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  1. #1
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    Affiliate Program When You Don't Sell Anything?
    Hi all,
    I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction as I am totally lost.

    Here is the scenario:
    My organization operates and manages a database of information about online degrees that can be compared, rated and ranked according to affordability and credibility. We sell ads on our website to keep the database afloat, but we have completely sold out of ad impressions and need to drive more traffic so we can sell more ads. As we operate in the higher education market, we compete for keywords that are extremely expensive due to lead generation websites and degree services. If we tried to compete in AdWords or any other keyword bidding, we would go broke very quickly with nothing to show for it.

    Because we are not in the lead generation business, we do not have a specific "action" that people can take which forces us to think outside the box in terms of what we would call a "conversion." To us, a conversion is a user who views five pages or more.

    That said, we are exploring starting an affiliate program that would pay affiliates only when a user visits five pages within the site. HasOffers has said that they can help us set this up if that's the direction we go.

    What do other organizations that do not sell a product or have a clear conversion do to drive traffic through affiliates?

    As a niche market is running our own affiliate program the way to go, or should we run through a network like shareasale or CJ?

    I haven't seen any other companies do this, so one thing I am wondering is if a payout at 5 page views to a site would be worth it to an affiliate (we are considering 5 cents per "conversion")?

    Is there a network out there that already does this kind of thing automatically?

    Is CPC the way to go? If so, what network is the most reputable that would send us quality traffic?

    Any insight anyone might be willing to impart would be immensely appreciated.

    Thank you!
    Devin

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I would be VERY CAREFUL with anything like this, particularly if you're going to work with CPA Networks. You're going to get bombarded with fraud and useless traffic.

    How do you monetize your site? If you set up an affiliate program, you need to set your compensation so that you align the interests of your affiliates with your own interests.
    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

  3. #3
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    Affiliates in the EDU space are paid $25 to $50+ per completed app for the traffic they drive to lead-gen sites. What can you offer them? 5 cents?

    There is enough fraud in this space already.

    The fraud-houses & bots would have a field day with your proposed program > imo
    Last edited by Merchant Consultant Team; January 5th, 2011 at 12:11 PM.

  4. #4
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    Thank you for the response, and for setting up this thread more appropriately.

    We monetize our site by selling display advertising on a flat per 6 and 12 month rate. To date all of our traffic has been organic. We want to remain reputable and avoid click fraud at all costs. Our reputation is extremely important to us so the quality of the traffic is important.

    It sounds like you would be in the camp that paying out after five page views would be not in our best interest. Am I correct in that?

    I am a little unclear what you mean by "you need to set your compensation so that you align the interests of your affiliates with your own interests." By this do you mean that because we are looking for quality traffic it would be better for us to go out to individual sites that align closely with us and pay them more?

    Would a CPC network be better for our purposes? I have read numerous threads in this forum and you seem to really know your stuff so I am all ears if you have any recommendation about this and also what network is reputable for CPC.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
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    Our thought was that the amount of traffic it takes the lead gen sites to get one app filled out, 5 cents per visitor might be enough of an incentive.

    That said, I am sure you are right about bots and fraud houses so it doesn't sound like that would be a smart way to go.

    Do you think we would have the same problem with a CPC or CPM network? Again our main issue with the CPC/CPM model networks is finding one that is reputable. Suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks for your input.

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It sounds like you would be better off just promoting your site through Google AdWords (with the content network TURNED OFF) rather than through an 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

  7. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Why can't you drive lead gen to the schools you review on your site? Seems you have the traffic and monetize it via advertising. You will make a hell of a lot more if you are a lead gen site. Coming from a company that ran a 1200 school database generating leads for career schools they made $M a year then sold the company once they realized what it was worth. One of their biggest affiliates was a publisher company that had 1000's of organically ranked Google pages. When Google changed that company went out of business.

    Why are you not an affiliate or lead gen partner?

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