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  1. #1
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    What to look for in a program as an aff newbie?
    I've been making money publishing AdSense and YPN ads for a while and I'm going to diversify into affiliate marketing. My only experience with it, besides reading forums like this, is that I've integrated a lot of affiliate links into my main content site. They're relevant to its content and add value, but the payout is a joke -- $15 a month or something combined, with conversion rates below 1%. And they're my only real options in my niche, so I consider affiliate income a lost cause on that site.

    So now I'm looking to experiment with direct-to-merchant PPC, but I'm not really sure where to start.

    How do I find programs that allow DTM and accept un-proven affiliate marketers?

    Is it possible to find a decent program in a niche with cheap enough ad prices that I won't waste a fortune while I experiment to figure things out?

    Should I start out trying one program at a time, or several?

    Should I look for fairly obscure programs and niches, or is it reasonable to take a stab at promoting a loan offer or something?

  2. #2
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Talking
    From what you are mentioning, looks like you want to do affiliate PPC and less of the content affiliate marketing.

    1) Merchant that pays
    find a merchant that will be able to pay you on time and have a good history of paying. you might be able to earn $xxxx from a merchant but if he/she is a slacker in commission payment, it's worth jack to you cos you are out by xxxx.
    For linkshare, there is the premier partners criteria as merchants are required to pay on time to be in there but still, linkshare calculate the payment days as an average over 3mths.

    2) trademark keyword bidding
    Some companies will not let you use any keywords and are very restrictive. They even micro manage your campaigns. I dunno where do they find the time??? You want to find programs which gives you some freedom but don't take advantage of it. That also created a level playing field.
    For eg. Fairfield Getaway's program. No PPC bidding on direct trademark and domains such as Fairfield Getaway(s), Fairfieldgetaway(s), Fairfield Resorts, www.fairfieldgetaway.com as these are no brainers. But we are open to Fairfield Resorts <string of words>.. i.e.Fairfield <Orlando Vacation>, etc

    3) Direct linking
    Some will allow it, some will throw the kitchen sink at you. As with No 2 and No 3, some merchants will have lawyers chase you down is you breath too hard. So look for programs that will allow direct linking. Psst, we allow that.

    4) Cookie time/duration.
    Find a program with a decent cookie time like 20 days or 30 days. I am not here to bash those program which have a cookie time of 3/24 day or 25 minutes cookie time.. but I think it is impossible to commission on those. A PPC shopper clicks on your PPC, browse around on the merchant's site, find the product he likes, and before he can put in the credit card, it already exceeded the 25 minutes. Congratulations, guess you just generated a sale for the merchant for FREE.

    5) Non commissionable items
    Seen a lot of merchants pull a fast one on aff. They have their reasons but if 80% of their items are non-commish and all the popular items are in that bucket, that leaves you with 20% of slow moving products that are hard to sell. Good luck with that..and selling the "pet rock"

    6) Support from the merchant
    Are they able to provide help, suggestions, keywords, etc. You can work your a$$ off but if the merchant is not helping in conversion, etc it does not mean anything. Cos when something goes wrong, where are you going to find the answers? All you can look at is the traffic going into the site and it ends there.

    7) Diversify
    You will not have good days throughout the year for a merchant. Take for eg. I will tell you and I email my ppc aff. - we will experience a slowdown in Aug/Sept to Oct. If they want to go full speed at PPC, that is their call but I would not suggest it.
    Companies like Christmas tree deco does well in Q4.. I wonder why
    Depending on the season, you should plan accordingly and promote a merchant based on season.

    IMHO, I think the loan/credit card segment of aff marketing is highly competitive and I would pass. But that being said, I have seen a new loan company on here and if you want to try credit cards, checkout AMEX on Linkshare. Payout is 70-75 per approval.

    I would look at niche programs cos there will be less competition in there and you will be less likely to go head-to-head with the big PPC player with deep pockets.

    And before I get off my soap box at 2 am, checkout my program if you are interested. If that it not your taste, have fun and stick around.
    Last edited by FairFieldGetaway-EricEwe; November 9th, 2006 at 02:13 AM. Reason: < b > some text to make it easier to read

  3. #3
    Member zx88's Avatar
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    direct trademark bidding? why don't they let it?

  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    It's a given. Direct (landing on merchants page) or indirect (your own optimized page) PPCSE strategy requires careful evaluation of the landing page from the keyword shopper's viewpoint. Another pertinent question - "is this a stock item?" or a limited qty closeout as you never get paid on a OOS product.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  5. #5
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by zx88
    direct trademark bidding? why don't they let it?
    brand protection. brand association, etc

  6. #6
    Member Azam's Avatar
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    Eric's advice is spot on and I would agree with most of his points.

    I myself recently wrote a detailed article with 10 tips on finding the right affiliate program. Hope you find it useful and feel free to PM me if I can help

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    Another pertinent question - "is this a stock item?" or a limited qty closeout as you never get paid on a OOS product.
    This is an issue for nearly all affiliate programs. As an Amazon affiliate, I've learned that nearly all publishers phase out and replace all their editions every 2-3 years, even for "classic" books (like Twain and Dickens). That means that every year, about a third of my ISBN links no longer drop onto current product pages, but instead to a page that identifies the specified version as "out of print." Usually, there are links to the newer version, but sometimes Amazon can't seem to recognize the connection between different editions of the same book.

    Of course, that still doesn't resolve the "out of stock" problem, which occurs for nearly every reseller in the world. One way to avoid this is to look for products that don't "fall out of stock" -- for example, products that are either non-tangible (ebooks, downloadable music) or which are "produced on demand" (like customized t-shirts or [surprise] QuoteProducts' posters). These products may still be discontinued, but you won't lose sales just because the warehouse runs out of something.

  8. #8
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azam
    Eric's advice is spot on and I would agree with most of his points.

    I myself recently wrote a detailed article with 10 tips on finding the right affiliate program. Hope you find it useful and feel free to PM me if I can help
    Very good point Azam
    10. How well do they convert?
    I forgot to mention that.

  9. #9
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    Thanks guys. That advice will be a big help getting me started.

  10. #10
    Newbie The Mentor's Avatar
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    Setec when looking for an affiliate program to promote. My main things is the amount of affiliate support they offer to all their affiliates. Anybody can just sign up to a program, but if that program doesn't supply you with the fire power to promote their products and resources to do so it makes it a lot harder on you to make money selling their products!

  11. #11
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    Thanks. What kind of "firepower" do you want them to provide for you?

    Are you looking for datafeeds with product information, banners that convert well, or...?

    And if you're doing direct-to-merchant PPC, does that matter at all?
    Last edited by Setec; November 11th, 2006 at 02:07 PM.

  12. #12
    Newbie The Mentor's Avatar
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    The program I promote has tons of great offers to all its affiliates. They offer Free webdesign, content articles, SEO help, banners or graphics that you need made, Online support and reviews of your site to show you what needs to be changed or fixed. This is FIREPOWER! A program that gives you everything you need to succeed. Not very many or any others have I seen that give you all this. I don't have PM previlages yet so you can email me a anytime if you want to learn more! Thanks hopes this helps

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