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  1. #1
    Newbie
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Ideal Affiliate Program ? A Question for All !
    What would be the Ideal Affiliate Program ?

    Please list as many useful features you can think of, and not “no fees for advertisers” or “all truthful merchants”... etc

    I'll start the list:

    - Monthly, Aggregated Checks
    - Data Feeds via Flat File and Web Services
    - Item Based Reporting for Publishers (ie: what items were actually sold)

    What else ?

  2. #2
    Eternal Optimist Look4's Avatar
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    Just answer the question!
    Funny how we get off on tangents so often.

    Although many AM's have asked this or similar questions before, I'll take a few minutes to pen my current thoughts. First though, I want to comment on my perspective, which is a bit different than many of the other pros here:

    I only have 3 or 4 hybrid sites (content plus sales) that I focus all my affiliate energies on. It's a part-time activity for me, but I broke 6 figures in commissions last year, so I figure I'm doing something right. Anyway, I'm the exception here, most of the pros here focus their efforts on catalog and pure sales sites, so my views are probably different than theirs.

    Things I value in an Affiliate Program:

    1) Quality Product. If it's a crappy product, I don't want to stake my site's reputation on recommending it.
    2) Competitive price. If I inspire someone to buy a product and go to your site, it better be at a price that the user isn't going to be able to meet or beat with a simple google search. I spend a lot of time getting users to consider buying things they didn't think they needed. I don't want to lose out on getting paid just because the visitor takes a few minutes to do some price checking before closing the sale (and believe me they do - hence I use amazon for book sales even though other pay higher commissions, because everyone ends up finding Amazon has the best price anyway).
    3) A unique product. A unique product is the best way to avoid dealing with #2 above.
    4) I prefer selling services. Services (particularly web-delivered services) provide immediate gratification to the user and solve an immediate problem. Selling items that must be shipped always competes with the brick-n-mortar Wal-Mart that is conveniently down the street and can solve the problem this afternoon. Services also provide the opportunity for recurring sales.
    5) Getting past the product itself, the I really prefer programs that offer recurring income on repeat sales. If the product is good and I expect buyers to return month on month on month, I'd rather take 10% monthly than 50% one time. It gets me past the Google rollercoaster as traffic goes up and down, the revenue stays pretty consistent. That's very important. Consistent revenue lets me focus on strategies instead of tactical solutions with short term fixes.
    6) Uncomplicated payment schedules. I have one merchant that only pays if a customer stays with them 3 months. Not only is it a pain because I can't control what the customer does after signing up, but it's almost impossible to figure out what I'm going to get paid. Give me a straight % of new sales or % of sales from active referred customers, and I'm happy.
    7) Good tracking. Traffic and sales. I need to see how many people have signed up and for what services / products daily. Hourly is nice because I'm restless, but daily is important so I can see trends. If I put in place a new pre-sale message, I need to be able to see the next morning how if impacted sales and traffic. I also need to be able to trend that.
    8) At least 3 months' history. I have one vendor that drops all stats at the end of the month. So if I don't log on and check within a 4 or 5 hour window at the end of the month, I never get a full month activity stats. What a pain. I really need a 3 month window so I can capture, even if offline, the activity and map where I've been and where I'm headed.
    9) On-time payment. By Direct Deposit if possible. I'm happy with monthly payments. I never have to worry about minimums because I'm not really that spread out, but for some people, low minimums are important. For me, a reliable check or direct deposit on the 5th of each month has a great deal of value.
    10) Graduated commission scales. Top-top performers show a dedication to your program, show them some dedication in return by giving them an extra point or two in commissions. I don't like contests, and I really don't like product give-aways. Just increase my commission rate as I hit certain thresholds and I'll invest the long-term effort needed to hit them consistently month after month.
    11) Open dialog. If I write to the company's AM about an idea, I want them to respond. I don't want to have to shame them into responding in an open forum like ABW. I understand not having time to respond to everyone that wants to have you teach them how to make an HTML page, but for big producers, pay attention to their requests and move a few mountains within the company if needed to keep them happy.

    That's my recipe for a successful affiliate program. Let me know if you build something that matches.

    Look4

  3. #3
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    [Cleaned Thread]
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  4. #4
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    Thank you Look4 (and Haiko !), and you definitely are doing something right if you broke 6 figures !!
    These are all great points, and I also hold high regard to 7, 8, 10 and 11.

    Keep em' coming !

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