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  1. #1
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    What about an Affiliate Best practices forum?
    A bit of a rant and likely not going to be taken well but I am not interested in being politically correct. I'm interested in running a successful affiliate program and if it means taking some lumps I'm good with that.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    The reason I ask is that after updating our policy on Linkconnector I got a couple of interesting emails from an affiliate/network/OPM. He chided me because I tightened control over trademark bidding as we begin assessing what we want out of our program. We had an instance where an affiliate bought an old URL that we were re-directing. It was our fault; we bought the company a few years ago and simplified the URL. The original owner, who still works for us, didn't forward the renewal information nor mention it to us because he didn't think it was important and the URL was bought at an auction site by...an affiliate marketer.

    I don't fault the marketer, but it did bring to the forefront these kind of issues. It riled up the top brass so I decided as our current affiliate program is up for complete overhaul and we are looking to hire an OPM, I'd put the squeeze on brand PPC bidding for now, based on some things I received from Greg Hoffman.

    Affiliates cannot bid on Lambers or Lambers plus including but not limited to, the following terms:

    Lambers
    Lambers.com
    Lambers, Inc.
    Lambers Coupon
    Lambers Promo Code
    Lambers Discount
    Lambers Deals

    Affiliates may not direct link or use our display URL

    No search engine spamming, which includes the following:
    Keywords unrelated to site
    Redirects
    Keyword stuffing
    Mirror/duplicate content
    Tiny Text
    Doorway pages
    Link Farms
    Cloaking
    Keyword stacking
    Gibberish
    Hidden text
    Domain Spam
    Hidden links
    Mini/micro-sites
    Page Swapping (bait &switch)
    Typo spam and cyber squatting

    While I realize some affiliates might get upset over the policy change, we didn't have any serious activity in the first place. The few affiliates that have been generating sales for us don't seem to be upset, and I've been conversing with most of them via email purposely to understand what they do, what we can do better and just to understand this niche better.

    I also expected that once we decide on an OPM all conditions are on the table for review and change, including wiping the slate completely clean and allowing them to do their job with support but minimal interference from me.

    As a side note, Greg declined to allow us to consider him. He felt our management styles would mesh. I was surprised because I had him on my short list. This isn't to throw him under the bus...I was disappointed. But if my asking questions ( and certainly ignorance on my part might have made me ask some dumb ones) is an issue, he would be correct in his assessment.

    Back to the point. This person essentially told me was to throw ethics out the window. "More often than not affiliate programs are NOT successful because of "ethical" claims. What is "ethical" changes from Manager to Manager from program to program. I would suggest sticking to what is LEGAL and reject
    the rest. Clear and simple."

    So my question - do you think I went over board? He told me we should stick to creating landing pages that convert and intimated that I should leave the marketing to the affiliate. That struck me as quite foolish on his part.

    He may be right in his comments, but to then come back and tell me we should consider him as our OPM seemed ridiculous. He got upset when I said so.

    Is it only merchants who need Best Practices? Should affiliates be exempt? Where is the line drawn?
    Last edited by Chuck Hamrick; February 2nd, 2012 at 02:50 PM. Reason: Newbies can not add links to their posts!

  2. #2
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    Chuck...This was an excerpt from the policy change we made. I apologize that there was a link, it certainly wasn't my intention. I pasted the email into my text editor and got rid of a bunch of >>, ** etc to clean it up before posting. I had no intention nor was I aware that there was a link in it.

  3. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Sounds like an honest mistake and thanks for circling back. I plan to post my response to your thread but have calls stacked up.

    One quick comment, in looking at your site I don't see enough traffic to be concerned about brand protection. Looks to me that affiliates in this case can help you combat competitors in the space and extend your brand. Heading down the path you are is doing the opposite.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador kaizen's Avatar
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    I'm curious as to the reasoning behind your aversion to mini sites.
    We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.
    ~Lynn Hall

  5. #5
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    It's not an aversion to anything really. We are actively looking for an OPM to take the reins of the program.

    As I mentioned before, once we get someone on board and active the reins can come off, but we had an experience that soured things a bit and truthfully someone taking a property of ours and then wanting to either profit from it or sell it back to me at a considerably higher rate isn't going to be welcomed with open arms.

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