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  1. #1
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    Question Affiliate Marketing w/o a website - Acceptable?
    Hi everyone.
    i've been doing search marketing for years and years and thought 'why not get in on some of this action' -
    my question is this: Is it feasible to start AM campaigns without a physical website, using only PPC programs? When I researched CJ and Linkshare, they all ask for your URL - I'm wondering if you won't get accepted as a 'publisher' without an actual affiliate url.
    Any help on this would be amazing.
    thanks so much,

    best,
    anne

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It'll probably be easier for you if you just set up a one-page site offering PPC consulting and use that URL. That way, it's clear to the merchants what you're doing and you have a URL to enter at the various networks. I think all of them ask for one, and just entering "www.google.com" or something isn't good. Many fraudulent affiliates try to make it look like they're part of a large company, and the merchants might thing you're just another fraudulent affiliate.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  3. #3
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smart_cookie
    Affiliate Marketing w/o a website - Acceptable?

    Hi everyone.
    i've been doing search marketing for years and years and thought 'why not get in on some of this action' -
    my question is this: Is it feasible to start AM campaigns without a physical website, using only PPC programs? When I researched CJ and Linkshare, they all ask for your URL - I'm wondering if you won't get accepted as a 'publisher' without an actual affiliate url.
    Any help on this would be amazing.
    thanks so much,

    best,
    anne
    But of course it's acceptable smart_cookie,

    It's just like being a parent without having sex.
    ...

  4. #4
    Newbie Disco Stu's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's probably best to have at least one site. Once you get into CJ or SAS, you'll find that many affiliate agreements will not allow you to use PPC to go directly to their site. For those that do, it's a pretty competitive sector already, and the name of the game will be finding specific keywords instead of bidding through the roof on general ones.

    The best bet is definitely to have a content-rich value-added add-another-hyphenated-word-here site, and that in the long run will be the biggest boost, imho.

    -DS

  5. #5
    Just 'N' Affiliate Naffiliate's Avatar
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    I am completely opposed to this.. It takes away the complete integrity of the affiliate program and how it is designed.

    The basis of an affiliate program is that you have a web site that drives traffic, and you can make money based on the traffic you send to the merchant, and make money doing it.

    Straight search engine submission does nothing but compete directly with the merchant. The merchant PAYS for keywords, and gets into bidding against themselves through affiliates.. costing the merchant higher fees for search, and higher costs in the long run.

    More and more programs (merchant programs) have and will continue to police this, and make changes to their affiliate programs, making it harder for affiliates (to make money).

    Same old story.. they will make rules for all, when only some are breaking them (the rules).

    I know some, (like chicken Charlie) won't give a damn about the merchant (I think I read somewhere that he said they should all hang?), but the integrity should not be compromised for a few who want to make a quick buck (and run).
    Getting There Is Half The Fun! Staying There Is Half The Battle!

  6. #6
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    I am completely opposed to this.. It takes away the complete integrity of the affiliate program and how it is designed.

    The basis of an affiliate program is that you have a web site that drives traffic, and you can make money based on the traffic you send to the merchant, and make money doing it.

    I know some, (like chicken Charlie) won't give a damn about the merchant (I think I read somewhere that he said they should all hang?), but the integrity should not be compromised for a few who want to make a quick buck (and run).
    I agree 100% on that!

    But who is (chicken Charlie)?
    ...

  7. #7
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Now what if somebody buys a domain name, redirects it through an affiliate link to a particular merchant, and advertises offline in newspapers, radio, and other media? Why should there be any objection? The affiliate takes on all the risk of whether the ad campaign will be economically feasible, and the merchant only has to pay commissions when a sale is made.

  8. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    PPC is a very legitimate way to promote affiliate links.

    I'm not very hot on the idea of affiliates bidding on trademarked merchant names, and most merchants don't allow that, but that's only a very small part of what a good PPC marketer will do.

    A good PPC marketer will bid on thousands of keywords (or more), many of which the merchant doesn't realize. They will also be masters at coming up with good ads and negative keywords. And they will take all the risk. If things don't work out, they lose money.

    Many merchants are notoriously bad at running their PPC campaigns. I've heard about some that were paying 5-10x as much (as a percent of sales generated) as the commission rate that they pay affiliates. In this case, wouldn't it make sense to let affiliates do it (for 5-10x less?).

    A good PPC marketer can generate a considerable amount of additional business for merchants.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  9. #9
    Newbie Disco Stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Many merchants are notoriously bad at running their PPC campaigns. I've heard about some that were paying 5-10x as much (as a percent of sales generated) as the commission rate that they pay affiliates. In this case, wouldn't it make sense to let affiliates do it (for 5-10x less?).

    A good PPC marketer can generate a considerable amount of additional business for merchants.

    Indeed, whatever anyone thinks about PPC marketers, is it not true that the entire basis of affiliate marketing comes down to the simple process of a company outsourcing its advertising? As yet another layer in the process, we are absorbing the risk of advertising a company, and, hopefully, adding value in some way... whether it be through content or unrecognized keywords.

    I'm new here, so I won't suggest I think one or the other is better, but just wanted to point out that PPC marketers are absorbing risk just like the rest of us are -- and indeed, probably paying significantly more for their risk.

    -DS

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager
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    As a merchant, I know that I most defiantely prefer affiliates who have at least one of their own sites.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    I'm not quite sure about direct linking to sites (i'm not here to judge this one). I've yet to do anything like that, and for whatever reason, I'm not planning to anytime soon. I stick with a straightforward approach - find merchant, apply, build a proper site, promote, promote, promote.

    As far as not having a site prior to signing up, I've done it quite a few times. I developed a bio page explaining to the merchant what type of marketing I do (PPC mainly), or I will talk to them directly about it. One or the other. Once accepted, I try to build a useful and decent site that makes money for both of us.

    So far so good: I"m happy, AMs are happy.
    Follow my dog, Maya, and I, as we fumble around the affiliate marketing world: www.MarketingMaya.com
    Recent Project: Cheap Personal Checks (using DigitalQuill)

  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    In a perfect world all network merchants should be forced to pay a per-click 5 cent fee to all legit affiliates from their own on-page showcase links. Immediate termination for any forced click cookie stuffers with their balance going to the OUTER.

    This fair pre-sell compensation plan will never get traction if the direct to merchant PPCSE players are allowed free reign. Eliminating direct to merchant PPCSE affiliate cookies guarantees all my level playing field affiliates get 1 sale per 20 clicks for years by forcing them into on-page displays.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  13. #13
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Direct-to-mechant ppc can do wonders for both the affiliate and the merchant. For the merchant, lowered acquisition costs, easy to control costs, full reporting on traffic sources and activity, lots of targetted traffic, very little risk, virtually no time invested and many other factors usually make it a great opportunity, if managed properly within overall merchant goals (like trademark issues and a few others).

    If you're an affiliate though, this method leaves you very vulnerable. You can't viral market a ppc link. Your can't build community. You can quickly lose your butt if you don't know what you're doing. If the merchant changes their policies or goals (even when they are totally reasonable changes that come along with any merchant's normal growth / market share / maturation cycle), it can completely eliminate what you're doing. If they were not great at ppc, and you do well by helping them - then they hire a ppc firm that knows what they're doing, you're baked. Lots of pitfalls and zero stability. Your investment in what you do isn't tangible ownership, like an affiliate website. Other direct-to-merchant bidders can easily displace you if they know what they're doing. You're very vulnerable to adware and poaching and you have no site logs to teach you what's happening with your traffic. You frequently have an incomplete roi loop so you often don't know (or it takes gfreat gobs of work to analyze) which exact keywords and which exact bid levels will yield the best profits for you.

    So if you're good at ppc and have money to spend, look for opportunities to do direct-to-merchant ppc but don't base all of your business / income on it. You'll sleep alot better if you develop a quiver of good affiliate sites. The number of ways you can get free or low or somewhat low (lower than ppc) cost traffic is much, much higher when you own the website.

    And if you go poaching someone's trademark or performing other ppc tricks against a merchant's policies, with or without a site, I'll be one of the first in line to hurl barbs at you (see todays pac sun posts here at ABW). Rule-breaking trademark poachers, like any crapola affiliate tricks, weaken the value of affiliate marketing. Be proud of your industry - there's thousands of reasons to be proud to be an affiliate marketer - but don't be afraid to pull weeds from our garden, doing so makes us all healthier in the long run.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Thanks Donut, that cleared some things up for me. Best of all, your last paragraph stated what I definitely feel - I love what I do, and I hope it stays intact and untarnished for a long time.
    Follow my dog, Maya, and I, as we fumble around the affiliate marketing world: www.MarketingMaya.com
    Recent Project: Cheap Personal Checks (using DigitalQuill)

  15. #15
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  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Someone should make another thread like that. That's a few years old, I wonder what the concensus is now.
    Follow my dog, Maya, and I, as we fumble around the affiliate marketing world: www.MarketingMaya.com
    Recent Project: Cheap Personal Checks (using DigitalQuill)

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador
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    I still feel the same way as I did in that thread. I don't do it myself but I don't care if other affiliates do it. That's between the merchant and the affiliate.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've yet to try direct-to-merchant, but I don't see the problem (doesn't mean it's not there - also just not enough experience on my part).

    I know this sounds weird, but for whatever reason, I feel like I'd be taking the "easy" way out if I did something like that. DOn't have a clue why. I kind of look at the way I do my work, the way I build my sites, as an investment portfolio. I build each site with the intention that it'll stay around a long time, and hopefully be marketable through other means (other than PPC), down the road.

    i'll stop now, just ramblin'..
    Follow my dog, Maya, and I, as we fumble around the affiliate marketing world: www.MarketingMaya.com
    Recent Project: Cheap Personal Checks (using DigitalQuill)

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