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  1. #1
    Newbie
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    September 25th, 2015
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    As a merchant am i better to recruit affiliates myself or join a network?
    As a newbie merchant in some ways, I am undecided as to whether to go it alone, per se, and recruit affiliates through my own site or whether to join a network. What are the benefits to afiliates of either approach.

    Apologies if this has been asked before, but am curious as to what suits affiliates better. Comments appreciated.

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Both, and more. Being in an affiliate network will bring you new affiliates, but it's not an either/or situation. You should be actively recruiting as well, and you should be looking for other ways to recruit as well.

    Being in an affiliate network also brings some other complexities into play, as some of the affiliates they bring may not be affiliates that you want. Since networks earn a percentage of each sale their affiliates bring, many networks believe it's in their best interest to allow all sorts of unethical behavior by affiliates as long as it results in sales. You'll have to be extra diligent in your policing of your policies (and making sure your affiliate agreement covers everything). Some examples include trademark bidding, cookie stuffing, spam, coupon usage, BHO policies, etc. If you don't watch it, your program will be overrun by unethical affiliates and it'll deter the legitimate affiliates.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  3. #3
    Newbie
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    September 25th, 2015
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    Thanks Michael. My feeling is that i should start off slowly whilst learning the ropes. Although i have a few affiliates already, they are all from past clients, so they know the product. I have heard that social media is a productive way of recruiting? Have you found this modern method of any benefit?

  4. #4
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    March 7th, 2007
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    Denver, CO
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    Michael brings up some good points about growing the program, but I did want to bring up the caveat that each network has different policies when it comes to screening and compliance. Some are pretty tough about it, and would prefer to keep an affiliate out of the network or remove them rather than expose their merchants to risk. That is indeed a vital question to ask when choosing a network. Most networks either have access to or have invested heavily to produce tools which investigate affiliate applications which you as an individual company could never even known about, much less afford.

    Social media will do some things for you concerning recruiting, but I've found that an in-house only program will grow slowly. The big guys don't want to deal with logging into a bunch of programs each day to see their results. They like looking at one summary page, getting one check each month, having one point of contact, etc. (Yes, I'm with a network, but I've been an AM many times in my 16 years in this industry.)

    You don't have to have only one or the other. Some of my merchants have in-house programs as well for various reasons. A network will give you access to a larger affiliate base quickly, and some even have decent built-in recruiting tools which you could use. Just something to think about.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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