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  1. #1
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    Should I ask vendor for this?
    With some trepidation I am posting my first real thread and question.

    I have made it somewhat looping and complex because that's how my mind works. Also I think that loopyness won't matter at all since abestwebbers are possessed of boundless mental agility.

    Also, to divert before even getting to the point... (What a GREAT idea!)
    I was just previously reading this thread "Consider it a job interiew...":
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...9&page=1&pp=25
    ...which seems kind of related. Moreover I will allude to it once more before the end of this post.

    My question is this.
    At what point would it be okay for me (newbie affiliate) to ask for something from a vendor?

    In particular, here are the particulars:
    - I promote Brand_X software on my site.
    - My visitors like free trials
    - Brand-X encourages publishers to offer free trials.
    - But Brand-X has done nothing to ensure that affiliates get paid when/if free-trialers become buyers.

    Last month, when I saw 20 free trial downloads of Brand-X my site (AKA free advertising for vendor) I almost contacted vendor to say "How about we affiliates actually get paid if these people buy the software?"

    But my newbie lacks of confidence made me think that vendor is probably far too busy to hear from 20-per-month-downloads affiliates. After all, vendor probably has a score of affiliates sending $20,000 a day in sales.

    But THIS month it's 200 downloads (AKA free advertising) from my site.

    But STILL my newbie lacks of confidence kick in: making me think things like "If I want to be taken seriously I had better wait until it gets up to 2 THOUSAND or 2 MILLION downloads before I contact them. Then they will talk."

    One of the confusions for me, the newbie, is about quantities.
    I get this feeling that I have no idea of the quantities we talk about and what they mean.

    I mean, when vendors say things such as "Join our program - top affiliates are making $4,000 a day..."
    Then they also say "If there is anything you need just ask..."

    Well, WHO should ask?
    Just anybody? Brand new affiliates? Only affiliates that are selling $4,000 a day?

    And then my moaning sets in. How can I (and why should I) promote this thing if I don't know how many triers turn into buyers? I have no stats and I have no revenue.

    A related point is this: with software, every visitor would prefer to get a free trial first. Vendor can easily propogate a dozen flashing gifs sayng 'Buy Now!' - but nobody wants to 'buy now' if they also have the option of a free trial.

    Talking about quantities...
    Another example: a newsletter I subscribe to used to say proudly in 2007 "We can put your ad on 60,000 sites". I'm sure I saw an email from them last month that said "We will put your ad on A BILLION sites".


    How it all relates to that other thread... "Consider it a job interiew...":
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...9&page=1&pp=25

    ...is because that thread raised a lot of questions such as: 'Should affiliates be screened? - and how?'; 'Are affiliates like employees?'; 'Are affiliates partners?' etc.

    "Screened" makes me think: I'm already giving you 200 per month free-triallers - can we talk?

    "Partners" makes me think: if I'm a partner you might give me a free trial file with my affiliate ID in it.

    This could probably have been expressed with more focus. I'll have to make my usual excuse - 'It's late and I'm tired' - and trust to the ever-patient abestwebbers to help the newbie get some perspective.

    Now, if I say here that I click the submit button with trepidation (which is true), that should nicely loopy-link this final paragraph with the first one. So say what you like - but you can't say I didn't put some effort into composition and structure.

  2. #2
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    What is your affiliate cookie duration here? That is very key. If the cookies only last 48 hours or even 2 weeks, then those free trials will almost never trigger a commission-able sale on a 30 day trial product.

    And even if the cookie length is the same as the free trial period, the user may have NAV or some other "helper" removing tracking cookies on their computer. Cookies just don't hold up like they used to.

    My own personal experience with free trial software is that they NEVER converted after the user downloaded. I only tried a few different products, the wrong ones obviously.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  3. #3
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    You have traffic that is only looking for free stuff, that will be hard to turn them into buyers. If you have traffic that is looking to buy and you are giving them a free trial, then as said, check the cookie legnth, contact the aff manager and see if those trials have been converting and at the end of the day, look for a merchant that sells what you are offering without a free trial and just get the buyers instead of the lookers.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    You should be able to ask the vendor just about any question related to the program, regardless of the number of sales per month. All honest affiliates are gold, or they should be.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

  5. #5
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    Hi Cheesehead and thanks for replying,

    I certainly agree with your point about cookies.

    In my case-in-question the vendor has a 30-day trial and 90-day cookie. Should be good - you would think.

    But the vendor is global, hooked up with diverse affiliate platforms and payment processors. I can see (from trying it for myself) that a tryer-buyer of my hosted executable goes 'elsewhere' (somewhere in Europe) at payment time.

    So in this case the question of cookies is not the central issue: the issue is this: is my aff ID and afiliate platform/relationship coded into the free trial download?
    Well, for Brand-X I know that it's NOT coded in.

    Sheesh - every question just brings up more questions.

    The affiliate manager on [name-not-mentioned-aff-platform] told me that Brand-X could not guarantee payments from trials for 'technical reasons'.
    Which makes me think: "What's so hard about this?"

    And it makes me think about that other main question I had: at what point could I ask vendor for a properly-coded free trial version for myself?

    But you also bring up another you say that, in your experience, free trial users never became buyers.

    That's a big warning sign to me. I'd love to hear a spread of opinion about that from experienced members here.

    If it's a frequent phenomenon I just want to know WHY. Is it because:
    - offering free trials on your site just attracts freebie-hunters who will never buy
    - cookies can't relied on
    - vendors can't really be bothered to give affiliates trial software that has the aff ID and payment processor details encoded.

    Well, I know that last one is not always true: on the DigitaRiver platforms (I use them) some vendors make the effort get 'certified' for affiliates- which means that their free trials have aff IDs and payment method coded into the free trial executable.

    The way I'm thinking now is this: the first reputable vendor I identify who offers trackable free trials will be lodged in those 'sweet spots' on my site and get the 200 downloads per month.

    Anyway thanks for replying and negotiating my loopy post.
    For some reason everything about this business seems to involve juggling several questions at once.
    I hoped I could rely on the mental agility of abestwebbers and it's working out well so far..

  6. #6
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    Not all vendors have the capability to track Affiliate IDs attached to a trial, so you are indeed better off working with one that is capable of doing that. And yes, a lot of freebie hunters never buy.

    To one of your original questions, you can always ask any merchant or manager anything, whether they can accommodate you may not have anything to do with your status with them, but with their own technical capabilities. What my merchants can provide, other merchants may not be able too, and vis versa.

    But that shouldn't stop you from asking.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  7. #7
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    And thanks Greg and Loxly.

    Greg,
    That's very encouraging. I have an idea in my head of affiliate program managers as distant imperious masters of millions of transactions and countless squillions of dollars - people who would have no time for newbie amateurs. I know that picture is not quite right - and everyone must have started from somewhere. Being here helps me get things into perspective.

    Loxly,
    I accept your point about freebie-hunters. And I have no problem finding merchants without free trials, but when I'm recommending software I just can't bring myself to tell visitors to 'Buy Now!' when they could have the free trial option.

    For example, I saw your thread last week about Windows Defender. You must have noticed that when people talk about the security software some say 'Brand-A is terrible, slowed my system down'; another says 'Brand-A is great, sleek and fast. Use it: you won't regret it.'

    Well, that's how it is: with software, what works for one person doesn't work for another People will want to try before they buy. And I'm going to have to figure out how that's going to work on my site.

    That said, thank you so much for your input. If I had a dollar for every time I thought to myself
    'I wish I had a different kind of site - about art and decoration - and could recommend Loxly's gallery...'
    then I would, right now, have over $100 extra in my bank just for wishing and thinking.

  8. #8
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    The affiliate manager on [name-not-mentioned-aff-platform] told me that Brand-X could not guarantee payments from trials for 'technical reasons'.
    If they can't track the sale, maybe they should pay out on the download...
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  9. #9
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    Thanks! But like you pointed out, what works for some webmasters doesn't work for others, so I appreciate you wanting to sell our art and maybe someday you will be inspired to create a site that it would work on. But if that isn't your strength, don't do it

    I love trial software, but for every 10 programs I "try" I may only buy 1. Or none. And most of the software I do use, I bought it without a trial. I bought it because it had features I needed and someone maybe said it did those things for them. So for me, for software, I buy what people tell me works. So maybe for your site, focus on software that people have reviewed and told why it specifically works for them. Show tutorials instead of free trials. Show demos. Show the software actually in action (videos or screenshots or screencasts). Just some more ideas...
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

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