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  1. #1
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    Which Affiliate Solution for new merchant?
    I have a client launching a new e-commerce site, and I'm trying to update my knowledge about each of the options for implementing an affiliate program. (We will not do business with CJ or LinkShare, period.)

    About a year ago, I concluded that ShareASale seemed to be the best bet for a low-cost implementation, with the main "problems" being (1) affiliate links are redirected and thus don't help Google PageRank, and (2) the solution relies on third-party cookies. The entry cost and minimum-fee levels seem acceptable. ShareResults appears to have a rate structure similar to SAS, and I see no advantage to their solution. I suspect that SAS may still be my ultimate recommendation.

    For a direct solution, I would have immediately suggested Kowabunga (MyAP) but I know their rate structure was raised substantially last year, so I doubt they are affordable at this stage. DirectTrack might be a reasonable option, but I have no experience with them -- I'd love to hear some feedback from other merchants and affiliates.

    One "extra issue" is that the client plans to change their hosting solution in January (from Yahoo Merchant Solutions/PHP to an internally hosted Windows/ASP solution), so we need to anticipate any extra costs or issues that might result. We also need to make sure that the solution we choose will work with a Yahoo-hosted site that does NOT use the "Yahoo Store" technology.

    What options should I consider?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    I am sure that others can speak more about some of this than me, but let me say I find Kowabunga (MyAP) cumbersome to use, even for someone who has done this for years. From the affiliate side I much more prefer SAS's interface with affiliates. Very easy to get affiliates on board and links up.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    with the main "problems" being (1) affiliate links are redirected and thus don't help Google PageRank
    There is (at least) one network out there that does direct links, but you're going to have a very hard time selling that idea to your affiliates for two reasons:

    1) We're getting paid to send you sales, not increase your PageRank.

    2) Some percent of clicks won't track using methods that pass PageRank. (Those methods typically rely on referer information, which isn't always accurate or present.)

    ShareASale.com is (by far) the network of choice for affiliates.
    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

  4. #4
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    I'm not entirely sure I understand the objection by an affiliate about PageRank, nor do I understand the concept of "passing PageRank" at all.

    As an affiliate, 80% of my revenue comes from two merchants who have "direct" affiliate programs (one using MyAP), where I am linking directly to their servers. About 20% of revenue comes from CJ and SAS merchants. It seems bizarre for me to "hold back" the PageRank benefit that might accrue to my direct-link merchants.

    As a merchant, I am especially concerned about the possibility that I may one day end my relationship with an intermediate "network" like SAS. There are many reasons this might happen, but the most likely scenarios are a huge fee increase (which might happen if SAS were acquired by a competitor) or complete shutdown of the network (due to acquisition or simple business failure). If that happens, I can only recapture and redirect "my" links if they are directed to my domain. One option might be to assign a subdomain to the affiliate-solution-partner (e.g. Affiliates.mydomain.com).

    As a merchant, I am also concerned that many of my best "link partners" are also my best candidates for an affiliate relationship. Some of these sites would provide free direct links to my site from theirs, but I can anticipate more favorable treatment if they can earn sales commissions. I don't want to lose PageRank because I'm offering commissions, but that's essentially what happens if I use a third-party network like SAS.

  5. #5
    Newbie Spookshop's Avatar
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    I am a new merchant, but after doing extensive program shopping, SAS was the one that made most sense to me.

    It would be great if I could get page rank from affiliate links, but my only saving grace was that I am not a new site. I don't have them best, but I do have a page rank of 4 with google.

    I did look at MyAp but the pricing did not make economic sense.
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=Purple]Les[/COLOR][/SIZE]
    Affiliate Manager
    [URL=http://www.spookshop.com]www.spookshop.com[/URL]
    [EMAIL=les@spookshop.com]les@spookshop.com[/EMAIL]

  6. #6
    Member IronChef253's Avatar
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    is a "direct" affiliate program one which is run by the company itself rather than another company like CJ?

  7. #7
    Full Member ske9963's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    There is (at least) one network out there that does direct links, but you're going to have a very hard time selling that idea to your affiliates for two reasons:

    1) We're getting paid to send you sales, not increase your PageRank.

    2) Some percent of clicks won't track using methods that pass PageRank. (Those methods typically rely on referer information, which isn't always accurate or present.)

    ShareASale.com is (by far) the network of choice for affiliates.
    to chime in on that.

    Page rank or no page rank, it would be easier for your competitors to look up your affiliates if you do not have redirects. i.e. amazon.

    google it and u will find most or all amazon associates/affiliates
    Ma, where the beer? :escape:

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager DreamPrints's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronChef253
    is a "direct" affiliate program one which is run by the company itself rather than another company like CJ?
    As far as I understand, a 'direct solution' means linking affiliate sites directly to the merchant's domain:
    http://www.myaffiliateprogram.com/myap_tech.asp

    Most affiliate networks redirect affiliates link. Actually, it is an interesting point. I never looked at affiliate marketing and affiliate networks from this prospective...

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