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  1. #1
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    Hi folks, I am wondering what you affiliates or managers value as your top 10 (or however many you can thinkg of) features an affiliate program must possess? Either from an affiliate standpoint or from a managers standpoint. Whether is be good old fashioned program features or new specialties that are a step ahead. Let's hear 'em....

    Regards,
    Tom

  2. #2
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    They convert.
    They pay.

    My top 2.

    Besides converting and paying on time i like to see:

    Good cookie duration.
    Parasite free.
    Some good creative, i'm lazy so some dynamic would be nice. Also have a good selecion.
    Coupons for affiliate use.
    Datafeeds.
    Keep affiliates up to date on what's happening (via email) as far as promotions and keep them coming and fresh.
    Have a product creator tool like Akiva's PC for those that don't know how to use feeds or for other reasons.
    A good, knowledgeable, responsive AM is a plus.

    Probably some more but the first 2 are what i'm mainly concerned about.

  3. #3
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    very good choices! Many of mine are the same. My top 10 would be, not in any specific order:

    1. 100% parasite free
    2. good, responsive and quick AM to work with
    3. commission payments on time every month
    4. real time stats and tracking that works
    5. minimum downtime and not during peak hours, days or months (on a holiday or Christmas season)
    6. unlimited sales and cookie duration
    7. good selection of links and products including datafeeds (even though I don't know how to use them yet!) or product creator, correspondence with ALL affiliates with special promotions and sales - links in the email with affiliate ID's would be great too!
    8. merchant site that converts and doesn't overcharge for shipping (many times that's the biggest turn off for customers and the ONLY reason they don't buy from a particular site)
    9. good base commission percentage that increases with performance
    10. if a network, combined commissions and one cheque from the network, not like Linkshare where every merchant has its own minimum before you can get paid and you get cheques from LS and/or merchants. When you have a merchant that doesn't convert well and you're sitting at between $5 and $10 for months and the minimum payment is $25 or $50, it will take forever to get paid if you don't drop the merchant first along with the commission.

    I'm sure there are lots more, this could be a great thread!

    Catwoman

  4. #4
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    Hey, nice list. I agree, if I wa an Affiliate I would want to see these as well. Not too much to ask if you ask me.

    If you like the above list, then you should check out our program

  5. #5
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    Hmmmmm. Good start to a complete list.

    We've got those things plus about 20 others too. I'd love to know how to put the gas on signing up affiliates.

    Here's a handful of other ideas to look for in merchants.

    Deep linking encouraged, increasing sales conversion rates
    Always optimizing site design to increase sales conversion
    Unique creative developed for top affiliate performers
    Unique products tailored to the online customer
    Clear, user-friendly interface, that converts well
    No phone numbers causing lost sales
    No traffic leaks causing lost sales
    Easy to setup and get launched
    Unique impulse-buy products
    Very high conversion rates
    Excellent customer service
    Use content from their site
    ALL original product line
    2-tiered commissions
    100% online retailer
    Residual income
    Secure server
    Fast shipping

    Hmmmmm. Nice list

  6. #6
    Full Member Jungleland's Avatar
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    I pretty much agree with TrustNo1. Conversion and payment are definitely one and two. Why bother with them if they don't do these things well? I just removed a merchant today for not paying on time. They are in a niche where I could use more merchants, but if they don't pay on time, they just aren't worth wasting time on.

    My short list (in order):

    They convert.
    They pay on time.
    Nice creative in a variety of sizes.
    They offer seasonal sales and/or coupons.
    Frequent and useful(!) communication.
    They use a provider (CJ, SAS, or Performics) that offers Direct Deposit.
    [B]A great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.[/B]

  7. #7
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    Can you elaborate on 'coupons for affiliates'? Are these coupon codes affiliates can offer to customers to encourage ordering through their affiliate links?

    Regards,
    Tom

  8. #8
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Catwoman:
    very good choices! Many of mine are the same. My top 10 would be, not in any specific order:

    1. 100% parasite free
    2. good, responsive and quick AM to work with
    3. commission payments on time every month
    4. real time stats and tracking that works
    5. minimum downtime and not during peak hours, days or months (on a holiday or Christmas season)
    6. unlimited sales and cookie duration
    7. good selection of links and products including datafeeds (even though I don't know how to use them yet!) or product creator, correspondence with ALL affiliates with special promotions and sales - links in the email with affiliate ID's would be great too!
    8. merchant site that converts and doesn't overcharge for shipping (many times that's the biggest turn off for customers and the ONLY reason they don't buy from a particular site)
    9. good base commission percentage that increases with performance
    10. if a network, combined commissions and one cheque from the network, not like Linkshare where every merchant has its own minimum before you can get paid and you get cheques from LS and/or merchants. When you have a merchant that doesn't convert well and you're sitting at between $5 and $10 for months and the minimum payment is $25 or $50, it will take forever to get paid if you don't drop the merchant first along with the commission.

    I'm sure there are lots more, this could be a great thread!

    Catwoman <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> That's a good list, do they all provide all of those things?
    jj

  9. #9
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    Converting and Paying on time are of course the most important. I will stick with a slow paying program if it is high converting, but if it doesn't convert it isn't worth promoting.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> 2-tiered commissions
    100% online retailer
    Residual income
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I like 2 tiered.

    Residual income: Customer gets marked as mine and I get commission whenever they place an order whether through my site, a catalog, a phone call or in response to a merchant email. I know merchants may not agree, but I got you that customer to begin with, why shouldn't I get something when you keep selling them stuff? Can be a lower percentage than 1st time purchase if it is cost prohibitive to do it any other way. I realize not all merchants are set up to do this, but if more could it would be very nice. I also see some pitfalls to this, but for now lets stick to the positive

    100% online? Not necesarily, however, I would like to see tracking for phone orders, catalog orders, etc. There are a couple of merchants here that have been able to add this functionality to their programs. Face it, lots of people still want to pick up the phone and place an order with a human being. I want credit for that sale.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  10. #10
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    The others have made some good points and I agree with many of them, but this is my list of important things for an affiliate program:

    PAY! This is #1, because nothing else they do matters one iota if they're not going to pay.

    Pay a decent commission percentage. No cheapskates!

    Pay on time. For CJ merchants, no extension-mania either.

    Have a decent cookie duration. 45 days preferred, 30 under duress.

    Have a good EPC without any fishy jumping around (no $50 7-day EPC, $2 3-month EPC stuff). No $0 EPC days for nonbatchers.

    Convert.

    Have a demand for the product. A 1-in-10 conversion ratio is no benefit if only 10 people a month netwide want the stuff!

    No reversal mania.

    No crooks--no messing with the tracking, fishy reversals, etc.

    Merchant site looks like they've been at this more than 10 minutes.

    FULL datafeeds are a must. If it's a CJ merchant, then that FULL feed must be available through the normal CJ Feed delivery system whether or not there is an outside feed in existence.

    Merchants who are not at CJ also need FULL feeds available.

    Merchants who only have a couple of items for sale on their sites, need not bother with a feed. A 1-product "feed" is more of an irritation than a help.

    Merchants being at CJ is a definite plus. At CJ, I find it fairly easy to tell the duds from the good ones (YMMV), but at other networks the duds tend to be like land mines. Plus, some non-CJ interfaces are a huge pain in the butt.

    If the merchant is not at CJ, they must pass a high enough of a bar (reputation, profit potential, etc.) to make it worth my while to deal with the PITA factor.

    Non-CJ, non-indy merchants need to be somewhere that at least has consolidated checks and direct deposit.

    Indies need a nice, low payment threshhold. And preferably credible people here who say they've been paid!

    No negative remarks about the program, in areas I find to be important.

    No history of repetitive network-hopping. Multiple programs running at once are fine--but hopping from one network only to pop up at another is bad.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  11. #11
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    1-Merchant's need a well organized website.
    2-Merchant's need a well organized website.
    3-Merchant's need a well organized website.
    www.joeytomatoes.com :: Day Care For Your Brain

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Vrindavan's Avatar
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    can pay me other than check

  13. #13
    Affiliate Miester my2cents's Avatar
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    All the above posts are good...

    MY top 10

    1&gt;PAY on TIME!
    2&gt;LIfetime customers, I love residual income
    3&gt;Parasite free
    4&gt;offer direct desposit, I'm lazy
    5&gt;Dynamic content, did I say I'm lazy
    6&gt;offer free website templates, I perfer dynamic website templates, I'm lazy, what can I say... I want to set it up and forget about it... till the checks start flowing...
    7&gt;then all the other thing that have been listed in this thread....

    Joe
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    that's my2cents, 'cuz I'm a legend in my own mind....

  14. #14
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    Joe/my2cents

    We're working on 3-4 templates as we speak. Other than high converting ;-) can you give good examples of good templates?

    Also, do you seen this as any real decent value add?

    // Special Offer for Search Engine and PPC specialists //
    An Overture drill down search on: clothing, clothes, apparel, hats, shirts, and t-shirts gave us 6,769,244 monthly searches. Become a Naked Zombie affiliate and we'll provide you with the XLS spreadsheet. What's more, this drills down to as little as 5 searches keyword, per month, targeting keywords in the 5-24 searches few other people see.

    thnx
    Mark

  15. #15
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    My top 10 picks before I join another merchant this month.
    ---------------

    1 - Pay no later than 45 days after the sale.
    2 - 7% to 10% minimum commission to start.
    3 - Unlimited referral times.
    4 - 30 days cookie duration.
    5 - Convert at least 1 sale in 100 or less targeted clicks.

    6 - Don't send daily Spam unless it's to say --- "You just made another sale commission".
    7 - Have free Datafeeds.
    8 - Pay more % if I promote their products via Datafeed than if only promote few links/banners.
    9 - Be able to track phone orders.
    10 - Better if they Don't do batch orders.

    Those are Top 10 Affiliate Program Features that I will look for on any new merchants that I join from now on.

    Sal.
    ...

  16. #16
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    All good qualifying issues!

    Leader: now that is a nice list. But let me add one more item.

    - Accountable Affiliate Manager

  17. #17
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    How about free custom marketing materials (banners, pop ads, etc) for affiliates? We've always offered that and have found ads tailored to our affiliates exact needs convert better than most standard ads.

    -Tom

  18. #18
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
    1) Deep linking encouraged, increasing sales conversion rates
    2) Always optimizing site design to increase sales conversion
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Hmmm, your number 1 and number 2 just created a maintenance nightmare for the affiliate. The merchant would need a very good redirect program to make deep linking work.

    I would toss into the mix:

    The merchant should not confuse marketing tactics. You can't have both low margins and offer coupons. It is either best to go 100% coupon free, or be nothing but coupons with high prices.... I wish more merchants would take the lower price approach.

    If the merchant goes the coupon route, they should include the coupon in the tracking code, or on the entry page to the site. Nothing kills sales like a promo box in checkout.

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Vrindavan's Avatar
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    &gt;&gt;4&gt;offer direct desposit, I'm lazy
    &gt;&gt;5&gt;Dynamic content, did I say I'm lazy


    This is not lazy.
    This is automate vs manual
    And this can save lots of time,
    do more valuable work instead.

  20. #20
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    Since templates were brought up, I like templates that are simple in design, so I can put them up and get the spiders going, but also I can customize them easily. Having meta tags that are easily searched and replaced for starters, a separate header and footer file, maybe even some other components as includes so that the template is modular.

    My plan for today, if I don't get distracted (I am easily distracted) is to take a nice modular template from a merchant and plug it into phpNuke wrapper. I can potentially see this working for a couple of other templates also. And one last thing, this particular template links to the *merchants* database, so links are always fresh and correct. How cool is that? I don't know if I will be able to offer that when I become a merchant, but I sure will be checking into it.

    And if you offer a datafeed, check with the WebMerge folks and get a BASIC template set built so that people can run with building a nice custom niche site with that program.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  21. #21
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    The problem I have with dynamic content is the way it is delivered usually makes it useless for SEO.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  22. #22
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ian @ eyiproducts.com:
    All good qualifying issues!

    Leader: now that is a nice list. But let me add one more item.

    - Accountable Affiliate Manager <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> As I learn more and more, I would ad,affiliate programs, that don't charge their merchants such high fees, ls in particular, everytime i check the traffic in the generator, my best merchants are elsewhwere, than you have to find the ads, and delete them, this takes longer than placing them, and all the possible sales, rejoining, they have all the big name merchants, that probably have half a million affiliates plugging away for them while they advertise on tv, radio, newspapers, etc., so we are competing with the merxhant as well, that is bs in my nickles worth, i prefer to check out more and more sas merchants, at least you can find out easier if they have low funds, and many that the shopping world never heard of, but with the mix, for those that for whatever reason, shop online.
    jj

  23. #23
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    higher commissions for volume sales
    detailed stats
    reliable processor
    polite support

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