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  1. #1
    Newbie portrait's Avatar
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    Should I pay too much?
    Hello everyone!

    Our company started its Affiliate Program just recently. We had it listed/signed up in a network solution that doesn't require too much fee.

    I'm however curious if there's a difference between network solutions that require a lot of fee from those that aren't that taxing.

    Thanks.

    portrait

  2. #2
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    you either get what you pay for or pay for what you get.

    if you expect to acquire new affiliates, that is the main function of your company, and not necessarily that of the network. I would expect a network that charged you more might have access to more potential affiliates, but it is still your job to come up with a product or service worth selling plus some incentive for signups.

    it may be better to start with the inexpensive solution but be ready to trade up and use the experience you've gained. but if you don't see results in a reasonable time period you're going to have to move up.

    that's why we here tend to push Shareasale; not too expensive but trusted. you'll be able to do some recruiting via them, but it's still your job to make your deal look good.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herb ԿԬ
    I would expect a network that charged you more might have access to more potential affiliates
    By partnering with networks like CJ and Linkshare, you're going to get a certain amount of quality affiliates that will push your product. That is, affiliates in those networks tend to make more effort in joining programs and pushing those products. Cheaper networks might not give you as many quality affiliates without your having to do as much work in recruiting.

    That said, I personally can't afford to sign up with the big names, and am a situation not unlike yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Herb ԿԬ
    it is still your job to come up with a product or service worth selling plus some incentive for signups.
    I couldn't agree more. Regardless of what network you choose to use (I have no experience with ShareASale, so I can't help you there), you've got to get out and find good affiliates that will make you money. That can only be done if those affiliates think your program will make THEM money!

  4. #4
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    i would recommend using linkshare marketing a "product" and cj for "service" ..

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager rcampbell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbsturg
    By partnering with networks like CJ and Linkshare, you're going to get a certain amount of quality affiliates that will push your product. That is, affiliates in those networks tend to make more effort in joining programs and pushing those products. Cheaper networks might not give you as many quality affilates
    What does everyone think about more "quality" affiliates on the "bigger" networks?

    Reading through past threads and posting some myself I have got the idea that SAS is the best regardless of the investment and cost. This is my biggest question recently. As far as what network will give the most ROI?

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    My understanding comes from my own experiences as an affiliate and my conversations with associates who have worked as AM for various companies. To that end, I haven't heard much negative said about CJ, but I couldn't give you any idea about ROI.

    I have no experience as a merchant, and am equally interested in knowing how the more experienced would respond.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Shareasale, from an affiliate's perspective, is much better than CJ, because:

    1) they're smaller in size, and can provide personalized support
    2) their support is top-notch
    3) they have a wonderful list of merchants, which draws a lot of hard-working affiliates
    4) they actively try to keep their network clean of scum
    5) they keep updgrading their features for affiliates and merchants
    6) they listen...

    This is the opinion of someone who has only been with them for a little while. I guarantee others (with more experience) have even better things to say.

    CJ is a good network to some extent. However, they have constant reporting issues, lack of any decent customer care, and the whole LMI thing was a bit much for me. They just exude greed - which might be their downfall in the end.

    They do have a lot of merchants though, and they do pay on time. But that's about it.

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcampbell
    What does everyone think about more "quality" affiliates on the "bigger" networks?
    I'd expect the same percentage breakdown, but if the pool is bigger, that means that the "top 1%" slice is also bigger.

    ROI-wise...CJ charges a lot more than SAS, so you'd have to do the math to determine if their higher fee would negate the benefit of the (expected) higher number of affs who can actually sell something.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  9. #9
    Newbie portrait's Avatar
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    You have given me a lot of choices now guys. But currently we are already signed up in another ad network. It doesn't require that much of fee but I can say that most of the work especially in terms of finding potential affiliates are on us. This is what's taxing in the field of affiliate marketing.

    Personally I'm also an affiliate of most shoes merchants and I'm personally connected with CJ. Just like what most of you have said here, I can't say anything negative about this fabulous network.

    I'm thinking that since our program is still months old I'll just take Herb's advice. Work on my responsibilities as of now and then if something is still lacking and there's a chance to move up, we would just move on to another network.

    I just want to know though, if we're currently enrolled in a not-so famous network like CJ or Linkshare or Shareasale, what's the best thing to make the most of what we have so far?

    portrait

  10. #10
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    step 1. click
    step 2. enter clixgalore
    step 3. read
    step 4. sign up with shareasale
    step 5. make money with a real tracking solution
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  11. #11
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko de Poel, Jr.
    step 1. click
    step 2. enter clixgalore
    step 3. read
    step 4. sign up with shareasale
    step 5. make money with a real tracking solution

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko de Poel, Jr.
    step 4. sign up with shareasale
    step 5. make money with a real tracking solution

  13. #13
    Newbie portrait's Avatar
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    Ohoo! It seems that you guys are advocates of this famous shareasale....Now I'm torn between two lovers -- to follow you expert people or to follow my big boss...

    I guess I'm in need of more research this time. I got to look for any convincing and strong testimonial about shareasale for me to show to my boss so he could decide right away.

    portrait

  14. #14
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Regardless of which solution you choose (I recommend Shareasale) you need to give affiliates a reason to join. Take the time to create an affiliate account with the top 4 networks Commission Junction, LinkShare, Performics, Shareasale. Then do a competitive analysis of your competing programs taking note of their offers, terms and conversion statistics. If after you have done your homework you do not have at least a 50% better offer (including conversion numbers) you need to re-evaluate launching a program. In my opinion 99% of programs fail because they are not unique nor competitive enough to make the cut. If that is the case then you can spend 6 months coming to the conclusion that your program will not break even. If you are running on a rev share it will be 3 months.

  15. #15
    Newbie portrait's Avatar
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    Wait, is OK to signup in more than one network solution?

    I was thinking that since we are already signed up in one network I just have to make the most out of it. Focus on our promos, affiliate links, and others.

    portrait

  16. #16
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Create an affiliate account, you can sign up to every network if you like.

  17. #17
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    'portrait' wrote: > "Wait, is OK to signup in more than one network solution? I was thinking that since we are already signed up in one network I just have to make the most out of it. Focus on our promos, affiliate links, and others. " <

    When doing your competitive research, you should sign up as an affiliate with as many "networks" as you can -- to identify your competitors and to see what terms are offered by other merchants.

    When actually launching your own program as a merchant, you have the option of offering your affiliate program through more than one "network" or affiliate-technology solution (unless you sign an "exclusive" contract). Some merchants will elect to offer their affiliate program through two or more "technology providers," or to offer a program through a "network" but also a direct "in-house" affiliate program.

    Usually, it makes sense to start with just one affiliate program option, even if you expect to offer additional choices later. For example, when we launched the affiliate program for QuoteProducts.com, we decided to offer our program through ShareASale exclusively, but with the expectation that we would add a "direct" affiliate program in the next 6 months or so, and we reserved the option to add another "network" if we believe it will attract more affiliates or better relationships with existing affiliates. (We expect to add a "direct" affiliate program option by mid-year -- this will allow us to pay a slightly higher commission directly to the affiliate, but "small or new" affiliates will almost certainly prefer the ShareASale option, which provides consolidated payment.)

    Many affiliates "prefer" a specific "network," although many affiliates participate in multiple programs. (Some types of affiliates, including coupon sites and price-comparison sites, strive to participate in as many different affiliate programs as possible, certainly joining all the "major" networks.)

    Personally, in my private role as an affiliate, I simply refuse to do business with LinkShare or Commission Junction, and so if you choose one of those options exclusively, you won't get any traffic from my personal web sites. You're most likely to get my attention (as a prospective affiliate) if your program is offered through ShareASale or MyAP/Kowabunga, and quite frankly I don't think I've joined any new programs during 2006 that didn't use one of those two solutions.

    However, there are other affiliates who have opposite views: some affiliates work exclusively or primarily with CJ, or with Linkshare, or with ShareResults, or ClickBank, or someone else.

    I'm not aware of any affiliates who simply refuse to do business with ShareASale because of some objection or concern about ShareASale, other than affiliates who join "only CJ" or "only LinkShare" programs. (I'd like to hear from anyone who has a specific reason to refuse to work with ShareASale.)

  18. #18
    Affiliate Manager rcampbell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    Usually, it makes sense to start with just one affiliate program option, even if you expect to offer additional choices later. For example, when we launched the affiliate program for QuoteProducts.com, we decided to offer our program through ShareASale exclusively, but with the expectation that we would add a "direct" affiliate program in the next 6 months or so, and we reserved the option to add another "network" if we believe it will attract more affiliates or better relationships with existing affiliates. (We expect to add a "direct" affiliate program option by mid-year -- this will allow us to pay a slightly higher commission directly to the affiliate, but "small or new" affiliates will almost certainly prefer the ShareASale option, which provides consolidated payment.)
    Good post I am still a newbie relatively speaking but the research I have done leads me to this conclusion. Start with one platform and a network is suggested if you are "new" to affiliate marketing.

    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    Many affiliates "prefer" a specific "network," although many affiliates participate in multiple programs. (Some types of affiliates, including coupon sites and price-comparison sites, strive to participate in as many different affiliate programs as possible, certainly joining all the "major" networks.)
    also true in my limited experience. It all seems personal preference with network preference for affiliates. But a very popular one with the abestweb community is SAS.
    Last edited by rcampbell; January 30th, 2007 at 12:54 PM. Reason: incorrect quote

  19. #19
    Newbie portrait's Avatar
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    I'm learning a lot, Mark. Thank you so much for taking some time in sharing your ideas here to me.

    I was just wondering when you said that you refused to do business with CJ when most people really love it. Care to tell me why? I'm also an affiliate of some trusted merchants in the shopping category and I'm currently connected with CJ. What's wrong with CJ? You got me worried now...

    I have nothing against ShareASale. I've heard a lot of good testimonials about it from famous people in Affiliate Marketing. Now, I'm currently working on how to get connected with it as an affiliate. As a merchant we are currently signed up with another network.

    By the way, what's the best measure that would determine if the network is working well for a certain affiliate program?

    portrait

  20. #20
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by portrait
    ...what's the best measure that would determine if the network is working well for a certain affiliate program?
    I find this question worth a thread of its own. So I've just started on here. Good one, portrait. I am looking forward to merchants, AMs, and OPMs responding to it as much as you do.

    Geno

  21. #21
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    Why I don't like CJ Commission Junction or LS LinkShare
    'portrait' wrote: > "I was just wondering when you said that you refused to do business with CJ when most people really love it. Care to tell me why? * * * What's wrong with CJ? You got me worried now..." <

    I hardly know where to begin -- over the past few years, I think I've listed quite a few reasons in many different posts throughout ABW -- and I generally don't bother to echo other people's posts that I agree with, so there are a lot of reasons posted by others on ABW that I would agree with, even though I didn't say so. (There are also some posts on ABW criticizing CJ that I don't agree with.)

    I also have a number of very serious reasons to dislike CJ which I can't share publicly because they are based on confidential information from consulting clients.

    But I can identify three key issues:

    (1) Support or customer service for affiliates is essentially non-existent. (In those rare situations when CJ does respond, the response is usually long-delayed and rarely answers the question asked.)

    (2) Datafeeds are not made available to affiliates unless they pay extra fees, which are unreasonable (when I last checked, the fee was $200 to access no more than five merchants' datafeeds). Only a very small subset of "super-affiliates" are given datafeed access for free. In 2006-2007, an affiliate network that doesn't allow its affiliates to easily access datafeeds might as well not exist.

    (3) From the merchant perspective, I also think the fees that CJ charges are excessive, especially considering the alternatives available (this isn't a reason to exclude CJ from consideration, but once my clients run the numbers, they often find it an easier basis for a decision).

    These same three issues also apply to LinkShare, "only more so." LinkShare's customer service is even worse, LinkShare's fee for affiliate access to datafeeds is higher, and LinkShare merchant fees are much higher.

    Some of my past comments about CJ (in no particular order):
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...758#post452758
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...439#post460439
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...542#post467542
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...086#post655086
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...297#post649297
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=83531
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...563#post645563
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...801#post638801
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...686#post636686
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...409#post634409
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...287#post630287
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...185#post627185
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...41&postcount=7
    Last edited by markwelch; January 31st, 2007 at 10:34 AM.

  22. #22
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    Fair warning about launching your program under multiple providers:

    Be carefule you don't get double or tripple dipped on the commission.

  23. #23
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    If you run on multiple networks you need to have the technology in place to handle it. The best solution is to place the tracking pixel once based on the referring URL. Running 2-3 pixels on a thank you page is a formula for catastrope.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BG4512
    Fair warning about launching your program under multiple providers:

    Be carefule you don't get double or tripple dipped on the commission.
    Also realize that some networks are restrictive about you joining other networks once you are with them. Some are restrictive in other ways.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  25. #25
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    (2) Datafeeds are not made available to affiliates unless they pay extra fees, which are unreasonable (when I last checked, the fee was $200 to access no more than five merchants' datafeeds). Only a very small subset of "super-affiliates" are given datafeed access for free. In 2006-2007, an affiliate network that doesn't allow its affiliates to easily access datafeeds might as well not exist.


    Why pay for a datafeed that is going to be used to promote your program?
    ...

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