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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    What makes an Affiliate "Worth It" from an AM Standpoint?
    Received the classic letter today that everyone receives, you know the one - "We're restructuring," or "Our program is changing its 'focus'."

    Followed by "you're great, but..." Or, "Effectively, [Later Today] we are terminating our relationship with you. Please remove..."

    I had my usual reaction. WTF!? Followed by, "Okay, who needs them." This time however, another emotion hit the wall - frustration. As in, wait a minute, I just built a couple thousand datafeed pages for these guys in November this sucks, that was a lot of work. Then I started thinking, wait, even before then, we had some sales.

    Not a lot of sales, $2,500. and just under $200. in commission for 2005.

    I emailed the merchant, then headed over here where I might be able to either learn something, or have someone learn from me.

    And the question At Last!:

    Am I the kind of affiliate that most programs would want? Am I below par? (My Wife just asked me for a divorce, so be nice) I guess I am really talking about dollar figures (from a performance standpoint), but hey, I'll go for any standpoint (at this point).

    I'll out the Merchant shortly, if someone else doesn't do it first. Unless he/she lets me know I am a valued affiliate, and made a mistake. And yes, ladies and Gentlemen, it's an LS merchant and they have bedbugs too.

    Fred

  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    What makes an Affiliate "Worth It" from an AM Standpoint?
    Any affiliate who sends legit sales (any amount) is "worth it" to me!

    There's no funny smoke in MY air ducts!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  3. #3
    Internet Cowboy
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    Linkshare is so full of creepy crawlies that their merchants have to be leaning one of two ways. They are either looking at these stats that SAHS delivers and marvelling at the sales with no idea that those people were on their site anyway, or they are scared to death than affiliate marketing is wasting their advertising budget because of such activity. It is a question of whether they are pre or post enlightenment. It sounds to me like the merchant you are talking about has not been enlightened and wants affiliates who can put up the numbers that the parasites pretend to put up.
    Sorry to hear about the pending divorce. Been there and done it. Life rolls on!


  4. #4
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buy_online
    Am I the kind of affiliate that most programs would want?
    Fred
    Fred,

    A resounding YES from me and all my programs...

    Now go and get busy cranking out new pages ...

    Sorry bout the divorce, been there twice... sometimes things occur in life and we don't know the reason at the moment... remember, attitude is everything.
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    Yeah, I got the same email from CWC today.

    I did over 500 orders with them last year and STILL got the boot. Rett Clevenger, their affiliate manager did not seem to want to defend his affiliates. I felt I had a close relationship with them and then BAM - you are gone. No warning, didnt do anything wrong - just gone.

    Sucks when you have a program pulled out from under you. Sucks even worse when the affiliate manager wont go to bat for you.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager
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    As an affiliate- I always hated those emails- and I've seen a few of them

    As a merchant- I never would have sent one to myself- even for the programs where I booked no sales yet. Why? Because I'm a low maintenence affiliate. I don't push for much-if anything and I know what I'm doing.

    I don't mind a huge backlog of affiliates who don't book or book just a bit- but I can see the allure of dropping an affiliate who you can see will most likely never do more than their own sales and takes up a large amount of time. This is exactly why I have never understood the bulk deletes. If you don't know who I am- how can you say I'm taking up too much time?

    Phew- that was a long way to say, you can book as much or little as you want with us :-)
    Jessica Hutson
    Senior Manager of Strategic Development

    (IAN) Interactive Affiliate Network Representing:
    www.hotels.com
    www.travelnow.com
    www.vacationspot.com

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisk
    I did over 500 orders with them last year and STILL got the boot.
    I don't get it. In performance marketing, it takes very little production for an affiliate to contribute because you only get paid for results. 500 orders and booted! Even if it's a low ticket item, I can't see why an AM would boot you with that volume. There's got to be some other type of change a foot.

    Take your business elsewhere - that program's in trouble.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador
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    This time it was aparently all about someone on top deciding they did not want to be involved with any site that listed bargains, coupons, deals etc. He felt it hurt the brand name or some bunk like that. It wasn't just on numbers - I drove more than enough sales with no fluff.

    I expect that without all the coupon and deal sites they are going to have a VERY hard time pushing all those clearance sales they have. Nobody left to promote that side of them.

    It realy sucks because I am going to remember Rett's name and if he leaves CWC and starts promoting other merchants i'm going to end up not promoting them.... How many AM's do you know that have moved on and brought loads of affiliates with them?

  9. #9
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Fundamentally, I can see how coupon sites are viewed as adding little or no value, especially when you prompt buyers for a coupon at checkout.

    However, since your competitors are doing it and since a certain percentage of internet shoppers follow the coupon buying behavior, pragmatically you're shooting yourself in the foot by choosing this route.

    There are much better solutions available to address this problem than just stepping off the dance floor.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador
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    What I don't get is this. CWC actively promoted a some coupons last year through their affiliate channel. In addition, they have had '50% off' clearance sales. Pushing the these out to my newsletter is where a good amount of sales came from. Without their deal and coupon affiliates, who is going to push these sales? Many people only shop when a good deal, sale or coupon comes across their door.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    I don't understand booting someone who is producing sales.
    Am I the kind of affiliate that most programs would want?
    I certainly think so! Even if they haven't had sales in a while, there can be a number of reasons so it's best to try and contact them to see if they need help or offer some activation incentive. I'd welcome any affiliate who wants to give it a try. Just generating sales puts them well above the pack.

    Maybe we need our own Wheel of Affiliate Marketing game show where we can hear some merchants say "Pat, I'd like to buy a CLUE"
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
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  12. #12
    Member Chocolate_Chicken's Avatar
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    Ask them if they've ever heard of Famous Footwear.

    Seems they're not so Famous any more.

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager nish's Avatar
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    Fred,

    If the idiots don't care about you, it proves you're not one of them! To hell with them. Self-respect is what matters. Thats one thing I've learnt. I stutter when I talk & if someone looks down on me because of that, hell with them.. its their problem, not mine. Don't let them touch your self-respect.

    -nishith

  14. #14
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nish
    Fred,

    If the idiots don't care about you, it proves you're not one of them! To hell with them. Self-respect is what matters. Thats one thing I've learnt. I stutter when I talk & if someone looks down on me because of that, hell with them.. its their problem, not mine. Don't let them touch your self-respect.

    -nishith
    Words to live by.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  15. #15
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I'm having a hard time believing that it really has anything to do with their branding on coupon/deal sites. Check the SERPs. It's telling right now to see who has aff-enabled coupon links yet and who doesn't. Who still has AdWords running with cwc in the search phrase, but no active aff links to them and who does. Who has GREAT SERPs, but NO link to cwc even though a coupon code is given. Check them again in a month and I bet my bottom dollar you will still see them promoted (with coupon codes) on certain coupon/deal/bargain/rebate sites as they are now.

    Fred more likely you just didn't make the cut when they made a move towards consolidating their program. $2000 in sales isn't likely to cut it when a merchant goes this route. Nor is 500 sales over a years time. Everytime I bring this up, I get poo-pooed on it. But there IS an active movement within the Industry to have programs run with a very limited of affiliates. Very rarely will the merchant come right out and say what is happening when they move in this direction. This is not something that is Network specific, but rather is Industry-wide. Small to mid-sized affs can expect to see more of this kind of thing in the future. Just be aware there is a mentality out there that it is better to have 100 or 200 affiliates than a large affiliate base. Plan your business accordingly and don't devote too much of your efforts with merchants that might buy into this philosophy unless you know you can survive the downsizing. Thankfully there are other options out their affiliates.

  16. #16
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B
    Everytime I bring this up, I get poo-pooed on it. But there IS an active movement within the Industry to have programs run with a very limited of affiliates.
    It's out there, but I don't think it's widespread. I've seen it with a handful of merchants.

    This was brought up this week at the LinkShare Summit, and here's how LinkShare responded: Merchants who do this will end up paying more for their affiliate sales. The larger affiliates demand higher commissions, so when you eliminate the small and mid affiliates, your average costs go up. (My observation: It's really even worse than that, because your fixed costs will be spread over a smaller number of affiliates and sales.)

    With many affiliate programs, 5% of the affiliates generate 95% of the sales. The fallacy is thinking that you could eliminate the 95% of nonperforming affiliates and still get 95% of your sales. You can't. You'll eliminate many who would have been in the top 5% in future years.

    Any merchants here who have been running their programs for more than a couple years, I challenge you to do this. Go back to your 2004 stats. Figure out what affiliates accounted for 95% of your 2004 afiliate sales. Now check to see what percent of your 2005 affiliate sales those affiliates accounted for. I doubt it would be more than 50% for most merchants. Any merchant care to do this and share their results?
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  17. #17
    Sinclair Oil Lurker Jones's Avatar
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    I hate the part where everything is going great one minute, and then PUFF! They are gone. I wish there was a more effective way of affiliates knowing when advertisers make these big moves, or drop out of a network completely. There is nothing like getting excited about sales with a merchant, making a bunch of pages then the next day they have left the network with out so much as a warning. CJ is the worse about this. ShopLifestyle.com, over the years, has been one of my biggest money makers. Then PUFF, they are gone. Now I am trying to recover by finding all their ads and replacing them. Not easy when your combing through 700 MB of web pages.
    [B][COLOR=Red]I look forward to Google's demise[/COLOR][/B]
    Look who is suing Google - [URL=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=google+gets+sued]click here[/URL] and [URL=http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=google+gets+sued&FORM=MSNH&srch_type=0]here[/URL] and [URL=http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=google+gets+sued&fr=FP-tab-web-t&toggle=1&cop=&ei=UTF-8]here[/URL]

  18. #18
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi All

    Following on from Michael's post, it is a huge risk to cut a program back to just the top guys, because you never know when a competitor is going to come along with an offer they can't ignore and "poof" they've gone. Then you're left with no "up comming stars" or people you can nuture and support to fill the gap left.

    Any merchant care to do this and share their results?
    I haven't gone into great depth but I know from just looking at data over the years that there is a great deal of churn as people float in and float out, there are always a few top folks who are rock solid, but a lot of the top folks have changed, doing less, or doing more but being beaten by new people. No business stands still and neither do affiliates

    On LinkShare especially where there is no EPC info I see no reason why a merchant would ever remove a partner that is adding value... however remember that what the AM sees in his info about your account is not always what you are doing. Your profile listing of www.somecrappysiteIlistedtherein2003.com is not the 15 domains you presently do use. The AM might drop someone over branding concerns, even if they have sales, especially if they haven't audited their referral data.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
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  19. #19
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Fred,

    I spoke with an AM in Vegas

    and his answer suc$#$ed!

    All he cared about was ONE statistic... EPC

    EVEN if you sent him a BILLION dollars in sales... if he didn't like the EPC... you're gone!!!

    Totally stupid IMO

    (and hate the divorce thing/sorry)

    Billy
    Last edited by Billy Kay; January 21st, 2006 at 12:17 PM.

  20. #20
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    All he cared about was ONE statistic... EPC
    Okay that's just plain silly...even more so for an LS merchant where EPC isn't even visible...
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
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  21. #21
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    I've seen the EPC-crazed AM dealybob too. I hear them say we need a higher epc to attract more affiliates. Somewhere in their logic, they "see" reducing the affiliate count may help raise their epc. And they never see themselves removing affiliates is their strategy for gaining affiliates... nuts.

    Thie wider you cast your net, the more you drive your epc down. This may not mean things don't convert well, it may mean that affs are converting okay in so many niches that the merchants products are being offered in a huge number of places - even one's that are directly related to the niche. If I were a merchant, I choose revenue over epc every time.

    EPC is very misunderstood by merchants, AMs and affiliates alike.

    Meanwhile, LS allows parasitic bho players that think return day sales are there's - and this halves the epc for those sales.

  22. #22
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie
    Everytime I bring this up, I get poo-pooed on it. But there IS an active movement within the Industry to have programs run with a very limited of affiliates.
    It's not that nobody's doing it that causes my poo-pooing. It's that there are some AMs that follow *every* dumb*ss movement that comes along--and there always has been! It's why I often say "avoid idiot AMs" when asked for basic advice! These nonthinking fad followers are exactly the "idiot AMs" I'm thinking of.

    So, some are going to be jumping on the latest fool train, and mistaking it for a clue train. Nothing new or special about that. They're probably on some iLaughma-substitute board or blog expounding on their latest Fool Train Tickets as if they've got some kind of sense, too. Without any REAL critical peer-review, they can pump up some of the most ill-thought and boneheaded ideas into seeming like there's actually been more than 2 neurons fired...

    And, like many fool trains, there'll be enough jokers that follow the fad, that it may indeed qualify as a "movement within the industry." Nothing new there either. But that doesn't make the latest fool AM-lemming fad any more bright or sensical, nor does it mean that all the AMs are going to do it by any stretch.

    This industry is diverse not just on the affiliate-side but on the merchant side. Which means that some WON'T ride the fool train. So to heck with the ones on the fool train. That train rolls through every so often, and takes some AMs with it. Just rip their links, and go with the ones riding the CLUE train instead!

    IMO it's a huge mistake to pay mind to fools. They'll only contaminate all who do and spread their folly. Better to just avoid them in the same way you'd avoid stepping in dog manure--sidestep the smelly masses while continuing on your way. Or kick it to the curb.

    These idiot fad-following AMs who jump on every ill-thought bandwagon should be stamped out, not accomodated. At the very least, shun them. The non-Darwin Award winners will remain!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  23. #23
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Here's my two cents worth. If you can't have a one-on-one conversation with an AM when something like this comes up then why support them. Good advice on looking back for affiliates who may have fallen off. I can tell you that our #1 in 2004 is way down the list because Google didn't like his site. It takes communication from an AM to get some affiliates producing in programs. If you are producing and an AM cuts you there are plenty of us out there who would love to have you join our programs.

    On another note, there are so many template sites that apply with no PR, no ALexa, no EPC and nothing that relates to our sites. If a site applies and is brand new but fits our theme I always let them in. And I have to say that anyone who takes the time to email when applying gets first consideration. Communication is key and it works both ways.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    First, thanks to all who said nice things about me - most appreciated. As you guys know, I am part of your programs already, because of who you are (and maybe because of what your program(s) represent).

    For the record, I have no coupons on any of my sites, except for a couple of LS DRM's out there (many of which are from the program in question - interesting!).

    I understand the AM's position and his thinking (I think I do anyway), having managed a corporate sales channel before. However, it does show (as further evidenced by comments above) that he might not understand our business as well as he should. Hope he's making someone happy at his company...

    We'll see what CWC says on Monday (if anything), including whether or not he's seen this thread. I think most of you know what the end result will be though, and it will not provide what one would call "The big finish!"

    Have a great week everyone.

    Fred

  25. #25
    Senior Affiliate Manager AMWSO James - AMWSO's Avatar
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    Keep us posted on how this turns out...I don't see the logic in booting any affiliate making 'clean' sales myself...If they're not doing anything maybe, but if they're adding value to the bottom line and the brand it makes no sense...

    You wouldn't have this problem with an AMWSO program...I'm really sorry to hear about your divorce. I hope it all goes amicably/well...
    James D. Nardell
    AMWSO.com Affiliate Management Team
    email: James.Nardell [@] AMWSO.com
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