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  1. #1
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    New Trend - Keeping Just the Top Performing Affiliates
    From the posts on ABW, and the emails merchants are sending me, I think this year merchants are determined to widdle down their affiliate base to just their top producers.

    This topic has come up before, but in drips and drabs. I'm definately noticing that it's been upgraded to a "trend" - the fashionable thing to do.

    Not to pick on SolutionsCatalog, other then they were all over all my sites - and it was a lot of work to remove them, I think their email below sums up what we're in for in 2007:

    Dear Valued Affiliate,

    Thank you for your support of the Solutions affiliate program.

    Please note this important change to the Solutions affiliate program that will go into effect January 15, 2007:

    All publishers, other than the top 40, will be deactivated
    Your site was, unfortunately, not in Solutions' list of top 40 publishers and will be deactivated January 15, 2007. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Thank you,
    Hopefully, we can discuss this issue, and come up with some... er... "Solutions"

  2. #2
    Internet Cowboy
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    I have merchants I made a dozen sales with last year and I have merchants I made thousands and thousands of sales with during the same time. How idiotic would it be for me to delete all merchants I made 50 or less sales with? I would say pretty idiotic.
    The same applies to merchants who remove affiliates from their program for being inactive. Sending junk traffic is one thing, but to remove an affiliate who is inactive is just not smart. This affiliate can be a rockstar some day. This is an ego thing on the side of the merchant and/or AM. "Well if they aren't going to send me some sales, I'll teach them!" To remove someone who is a proven performer in your own vertical is doubly ridiculous and shows not only a lack of tolerance but a serious lack of vision.

    As for the "keeping only the top 40" guy, that's just a laugh fest.

  3. #3
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    "Dear Valued Affiliate," = WTF.

    It's performance paid basis, cutting smaller fish makes no sense.

    If it's a time hog issue, the merchant needs to learn how to efficiently manage the different size affs - or hire an OPM to do it.

  4. #4
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    The wierd part is, do they wait for one of the top 40 to drop the program and then send out applications to the next 5 below hoping that they will rejoin after they have been booted? That would be an interesting thing to watch and see how they hold up if a few of the top 40 drop.
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
    Do you need help with your Marketing or Sales funneling, write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me

  5. #5
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    One of the excuses merchants use is the EPC.

    If their EPC is low, it won't attract quality affiliates.

    Bolderdash!!!

    If a merchant has a zero EPC, yet they're a perfect fit for my site...

    first I check out their site to see if there's a giant toll-free number, if they're proud of their association with eBates, etc.

    If I see nothing... I add them.

    IMO - only a newb, and in theory someone who wouldn't deliver quality traffic to a merchant - takes the EPC at face value.

    Point is - there has to be more then "We want a better EPC" reason to remove affiliates.

  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    tell them to see...

    "Using EPC to make decisions"
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=76133

    and...

    "Slave to the CJ EPC - When a Well-Meaning Statistic Takes on a Life of its Own!"
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=71606

    and there's more here too...

    stupid merchant. going forward, how do they expect new, growing affs to enter the top40...

  7. #7
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Lightbulb top 40 what . . .
    we here know some of those "Top 40" "superaffiliates" might even be milking each others' sales.

  8. #8
    Internet Cowboy
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    Again, an inactive affiliate has ZERO effect on your EPC. Junk traffic affects your EPC adversely.
    The EPC excuse for canning affiliates is a copout that makes you look foolish in the eyes of a real affiliate because it is a falacy. My 3 month EPC at CJ rides around the $60 range. My 7 day is currently > $90. Both are very respectable for the vertical I play in the most, also respectable considering that I have a fair amount of clicks and do a fair amount of volume.
    If you have affiliates sending thousands of clicks with no conversion that is a completely different issue and should be dealt with separately than this "general cleansing" trend that we are seeing.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Billy,
    Have them call me ...

    Merchants with that mindset have no clear concept of affiliate marketing principles and definately do not have the mindset needed to build a profitable commisisoned only online sales force.
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    I'm not given to swearing (at least, not since I got married - the Mrs. doesn't like it...), but AM's who would cut affiliates for not generating a certain level of sales provokes some strong language. Being in mixed company, I'll keep it to myself...

    I would venture to say that the majority of a company's affiliates don't do jack. But you're not paying them for what they aren't doing, so why should you worry about that? If the network is too expensive for you to communicate with your affiliates, you should look at cutting the network, not severing ties with someone who can potentially make you money. It's the accumulation of a lot of small time referrals that generates a lot of wealth. I've never been on the merchant side, but as an affiliate, I collect SOME revenue from MANY merchants. If I generate enough $20 commissions, I might even be able to pay my rent...

    That said, I don't really care about getting newsletters and all that other crap. It just fills up my inbox. I only want to made aware of when real updates to the program are taking place - I have no interest in the "Here's how wonderful our company is" bull. Save yourself time and money and just give me the information I need. I'm not pushing your product because I feel connected to your company. I'm pushing your product because it makes me money.

    Anywho, I've got plenty more to say, but it gets less civil.

  11. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    Cutting down your affiliates to only the top 40 does only one thing for a merchant...
    It makes the affiliate channel more expensive. The key to all marketing is diversity. The you limit your number of channels, long term, the more expensive those channels become. If they want to tank their ROAS, let them.
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    How many of you here actually feel that this IS a trend that's bound to happen with more and more merchants? Are we talking some kind of mass change in the near future? Getting me all worked up now...

  13. #13
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyBusiness
    How many of you here actually feel that this IS a trend that's bound to happen with more and more merchants? Are we talking some kind of mass change in the near future? Getting me all worked up now...

    I don't think you should be getting all worked up. Plenty of us will continue to run our programs without weeding out people because they only produce one sale a year etc.... If they do weed you out for some reason, use it as motivation to boost up the competition. Help run them out of town. You can then be part fo the solution in helping to run out bad merchants.
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
    Do you need help with your Marketing or Sales funneling, write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me

  14. #14
    Internet Cowboy
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    Holding true to their affiliate-unfriendly nature, CJ is sending merchants a newsletter suggesting that they remove inactive affiliates.

  15. #15
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    It isn't a trend I would support as an AM or as an AM trainer... make new top affiliates is my goal. Cut back to 40 affiliates? That's crazy, it's nonsense. It turns the affiliate program into a corporate sales force and not an affiliate sales force.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    Holding true to their affiliate-unfriendly nature, CJ is sending merchants a newsletter suggesting that they remove inactive affiliates.
    Well that's B.S. They are really becoming a pain int he ass to work with. I can't say anything positive has happened with CJ in a long time, with the exception of tossing LMI out (at least for the time being). Bleh.

  17. #17
    15 years and counting
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    Holding true to their affiliate-unfriendly nature, CJ is sending merchants a newsletter suggesting that they remove inactive affiliates.
    That's insane. Promoting thieves and removing affiliates. Great program! And they are paid with our work for such ideas. I was going to ask, who's behind the merchants to push them in that direction.

  18. #18
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Seems just plain loco. I've always thought the networks trained affiliates and merchants to value EPC way above what it's really worth, creating the incentive to drop, but I've never heard of it being so overt.

    CJ, that's just daft! Every good affiliate has programs they've joined but not done anything with...yet. Toss 'em before they get around to you, and you can be sure they never will.

    It's such a pointless metric too. Stupid, stupid, stupid... It's unfortunate it's become so influential in the industry, present company excluded of course.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  19. #19
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    It's such a pointless metric too. Stupid, stupid, stupid... It's unfortunate it's become so influential in the industry, present company excluded of course.
    Hope I don't sound like a hypocrite... but I have a merchant on Linkshare that I send highly targeted traffic to that just doesn't convert.

    I with they DID have an EPC metric, just so I can see if it's just me, or they don't convert for anyone.

    And if they DID have an EPC metric, and it was high... at least I could assume the problem was on my end and do something about it.

    Again, it's just ONE tool - and is best used in conjuction with all the other tools - not as a standalone thing.

  20. #20
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    CJ has had this mindset since before Todd Left, they are obviously now pimping this mantra to the clueless AMs. As Angel said it only makes the channel more expensive so the only real winner, of course, is CJ.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  21. #21
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    Someone pointed out during the LMI debates that CJ was moving towards only wanting Super Affiliates and that they wanted to eliminate the little guys and the inactives. IMO this is a huge mistake. As we all know, the potential is in making the little guys the next big guy and also in giving the little guy a way to make money. And many of what CJ considers the little guy, we consider to be the middle to big guys!

    Merchants need more education, and fast. They are listening to what the network is telling them, and the network is wrong.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  22. #22
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    If the trend is to just keep the super-affiliates, then I also want to point out that the playing field is lopsided - and skewed by the merchants themselves.

    Just yesterday, I saw a banner oferring 20% off for a merchant. I logged in, and the best banner available was 10% off. I contacted the merchant. He said that banner was special to one of his "top affiliates"

    Well geez! How can I be expected to become a top-aff if the other guy has a valid coupon TWICE as good as mine!!!

    And another merchant sent out an email saying their PPC policy forbids bidding on their name, brand, etc.

    The very next line - after telling us we can't bid on their name was:

    Note: We run a very small separate search program in which a select few affiliates are approved for special terms including permission to bid on our trademarks.
    Again, how can I become a super-PPC-affiliate if I have to adhear by different rules!!

  23. #23
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    An other trend I'm seeing, the top affiliates are growing in size, they are not one man operation anymore. All is linked.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Well, you won't see this idiotic trend in any of my programs either. I try to look at all angles of this and still can't make any sense of it. The only explanation I can think of is they totally missed the Clue Train.

    Doesn't it make more sense to help under-performers do better? Of, show others how to be super affiliates?

    Getting rid of affiliates who no sales is surely a bad idea but the idea of only keeping 40 affiliates makes me want to bang my head on my desk trying to understand why someone would do this.

    I'd love to be a fly on the wall when they discussed this. I'd also love to be in their next meeting 6 months from now when they realize how senseless this idea was. Picture 6 or 8 executives banging their head on the conference table chanting "stupid stupid stupid"
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
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  25. #25
    Affiliate Network Rep Kim Salvino's Avatar
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    Inactive affiliates should be viewed as opportunities...not hindrances!

    The first step of any "house cleaning" should be to take a look at the inside of that house - why doesn't the program convert? What has the AM done to engage those affiliates?

    As for the program that only wants their current top 40 affiliates to stay ~
    Must be nice to have met all of your revenue goals and have absolutely no need for growth!

    Unbelievable.
    Kim Salvino, Client Services Director, Performance Horizon Group
    Reach me at kim.salvino(at)performancehorizon.com or on (443) 617-4036

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