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  1. #1
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    I just set up our affiliate program for http://www.1aupair.com at SAS.

    We are offering $2/lead for families in the US and UK and $.25/lead for au pairs from anywhere in the world.

    Our site matches au pairs, families and au pair agencies. For those of you who do not know what an au pair is, an au pair is a young woman or man who comes into your home and helps with your children in exchange for a small stipend. It is kind of a cross between a nanny and a student exchange program. Au pairs have been very popular in Europe for years and the concept is really starting to catch on in the US.

    Our normal signup process for families is a three step process with quite a bit of information to fill out so we created a short version for affiliates at http://www.1aupair.com/f/.

    We have done quite a bit of PPC advertising in the past and are hoping that our affiliate program will bring us a new avenue for attracting families and au pairs. I ran through $750+ on Adwords one month without even realizing it. I think that speaks for the popularity of the keywords (considering the low price of the clicks).

    If anyone has questions or comments I would appreciate it.

    Regards,

    Brad Seiler
    info@1aupair.com
    312-593-6293

  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    $2 for trying to get someone to move halfway across the world, or to accept someone from that far away--hardly knowing them--to take care of their children, seems to be more than a bit on the low side...

    It is a beautiful thing, to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.~Spanish Proverb

  3. #3
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    Actually, finding and getting the au pairs to sign up is really easy. I would go so far as to say shooting fish in a barrel easy.

    Finding families in the US is a little more difficult, but not too hard at all. Think about it this way, finding someone who works for cheap and really really wants to come to the US AND take care of your kids. How many parents out there wish they had help with the kids? We have au pairs signed up from all over the world. Becoming an au pair is their chance to see the world and get to the US, even if it is only for a year or so.

    In the US, there are 6 or 7 US gov't sanctioned au pair agencies and we are working with two of them now. In order to get the au pairs to the families, the family must go through one of these agencies. The agencies do background checks on the au pairs, handle the legal paperwork, etc.

    I was pretty new to the concept of an au pair until about a year ago. I hired someone to manage the site full time and she was an au pair in England prior to that. It helps to have somebody who understands the process.

    Au pairs are not all that uncommon though in the US. Somebody producing a clip on finding an au pair for ABC Family contacted us yesterday about being a part of it (....for a small product placement fee with quite a few zeroes....made me laugh when he got to that part of the conversation).

    Getting back to your $2 comment though, our site is free for au pairs and families to sign up. They can then be found by agencies, or counter parties who are paying (paying families can search for and contact au pairs even though the au pairs don't pay generally). The system really works out well for everyone involved.

    Right now we get anywhere from 20-50 new signups each day without much effort. There is definitely a good market share out there of au pairs and families looking for them.

    Brad

  4. #4
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    For what it costs families to have an aupair, I'm surprised you'd only pay $2. We live in a community where many people have aupairs. They pay the agency about $5k and that doesn't include what they pay the aupair (approx $150/wk), car insurance, food, etc. There should be more of an incentive to promote than $2.

  5. #5
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    It was pulling teeth to get what we do. The compensation for au pair agencies varies dramatically worldwide. This type of marketing is new to these people and they are really having a hard time grasping it. The concept of a business lead just seems to not make sense. Maybe it gets lost in the translations, I don't know for sure.

    I really do think the bottom line though is this is a fairly easy targetted customer to convert into a lead. It is $2 for a lead, not for a sale, and the families and au pairs are not required to pay anything at any time unless they choose to. We had around 60 people sign up at 1aupair.com in the last day and a half with minimal marketing.

    For anyone with a family or parenting site, this should be a good money maker. If you are running the typical freebie site, then I doubt very much that you will pull in many legitimate leads. I can't imagine many people who are willing to pay for full time child care are roaming around the internet looking through freebie sites. Not knocking those sites, but it would not be a good match here.

    Brad

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
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    I needed a laugh tonight. Anyway the top bid on overture for Au Pair is $1.04, yet you pay just "$2/lead for families in the US and UK and $.25/lead for au pairs from anywhere in the world"

    I think you better reconsider your commission rate

  7. #7
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    Our average cost per click is around $.20 and we convert a very high percentage. That conversion is also with our normal 3 step signup process, we made one simple form for affiliates so it will be easier to convert leads.

    I use to manage PPC campaigns for a few mortgage sites maybe 2 - 3 years ago. I was doing this right before, and during the period, when cost per clicks started to get silly for some mortgage keywords. Sometimes two or three companies would run up a keyword phrase like Colorado Mortgage from $.40 -> $8 in two days. There are handful of au pair companies doing the same now, but keeping under the top bidders still attracts a lot of traffic.

    I assume you realize that though posting the top bid for au pair in this thread is dramatic and it does make me look like a jerk for offering $2/lead, that top bid might not be indicative of the ability to market and acquire au pair family leads. I think this would especially be true for somebody with a family or parenting based site.

    ....and I can only offer per lead what I can make back. I wish I could pay $1000/lead, but that just would not fly with the people paying me. I am sure this thread has now scared away any potential affiliates from here....

    Brad

  8. #8
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    quote:
    I am sure this thread has now scared away any potential affiliates from here....



    I bet.
    And not just because of JJJ's remark.

    ---------------------------------------
    But it beats a real j.o.b.

  9. #9
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    quote:
    I really do think the bottom line though is this is a fairly easy targetted customer to convert into a lead. It is $2 for a lead, not for a sale, and the families and au pairs are not required to pay anything at any time unless they choose to. We had around 60 people sign up at 1aupair.com in the last day and a half with minimal marketing.
    _______________________________________________

    Of the 60 people (leads) you got, how many will go through with an aupair? If you expect to get even 1, then I think you could afford to pay more than $2 lead.

    Maybe you should try a lead and commission structure. Where you pay a commission if they get the sale from a lead. Again, considering the fact that aupair agencies charge the customer about $5000 then $2/lead is a joke.

    I have looked at information from 3 nationally known agencies for an aupair for my family and they all charge a minimum of $5k the better ones even more. For me, I decided I'd rather have live out childcare, so I did not pursue an aupair.

  10. #10
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    We are just a matching service, we are not one of the au pair agencies so I really have no idea how many of those 60 will close. I know they have told me the leads seem very good so far.

    I do know that the $5000, or whatever each agency charges individually (I am not sure exactly but I will take your word for it), can include things like interviewing the potential au pairs overseas, flying them to the US, and training them for a week before they ever get to your house to care for your kids. It is not $5000 in profit for them. I think some will even find you a replacement if your au pair flakes out on you right away.

    I can see where you are coming from though if you are trying to relate this to other lead based products. Mortgage leads can sell for $10-100/lead because mortgage brokers can make several thousand dollars on each closed loan. The amount of time a mortgage broker puts into one closed loan versus the amount of time that an au pair agency has to put into a completed au pair match is a big factor. Everything I mentioned above as expenses, plus all of the staffing here and overseas, plus going through all of the paperwork, etc. There is a lot of time in each match.

    I think there is more than meets the eye to that $5k. That is all I am trying to say.

  11. #11
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    I agree with you that they have a lot of expenses. And in comparison to a mortgage company who offers a higher lead..that's a hard one since the mortgage co. will get continuing income from you if you take their mortgage. However, we applied for a mortgage online (they gave $15/lead) and they spend a lot of time checking all our information, doing credit checks, appraisals, etc. all at their expense. But when it came down to it, they were not able to beat the rate that our original lender gave us. Thus, someone got $15 out of it and the mortgage co got zip for a lot of time and effort. Plus, there is the factor of more competition for mortgages than aupairs.

    Back to the aupair thing though. Do you know that most of the companies offer a $500 discount to repeat families? That means they have at least $500 to give back. There is not much less work involoved for a repeat family. My best friend has an aupair and every year they have to reapply and I have to fill out that stupid reference for her.

    Also, I have gotten aupair solicitations in the mail, even ones specializing in twins (which I have) which offer me a coupon of $250.

    I'm not trying to be rude, but maybe you should go whichever aupair co you represent and suggest a higher lead amount. If they're willing to give discounts and such for old and new families, then referrers should get a piece of that pie too. Don't you think?

    Robin

    p.s. And as you notice we're both in the Chicago area and I will tell you that tons of people up here have aupairs, so at least in the North Shore it is popular and a perfect market to target.

  12. #12
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    Robin -

    You make some really good points that I think brings up a good question (for me anyway).

    After having started an affiliate program, has anyone ever had to raise/lower their payout rate? Has anyone had to renegotiate their lead price with their lead buyers? How did it go? I am fairly new to this and I don't know if this is a "you've made your bed now sleep in it" type deal or if altering pricing is normal. ?

    I have seen companies had to raise their rates to meet competition for payouts. I think I will try to either get more per lead or maybe a bonus for each completed au pair match. It will probably take me a few months though because we have a deal until around January at my current rates. I do have affiliates signed up now and they are generating leads, but obviously if I can give affiliates more, I will get more affiliates.....

    My problem is trying to be all things to all people with this site. There are au pairs signed up from over 100 countries, au pair agencies from 20+ countries, and families mostly from Europe and the US. Agencies in the UK do not get paid as much as agencies here for example, likewise, a family from Bulgaria probably can not afford to pay as much as a family from Wilmette, IL, if they want the premium membership where they can actively search for matches. I should probably reprice everything based on country, but I can just imagine the emails flying in if I did that, "Why do I have to pay more b/c I am an American......."

    Thanks for your help (and hello from River North :-)).

    Brad

  13. #13
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    Brad,

    As I am not an affiliate manager, I have no idea about renegotiating lead amounts and such. There is an affiliate manager forum here that you could probably check with the people there. From an affiliate's point of view, we've had our commissons raised and lowered numerous times within the same merchant, so I'm sure you can do that.

    If your contract is only until January, then you can take a wait and see approach and then decide if you want to ask for a higher lead and/or commission amount. Also, I would assume the busiest time for aupair interest is late Spring..I think most people would want an aupair to start sometime before school starts and I know the applicaton for host families takes a few months as well. SO the high time for you might be Jan-March.

    Hope that helps..sorry to be so critical.

    Robin

    (btw, we used to live in River North in Orleans Court after we got married, then moved to Iowa City for 5 years and came back with kids and moved to the 'burbs)

  14. #14
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    REM -

    I don't know why I did not think of this earlier. We do offer families and au pairs the option to upgrade to a premium membership if they want to search for matches and get full information (rather than just seeing partial information and being contacted by people matching them and agencies contacting them). We could give a bonus of $10-20 per lead that converted into a sale. Is that more appealing?

    I think maybe 1/10 - 1/20 of the leads convert into premium members though. I don't want to mislead affiliates into thinking that they will get $2/lead plus a high percentage of leads turning into sales. Do you know what I mean?

    Anyway, thanks for the advice and if you have any advice on targetting North Shore families, let me know :-)

    Brad

    ps - I live at Orleans and Illinois :-) Small world.

  15. #15
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    Brad,

    That sounds like a better plan. I'm not sure if shareasale lists program terms in the same way that CJ does, but in CJ's case some merchants list their terms as $2/lead and then $10 for a sale. In other words, you can earn up to $12. Obviously, a lot don't convert to a sale, but it is still better than nothing to get the $2 for getting them to connect in the first place.

    As for targeting North Shore people, the only way I can really think of is through the Pioneer Press (local paper). Also, I think our school district Deerfield 109 offers advertising on their website. Maybe you can check into that. i don't know how successful that has been though.

    You must live in the same building we lived in. 320 W. Illinois. We were in the townhouses..it felt a little more homey there than living the main building. I had lived at 211 E Ohio prior to that and my husband in Presidential Towers and I was sick of the city by then, but he was in med school and that was our best option.

    Robin

  16. #16
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    I am going to change my program today to add in the sale commission on top of the lead payments. I hope that helps a little, it also seems more fair.

    I will check out Pioneer Press as well, thanks for the tip!

    ......and this is slightly creepy, my fiance (who is in law school at NW --- similiar to your husband being in med school) and I live in c109. Weird.

    Brad

  17. #17
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    I am not joking about this, but I think that is the one we lived in. If you go out the doors from the main building it was a straight shoot. You walk in kitchen on left...correct? Talk about ironic. We were there from april '95 - june '96 then moved to Iowa City for 5 years for residency then back here. My brother went to NU for their JD/MBA program...hated the law school, loved Kellogg though.

    That is bizarre. What a small world. The management was pretty good about letting us lease for those extra 2 months.

    I was teaching on the north side and he went to U of C for med school, and there was no way I was going to live in Hyde Park.

    Robin

    Oh and by the way, that sounds like a good idea with the lead stuff.

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