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  1. #1
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    How to pick which affiliate network? Your help is appreciated.
    Hey every one,


    I am a merchant and would like to start an affiliate program but am unsure what network to start it in. If you could answer a few questions, I would really appreciate it.


    1. What criteria do you take into consideration when picking a network to start your program in?

    2. In your opinion, what is the best network for a merchant who sells high-priced tangible items ($500 - $3,000)



    I really appreciate the wisdom and advice.



    Thanks,
    Mark McCoy

  2. #2
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    You're bound to get a few different opinions on this, but my best advice would be to find a network that:

    a) has other successful merchants in your vertical
    b) treats merchants and affiliates fairly (search here and you'll learn more)
    c) has start up fees and transaction fees you're willing to deal with

    Take a strong look at A. They have the affiliates you want. B will satisfy most of the active posters on this forum. If C falls into place too, well, then you're in business.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    Personally, I would use my own affiliate software and then pay for a forum here at abestweb.

    The reason I would use my own, is that your able to do simple mod-rewrites on your affiliate URLS (the urls you hand out to your affiliates) that can have a tremendous results in SEO.

    Negative side: If you housing your affiliate software there is no 3rd party to make sure I get credit for the sale.

    So maybe setup at shareasale and have an inhouse solution (if that is allowed)

  4. #4
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    I would check out and compare Avantlink and ShareASale.

  5. #5
    http and a telephoto
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    Affiliates are not going to be very likely to join new inhouse programs, I would not recommend going that route unless you have a large number of people already interested in promoting your site and product.

    If you do a search here on "Choosing a Network" you will find several very relevant threads to help you with your decision.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Mark what is your product or service?

  7. #7
    CPA Network Rep Essociate's Avatar
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    it is very dependent on what you are selling.

    also fees and requirements vary by network, so your business' needs matter in the decision making process.
    [URL]http://Essociate.com[/URL]

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    Mark what is your product or service?
    We sell high-end diamond jewelry.

    Our items sell for $500 - $2,000. The average being about $850.


    Any additional advice would be very much appreciated. And thanks to every one who replied with advice.



    Thanks,
    Mark McCoy

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by netnow22
    Personally, I would use my own affiliate software and then pay for a forum here at abestweb.

    The reason I would use my own, is that your able to do simple mod-rewrites on your affiliate URLS (the urls you hand out to your affiliates) that can have a tremendous results in SEO.

    Negative side: If you housing your affiliate software there is no 3rd party to make sure I get credit for the sale.

    So maybe setup at ShareASale and have an inhouse solution (if that is allowed)
    This may sound good for the merchant but most of your affiliates will either not care or hate this idea, unless you're compensating them for the SEO benefit. Affiliates like to get paid for their effort. If the merchant gains by the SEO results but the affiliate does not, where is the win-win?

    In house programs usually take longer to ramp up and are more work recruiting affiliates. Unless you're a large company or well respected name, that affiliates can and will trust, stick with a network for now.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

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

  10. #10
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Mark, do you have an affiliate account at the top networks: CJ, GAN, LS, SAS? Check to see what your competitors are offering, its called a competitive analysis.

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    You're bound to get a few different opinions on this, but my best advice would be to find a network that:

    a) has other successful merchants in your vertical
    b) treats merchants and affiliates fairly (search here and you'll learn more)
    c) has start up fees and transaction fees you're willing to deal with

    Take a strong look at A. They have the affiliates you want. B will satisfy most of the active posters on this forum. If C falls into place too, well, then you're in business.
    I can't add much more to what Kevin has said here.

    We are on ShareASale and love them. Our products are not as high-end as yours, but they are fairly expensive in relation to most affiliate programs.

    Here is what I can offer, based on only my own experience...

    I have never had an affiliate say "I won't sign-up with you because you are on ShareASale." I have had numerous affiliates say that they have had bad experiences with other networks.

    For what it's worth...
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  12. #12
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    Thanks every one for all the great advice.

    After reading this thread and A LOT of other threads..as well as doing my own research on my competitors..I think SAS is the best way to go. I haven't seen one bad review from merchants or affiliates.

    Thanks for all the help.

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager Ian H - TicketLiquidator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by netnow22
    Personally, I would use my own affiliate software and then pay for a forum here at abestweb.

    The reason I would use my own, is that your able to do simple mod-rewrites on your affiliate URLS (the urls you hand out to your affiliates) that can have a tremendous results in SEO.

    Negative side: If you housing your affiliate software there is no 3rd party to make sure I get credit for the sale.

    So maybe setup at ShareASale and have an inhouse solution (if that is allowed)


    Please pardon my ignorance (I'm new to this) but what d'you mean by "the urls you hand out to your affiliates"? Do you mean tracking URL's or d'you mean actually giving affiliates search-relevant URLs for websites that they will set up?

    Thanks.
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=Navy][FONT=Arial]Ian Hough.
    Affiliate Program Manager, TicketLiquidator.com.
    Contact: [email]ianh@ticketliquidator.com[/email][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
    Don't let your work go to waste. Sign up and get paid for all sales: [B]Onsales[/B], last-minute, etc.

  14. #14
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    You'll find most affiliates aren't very keen on the idea of their affiliate links giving merchants SEO benefits. We get paid for sales, and if you're getting more than just sales out of us without additional compensation, we feel used.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager Ian H - TicketLiquidator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    You'll find most affiliates aren't very keen on the idea of their affiliate links giving merchants SEO benefits. We get paid for sales, and if you're getting more than just sales out of us without additional compensation, we feel used.

    So that means padding the commission, then, right?

    But the URL question - do some merchants actually own URLs that they give to their affiliates?

    Or was I misreading the question, and netnow22 was referring to tracking, link codes, etc?
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=Navy][FONT=Arial]Ian Hough.
    Affiliate Program Manager, TicketLiquidator.com.
    Contact: [email]ianh@ticketliquidator.com[/email][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
    Don't let your work go to waste. Sign up and get paid for all sales: [B]Onsales[/B], last-minute, etc.

  16. #16
    Member eSilverBullet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorWatson
    So that means padding the commission, then, right?

    But the URL question - do some merchants actually own URLs that they give to their affiliates?

    Or was I misreading the question, and netnow22 was referring to tracking, link codes, etc?
    No, it isn't padding the commission per se, because you would still, ostensibly, be paying the same commission to your affiliates as you would otherwise. I think what Michael means is that if you are relying on someone to help with your SEO, you should be paying for that service. So if affiliates think they are providing you with SEO without getting compensated for it, it could sour your relationship.

    Affiliates want to drive as many buyers to your site as possible. That's what makes them happy. Anything that reduces that, including you getting more organic visitors because of successful SEO (that might have otherwise come through them) can make them grumpy.

    I'm not sure what netnow22 means with his URL comment. Merchants can hand out tracking code, which includes a URL reference to it, but I don't know why a merchant would be handing out a URL itself. I think what he means is that if you generate the tracking code using your own software, you can tweak that code, whereas if you go with code generated from a network's software, what you get is what you get.

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