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  1. #1
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Why Affiliate Managers Should Become Affiliates
    Great article by Rebecca Pollard who I had a chance to meet in Vegas at the last Affiliate Summit.

    Starting out as an affiliate isn’t always easy – so much to learn, so much to do, and not enough time or money to get it all done.
    If you make it easy for them when they’re just getting started, then as they grow, your program will grow right along with them. Had I not been an affiliate, I would have never truly understood the challenges that come with trying to build a site and develop affiliate relationships at the same time. Being an affiliate helps me recognize the challenges other affiliates face every day, and it helps me solve for those challenges as an affiliate manager.
    Amen sister!

    I started making doorway pages for SEO back in 1999 well before Google. That taught me basic HTML. Working for a small SEO agency we developed 350 websites for clients and at any given time had a good 20 we took back with great niche traffic but the client didn't convert. So I learned how to use affiliate links to try and monetize that traffic until we could find a new client for the sites. Funny thing was it didn't work because I just swapped their product links for other affiliate product links. Failed to relate the products to the audience and they didn't convert. Found out its not easy to be an affiliate and make money.

    Have great respect for those who have succeeded by learning their craft. Also for the AMs who put themselves into an affiliate mindset rather than talking down to them. Know a lot of network reps who could use a basic lesson in building and marketing a website. They don't teach that in college now do they??

    One word of caution, if you are an AM do not compete with your affiliates. That is sinister and have seen cases where the AM realizes that the top affiliate is making a lot more than they. So they make a career change, go in a different direction. Ya right!


  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Not sure if I agree that Affiliate Managers Should Become Affiliates, I think it the other way around. You should be an affiliate first and then become a Affiliate Manager if you think you can make money at it and do not mind losing your freedom.

    I personally think it wrong for for a AM to become an affiliate after he gotten insider knowledge from the affiliates he/she manages even if it not in a related area. Most affiliates work in several areas and who is to say the AM will not complete with their affiliates in another area and may or may not even know they are doing it.

    Bottom line you should be an affiliate or a AM not both!
    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
    Shimmy Shimmy Bang Bang shimmy's Avatar
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    Affiliate Managers should NEVER also be affiliates. If they start out as an affiliates , then quit to be Affiliate Managers that's a good thing. However being an Affiliate Manager and an affiliate at the same time is a big conflict on interest. Seeing how top affiliates are converting the sales and being in competition for things like the same ranking is not cool.


  4. #4
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    Not sure if I agree that Affiliate Managers Should Become Affiliates, I think it the other way around. You should be an affiliate first and then become a Affiliate Manager if you think you can make money at it and do not mind losing your freedom.

    I personally think it wrong for for a AM to become an affiliate after he gotten insider knowledge from the affiliates he/she manages even if it not in a related area.
    Bottom line you should be an affiliate or a AM not both!
    Absolutely!! Be an affiliate first and then branch into AM but I
    feel awkward about AMs who decide to dip their toes into being affiliates due
    to the fact they'll have a lucrative tip off as a motivation
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Chuck, with all the $$$ involved: do you really think that an AM is NOT going to take advantage of insider knowledge? Especially as there's no way your average aff will find out.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

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  7. #6
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I believe there are ethical AMs like the one that wrote the article. I also have not become an affiliate for this very reason although I have had many, many people tell me I should do so.

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  9. #7
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    I also believe there are ethical AMs, but are they the majority? There's an inherent conflict of interest involved, although I agree, knowing both sides of the fence and the difficulties involved can certainly give needed insights to being a better AM.

    It's already happened to me, so I'm not speaking blindly. And I remember the late Rexanne making a post here about how an AM she really trusted had screwed her over.

    It's just one of those dilemmas of business...and life.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

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  11. #8
    Affiliate Network Rep Kim Salvino's Avatar
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    I've never been an affiliate in the true sense of owning my own site, for two reasons. One, that isn't where my passion lies. I prefer to help others monetize existing traffic and be involved on the advertiser side - helping to improve their site for the sake of conversion, etc. as that is where my affiliate partners' traffic is being directed. Two, it just never felt right. I'm speaking for myself, of course. I believe there is value in understanding aspects of digital marketing but I think you can master those elements without being an affiliate as well.

    Just my two cents.
    Kim Salvino, Client Services Director, Performance Horizon Group
    Reach me at kim.salvino(at)performancehorizon.com or on (443) 617-4036

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  13. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    I don't see how you could be a good AM without having been an affiliate first.

    But what about being an affiliate in one niche while being an AM in another? Is that cool?

  14. #10
    Affiliate Network Rep Kim Salvino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick - Bitcom View Post
    I don't see how you could be a good AM without having been an affiliate first.

    But what about being an affiliate in one niche while being an AM in another? Is that cool?
    For some, I suppose that is good for them. For me - I would just rather help others & grow the program I am managing with my time. I'm not saying don't be an affiliate if you are an AM. I just haven't had the need to be one, and I would like to think I would fall under the "good AM" description.
    Kim Salvino, Client Services Director, Performance Horizon Group
    Reach me at kim.salvino(at)performancehorizon.com or on (443) 617-4036

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  16. #11
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Disclosure: I'm a successful affiliate for Affiliate Summit. That's about it now. I've been an affiliate in unrelated niches/categories and I've tested different promotions but I will admit it was always with minimal results. But at least I exposed myself to that side of the world.

    Now, if I had time, I'd love to be an affiliate for sites that sell super hero/comic related products. If anyone had a problem with that, I'd use my super powers against them...
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  18. #12
    Ad Network Reps
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    I understand want you guys are saying! For sure. I'm both... I am an AM for one niche and I do affiliate for other niches.
    After spending 8+ hours at work, sometimes the last thing I want to do is go home and do SEO or read about PPC.
    I also like to have a life outside of work.
    If you can find a company that has AM's that doesn't compete against their Affiliate (cough cough ) it will be a better pay check for you

  19. #13
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanT3Leads View Post
    If you can find a company that has AM's that doesn't compete against their Affiliate (cough cough ) it will be a better pay check for you
    I guess affs will have to gaze into a crystal ball for this one.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

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  21. #14
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    I believe that my time spent as an affiliate has made me a much better AM. Until you've done it, there are some things you'll never fully understand. It makes me sad that some people have violated the trust placed in them, but please don't lump all AM's into that group. Ethics matter more to me and to the people I respect within our industry. I love affiliate marketing, and I'm not going to compromise my reputation or future over a few bucks. Besides, if you are doing your job right as an AM, you don't have time to be an affiliate!
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  22. #15
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    Affiliate Manager becoming an Affiliate?

    Conflict of interest and double-dipping come to mind.

    I would be furious if I found out my (supposedly confidential) statistics helped someone become my competitor (added: or to further their own career as an existing affiliate).
    Last edited by teezone; February 27th, 2014 at 03:39 PM.


  23. #16
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    Affiliate managers become an affiliates is a serious Conflict of Interest issue.

    This topic has been brought up before over the years. I'm shocking to see this thread title and am not surprised by the responses.

    There should be a fine line drawing between AMs/OPMs/Network Reps and affiliates. AMs/OPMs/Network Reps have absolute competitive advantage against affiliates. They are paid to manage the programs, not use the insider information to compete with affiliates.

    Even though they are in the "different niches", it is still a conflict of interest. We all know how affiliate marketing works. All you need is to find that successes formula and apply to any niches. It is a very dangerous path to go down if Networks/OPMs/AMs believe they should become affiliates while getting paid as Network employees, OPMs and AMs.

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  25. #17
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Insider information, even when used in different niches means nothing in the real world. I know how to pitch a baseball. But that doesn't mean I'm going to throw enough strikes to get out of an inning. I don't see this as a huge problem in the industry. I think there have been some isolated incidents in the past but the article was written with the best intentions.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  26. #18
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    AMs see what products/merchants converts, which pages sell, where the sales come from...and use these information to build their affiliate sites. These are all insider information that your affiliates won't see. You might not be the one who use these information for their own good, but it is a huge problem to affiliates.

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  28. #19
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    I don't see this as a huge problem in the industry
    I do.

    The insider information you casually refer to is "conversion rate by publisher", which means an Affiliate Manager knows which sites perform well. Better yet, an AM can see which links are converting well. We all have access to the internet, and I don't consider learning how to perform a website review is anything like learning a physical skill, ie. pitching a baseball.

    It's VERY easy to deconstruct a website.

    If a competitor comes to my site, you can bet I don't want to make it easy for them to figure out what converts well. To realize the AM has access to my stats and runs their own affiliate site really sticks in my craw.

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  30. #20
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayfly View Post
    AMs see what products/merchants converts, which pages sell, where the sales come from...and use these information to build their affiliate sites. These are all insider information that your affiliates won't see. You might not be the one who use these information for their own good, but it is a huge problem to affiliates.
    In theory, yes. Could it happen, yes. But I think it's highly unlikely. Maybe I'm just not ruthless like that.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  31. #21
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akagorilla View Post
    I don't see this as a huge problem in the industry. I think there have been some isolated incidents in the past....
    The incidence is actually very common. In fact some of the most "trusted and respected" AM's who are active here on this forum are the biggest wolves in sheep's clothing.
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  32. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by akagorilla View Post
    In theory, yes. Could it happen, yes. But I think it's highly unlikely. Maybe I'm just not ruthless like that.
    No in theory. It happened. It is still happening...

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  34. #23
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    At some point, I would love to see affiliates in a position to mandate a "no compete" policy.


  35. #24
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    The incidence is actually very common. In fact some of the most "trusted and respected" AM's who are active here on this forum are the biggest wolves in sheep's clothing.
    I could name at least TWO...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  36. #25
    Affiliate Manager Kush@VMInnovations's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    To realize the AM has access to my stats and runs their own affiliate site really sticks in my craw.
    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    The incidence is actually very common. In fact some of the most "trusted and respected" AM's who are active here on this forum are the biggest wolves in sheep's clothing.
    That's pretty unethical and would think is short term thinking. We'd rather earn our affiliate partners trust by sharing what's selling great and help them help us, than make a few bucks now and alienate potential top partners down the road.

    Personally have no problems with affiliate managers being affiliates as long as its in a different niche. Think if our affiliate program is about consumer products (toys and trimmers), my personal site is about web services (hosting/CMS).

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