Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Bangkok
    Posts
    11,273
    Merchant Selection - Deciding factors
    Hi All

    When you are deciding which CJ merchants to work with, what are the deciding factors that make you choose one merchant over another? I imagine some are the basic things that apply to all networks but I imagine on CJ there are specific things people look for.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  2. #2
    Crazy Cat Lady Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    1,685
    epc of a merchant, product feed availability, commish offered and whether or not I have a place to promote the merchant.
    Heidi
    "Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true"

  3. #3
    Member Azam's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Bloomsbury, London
    Posts
    395
    Always wait before the EPC stats of new merchants are released. I'm not going to risk my hard-earned money on promoting crooks.

    As with Heidi, commission is also important, as is the suitability of a merchant to the niches we target.

    Vitally important is how the advertiser's site looks and whether there are non-paying 'leaks': links to other sites or prominently displayed phone numbers.

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    EPC and commission rate relative to the others in their industry. Coupons and promotions. Cheap or free shipping. Name recognition. Product selection and pricing. Clean site with streamlined checkout process.
    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

  5. #5
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    194
    For me, EPC includes all those other factors, esp. when its the proven EPC our own
    websites get with a merchant.. if they have leaks or not is irrelevant then.. better a high
    EPC merchants with leaks then low(er) EPC for same traffic without.

  6. #6
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    194
    and some of the ugliest and worst navigatible merchants sites, give relatively good EPC.

    In fact, bad navigation on the merchants' sites can be a plus;-)

  7. #7
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    12,817
    Most of these things would apply to any merchant, at any network. Not all networks have EPCs showing, though...that's about the only thing that's CJ-specific.

    Even though this is long, it only covers the main points. I consider quite a few things when picking a merchant.

    The most important points are a stepped, if/then process.

    Good commission is front and center: a low commission is the same in my opinion, as a parasite--only it's an internal parasite, that affects EVERY transaction. If the merchant can't pay a decent commission all else is moot, because a cheapskate isn't going to get 1 byte's worth of MY space! No excuses accepted--if they can't afford a real commission for ANY reason, they can't afford to get on my sites.

    Provided they pass the commission test: The next thing is whether I think I can actually get sales with the stuff (does anyone actually search for the item(s)? Is the market saturated? Is the merchant's pricing competitive? Etc.). If I don't think I can sell it, no point in going further...

    If they're established, how's their EPC (both 7-day and 3-month)? It better not be pathetic! Also it needs to have no gaps...gaps = tracking was affected!

    Cookies: A decent cookie. Commission comes first, but if the cookie's going to expire 2 seconds after its set, chances are I'll nix that merchant. On the other hand, even an infinite cookie won't get me to sign up for a cheapskate with a too-low commish! 10% now, beats 2 or 3% later!

    Other considerations:
    THEN it's on to their site. Does it look professional? (CJ merchants have improved a lot here...) Is the checkout process clear and easy, or designed to divert sales? What's my intuition say about their desire to leave the tracking code intact??

    Background checking is done. Is the merchant a network-hopper? One hop may be okay, but I won't touch a serial network hopper--I figure, if they've gone through all the other major networks (and the worst ones have often hit some minors as well) without being satisfied, magic isn't going to suddenly happen just because they blew into CJ.

    The merchant had better not have been *kicked* off of ANY network.

    I check for complaints here about the merchant, and take into consideration just who's doing the complaining--and about what. If a credible poster is complaining about payment, that merchant can give it up! On the other hand, there are certain complaints that I pay no attention to.

    If I'm leery about a merchant, but find no complaints here, I'll check Google by using MerchantName + Derogatory Terms and see what comes up. Or, MerchantName + Doesn't Pay. I do make sure to check the *dates* of pages that come up--some of them are from so long ago that the merchant's been bought and sold twice between then and now.

    I also check and see if the merchant's owner/AM/past AMs have made any boneheaded, dealkilling remarks here, or if they have any idiotic policies (does the merchant have its head up its butt? ). If a prior AM has made such a remark or policy, I do my best to find out if it was their personal policy, or a company policy. Past AMs' personal policies are usually irrelevant once they're gone, but bad company policies are an ongoing pollution and therefore can be deal-killers.

    QUICKIES: Considerations that I won't explain in depth:

    AM/owner/main company can't be on my "avoid" list. I won't name names except to say that you (Chris) and AMWSO aren't on that list.

    NO books, CDs, how-to-make-money, or other oversaturated products.

    NO large loans/credit cards/that kind of stuff. Those places are too nitpicky.

    NO places that insist on DAILY updates!

    NO merchants will EVER get on my sites, that I remember have posted anything that means that they think the amount of work done by an affiliate is in *any* way related to the worth of the promotional effort!!!

    Merchants that make it through all that get promoted--provided that I'm not backlogged. There are actually plenty who qualify. But, there are plenty that do NOT! Most merchants that I see getting complained about here, are ones that have been stopped at some point in my filtration process.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Posts
    17,328
    Leader your above post shows a logic that cannot fail for any legit affiliate not willing to jump through hoops ...playing the "tricks for cookied tricks" game with 10,000 imitators. Read every stepped progression and you'll see "Leader" approaches this commission marketplace from 1099 sub contractors viewpoint placing equal value on time, effort and mostly reward potential for every referral click. He/She wears a sales managers cap for his/her domain(s) enterprise where due dilligence fars out weighs trial and error practices of those wearing advertising managers caps. Dupers/Supers/BHO's/SE & E-mail Spammers can play the mass advertising numbers game from behind the protective shields of the Adwhore controlled Networks, but domain bound affiliates cannot effectively play the "wannabee Adwhore" game as they have no protectors.

    I've held off posting too much this week as I've trolled some outside forums, digested Spyware/Adware media articles and even attended an informal gathering last night for 2 of my merchant client principles to gather in their viewpoints on affiliate and online marketing patterns. My job for years with them was to shield them from wasted expense and any bad PR coming off mass advertising campaigns, while steadily growing their online/offline sales regardless of the shifting sands. My landmark 13,000 post at ABW needed some thought as to message.

    One leverages the traffic power of eBay (super seller), Yahoo Stores, Amazon Shops to grow a satisfied repeat customer base in a niche' product verticle (skateboards & snowboard equip). Rather then blow money on PPCSE those Ad funds buy/buyers in trade magazine space driving Web store domain sales and phone orders (wholesale & retail). They listened years ago to stay out of the affiliate Adwhore game tried by many of their now defunct competitors by getting natural serps and Ad space where buyers converged.

    The other most here know, including Leader, is another niche' merchant online since 1997. They were one of CJ's first product merchants with a steady 1/20 two year conversion ratio, never equaled since the introduction of EPC and booting out the CPC skanks. But they knew, just like the Yahoo Store results since 1998, they couldn't rely upon those ruled by an advertising mindset to ever grow their company sales (wholesale/retail) for a non-sexy product by a merchant not willing to throw away advertising dollars on smoke and mirrors promises. They demanded affiliates, from day one, filter/focus physical clicks from their own page content. They accepted 100% responsibility for converting only that type traffic, and 7 years later still believe affiliate targeted traffic should convert better then paid advertising. Their principles and employees get a good laugh when reading ABW posts, often bashing Webmaster Mike's concepts, as they rush to fill orders, satisfy customers and watch every prediction I made, and counter measure advice, come true.

    They learned early on like Leader did that you have to know how to make more... from less...before you can expand. Anything that is proven to raise average order size, drive actual sales, get natural SERPs and expose their brand in a positive light guarantees online success. They refuse any and all Gorrilla marketing practices and rely upon customer statisfaction, not incentives other then Free freight offers, garnering in thousands of repeat customers and growing customer facing men's shop resellers from 61 to 2135 today as a side benefit. Sal and Judee Herman toasted me last night for predicting Amazon would stay true to form as a sales operation (not advertiser driven) and call them wondering what Amazon could do to leverage a unheard of 1/12 steady 3 month conversion ratio on Holdup Suspender's line.

    LOL ...they told Amazon to seek out ways to give them more exposure from their own pages. 1st move was Amazon's....
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/search.html...s%20suspenders After all, Amazon wasn't priviledged as a super affiliate, since they aren't even an official affiliate like the other 14 who applied and were approved for that status. A status that guarantees sales on targeted traffic, unlimited creatives on expanding Copyrighted, Patented product landing pages, payment upon demand, and indy link coding that is illegal to block by Norton or Ad Blockers. Only drawback is an AM with 13,000 posts at ABW which the tricksters, and those with an advertising mindset, can't decipher to their advantage.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  9. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Bangkok
    Posts
    11,273
    Thank you everyone for the above. That's a lot of good info, a lot is very much consistant across all networks but it's interesting to see how the small differences between each network effect how people select who they work with.

    serial network hopper
    That's a good one that I've not considered before.

    AM/owner/main company can't be on my "avoid" list.
    That sounds like the kiss of death...what if there's a conflict, for example AM isn't but Owner is, or visa versa?

    you'll see "Leader" approaches this commission marketplace from 1099 sub contractors viewpoint placing equal value on time, effort and mostly reward potential for every referral click
    It is certainly one of the most in depth due diligence processes I have seen, and that can only be good for the merchants that do get through

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    1,597
    Leader's post basically covered everything. I copied and saved it as a reference for choosing merchants in the future. Can I nominate for the next best post in 2005 now? If I wait until 2006, I wouldn't be able to find it anymore.

  11. #11
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    3,126
    Very nice post Leader -
    I usually add the word ebates or igive etc to the merchants name when doing google searches. If it is there they will never get on my sites I dont care if the pope is the new am. Once associated always will be in my book.

  12. #12
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    403
    First, does it look like something that can be easily promoted online, is it an overlooked category, or is there a unique twist that can be applied to keyword targeting that looks plausable. Does the affiliate agreement actually enable the affiliate to promote the company or are they just looking for free branding and exposure?

    Then cookie length and payout. Generally 30 day cookie minimum (but sometimes it needs to be longer - high end jewelry for example, after 30k+ in non-commissionable sales, well, the merchant probably doesn't really want the sales). Payout percentage/average sale value - Intuitively does it look like it will be a lucrative program?

    If things go well, then a responsive AM becomes important sometimes, but IMO CJ is setup very well and most everything can be done w/o much help from the AM. Do they respond to email, will they up the payout if significant sales are generated, how significant are reversals.

    If I have time, I'll dabble with lower payouts & shorter cookie lengths but those programs don't get any really serious attention unless something just happens to catch fire by accident. On time payments are critical but that's never an issue with CJ either.

    IMO, CJ is all around a great network to work with, things virtually always work with CJ and its a plus for any merchant to work with CJ as opposed to most other networks.

  13. #13
    Member infoscott's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 17th, 2005
    Posts
    126
    (Standard disclaimer of insight coming from a rank newbie applies.)

    For those things that would be considered in the due diligence process, I would bundle those criteria up and say whether the merchant is "above board". If they pass the above board test, then my absolute first selection criterion is product fit to the content of my site.

    I don't advertise on my sites, per se. I'm running content sites about subjects for which people may also buy from time to time. Like in the eighties when we would buy Byte Magazine as much for the ads as for the articles. But I don't like putting ads just in special ghettos, I would rather the commercial links be integrated into the content.

    Here is an example of this kind of integration. I have a small fan site for Julia Gnuse, who holds the Guiness Book of World Records for most tattood woman. Julia is a lady, so I wouldn't put a link to stuff she finds distasteful. But I did find a merchant that sells body jewelry. They have banners that are tasteful. Fans of Julia are mostly going to be into tatts and piercings. So I want something on the site that the fans are psyched about, like inexpensive jewelry, that doesn't detract from the subject of the site. I woudn't go with a higher commission merchant if their stuff were trashy, because I feel responsible for preserving Julia's "brand". On the same site I put a book about tattoos that displays a picture of the other woman that shares Julia's record. I want the affiliate link mostly for the picture, but bonus points if a fan clicks through and orders the book for their coffee table. For that link I could care less about EPC, because the presence of the link rounds out my content offering.

    Sure, I probably won't get rich with this philosophy, but I would be happy if it became a second job, one that I really enjoy doing. So I guess that means just take this insight as a voice from a "little guy" affiliate.

  14. #14
    I like traffic lights
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Southern hemisphere - away from Fukushima
    Posts
    2,936
    Whether or not they allow URL redirects from their links, so I can choose which page on their site I want my visitors to arrive at.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador HumbleFish's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    680
    Hi All,

    Didn't read all the posts (sorry kind of taxed for time), so this maybe already covered; but I choose sites that look like the sites that I shop at... I look for sites that tell You up front whether a product is in stock or not and I also look for a good return policy... I also look for a site that seems like they are out to please the customer... I also look for awards and testamonies and reviews... That's the kind of sites I shop at, and the kind of sites I look for to work with.

    Love You,
    HumbleFish

  16. Newsletter Signup

+ Reply to Thread

Similar Threads

  1. Need a little help deciding which way to go
    By DaniS in forum Starting an Affiliate Program & Merchant Q&A
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: April 1st, 2011, 12:32 PM
  2. Deciding Factors for You on EPC?
    By easylife in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: January 22nd, 2009, 02:39 PM
  3. Replies: 18
    Last Post: March 19th, 2007, 05:30 PM
  4. Merchant Selection?
    By mailman in forum ShareASale - SAS
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: June 10th, 2006, 09:49 AM
  5. The cure for BeFree merchant selection
    By ecomcity in forum Commission Junction - CJ
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: May 21st, 2002, 09:24 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •