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  1. #1
    CPA Network Rep Kymbrla's Avatar
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    Hello there,

    I am with HydraMedia and new to this forum....we are a cost-per-acquisition affiliate network. We are a great option as well. It's interesting that I've only seen a few options presented in this forum overall when there are a lot of different affiliate networks out there.....

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kymbrla
    Hello there,

    I am with HydraMedia and new to this forum....we are a cost-per-acquisition affiliate network. We are a great option as well. It's interesting that I've only seen a few options presented in this forum overall when there are a lot of different affiliate networks out there.....
    Not to derail this discussion into a pro/con CPA network discussion, but your network is a totally different business model than CJ, LS or Shareasale. You should read up on what the differences are and do some reading on the opinions here about CPA networks, then start a discussion in a different thread if you have questions.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  3. #3
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    Kymbrla wrote: "I am with HydraMedia and new to this forum....we are a cost-per-acquisition affiliate network. * * * It's interesting that I've only seen a few options presented in this forum overall when there are a lot of different affiliate networks out there."

    I think it's a clear signal that those "other" networks are not as well-respected by the group of affiliates who participate here on ABestWeb. It might be interesting to launch a new thread asking affiliates to identify which "affiliate networks" they currently work with and get paid by (or through).

    And of course, a "cost-per-action" or lead-based solution provider like HydraMedia provides a quite different solution, mostly for a different group of clients, than the "commission-on-sales" affiliate solution providers.

  4. #4
    CPA Network Rep Kymbrla's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback - I am well aware of the differences in the networks (CJ vs Linkshare vs Share a Sale vs CPA Networks)...I just think its intersesting that a lot of merchants only consider those first three when making a decision on a network to use. As far as "reputations" about "other networks" I think that a few bad seeds have placed an overall assumption that all CPA networksare bad.

    First to clarify a couple things.

    We are an affiliate network. Commission Junction is an affiliate network. Linkshare is an affiliate network. We all connect advertisers with affiliates.

    Things that make us different from each other:
    -How we charge advertisers and pay affiliates.
    -Our affiliate "types" (email affiliates, banner affiliates, incentivized, search, etc).
    -Our tracking technology.
    -Our management of affiliates.
    -The number of affiliates we have.
    -Our offers and our payouts.

    We offer merchants the same possibility that Commission Junction, Share A Sale, Linkshare, etc provide and we offer various ways for the advertiser to pay us:
    -percentage of sale (only the first sale)
    -fixed rate per sale (only the first sale)
    -fixed rate per lead (if no sale takes place)

    I don't agree that we provide a different solution to advertisers. We provide the same solution that the other networks provide. Sales through affiliates. We just offer a variety of ways for the advertiser to pay for those sales.

  5. #5
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    As a merchant, I don't get to choose my affiliate partners in a CPA network. That is one MAJOR difference.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    CPA Network Rep Kymbrla's Avatar
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    That is a good point. You do not get to select the specific affiliates who run your offer. To circumvent we offer this:

    1. You can eliminate the "type" of affiliate. You can say "no email affiliates" or "no search" or "search is ok, but they can't bid on my trademarked names" etc.

    2. We assign an affiliate id or number to each affiliate. Through our pixel tracking, we pass that id to the merchant for each sale or lead. Then, if the merchant/advertiser see's anything going wrong with leads or a high amount of "canceled" orders, they can see the affiliate ID associated with that sale and then let us know that "affiliate id 444" is doing something weird, please have them stop promoting me. We then have that affiliate stop running the offer in under 24 hours.

    3. We have specific rules for allowing affiliates into our network. If they do not comply with those rules, we freeze them out.

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    I want to pre authorize my affiliates, not find them later and boot them.

    Also, the suite of services you are able to offer is limited. CPA networks do not have feeds per merchant, they do not have page creators or easy link creators. The tools available to affiliates are limited by the software you are using to run the network. The network is geared to "offers" and not to "merchants".

    You really cannot compare CPA networks to the way Linkshare, Commission Junction, Performics and Shareasale handle affiliates and merchants. It is a different mindset and a different business model. CPA networks can't be full service affiliate networks based on the current software and management practices. It is like a CPA is a subset of a full service network.
    Deborah Carney
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  8. #8
    CPA Network Rep Kymbrla's Avatar
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    You bring up a few items here.

    "CPA networks do not have feeds per merchant, they do not have page creators or easy link creators." This is true. However we do not used a packaged software program (DirectTrack). We designed our own system and it is quite sharp.

    "The network is geared to "offers" and not to "merchants". Our network is geared to setting up various offers for each merchant. The two are not completely separate. We work with merchants to design a custom "offer" that will generate sales for them in our network.

    "You really cannot compare CPA networks to the way Linkshare, Commission Junction, Performics and Shareasale handle affiliates and merchants. It is a different mindset and a different business model." We are similar in many ways, we are also very different. We offer another way for a merchant to get sales online through a "pay for performance" model.

    "CPA networks can't be full service affiliate networks based on the current software and management practices." Perhaps you can break-down "full service" as you present in a vague manner. Full service to you may not be full service to another person.

    At the end of the day, I'm not saying we are the ideal solution for every merchant, but we should definitely be considered as an option in addition to those networks.

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    Do you have product links?

  10. #10
    CPA Network Rep Kymbrla's Avatar
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    What do you mean?

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    ? If there is a merchant on your network and I signed up with them as an affiliate. Can I get product links thru your network for the merchant?

  12. #12
    CPA Network Rep Kymbrla's Avatar
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    If our merchant will provide us with those tracking links (they are the ones who generate the links for affiliates) then we can provide product links for the affiliate who requested it.

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    I am not totally anti-CPA networks, but you asked why you are not the first choice for retail merchants and I am giving you some of the reasons. As an adjunct, for some merchants you are a good "add-on", however all the major networks also offer the ability to market the same way you do, so if a merchant needs a full suite of tools and services, why would they look at your network instead?

    I worked for a CPA network, I consult for CPA networks, I think CPA networks have their place in the overall marketing plan for some merchants, and not for others. Your original post made it sound like you thought you could play in the same playing field as LA, CJ, PF and SAS. You are different and as you said yourself, limited by the features of your software.
    Deborah Carney
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kymbrla
    If our merchant will provide us with those tracking links (they are the ones who generate the links for affiliates) then we can provide product links for the affiliate who requested it.
    The other networks have the ability, if the merchant has a product feed loaded to their systems, to allow the affiliate to create links without having to wait for someone to physically generate them.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

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    Well, like Loxly pointed out about feeds. To me you're a CPA network and not like a traditional affiliate network that has these kind of things for affiliates. If there was someone who dealt with mainly lead type offers, I would direct them to a CPA network. If it was somebody who dealt mainly with digital download products, I would direct them to a place like Clickbank. If it was an actual merchant who sold stuff, I would direct them to an affiliate network if that's what they wanted. I don't think your competition is LS, CJ, Performics, Avantlink, SAS etc. It's CPA Empire, AzoogleAds etc.

  16. #16
    CPA Network Rep Kymbrla's Avatar
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    We are not limited by the features of our software. I don't recall saying that.

    As far as "volume" goes....we are in the same "playing field" as CJ, PF, SAS. We provide more sales for our merchants than most of their campaigns with the aforementioned. We just do it in a slightly different manner. We are more than a simple add on, however.

    I don't think you have really seen the power of a successful campaign in a network like ours.

  17. #17
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    FYI, I have worked with Hydra Media in the past and had a positive experience. As noted, the "CPA Network" model is quite different from the regular affiliate model, and in certain spaces (especially industries with "compliance" issues, such as lenders) the regular affiliate model is simply not workable.

    A classic example is my former profession -- as an attorney, I was prohibited from paying a "referral fee" to any non-attorney who refers me a new client. This restriction is intended to prevent attorneys from using "runners" and "cappers" ("ambulance chasers") who would solicit people in hospital rooms or in their homes. Any entity engaged in the business of referring people to attorneys in California must comply with a specific set of laws and regulations.

    A short list of spaces where there seems to be a consensus that payments cannot be contingent on the closing of a transaction: home mortgage, auto loans, credit cards, debt consolidation, attorneys.

    At one point, I was told that there are laws or regulations that prohibit payment of referral fees for purchases of ion medication, at least where payment for the medication may be made by Medicare.

    To succeed in one of these regulated spaces, the entire model must be changed to a "lead" system, in which affiliates are paid for the completion of a valid "lead" -- whether or not the applicant qualifies for or completes the transaction. Alas, this invites fraud (affiliates who use a phone book to enter other people's data), so these systems have some form of validity-checking and reversal process. Many legitimate affiliates find this unacceptable, and often believe that valid leads are being reversed. In general, the CPA network will terminate (or reduce per-lead amounts) for those affiliates whose leads have a sub-par conversion ratio.

    "Pay-per-lead" is also an effective model in industries where the affiliate referral must be followed up with an intensive "sales education" process. The classic example here are "car buyer" leads where the salesperson needs to do a lot of work to close the sale (or to kill the deal, as so often occurs).

    "Pay-per-lead" is also appropriate where there is no effective way to trace the transaction from lead through sale -- that is, there is some disconnect point, and again the "car dealer" is a classic example since many salespeople don't want to share credit for the closed sale, or simply don't bother to properly enter the tracking data.

    As a publisher, "pay-per-lead" is generally a better model, in theory, because it is one step closer to the measure that publishers ought to be using (revenue per pageview or per 1,000 pageviews). The hierarchy, as I see it, is:

    (1) CPM or pay-per-impression (pageview/adview)
    (2) Pay-Per-Click
    (3) Pay-Per-Click-Plus (requires some post-click action but not a lead)
    (4) Pay-Per-Lead with minimal data (e.g. email address only)
    (5) Pay-Per-Lead with intermediate data (name/address/phone/email)
    (6) Pay-Per-Lead with extensive or intrusive data (multiple additional data fields or requests for SSN or other private info)
    (7) Pay-Per-Transaction (pay-per-sale) - "traditional" affiliate model

    Because the response rates drop with each step in the hierarchy, publishers demand more money per acceptable response. However, because each step in the hierarchy puts the customer closer to completing a transaction, advertisers can afford to pay more per lead.

    Note that there is an elaborate "back end" transaction system in these lead spaces -- companies like HydraMedia collect leads for companies who do nothing but resell them to other companies, sometimes even selling the same lead to multiple companies. There is even a sort of "bidding system" for some lead categories; the value of a lead often depends on the zip code or some other factor.

    As folks have noted, most of the "affiliate solution providers" allow for payment based on leads or some other action apart from the sale, and some allow for "hybrids" (such as a tiny payment per click plus a commission per sale). However, they generally don't take on the role of managing campaigns or marketing your offers to affiliates directly -- something that Hydra does pretty well.

    Alas, as noted, many CPA networks are much less scrupulous about "internet etiquette" and (as Michael notes in a post below), allow unethical email marketing so long as it meets the requirements of CAN-SPAM, and also allow a variety of other marketing tactics viewed as unscrupulous, dubious, or suspicious to many consumers and to many traditional affiliate managers. In short, there is a perception that "if it's not proven to be illegal, it's okay," at many CPA-offer companies.

    In addition, because there is no direct relationship between the merchant and the affiliate, there is a "disconnect" that will slow down compliance -- for example, if an affiliate is making improper claims about the product or offer, it may take more time to get the affiliate to stop (but of course it might be quicker too, if the affiliate wants to continue a relationship with the CPA network).
    Last edited by markwelch; January 9th, 2007 at 02:47 PM.

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    "We just do it in a slightly different manner."

    Exactly. So as an affiliate, I would want a merchant to be on an affiliate network, rather than a CPA network. That doesn't mean the merchant can't run some offers on a CPA network. But you are considered more of a CPA network. But if a merchant were to only choose one, they should go with an affiliate network, since they can also handle lead type stuff.

  19. #19
    CPA Network Rep Kymbrla's Avatar
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    As I just mentioned, my point is that we all generate sales from affiliates. Limiting yourself to just those three or four networks really limits your reach across the overall world of humans accessing email, search, banner sites, etc.

  20. #20
    CPA Network Rep Kymbrla's Avatar
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    "But if a merchant were to only choose one, they should go with an affiliate network, since they can also handle lead type stuff."

    I disagree. We can handle merchants. We have over 300 merchants advertising with us. Over the past holiday season, we sold out many of our merchants inventory.

  21. #21
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    I have two main issues with CPA Networks:

    1) Value to the merchant. I have talked to several merchants who tried running on CPA Networks. One of those merchants offered a high-commission recurring type plan where customers received monthly product shipments. Over 1000 orders were generated by affiliates of the CPA Network. Then he started getting cancellations and chargebacks. Customers started calling, asking where their laptop, $500 gift card, etc. was. It was a financial and customer support nightmare that almost put the company out of business.

    2) The caviler attitude that CPA Networks have about spamming. As long as the spam complies with the CAN-SPAM law, it seems that most CPA Networks could care less. I get frequent emails from Hydra Media with huge lists of "complainers" to remove, sometimes making fun of the email addresses. The spam victims are treated with no respect.

    So, let me ask this. If a merchant signed up with a CPA Network and asked that affiliates not be allowed to promote them via email, software applications, incentivize leads, or trademark bidding, what's left?
    Michael Coley
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kymbrla
    "But if a merchant were to only choose one, they should go with an affiliate network, since they can also handle lead type stuff."

    I disagree. We can handle merchants. We have over 300 merchants advertising with us. Over the past holiday season, we sold out many of our merchants inventory.
    Well, I expect you to disagree, you work for the company I'm an affiliate not tied to anybody. Good merchants like to choose who they let into their program. Affiliate networks have things like feeds, that's been mentioned that affiliates like. If you want to compete with a traditional network, then you should become one.

  23. #23
    CPA Network Rep Kymbrla's Avatar
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    "So, let me ask this. If a merchant signed up with a CPA Network and asked that affiliates not be allowed to promote them via email, software applications, incentivize leads, or trademark bidding, what's left?"

    We have tons of banner affiliates. Also, we have many search affiliates that can generate sales using non trademarked terms.

    Regarding spam, we take it very seriously.

  24. #24
    CPA Network Rep Kymbrla's Avatar
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    My point is not to compete with the other networks such as CJ and Linkshare...I just want to spread more knowledge and open up discussions about the subject....and perhaps enlighten more advertisers as to how we operate and get rid of myths and assumptions that people have because of a few bad experiences. The world of affiliate marketing is evolving every day and we are always trying to improve our relations with merchants and affiliates.

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    The spammy sites that show on site advisor are also listed on your home page.

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