them anyway to find out who is working on one or if it's even in the cards for the future.

    Can't really suggest a network without knowing the topic. CJ, Linkshare, Performics are huge and have tons of affiliate programs for you to join. I'm sure they have some in the industry you're looking for. Once you join any of those three networks, you can then apply to the individual affiliate programs within them. You can work with whoever you choose that accepts you in the network...you don't have to push an unlicensed provider, for example.

  6. #6
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    July 6th, 2008
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    Got it. Thanks again. I am beginning to understand the path now. I appreciate the good advice.

  7. #7
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    I agree with the previous poster. I would make a list of those providers which ARE licensed, and see if they have affiliate programs. If not, like already stated, contact them and encourage them to start an affiliate program - not just for you of course but for all the other webmasters online who might want to promote them to help earn them added market reach and help them grow online biz/sales.

    OR, see if there is a broker which exists online (again like the previous poster said, hard to make recommendations without knowing the vertical we're talking about here) who only deals with the licensed providers you're looking for. If such a broker exists, see if they have an affiliate program you can join and that way you are ONLY sending your traffic thru to a provider of licensed providers, but via an affiliate program so your hits and leads/sales are tracked in order to ensure you are paid a commission/bounty on each lead and/or sale.

    Again, good luck and let us know if you have any other questions.

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