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  1. #1
    Member
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    Greetings folks...I am considering opening my own forum for the Second Act program. I am wondering what your thoughts on the subject are...my goals for the forum would be to communicate more frequently and personally with those that would like, post any upcoming deals, ask for advice re: how to work more closely with everyone (and make it easier for you to work with me), and of course lurk around to get the REAL candid feedback! ;-)

    The asking price is not insignificant at $2k, but I think the upside is far greater. Can you folks give me a perspective on this? Much appreciated!

    Mark
    Second Act
    markr@2ndact.biz

    Have you picked up my datafeed yet???

  2. #2
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    Welcome Mark-O,

    Please tell us about your program, feeds, epc, reversal percentages, Do you track pohne order?, etc....

    What is your stance on Parasites, WhenU and the like?

    Basically tell us about yourself and your program...

  3. #3
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Hi Mark and welcome.

    If you utilize your forum as you've mentioned, it can more than pay for itself quickly. Those benefits can carry over to your entire program and not just the affiliates who participate here. There is never a lack of folks who will be more than happy to let you know those things that will make your program more attractive to affiliates.

    While Merchants/AM's don't usually have the time to hang out on the boards all the time, if you decide to proceed with a forum (which is a good idea IMO), then make sure you do have the time resources to keep your forum active. It amazes me sometimes the number of merchants who open a forum and then never or rarely have any representative from their company here utilizing it.

    Good luck and hope to see you here more often.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Hi Mark, welcome to ABW!

    I see you've been registered for a while, so you probably already know the benefits of having a forum here.

    I think this is one of the best ways to communicate with top affiliates, and it's an excellent place to share ideas, get help, and communicate about affiliate marketing issues.

    I think the cost of the forum here would quickly pay for itself. If you run a clean program, with fair treatment of all affiliates, you'll do well.

    I took a look at your site the other day, you have some pretty tempting stuff...

    Andy

  5. #5
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    Sandra,
    Thanks for the reply. I will give a short run down on us and our program:

    We sell refurbished consumer electronics (TVs, digital cameras, etc.). We have a constantly changing inventory and most of what we obtain is priced at the very low end of the range, i.e., we are always cheapest or tied for cheapest when you compare at the shopping engines. This is in large part due to our founder/lead merchant. He's the same guy that founded Damark, his name is Mark Cohn. He has really great relationships with the suppliers/distributors/manufacturers.

    We launched the co. in Nov, '03. We started working it full time about 6-7 weeks ago (I left my job as media director for Zentropy Partners, a fairly well known interactive marketing agency). We had a BeFast Express program going, but just migrated to CJ so we could use the datafeed. However, i am finding out from some affiliates that the datafeed is not as turnkey as I was led to believe.

    We offer 4% on the first $5k, and 8% on every dollar over $5k (in a monthly period). We offer a 30-day lookback window. We have an average order amount of about $850.

    I have been an interactive marketing/media person since 1996, but it has always been in an agency setting and involved more large scale media buys for alot of brand-oriented clients. I am very new to the affiliate marketing arena and have A TON to learn. That is why i am here - I feel like this is one of the places I will learn the most. I made my living and my success in the past on the strength of the relationships I was able to build and i can see that same approach will hold true in affiliate marketing. I simply want to work to build those relationships adn i think a forum would be a good way to make that happen.

    That's about it in a nutshell as far as the program and Second Act...if you want to hear about my dog (german shorthaired pointer) or my '71 Jeepster or fishing in Minnesota, by all means we can cover that too! All you have to do is ask ;-)

    I am including the link to the CJ sign up for our program too in case you are interested. thanks again for your feedback and help.

    https://signup.cj.com/member/branded...hantid=1412184

    Mark Redetzke
    Second Act
    markr@2ndact.biz

  6. #6
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    Greetings Mark,

    Are you set up to track affiliate driven phone orders?

    The reason I ask is your company deals with Refurbished items, I would believe you get your share of phone calls which would/could be the closer.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
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    quote:
    fishing in Minnesota,


    Now someone knows whats really important!!

    On the family vacation to wisconsin dells then a week in Bloomington
    Any suggestions?

    One question, as the program looks inviting
    Are there any thoughts to some dynamic product links or page creatives
    Makes it tough if we have to babysit the pages we create if inventory is limited quantities, opportunity buys/refurbed, or is in stock not an issue?

  8. #8
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    Let me try to address stuff as it comes in...

    1. Phone orders: no, we are not set up to track phone orders. However, we do not currently accept phone orders. We tell our customers that the only way for them to complete a transaction is to do it at the web site. I know this is not ideal, but we are young and LEAN!

    2. Dynamic Links: If you want them, I will make them available. Just help me get there...

    i want to clarify, I thought the data feed/product catalog addressed this issue. I thought the datafeed worked in the same way as the datafeeds at teh ashopping engines, i.e., put it on the ftp, it gets picked up and automagically all of my prices/products are updated. I gather that is not the case...

    What is required to make the dynamic links you suggest? Have tech guy, will code! Your advice is very much appreciated.

    As far as Mpls, the obligatory visit to the Mall of America, a Twins game (better yet, St. Paul Saints - outdoor ball in a 5,000 person venue - fun!), Valley Fair can be fun (amusement park), Canterbury Downs to watch the ponies run, you could go to a nice casual dinner on Lake Minnetonka at a place like Fletcher's. I typically spend my free time heading up to the northern parts of the state to fish, etc. If that is something you want to know more about (convenient resorts, etc) ping me offline at markr@2ndact.biz and I'll be happy to share.

    Mark-

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador
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    Most of those are already in the plans
    Mall of America - wife thing, a Twins game - wife thing, I'm an expos fan
    We have a fabulous stadium for the Goldeyes team here that constantly beats your team here
    Valley Fair wife and kids thing
    hang around swimming pools, water parks for two weeks- wife, kids thing
    I think I will find a place and rent a boat for a day --DAD thing

    Ah yes the price I pay for going to Vegas for 5 days alone LOL
    Anyways, back on topic....

    Dynamic links just mean the links are auto updated from your end. We place the script code on our page and it is automatically updated without us having to do anything else. It keeps inventory up to date.
    If constant out of stocks aren't an issue it may not be needed. If products are going out of stock regularily, it makes it tough to have to swap out links. A full page creative may also address the issue in a similar fashion. It is easier to replace a full complete page at once than each individual link
    JC whitney comes to mind with a full page creative, although others also do it at CJ. Most likely a rep there could fill in more details for you

  10. #10
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    Mark,

    Data feeds are sent out in a flat pipe delimited file to affiliates that maintain $10K in monthly sales.

    Data feeds are not dynamic, its up to the affiliate to obtain or create the software which will update the data feeds. Most affiliates cannot afford the technology required to accomplish this task.

    Your primary affiliate, which can afford to run data feeds must manually change, out the feeds as they become available.

  11. #11
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    For full-page creatives, phone order tracking and all the other toys affiliates crave its time you introduced yourself to LINDA! She can get you on the correct path with ease.

    5 Star Affiliate Programs
    Linda Buquet :: Affiliate Program PR & Consulting

  12. #12
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    Ok, now we're talking! I am beginning to understand the error of my ways (in terms of assuming things like the CJ datafeed could be turnkey). Here's an issue I have; i was told by the CJ rep that SmartZones (which i understand to be the dynamic link methodology you refer to) are NA to merchants. not sure why...but since they apparently are, i would like to meet LINDA - can you facilitate an intro, SandraR? That way, I can perhpas make my own.

    I am sort of assuming that a full page creative combined with the ability to dynamically update on my end is what i am after. Anyone with advice re; how to build one, I am happy to listen and pass along to my tech resource.

    Walleye Warrior: another wife-friendly activity that you are likely to enjoy: visit the town of Stillwater on the MN-WS border. It's right on the St. Croix river and a neat town. Also, about 15 miles north of Stillwater is another cool town called Taylor's Falls. Both of which are worth visiting - it'd be a good day trip. They are only ~45 minutes from downtown Mpls.

    Mark-

  13. #13
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    Mark,

    I have initiated the Intro for you


    http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=tp...93&m=412106955

  14. #14
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Linda - 5starAffiliatePrograms's Avatar
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    Hi Mark, nice to meet you. Thanks for connecting us Sandra.

    I offer a free consultation and will be happy to help you with any of the issues you have been discussing. Feel free to give me a call. I may have jury duty this week so if I don't get back to you that's why.

    Look forward to your call!

  15. #15
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Linda - 5starAffiliatePrograms's Avatar
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    Mark it was nice talking with you today.

    Sandra,

    FYI we had a nice long conversation about all the issues above, how to do parasite research and a whole lot more. I feel certain Mark's program is off to a strong start and he seems very committed to running a great program.

  16. #16
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    Wonderful news Linda!
    Thank you for guiding Mark on the right path.

    Mark,

    Let us know when you're ready to go and what type of promotions you are interested in working with. If you are doing datafeeds let us know the regularity you require changes.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the intro Sandra, Linda was very helpful! (thanks again Linda).

    We have a promotion on Toshiba TVs currently available in the CJ interface. Also, one link for an RCA 34" Widescreen HDTV - the lowest price available on the web at the moment (as far as we can tell). These links are all text-based or you can always snag them out of the datafeed. Feel free to grab what you will.

    In the coming week or two, we will have coupon codes available as well as a secure login to access a non-CJ datafeed for those that prefer a csv or txt file. We'll also be investigating ways to allow our affiliates to have the links dynamically updated. i will be sure to let folks know if/when that is available.

    thanks all!

    Mark
    markr@2ndact.biz
    www.secondact.biz

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador
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    Hi Mark-O,

    I thought I would clear up (or at least offer my opinion) regarding issues with the datafeed as offered by CJ.

    First off datafeeds in general:

    All a datafeed is, is an export of the chosen contents of your database that is sent to CJ at stipulated times. This database is then sent out to publishers based on terms they have negotiated with CJ. (hopefully daily.) The quality of the feed will be down to how often you update your database and how much information you provide within it.

    I strongly urge you to have individual descriptions for each individual product and as you are selling items that are only available for a short time, to keep it current.

    Other columns that should be utilised esp. in your case are Price (put the RRP here) Saleprice (put the price you want for it here.)
    (NOTE: This is not the right way to utilise these columns as you could use them to offer your normal price and sales price but as you are selling refurbished products my suggestion would provide an excellent way for publishers to demonstrate the amount of savings customers make by buying from you.)

    Start dates and end dates for seasonal items and a very important one ADVERTISER CATEGORY which will allow publishers to automate their site building a little better.

    It is completely up to the publisher to utilise the feed on inception and quite frankly it does take a bit of time and effort for a publisher to learn how to utilize this him/herself. It does however provide the raw material for a publisher to set up a Turnkey Template that he/she can use to build sites.

    Your publishers:
    It would be very beneficial in your case to suggest to your publishers that they utilize daily ftp push feeds with CJ. I suggest this as you stipulate that your items change very often and have a short availability time span.

    How a publisher can automate the entire process so that their sites get updated everyday automatically.

    1. Utilise PHP and MySQL (the way i do it. Im sure other platforms are just as good)
    2. Get a daily ftp push feed delivered to your server.
    3. Write an import script that updates the feed by removing old products and adding new. (study at php.net and mysql.com to figure this out)
    4. Use cronjob to run the script daily
    5. USe .htaccess to run .htm and .html files as PHP as your resulting pages can attract pagerank.
    6. Use mod_rewite to create rules that result in any variables you add to this url being changed into a readable url so the there are no ? marks in it and the page can attract PR.
    7. write the actual php script(s) that pull the products and name them .html files and build your site.
    As this is a difficult process to learn and set up there are many products out there that do the job to a degree and to varying levels of success for affiliates.

    Maybe you could write or get something written that you make available to your publishers that achieves all this and is totally customisable so they can modify it and you don't end up with 100's of copies of the same site on the net.

    The feed offered by CJ is of very high quality (my opinion again) and I believe you have made the right decision in choosing them to run your program through.

    This is all just my 2c and I apologize if it is seen as pulling your thread off topic.

    I wish you all the best with your program and hope that this has shed some light on the datafeed process.

    DPG

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Nature Boy's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Mark-O:
    In the coming week or two, we will have coupon codes available as well as a secure login to access a non-CJ datafeed for those that prefer a csv or txt file.
    Non-CJ feed

    quote:
    We'll also be investigating ways to allow our affiliates to have the links dynamically updated.
    You may want to check with Akiva and his affSolutions team. His product showcase creator (PSC) and it's brother, the dynamic product showcase creator, are both winners on my websites as well as for other affiliates.

    This program sounds interesting... but I think I might have to wait until the non-cj feed comes out
    Scott
    If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bulls#!t
    Don't tell me that you'll do it... SHOW ME.
    Just because everyone else is drinking it is no reason for me to drink the KOOL-AID.

  20. #20
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    Dirk,
    your feedback is outstanding - and very on-topic IMHO. I really appreciate the detailed steps you have provided. Your suggestion of a list of directions for me to provide to my affiliates popped into my head as I got to number 3! Great idea, I plan to sit down with my tech resources and challenge them to do just that.

    I am surprised by the fairly large differences between datafeeds at the shopping engines and datafeeds for CJ. Cest la vie, play the hand you are dealt, I suppose. i apreciate your input re: the importanceof specific columns, too. I think I have those bases covered, but will doublecheck.

    Nature Boy:

    Linda kindly provided me the same advice as you - Akiva's solution. I plan to reachout to him shortly. As far as waiting for the non-CJ feed, no need to wait. I have an automated feed available anytime in about 10 different formats (specific to shopping engine specs).

    This is not just my job, I own this (or part of it!). As such, I will do whatever it takes to make it easy for you to work with me. If you want to receive an emailed copy of my datafeed every time I update it, simply tell me that & I will make sure you get one. That goes for anyone - I will send you whatever you need to be successful with our program.

    Thanks again for all of your valuable input and insight.

    Mark Redetzke
    markr@2ndact.biz
    www.secondact.biz

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Nature Boy's Avatar
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    Mark,

    Sending you a PM
    Scott
    If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bulls#!t
    Don't tell me that you'll do it... SHOW ME.
    Just because everyone else is drinking it is no reason for me to drink the KOOL-AID.

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