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  1. #1
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    It's time to create Affiliate Network Co-Op
    I am not a big affiliate. But have been doing it for a while. It helped me pay my rent when I was renting, and pay part of my mortgage (after I bought my house). It helped me pay off my car loan much sooner than I expected.

    But things have not been going very well lately. I was doing PPC (no brand bidding) well with Google AdWords and then they shut down affiliates. Yahoo ads were doing well too, then Bing took it over. Last week I shut down my last Bing campaign, they were sending so much of bad traffic, I was hardly breaking even.

    Then the networks aren't behaving any better either. CJ, my best performing network, scares me with their changes. SAS thinks they have solved all their issues even before they were reported. GAN is GONE, not that I will miss them.

    Affiliates are small entities. Nobody listens to them. They have no pull. But they are passionate about what they do.

    So why not ditch the networks altogether. Why not start a Co-Op Affiliate Network of the affiliates, by the affiliates, for the affiliates.

    A network which will have
    1. Zero tolerance for toolbars, s/w, parasites
    2. An interface that works
    3. Strict Datafeed policy which is standard, structured, categorized
    4. API support fully integrated and free
    5. Cookies duration can't be dropped on a whim
    6. Decision are made based on voting

    I will shut up now. I guess I said enough. Back to the real world.


  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    I was doing PPC (no brand bidding) well with Google AdWords and then they shut down affiliates. Yahoo ads were doing well too, then Bing took it over. Last week I shut down my last Bing campaign, they were sending so much of bad traffic, I was hardly breaking even.
    Not to derail your thread but why do you think Google has shutdown affiliates from using AdWords?? Yes it is not as profitable anymore but it is still a option for affiliates.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    The problem I see with a "Co-Op Affiliate Network" is that Networks only care about Merchants. And if affiliates started their own network then we would also have to put the merchant first or the merchant will not stay on the network. Most merchants are not going to work directly with affiliates but I interested to see what other have to say about this.
    Last edited by kse; May 21st, 2013 at 01:01 PM. Reason: Added more info
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

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  5. #4
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    The issues you described were a big part of the reason we started our company. We needed clean datafeeds, so we built the systems to clean them, we needed better reports, so we built them., we needed a better way to manage traffic and get it to the best converting merchant, so we designed algorithms to do so, then we built an api because all of them at the networks were terrible.

    but....

    The biggest reason we started the company was to grow a voice for affiliates. In the 10+ years I was an affiliate I went through the same things you are describing. Ebay changed rules and shut down my revenue stream, back when yahoo ads first started I ended up losing accounts for seemingly arbitrary reasons. I wasn't able to get into most of the big merchants, and those that did work with me could drop me at any time with zero notice. It gets old. Now, we started our company, and we have over 8200 affiliates working under us (as of today). Our traffic volume is enormous, and we finally have leverage to discuss issues with merchants and even networks. We find that they are very receptive and willing to work with us.

    Bottom line, I don't care if you use our products, or our system, but I do want to help become a voice for affiliates in this industry. If there are issues I can run up the chain at the networks, or other issues I can help with, i'm happy to do so. I don't mind ruffling a few feathers along the way. I've done it in the past lol.

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  7. #5
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prosperent View Post
    ..........and we have over 8200 affiliates working under us (as of today). Our traffic volume is enormous, and we finally have leverage to discuss issues with merchants and even networks. We find that they are very receptive and willing to work with us....
    But even with all of that traffic / affiliates you have no power when it comes to sites like Ebates/Fatwallet etc (or at least that is my understanding from the other thread) so how would a Affiliate Network Co-op help with these issues?

    Again I not putting down the idea just trying express my concerns on how our own network could help us.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

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  9. #6
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    With a Co-Op, you are the network. You get to decide if Ebates/Fw are in or out. You have full power.

    With Prosperent's model, they still go through the network. With a Co-op model, you are the network.

  10. #7
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam_park View Post
    With a Co-Op, you are the network. You get to decide if Ebates/Fw are in or out. You have full power.....
    No you do not because the will join other networks like CJ, LS, SAS that allow affiliates to install software to steel our commisions.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

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  12. #8
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    we needed better reports, so we built them
    How do I bookmark a "yesterday" report?

  13. #9
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby131313 View Post
    How do I bookmark a "yesterday" report?
    Where?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  14. #10
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    It's an interesting concept, this "co-op". One that would meet much resistance from the OPM world and merchants.

    Do-able? Sure...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  15. #11
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    What Prosperent has done is pretty close to it.

  16. #12
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam_park View Post
    So why not ditch the networks altogether. Why not start a Co-Op Affiliate Network of the affiliates, by the affiliates, for the affiliates.

    A network which will have
    1. Zero tolerance for toolbars, s/w, parasites
    2. An interface that works
    3. Strict Datafeed policy which is standard, structured, categorized
    4. API support fully integrated and free
    5. Cookies duration can't be dropped on a whim
    6. Decision are made based on voting

    I will shut up now. I guess I said enough. Back to the real world.
    All that may sound good, but before you go and try to make any poll about any new "Affiliate Network" ideas, I would like to suggest you do a search on ABW on these two keywords:

    "Affiliate Union" ~ Circa: 2001

    and

    "TrueTracker" ~ Circa: 2002


    Sam, I like your Affiliate Network Co-Op idea, but before you waste your time, I wanted to let you know that your new network idea have been discussed here at ABW, before. Maybe under another name but, it was a waste of time anyway...

    Btw, I don't linked those two keywords to any thread, because there is more to read from the past about this idea, than just two threads...

    But, since anything is possible, go ahead with your idea, and who knows...

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  18. #13
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    If everyone was to continue to roll over and die after a first, second, or whatever number of discussions then that would explain why affiliates suck hind teat in the industry...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  19. #14
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam_park View Post
    What Prosperent has done is pretty close to it.
    Hmmmm. No...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  21. #15
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    But even with all of that traffic / affiliates you have no power when it comes to sites like Ebates/Fatwallet etc (or at least that is my understanding from the other thread) so how would a Affiliate Network Co-op help with these issues?

    Again I not putting down the idea just trying express my concerns on how our own network could help us.
    I don't think anything will help with that issue. I agree. It's something the networks have to decide to take on themselves, and I don't ever see that happening. Too much money on the table from publishers like that.

    The ONLY way that is going to change is if the merchants themselves decide not to work with those publishers. The networks do whatever the merchants want, that's the way it has always been, and likely how it will continue to be. Something compelling would have to happen to dissuade merchants from working with fatwallet/ebates.


  22. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Hmmmm. No...
    What I meant is, Prosperent has created the tools and attracted the mass of affiliates to have some pull. But he is till tied to the networks. So if can cut the chord with the networks and have the merchants join him...

  23. #17
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Hmmmm. No...
    I agree, we're never going to be exactly what is outlined in the first post. We're a profit driven company, but, having said that, one of our core values is to help give a voice to affiliates in this industry. I think that's really what we can bring to the table. Hopefully we can bring some positive change out of that. What's bad for you is bad for us.


    We aren't free, but I don't think anything structured the way we are could ever be. We have a 5 figure a month server bill just to keep our api and such unlimited. That sort of makes #4 impossible if you want to keep a purely democratic and open system in place. Someone has to run the hardware, put in the hours programming, etc.

  24. #18
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam_park View Post
    What I meant is, Prosperent has created the tools and attracted the mass of affiliates to have some pull. But he is till tied to the networks. So if can cut the chord with the networks and have the merchants join him...
    We have explored that idea

  25. #19
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam_park View Post
    What I meant is, Prosperent has created the tools and attracted the mass of affiliates to have some pull. But he is till tied to the networks. So if can cut the chord with the networks and have the merchants join him...
    Then he becomes a network like all other the other network out their. Why would you think he would be any different?
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

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  27. #20
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prosperent View Post
    I don't think anything will help with that issue. I agree. It's something the networks have to decide to take on themselves, and I don't ever see that happening. Too much money on the table from publishers like that.

    The ONLY way that is going to change is if the merchants themselves decide not to work with those publishers. The networks do whatever the merchants want, that's the way it has always been, and likely how it will continue to be. Something compelling would have to happen to dissuade merchants from working with fatwallet/ebates.
    I don't like it, but I have to agree with you on that!

    For about a decade I have see how much is talked about those two and nothing have really changed because like they say: "money talks and BS walks"

    And to be honest, if something else I care more to see a change hasn't changed in more than five decades, heck, I don't think those parasite issues will change any time soon.

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  29. #21
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    Valid point KSE.

    In the position we are in now, our entire focus is on the affiliate. Our income relies on affiliates being happy. Once you bring merchants into the mix, that focus naturally shifts. Networks have to spend the majority of their time keeping the merchants happy so they can attract the larger affiliates. By definition, networks don't have affiliates best interest in mind. Their profits rise and fall from merchants.

    So, you have two basic models.

    Traditional network: merchants are the focus

    Us, and others like us: affiliates are the focus

    It's a catch 22, and I don't think you can really have it both ways. A network may be more affiliate friendly, but they are still likely to side with the merchant should it come down to it.

    A company like ours is going to focus on the affiliate, and make sure the merchant isn't doing anything to hurt that relationship.

    Is one better than the other? Maybe, maybe not. It's a judgement call.

  30. #22
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    That's where a Co-op may help. Some of us are strong in programming (I do coding for a living like many here). Some are strong in servers/networking etc. Some are good in marketing. Some have the people skill, like many OPMs here. A core group among us with varied skills can help create a Co-Op with a guiding principle "Do not kill the affiliates".

    And an affiliate centric network takes shape.

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  32. #23
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    Come work with us

    I like the mission statement:

    "Prosperent, do not kill the affiliates"

    Remember the costs of the server hardware itself. I don't consider us to be all that large and we spend 13K a month on hardware alone. An unlimited use api is expensive .
    Last edited by Prosperent; May 21st, 2013 at 03:10 PM.

  33. #24
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prosperent View Post
    What's bad for you is bad for us.
    That can't be 100% accurate!

    Why?

    Becaouse of what you just said on the first part of the reply post:

    Quote Originally Posted by Prosperent View Post
    I agree, we're never going to be exactly what is outlined in the first post. We're a profit driven company, but, having said that, one of our core values is to help give a voice to affiliates in this industry.
    It's good to have a voice that may help with our affiliates - networks -merchants - issues, but like you just said... You have to look out for your bottom line,

    But, and when, big money is on the line, the voice may or may not, get laryngitis?

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  35. #25
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    In our case, those profits are driven 100 percent by affiliates. You ARE our bottom line.

    That only changes once you become an actual network and bring merchants in as part of the business model. So, I agree, only if we were ever to bring on our own advertisers.
    Last edited by Prosperent; May 21st, 2013 at 03:08 PM.

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