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  1. #1
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    AMs / OPMs / Affiliates
    I'm curious -

    How common is it for AMs and OPMs to also run their own affiliate sites (ie: possible competition to their affiliates)?

    Again, just curious...

    ~ Denis
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  2. #2
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    Maybe run an affiliate site, but not one for the merchant that they are an OPM for. That would be a conflict of interest.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    There's a very fine line here since those folks have access to affiliate site results and therefore have a little inside knowledge of what is working and what is not.

    Would be interesting to poll affiliates to see what they thought about this.
    I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die
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  4. #4
    Full Member TerriFalcone's Avatar
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    I don't believe it is either common or ethical. In addition to the conflict of interest issue if you are being employed full time by a merchant it means you are likely cheating them of time whilst feathering your own nest.
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  5. #5
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    My underlying concern is not so much competing with the same or like merchant, but on how an affiliate may bring products to market. Many affiliates have a specific page style, WP format, or maybe what the affiliate may consider a unique method, etc that they don't want revealed or emulated.

    ~ Denis
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Stephanie Lichtenstein's Avatar
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    I am an OPM and I would not do it bc I do not want to compete with any of my affiliates and I believe it is a conflict of interest IMO.
    @MicroSteph | Stephanie Lichtenstein
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  7. #7
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    Some AM/OPMs were affiliates prior to being AM/OPM and are still, but not in the niche they are "working for". When I went OPM I kept my affiliate sites, but killed off all the merchant aff links (I was a Cafepress affiliate before I was their internal AM) and went to straight links and Adsense. I have no time to go steal ideas from the affiliates that work my programs. I want my affiliates to make as much as they can!

    There are a lot of AM/OPMs that are not open about their affiliate activities, and that do take their affiliates ideas and run with them. It all depends on the person, any AM/OPM can do things that aren't ethical, it is up to you as the affiliate to decide who you can trust. It is up to the merchants to decide if they want someone that knows the affiliate side of things up close and personal to run their program.

    And once any AM/OPM leaves a merchant, what is to stop them from starting affiliate sites then?

    This is a question that keeps coming up, and it is a legitimate question, but like some other practices, it totally depends on the person involved. You can't say with a sweeping statement that no AM/OPM should be an affiliate.... in this business that won't happen. You have to trust the integrity of the people *you* choose to work with, and that applies to AM/OPM, Network and Merchant.

    There are plenty of merchants that are affiliates in their own niche, and that is why they became merchants, they see what the things are that sell well and develop their own product lines. But that doesn't mean they are going to give up the money they make selling products for other merchants. And no I don't mean on their same merchant site, I mean they create a new site for their product line that is totally separate from their affiliate sites.
    Deborah Carney
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  8. #8
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Thank all of you who posted on this topic.

    My concerns are partly why I added #2 in my 2009 New Year's Resolutions.

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...0&postcount=12

    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence
    1) Keep getting organized
    2) Start marketing APs more based on relationships and less by whims
    3) Increase niche stores from 60 to 200
    4) Invest in more technology
    5) Take my wife to Hawaii
    6) Do my part to help clean up and strengthen our industry!
    ~ Denis
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  9. #9
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    That is a great resolution, and if you ever want to have a discussion about my sites or practices in general, feel free to ping me for my phone number. Most above board AM/OPMs are willing to talk about their own practices and sites if asked.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  10. #10
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    2) Start marketing APs more based on relationships and less by whims

    That's good if you don't let it blind your business sense in the process. With #2, I like actual performance. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have a good relationship with the AM/program but I've seen sometimes it goes way too far into some people getting blind. Where they're not consistent with their beliefs and that's with networks too. Where you might have a problem with "something" but you don't have a problem with that "something" if it's somebody or something (network/affiliate manager) you like. Being nice and liked is also good for business. I never lose sight that this is a business and that should come first.

    I would take in order:
    Performance + good relationship with AM
    Performance + no or bad relationship with AM
    Bad performance + good relationship with AM, actually wouldn't take that at all

    As far as AM and affiliate sites. I do think it's a straight up conflict of interest if they're a competing affiliate of yours with the same program they're running. Some have taken it even further with becoming a network

    But I know a lot of AM's have their own sites on the side, which I don't have a problem with if it's not a program they're running.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    ooooh I'm gonna have to put a blindfold on me or change this from bein one of my home pages lol I purposely try not to log in figuring well if I'm not logged in I won't get sidetracked by posting....umm that logic worked out well.

    Am gonna say to myself am gonna real quick post,log out and then get back to work

    Dummy question umm probably comes as no surprise lol but am waaaaay too trusting and now I guess from havin just said that any of the bad guys reading this who didn't realize that will now know. lol ok, if I get an email from any of ya real quick....I'll know you read this and am takin advantage of me. lol

    "There are a lot of AM/OPMs that are not open about their affiliate activities, and that do take their affiliates ideas and run with them. It all depends on the person, any AM/OPM can do things that aren't ethical, it is up to you as the affiliate to decide who you can trust."

    ok, those of you who know me and realize I will realize I'm not referring to you. BUT.....ummm how is a person supposed to know who they can trust??

    Other than gut instinct (which I just said, some of us aren't too good at) any ideas on how we can tell?? Am serious, realize this may sound dumb.....but other than you guys ( these guys who will know who ya are ) I don't have a clue how I'm supposed to know. Askin other affiliates is the obvious answer and I rather stupidly brag on all of ya to everybody who I know that you're the good guys which then gives me much more competition. lol but couldn't live with myself if I told em any of the bad guys I definitely knew. So....how does somebody know who the good guys are??

    edited - uh oh....read some of Trust's and that first part could apply to me....I can easily be niced to death by somebody lol

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    I think it's more common than it should be and believe it is a conflict of interest if the site is promoting their employer or client if an OPM. Much like some networks have their own affiliate sites. I was an affiliate before I went OPM and still have a few of my old sites. These sites haven't been updated since I started our company. There's no need and no available time. Two sites are now used for testing datafeeds, widgets, etc. but they don't bring in any income. If the AM or OPM has time for an affiliate site, they should be spending that time building up their affiliate program.
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  13. #13
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    Agree with "just because someone is nice doesn't mean they aren't a bad guy". A lot of people have been burned by others that *appear* to be nice and above board. Purplebear, it is a question of looking around and watching. There are more good guys at ABW than bad, the bad usually get outed at some point. Pay attention to people that leave here (not saying that *all* AM/OPMs that leave here are bad!) but ask questions as to why they have left.

    Some people earn trust then burn the people that trusted them, and it isn't or can't always be made public.

    Greg, you make a good point, but some people really do multitask and their affiliate management isn't their whole life. Even in house affiliate managers have a life outside their day jobs.

    I wear every hat there is (merchant, OPM, consultant, affiliate, photographer, blogger, momma ), some things get more attention than others depending on the day of the week, and my clients get exactly what they need from me. However, my clients are not my whole life They are a part of it.

    Anyone that claims otherwise is fibbing.
    Deborah Carney
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  14. #14
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    As far as AM and affiliate sites. I do think it's a straight up conflict of interest if they're a competing affiliate of yours with the same program they're running. Some have taken it even further with becoming a network
    Popcorn alert!

  15. #15
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Again, based on how I've been promoting sites in the past, "by whim", I'm already reaping benefits of promoting sites "by relationship". Common business sense still dictates who you work with. I'm far from an idiot when it comes to business and I will let my experiences guide me.

    I really don't have a problem with AMs / OPMs being affiliates - good for them. My concern is someone copying an affiliate's marketing methods. If an affiliate has a unique way of doing things, I don't think that affiliate would want other affiliate's / AMs / OPMs copying him/her. That's all.

    ~ Denis
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence
    My concern is someone copying an affiliate's marketing methods. If an affiliate has a unique way of doing things, I don't think that affiliate would want other affiliate's / AMs / OPMs copying him/her. That's all.

    ~ Denis
    Totally agree. I left a client when I discovered they had an affiliate program only to get marketing ideas for themselves from affiliates. Not cool. They were upset when I wouldn't show them affiliate sites. Buh bye....
    Deborah Carney
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  17. #17
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    Do you mean relationship to affiliate managers?

    My 2 best merchants are ebay and Amazon. I have no idea who runs those programs, never had any personal contact with them, just newsletters.

    I have some AM's that go out of there way, very nice but the merchants they're working for just suck, at least for me. They're still nice but those merchants still don't work for me.

    And then I have some where it's both. Great programs run by great affiliate managers, I think that's the ideal.

    Also if it's with affiliate managers, you also have to keep in mind with some merchant programs, affiliate managers can be a revolving door. That's why I focus on the actual merchant and if they actually perform. There are no shortage of threads here where a well liked AM was with a merchant but it was only to help them launch the program, then left and affiliates were like what? or I only joined them because of you, etc. I've had some merchants that have always converted for me and I've lost track of how many affiliate managers they've gone thru. In some cases it doesn't matter, in others they can really help or hurt. Or I've seen affiliates stick with programs that weren't working for them because they liked the affiliate manager.

    It the end it's basically if you're making money with them, that's the important thing. I guess it doesn't matter if you get there by relationship (to affiliate manager) or some other way.

  18. #18
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Rice
    Much like some networks have their own affiliate sites.
    You can add to that, that many networks have their own affiliates and affiliate program managers. Consider what happened at CJ not so long ago due to this exact issue of conflict of interest.

    Bad performance + good relationship with AM, actually wouldn't take that at all
    While it's not a good place to end up up, it's certainly not a bad place to start as the good relationship should hopefully enable the perfomance to improve

    Cheers

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  19. #19
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    I believe it's very common.

    I also believe it's a conflict of interest regardless of the niche.

    If you don't believe me, please PM me all of your sites because we probably aren't in the same niche. I promise I won't use your niche or merchants,but I will probably use your ideas in my own niche.

    If you feel comfortable with that, then great for me. Just click my name and send a PM.

    Reason 101 why I have a love/hate relationship with affiliate marketing.

  20. #20
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if I should respond to this thread, but here goes...

    As a merchant I run my own program. In the past I've worked with a number of other programs, both as an AM and as more of a program architect, but long before any of that, and hopefully long after, I was and will continue to be an affiliate. I don't participate in my own program (that would be silly), but I promote a bunch of other stuff.

    I enjoy it. I've been at it for eleven years and don't feel like quitting any time soon. I hope to still be tinkering with sites in my retirement. Like many others who've been at it a while the problem isn't coming up with ideas for sites, but rather having too many ideas. I was PMing with another ABWer recently and used the phrase "so many domains, so little time..." and that's exactly it. The last thing I want to do is surf affiliate sites for ideas.

    In the past when I was consulting doing AM and program architecture, before becoming a merchant, I almost always participated as an affiliate, not to make money, but to smoke test the systems. That way, before any affiliates were recruited, I knew the systems and their issues like the back of my hand. In most cases I was also designing the systems, so had to be in there trying to break stuff, making sure the techs didn't forget about backwards compatibility with new features, and most of all making sure that a real affiliate could use the tools provided to make real money. If I could spend my own dough on PPC, do some basic SEO and start making commissions, then I felt comfortable opening the program.

    Do I agree that it can be a conflict of interest, yes it can be a huge conflict of interest. Do I think it's ever been a conflict of interest for me personally, no, not ever.

    I don't think you can draw a line and say "good" or "bad". It really depends on the situation.
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