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  1. #1
    Newbie ClumsySmurf's Avatar
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    Gay Site: Will Merchants Approve?
    Hello

    I have three sites. My most popular site is a dedicated to advice, suggestions and ideas (shopping and products) for gay men. Currently, I have Adsense on that site. I would like to expand the money making ability of the site by adding merchants from networks like SAS and LS. I am already affiliated with LS on another site I have, but have not added a channel for this site. I am hesitant to sit up a channel or apply with this site to a network like SAS for fear that no merchants would approve me do to the far majority of my visitors being gay men. My question is if I were to apply could I get approved. My site is dedicated to advice, suggestions, ideas and product recommendations that may be of interest to gay men. I would like to offer my visitors links to actual merchants to follow-up on the content of my site. I am interested in a wide range of merchants. From electronics, shoes, travel, sports, gifts, furniture and so forth. Would merchants approve my site if it met their standards? If so, before I jump into this phase, I would like to know how big of an obstacle I am facing. If any merchants would be willing to approve a site with this content that met their standards, I would love to know. If you could leave a comment or if you don't want to publically state you would approve a site like mine, I think you can email. I am not sure. I know this is my third post so no PMs. I look forward to hearing from any merchant that wants to consider what I have said.


  2. #2
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    In the UK we call this the "Pink Pound" and the "Pink Pound" has a lot of spending power. Merchants will not discriminate against the gay community in general, however I would advise that you contact each merchant individually prior to applying.

    They may wish to see a business case highlighting how you intend to promote them and to reassure them that you are not in any way going to harm the perception of their Brand. In addition you also need to be careful as to the mix of merchants you intend to promote on the site so as to be mainstream and not *adult* oriented.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  3. #3
    Newbie ClumsySmurf's Avatar
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    John Jupp. Thank you for your response. I know some merchants are auto-approve. I wouldn't want to get auto-approved and then be removed simply because of the visitors that visit my site. As far as contacting each merchant, that is what I would like to avoid if possible. My sites are very clean and family-friendly. By that I mean if your 10 year old came across my site, there is nothing at all 'offensive' that you would need to worry about him seeing. In fact, he will probably see the word 'gay' less on my site that he does written on the bathroom wall at his school. I have never even used a profane word, nor will I ever. At least not on my sites.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    A merchant can decide to decline an affiliate, it is their choice.

    However, if your site is a good quality site, then catering to gay men should not stop your site from being treated any differently than any other good quality site.

    Build a good site, and lots of merchants will accept you.

  5. #5
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    As John and Julian have said, gay men are a viable audience with a lot of spending power. I can't imagine any merchant wishing to ignore, much less discriminate against this important demographic.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  6. #6
    Affiliate Network Rep ayakobing's Avatar
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    We do not auto-approve anyone and please feel free to e-mail me with the URL for me to give you a feedback.

    Good luck!
    Ayako

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Sheri's Avatar
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    1) I agree what others have said that gay men have tremendous buying power so I think that relevant merchants would be foolish not to approve

    2) As long as your content and site are within their Terms and Conditions then they should approve

    3) If they don't approve because they have an issue with your site being "gay", then you don't want to promote their products anyway.

    Sheri

  8. #8
    Newbie JeffCliff's Avatar
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    I feel that declining a website oriented at gay men would be blatant sexism.
    As long as the content of your site contains nothing illegal, you should have no problems.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager Maddy Mac's Avatar
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    Hey ClumsySmurf,

    I wouldn't be too quick to assume that merchants will decline your application just because your sites are geared towards the gay community. It is a viable market that has great potential as others have already pointed out. I know that at CSN Stores we would not do that, and have actually partnered with many affiliates who run sites that are geared towards all different types of GBTL communities. The only reason I would reject a site is if it is inappropriate (i.e. pornographic) and I have yet to come across a site like that among all our applicants, so feel free to check out CSN Stores via SAS. I'd love to take a look at your sites; you've piqued my curiosity!

    Best of luck

  10. #10
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Look at it this way - if a merchant doesn't want to do business with you because of the site's content, then you probably wouldn't want to do business with them either!

    Ditto John about the pink pound. It's a target market with a higher than average disposable income.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  11. #11
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Do you generate all of the content on your site or do you have forums, blogs, photo/video sharing anywhere?

    As long as you control the content, I don't see a problem. If you have any user generated content, then you will need to monitor what is posted.
    [URL=http://www.investeverymonth.com]InvestEveryMonth.com[/URL] - Build Wealth

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by OICUAM2
    Do you generate all of the content on your site or do you have forums, blogs, photo/video sharing anywhere?

    As long as you control the content, I don't see a problem. If you have any user generated content, then you will need to monitor what is posted.

    That applies to any site

  13. #13
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    I understand your concern but I do believe that many merchants wouldn't penalize you. Gay men are a targeted demographic and shoppers are shoppers.
    Maybe a religous based site might not want to affiliate with you but I would assume that most sites wouldn't turn you away.

    I have a dating blog and I have placed banners from gay dating sites before. I still continue to be accepted into new programs at the same rate as I did prior to joining the gay dataing site.

    I also had similar concerns as you. I had fears about what others would think.
    In the end I decided to what I beleived was right for me. As a heterosexual male who supports gay rights, I wanted to show that my actions lived up to what I beleived.

    That's just my opinion.

  14. #14
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    I think everyone here is correct that most merchants would be happy to have a site that caters to gay men as a demographic. In some states, it is even illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

    But the "real issue," I think, is the potential for classification as an "adult web site" by some merchants (and most merchants, even including some merchants who sell undergarments or sex toys) do prohibit "adult web sites"). If your site includes discussion forums that might include questionable content (perhaps "frank discussions of sexual issues" or personals-ads), or articles or other materials that are not suitable for minors, you'll probably be rejected by many merchants.

    My usual advice to web publishers who offer a mix of information that includes "G", "PG," and "PG-13" content as well as "R" and "adults-only" content, is to consider moving the "mature" content to a separate web site (with appropriate content and filtering tags on the 'mature audience' site).

    This is not a new problem; every "advice" and "information" site that deals with issues and questions about sex (and relationships) experiences this issue. I spoke with several publishers in the late 1990's on this topic, and I'm not sure the answers are any easier or clearer today.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    "would like to know how big of an obstacle I am facing."

    Just my opinion, but don't think it'll be a problem either. Agree with what the others have said. bibby does make a good point, tho. You may have a problem gettin approved with some religious sites but other than those kinda sites, doubt you'll have a problem. May be an individual site maybe but doubt there'd be very many......and if they do agree with the others that they'd be missing out on a lotta possible sales.

    In the UK we call this the "Pink Pound"

    I learn somethin new from you guys all the time. I love your sayings......don't necessarily understand em all the time but they do amuse me.

    Good luck ClumsySmurf
    love that name, too. lol

  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager FriendlyPlanetTravel's Avatar
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    Absolutely. As a merchant why would we have a problem with a quality site? In fact gay/lesbian targeted tours are already on our drawing board. (We currently do custom group tours for groups of friends,organizations, etc and have done a number of tours for gay/lesbian groups)

  17. #17
    Newbie ClumsySmurf's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the information, advice and kind words. I wish I could respond to each of you, but it has been a long day. I have been working and preparing my garden for spring planting. I am afraid I would fall asleep at the keyboard if I responded to each comment individually.

    Again, let me thank all of you. It is people like you that make this world a better place and make the world of the affiliate programs so enjoyable.

    For the merchants and affiliate managers, I will be contacting you in the near future and look forward to a great partnership, if my site qualifies for your program. I fully understand my site will not be of interest to all, but to others it will an opportunity for them to reach a group of potential customers that are just waiting for someone to cater to them in a more open manner. They have money to spend and you have products and services to sell. A match made in heaven.

    Just to let everyone know, there is nothing 'adult' or 'sexual' about my site. I think even the MPAA would give my site a rating of 'G'. Maybe 'PG'. If they rated it any high than that, I would know they typed in the wrong web address and had reviewed the wrong site.

    This forum is so amazing to me. Great advice. Great information. But more importantly, great people. Thank you all again.

  18. #18
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Jupp
    In the UK we call this the "Pink Pound" and the "Pink Pound" has a lot of spending power. Merchants will not discriminate against the gay community in general, however I would advise that you contact each merchant individually prior to applying.

    They may wish to see a business case highlighting how you intend to promote them and to reassure them that you are not in any way going to harm the perception of their Brand. In addition you also need to be careful as to the mix of merchants you intend to promote on the site so as to be mainstream and not *adult* oriented.
    Definitely agree, our merchants are all happy to have their products promoted to every targeted market. And it comes down to the quality of the site and the site adding value.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
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  19. #19
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    I think if you do it in a tasteful way, you shouldn't have issues. Checkout orbitz.com as they have travel for gay. Their AM is a member of abestweb too. Any golf section on your site

  20. #20
    Affiliate Network Rep ayakobing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClumsySmurf
    For the merchants and affiliate managers, I will be contacting you in the near future and look forward to a great partnership, if my site qualifies for your program.
    Same here! Looking forward to chatting with you soon

    Have a great weekend,
    Ayako

  21. #21
    Outsourced Program Manager TrishaLyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    (and most merchants, even including some merchants who sell undergarments or sex toys) do prohibit "adult web sites").
    That kills me

    I never would have even considered that a site catering to gay men was more than just a demographic choice. I'd even venture to say that the "average" affiliate manager might not even noticed that's your demographic on first examination of the site (unless it's written very largely and plainly somewhere) and may just see an advice site.

    I wouldn't think you'd actually have many problems getting approved, but if you do apply for programs and get declined I'd highly encourage you to contact the manager of the program and ask for reconsideration, or at least an explanation. If you start to see a lot of declines it's imperative to ask the question... maybe there's one or two features specifically that merchants aren't comfortable with that you could easily address. Of course that's just an example and I don't think you'll even have to worry about that, but just in case...

  22. #22
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  23. #23
    Banned Snowfinch's Avatar
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    Yelp. This is me on my brothers account telling him what to write. I love the Smurfs.

  24. #24
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    promoting your sites
    we are in the process of developing a gay dating site , we have mainstream dating sites and we are going to go live with a gay site soon. so keep me in mind and hopefully we can help one another in the months to come. we have affiliate programs also. thank chris

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