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  1. #1
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    Good or Bad: Lack of competition on an Affiliate Network?
    Hi guys,

    If you are the only type of company in a network such as CJ or LinkShare and all or most of your competitors are on other networks, is this an advantage of disadvantage and why? I would be interested in other people's take on this... thanks!

  2. #2
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    As an example, Avantlink have a lot of merchants that cater to the outdoor enthusiast.

    If you join Avantlink as an outdoor merchant, you will have lots of affiliates who have a website that would be a perfect match.

    However, if you join a different network that has no outdoor type merchants, there may be no affiliates that are a good fit.

    Or a credit card merchant would be best joining a network that deals with credit cards

    Joining a network that does not have any merchants in your niche may seem like a great idea, but where are the affiliates that you would want promoting your program? In a different network

  3. #3
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    Hey Julian,

    Thanks for the quick reply

    Well the thing I have found is that many of the publishers/affiliates are members of multiple networks so assuming that there is no lack of affiliates to push your products/merchandise/service, do you see any advantages to being the lone merchant of your industry on a network? Or disadvantages?

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Your competition is really on the search engines getting listed via coupons, datafeeds and so on. I think it really does not matter what network you are on (even though like Julian said also depends type of category and type of affiliates out there) but eventually if you run a good program and store, affiliates will find you and with the right marketing will promote your products no matter what network or where your real competitors are on.

  5. #5
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    I guess one downfall is that it is hard to capture the competitive landscape.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    It really depends on what you're selling. If most similar offers to you are on CPA networks rather than traditional networks, maybe there's a reason for that. If it's just that your competitors are on ShareASale or Google Affiliate Network instead of CJ or Linkshare, there's probably not that huge of a difference.

  7. #7
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    I've generally held the view that you should consider which networks already have your "important" competitors. For example, more "scrapbooking product" merchants seem to congregate on ShareASale than other networks. As such, it may be easier for those merchants' existing affiliates to discover and integrate your links and products.

    However, other factors will usually be much more important, including fee structures, datafeed options, customer support (for you and for affiliates), ethics/enforcement, tools, etc. If the choice is between ShareASale and AvantLink, and one of them has 10 of your serious competitors while the other has 3, you'd probably go with the network that has 10 of your competitors. But if you find that 10 of your "serious competitors" are on LinkShare, 3 are on PepperJam, and only 1 on AvantLink or ShareASale, I think your balancing would still lead you to the latter networks.

    For me, the hardest decision would come if there were 10 competitors on Commission Junction or Google Affiliate Network -- I generally don't like these companies, but the overall balance might still favor them, if networks like AvantLink and ShareASale don't have many of your serious competitors.

    Never, never, never assume that just "being in the network" is going to bring you affiliates who matter. Most affiliates ignore the "new merchants" emails, and so even an affiliate who currently links to 10 of your competitors is likely to need strong attention and incentives to add you, even if you're in the same affiliate network.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Mark that was an excellent response. It is actually CJ I was talking about and a move from LS at that. The thing is I am not sure if the migration from LS to CJ will be worth it in the end just because competitors happen to be on CJ and not LS.

  9. #9
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramona
    ...competitors happen to be on CJ and not LS.
    If their EPC numbers are better than yours then you know the real answer.

    As for an advantage, of having competition or not, I don't see it unless it's apples to apples comparisons like hosting. Most saavy affiliates evaluate the programs on more than just a (or a few) particular selling point(s).

    Quote Originally Posted by ramona
    not sure if the migration from LS to CJ will be worth it in the end
    Initially it may not be, but it may speak to your affiliate base, and that in the end could produce the results you want. Look at the Linkshare forum then look at the CJ one, make note of the difference in tones and complaints ... there is MORE than just a little subtle difference

    A move may just be what the program needs.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    I'd say that a move from LS to CJ would probably be a good one, though you have to watch out since there probably won't be an easy way to coordinate an overlap time between the two programs being up because of LS's exclusivity agreement.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua
    I'd say that a move from LS to CJ would probably be a good one, though you have to watch out since there probably won't be an easy way to coordinate an overlap time between the two programs being up because of LS's exclusivity agreement.
    The back end can get totally set up before the switch happens and then a last email blast to the ls affiliate base and done. Not pretty, not great for the affiliates, but .... do what is best for the program.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

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