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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    Being recruited for an indie by a network merchant
    I've wondered what the difference is, affiliating direct with a merchant or through a network, but how about being with the merchant through the network and being recruited for their independent program by their AM?

    Is that ethical, or allowable, or is it possible that the AM isn't aware of the existing partnership? And what if they are but do it anyway?

  2. #2
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    are you a very good producer? suppose they are getting ready to either jump ship from the network or put together a better program for their productive affiliates?

    lots of possibilities there, but if there is no difference in detail I'd wonder what is going on.

  3. #3
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    I have had AM's tell me that a good strategy for recruiting publishers on an indie campaign is to set up a CJ or Linkshare account to get in front of the masses inexpensively. Use that to find the top producers and then recruit them to an indie program. If you figure that most networks are taking 15 - 20% of the fees paid to them by the merchant on your behalf, the numbers work.

    For instance: I am selling snake charmer flutes and paying $10 for every sale. Network X is paying you $8 per sale that you make. Now you have the number 1 snake charmer site on the net and are sending me 50 sales a day. I invite you to join my indie program and bypass the network so you get an extra $100 a day ($3k a month) and I get your loyalty for eternity because I now rewarded you with an extra $2 a sale.

    Sounds like a win win from the merchant standpoint. After all it is only a big nameless, faceless corporation that loses a couple of bucks. But then you have to ask yourself. If the AM was willing to stick it to the big guy, what will he do to me?
    Chris Mayr
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  4. #4
    Internet Cowboy
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    Be careful with such an offer. I had an offer of the same nature a while back only to discover that the newsletter the merchant sends to customers overwrites the cookie set by their in-house affiliate software. I suspect their natural traffic also overwrote the cookie but never tested this before moving back to the CJ platform, so they were at best cheating affiliates out of their return days with their newsletter
    Apparently many in-house affilaite software apps operate on a strict "last click in" rule, even if the last click in is from their newsletter or their own organic SE traffic.
    I would look in to this very well before making such a move.


  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I got burned by a CJ merchant who did something similar. In order to get a datafeed and product links, I had to go "in house". I had to hound them for months to get paid the first time. They never paid again after that. I finally stopped promoting them. They shut down both their indie and CJ affiliate programs. I was lucky to get 50 cents on the dollar through a collection agency for my outstanding commissions.
    Michael Coley
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  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    In a network, you are the network's affiliate.
    In the indie, you are the indie merchant's aff.
    This story can cut both ways.

    As for ethics, are the networks doing all they can to stamp out cheaters - do they have anti-parasite policies? Do they look out for your interests when it comes to communicating with your merchant, getting a raise, disputing returns, tracking sales, efficiency of reporting, getting the latest creatives from your merchants, keeping down time to almost nil, streamlining the signup process, making datafeeds available, answering linking questions, and on and on. If the answer is yes, then you owe the network your end of the obligation you made - to promote their merchant through the network. If the answer is no, why should you or your merchant accept less than the best effort of your business partner (the network) in exchange for you driving revenue? Ethics, in business, also require you incoporate a pragmatic mandate that the other parties uphold their end of the agreement - you do not make unilateral contributions in business - you require partners to act like partners. Never sacrifice your morals - not even for a second, but don't let people take advantage of your honesty IF they don't reciprocate in kind.

  7. #7
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    I don't see a problem with it. There are merchants at LS and CJ that i'm in their indy program with. Usually they pay more thru the indy program.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Another problem with some indy programs is they only pay quarterly, as most of mine do. However, mine have always paid on time, which says a lot more than I can about LS right now.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Never sacrifice your morals - not even for a second, but don't let people take advantage of your honesty IF they don't reciprocate in kind.
    I love that!! Can I use that?

  10. #10
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    At this point, I would think it is only common sense if it is a LS merchant. Their actions have relieved you from any obligation of loyalty.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  11. #11
    http and a telephoto
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    The indies I work with give me more attention and tools than their CJ counterparts. Although one just changed program management, so we'll be watching to see if I need to change to the CJ version. I am pretty sure that one of them recruited by posting here at ABW that they had both indy and network available.

    Of course, not all indies are made alike, so homework needs to be done. At this time I would LOVE it if most of the merchants at Linkshare would open indy programs AND email me about it.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  12. #12
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    >>are you a very good producer?

    No, as a matter of fact, the CTR is good but I just recently put their links up. The site has had very good visibility in that niche, but quite frankly merchandise isn't easy to find and how it's set up most of the clicks go to AdSense.

    >>if there is no difference in detail I'd wonder what is going on.

    No difference in detail as far as the correspondence said. Same percentage and no idea what the non-network tools are like.

  13. #13
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    If it's the exact same offer, my guess is they didn't know you were already an affiliate. If they wanted to lure you away from the network, they'd give you some incentive to put to fill out the form, swap links, etc.

    Some programs will knowingly try to recruit affiliates out from under the network, but they'll generally make a slightly better offer (split what the network would normally get). Be careful though. It's generally against the network TOCs, and if they'll break the one agreement...

    Then again, as an AM I've seen affiliates try to recruit other affiliates out from under a program and into their own second tiers, had affiliates ask me to add them to the second tier of an account created later than their own (because the person brought them coffee every day) and had other affiliates sell sites I built for them on ebay - so it's not just the programs pushing the envelope of propriety...

    It's a whacky world.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  14. #14
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kend
    I love that!! Can I use that?
    Yes.

  15. #15
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    If the AM was willing to stick it to the big guy, what will he do to me? Chris Mayr
    if they'll break the one agreement... ~Eathan
    I don't need many words to state my opinion on this.

    I wouldn't trust that merchant further than I could throw it.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  16. #16
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    I agree with the exception of LS merchants who are just now doing it. They have obvious just cause and may be desperate.

    I don't fault them one bit if they seek other solutions, now.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  17. #17
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's true. LS merchants seem like they would be an exception. LS has certainly given them enough motivation to go away!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  18. #18
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    This is a LS merchant, but I've got no idea if they knew I'm already signed up through LS. The email specified the name of a particular site and said I was "pre-approved" for their program with no mention of LS.

  19. #19
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webworker
    This is a LS merchant, but I've got no idea if they knew I'm already signed up through LS. The email specified the name of a particular site and said I was "pre-approved" for their program with no mention of LS.
    you sure it isn't a credit card company and they mixed their recruiting email addys with their spam addys?

  20. #20
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    They are probably contacting all their LS affiliates, looking for a bail out position. Can't blame them for trying to offer an alternative. I would do the same thing.

    LS isn't looking too stable and at least this way they can make sure the affiliates get paid.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Anyone seeing a reoccuring theme here regarding LS merchants? Well, folks, many LS merchants are ready to work with you any way they can and are worried about the mass exodus that might be occuring. I'd strongly suggest you contact them and see what they can do for you. (trust me on this)

    The important thing to remember here is THIS IS YOUR BUSINESS, not some Networks. Look out for yourself first. Let it be YOU that is in control of your business.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  22. #22
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webworker
    This is a LS merchant, but I've got no idea if they knew I'm already signed up through LS. The email specified the name of a particular site and said I was "pre-approved" for their program with no mention of LS.
    Maybe the LS merchants do not have any better luck getting into LS than the affiliates do.

    If that's the case they may not be able to get information about their affiliates just like the affiliates can't get information about what LS owes us.

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