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  1. #1
    Newbie
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    February 8th, 2006
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    Text/Banners/Content Preferences
    All,

    I have been lerking here (on and off) for a few months in anticipation of launching our affiliate program through the CJ network. I first want to say thank you to anyone/everyone that posts on this forum as it seems to be the fastest (real-time) source of information within the industry!

    While I do have many questions and comments, I will break them out into several posts to keep each thread specific and on-point to each topic...

    General Information:
    Industry: Retails - Invitations, Stationery, Gifts
    Average Order: $100
    Planned Commission: 8%
    Conversion Rate (PPC): 1%
    Estimated EPC: $8.00

    What text do you (publishers/affiliates) prefer to be included in text links? The answer for some seems to be "it doesn't matter" since they modify these links to be consistent with their sites (either manually or with databases/redirects). Please also specify which particular affiliate model you run so I can be sure to cater to each niche accordingly.

    What banners do you prefer/use? Not just size - but, dynamic vs. static, general vs. product based, branded vs. promotional (coupons, special offers, etc.). Please specify your affiliate model on this as well.

    What promotions, special offers, coupons seem to be the most effective in enticing your customers to click-thru?

    Thanks for taking the time to read (and/or respond) to this post. If you have any questions of requests for clarification, please post to the thread and I will get back to you.

    Gideon

    Note: I prefer not to publicly disclose our site until we are officially launched. If you feel it absolutely relevant to answering the questions above, please post an email address and I would be more than happy to email you with additional specifics.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    I like datafeeds and one other link type - it doesn't matter what it is as long as it's easy to modify to go where I want to point it. Don't use banners, never used a merchants textlink.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    You said that you have been lurking here for some time so you must have read some of the threads regarding CJ. Based on this can you tell me why you have chosen CJ and not another network?

  4. #4
    Newbie
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    February 8th, 2006
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    You said that you have been lurking here for some time so you must have read some of the threads regarding CJ. Based on this can you tell me why you have chosen CJ and not another network?
    Our first decision was between developing inhouse or using a 3rd party program. We quickly decided inhouse for 2 main (and several other) reason. 1. We wanted an established network of affiliates to allow us to ramp up the program in time for our busy season (early Q4 - mostly holiday business but holiday cards/ holiday party invitations tend to be purchased earlier than other retail holiday items). Recruiting new affiliates "from scratch" seems to uncertain when working within an established timeline. 2. We wanted to concentrate on marketing the program, not administrative (payment processing mostly) and technical initiatives.

    Around the time we finalized that decision, I approached my affiliate manager contacts and several other people within the industry for guidance. LS and CJ were at the top of most lists, with several other "smaller" networks (SAS included). I have worked with SAS in the past and was not impressed with the tools provided or results from affiliates within the network. This may not be the case anymore - as this was several years ago - but this was the experience I had.

    Upon reviewing CJ and LS as options with my senior managment and technical team, CJ became the front runner. From a technical perspective, our site is run on a Yahoo Store platform. CJ is a fully integrated partner with Yahoo, so no time is required from IT.

    It was after the decision was made that I was introduced to this forum. YES, many affiliates have many issues with CJ (both before and after the LMI/JS initiative was announced). But as is the nature with most things - people tend to focus on negative aspects. Posts on other networks' boards also highlight the negative. But are affiliates really leaving the program?

    This was actually the topic of a seperate thread I was going to post. My approach to running the program is very simple. I want to be able to provide the tools and information my publishers need to convert their customers into my traffic...AND, I want the appropriate feedback from my affiliate partners to maximize my site's ability to convert this traffic into sales - big commissions for you, increased revenue for us, and a long lasting (profitable) relationship.

    Of course, not having launched the program, therefore not having affiliate partners, this forum is my source for this reciprocal feedback I am staking my program on. So - why not CJ? Will it prevent me from providing affiliates with the tools and information they need to be successful? Will it prevent me from aquiring the right network of affiliates in the first place? Mailman - thank you for asking this question - perhaps I have put the cart before the horse - so help me understand how other networks shine where CJ falls short.

    Thanks - Gideon

  5. #5
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    January 13th, 2006
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    Gideon,

    I don't use feed. I like specific product link images.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
    Twitter me

  6. #6
    Member bobmutch's Avatar
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    June 4th, 2006
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    aylmer.on.ca
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    gideon:

    >>>Our first decision was between developing inhouse or using a 3rd party program. We quickly decided inhouse for 2 main (and several other) reason...

    If you went with CJ don't you mean you decided to use a 3rd party program and not a inhouse? Above you state that you choose to use an inhouse affiliate system.

  7. #7
    Newbie
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    >>>Our first decision was between developing inhouse or using a 3rd party program. We quickly decided inhouse for 2 main (and several other) reason...

    If you went with CJ don't you mean you decided to use a 3rd party program and not a inhouse? Above you state that you choose to use an inhouse affiliate system.
    yes, sorry - we decided to use a 3rd party program

  8. #8
    Member bobmutch's Avatar
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    gideon:

    >>>1. We wanted an established network of affiliates to allow us to ramp up the program in time for our busy season (early Q4 - mostly holiday business but holiday cards/ holiday party invitations tend to be purchased earlier than other retail holiday items). Recruiting new affiliates "from scratch" seems to uncertain when working within an established timeline. 2. We wanted to concentrate on marketing the program, not administrative (payment processing mostly) and technical initiatives.

    Two good reasons to use a 3rd partly affiliate system.

    Let me add another.

    3. Some people don't trust inhouse affiliate systems.

    Any one else have other good reasons to go 3rd party?

  9. #9
    Full Member
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    January 18th, 2005
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    American Stationery paid 20% standard which was nice while they had a program. Text links - 2 - 460*68 banners top & bottom of pages, data feeds in some cases but probably wouldn't use one for this type of business.

  10. #10
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Personally, I use text links, not banners or graphics unless it's for a specific product that I think I can sell. 120X60 buttons are always nice for side bars.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    November 29th, 2005
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    Making a datafeed available directly to affiliates would be a good idea, alot of us will not pay the $200 upfront cost of getting them from CJ, SAS provided datafeed free to all :>) also 120x60 & 468x60 are the only size banner I use.

  12. #12
    Member bobmutch's Avatar
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    Rexanne:

    >>>Personally, I use text links, not banners or graphics unless it's for a specific product that I think I can sell. 120X60 buttons are always nice for side bars.

    I would think that a landing page with quality content, perhaps a quality dynamic banner at the top, and some click though graphics that offer products at 50% off or 50% cheaper would be the best.

    With feeds that do this I would think it would be important to put some of your own text at the top and at the bottom so the search engines don't see the page as dup content.

    Then seeing how on-page optimization is only about 5% now (keyword in the URL, title tag, meta description, h1/h2 tag, and bold in the first paragraph) you need to point quality links at the page with the keyword you are targeting in the anchor text.

    Google blessed directory links are about the best bang for the buck as they are permenant (for the most part), one way, and relevant.

    Google up "super link package" with out the quotes for a good starter package or if you have time to add up your site yourself Google up "top web directories" with out the quotes and there are a number of lists of quality paid directories.

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager rcampbell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gideon
    Our first decision was between developing inhouse or using a 3rd party program. We quickly decided inhouse for 2 main (and several other) reason. 1. We wanted an established network of affiliates to allow us to ramp up the program in time for our busy season (early Q4 - mostly holiday business but holiday cards/ holiday party invitations tend to be purchased earlier than other retail holiday items). Recruiting new affiliates "from scratch" seems to uncertain when working within an established timeline. 2. We wanted to concentrate on marketing the program, not administrative (payment processing mostly) and technical initiatives.

    Around the time we finalized that decision, I approached my affiliate manager contacts and several other people within the industry for guidance. LS and CJ were at the top of most lists, with several other "smaller" networks (SAS included). I have worked with SAS in the past and was not impressed with the tools provided or results from affiliates within the network. This may not be the case anymore - as this was several years ago - but this was the experience I had.

    Upon reviewing CJ and LS as options with my senior managment and technical team, CJ became the front runner. From a technical perspective, our site is run on a Yahoo Store platform. CJ is a fully integrated partner with Yahoo, so no time is required from IT.

    It was after the decision was made that I was introduced to this forum. YES, many affiliates have many issues with CJ (both before and after the LMI/JS initiative was announced). But as is the nature with most things - people tend to focus on negative aspects. Posts on other networks' boards also highlight the negative. But are affiliates really leaving the program?

    This was actually the topic of a seperate thread I was going to post. My approach to running the program is very simple. I want to be able to provide the tools and information my publishers need to convert their customers into my traffic...AND, I want the appropriate feedback from my affiliate partners to maximize my site's ability to convert this traffic into sales - big commissions for you, increased revenue for us, and a long lasting (profitable) relationship.

    Of course, not having launched the program, therefore not having affiliate partners, this forum is my source for this reciprocal feedback I am staking my program on. So - why not CJ? Will it prevent me from providing affiliates with the tools and information they need to be successful? Will it prevent me from aquiring the right network of affiliates in the first place? Mailman - thank you for asking this question - perhaps I have put the cart before the horse - so help me understand how other networks shine where CJ falls short.

    Thanks - Gideon
    Gideon, I was searching and found your post. I am currently making the decision of what network to be a part of LS, CJ, or SAS as a merchant. We already have a well established online business but have never ventured into affiliate sales. Any suggestions on which network to use?

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    August 17th, 2006
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    Coupons are a great way to attract deal/coupon websites, which can potentially drive a lot of sales if you get on a targeted deal site, on the main page. Try to recruit them yourself, and not just rely on the CJ network.

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