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  1. #1
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    All,

    What would you consider to be the features for both merchant and affiliate to be the "perfect" (or best) Ad Network?

    List your answers like:

    Affiliate
    --------------
    Paypal payment
    xyz
    abc


    Merchant
    -------------
    No set up fee
    xyz
    abc


    We have many (confirmed) influential people in our board ... lets see if some of this hits home for some of them.

    Haiko
    PS. You might get it, soon! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  2. #2
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    The Perfect Ad Network.

    For The Network: Merchants pay the Network 1 cent per click thru tracked as a lead - no other fees. Merchants must maintain a minimum balance of $300

    For Affiliates: A minimum of 2 cents per click thru tracked as a lead against commission earned from sales & leads.

    For example: If you send 1000 visitors to XYZ merchant, you would be guaranteed $20.
    If you made more in commissions than that you would get the higher amount.

    This pay structure will force merchants to focus upon CONVERTING sales and Leads since they are going to be dinged for traffic and they had better design their sites and offers to SELL. It will force the merchants to take an active part in the process, not just put up a picture and price for xyz and call it a sales page.

    Because the clicks will be tracked as leads, there will be little fraud and what there is will be easy to detect and eliminate.

    Return cookies must be for 60 days or greater.

    Consolidated Checks.

    For the Merchants:

    No Set-up Fee. $500 initial starting balance. Minimum 5% Sales Commission. Minimum Lead $1.00. Name, address, phone and email address constiutes a lead, not what the merchant says.

    So the merchant would be on the hook for 3 cents per click tracked as a lead whether he sold anything or converted any leads.

    Affiliates that send 1,000 visitors to merchants get a check every month whether they sell anything or not.

    No rewards sites can be affiliates. Rewards being you get a piece of the sale or lead.

    Paid for emails can be affiliates because that is a cost of getting the traffic. A paid email of 2 cents covers the cost of the traffic and the operator's profit is any sales or leads generated over the 2 cents per click.

  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Okay...

    Affiliate side (my side, as if anyone doesn't know--there's a few Guests though so I'd better say):

    <font size="4">GUARANTEED PAYMENT!!!</font> Whether The Network does this by demanding advance payment from merchants, carrying insurance, or whatever, the Payment should be GUARANTEED!

    QUICK payment. Like, Biweekly, or better yet, WEEKLY! And none of this crap, "we have to wait for the reversals". With my proposed change in the reversal policy (below), it shouldn't be a problem most of the time. On the rare occasion a real reversal may come in, they can yank it out of the next week's deposit, just like CJ does if a reversal comes in after the monthly deposit!

    None of this waiting months for the first check. The Fraud Team should be big enough that there's no problem doing the necessary checking in a reasonable amount of time.

    Direct deposit for the above, of course. NOT Paypal payment. Direct Deposit, into my bank!!!

    AUTOMATIC APPROVAL!

    Merchants HAVE TO have the stuff in stock--No "Can't Ship/Sold Out" reversals.

    In fact, NO REVERSALS unless the merchant can PROVE fraud. Proof would always be demanded. If the merchant thinks it'd cost too much, Tough. If they can't handle keeping all the Denied CC notices in one spot, and sending them over to The Network, they shouldn't be in a network anyway.

    Cool it with the mailings. I don't want to know about every new merchant that thinks that "virtual malls" would be good for his product!!

    BUT, don't block all mailings! SOME spam is GOOD to eat... Affiliates should be able to set REAL criteria for getting mailings, though. Like, "Don't bother me if the merchant doesn't pay 10%, and forget Category X, Y, and Z no matter what, but let me know INSTANTLY if another merchant shows up in Category A!" Of course, those who don't want ANY email wouldn't have to have any.

    Speaking about merchants and affiliates, CALL THEM MERCHANTS AND AFFILIATES! My stomach churns every time I read that "Publisher" designation. What do they think I am, some newpaper that's willing to run ads for cheap CPM?!? HMPH!!!! If a buzzword HAS to be used--I'm an Advertising Agency and the merchants would be my Clients. But I'd rather have Merchants and Affiliates as titles. I hate buzzwords.

    Get that Minimum 45-day cookie back on. Merchants who can't handle it don't deserve to be in a decent network anyway.

    If a merchant has been through 5 other networks, THAT'S A CLUE. Block those serial ripoff artists at the gates.

    Automatically place any merchant that is engaging in Progressive Program Degredation (you know, the deal gets worse and worse...) on Probation. Fine 'em, too, so they'll BEAT IT and we can get on with putting a real merchant on the page.

    No Merchaffiliates (like Crapalog City).

    None of this BS changing of the product link destinations.

    NO dynamic banners--UNLESS it plainly says it's dynamic!

    No cheapie-Deapie commissions allowed! Those 1-4%ers can plain go away. (And 10% and UP should be encouraged.)

    No hoop-jumper lead programs allowed.

    Merchants who can't convert worth Sheet ($0 EPC) can go away.

    Same with 100% Chargeback ones. Which brings me to:

    A responsive and effective Fraud department!

    As a Merchant, I'd want:

    My links to stay active even if I wasn't quite "on time" with a payment.

    A gazillion Affiliates, quick.

    They have to know how to convert sales, too. No Clickmeisters who would bomb my server with a billion nonconverting "visitors".

    No affiliates who think they're a "billboard" and not a Salesperson. If I wanted a BILLBOARD, I'd go rent one!!! Same with newspaper ads! And TV!

    An easy interface, explained CLEARLY, for setting up individual deals.

    To NOT HAVE TO advertise my affiliate program on my site. This is a real clinker in CJ's Merchant Agreement (merchants are supposed to post that they have a program, in a conspicuous place--unless they changed those terms when I wasn't looking)! That's a SALES REDUCER--and I'd want none of it!!!

    To be able to Reverse things. Even if I was out of stock. (Yes that clashes with the affiliate perspective--but sometimes there's a rush on certain items, they don't come in, etc...)

    Instead of No EPC rating for new merchants, there should be a "probationary" rating. That way, as a Merchant, I wouldn't lose out on those affiliates who want to "see an EPC" before they'll sign up.

    Can that 7-day EPC. It's too flukey.

    Cheapo-Deapo monthly fees. Or none at all! As for no set-up fee, that wouldn't be the highest priority. It may mark The Network as small-time if there was NO fee... It seems bizarre to say I'd rather pay a fee, but No Fees reeks of desperation!

    The ability to get a REFUND if my program (Heaven Forbid) ended up being one of those $0 EPC ones with no sales, or one of those where the One Performing Affiliate can watch her/his sales go through the network because there aren't any other sales to dilute the effect!

    If I run a seasonal program, I'd like a special setup where I wouldn't become "temporarily deactivated". It should say Out of Season or something else shameless instead. I also wouldn't want to be charged in the summer, for a Christmas Wreath program!

    I'D LIKE A CUSTOMER SERVICE DESK to handle all the calls from affiliates!!! Promptly, courteously, and without cut-n-paste answers. And the answers have to be RIGHT.

    No, an automated "help" program/screen does NOT count!

    All explanation/how-to writers must remember that they are NOT talking to another guy in the tech department. COMMONLY UNDERSTANDABLE ENGLISH (*ahem, CJ, ahem*)...

    To be able to customize the approval so some affiliates are automatically accepted--and some aren't.

    A responsive and effective Fraud department.

    BOTH SIDES:

    No E-mail Black Holes. There should be enough Customer Service/Fraud/Sales (whatever's applicable to the email) people that a REAL--not cut and paste--RESPONSE can come back the SAME DAY for most things. Things which really require investigation, should get that investigation. And a personally-written email notifying the sender that the matter requires investigation.

    No, or very few, crashes. There also must be a way to keep the site going during scheduled maintenance.

    Some kind of a deal for 5$ or the equivalent. Higher commissions for affiliates, less of a transaction fee for merchants.

    That should be enough of an e-book post to start with...if I think of any more I'll put 'em in!

    [ 01-11-2002: Message edited by: Leader ]

  4. #4
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    Maybe this is a little out there!

    How about merchant xyz.com would review affiliate abc.com and then set aside an amount of money for that specific affiliate to earn per a certain time frame.

    Lets say for example 300 dollars for a half way decent and established site or thirty dollars for Joe Schmoe (sorry Joe) in one month.

    Affiliate abc then earns from that account and is paid as soon as the account is emptied.

    Then if merchant decides abc.com's traffic was worthy he or she ups the amount of the account or lowers it if the traffic quality wasn't up to par. If the affiliate is deemed fraudulant then they would be dropped as with any other network.

    Other then that all of the variables are the same as usual.


    The advantage of this type of system would be that merchants would be less harmed by fraudulant affiliates and potentially could afford to pay out more.


    Affiliates would gain by having an account full of money that no one could touch until he/she earned that full account.

    No more worries about merchants not paying up.

    This still wouldn't prevent merchants from stealing traffic or not counting sales but that is the job of the network.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    By God,
    Leader Yeah you wrote a e-book alright [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    Got to agree with the fraud and the support issue....


    Regards
    TGO

  6. #6
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    6 months ago I outlined a fraud protection plan on CJU ... lets take into account that there will be an executable for fraud detection (pinging the TY.htm) and the network will instantly revert that merchant into a PPC (while down) and tack on a $200 fine (per infringement). Fraud will be addressed like a hawk!

    Haiko

  7. #7
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    Leader says:

    "They have to know how to convert sales, too. No Clickmeisters who would bomb my server with a billion nonconverting visitors".

    Works for me, provided the commission rate is at least 20% and the merchant has compelling copy to help make the sale a reality. And a bonus if you sell a reachable X amount in a month.

    If merchants want us to be sales persons, then they need to treat us that way.

  8. #8
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    (off subject)
    Haiko I sent you an email you might want to pick up.

  9. #9
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    (I'm speaking only to the affiliate side as that is the only place I have experience -- some of this repeats what others have said, but I'm writing without checking which are repeats [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] After the first one, no particular order, just my free flow of thoughts).

    Affiliate[list=1]<LI>Thorough investigation of proposed program, previous history, and screening out of deadbeats. This includes requiring a written affiliate plan that details how they will respond to issues, who is in charge, number of support personel, number of affiliate-programs DEDICATED personnel, advertising program, previous network affiliate programs, etc etc. As someone else said, many of these programs are dead before they get in the door, why do they get in????<LI>Stiff penalty for merchants having their account even temporarily deativated. It is a royal PITA to yank down links one day only to put them up the next. Or the bigger PITA, you delay yanking the links and end up relinquishing clicks/sales to a merchant that never gets reactivated.<LI>Dedicated Affiliate Advocate -- whose job is to do nothing but campaign for Affiliate concerns within the network company and with shoddy merchants.<LI>Interface designed with an HCI or web usability person/team's input... lots of input. LISTEN TO THEM.<LI>Interface is usable by all browsers compliant with current HTML standards.<LI>"Real time" reporting.<LI>Flag all merchants affiliate has ever belonged to -- so if said affiliate suffers constant memory loss, they won't diddle about with rejoining a dog they dropped three months ago.<LI>Comment field for each merchant (within affiliate's management dashboard) where affiliate can make private notes about merchant (e.g., "03/2001: ITEM 437892310 sold like hotcakes for St. Paddy's day, use again next year").<LI>Extensive reporting options -- when you think there are too many options, add twelve more.<LI>Advanced "report writer" for the geek stat freaks to write their own queries for specific reports.<LI>Merchant History Report that includes info such as # of times deactivated, length of time between deactivations and reactivations, payment history (ever default, pays in a timely manner?), all names merchant has ever used to join network (to avoid the "old dog, new dress" problem), etc.<LI>Predatory advertisers NOT ALLOWED in Network. Period. End of story. No additional commentary needed.<LI>Merchants penalized for changing landing URL of any link without prior notification of ALL affiliates (URL cannot change for a minimum of 10 business days from notification).<LI>Merchants have clear options for noting reasons for reversals. "OTHER" option can only be used with additional field for explanatory note.<LI>Length of cookies must be clearly stated.<LI>Affiliate has ability to drop merchants.<LI>If a merchant drops affiliates for inactivity (as a matter of SOP), those terms must be clearly available and expressed prior to affiliate joining program.<LI>If merchant drops affiliate, merchant must provide, in writing (to affiliate), reason for drop.<LI>If merchant, as a matter of SOP, "extends" all transactions, those terms must be clearly available and expressed prior to affiliate joining program.<LI>CONSOLIDATED PAYMENT.<LI>Merchant required to write a freakin' snyopsis of their company that explains what they actually SELL, not how much money affiliates will make putting up their banners.<LI>PHB Alert: All unscheduled downtimes will be announced prior to their happening... lol... (you said the PERFECT network).<LI>Merchants who do not respond to emails within 7 days get penalized.<LI>Merchants are not allowed to send out newsletters unless said epistles contain actual NEWS. Penalties include, but are not limited to, breaking of merchant's swift-typing little fingers.<LI>All $0 sales require a response to inquiry within two business days.<LI>Merchant must provide a viable email address for contact and NOT depend solely on Network's mail system.

    there's more, I'm sure, but I'm done for now... be back later...

  10. #10
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, Cedric's post reminded me--

    CONSOLIDATED CHECKS! Networks without 'em are so invisible to me that I had forgotten about them existing. But I definitely want consolidated checks too.

  11. #11
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I agree with every suggestion so far and propose that all affiliate managers report to their company's sales departments ..not advertising. Pay per performance has little to do with advertising. Diverting sales ( 800#'s live help buttons -parasiteware and scumware) are all run by advertising wanks. Sales guys and gals HAVE TO produce sales or they are forced to make it happen.

    Startup affiliates and those who show a variety of merchants in various caetegories ( ie. my CyberMalls) need consolidated payments paid monthly. The day of sending traffic trying to get to individual merchant minimums is dead. Those networks that think the merchants rule the roost are forgetting the fact that the only thing lighting up the networks bandwidth fibers are impressions -clicks -transactions. Burn all the network merchant recruiting manuals and sales speels touting the abuses merchants enjoyed for years.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador
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    I too also agree with everything said. The only thing that I would add is that merchants be required to provide information about their site, products and services that would aid affiliates in writing good ad spin.
    It always seems so counter productive having to dig though a merchant's site trying to find good information to write about.

    Mike

  13. #13
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    >>No Merchaffiliates (like Crapalog City).<<

    Ah, ya gotta let them stay, Leader. Good source of testing products without joining every affiliate program out there for me... please let them stay? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  14. #14
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Well, erm...maybe if they keep their product links aiming at what they're supposed to. When they don't, you may find yourself testing a product you didn't even know about [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    But they have to raise that lousy commission! They have so many cheapie items (like $5) that it seems that most of their huge catalog is unprofitable (to US) with the 5%. I've seen commissions as low as TWO CENTS on some of their items! Bwaa haa, ecch.

  15. #15
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    Hayder's post reminds me og headhunter.net .. they had this prog. where if you earn a min. amount of 100 dollars and then you can withdraw the money after you make the 100 $s.

    But Don't you think that for some affiliates who are promoting 100 other merchants - having money set aside by each merchant and getting paid individualy would be a waste of time and efforts. -- the money would hardly arrive!!

    Think About it,

    regards,
    Pranav.

  16. #16
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    Excellant point Pranav!

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador
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    Thanks, Leader. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] I do know about that URL changing thing, though. Drives me nuts on occasion (I had that in my list of DON'Ts, too). Yeah, and those .05 commishs, ooow, sweet. lol...

    I did use one link with under a .10 per commish over the holidays. A fluke ranking in google (you know where two totally unrelated words on your web page combine to make a product you aren't promoting) forced it. It was related to what I was selling on the page and I did it for brand purposes, rather than sales. You know, I want people to see my site in search engine listings and think "ooh, THEM, they'll know where to get it" -- not, "ooh, THEM, crappy site". Actually ended up selling some.

    I splurged and bought a postage stamp with the profits.

    Not first class, though.

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