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  1. #1
    Join Date
    July 14th, 2009
    Network or Own Program
    I have had very good success using a basic affiliate program running in house with a basic paypal script. It has kept me and my affiliates very happy.

    Based on this I have just added an affiliate program to my main site using idevaffilite premium package. My main business is much more mainstream being Travel and we are currently advertising in National Press. My question is would I be better off signing up with someone like Commission Junction or am I better off managing my own program.

    I have never liked paying middlemen hence my own programs, but am I likely to get vastly more affiliates by signing up to CJ or similar

  2. #2
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Yes, you are likely to get many more "affiliate signups" if you use an affiliate network (but most of those new affiliates will never generate any clicks or sales).

    In addition (probably more important), some prospective affiliates (web publishers) who won't join your "in-house" program might be willing to join your program through a network (for either "consolidated payment" or "trust" reasons). There may be one or more "very significant" web publishers (affiliates) who would bring you meaningful new revenue if you offer a network program.

    But your best-performing affiliates will almost always be those that you directly recruit, not those who "found you through the network."

    Worse, many "parasites" may join your network program (these are folks who use a variety of strategies, including toolbars & cookie-stuffing, to "poach" credit for transactions they do not actually influence).

    Another complexity: if you offer both an in-house AND a network program, you'd need to do some complex programming to insure that transactions are fairly credited to the correct source, if the same consumer triggers both tracking systems.

    See my free advice for merchants, linked from my signature, below.

  3. #3
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 19th, 2006
    The Windy City
    There are a lot of affiliates that won't work with an in-house program because they think that networks offer an additional level of protection. By the same token many affiliates won't work with Commission Junction and some of the other large networks because...well, do a search and draw your own conclusions.

    All networks are not equal. Again, use the search feature to get a feel for which networks are most affordable and trusted by affiliates. However, unless the network is managing your program (expect to pay more for these services) they probably won't assist you in recruiting (expect to pay more for this also). You may want to consider an outsourced program manger (OPM) to assist with recruiting regardless of whether you decide to remain in-house or go with a network. Actually, an OPM could offer a great deal of assistance in helping you decide on which way to go and in selecting the right network if you choose that direction.

    A couple of forum that could help are the Merchant Best Practices Forum</SPAN> and the Outsourced Program Managers forum.

    Good luck with your program, and make sure to announce it here on ABW when you're ready to go.

    "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

  4. #4
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    It's also important to consider how big you want the program to be. More isn't always better if there's no increased economy/efficiency of scale, if new hires are required without offsetting revenue, etc.

    In my experience with CJ for example, the volume of applications was high, but the quality was low and the review process loaded with time sucking steps that made me want to pull my hair out (enough pop-ups already!).

    Your in-house program is likely of a size that you are comfortable managing. The applications come in at a pace you can easily review, and the relationships are easy to maintain. Launching a new program in house may follow suit. You may also find the same with a network. Then again, a new program in-house or otherwise could just as easily eat your time and energy.

    My advice would be to decide first what you want out of the program, then pick the path most likely to get you there.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    January 11th, 2010
    Great post. We're kind of in the same boat as well so it was great reading everyone's thoughts on the subject.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager qualityunit's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 8th, 2007
    Bratislava, Slovakia (European Union)
    I would like to post here my experiences and experiences of hundreds of our clients.
    I own Quality Unit (we are behind Post Affiliate Pro) and it is interesting to watch merchants behavior:

    First step - merchant starts with own affiliate program - often it is inhouse affiliate program because of many reasons, but most important is, that it is very easy to buy and install owned affiliate software
    In first step merchant tries to manage program himself ... I can see, that everyone expects, that in first week will signup to his affiliate program hundreds of superaffiliates ... sure, it doesn't happen ...

    Second step - merchant tries to signup to affiliate network, because he is lazy to search affiliates - ready affiliates is strong offer of all networks ...
    ... as time pass, merchant learns more and more about affiliate marketing and needs closer contact with his affiliates, needs bigger control over his affiliate program, wants to pay less to network, etc.

    Third step: Merchant comes back again to owned affiliate software ... he knows already, that the key of success is to make proactive search of affiliates, he knows already which type of content works for his affiliates, etc.
    Inhouse affiliate program is much cheaper option (you don't need to pay recurring expenses to network provider)

    And finally merchant finished with 2 types of affiliate programs. But it is still worth of effort, because from each source he gets some sales.

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