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  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager Affiliate Eagle's Avatar
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    Need Your Feedback Please: As An Affiliate What Do You?
    Hello Everyone,

    From time to time I like to open up threads on different topics regarding our industry and tonight I thought I would throw out there a really quick but important question that I think will only add to our overall knowledge of the different factors an affiliate considers before supporting a merchant program.

    From our experience, we know that affiliates consider working with the right merchant, OPM or Affiliate Manager and network as being a key factor in the decision making process, but are there either more important factors or areas just as important that you quickly look for when making this decision?

    I would like to encourage any affiliates to please respond with their top three most important factors. Please exclude the ones I already mentioned above, in your answers. Thanks for the feedback, look forward to your comments.
    Emilio Yepez
    Affiliate Program Manager
    www.lighthouseinternetmedia.com
    PH: 305 389 8955
    AIM: affiliateagle
    Email: emilio@lighthouseinternetmedia.com
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  2. #2
    Outsourced Program Manager Affiliate Eagle's Avatar
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    Just in case you missed it!
    Emilio Yepez
    Affiliate Program Manager
    www.lighthouseinternetmedia.com
    PH: 305 389 8955
    AIM: affiliateagle
    Email: emilio@lighthouseinternetmedia.com
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  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    For me, the biggest factor is how well the merchant fits into my site. If I have a site about hiking gear, it doesn't matter how good of an OPM is running the program--a cosmetics merchant just isn't going to make it to first base.

    I think that's one of the differentiators for good OPMs, though. They will know what niches each of their affiliates work in and will go after the affiliates that are the best match.

    After that, it's a combination of all of the affiliate friendly policies. A merchant with a good OPM on a good network will invariably have good marks in virtually every area, though, so those are the first merchants I look at in a niche.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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  4. #4
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    What Michael said. :-)

    Plus, a decent commission - there are merchants who I could work with but who offer less than an adequate commission percentage - they are likely to never make it onto my pages or, if it's one of those nasty ol' "big brand" merchants, I'll add a link because my visitors might think they want to shop there but otherwise, I won't "promote" them. They don't need me to "promote" them anyway. LOL

    If a merchant is a perfect fit on my site but fails to convert, they're gone. Even with a great OPM - I have found that many merchants converted just fine and then take on an OPM to manage things which kills the conversions. Go figure - even with *good* OPMs. No clue why - would love to figure it out though. :-)

    And sometimes, I don't trust an OPM who is also an affiliate so I stay away from the programs they manage. I've seen my ideas that were making me money on OPM affiliate sites after they saw that I was converting with those keywords by promoting one of their merchants.

    This post is turning into a quasi rant. Sorry. I'll stop since I'm not really contributing anything constructive but maybe some food for thought so I won't delete the post.

    *pressing submit with a heavy heart* LOL
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  5. #5
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    Rexanne, your insight is always good to read.

  6. #6
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Agree with Rexanne, conversions are vital. I'd look at that being a product of a couple other specifics, if the merchant is competitive with other merchants with the same products. I can send a million visitors a day to a merchant that has over priced products and get 0 conversions that do no one any good. Also cookie life... I've seen the argument that most purchases are done during the first visit or first day, but 1 hour cookies or the like kills a program for me, too many people go to a site find what they want but still compare prices at other sites.

    Ease of contacting the people running the program. I like to easily find multiple ways of contacting them, phone, email or IM. If you've got a program don't make it difficult to contact you about it, publicly post every possible way you can be contacted.
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  7. #7
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    The right product, or line of products, at the right price. Commission percentage is only a secondary consideration, as 5% commission on a sale of any amount is better than higher percentage of nothing when the customer buys the same thing elsewhere at the lower price.

    I couldnt give less of a damn about who manages or doesnt manage a vendor's program so long as sales are tracked reliably and payment is made as promised.
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  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emilio-ARC
    are there either more important factors or areas just as important that you quickly look for when making this decision?
    What others said.

    Plus

    No leaks.
    No 1800 numbers.(Unless they offer phone tracking)

  9. #9
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julian
    Rexanne, your insight is always good to read.
    Thank you Julian
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  10. #10
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Top Three?

    #1 What Michael said - merchant has to be a "fit" for what it is that I do.

    #2 What Rexanne said - Commission structure has to be worthwhile and conversions have to "make it" worthwhile.

    #3 My add-on - Merchant must have good ethics - not allow affiliates into their program that attempt to "poach" or "take" earned commissions from other affiliates. Having parasites and/or toolbar affiliates in a program will keep me out of that program program. It used to be I checked for a merchant's presence in Ebates or Upromise. Now I also check the "newer" poacher, FatWallet because of their toolbar activities. If a merchant works with any or all of those three I will not work with them.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  11. #11
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Top three is tough, unfortunately my merchant selection is still more art than science. For the most part I try to incorporate most of what others have said that they use for selection criteria.

    However, there is another criteria that I use that hasn't been mentioned yet, the merchants reputation on ABW. I've gotten into the habit of doing a search for merchants here before I even consider applying to their programs. I look for any issues regarding reversals, unfriendly or abusive terms, leaks, how they respond to issues and test purchase reports. More than once I've been able to avoid merchants that looked good on the surface just by doing a simple search. By the same token, I've joined merchants that I normally would have overlooked because of very positive reviews here.

    So I guess the bottom line for me is, regardless of what other criteria I use to select merchants, reputation eventually figures in to the selection process.

    -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

  12. #12
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    ......However, there is another criteria that I use that hasn't been mentioned yet, the merchants reputation on ABW.......
    Duh (on my part)! Yes, absolutely!

    I suppose I'm on here (ABW) so much that I overlooked the obvious. I certainly do regard comments about a merchant here at ABW as a big part of determining whether that merchant is worth considering - or not.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager
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    Thanks for starting this thread. As a merchant, it always helps to know what affiliates are looking for.

  14. #14
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    Duh (on my part)! Yes, absolutely!

    I suppose I'm on here (ABW) so much that I overlooked the obvious. I certainly do regard comments about a merchant here at ABW as a big part of determining whether that merchant is worth considering - or not.
    I think most of us rely on ABW more than we realize on a day to day basis. So much so that we just tend to take it for granted. Everyday we gather small bits of information that we store away for a later date.

    For me, ABW is a no-brainer, just about everyone that I trust and respect in this industry is here. If a program doesn't pass the ABW test, none of the other criteria matter.

    -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

  15. #15
    Network Rep & ABW Ambassador Carolyn - ShareASale's Avatar
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    ditto what slowcooker said. Fo' sho! Keep it coming please

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Stephanie Lichtenstein's Avatar
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    I am glad Emilio posted this. I love hearing feedback from our affiliate partners on what they look for in a merchant. I agree once you know your affiliate partners you will know which niche programs will work for them in particular. Thanks everyone we look forward to hearing more "must haves" for merchant partners.
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  17. #17
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    Two years ago, I posted an article, "What factors do affiliates consider? (when considering which merchants' programs to join and promote)"

    Reviewing that article now, I can't think of anything new I'd add, other than to agree with Matt and others that a merchant's reputation on ABW is a factor I do consider.

    Added: Oops, I thought I had included much more discussion about parasites, but it certainly doesn't appear on that page. I definitely agree that many affiliates do look at a merchants' inclusion of "parasitic" affliates as a factor.
    Last edited by markwelch; June 12th, 2009 at 01:18 PM.

  18. #18
    Outsourced Program Manager Affiliate Eagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    For me, the biggest factor is how well the merchant fits into my site. If I have a site about hiking gear, it doesn't matter how good of an OPM is running the program--a cosmetics merchant just isn't going to make it to first base.

    I think that's one of the differentiators for good OPMs, though. They will know what niches each of their affiliates work in and will go after the affiliates that are the best match.

    After that, it's a combination of all of the affiliate friendly policies. A merchant with a good OPM on a good network will invariably have good marks in virtually every area, though, so those are the first merchants I look at in a niche.
    Thanks Michael, I totally get it and I think its something managers forget. I really value your opinion on this post we are trying to refine our process and better guage the kind if merchants we look to work with.
    Emilio Yepez
    Affiliate Program Manager
    www.lighthouseinternetmedia.com
    PH: 305 389 8955
    AIM: affiliateagle
    Email: emilio@lighthouseinternetmedia.com
    Follow Me On My Twitter


    Programs Managed - Join Now! | Navarro.com|| OneWayFurniture | OnlyKidsHangers | EverythingHangers.com | RejuvByCaci.com |

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