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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    Is it possible to be a merchant and an affiliate at the same time?
    I am a merchant getting ready to launch my affiliate program in the coming months. A question I have is whether I can also be an affiliate for other merchants at the same time? Do merchants prohibit this, or is it OK?

    The reason I want to do this is because my product is not going to fulfill the needs of a significant percentage of people who arrive at my site, at least not in the first year or so until I develop my second product line. In the meantime I wanted to send those people to a site that does, which will both help them and provide me with some additional income.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Yes. You can be but it depends on how you want to promote the "other merchants".

    If you put banners and links on your website, yeah, you might make a few dollars or two on the side. But affiliates that send traffic to your site, they pay for that traffic one way or another in hopes of making a $$, not for you to refunnel that traffic elsewhere. In that case, you are just a broker and make money on affiliate's traffic.

    On the other hand, if you want to use email or direct mail to promote other merchants whichout siphoning affiliate traffic, that is your choice.

    My 2 cents, do what you do best and focus on being a merchant.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager
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    OK thank you for your help. That puts it in perspective. Being brand new with this, I hadn't thought it through but yeah that would be acting more as a 'broker', and not doing good by affiliates.

  4. #4
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Affiliates call those "leaks" - and affiliates do NOT like leaks. It would be OK, on the other hand, to have other affiliate sites of your own - separate from your merchant site. For example, we have a growing merchant program that is just over a year old but I have been an affiliate (mostly in the travel vertical) for nearly a dozen years. i would not (could not) give up those sites (or income) - and I don't hear any of our merchant-program affiliates complaining about that.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  5. #5
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Another tip. Do not become your own affiliate. I fired a merchant when I found out they were their own biggest affiliate. They had a banner on their merchant site linking to their affiliate site and vice versa. Affiliate traffic was stolen weekly.

    Keep your sites separate and leak free...
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

  6. #6
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Do not become your own affiliate.
    Also take great care not to find yourself in a situation where your affiliate manager or OPM is one of your affiliates, or even an affiliate of your competitors as well.
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  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Is it possible? Yes. Is it a good idea? Absolutely not.
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  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    I'm glad I posted the question. It's nice to get a consistent response. Based on this, I'm definitely not going to be an affiliate 'and' a merchant. This makes perfect sense now that I hear it from everyone's responses.

  9. #9
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fifthhouse View Post
    It's nice to get a consistent response. Based on this, I'm definitely not going to be an affiliate 'and' a merchant. This makes perfect sense now that I hear it from everyone's responses.
    Great choice! As an alternative to becoming an affiliate, have you considered contacting the other merchants that you were considering promoting to explore the possibility of becoming a reseller? This would help you flesh out your product mix and at the same time provide your affiliates with additional income opportunities.

    -rematt
    Last edited by rematt; November 20th, 2010 at 08:42 AM.
    "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

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    Great choice! As an alternative to becoming an affiliate, have you considered contacting the other merchants that you were considering promoting to explore the possibility of becoming a reseller? This would help you flesh out your product mix and at the same time provide your affiliates with additional income opportunities.

    -rematt
    Great suggestion! I didn't know this was an option. But if I understand correctly, I would sell the product directly from my site, and then my affiliates would gain income from that product as well. This would be a perfect solution, if I can find a merchant who would be interested in this...

    Thanks again!

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    Great choice! As an alternative to becoming an affiliate, have you considered contacting the other merchants that you were considering promoting to explore the possibility of becoming a reseller? This would help you flesh out your product mix and at the same time provide your affiliates with additional income opportunities.

    -rematt
    I have been thinking about this idea of becoming a 'reseller', trying to understand how it would work with an information product, a down-loadable audio/video product. I've been surfing around the net looking for information on how this would work, but so far no success.

    The question I"m having is, how would I compensate the original seller? Without an affilliate tracking system, how would we arrange the payment? Is there some kind of known system for this, or some standard?

    Do you have ideas about this?

  12. #12
    http and a telephoto
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    It might not work with information products. Normally resellers purchase the product in advance or have a dropship arrangement.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post
    It might not work with information products. Normally resellers purchase the product in advance or have a dropship arrangement.
    Yeah I wondered about that. I don't see a model for how a reseller program could work for information products.

  14. #14
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Before discounting this type of arrangement, you first need to contact the merchant in question to surmise if they would be open to a reseller agreement. If they agree that it could be mutually beneficial then you the 2 of you can work out the details of how that relationship would work.

    I'll bet that if you look hard enough you'll likely find many more sites with similar arrangements; go to any software reseller. Digital only means NO INVENTORY.

    -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

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    Before discounting this type of arrangement, you first need to contact the merchant in question to surmise if they would be open to a reseller agreement. If they agree that it could be mutually beneficial then you the 2 of you can work out the details of how that relationship would work.

    I'll bet that if you look hard enough you'll likely find many more sites with similar arrangements; go to any software reseller. Digital only means NO INVENTORY.

    -rematt
    Thanks rematt, I'll look into this and get back if I find anything interesting or useful to share.

  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    another thing you could do that wouldn't negatively impact your affiliate relationships or recruiting future affiliates through "leakage" is promoting affiliate offers that are a good match for your product's buyers on your order confirmation page or thank you email after your affiliates have already earned commission on the sale they drove you.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
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  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateWarrior View Post
    another thing you could do that wouldn't negatively impact your affiliate relationships or recruiting future affiliates through "leakage" is promoting affiliate offers that are a good match for your product's buyers on your order confirmation page or thank you email after your affiliates have already earned commission on the sale they drove you.
    Nice, that's a great suggestion! Thanks for the help

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