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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager DreamPrints's Avatar
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    Question So how can I make webmasters trust us?
    With regards to my recent thread, where we came to the conclusion that the main issue is trust...

    What are the best ways to make webmasters trust us?

    ... Posting at forums/ Making our affiliates' feedback public?

    We made the similar thing in the shop: we placed a link to our eBay feedback where we also sell posters like here: Please look at the top left corner And it really woked! As buyers seemed to trust us much more after reading that someone else already bought from us

    So waybe it is worth trying to do the same thing with the affiliates?

    Regards,

    Ann

  2. #2
    Crazy Cat Lady Heidi's Avatar
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    Time - Good reports from other affiliates - good communication here at abw - show that the affiliates are important to you
    Heidi
    "Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true"

  3. #3
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Trust used to be given back in the day - today, trust has to be earned and it's one of the key ingredients of success in this business ...
    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

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager DreamPrints's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heidi
    Time - Good reports from other affiliates - good communication here at abw - show that the affiliates are important to you
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Rodriguez
    ...trust has to be earned and it's one of the key ingredients of success in this business ...
    Perfect! I think these are similar things. The main thing is that it takes much time... so I am ready to wait and earn it!

  5. #5
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Track sales reliably, pay commissions on time.

    That's all there is to it. All the rest is weasel water.
    CUSTOM BANNERS by GRAPHICS CANDY ~ Banner Sets and Website Graphics ~ Professional design, reasonable rates
    DESIGNER DOG CHECKS ~ We double-dog dare ya to write one!

  6. #6
    Newbie TotalCallGroup's Avatar
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    Very good question, what do affiliates need to make them feel comfortable when not dealing with a CJ or something noteable.

    How does a small advertisers/merchant get started?

  7. #7
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by TotalCallGroup
    Very good question, what do affiliates need to make them feel comfortable when not dealing with a CJ or something noteable.

    How does a small advertisers/merchant get started?
    Join Shareasale.

  8. #8
    Newbie TotalCallGroup's Avatar
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    The problem for a small merchant is the cost to get started with a network all without the guarantee of a single affiliate picking up your deal. And most offer no refunds -- "thanks for your money, don't let the door hit you on the..". There is also the 30% fee they charge -- if you do it independently the publishers makes
    the extra 30% as the commission is a usually a fixed amount with or without a network.

  9. #9
    http and a telephoto
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    Did you look at Shareasale? Their costs are very low... I can tell you didn't look because you are quoting inaccurate rates....
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  10. #10
    Internet Cowboy
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    To start with, I would use https protocol on the affiliate signup page.
    Quote Originally Posted by Your terms & conditions
    8. Identifying Yourself As An Affiliate
    We will make available to you a small graphic image that identifies your Website as a Program participant. You must display this logo or the phrase "In affiliation with IcePoster.com" somewhere on your Website.

    You may not modify the graphic image or text, or any other of our images, in any way.
    That's not good. We are affiliates...not billboards. Ask CJ how their LMI initiative worked out. This alone is enough to keep me out.

    I would also suggest you add a title tag to your terms & conditions page and consider raising your return days to 30 or 60.

    Oh yeah, and take the Adsense ads off of it. 99% of affiliates have no desire to send you traffic if you are going to monetize it with Adsense. 1% are just that friendly

    Seriously: The Adsense ads and #8 in your terms will be deal killers, each in their own right, for every affiliate marketer I know.


  11. #11
    http and a telephoto
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    Wow, I hadn't actually looked at icposters, Adsense is a definite no-no. Also, the link for "picture" needs to make it more clear it is a download of a file, not another version of "photos" or "poster". I clicked just to see what it was, I didn't realize at all it was stcok photography or that you have stock images available.

    And if you are promoting as Celebrity Posters, why are there cars? If you are general posters, say so, if you are a niche poster site, stick with the niche....

  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Imagine you're moving to a really small town and you plan to live there and run a business there for many years to come. What would you do (and more importantly: NOT DO) in that situation to earn the trust of the locals?

    That's exactly how you need to treat your affiliate program.
    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

  13. #13
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    In addition, you may not: (a) directly or indirectly offer any person or entity any consideration or incentive (including, without limitation, payment of money (including any rebate), or granting of any discount or other benefit) for using Special Links on your Website to access our Website/
    You should google that and see how many iceposter rebates are out there

    If rebates are allowed, then you should change the TOS

    if they're not, you should out those affiliates

  14. #14
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    Affiliate Network Fees
    Quote Originally Posted by TotalCallGroup
    The problem for a small merchant is the cost to get started with a network all without the guarantee of a single affiliate picking up your deal. And most offer no refunds -- "thanks for your money, don't let the door hit you on the..". There is also the 30% fee they charge -- if you do it independently the publishers makes
    the extra 30% as the commission is a usually a fixed amount with or without a network.
    Quote Originally Posted by Loxly
    Did you look at Shareasale? Their costs are very low... I can tell you didn't look because you are quoting inaccurate rates....
    Actually, the startup cost at ShareASale is $350 which is non-refundable after activation, plus the $100 deposit (which is refundable if not used), and ShareASale does charge a 20% fee on top of affiliate payouts. (There is also a monthly minimum, which starts in the 3rd month after activation at $10 per month, rising to $25 per month from the fifth month on.) And there is an extra one-time charge of $1 per affiliate given FTP access.

    That 30% fee is certainly a concern -- after looking at our costs for labor, equipment, materials, and "rights" (our products are "printed on demand"), and after accepting that we had to price our products to compete with pre-printed commodity posters, we computed that we could afford to pay out 18% total for marketing.

    ShareASale's 30% fee was definitely a factor in our decision process, but we quickly decided that ShareASale was our best option to have a credible program up and running in Fall 2006, and so we elected to pay affiliates 15% so that when we add ShareASale's 20% fee, the total would be 18%.

    Of course, that 18% expense doesn't include internal costs (me, plus costs for graphic design of banners, development costs to implement the datafeed, etc.) associated with the affiliate program. Of course, each of these "internal" costs also benefits other marketing activities (not just the affiliate program).

  15. #15
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    Webmaster-Merchant Trust; Affiliate Networks
    Quote Originally Posted by DreamPrints
    With regards to my recent thread, where we came to the conclusion that the main issue is trust... // What are the best ways to make webmasters trust us? // ... Posting at forums/ Making our affiliates' feedback public?
    I'm a direct competitor (poster affiliate program), so of course you're entitled to view my advice with that in mind, but since I've been working on affiliate marketing from "both sides" for nearly 10 years, I'd like to think I have some valid thoughts.

    [1] Affiliates look for "signals" or "cues" that are associated with positive or negative experiences with past merchants.

    One negative "signal" mentioned in the current thread is "leakage" in which your affiliate-generated traffic might earn you money which is not shared with affiliates. The two most common "leakage" complaints are [1] any enticements to place phone orders (including any prominent display of a toll-free phone number) without providing both a mechanism and a consumer incentive to continue affiliate tracking; and [2] advertising on your site that redirects the consumer to another site (AdSense ads, other affiliate links, or links to another site you own but which doesn't participate in the affiliate program).

    Positive "signals" include things like identifying the affiliate manager by name, participating in forums like this one, and quickly and effectively responding to inquiries from current or prospective affiliates.

    Affiliates also use the "shopping experience" at your site as a measure of your affiliate program; the site needs to have a level of professionalism and function in a way that consumers will trust, since consumer sales are ultimately what drive the affiliate earnings.

    [2] Trust is really the next step -- when I am in the role of an affiliate, I don't trust any merchant until I receive an actual payment, since even accrued earnings (even at SaS or CJ) can be reversed. Certainly, I will have "some" trust in a merchant if I know that they are participating in an affiliate network which requires advance deposits against affiliate commissions (arguably, CJ doesn't meet this test, since programs are not always shut down when funds are depleted, but certainly CJ's "normal" deposit requirements, like those at ShareASale and several other networks, are preferable to the open-ended uncertainty of a direct program).

    [3] Another key issue for many affiliates is the concern that they might devote some effort to promoting a merchant's products, but ultimately not reach the merchant's "payment threshhold," especially if that threshhold is higher than $25 or $50. Even if the affiliate is confident that the threshhold will be reached "eventually," there is some extra comfort in receiving a combined payment each month on behalf of several merchants.

    Over the years, I've effectively forfeited several hundred dollars in accrued affiliate earnings (from dozens of merchants), either because my affiliation ended before earning the threshhold amount or because the merchant defaulted on payment obligations. (I've also received payments from many merchants who ignored their stated payment threshhold, either during the initial launch of the program or when the program is terminated or moved to a different network.)

    Once again, participation in a credible affiliate network can help reduce this concern, because the affiliate can combine earnings from several merchants to meet the network's "payment threshhold."

    [4] Another "trust builder" is openness and full disclosure. Little things like listing a true business address, a phone number, and the ownership of the company can help both customers and affiliates gain confidence; this stuff should appear on the "about us" page. Additional information might be posted in an affiliate FAQ. And for programs that have apparent "differences" (like our lower commission rate, compared to some poster merchants, or your independent model instead of affiliate network participation), it's important to be up-front and honest about your reasons.

    [5] A key element in persuading affiliates to "trust you" is to explain how you are similar to and different from your competitors. Clearly, you and I recognize that most affiliates are familiar with the AllPosters/Art.com affiliate program, and they want to know how a new poster-merchant's affiliate program compares. This is where we communicate information like price-comparison or unique-products or product-quality, as well as affiliate-specific issues such as "joining a new merchant's program means you aren't competing with 100,000 entrenched affiliates" and "our datafeed has XXX advantages over their datafeed" and "we will wash your car if you post our links."
    Last edited by markwelch; September 17th, 2006 at 12:29 AM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    * * * ShareASale does charge a 20% fee on top of affiliate payouts. * * *

    That 30% fee is certainly a concern * * *
    I can't believe I did that. ShareASale's ongoing fee is 20% on top of affiliate earnings.

  17. #17
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    Yeah Mark, I was coming to say.... wtf??? It may not seem like much, but there is a difference between 20% and 30%..... and the fee is determined on affiliate commissions earned, not sales. I apologize if you did make *that* clear, not in the mood to reread long posts tonight....
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  18. #18
    Affiliate Manager DreamPrints's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    Wow, I hadn't actually looked at icposters, Adsense is a definite no-no. Also, the link for "picture" needs to make it more clear it is a download of a file, not another version of "photos" or "poster". I clicked just to see what it was, I didn't realize at all it was stcok photography or that you have stock images available.

    And if you are promoting as Celebrity Posters, why are there cars? If you are general posters, say so, if you are a niche poster site, stick with the niche....
    So, in turn:

    1. Adsense was put on the site just a few days ago (our existing affiliates can confirm that) as an experiment as we plan to launch another sparate project. We have never used adsense before and plan to remove it soon.

    2. We started as Celebrity posters sites nearly 5 years ago and since then we have tried to add various other niches just to see if they are sold well. Auto posters proved to be a good match as most our customers are men and they usually include one car poster to the celebrity orders. Now we consider launching a separate site for that.

    3. As for 'Picture' we have just added this option and will of course rename it.

    Best regards,

    Ann

  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager DreamPrints's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Kay
    You should google that and see how many iceposter rebates are out there

    If rebates are allowed, then you should change the TOS

    if they're not, you should out those affiliates
    We offered specific coupon codes to some of the affiliates and also we placed an announcement here on ABW offering coupon codes to attract sales. So all these rebates are initiated by us. Besides, if you look closely, some of the sites are coupon code/deals directories which are not signed up as our affiliates. What is forbidden is that affiliates offer rebates we do not know about.

    P.S. I can offer the code to you if you ask...

  20. #20
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    Another note, I looked at the site a couple days ago as noted above and did an add to cart to see the process, and today I get an email that you need my payment info... if I abandon a cart I (and many other shoppers) DON'T want to get an email telling me to pay up... a more gentle reminder *might* get some results, but an email telling me that I need to send you payment info isn't cool. I know there are places selling services like that and I spoke to them quite strongly that I am NOT in favor of that type of service. It also brings up the question of who is sending that email? You or an outside service that is getting affiliate commission for converting the abandoned carts?
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  21. #21
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Mark, your thoughts on this issue are great: lucid with a point
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  22. #22
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    5 years of operating the site should make the TRUST issues obvious. Andy R. pointed out that trust is earned by the obvious. Affiliates & merchant both should trust the site's products appeal, to targeted shoppers, will convert into steady sales. Andy was always a believer that weekly test purchases, on various creatives types, verified the reporting. When he trusted it as an AM... all could believe him. The sites AM should be worried about Trust when the sites natural conversion ratio (from any source) is better then the focused targeted traffic he gets from affiliate referrals. Addressing that issue breeds further trust someone is looking out for the affiliate sales force.

    I'm the laziest AM in the industry with all efforts going into making the merchants sites sell better with higher average sales amounts. No effort needed on the merchant Trust issue. Every referral sale gets a e-mail confirmation to the affiliate and the only way out of that reporting is to turn off the shopping cart.. It's illegal to block or blank the affiliate link code with the cookie set within the secure shopping cart server redirect path. No merchant incentives are offered so the SERPs are 100% clean and the level playing field is an open book. Believe it or not...The level playing field is the main issue for recruitment.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager DreamPrints's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    ...The level playing field is the main issue for recruitment.
    Yeah, thanks, Ecomcity. That's a great point...

  24. #24
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamPrints
    Yeah, thanks, Ecomcity. That's a great point...
    true There are probably only a handful of level playing field affiliate programs, out of the hundreds of thousands offered to affiliates, that protect that equality of opportunity.

    It is the basic problem that fuels all the evils we revisit year after year. Root cause is that both merchants (AMs) and Affiliates demand the commission playing field tips in their own particular favor by stacking the system. I ...more then anyone else.. know this as a fact. How else could anyone here explain why it's absolutely worthless to open up a merchant forum here where the program is played on a completely level playing field.

    That merchant and AM could almost guarantee a 1 sale per 20 click conversion ratio on any physical click traffic from furnished creatives. (conversion from all physical click traffic sources since 1998 averaged 1/20) Yet 99.9% of all ABWers would rather refuse participation because they couldn't tilt the playing field in their favor. The mindset for all is how to clobber the competition with their secret weapon...
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  25. #25
    Affiliate Manager DreamPrints's Avatar
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    Ecomcity, Mark, thanks for great info and your opinions...
    Loxly, many thanks for an awsome program review!!!

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