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  1. #1
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    Publishers, What is the selling point to join a program?
    I am just curious to see what the selling point is for many of you that makes you either join and push a program, or decide it is not worth the effort.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    January 18th, 2005
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    To name a few and in no particular order: products, affiliate manager, commission %, market/competition, feed...

  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Pro: Good commission percentage is paramount. Then, anticipated market demand vs saturation, and anticipated ability to get the pages seen via SEO or PPC. And, I've got to figure that I can sell that type of item.

    If it's got the pros, then I make sure there aren't any disqualifiers. Outright disqualifiers include: Known crook program, bad AM (smart*ss, obstinately stupid, backstabbing, or bosslike [whether with one or more of these or other similarly bad traits]), if the product line/category is a known dud on my sites, or suspiciousness (in other words, it seems likely that they won't pay or will fiddle with the tracking, even if they haven't yet been around long enough to get a history of such).

    Other negatives include various commission-diverting tactics. Unlike others I don't necessarily have a single disqualifying factor here (it can sometimes be easy to get people to ignore a giant 800 number...other times a tiny leak link will siphon off all the sales), but there is a point where it gets to be too much and I just avoid the program or rip links.

    Also, a collection of individually-minor negatives can add up to a judgement that a program isn't worth the bother.

  4. #4
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    652
    Lots of factors:

    1) I look at the 3 month and 7 day EPCs and their corresponding charts to see if the merchant is a consistent performer and regularly pays out to affiliates (if they're listed as New that doesn't necessarily exclude them from my consideration, though);

    2) I check the website of the merchant and see if it's designed well and navigates correctly and easily. I go through a fake purchase procedure up to the point that I'm about to enter my personal information, to make sure that at least the initial shopping cart procedure works;

    3) I think to myself: Is there a demand for the product(s)? What's the likelihood that people will look for it online? Is it something that people will want to buy, or maybe just go to the site just to get more info about it?

    4) I search the Overture suggestions for keywords that have to do with the product(s) and see if it's high volume or barely looked for at all. I do mostly PPC so I then look to see how costly the pertinent keywords may be to bid on;

    5) I do a bit of research to find out if the merchant and their product or service is reputable, or has gotten a lot of bad press and bad reviews. Does their product line look well-made or crappy? How is their return policy and do they have any praise from customers or reviewers for how their customer service is?

    6) I look over their PPC bidding policy *carefully* to see if I can even promote them that way, and whether the PPC restrictions are workable or not for my particular affiliate biz model;

    7) I look for affiliate LEAKS! Is there a phone number displayed prominently on all pages of the site (or just the ordering page) so the customer could bypass ordering online and I'd then lose my commission?

    8) Sometimes I call up or email the merchant's affiliate manager if that contact info is available, to get a good feel for how to promote them, as well as if they will fit in well with my sites and my promotion methods;

    9) Big one for me: Is their product line or service one that has the potential for a lot of product returns/reversals? If so, I try to contact the AM by phone or email to confront them directly about what kind of reversal rate I can expect as a search engine marketing affiliate. Or I just stay out, if it seems too risky (I've been burned many times by high reversals);

    10) Do I believe in what they sell? Is it something that people will be able to use and will find value in? I keep to a personal ethic that probably excludes me from making a lot more money than I do, but I find this important. Some products (many eBooks and certain software packages especially) make me not just wary, but unwilling to promote them because most people can find the information they sell for free with just a few searches, or can get the same functionality with free software.

    11) If it's downloadable, does it involve any sort of adware or spyware? Is there anything "parasitic" about how it works? If so, I won't promote it.

    12) Is it on a respectable affiliate network like CJ, LS, or SAS, and if not does it look like its affiliate program is well put together?

    13) Is it a product that completely conflicts with my world view? This one can be tough, because I have VERY liberal views and some products are blatantly, uh... religious and/or right wing. But at the same time, they may still sell very well and there's no way I will change people's minds about buying them for whatever personal belief-based reason. On the other hand if they're clearly hateful, hurtful, or harmful for the environment, that makes the decision easy: I won't touch them.

    14) Has the merchant been mentioned in a positive light on ABW? Or panned by ABWers consistently?

    15) Does the merchant have a lot of competition, and does it look like they can do their products/services as well or better than the others?

    There's actually more that goes into my decisions, and I'll probably think of other things after I finish this post.

  5. #5
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Spacedog and Javi just about cover my approach
    [Actually, I just picked up some pointers from Spacedog ]
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  6. #6
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    First off, the product line must be something that I think I can sell, and priced competitively.

    That said, all that really matters is reliable tracking and reliable payment. Everything else is just fluff - the five-dollar activation bonuses and stupid contests belong in the schoolyard.

    edited to add: EPC figures are subjective and meaningless phantasms, unless the EPC is $0.00
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  7. #7
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    EPC doesn't influence me at all when I pick a product/product line/merchant program to promote. I care about how the products to sell fit with the websites I have (or plan to create) -- the site/product fit "ratio" is most important to me (although a number of affiliates have raised good points).

    Competitive pricing is important: or else why will online customers choose me if someone else has a reputation for the cutting edge prices?

    I pretty much ignore the activation "games" some AMs "play."

    I think EPC can be manipulated much like other statistics
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  8. #8
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    Thank you all for the detailed and descriptive information.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    March 13th, 2006
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    Thanks Space, Wires and all of you for listing your checklists and opinions. Good stuff for merchants and affiliates to keep in mind.
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  10. #10
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    As a follow up question, do you actively search out new programs, or do you prefer they find you? Also what is your preferred method of being contacted when a manager wants to ask you to join?

    1. E-mail through the network
    2. E-mail from your site
    3. Calling you if there is a phone number on your site
    4. Sending you a message, if it is specifically to you and not everyone on the site, like these forums?
    5. Other?

    I noticed webmasters are very particular in their ways (which is a good thing and account managers are very particular in our ways as well) and I just want to know what you all would prefer for the most part and what the most annoying way to be reached is. Thank you again for the info and advice.

  11. #11
    Member
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    The only way as an affiliate I want to be contacted by someone I don't know is via email, one time. I don't remember ever joining an affiliate program from a solicitation, I usually research and find my own. I have sold some advertising from that though.
    Last edited by WRYoung; November 14th, 2006 at 09:34 AM. Reason: spelling

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Here are my prereq's from most important to least:

    - Needs to fit my niche.
    - Needs a frequently updated datafeed.
    - Needs to have a decent to strong brand name.
    - Would be nice if they were part of CJ, LS, SAS or PF.
    - EPC should be decent.

    For those that qualify here are the primary factors that will disqualify a program:

    - Datafeed contains out of stock products.
    - Datafeed is missing UPC, brand or model information.
    - Datafeed has incorrect prices.
    - Datafeed is missing category information.
    - No 88x31 logo button.

    I really can't stress how important it is that the datafeed is accurate and doesn't contain out of stock products. It bugs me to no end when I see links that lead to the homepage or a page indicating the product is no longer available. There are many merchants who are notorious for this, even on ABW.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  13. #13
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    Lots of factors:

    1) I look at the 3 month and 7 day EPCs and their corresponding charts to see if the merchant is a consistent performer and regularly pays out to affiliates (if they're listed as New that doesn't necessarily exclude them from my consideration, though);

    2) I check the website of the merchant and see if it's designed well and navigates correctly and easily. I go through a fake purchase procedure up to the point that I'm about to enter my personal information, to make sure that at least the initial shopping cart procedure works;

    3) I think to myself: Is there a demand for the product(s)? What's the likelihood that people will look for it online? Is it something that people will want to buy, or maybe just go to the site just to get more info about it?

    4) I search the Overture suggestions for keywords that have to do with the product(s) and see if it's high volume or barely looked for at all. I do mostly PPC so I then look to see how costly the pertinent keywords may be to bid on;

    5) I do a bit of research to find out if the merchant and their product or service is reputable, or has gotten a lot of bad press and bad reviews. Does their product line look well-made or crappy? How is their return policy and do they have any praise from customers or reviewers for how their customer service is?

    6) I look over their PPC bidding policy *carefully* to see if I can even promote them that way, and whether the PPC restrictions are workable or not for my particular affiliate biz model;

    7) I look for affiliate LEAKS! Is there a phone number displayed prominently on all pages of the site (or just the ordering page) so the customer could bypass ordering online and I'd then lose my commission?

    8) Sometimes I call up or email the merchant's affiliate manager if that contact info is available, to get a good feel for how to promote them, as well as if they will fit in well with my sites and my promotion methods;

    9) Big one for me: Is their product line or service one that has the potential for a lot of product returns/reversals? If so, I try to contact the AM by phone or email to confront them directly about what kind of reversal rate I can expect as a search engine marketing affiliate. Or I just stay out, if it seems too risky (I've been burned many times by high reversals);

    10) Do I believe in what they sell? Is it something that people will be able to use and will find value in? I keep to a personal ethic that probably excludes me from making a lot more money than I do, but I find this important. Some products (many eBooks and certain software packages especially) make me not just wary, but unwilling to promote them because most people can find the information they sell for free with just a few searches, or can get the same functionality with free software.

    11) If it's downloadable, does it involve any sort of adware or spyware? Is there anything "parasitic" about how it works? If so, I won't promote it.

    12) Is it on a respectable affiliate network like CJ, LS, or SAS, and if not does it look like its affiliate program is well put together?

    13) Is it a product that completely conflicts with my world view? This one can be tough, because I have VERY liberal views and some products are blatantly, uh... religious and/or right wing. But at the same time, they may still sell very well and there's no way I will change people's minds about buying them for whatever personal belief-based reason. On the other hand if they're clearly hateful, hurtful, or harmful for the environment, that makes the decision easy: I won't touch them.

    14) Has the merchant been mentioned in a positive light on ABW? Or panned by ABWers consistently?

    15) Does the merchant have a lot of competition, and does it look like they can do their products/services as well or better than the others?

    There's actually more that goes into my decisions, and I'll probably think of other things after I finish this post.
    I second all the above and then throw in whether they provide a on-page showcase for some of their products. www.goldencan.com or the PSC http://psc.afftools.com/directory.html as I actually get involved with pre-selling and focusing clicks
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador
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    The above, and VERY high on my list is return days. Even a great percentage pays zero if sales are past the cookie length.

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