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  1. #1
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    What would you say.... to an indie?
    You've found this great affiliate program with high commission, beautiful creatives and/or datafeed, great product, etc, etc.... but then while reading their program description you find out that they are an indie.

    What would you say? Good? Bad?

    Would your answer/reaction differ depending on how well-known a merchant/brand it is?

    Geno

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    Indys are great. If they convert for me and pay there are no problems for me. There are good and bad ones but finding a good one is like striking gold. Usually they can pay more since they're running the program themselves and usually not much competition since most affiliates stick to the networks.

  3. #3
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    I'm running quite a few indy merchants on my site and loving them. As long as they pay, the trust factor is good and we all make money. I wouldn't hesitate to sign up.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
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  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I love indies, as long as they pay decent commissions, track and convert well, and pay quickly. Many indies do just that. I have several that I work that pay within a week of the end of the month.
    Michael Coley
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  5. #5
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    So far, every indie I have worked with ended up diverting the money they sholud have put aside to pay affiliate commissions for other purposes. They started using this months money to pay last month's commissions. Then, as soon as they hit a slow month, they couldn't pay.

    However, even though I got stiffed in the long run, I made good money with them for a while.
    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!

  6. #6
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    Depends on the merchant itself. I had months when a single indy merchant brought me more commissions than all the merchants I joined in the CJ network combined, for that month. I could never make any sense out of that part. The funny thing is that I found them through CJ. They had an indie program, so I hopped over to compare and see the results and sales took off. They pay every month on time. No problems.

    Then there are indie programs I promoted that never made a sale. Or made sales for a while, but stopped altogether later.

    The good indies are like gold. The trust factor is important here as you don't have a trusted network to ensure you get paid.

  7. #7
    The Beer Hunter LearnAbout's Avatar
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    I work with a few indies and found them to be a lot more 'hungry' than the ones that go thru networks. Two of them went thru great length to build a datafeed (which they didn't have available before) to my specs. Others readily offered to design creatives to match my site and so on.

    I guess many indies have less affiliates and can spend more effort in working with each of them, resulting in benefits (read $$) for both parties. They just seem to try harder and better, which I like.

    Cheers, Frank
    [URL=http://www.golfbeginnerguide.com/]Golf Beginner Guide[/URL] ; [URL=http://www.ladygolfersguide.com/]Lady Golfers Guide[/URL]

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    One of my best programme is an indie. The guy who runs it made a specific point of visiting me when he was over in the UK and we have a great mutually beneficial relationship, I built a new site for a section of his stuff earlier this this year and his company will bend over backwards to accomodate my requests.

    Another indie I work with will fall over themselves to give me exclusive pictures and graphics.

    Another indie gives me virtually no help at all (actually make that no help at all), but pay about twice what the networks do in that sector.

    The only time I got ripped off in AM (not paid) was an indie and that was a lot of $$.

    Conclusion - Indies try harder and can be better than networks, but the risks can be greater.

    Overall I like indies. In the future I'll be far more on the ball about any excuses of non-payment and drop them until payment turns up however much I'm earning.

  9. #9
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Thank you for your great feedback, everyone! Very useful indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SSanf
    So far, every indie I have worked with ended up diverting the money they sholud have put aside to pay affiliate commissions for other purposes. They started using this months money to pay last month's commissions. Then, as soon as they hit a slow month, they couldn't pay.
    Are you saying that you would've slept much better if you knew you're definitely getting your money thru an affilaite network from these merchants?


    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Ward
    Conclusion - Indies try harder and can be better than networks, but the risks can be greater.
    Sounds like a good overall conclusion of most of the above-said, Paul.

    Thanks again, everyone!

    Geno

  10. #10
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno - RussianLegacy

    Are you saying that you would've slept much better if you knew you're definitely getting your money thru an affilaite network from these merchants?

    ABSOLUTELY!

    I am 100% positive and certain that at least one was skimming sales and not reporting them to me.

    I want to add that I am working with one, now, and the problem is that sales are not automatically reported. I just have to trust that he will tell me what sales. I believe him to be honest but how can I know. And, if times get tight, how tempted will he be to under report what I sale?

    I think they are all fine until they get under the gun. Then what does a bit of thievery matter, anyway? It is not like we EARN the money. All we do is put some links on our pages, right?
    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
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Indies almost always have fewer affiliate tools than network merchants. Reporting is usually much more limited. Datafeeds are rare. Sub-id tracking is rare. But many indies will go out of the way to provide exactly what you need, if they can technically do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Ward
    In the future I'll be far more on the ball about any excuses of non-payment and drop them until payment turns up however much I'm earning.
    Absolutely true! I've learned that one, too. If you have the ability to easily turn merchants on and off, that comes in very handy. Indies seem to run into financial problems (and stop paying) far more often than network merchants.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  12. #12
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSanf
    I am 100% positive and certain that at least one was skimming sales and not reporting them to me.
    I have started this thread exactly because of the same situation happening to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by SSanf
    ....I think they are all fine until they get under the gun. Then what does a bit of thievery matter, anyway? It is not like we EARN the money. All we do is put some links on our pages, right?
    Right! Being an affiliate manager myself, I just CANNOT understand AMs with attitude reflecting this way of thinking! How lame! Don't they know how competitive their industry is and what it takes to get a prospect to the point of checkout?!

    I guess, in some way, it's good for every AM to get put down as an affiliate by some other AM... They they/we know how important trust is (as in any business, I guess).

    Geno

  13. #13
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I use some indies.

    You just have to experiment and find out who pays and who doesn't.

    Drop the ones that don't like a hot potato.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  14. #14
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Do y'all consider a merchant using Kowabunga an indy?

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador
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    We run BOTH
    I think that you get the best of both worlds by running an indie + an inexpensive network program.

    We have had an indie for almost 3 years and added SAS to see if there were any other affiliates out there that may have been "network centric".

    We found ONE GUY who drives good sales and we are very pleased with him.

    It was worth giving SAS a try! Plus we like Brian & Ms. cTang

  16. #16
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyClickTravel
    Do y'all consider a merchant using Kowabunga an indy?
    yes, cuz the affiliate usually doesn't have to be a member of kowabunga's kolimbo network to work with the merchants who choose to use myap tracking from kowabunga.

    so i think of a kolimbo merchant as not an indie, but i consider a merchant who uses myap tracking system from Kowabunga as an indie... and these have been my best merchants.

  17. #17
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Yes, Kowabunga/MyAP merchants are much closer to being indies than they are to being network merchants. I had one MyAP merchant who would only pay about once or twice a year and tracking would sometimes be delayed for months at a time (because they didn't review/approve the orders). They finally shut down their affiliate program, and I was only able to collect about half of the money they owed. Fortunately, I had been scaling way back on promoting them. It was really disappointing, because they were a quality store with a ton of potential, if only they would have hired someone to manage their affiliate program.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  18. #18
    Member Jazz Times's Avatar
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    I have found find indy support tools difficult to work with, and that they don't convert as well.

    Therefore I generally don't bother with them.

    Jazz Times

  19. #19
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Intresting oppinions. Anyone else?

    Geno

  20. #20
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I don't like indies either. I've got one good one and a couple OK ones, but as an overall, I like network merchants.

    First, is the payment issue. Will they?!? Seems the answer is "no" too often. So I agree with Ssanf there; I'm a lot more comfortable with network merchants. The further away the merchant is from the tracking system, the better. Both indies, and "batching" merchants at networks, have way too much opportunity to massage the data. Regular network ones still get up to things, but there's even more opportunity for mischief with indy setups.

    Also I second Jazz's comment about the tools. Often, it's hard to even get a banner from indy interfaces.

    As for indy horror stories, yep, got one. A while ago a merchant (ChargerKeychain) came around ABW peddling his program. It looked good-enough, so I signed up, figuring I could flesh out my offerings in that category. Well, the demand for a charger keychain wasn't there. My CK page got ranked well under all the relevant keywords, but that doesn't do much when hardly anyone is looking for the thing to begin with!

    Even so, I managed to snag the 5 or so people who actually wanted one. And, the merchant did pay, when that occasional fluke came and bought one. But, eventually the sales stopped completely. I saw the page was downranked at the time, so I didn't worry too much about the sales, although I did check out their site to make sure they hadn't done some anticonverionary thing. It looked as okay as ever (needed help but not fatally bad), so finally I just forgot about them and went on to promoting more lucrative stuff.

    One day, months later, I was going over the site I had them on, and started wondering whether to keep that page or ditch it. Just for kicks I clicked a link...

    404

    GONE! Without so much as a notice.

    Things like that certainly don't make me comfortable with indies. If I had made a lot of commissions from them, I would have been totally scr*wed...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    I've had great results from several indies who out-perform most network merchants. Some are good and some not so good. I have one that offers only a text link to their home page - no tools, no banners, just a home page text link.

    I got permission to use their product images and used the home page link since they rarely change the products shown on the home page. I never could find any updated stats, never heard from the merchant and had no idea I had made any sales.

    A year later I get a $3300.00 check and a letter stating that I was their "Affiliate of the Year". They invited me to visit their site and select any product for free. Since then, another year has passed with no contact from them. I'll keep their links up anticipating another nice surprise.
    ~Ernie

  22. #22
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    A year later I get a $3300.00 check and a letter stating that I was their "Affiliate of the Year".
    OMG...a year?! And no checks or stats before that? *Reaches for the Tums*

    No wonder you were their "affiliate of the year." Everyone else probably took their links down, thinking it was a dud! They're lucky you kept promoting them...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erninator
    A year later I get a $3300.00 check and a letter stating that I was their "Affiliate of the Year".
    My experience too with two indy merchants. One sends me a cheque once a year and provides no stats, but I do have two conatcts there who respond to emails usually within 10 minutes, 24 hours at maximum. I'm fairly certain they only have a few (maybe just 2) affiliates. They do high priced vacation packages and so the lead-in time is very long, which is the norm for the sector.

    Another sends me a cheque once a quarter - after I ask for it! Again, I think they have only a few affiliates who were personally invited by a phone call.

    Overall I'm really pleased with my indies, the ones that work well came about from personal contacts and not an "affiliates" link on the site with auto-accept. AM is a relationship of trust and if there is no network between you and the merchant, the trust has to be based on something stronger than following a few links through and giving your details to a form.

  24. #24
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    In the late 90's I had an online business which produced pretty good income with 100% indie's. Back then, there were not that many choices of large network sites. We just made deals with each merchant on a case by case basis and I don't think we were ever NOT paid by someone we did business with. We did have to trust their tracking system, but we had certain standards of conversion and if they didn't meet those standards, we'd just thank them and move on to someone else.

  25. #25
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by womanht
    Depends on the merchant itself. I had months when a single indy merchant brought me more commissions than all the merchants I joined in the CJ network combined, for that month. I could never make any sense out of that part. The funny thing is that I found them through CJ. They had an indie program, so I hopped over to compare and see the results and sales took off. They pay every month on time. No problems.

    Then there are indie programs I promoted that never made a sale. Or made sales for a while, but stopped altogether later.

    The good indies are like gold. The trust factor is important here as you don't have a trusted network to ensure you get paid.


    Trusted Networks see to it that you get paid ?????

    I thought that they only saw to it that they get paid - The affiliates are on their own - good luck.

    Maybe all trusted networks are not really trusted networks!

    They just want to make us think that they are.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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