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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    What do merchants look for in an affiliate application?
    I am looking for merchants input here. When we as an affiliate apply for a program, what is the application structure/data that goes to the merchants ?
    Do they see our total earnings ? Our complete contact details ?
    Of all the applications they receive, how many they approve and what they base their approval on ?

    Any merchant care to share ?

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Plazan Merchant Neil's Avatar
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    Its funny you should ask this today.
    As today i had an affiliate apply for my program,
    when i went to checkout what site they had, it was an
    adult site. not porn, but adult.
    but many affiliates list diffirent sites.
    so rather than just outright reject them,
    i have sent them an email asking which URL
    they intend to use for my products.

    I dont think its a good idea to list yourself at one of the networks
    with an adult site
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  3. #3
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    When I first signed up with a network I had no clue what i was doing (insert joke here lol). My site was a classic banner farm. Still this is my top site at the networks. This site has had 25 themes since then and is the bottom feeder of my sites. I get rejected for almost every program I join.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  4. #4
    Full Member fg20878's Avatar
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    It depends on the merchants. Some of them are really picky and some of them just take anyone applied.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Automatic rejections in my book are:

    - Free hosting sites (tripod, geocities etc.)
    - Banner farms
    - Template shopping malls
    - Sites that have no relation to the products in the program
    - Affiliates from certain countries with high percentages of fraud

    Things that I do look for that get my attention:

    - "Green bars"
    - Conistent 7-day and 3-month EPC's (indicate a steady flow of cash)
    - Affiliate has made their email address available so that I can contact them if need be
    - Whois info on the domain name is the affiliates full contact info
    - Pagerank of website(s)

    If you get rejected from a program and you feel you can market the products, email the AM. That's how we know you're serious.
    Akiva Bergstrom | akiva@affsolutions.com | 718-871-8286

    Affiliate Marketing Solutions by affSolutions - Creator of the Product Showcase Creator™

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  6. #6
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    Akiva,
    - "Green bars"
    - Conistent 7-day and 3-month EPC's (indicate a steady flow of cash)

    Does it mean you have access to EPC history. More than just the today Green Bars nb and EPC?

    I've no problem with that, I think it should be released to the AMs to make their decision.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    We don't have access to the actual history but I create my own. I write down the 7-day EPC and watch it over a few days to see how consistent it is. Additionally I look at how relative the 3 month EPC is to the 7 day to determine if the affiliate understands what they are doing or just fooling around. e.g. if the 3 month EPC is .20 and the 7 day EPC is .89 it generally means that the affiliate is still finding their way. However if the 3 month is 1.00 and the 7 day is 1.00+ that's much more significant as it means they have hit on something steady and have learned how to get consistent converting traffic. I want such affiliates in my programs. Of course this is only one factor.
    Akiva Bergstrom | akiva@affsolutions.com | 718-871-8286

    Affiliate Marketing Solutions by affSolutions - Creator of the Product Showcase Creator™

    Managed Programs: EssentialApparel.com (Join) | SportsFanfare.com (Join)


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  8. #8
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    Its funny you should ask this today.
    As today i had an affiliate apply for my program,
    Trust me Neil, it wasn't me

    Seriously, I agree that you shouldn't list yourself with an adult site as the primary site
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    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistance
    . Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistance and determination are omnipotent.
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  9. #9
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    Actually, I was interested in knowing what information is generally available to the merchants - not that I have something to hide or would like to do so.

    Like in an affiliate case, we have access to the merchants 3 Month EPC, 7 Day EPC, and Network Earnings Bar, so is it the same figures merchant see about us ?
    The Best Forums
    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistance
    . Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistance and determination are omnipotent.
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  10. #10
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    We don't have access to the actual history but I create my own. I write down the 7-day EPC and watch it over a few days to see how consistent it is.
    Akiva, that's a smart thing to do.

    - Whois info on the domain name is the affiliates full contact info
    - Pagerank of website(s)
    Akiva, Is PR really important for you ?
    Also, I didn't know that whois info is also looked upon. What about private registrations ? Is it looked on as a good thing or bad thing ?
    The Best Forums
    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistance
    . Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistance and determination are omnipotent.
    Abestweb Store

  11. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    I look for many of the same things Akiva does in an affiliate when reviewing prospective affiliates and pending applications.

    As for whether PR matters - it isn't always THE determining factor but it does matter, yes. If you're not getting much exposure to your site, that generally means you're also not getting much traffic and you need that traffic to convert!

    In order for you to be successful as an affiliate you have to be able to get traffic to your site - this is probably the biggest challenge of affiliate marketing.

    Of course well-targeted traffic is just as important, and that's where importance of audience alignment comes into play.

  12. #12
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    I, on another network, ALWAYS list my witch sites. If the merchant doesn't support freedom of religion, any religion, I will be damned if they will get on my mundane sites.

    It is a personal thing but I don't care.

    There are plenty of merchants out there. More than I have time for, who DO support freedom of religion.

    It is also an IQ test. If a merchant sells incense or pet supplies, for instance, and is too stupid to know that Pagans are a huge market for them, they are too stupid for me to deal with. And, since I am not the shiniest apple in the barrel, myself, if they are too stupid for me, they are pretty darned stupid.
    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!

  13. #13
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    As for whether PR matters - it isn't always THE determining factor but it does matter, yes.
    Good to know that it still matters for many. Thnaks for sharing, RugmanAM

    If you're not getting much exposure to your site, that generally means you're also not getting much traffic and you need that traffic to convert!
    Isn't it possible for even a PR 0 site to have a lot of traffic. Like if they are heavily into PPC and ppc only ? And that would be difficult to judge by just the application. Would it be still a ground for refusal ?
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    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistance
    . Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistance and determination are omnipotent.
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  14. #14
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newaff
    Good to know that it still matters for many. Thnaks for sharing, RugmanAM


    Isn't it possible for even a PR 0 site to have a lot of traffic. Like if they are heavily into PPC and ppc only ? And that would be difficult to judge by just the application. Would it be still a ground for refusal ?
    AM's look at a site that PR-0's as maybe pushing the TOS limits of Google. A new sites No ranking is better then a PR-0. Incoming revolving door traffic via freebee listings, link farms or 1st and seconf tier PPCSE can occur. Any AM wants to see landing pages even if their for competitors when reviewing an affiliate site. One text link of the merchants brand name is not the affiliate promise of value-add marketing. It yells of some "tricks for clicks" as any merchant gets free directory entries and SERP exposure without any need for exposure to affiliate commissions.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  15. #15
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    Hi NewAff - it really depends on what the rest of your application information looks like along with who the AM is, who the merchant is and what they're looking to be aligned with.

    The truth is, we (AM's) don't always have a ton of info to go on, right off the bat - we have to work with what we've got most times.

    That's why when reviewing applications myself, I try to touch base with most pending applicants before accepting them in. It takes a little longer but it makes for a stronger partnership, I think.

    I realize that sometimes, what info I do have access to may not tell the whole story. Mainly what I'm looking for is, who are you, what is your experience in Affiliate marketing (i.e. are you new or are you seasoned), is there potential for success in partnership here, is there an alignment of audience, where do you plan to promote us, what are your methods of driving traffic to his/her site and to mine, and what type of value are you planning to provide my prospective shoppers/target market?

    PR is nice to have because major SE's have one of the widest audiences of all website promotional methods and if you have great PR and there's an obvious alignment of audiences between your site and mine, this may be indication of potential for success in partnership.

    Of course, there is always a chance that you're THE most popular shopping destination in your entire town because you effectively advertise your site in your local newspaper every day, but that your PR is 0 in the major SE's because you may not have optimized your site for search. And we do recognize this.

    If you're that concerned about your PR but you feel you bring value to the table, I suggest you contact all merchants you want to partner with (directly) and sell your ideas on them. I think you'll find in most cases, that if what you're doing is ethical, if you have a strong plan in place, and if you are serious about affiliate marketing, you will likely be accepted to their programs once you've chatted w/ them about your ideas.

    Hope you find this info helpful. Have a wonderful holiday!

  16. #16
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    I would completely agree with the model presented by the AM's here. A lot of the time, I just don't have the amount of information necessary to make an appropriate decision. But there are certain types of sites that bring up a red flag, and unfortunately, bad luck with people in the past seem to ruin for the bunch.

    I am always more than open to hearing from affiliates who have been declined, and a lot of time the simple email explanation of how they want to run the program makes all the difference.
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  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager 1av8r's Avatar
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    For new applicants I'd like to see:

    - marketing plans that match your business model (e.g. email marketing with an opt-in list vs. trusty old organic search against real content)
    - websites are not just parked for an extended period of time
    - whether you have an US Taxpayer demographic to target (we do tax..)

    To a lesser degree, I'm interested in the category and the country that you're listed in.

    Most of the time I know that you're just getting started and need all the breaks you can get, so you will definitely get the benefit of the doubt.

    On CJ, consider using the "incentive" area as a way to reach out to AM's to describe your business plans, 'cause without a plan, how can you possibly be successful

  18. #18
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Even though I'm not at CJ, here's my 2c as to what I look for:

    Personally, I don't reject any clueless newbs, because I figure they may catch on later. From my own experience as an aff, I know that once things kick in, they can kick in BIG! So, even though I cringe at some of the "first effort" sites, I think it'd be dumb just to reject someone because their *current* site couldn't sell ice in the Sahara or rank above Listing #1 Million. Their next site(s) may well rule the engines and convert great.

    The merchants who say Yes to those first lame sites--THOSE are the ones who the affiliates will be pushing when they figure out how to get #1s in every engine and convert 1 in 5 clicks. Those who rejected them? S. O. L. Forever.

    I also wouldn't dream of rejecting a free-hosted site, for the same reasons as above. The only ones likely to have Clue the First about the hosting are other webmasters, and they are not the ones that are usually gardening.

    As for what I think will do well? Easy...
    With flowering bulbs, looks count. A site that displays the flowers in a pretty way will generally convert better.
    Not Toooo much general info-c*ntent (the kind which would be helpful to newbs). Newb gardeners who don't know which end of a bulb goes up, aren't the ones champing at the bit to buy.
    But, NOT a plain link-farm (just links and nothing else), either. I like to see some presell, which helps conversions--and original is cool (if the person knows enough about bulbs to not just repackage the misinformation that is found on some content sites) because it ranks better.

    I don't like iffy-lookin' sites that make me suspect cookie stuffing.

    I don't like comparison sites. There is no benefit to me in having people being able to find some competitor. Especially if the sites don't say what the cause of the difference is (often, cheaper bulbs are smaller [which means they bloom less and aren't as robust])! However, it's not so bad if the competitor they show is a ripoff Still, I'd rather have the competition just be unfindable!

    I don't like incentive/rebate sites. (Yes there are some with no downloads!) But even with no downloads or other junk attached, the very *idea* that people would have to be paid to shop at my place, is very galling! I've only refrained so far, because of what I've said myself about programs who reject affiliates over Ego concerns But without conversions to counter those concerns? Hmmm...

    And I hate sites that only put up my stuff as AdSense fodder This year I think I'll change my Terms to exclude these. Simply having AdSense present is fine, but when the products are underneath 30 < br >s so no one will see them, that is another story! If I bounce any noncrooked sites as a "class," it'll be these.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyfalcon
    When I first signed up with a network I had no clue what i was doing (insert joke here lol). My site was a classic banner farm. Still this is my top site at the networks. This site has had 25 themes since then and is the bottom feeder of my sites. I get rejected for almost every program I join.
    I'd just Delete that site from the network interface, if it wouldn't be too much trouble. Make 'em show a better one!

    As for my main listed site, I made a c*ntent site first just to get accepted into programs But, it was a free-hosted site for the first couple of years. When I moved it, I changed the address with all the networks with no problem.


    Quote Originally Posted by EcomCity
    AM's look at a site that PR-0's as maybe pushing the TOS limits of Google. A new sites No ranking is better then a PR-0.
    I haven't seen a true No Ranking in ages.

    I just bought a domain yesterday, and haven't uploaded any pages to it yet. I just checked, and the default page is already showing PR-0, even though nobody's used that domain (archive.org had no results--I always check before I buy a domain).

    So, it seems to me that new sites don't get No Rank anymore. Whenever I see a gray bar, I figure the site's been banned, not that it's new...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  19. #19
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    Thumbs up Great Points
    Personally, I don't reject any clueless newbs, because I figure they may catch on later. From my own experience as an aff, I know that once things kick in, they can kick in BIG!
    for merchants who do this.

    As a newbie, I know I was thinking of starting a site and targeting a niche and I applied to that niche merchants (with my default non- related site - call me lazy)
    since it was a non-related site, I was expecting disapprovals
    but one merchant approved (it had the maximum greens in its category) and now I am on the verge of starting a new site just targeting that merchant. Good for the merchant I think if I succeed
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  20. #20
    Member Azam's Avatar
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    Very informative thread.

    We have a large number of sites and they are listed seperately in our CJ account. Each targets different demographics, geographic regions etc. Do advertisers get to see each URL? Are they informed which our 'main' URL is?

  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager 1av8r's Avatar
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    All the URL's that you list are available for review, but there is not an obvious way to know which is your "main" site.

    Some of my biggest hitters simply list as "www.(some_marketing_company_style_name).com" often a one page mission statement -- but with 4 or 5 bars you kinda know what you're getting (read: PPC player).

    Lately there has been a ton of blogs and free hosted sites popping up. I recently had to kick out a bunch of kids from the UK that all used tripod -- they were making lunch money with fake registrations. I figured it out because they all had listed with a first name only and were each generating dozens of new leads every day for about a week -- the funny thing was that it wasn't even tax season so they stuck out like a sore thumb
    Last edited by 1av8r; December 30th, 2005 at 11:11 AM. Reason: typo

  22. #22
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    All the URL's that you list are available for review, but there is not an obvious way to know which is your "main" site.
    1av8r, So there's know way for a merchant to know the default site of an affiliate ? I thought there would be some differentiation for the "Default site" of the affiliate. Thanks for sharing.
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    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistance
    . Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistance and determination are omnipotent.
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  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador
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    Some of my biggest hitters simply list as "www.(some_marketing_company_style_name).com" often a one page mission statement
    So, how many of you use a generic page which serves as a one-site page for your affiliate site?

    Also, as an affilaite, is it good to have a generic site to use it as an application site for all your merchants?

    Would merchants accept such a generic application?
    The Best Forums
    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistance
    . Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistance and determination are omnipotent.
    Abestweb Store

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