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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager rcampbell's Avatar
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    Shareasale vs linkshare
    I have posted a few times here and the feedback and info has been great. I am still a newbie to this world. We recently launched an affiliate program through shareasale. Originally we were going to go with LS but with how late we were in 06 we decided the investment was too high. SAS has been a cheap option comparitively to LS. What would be the benefits of going with LS instead of SAS? Greater networking possiblities? We have always viewed LS as the "big boys" in the affiliate world. Any assistance is much appreciated.

  2. #2
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Good thread. Looking forward to affiliate feedback.


  3. #3
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    rcampbell - Greater networking possiblities? We have always viewed LS as the "big boys" in the affiliate world. Any assistance is much appreciated.
    Big Boys, big boys for what? Maybe, PR.
    You'll find all the super affiliates from LinkShare at ShareaSale, less the parasites. So, what do you need? If you want to sell your products, go with SaS, to party in NY...

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    If use the search feature here at ABW you will see this question asked (and answered) many times. Each network has its positive atributes but I think you will clearly see less negatives (heck, hardly any) about SAS from both merchants and affiliates. And, frankly, where else are you going to find a network that gives you the personal attention that SAS does?

    Another thing to consider, is affilaites do NOT like switching networks if they just put up your links. Makes them grumpy, especially here on the forums. Not sure you want that kind of publicity with a new program.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  5. #5
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcampbell
    I have posted a few times here and the feedback and info has been great. I am still a newbie to this world. We recently launched an affiliate program through shareasale. Originally we were going to go with LS but with how late we were in 06 we decided the investment was too high. SAS has been a cheap option comparitively to LS. What would be the benefits of going with LS instead of SAS? Greater networking possiblities? We have always viewed LS as the "big boys" in the affiliate world. Any assistance is much appreciated.
    Ultimately it depends on what you want to do with your program. LS has a great toolset, but they tend to be more along the line of "gadgets" and less along the line of things essential to improving your program. SAS has an incredible internal team, a loyal group of affiliates and is still the only network out there that actively helps keep your program parasite free. Of course there are other factors including price, saturation within your vertical, amount of support you need/want; but all things being even I would choose SAS more often than not and that's coming from a LS merchant.
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  6. #6
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    "And, frankly, where else are you going to find a network that gives you the personal attention that SAS does?"

    Avantlink, Affiliate Future. They're here participating, check their forums.

    "SAS has an incredible internal team, a loyal group of affiliates and is still the only network out there that actively helps keep your program parasite free."

    Again Avantlink and they also have this requirement for merchants that others don't:

    "Programs using known parasites in other networks."

    There's not only 1 clean network out there and that's good for affiliates and merchants who want to be clean.

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager rcampbell's Avatar
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    great info everybody thanks. I guess the biggest question I have left is would LS give us greater access to "super" affiliates? Thereby bigger commisions and mores sales through the affiliate channel?

  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcampbell
    great info everybody thanks. I guess the biggest question I have left is would LS give us greater access to "super" affiliates? Thereby bigger commisions and mores sales through the affiliate channel?
    LS will give you greater access to "corporate" affiliates which is not necessarily the same thing.
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager rcampbell's Avatar
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    so in response to "corp" affiliates. Would that mean potentially greater sales through our affiliate channel?

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager rcampbell's Avatar
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    In response to Zeus' question about "big boys". It seems like LS has all the big name merchants to network with.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    And regardless of any network or independent affilaite program you set up, if you are not out their working with affiliates every day, growing your program and adjusting as needed, it probably won't matter who you go with in the long run.

    Too many merchants think the network itself will make all the difference when in fact it is just part of the forumla.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcampbell
    In response to Zeus' question about "big boys". It seems like LS has all the big name merchants to network with.
    You are not networking with the other merchants. You want to stand out above them and provide a program that affiliates want to join and promote.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager rcampbell's Avatar
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    I know what you mean about the network. I tend to agree with you 7 days that this is just part of the formula of a successful program. Let me explain a little more of what I mean. If all the big name merchants are on LS then that will typically attract super affiliates. This is my logic, but this is what I am trying to determine if that is accurate.

    also a real newbie question. What are parasites?

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcampbell
    also a real newbie question. What are parasites?
    Parasites are, in the shortest term, someone or some program that steals the commissions from the affilaites and sometimes from the merchant.

    You reasoning is a bit off on the big merchants. Just because a network has big merchants does not mean the super affiliates are using them. Heck, that merchant may be diluted with affiliates trying to market their program. In some cases, not all, super affilaites find a niche market and a smaller merchant that is less advertised where they do their super affilaite work. Too many variables to give you any kind of clear answer. And it is different from affiliate to affiliate.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager rcampbell's Avatar
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    thanks 7 days good info. I am really favoring SAS. It seems affiliates love SAS and I have enjoyed their interface and tools so far. Also a big factor is the cost is way lower with SAS.

  16. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7-days
    And regardless of any network or independent affilaite program you set up, if you are not out their working with affiliates every day, growing your program and adjusting as needed, it probably won't matter who you go with in the long run.

    Too many merchants think the network itself will make all the difference when in fact it is just part of the forumla.
    Ron's right, sales do not happen by association. Affiliates, small, medium, super or corporate will not work with you unless you spend time on growing the program. This is not MLM. Just like you real affiliates are running a real business, they will base their decision to work with you based on your conversion, your offer, your product, your responsiveness and ROI. You can't simply turn on your program on some network and see your campaign running on their sites the next day. If you leave your program on autopilot, it will fail regardless of the network and regardless of whether or not a "super" affiliate registers for your program.
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  17. #17
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    ShareASale is super delicious in so many ways! By far, my favorite place to do business! I also agree with TrustNo1 in that AvantLink exhibits the same attributes in a network that I think are ideal for me. I'm just about to get started with my heavy promotion of Avantlink merchants really, have been busy with Q4 stuff - toyed around with them in some small ways, did my checks of them, played with their interface, asked for some support... the feeling out phase... I'm not a very trusting person at the start (understatement!). I expect that these two, SAS and AvantLink, will be my biggest gainers in 2007.

    LinkShare, same for CJ... I beg prospective merchants to move someplace untainted by supercilious greed... I'm not in business to be taken advantage of and to be treated as if my cash 9earned comms) and my links belong to the network.

    The tide is turning on large networks who abuse the privilege of enabling and facilitating sales through our community's efforts and beyond.

  18. #18
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    The consensus here seems quite clear, and I'll go further: I can no longer identify any reason to use either Commission Junction or LinkShare to launch a new affiliate program, period.

    As others have said, the "affiliate networks" or solution providers will NOT make your program succeed, but some of them seem to work hard to make your program fail. It is your affiliate manager's effort (whether the position is held in-house or is served by an outsourced program manager) that will determine whether a program can succeed.

    As a consultant over the past 10 years (wow, it's really been that long now), I've worked with clients who've used BeFree, LinkShare, and Commission Junction, as well as clients who've used their own "in-house" affiliate solution. Of these, BeFree consistently received the best feedback, though there were times when CJ or LinkShare seemed to have "the advantage." CJ has acquired and destroyed BeFree, and both CJ and LS seem to have worked hard to create new costs, obstacles, and annoyances in place to discourage both merchants and affiliates from creating and maintaining successful affiliate relationships.

    As an affiliate for more than 10 years, I've earned more money through CJ than through BeFree or LinkShare, but ultimately most of my affiliate earnings have consistently come through "in-house" programs (including merchants who use the MyAP/Kowabunga software/services). During 2006, my payouts through ShareASale have passed any other network, but that's partly because I've ended all relationships with LinkShare merchants, and I now retain links to only one merchant through CJ.

    Bottom line: I cannot identify any reason why any merchant launching a new program (or moving an existing program), should seriously consider LinkShare or Commission Junction.

    Quite frankly, given the number of ABW discussion threads that reach this same conclusion, I'd actually like to see a discussion thread that focuses on any reasons why merchants MIGHT reasonably consider using either LinkShare or Commission Junction. Not a discussion thread devoted to "bashing" or "mocking" those reasons, just a thread identifying the issues that might lead someone to choose CJ or LS. It might be refreshing to hear why merchants actually choose those solutions, and to hear whether any merchants are so satisfied that they'd give a positive endorsement to either company.

  19. #19
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    Well, Angel running the OnlineShoes program and that's at Linkshare and it looks to be successful:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=83173

    In the end the networks all have their pros and cons and usually it's the Affiliate Manager/Team behind the program that makes it a success or bust. And for the most part, affiliates will partner with merchants they feel they can make money with regardless of what network they're on. You can do a poll to test that out if you want.

    As far as why merchants choose LS or CJ. There have been merchants here that have posted (parasite free merchants too) that they get more sales thru the major networks when having dual programs because the bigger networks usually have more affiliates.

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=73837

  20. #20
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    We indeed have been successful with our program on LinkShare. I think that there are compeling business reasons to choose LinkShare or CJ and obviously there are success stories with both of those networks.

    I think the key word in this thread is new, would I launch a new program with LinkShare or CJ? Unless it was already tied to a major brand like Overstock's new car site, probably not. Why? Because as a merchant not only do parasites affect your true ROAS but they also impact your dialogue with affiliates. A new program is going to be eager to bring on new affiliate relationships and really the last thing I would want as an AM is another hurdle to over come when attempting to develop a dialogue with affiliates.

    In my mind having to overcome those problems outways the advantages that networks other than SAS (and apparently AvantLink ) offer.
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  21. #21
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    "Because as a merchant not only do parasites affect your true ROAS but they also impact your dialogue with affiliates."

    As far as that, it's easier on networks like SAS or Avantlink since they don't let parasitic affiliates in. But ultimately it's up to the merchants who they let in. You're at Linkshare and are parasite free. There are other merchants at Linkshare, CJ etc that are parasite free too. Also, there are plenty of other things out there besides parasites that separate the networks and why merchants or affiliates favor one over another.
    Last edited by Trust; December 28th, 2006 at 07:31 PM.

  22. #22
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    RC, I think you may have noticed that, all things being even, a high level of merchant commitment to the channel and to your affiliate partners is necessary in order to succeed. Companies like SAS are not simply "cheap" alternatives, as you put it to LS and CJ, rather they provide viable business options that to many around ABW make a lot of sense.

    On a side note, Trust, I do need to say thank you for noticing It feels good to be on this side of the conversation.
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager rcampbell's Avatar
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    yeah I agree. I just want the best tool for myself and for affiliates. It seems SAS is the best fit. The fees seem a lot more reasonable and justified compared to LS.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onlineshoes MGR
    LS will give you greater access to "corporate" affiliates which is not necessarily the same thing.
    I can attest to that cos LS is big with big corp and they are more likely to join your program due to that.

    Not kicking SAS or other programs like Avant, etc which I believe that they are making a lot of traction in the market.

    It depends on what are you looking for and doing some homework to forecast your ROI

  25. #25
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    Well id choose ShareaSale for sure. Nice income from it

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