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  1. #1
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    MENTORING: Starting An Affiliate Program (Network Version)
    This started as a conversation with Bon who has an established merchant site (conversation here:). She is interested in launching an affiliate program. I recommended she look to see if there is much competition with affiliate programs on the bigger networks. This is for two reasons, if there are competitors and the programs are healthy then there are affiliates promoting those programs. If there are competitive programs that are healthy then you need to match or beat their offer i.e. commissions, incentives, cookie length.

    So Bon your first assignment is to join the following networks:

    Commission Junction
    ShareASale
    AvantLink
    Affiliate Window
    LinkShare

    We'll start with those but members are welcome to mention other networks they recommend or specific merchants they know of including in-house programs.
    Last edited by Chuck Hamrick; September 13th, 2012 at 10:21 AM.


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    This started as a conversation with Bon who has an established merchant site (conversation here:). She is interested in launching an affiliate program. I recommended she look to see if there is much competition with affiliate programs on the bigger networks. This is for two reasons, if there are competitors and the programs are healthy then there are affiliates promoting those programs. If there are competitive programs that are healthy then you need to match or beat their offer i.e. commissions, incentives, cookie length.

    So Bon your first assignment is to join the following networks:

    Commission Junction
    ShareASale
    AvantLink
    Affiliate Window

    We'll start with those but members are welcome to mention other networks they recommend or specific merchants they know of including in-house programs.
    I'm all signed up as an affiliate on them. Turns out I was already signed up on ShareASale. The last two are reviewing me but I'm pretty sure I'll be accepted.

    I'm also on e-junkie, I think, as well as LinkShare. And the sales of the product go through ClickBank so I have access to that one too.

    Homework assignment #1 done!


  3. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Have added LinkShare to the list. Send me the reply emails for networks that haven't accepted you yet and I will escalate with the network.

    So you are accepted to SAS and CJ? Send me an email and I will send you a spreadsheet to record information on competitive programs. You will realize several things when you search around for competitive merchants. What category are they found under. Are they found for keywords specific to their product and service. That is important when you build out an affiliate program in a network. As example if my program is ChuckHamrick Affiliate Program but an affiliate types Chuck Hamrick and if that is not part of the keyword setup in some networks they may not find it. Same goes with keywords versus keyword phrases.

  4. #4
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Just pushed you thru to active status @AvantLink - welcome to our network AND ABW.


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary-AvantLink View Post
    Just pushed you thru to active status @AvantLink - welcome to our network AND ABW.
    Thanks, Gary!

    Okay, I have the spreadsheet and will be working on it. Checking it out and digging around the examples I've figured out what I'm supposed to be looking for.

    Tomorrow I'm having orthoscopic surgery fixing my torn meniscus in my knee. I'm supposed to be done by noon and home by 1pm. Technically I'll be working later tomorrow and this weekend and posting my progress here.

    According to my husband, though, I'm a serious wimp when I'm recovering and all I'll be doing is moaning and being pitiful on the couch.

    Keep your fingers crossed he's wrong. For many reasons.

    I'll let y'all know.

  6. #6
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    Just a recap so far:

    1. Choose a handful of affiliate networks and sign up for them as an affiliate.
    2. Find merchants on the networks that are similar to you or a competitor of yours.
    3. For each merchant you find, record stats on them. In particular these:
    * Length of time the cookie lasts
    * EPC
    * Commission they pay
    * Traffic the merchant gets

    Next is doing step 2 and 3.

  7. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Tomorrow I'm having orthoscopic surgery fixing my torn meniscus in my knee. I'm supposed to be done by noon and home by 1pm. Technically I'll be working later tomorrow and this weekend and posting my progress here.

    According to my husband, though, I'm a serious wimp when I'm recovering and all I'll be doing is moaning and being pitiful on the couch.

    Keep your fingers crossed he's wrong. For many reasons.

    I'll let y'all know.
    Had both of my knees scoped. First time I slept after surgery. Second I propped my foot up and did emails for five hours. Don't over do it and keep up with your meds, if you don't its hard to get back to neutral.

  8. #8
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    So I'm searching merchants with the term "math" - just to use something to start. CJ was easy, there were about a dozen. It took me a while because I was learning which pieces meant what. I was also noticing patterns and making deductions, which may or may not be right - we'll see as I go.

    I'm also using Mac Numbers that I just purchased (because I was forced to upgrade to Mountain Lion to get the latest iOS SDK - long story). Since I'm a throwback from the old Lotus 1-2-3 days, converted to Excel and now learning Numbers, I have a bit of a learning curve there too.

    All to mean I'm working hard, albeit a little slower than normal.

    When I search on "math" on ShareASale, I get 91 results. Yipes! So my question when I opened this reply was, "Do I really need to do them all?"

    After taking a harder look at them I notice that the word "math" might be wrapped up in the descriptions, but that doesn't mean that they are educational merchants.

    For example a jewelry merchant description had the sentence, "Jewelry items can go up in the thousands, so I'll let you do the math."

    And one "accessories" merchant has two math games.

    Lesson for me here: pick a search term (because you gotta start with something) and then check out the categories of those merchants.

    Off topic note: it is apparently called arthroscopic knee surgery, not orthoscopic. How's a girl to know?

  9. #9
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    "Math Education" is what came up when I searched SAS which seems more focused. That said there are 125 merchants showing. Then you can click on the Advanced Search tab and select EPC greater than $1.00. Finally I chose Sort by 30 Day EPC which will knock out seasonal variability. There is a lot of merchants lists that have nothing to do with the subject you are researching so you should be able to blow through the list quickly. You can limit yourself to the top 6.

    Btw I always loved Lotus 123 and felt they were ripped off by Microsoft Excel. Used to buy 40 PC a year and when they started bundling Office it was impossible to justify buying and adding the other option. Hated to see that market shift as Microsoft ate it up.

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  11. #10
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    Holy cow. That homework was tough. Each affiliate network has a different way to search for things and display things. They even call things different terms. That whole "cookie" thing (which makes me head to the kitchen every freaking time) is called various things like return length and referral length, etc.

    I also figured out what a "creative" was (all this time I thought it was someone from Austin or Los Angeles thinking they wanted to "stay weird").

    Bottom line: I'm done with my spreadsheet of competitive or similar merchants. It has 34 merchants on it.

    14 from ShareASale,
    8 from LinkShare,
    3 from Affiliate Window,
    8 from Commission Junction and
    1 from AvantLink.

    Some of them I pushed to find something remotely similar - like 3 of them on LinkShare are test preps - SAT, GMAT, etc.

    I did notice when I tried to search on ClickBank that the perceived quality of products (i.e. the splash/sales page) was very different. ClickBank products look homemade while all of the merchant sites on the other networks look like they were created by teams of purple haired coding addicts crouched in a darkened garage hired by big business with deep pockets.

    So what's next boss?

    P.S. Knee is healing. I'm not on good drugs anymore so I'm completely responsible for anything I write.

  12. #11
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Good to hear the knee is healing and you are doing well.

    Send me the spreadsheet and I will evaluate that you put together.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Send me the spreadsheet and I will evaluate that you put together.
    I sent it and am looking forward to my next task. I'm stoked about learning this stuff - just bummed that there's no final exam.

    Wait - there IS a final exam. It's called, "Get my husband to quit asking me to find a day job."

    I put in my application at a local community college today. I can function online and still teach. I just couldn't function online and do any other day job.

    Pray, cross your fingers, sacrifice a chicken or whatever your spirituality calls for, for me, y'all.

  14. #13
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    Whew! It's not my turn. I was worried.

    This is a ping and a quick note that I have been down for a little while. Recovering fine from the knee thing then got hit by a stomach bug that I think my 3yo brought home. I wonder sometimes why the CDC doesn't shut down all schools.

    I'm ready for the next task, boss, whenever you are.

  15. #14
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    Hello Bon and Chuck!

    I am also on my way to being a affiliate manager (have been an active affiliate for the last 5 years or so), and found this thread to be quite informational. Just wanted to ask - is it possible for you to share the spreadsheet where you were scoping out the competition?

  16. #15
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Bon that's OK with me. Sorry that I have not gotten this completed. At Pubcon all week and last week was prep. We'll work through this shortly and help you put together a proper program.

  17. #16
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Was at Pubcon most of last week and just getting over the flu so haven't been able to get the detailed response back to this thread. Its on my list but am trying to catch-up so a few more days.

    To answer your question, you need both. You need a lifetime value commission up front and residual commission.

  18. #17
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    Woohoo! We're back!

    (sorry to hear about your illness Chuck - that flu junk still kicks most everyone tooshie!)

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