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  1. #1
    Newbie wishgiving's Avatar
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    Approving Affiliates Questions
    Hello,

    I'm new to ShareASale, and we've had some affiliates sign up since our recent launch. I'd like to ask some of the experienced merchants about what to look for when we approve affiliates to join our program.

    For example, how important is their rating? Is a negative score always bad? And coupon sites- should we consider them?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback!

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager lisa4va's Avatar
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    Can't really speak on the importance of ratings/scores in SAS but I thought this post was fairly helpful when determining our "coupon" strategy:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=119391

    I also found a post here at ABW by a forum member that described a type of "points system" for approving affiliates (huge THANKS for sharing). I have since searched for this post to bookmark but no luck Luckily I took notes.

    The post outlined a few "red flags" along with some important areas to consider when approving affiliates, assuming you have chosen manual approval rather than auto approve.

    I'll repost what I have.

    The affiliate begins with 15 points and points are deducted for the following -
    Free email: -1
    Free Website: -1
    Invalid Phone #: -4
    Proxy IP: -2
    Poorly written english: -1
    Invalid Address: -1
    "Scammy" website: -1
    email doesnt match domain: -1

    I believe 11 points and below was considered unacceptible by this particular merchant.

    Other things you may want to take into consideration...quality site design, top level domains, projected ability to drive traffic...

    Any one wanna take credit for this "Points System" and direct us back to the original post?

    Lisa4va

  3. #3
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisa4va
    Can't really speak on the importance of ratings/scores in SAS but I thought this post was fairly helpful when determining our "coupon" strategy:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=119391

    I also found a post here at ABW by a forum member that described a type of "points system" for approving affiliates (huge THANKS for sharing). I have since searched for this post to bookmark but no luck Luckily I took notes.

    The post outlined a few "red flags" along with some important areas to consider when approving affiliates, assuming you have chosen manual approval rather than auto approve.

    I'll repost what I have.

    The affiliate begins with 15 points and points are deducted for the following -
    Free email: -1
    Free Website: -1
    Invalid Phone #: -4
    Proxy IP: -2
    Poorly written english: -1
    Invalid Address: -1
    "Scammy" website: -1
    email doesnt match domain: -1

    I believe 11 points and below was considered unacceptible by this particular merchant.

    Other things you may want to take into consideration...quality site design, top level domains, projected ability to drive traffic...

    Any one wanna take credit for this "Points System" and direct us back to the original post?

    Lisa4va
    This is absurd.

    As Groucho Marx said, "I wouldn't want to join any club that would have me as a member". A merchant that basis such decisions on a point system like this is just plain stupid.

    Just when do you consider things like success at actually attracting visitors and selling products?
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound
    This is absurd.

    As Groucho Marx said, "I wouldn't want to join any club that would have me as a member". A merchant that basis such decisions on a point system like this is just plain stupid.

    Just when do you consider things like success at actually attracting visitors and selling products?
    Well, it depends on what the merchant wants. If the merchant wants only professionals, it is a very good point system. And to an extent it correlates with success as affiliates. Anybody who can't afford to pay for the basics isn't making much money so far. In fact, with the cost of the basics as low as it is, most people should be able to create a "professional" site, with email to match. Is it possible that somebody who didn't bother to do this has developed a site with a lot of buying visitors? Yes, it's possible. But dealing in percentages, this point system will keep the number of affiliates down and will probably exclude only a few who might have made a major contribution. It also increases the chances that you can find the affiliate easily, should you need to contact him in the future. Free email addresses are often changed (to eliminate spam); free web hosting is often changed after disasters (down time, bad performance); bad phone numbers are ... not a good sign either. Etc.

    So, if you have plenty of prospects who make the point cut, and you are happy with the number of affiliates you have and the business they are driving, then this can work for you. If you don't use a point system like this, you will have ten times as many prospects to evaluate, and you may not have the time for it.

    And, taking a look at web sites and evaluating them takes a lot of time, so having 100 to review is a lot more manageable than 1000.

    Or, take everybody and deal with that! Each affilaite manager/merchant must decide what he has the time to do, and manage their program accordingly.

  5. #5
    http and a telephoto
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    Shareasale doesn't give you access to the affiliate's email, IP or phone number so those points won't work. That points system will only work with CPA networks that actually show that information. It actually looks like a CPA network checklist.

    Go to their website listed in their profile, if it isn't appropriate, send them a message from within Shareasale and ask them where the will promote you. Base your decision on their reply, or lack of it, and whether their site is a good fit. But don't make assumptions totally based on the sites listed in their profile.

    Feedback is good to take into consideration, but if there is none that you can read, then you might want to ask the affiliate about it (if they have a negative rating).

    Coupon sites: The link above is good to read. You have to decide if it fits in your business plan and if you want to put restrictions or requirements in place. Those would need to be added to your Terms of Service.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shuvee
    Each affilaite manager/merchant must decide what he has the time to do, and manage their program accordingly.[/left]
    Read and consider what Loxly said.

    You are looking for shortcuts to short-change affiliates based on ridiculous assumptions.

    As I said before, I would not be part of an affiliate program that I knew followed a narrow-minded check list process. I KNOW that they would follow the same rigidity in other aspects of their program, such as insufficient production (based on another check list, no doubt) = bye-bye.

    Q: How can you tell an email is free or not? Years ago I started with a free yahoo email and eventually changed to a paid upgrade, but I see no way to tell the difference based on addys, etc. Also, twice now I have tried out site ideas with a real cheap $1/month system, and after they demonstrated potential, changed them to real sites with real hosting, with real success.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager lisa4va's Avatar
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    Hey all,
    To clarify, I don't think the acceptance of affiliate applications is a black and white issue. As usual there are always grey areas and I think every affiliate should be given consideration on an individual basis.

    This was only one merchants screening process but the points system gives new merchants a good idea of what characterisitics could potentially lead to bad/unethical affiliates, especially when combined.

    Shareasale doesn't give you access to the affiliate's email, IP or phone number so those points won't work. That points system will only work with CPA networks that actually show that information. It actually looks like a CPA network checklist.
    You may be right loxly. It could have been a CPA Network checklist. It seems like it was a Good/Bad affiliates type post. Regardless ShareASale does eliminate a lot of the worry associated with application approvals for new merchants by not allowing the parasites anyway.

    As I said before, I would not be part of an affiliate program that I knew followed a narrow-minded check list process. I KNOW that they would follow the same rigidity in other aspects of their program, such as insufficient production (based on another check list, no doubt) = bye-bye.

    I referred to these points as red flags, not deal breakers. Most merchants don't set out to run a "rigid" program however there are only so many red flags one can overlook before their asking for problems. And drawing conclusions on other aspects such as the merchants production based on their affiliate requirements is a bit of a stretch.

    Q: Would you prefer the alternative? Being part of a program that runs by the seat of it's pants, accepting any application with the alphabet on it? It would be the affiliate who suffered. I'm not seeing anything to be gained by the merchant either by running this type of program, unless you are in a select few markets. It seems as though the few extra dollars in sales wouldn't make up for the decrease in affiliates when they learn what kind of program your running.

    Cookie stuffing, dirty toolbars, Complaints from my other affiliates = C YA

    lisa4va

  8. #8
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisa4va
    Cookie stuffing, dirty toolbars, Complaints from my other affiliates = C YA

    lisa4va
    THAT is what affiliate managers need to be looking for to keep out of their programs. With your point system, you lose a couple of points for having a commission-stealing toolbar, but if you have an expensive email system and a smooth-looking site, you get enough points to get it.

    And YES - ams who use a point system like this WILL be terminating affiliates for equally stupid reasons.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  9. #9
    Newbie wishgiving's Avatar
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    First of all, thank you everyone for your sincere feedback. It's truly a comfort to know that people are discussing the pros and cons of affiliate practices before committing the actions.

    Since the initial post, we've looked through ABestWeb posts, read Geno's excellent Affiliate Management book, and spoke with ShareASale representatives to fine tune our approval processes.

    Lisa4eva, thank you for the suggestions. I agree with certain points, such as websites with illegal or bad conotent. At this point, we don't use a points system. However, we do consider a lot of advice given by Geno, and helpful ShareASale representatives. For example, we are strictly parasite-free, and we don't consider sites with illegal content.

    Loxly, AffiliateHound and shuvee, I truly appreciate the feedback. I'll definitely take these things into consideration, and forward these points to our affiliate manager (who should be joining this forum soon!)

    Since we care about establishing one-on-one relationships w/ our affiliates, we do look at EVERY site that applies. And as Loxly kindly suggested, our affiliate manager does contact sites via ShareASale that are new, or don't seem to be a fit initially to ask them more about their sites. Usually, they're very friendly and they reply with a short note about their plans.

    Again, thanks for replying with excellent feedback! Looking forward to learning and contributing!

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