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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    January 11th, 2010
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    Affiliate Program with old school money collections
    Hello. I think this is the right place to post - if not, please move.

    I'll try to keep this short but also include all details. First off, I know most answers from vets will be to join a network, however, after doing much research on ABW, we want to try and do it on our own for now - because of reasons we saw here on ABW.

    We have a very targeted niche where we already have hundreds of paying members. It is an informational sheet that we put out 5 times a week for this niche and it's working well so far. It has nothing to do with affiliate marketing so our members know nothing of what this is.

    Our subscriber base pays annually (once a year). Because we already have a great following - we wanted to create an in-house affiliate program - starting with our current members and then branching off to the world.

    Here's where the issue lies - my partner is somewhat "old school" and has been collecting money from members by getting a physical check from the members (via snail mail) or having the member wire/transfer money into a bank account. We purchased the iDevAffiliate software and tracking is possible by "offline" marketing methods. However, this may work with our current members, but it will not be feasible/efficient with affiliates that are used to big networks.

    So, what we were thinking of doing the following: Because members pay annually, it's a larger number (say $500 for example). Can we set up a Pay Pal (or our own merchant account) to accept a $20 "processing fee" or something to that effect and then have the member mail or wire/transfer the remaining $480 to us? Will Pay Pal (or our own merchant account) allow this? We don't have to tell them what we're doing but I'm sure eventually they'll find out or what do we say the ($20) fee is for when signing up for a paypal or bank merchant account? Obviously, they get a percentage of the total amount so they'd rather collect their percentage on $500 rather than $20. However, at least by doing it this way, we can successfully track who the referring affiliate is and pay them accordingly.

    Don't know if this helps, but I should also mention that I plan on getting a merchant account for another online store that is completely separate from this? Would it be wise to just tie this (affiliate program) into this other separate merchant account I'm going to set up for my other store?

    That is our only hurdle right now as our current members are ready to get started. Once we get them on board, then we'll open it up to all the other affiliates out there. Any ideas/suggestions would be great.

    Thanks in advance for the help.

  2. #2
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    First, beat your partner with a tyrannosaur bone. Not accepting credit/debit cards or payment options other than a physical check is not just "old school", it's prehistoric. Forget an affiliate program, unless you're offering a product or service that's absolutely essential to your customer base and they can't get it anywhere else, you're losing customers now by not providing other payment options.

    By charging a $20 "processing fee" simply to track affiliate sales, you've added another level of complexity and inconvenience for your customers. That's crazy, keep it simple. You have one issue and one issue alone, the fact that you don't allow alternate payment methods. Fix that before you even consider an affiliate program.

    JMHO

    -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

  3. #3
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Why not just go ahead and set up a regular affiliate program paying for online referrals. This would not impact your existing "hand-to-hand payment" relationships anyway.
    CUSTOM BANNERS by GRAPHICS CANDY ~ Banner Sets and Website Graphics ~ Professional design, reasonable rates
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  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager
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    January 11th, 2010
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    Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I agree - rematt - he needs a beating from time to time :-) I guess his motive is not to pay the 2-3% or whatever PayPal (and other processing companies) will take out of the $500.


    Davidh - what did you mean by "set up a regular affiliate program paying for online referrals?" - are you talking about paying per click, rather than paying only when someone refers and the person actually signs up?

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager bcwaller's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    I don't know what kind of software you have, but if the tracking software can show that they came and set up the account, it should be able to track the payment whether it comes from the customer or the admin side.

    Our EPage program was set up back when we got about half our payments by check, and while it was developed in house it was very easy to deal with snail mail payments. All fee account entries include the referral ID, if any, and when that charge is paid through any kind of credit, the affiliate gets credited with the fee.
    Brad Waller | VP, Business and Affiliate Development
    EPage.com

  6. #6
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    I meant paying a commission for online referrals of new customers. Your pre-existing arrangements with current customers don't have anything to do with this.
    CUSTOM BANNERS by GRAPHICS CANDY ~ Banner Sets and Website Graphics ~ Professional design, reasonable rates
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  7. #7
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    First, beat your partner with a tyrannosaur bone. Not accepting credit/debit cards or payment options other than a physical check is not just "old school", it's prehistoric. -rematt
    That was GREAT!

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  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    January 11th, 2010
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    Davidh- Thanks for the clarification.

    Bcwaller - we're using idevaffiliate as our software. Do you know if your method is compatible with this? I know we can do "offline" marketing - which is pretty much what you're talking about I think. Is there an incentive to use to ensure new paying members they enter in an affiliate number - we can always raise the price and say "get $50 off by entering your discount code" - which would be the affiliate ID. What would you say your success rate is with this and would affiliates today even consider this?

    Thanks again for the help and comments.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager bcwaller's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    I've never used idevaffiliate. Only our own in-house code and very recently ShareASale. If you can do offline, then I expect it will work well enough for your needs.

    Affiliates like anything you can do to make sure they get their commission. As long as the $50 raise in price does not lower the conversion rate, then they will like it. You might find that you will get people who are not referred by an affiliate go off and search for a discount code, thus inflating the program numbers artificially. If you're OK with that, then it might be something you would want to do.
    Brad Waller | VP, Business and Affiliate Development
    EPage.com

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