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  1. #1
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Hi, I manage my own IT-related web site and am looking at enrolling in an affiliate network. A few questions for you veterans out there:

    - How difficult is it to manage multiple networks? (Commission Junction + Linkshare, etc.) I was thinking of just joining one for starters to make life easy and test it out...

    - Any ideas on how many merchants LS has versus CJ? I'm trying to decide where I might have the best chance of finding merchant promotions that match the content of my site. I saw LS claim to have 600 "premier" merchants, but do you think that is all? Or they have other merchants that aren't quite "premier"

    - Any idea of the number of publishers on LS vs. CJ? And do merchants tend to "restrict" the number of affiliates they deal with (i.e., do I need to worry about "competing" with a lot of other affiliate publishers if I go with a big network), or do they take leads from pretty much anyone out there?

    - Any other advice to someone just starting out?


  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Being in multiple programs is no big deal.

    CJ and Shareasale tend to be better for people who are testing the waters because they combine payments. CJ and SaS also publish performance statistics. Do not choose your merchant only on their published EPC, but if the CJ merchant has an EPC of less than a most likely is not an active program. (NOTE, a high EPC often simply means that people don't click on the ad unless they want to buy. Bare Necessities has a low EPC because many people click on BN ads to analyze underwear models.)

    Without consolidated payments, you end up losing lots of frustrating scraps of cash when you test merchants. Let's say a merchant has a $25.00 minimum and $2.50 EPC. That means that the average web site must send 1000 hits to merchant to break the minimum payment. A web site might see only one hit per 100 page views (varies per site and per merchant). In this case, you would have to generate 100,000 ad views to break the minimum.

    The frustrations occur when you test merchants to find those that work and don't work with your audience is that you end up dropping a lot of cash in the form of minimum payments. For example, after investing 100,000 page views in a program, you might see you have only $12.00 toward the minimum payment. Obviously, this merchant does not work for your audience. So, what do you do? Do you invest another 100,000 - 200,000 page views to try and collect your payment or write off the merchant?

    LS has some high quality merchants...but you need to be in a position to send enough traffic to the sites to get the minimum payments for each merchant you test.

    If you are just wanting to test the waters, I would start with either SaS or CJ, then selective add merchants for LS.

  3. #3
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    just a note, I'm finding I eventually get little checks from merchants I dropped and sacrificed the few bucks. It took 6 months so far, I got 2, and might get the other 6 by the end of the year. Maybe.

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Hi Gregg

    My suggestion is 'go with what you know', as you said you know IT, so select the best IT programs off both Networks. It's always easier to promote what you know (to get rolling) than to try and plug into something you don't know based on a network, Andy R runs some great IT merchants on a range of networks (check out his forum here on ABW) and his support is top notch (I'd plug my own company but we haven't got a single IT merchant right now ) , which is the other key item to look for, which merchant programs (not network) are best supporting YOU.


    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 :::
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  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Mansfield, TX
    What Chris said. Choose based on the MERCHANT, not the network. Find merchants that are a good demographics fit with your site. The network makes very little difference (except perhaps, which most people recommend avoiding).

    As for your specific questions:

    It's not difficult to work with merchants on different networks.

    I think CJ has more merchants, but I think it's pretty close. Linkshare has more big name merchants for sure.

    I suspect that both networks have a fairly comparable number of affiliates/publishers, with the advantage there possibly going to CJ. Most merchants don't restrict the number of affiliates at all. It doesn't cost hardly anything to have an unproductive affiliate--they could generate sales in the future, so why not keep them. Most merchants join networks FOR the huge exposure to affiliates.

    Other advice? Read the forums here on ABW! There's tons of knowledge here.

  6. #6
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Small Town in Tennessee
    Pick a couple from each network and email them a dummy question.

    See which ones respond and how long it takes

    The other thing about linkshare is they don't let you see the types of banners or links available until AFTER you join and are approved - so you're working somewhat in the dark

    And IMO, avoid merchants that subcontract out their affiliate programs to the network (check the email address extension of the am)

  7. #7
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    If web hosting is one of the things you plan to push, CJ has tons of them with generous payouts. The combined payments at CJ is nice as previosly noted.

    You can sign up for as many networks as you want, there is no risk and no real added work being signing up for multiple networks. IMHO, CJ is more intuitive, easier to use, and its faster to setup links than LS.

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