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  1. #1
    Newbie shopping-incognito's Avatar
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    Suggestions For Setting Up An In-House Affiliate Program?
    I am looking to create and manage an affiliate program for my web site without the networks. I want to create the script and management and want advice and a little guidance from someone who is doing this.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    To run an in-house program you will need to develop trust.

    The site in your profile has no About Us, Privacy Policy or any Contact Information.
    In addition the domain was purchased July of 2009 but only for One Year.

  3. #3
    Newbie Medge's Avatar
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    We use DirectTrack for our in-house program, but I've been exploring HasOffers because it has more affordable solutions with comparable features. I haven't really had a full demo on HasOffers but I really like using DT. We went the route of using software instead of doing the legwork to develop our own because of all of the extras that come along with it, and the reputation that higher end software comes with. Higher end affiliates are more familiar with well known software and I'm sure, at a glance, trust it more.

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Which technology to use is the least of your concerns if you have an in-house program.

    Mr. Mackin was right to say that you need to develop trust. If you're not in a network, aren't familiar with the industry, don't have a prominent brand, and won't be hiring a trusted OPM, you have a huge task ahead of you if you're going to build a good affiliate program.
    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

  5. #5
    Newbie shopping-incognito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant Consultant Team
    To run an in-house program you will need to develop trust.

    The site in your profile has no About Us, Privacy Policy or any Contact Information.
    In addition the domain was purchased July of 2009 but only for One Year.
    I am talking about software and programming...also my web site is almost complete and not hosted yet...my domain name is forwarded to my blog at the time...

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    That's a mistake though. There is much more to building a successful affiliate program than simply programming it.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  7. #7
    Newbie shopping-incognito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Which technology to use is the least of your concerns if you have an in-house program.

    Mr. Mackin was right to say that you need to develop trust. If you're not in a network, aren't familiar with the industry, don't have a prominent brand, and won't be hiring a trusted OPM, you have a huge task ahead of you if you're going to build a good affiliate program.
    I am here for the task ahead...I have a new website that hasn't launched yet and I have in mind the way I want to do things...I am gathering info and want to work on my goals consistently...I am not concerned with the extent of assumed difficulty unless what I am asking is futile.

    I am new to affiliate marketing as an affiliate but especially as a merchant.

    I am looking to:
    create a simple two/three tier affiliate program
    build trust
    build a brand and
    create and run my own affiliate program over time

    Looking for someone who is doing this that can offer any piece of advice...

    Thanks

  8. #8
    Newbie shopping-incognito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel M. Clark
    That's a mistake though. There is much more to building a successful affiliate program than simply programming it.
    What is the mistake?

    What more is there?

  9. #9
    Newbie Medge's Avatar
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    I think you're going about it the right way, honestly. No need to get your name out there if you don't have the infrastructure in place to handle the affiliates. You ruin your credibility if you have people looking at something that doesn't exist. Choose your software or build your own, get your name out there, and hold on to the relationships you gain by making fast payments and treating your affiliates right.

    The relationship building is going to be the big undertaking, but thats what shows are for. Just don't forget your business cards like I did at ad:tech. If you don't have the advertising money to mass promote your program in front of affiliates, just start finding niche sites that match your traffic profile and get them to test your program out. If it performs, you will be on your way.

    As mentioned, I much prefer just using the big name software that is already out there for a lot of different reasons but if you need to have a very customized solution I could see creating your own.

    I think it would help steer this thread in the right direction if you start asking specific questions about certain topics.

  10. #10
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    You absolutely need to understand that just "having an affiliate program" should NOT be your goal. Instead, your goal is to generate profitable sales; an intermediate goal is to identify and successfully recruit web publishers who may be effective at attracting your target audience and delivering your advertising message in context.

    Spend some time reading through the "Merchant Best Practices" forum here (and the "Becoming a Merchant" forum here). You might also benefit from reading my free advice for merchants, linked in my signature.

  11. #11
    Newbie shopping-incognito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medge

    I think it would help steer this thread in the right direction if you start asking specific questions about certain topics.
    thanks Medge...I realized that after MC's reply...I am really looking to implement my own program(php script) with a simple three tier tracking and payment system. Nothing fancy.

    Would like to hear from someone who is doing this or similar...

  12. #12
    Newbie shopping-incognito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    You absolutely need to understand that just "having an affiliate program" should NOT be your goal. Instead, your goal is to generate profitable sales; an intermediate goal is to identify and successfully recruit web publishers who may be effective at attracting your target audience and delivering your advertising message in context.
    thanks Mark...I understand...the only reason it sounds like the main goal is because it is the focus of this thread but the affiliate program is definitely not my main goal...I do want to have it up and running when I launch the web site (that is the real goal with my affiliate program)...and that launch may not take place until another month or two...

  13. #13
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Your focus seems totally incongruent with what affiliates would be looking for.

    Three tier program? Most affiliates look negatively upon multi-tier programs.

    A custom-built solution? Seems a waste of time, money and resources when there are tons of great packages and/or affiliate networks out there.

    In-house instead of a network? You'll be at a major disadvantage when it comes to visibility, recruiting and building trust.
    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

  14. #14
    Newbie shopping-incognito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Your focus seems totally incongruent with what affiliates would be looking for.
    thanks MC...like I said I am new and here to learn...just wondering why you feel customized would be a waste of time and resource besides that fact that there are a lot of merchants selling software solutions?

  15. #15
    Newbie Medge's Avatar
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    I'm totally with MC there too - for a single site it seems like going through one of the networks would be a more viable option. Sure, you are paying a little bit out in some fashion dependent on the network you go with, but the software and affiliate base is already there. Most will help you promote and connect with affiliates, and you really only have to worry about the tech side of your site rather than your own solution.

  16. #16
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shopping-incognito
    thanks MC...like I said I am new and here to learn...just wondering why you feel customized would be a waste of time and resource besides that fact that there are a lot of merchants selling software solutions?
    Let answer that question with a question (or two). Why do you feel it would be better to reinvent the wheel? Are you going to build your own web server, too, or will you use Apache or some other existing software solution?
    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

  17. #17
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shopping-incognito
    thanks MC...like I said I am new and here to learn...just wondering why you feel customized would be a waste of time and resource besides that fact that there are a lot of merchants selling software solutions?
    A new merchant with a new program needs to instill trust. By developing your own software solution you're also asking affiliates to trust your programming skills as well as trust your knowledge of technologies that you admit to being a novice at. Given the choice, would you rather fly in a plane designed and built by Boeing or Bo Derek?

    -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

  18. #18
    Newbie shopping-incognito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    Given the choice, would you rather fly in a plane designed and built by Boeing or Bo Derek?-rematt
    Great counsel to consider...thanks...I will(consider)...but I do expect to test and prove my systems...not build and fly without proof, rhyme or reason...

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Take this for what it's worth, but as an affiliate, I would never, ever join a program that was built from scratch by someone who has said that he is inexperienced both as a merchant and as an affiliate. I'm honestly puzzled by your insistence on programming and running an in-house program when getting set up with ShareASale is cheap, comes with great support, and has the confidence of the affiliate community at large.

    Most of all though, as an affiliate, I would never, ever join a program for a merchant that has never actually sold anything.

    I'm not trying to be a jerk here, I'm really not. You seem like a good person who just has some ideas I disagree with. But your focus should not be on setting up an affiliate program until you are actually making sales for yourself. No affiliate worth having in your program will join you until you do. There is absolutely no advantage to having a program in place at the time of your launch.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  20. #20
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shopping-incognito
    Great counsel to consider...thanks...I will(consider)...but I do expect to test and prove my systems...not build and fly without proof, rhyme or reason...
    The problem is that you don't have the experience to properly test or prove your system (as evidenced by this thread) and you also don't have the reputation or track record to make affiliates trust in your solution no matter how much you test it. Add to that the absence of a "trusted third party" (the network) and you'll find yourself hard pressed to recruit affiliates.

    -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

  21. #21
    Newbie shopping-incognito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    The problem is that you don't have the experience to properly test or prove your system (as evidenced by this thread)
    -rematt
    I am here to find out what an affiliate would want and how I would be able to deliver a simple program to offer them that as a bonus if at all...again my goal is not an affiliate program.

    Are you suggesting it takes a significant amount of time to prove a simple systems management script? (I realize many errors may be inevitable when creating any product but not sure what you're getting at?)

  22. #22
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shopping-incognito
    Are you suggesting it takes a significant amount of time to prove a simple systems management script? (I realize many errors may be inevitable when creating any product but not sure what you're getting at?)
    What I'm suggesting is that you're getting waaay ahead of yourself. Running a successful affiliate program is much, much more than just running a "simple systems management script". Before even considering an affiliate program you should have a site that is already producing sales. An affiliate program isn't a replacement for your own internal marketing, only an enhancement.

    There are so many elements of a successful program that you're missing that I won't even attempt to list them here. I believe in another thread I recommended that you visit the Merchant's Best Practices forum and I still think it would be a great starting point. In addition to a "simple systems management script", you need knowledge. Knowledge about how to structure a program and run it successfully. Will you allow loyalty sites? How about coupon sites? What's your PPC policy? Will you allow DTM PPC? What's your commission structure? How do you plan to recruit affiliates? How about bidding on trademarks? How do you plan to keep out rogue affiliates and parasites? Will you allow software affiliates? Do you even know what that is? You need to be able to answer these questions BEFORE you launch a program, you won't likely get a second chance to get it right.

    ...and the list goes on and on. You need to build a foundation before you build a program and the first step is a site that converts. So what I'm really suggesting is that you slow down and don't ignore the basics.

    -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

  23. #23
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    What I'm suggesting is that you're getting waaay ahead of yourself. Running a successful affiliate program is much, much more than just running a "simple systems management script". Before even considering an affiliate program you should have a site that is already producing sales. An affiliate program isn't a replacement for your own internal marketing, only an enhancement.

    There are so many elements of a successful program that you're missing that I won't even attempt to list them here. I believe in another thread I recommended that you visit the Merchant's Best Practices forum and I still think it would be a great starting point. In addition to a "simple systems management script", you need knowledge. Knowledge about how to structure a program and run it successfully. Will you allow loyalty sites? How about coupon sites? What's your PPC policy? Will you allow DTM PPC? What's your commission structure? How do you plan to recruit affiliates? How about bidding on trademarks? How do you plan to keep out rogue affiliates and parasites? Will you allow software affiliates? Do you even know what that is? You need to be able to answer these questions BEFORE you launch a program, you won't likely get a second chance to get it right.

    ...and the list goes on and on. You need to build a foundation before you build a program and the first step is a site that converts. So what I'm really suggesting is that you slow down and don't ignore the basics.

    -rematt

    rematt doesn't have a clue what he's talking about ....

    BUT I AGREE with everything he said....

    JK rm....

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  24. #24
    Newbie shopping-incognito's Avatar
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    you guys are great but it's like pulling teeth...that is my plan to gain the knowledge...

    still...is anyone here running their own program?

    thanks

  25. #25
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shopping-incognito
    still...is anyone here running their own program?
    There are a few, but not many:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=96

    Big companies like Amazon and eBay are able to pull it off because they have a ton of brand recognition. Others have to work much harder to be successful with an In House program.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

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