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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    Question To De-Activate or Not?
    Yes, I see there is a sticky about this but it's old and I didn't see any discussion about the impact non-performing affiliates have on a merchant's EPC rate via their program - in this case Commission Junction. I'd love to just leave everyone in the program forever but doesn't that hurt my chances to recruit new affiliates who are looking at our EPC?

  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    It only hurts your EPC if you don't help those affiliates convert clicks to sales. Why would you not want to grow your program from within. This drive to recruit and piss away the affiliates in the program is ridiculous. If you do a good job managing your program and prmoting it you needn't worry about recruiting.


  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager
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    OK, well I'm looking at it this way: I have a specific niche. I always want to look for affiliates (publishers) who are a good match. I get the feeling some publishers start out by signing up for everyone's program AND we had a policy and manager that accepted everyone without checking. So, if we are selling, shoes, for example and we have affiliates that publish, say, computer parts directories, will they ever really convert for us? Shouldn't we go about weeding out the bad matches and unlikely performers? I'm sure were were "stupid" but hey, we all learn as we go along right?

  4. #4
    Fighting the good fight... Convergence's Avatar
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    How do you know that your affiliates aren't in multiple niches?

    Maybe your non-performing affiliates forgot about you.

    Maybe the only way to see if you have a data feed is to sign up. Maybe your data feed is crap.

    Maybe your site doesn't convert well enough to deserve being on some affiliates' sites.

    You'll never know unless you manage your program, not your affiliate list...
    Merchants: In the fashion or home appliance niches? Contact us for placement opportunities for: the US (National and now LOCAL markets), UK, and CA.
    Merchants: Do you exclude Colorado Affiliates? We can deliver targeted traffic from outside of Colorado! Contact us for details.


  5. #5
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Mida68, if you search you will find many discussions on EPC and "low generating commission affiliates" or "low activity affiliates" or whatever term you wish
    to label those you are itching to remove; here is a good post - search and you will find numerous discussions:
    http://www.abestweb.com/forums/848451-post19.html

    I don't think affiliates join programs randomly like a chimpanzee picking stocks by throwing darts at a dart board. If an affiliate has requested to join your program, that affiliate can envision promoting your products in some way & it's worth a try. Sometimes when the affiliate has actually joined the program there can be certain factors that discourages the affiliate. If you read the entire thread that the post is part of you will read about examples of some discouraging factors.
    Last edited by Rhia7; May 30th, 2012 at 11:47 PM.
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  6. #6
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    You can always ask those not sending traffic/sales if they want to remain in the program or not. If the email bounces then its a good sign that they are not receiving your communications.

    I am managing a program that is not converting, took it over from another agency. Offering a multi-level sales contest and just got authorization to double commissions. What are you offering your joined affiliates to motivate them to get active. Are you even trying to contact them personally?

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager
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    When I pull up affiliate accounts, I can see their websites. Much of it doesn't make any sense, like search-engine spam.

    I spend a lot of time creating very detailed newsletters that are sent out monthly. I encourage the use of new banners, approved coupon codes, even host contests and offer gift certificates as a prize.

    Data feed? Our data feed does really well, not sure where that came from. We advertise the Datafeed EPC in our program information. Spent many hours setting it up and optimizing it.

    Maybe, our site has some conversion issues. We are working on that the best we can. We are not a huge company with unlimited budget but have invested quite a bit in listening to customers, and watching our conversion rates.

    Doesn't managing my program include managing my list so that I end up with a focused and content-appropriate list?

    I'm trying to learn, I guess the first lesson is that dropping affiliates from my program no matter who they are is considered offensive on this forum?

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    You can always ask those not sending traffic/sales if they want to remain in the program or not. If the email bounces then its a good sign that they are not receiving your communications.

    I am managing a program that is not converting, took it over from another agency. Offering a multi-level sales contest and just got authorization to double commissions. What are you offering your joined affiliates to motivate them to get active. Are you even trying to contact them personally?
    Thanks Chuck, good advice. I have set up contests in the past. I do try to reach out, we have over 7000+ that probably signed up randomly because we didn't know what we were doing and offered a high commission. I would be many signed up based on numbers only. Like I said, when I look at some of them in detail, from say, Indonesia or Pakistan, with site names like "superduperhotdeals" or "internetconsultinggroup" - (I made those up) I can't help but think I need to pare down my list.

  9. #9
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Are you even trying to contact them personally?
    You didn't answer the question.

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  11. #10
    Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mida68 View Post
    I get the feeling some publishers start out by signing up for everyone's program
    Uh, no, not really, at least not in any significant numbers (at least as far as I know).

    Quote Originally Posted by mida68 View Post
    AND we had a policy and manager that accepted everyone without checking.
    Letting in affiliates who know what they are doing but who may or may not NOW be in your niche is not a bad procedure.

    Quote Originally Posted by mida68 View Post
    Shouldn't we go about weeding out the bad matches and unlikely performers? I'm sure were were "stupid" but hey, we all learn as we go along right?
    Letting them in was smart; kicking them out is the "stupid" part.

    Affiliates get ideas and find merchants that fit; affiliates find interesting merchants/products, and think up promotional ideas and site ideas. These are generally prioritized and take time. Sometimes years. I have ideas I have on the back burner for long, long periods of time, but eventually develop. Today's operator of a shoe affiliate site is tomorrow's operator of a Sodastream affiliate site.
    phil@abestweb.com | Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  13. #11
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    You didn't answer the question.
    YES, definitely try to reach some, not all 7000+, and I rarely hear back. Those who do contact me or reply to me - the relationship is great. I make them special coupon codes for their site, ask if they want custom banners, etc..

  14. #12
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Segment your list for non-performers and email them weekly. Make sure you are emailing directly so you get the bounces which you can remove in good faith. Focus on your subject line. You will either get a response (good or bad) or drive them out of the program which is your intent. If you have affiliates who send high impressions/clicks with no conversion them you have a right as manager to be in contact with them. If they don't respond after several attempts (which you document) then you can file a network complaint. That gets immediate response.

  15. #13
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    When I pull up affiliate accounts, I can see their websites. Much of it doesn't make any sense, like search-engine spam.
    You said that you were careful about who you let into your
    program in the first place. If their sites do not make sense at all
    then why did you accept them?

    That is a different situation from your earlier complaint about having a
    shoe niche and wondering if the affiliate who sells computer parts would
    be a good match. The affiliate selling computer carrying cases probably has
    a good site and probably is not spamming the search engines or anything else.
    Just because an affiliate displays a site that promotes a different product does
    not mean that the affiliate does not have the capability to sell/market your product. If you see a well constructed site, the affiliate who requests to join your program most likely can create a well constructed site where your products will fit in.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  16. #14
    Fighting the good fight... Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mida68 View Post
    When I pull up affiliate accounts, I can see their websites. Much of it doesn't make any sense, like search-engine spam.
    Create a mailing list for those senseless websites and see if you can confirm their interest.

    Quote Originally Posted by mida68 View Post
    Data feed? Our data feed does really well, not sure where that came from.
    Don't know you from Adam. Number one reason we join a merchant is because they are in a niche we are in or are planning to be in. We deal with data feeds. If a merchant doesn't have a datafeed, or we think it's crap, they are relegated to banner advertising. THAT'S where that came from.

    Quote Originally Posted by mida68 View Post
    Doesn't managing my program include managing my list so that I end up with a focused and content-appropriate list?
    Yes, but you started this thread stating your main concern is your EPC. EPC is as worthless as a boobs on a boar - If you're trying to attract affiliates based on your EPC, then you're going to get more affiliates with 'senseless' sounding websites. REAL affiliates don't make a decision based on EPC, at least not EPC alone. Some of us actually shop products with competitors, visit the merchant's website, go through the checkout procedure, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by mida68 View Post
    I'm trying to learn, I guess the first lesson is that dropping affiliates from my program no matter who they are is considered offensive on this forum?
    NO, again - YOU came across sounding as if you were ONLY worried about how you LOOK based on EPC.

    An affiliate not sending traffic has no bearing on your EPC. You would have to have a LOT of affilaites out of your 7000+ who are sending traffic that is not converting for your EPC to drop. Some of them would have to be sending a TON of traffic. All providing your site converts.

    Have to keep reaching out to those that are sending traffic that isn't converting. Maybe they need some help...
    Merchants: In the fashion or home appliance niches? Contact us for placement opportunities for: the US (National and now LOCAL markets), UK, and CA.
    Merchants: Do you exclude Colorado Affiliates? We can deliver targeted traffic from outside of Colorado! Contact us for details.

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  18. #15
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Part of the importance of EPC is that its how we are judged by our boss or client (when an OPM). Its easy for non-managers to poo-poo it but its one of the few metrics used and a mainstay at CJ.

  19. #16
    Affiliate Manager
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    I'm getting tons of great advice and with insight from the affiliate point of view, I better understand how to approach this issue. OK, I will make a huge effort to reach out to those sending traffic but not converting instead of dropping. I DID drop Skimlinks and ShopatHome as I see they have major issues with cookie stuffing and seem to be a lose-lose situation. Rhia7, I confused you, sorry, we have a bunch of situations going on and we did have the flood gates wide open so we probably still need to do some trimming. But, I will be careful, reach out, and more importantly, look for red flags other than sites that don't match.

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  21. #17
    Fighting the good fight... Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Part of the importance of EPC is that its how we are judged by our boss or client (when an OPM). Its easy for non-managers to poo-poo it but its one of the few metrics used and a mainstay at CJ.
    Guess bosses and clients need some educating, too...
    Merchants: In the fashion or home appliance niches? Contact us for placement opportunities for: the US (National and now LOCAL markets), UK, and CA.
    Merchants: Do you exclude Colorado Affiliates? We can deliver targeted traffic from outside of Colorado! Contact us for details.

  22. #18
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    One more thing... Affiliates not sending traffic.... Don't drop them....

    I can't tell you how many times I've tweaked an algorithm and started flooding a program with sales that previously wasn't getting any traffic from my website. It might take years, but you never know which inactive affiliate is going to explode with sales.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!


  23. #19
    ABW Ambassador Caseyfern's Avatar
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    One more thing... Affiliates sending traffic but the traffic is not converting into sales... Don't drop them arbitrarily. If a merchant has 7000 underperforming publishers, out of 7025, I'd say send out a "How can we improve" survey, host a Let's talk webinar, pick up the phone and start calling the 7000 - and take in every suggestion they can grab.

    I have several very powerful merchants whose product datafeeds invariably point half to the right product and half to the wrong (or no) product. I stare at an entry in their datafeed and try to figure out why it's different from its neighbor, to be told that "Oh, that isn't in our product datafeed anymore."

    If I publish a merchant's products on my sites, I do so in good faith that the datafeed the merchant is bringing up to the network is accurate and up to date. I know that faith is hideously misplaced much of the time - and when I've raised red flags about outdated, inaccurate or just plain ugly feeds, I've been threatened with removal.

    Listen to your publishers if they come to you with suggestions. I am now being threatened with removal by a merchant of plus size apparel which is underperforming because they drag their heels over adding the term "plus size" into product names so my plus size sites' code can find their items. I've asked them several times over the course of several years, but have gotten a blank stare and a promise to "look into it." If I had any sense, I'd take the removal in dead silence.

    But then again, if I had any sense, I would have dropped from their program years ago instead of continuing to beat my head against my desk.

    Best of success with your program.
    Be at peace,
    Casey

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