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  1. #1
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    White Label Travel And Shopping Programs?
    Hello,

    I have a travel domain and a shopping domain that are sitting dormant because I am too busy working on other projects.

    I'm considering using white label (co-brand) programs on these domains. My goal is to have another company's technology generate the storefront, funnel visitors throughout the site, and complete bookings. My job would be to provide the good domain name and drive traffic to the site.

    I did a search for "white label" and only found posts a couple of years old.

    For the travel site, I think my options are ian.com/TravelNow.com and the World Choice program. Has anyone used these programs?

    For the coupon/shopping site, I like the GoldenCan concept, but I don't like their presentation. I also like the idea of getting one check and statistical reports from the white label company instead of managing the affiliate programs individually.

    Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    IAN.com is the white label version of the Hotels.com (Expedia) program. World Choice Travel is the one run by Travelocity. There is another one, IHSAdvantage.com, that is more independent, has a solid program, and offers a bit better commission structure for getting started.

    Good luck. The travel/hotel vertical is a tough nut to crack, but it can be a very profitable one. Going the white label route eliminates the possibility of "parasitic" activity that may occur in going "direct" with the name brands through the CJ or LS interfaces.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  3. #3
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Thanks Bill,

    I had never heard of IHSAdvantage.com. Although they only offer hotel reservations. I need something that allows airfare reservations as well.

    ian.com has a private label program that seems like a good fit. Not ready to go with them yet, but I'm getting closer to what I want.

    As far as the shopping site, it seems like a no-brainer that some big comparison shopping site would allow people to co-brand their technology. Shopping.com has a program, but it appears they pay per click instead of on commissions.

    Does anyone know if GoldenCan has plans to revamp their presentation? I don't want my front page to just be a big list of store links. It would be nice to have a front page with hot products, best prices, or popular store sale notifications.

  4. #4
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    If you drive enough traffic, try approaching Expedia.

    I have worked with them when I was at Wyndham, they do have a private program but you need to be a very solid performer to be considered.

    All the best.

  5. #5
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    I checked out PopShops today. It looks like a good tool for creating pages with specific products, but not a good tool for creating a general shopping site with thousands of products???

    Why is it so hard to find a good way to create a branded mall site (or comparison shopping engine) without needing to do all the creation and updating on my own?

  6. #6
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    I have checked out thoroughly both IAN AND WorldChoiceTravel--
    IAN is easier to get accepted and WCT needs a business plan. They both offer XML data feeds if you have a hot developer. If all HTML, Google will read in their algorithms as with all affiliates "DUPLICATE CONTENT", the red flags being "link bombing", or in other words all your links are going back to the same company. Try to buy quality travel links, sorry Matt Cuts had announced a google algorithm that will be able to decipher the companies charging for links and view them as spam. Only natural back-links or at least reciprocals, and good unique content will get you any interesting ranking. Or a compelling niche is best!!!

    Even top 3 pages is scary as 85% of the traffic is generated in the first 10 companies on the first page. When was the last time you looked at the bottom of page 3 for your "source" of info. Possible-yes. Does it happen? Yes. Enough to generate interesting income--you are all bright enough to figure out that answer! I'm saying bottom line that affiliates have to work 10 times harder than say an all original site for rankings. It's so dismal, in fact you should concentrate on SEM not SEO, IF all you got is a big affiliate glittery promotions site with not one iota of anything new on it. Or not--Continue to dilude yourself and maybe one day you'll be proud to finally rank a keyword so obscure you are certain to ask "was it all worth it?"
    So wether you do IAN or my preference because of better support WCT, does not matter as much as your tweaking it, [to if nothing else look like unique content.] Since affiliate SEO is more difficult at least for travel sites [hell I can hear it now the critics are coming!], then at least be honest with yourself on "can you afford" a true trial and error SEM campaign. If the answer is no, social networks alone and free press release which already have a hard on for affiliate sites, is a lonely trek. PPC might be your best survival should you honestly have a site that has an interesting "CONVERSION RATE", which is after all synonymous with the worth of your business.

    Sorry for being a drag, but there are plenty people already that will tell you what you want to hear, with not a lick of real experience or caring about you on wether you fail or succeed. Your strongest weapon I will finish with is this. Do a travel website because you love travel and pray for the right ideas and right people to be placed on your "path" and who knows how far you'll go!!! Don't even let me discourage you if your dream is strong enough, it can't be bought!!! No price can be put on it! Best Wishes- romansangel

  7. #7
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    Thank you, romansangel, for your pointed and informative post. I'm very new to this, am also interested in a travel service targeted to a specific market, and your input is exactly what I was looking for.

  8. #8
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Thank you romansangel for your thoughts.

    I agree that white label travel (and shopping) solutions will not do well in the search results.

    My plan would be to:

    *put the white label solutions on domains that have some type in domain traffic

    *have links to the white label sales sites from my content sites

    *use PPC strategies to test driving traffic directly to the white label travel and shopping sales sites

    I also agree that the seo game is getting harder as the search engines are getting smarter.

    This is also happening in the PPC market. It used to be cost and click through rate, but now there are a ton of factors being considered making it easier for larger, more established sites to rank well in the ad space race.

  9. #9
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    WCT a downer
    We had originally decided on IAN but because of their long response time in "support" we changed over to World Choice Travel/Travelocity, also believing their product line better suited our company. But after almost a month of back and forth with providing them Business Plans, notarized documents, etc., finally they give us written approval and said we are "live" with them. On their backdoor support site in small writing it then says "by the way if you want to use XML you will need to go through a special additional approval process and commit to 30 bookings per day or 900 bookings per month. Also they claim they need to check out the web developer to know for certain they have the technical know-how. As if I would hire some guy off the streets that didn't have experience. Sounds like romper-room. It's a shock they have any successful affiliates.

    Hello? Why didn't they tell us this from day one. We are a start-up company and the SEO alone takes months if not way over a year out to properly do a backlinks campaign. Does WCT expect a six figure PPC campaign from the gate? So I would like to know if others have had Travelocity nightmares, but we recant any recommendations for this company in any way shape or form.

    Back to IAN--

  10. #10
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    Again, thank you, though I am sorry for, and feel, your pain. Sounds like the Travelocity folks aren't particularly user-friendly. I'll be contacting IAN directly.

  11. #11
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    Hey Murray, I did want to pass one hot tip on to you and it's this. I did an affiliate travel site that for almost a year I could not to save my life even get a search engine ranking that returned results under my own domain name--that's pretty bad.

    So two weeks ago I sign up for over a dozen of the "Travel Social Networks" and now I type my new domain name and I'm at least mentioned all on a first page. Now I have not even created the website yet-- but that shows the power the links coming from these social networks have. JFYI Good luck!

  12. #12
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    I'm on another one of these bulletin board sites for my "real" job - we're all freelancers, about 500 of us, and it's a good place to ask people for advice. You, romanangel, are showing the same generosity of spirit that my colleagues show in a field in which I have been working for over 25 years and have some credibility. Thank you, sir/madam for that. You have given me much to chew on, and shortened the learning curve on this start-up (a field in which I am very, very new).

    PS: I'm not usually an "emoticon" kind of guy, but it seemed so right...

  13. #13
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    romansangel, I'm curious about how you posted your domain name on the travel social networks. Did you just put a link to your site on your personal profile page or did you go into the forums and put your link in some of the discussions?

  14. #14
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    If you have a few bucks to do the legwork, you might want to copy the Travelzoo model ... build a list of people interested in travel FIRST, then
    go hit up the various travel providers for commission deals and advertising.

    If you are not familiar, Travelzoo sends you a weekly newsletter with a list
    of available hot deals. Some of them are REALLY HOT. It's a good model
    for travel ... for both the list owner and the travel providers.

    Say as a travel provider (A), you have a hot deal for 50% off rooms at the Bellagio in Vegas. Let me tell you, the rooms there are kick butt first class.
    And you (B) have a double opt in list of 1,000,000 people who are travelers.

    Hook up A with B for a fee. A gets maximum targetted reach and sells out ... There are only so many rooms at the Bellagio, you know ... What's the fee?
    Whatever you wish it to be, plus commission. If your list is big enough,
    you can charge both a hefty slotting fee & comission.

    You might want to check out Trip Advisor ... they have an interesting affiliate program ... If you have the visitor volume, you can make some money there. They pay per click, but the clicks all must come from the center line offers, so you need to take that into consideration.

    Trip Advisor is run by one of Barry Diller's companies ... you can probably find more travel providers listed there than anywhere on the planet - even Google,
    since some of them do not even have a website but they have snail mail address and phone.

    That's where I would go to build a list of travel providers to contact. On the other hand, you can do what I do ...

    I have a list of people interested in golf. Come Master's and British Open time, I go to Trip Advisor and find out what are the best deals for Augusta or say St. Andrews, if that is where the Open is being played this year ...

    I write an email with links to the deals, airfare and hotels and packages send it to the golf list, with the link to that the location page at Trip Advisor included. I almost always make some click thru money off TA and sell a few airfare & hotel packages thru Expeidia or Travelocity. List the one with the highest juice per deal. Rooms for the Open go for $500 to $2,000 per night.
    You can do well just booking ONE. Augusta is almost as pricy.

    I'm not going to tell you where the venue with the REALLY pricy room is located, but every Government and news organization send people there every year for a conference.

    But like the man said ... travel is a tough niche. Deal in the top end or the bottom end ... the middle is a grave yard.

  15. #15
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    Hey Net4biz that was rather enlightening-thanks! Replying to OICUAM2: I just did a couple of weeks of blogging, entering URL in profiles, wrote a couple travel articles that gave links, that's basically it. I'm hoping those backlinks will help my new site currently under development.

    I could be wrong but it sure seems to me that Google is giving oodles of love to all these blogs and social networks. They can only help, but I do try to keep at least most of the social networks that cater only to travel. Hand submitting all that stuff seems to help vs. some automatic submission deal.

  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager FriendlyPlanetTravel's Avatar
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    Hot Deals
    Quote Originally Posted by net4biz
    If you have a few bucks to do the legwork, you might want to copy the Travelzoo model ... build a list of people interested in travel FIRST, then
    go hit up the various travel providers for commission deals and advertising.

    If you are not familiar, Travelzoo sends you a weekly newsletter with a list
    of available hot deals. Some of them are REALLY HOT. It's a good model
    for travel ... for both the list owner and the travel providers.

    Hot Deals ARE a way to go. We do them all the time. Current - $999 Taj Mahal Express - 8 day guided tour, non-stop air, 4/5 star hotels etc. Recent mailing sold out 2 departure dates overnight

  17. #17
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    Hello Everyone,

    Just wanted to let you all know about our other white label travel affiliate program that is definitely worth checking out. The Priceline Partner Network is state of the art. Built by once top performers from one of the other programs you've mentioned in this thread.

    The Priceline Partner Network knows what affiliates need to be successful because our team was once an affiliate ourselves.

    Contact me for more details. Although I will say that your site and business will need to be approved before becoming a partner.

    Thanks,

    Rob Mauer

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    Ian.com is the best answer

  19. #19
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Priceline Partner Network
    Hello Everyone,

    Just wanted to let you all know about our other white label travel affiliate program that is definitely worth checking out. The Priceline Partner Network is state of the art. Built by once top performers from one of the other programs you've mentioned in this thread.

    The Priceline Partner Network knows what affiliates need to be successful because our team was once an affiliate ourselves.

    Contact me for more details. Although I will say that your site and business will need to be approved before becoming a partner.

    Thanks,

    Rob Mauer
    Rob, I just sent you a contact form on you site.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  20. #20
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    Which is the recommend white label hotel affiliate program now?

    I am looking for one targeting the US market.

    I am with booking and IAN.

    IAN after becoming EAN has a non existent support. I have sent several support emails over the past week and did not get a single response. I also tried sending with different email accounts so lost mail or spam folder is not an excuse.

  21. #21
    Member jkgourmet's Avatar
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    If you only need hotels, have a look at hotelscombined.com. Very responsive support and good looking, flexible results pages.

  22. #22
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkgourmet View Post
    If you only need hotels, have a look at hotelscombined.com. Very responsive support and good looking, flexible results pages.
    Indeed, an interesting arrangement. However, if you read the Affiliate FAQ #5 - very carefully - you may see that it is possible to do better with AdSense on a direct basis.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  23. #23
    Member jkgourmet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Indeed, an interesting arrangement. However, if you read the Affiliate FAQ #5 - very carefully - you may see that it is possible to do better with AdSense on a direct basis.
    Adsense on a direct basis? I'm not sure I understand what you mean - but you have my attention. (I remember that you previously had a travel aff program in your sig that looked like a good candidate for my site. But I know you've gotten busy with girly checks abd put it aside for now.)

  24. #24
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkgourmet View Post
    Adsense on a direct basis? I'm not sure I understand what you mean - but you have my attention. (I remember that you previously had a travel aff program in your sig that looked like a good candidate for my site. But I know you've gotten busy with girly checks abd put it aside for now.)
    Yes, we still do have the Hotels Program but, as you said, are totally consumed by the Girly Checks Program because it is growing rapidly. Our Business Checks program is also growing rapidly, especially as a direct sales channel. Maybe once Affiliate Summit is over we'll have time to again promote the hotels program.

    With that said, it looks like HC is paying on a "lead" basis and, in fact, mention AdSense in their program FAQs (#5) as being one of the sources.

    Today it is extremely difficult to earn hotels commissions with a "national" site - offering all hotels in all cities across the USA. That has been done and is being done by all the "big guys" (and advertised all over the place). I do have one that does fairly well - but only because it has been online almost 10 years. (I also hold many geo-domains that get type-in traffic, such as wausau-dot-org, which gets a few hundred visitors per month without depending on SEARCH results.)

    The main area in which to achieve success with hotels is in niche marketing. And if you can do a unique job of displaying hotels in a niche market - not the "laundry lists" being displayed by all the other sites - they can be effectively monetized with in-context ads, such as AdSense. The "work" is involved in creating those unique displays that, if done right, will also get excellent long-tail SERP results.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  25. #25
    Member jkgourmet's Avatar
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    Yes, I completely agree with your comments. In fact, my site is a niche market and directed towards travelers only in north America. Hotelscombined was one of the few that could return results for only my niche (pet friendly). Also, when I tested that amenity with several different programs, HC consistently returned more results and more accurate results.

    I suspect this may be because they crawl so many sites, including the major hotel chains. Do I wish there was a better payout, or a better program? Sure. That's why I was so interested in the limited information I knew about your program!

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