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  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    Merchants with multiple programs?
    How do affiliates feel about merchants who have multiple programs...say an inhouse and one on CJ?

    Does it make it more confusing? Which one would you choose all being equal...or not?

    Thanks for your help....

  2. #2
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Good one, Rick. It'd be interesting to hear up-to-date affiliate opinions on this.

    I've found a couple of polls on a similar topic:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=33904 (old one)

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=80937 (newer one)

    ...but it'd be good to get the current affiliate take on this (will be very applicable to one of the projects I am working on now).

    Geno

  3. #3
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick - JRami
    How do affiliates feel about merchants who have multiple programs...say an inhouse and one on CJ?
    I'd pick the CJ program -- I'm comfortable with CJ.
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  4. #4
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick - JRami
    ...say an inhouse and one on CJ?

    ...Which one would you choose all being equal...or not?
    So equal "or not"?

  5. #5
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno Prussakov
    So equal "or not"?
    If something is off or "not equal" watch your affiliates jump ship and go to another program.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  6. #6
    Member Welshie's Avatar
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    I like the ease of use of using the networks for tracking since we have over 180 sites in 20 different verticals. I can check stats quickly. When the merchant has their own program the stats generally aren't as detailed and spending the extra time logging in to check stats can be labourious.

    However, I use some merchant only programs because of the better one to one relationship - and people return calls, emails faster.

    Generally, the monetization is better when the merchant has their own program and they are more inclined to give you bonuses and increase your rates with conversion. Plus, at the end of the day, it's one of those things that you wonder if you're getting the best conversion $. Direct merchants give you better and faster creative and links for your needs. Plus, the Christmas prezzies are always good

    All the best!
    Ceri

  7. #7
    Newbie ronaldmarva's Avatar
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    I feel no bias for merchants with multiple program. Come to think of it many of these merchants had already their in house program before they would join CJ or any other network. But I would be more comfortable dealing with networks as this gives me an integrated reporting of all of my marketing efforts from various merchants.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Depends on the merchant and my previous experience with them. In the beginning, I almost always steer away from the in-house program. Once I get established and have some numbers to show them, I usually send an email that goes like this: "instead of paying CJ 30%+ of everything I'm making for you, I'm willing to go through your in-house program if you give me 20% on top of what I'm making at CJ."

    Once they look over the sales, I don't have too many say "no thanks."
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  9. #9
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    I don't think affiliates would feel confused or upset about the existence of multiple programs "in general." Some prefer a network program; others, like me, don't participate in CJ or LS programs, so an alternative is essential to be considered.

    Some specific problems that might arise:
    - If you offer different commission rates, the "lower-compensated" affiliates may resent it. For example, if you offer an SAS program paying 15% and an in-house program paying 18%, you'd need to explain that the difference represents network fees.
    - If you have any offers (coupons, promotions, contests) that are only available through one channel, some affiliates may resent it.

  10. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    Thanks Geno for those threads. They are very helpful...

    As far as the "equal or not" question...If the merchant was on their toes they should be able to make the inhouse program better. For example:

    • CJ has a cookie limitation of 120 days.
    • On CJ you may have link limitations that you could get around with an inhouse program
    • An inhouse program could pay more quickly by cutting out the middleman

    Any other thoughts....

  11. #11
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    I always prefer the networks for our business. And if a program is on both CJ and Performics, I almost always go with Performics.

    One of the reasons we go network is that we neet to use the member based tracking, signature, mid, or sid or whatever. Sometimes i find that inhouse programs are not always set up for that. and even if they are, a lot more testing is involved.

    With the networks, that is already tested.

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick - JRami
    Thanks Geno for those threads. They are very helpful...

    As far as the "equal or not" question...If the merchant was on their toes they should be able to make the inhouse program better. For example:

    • CJ has a cookie limitation of 120 days.
    • On CJ you may have link limitations that you could get around with an inhouse program
    • An inhouse program could pay more quickly by cutting out the middleman

    Any other thoughts....
    Rick, what you’re suggesting, two networks is completely opposite to what Jorge recommended in other posts and directly to me.

    Can you explain?

    Bob
    Pets Warehouse

  13. #13
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetsWarehouse.com
    Rick, what you’re suggesting, two networks is completely opposite to what Jorge recommended in other posts and directly to me.
    I don't see two networks in his posts, Bob. I see in-house + network.

    G.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Geno, I'm not going to repeat what was said in conversations in a open forum.

    But the broad strokes we discussed was running our program by merging the current in house with Avantlink or SAS, and offer new affiliates a choice of either network.

    He was opposed to that.
    Bob Pets Warehouse
    Worlds Largest Pet Supply DataBase
    Join our Share-A-Sale Program [since 2003] Twitter



  15. #15
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Bob, I know what threads you're talking about, but in this thread (and correct me if I'm reading it wrong) I see a question on a network program + an indie.

    Geno

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador
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    I'd generally prefer working with network for obvious reasons unless the payouts from in house programs are much better. Thanks

  17. #17
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    "Merchants with multiple programs?"

    I'm reading that as multiple programs Can be CJ/Inhouse or CJ/SAS or CJ/Performics or SAS/Avantlink etc.

    I don't have a problem with it. I like options. You might have your program at one place and that place I might not like, if you're somewhere else too, at least there's an alternative.

  18. #18
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    There are cases where working with just one network are advantageous, as well. If you're on a parasite-free network, that security goes away if you open up a second program where parasites are allowed. With the normal multi-network implementation, the merchant keeps track of which network the last affiliate click came through, so a parasite on one network can steal a sale from an affiliate on another network.

    Running on multiple networks will create a lot of extra work for the merchant. Why not put some of that work into recruiting instead?

    Another question to ask yourself: Do any of the really big merchants run affiliate programs on multiple networks? Very few do. Yet they're doing well.

    Almost all of the best affiliates will be on all of the major networks. Some will only work with the parasite-free networks. As long as you choose a parasite-free network, you're not going to have a problem "excluding" affiliates.
    Michael Coley
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  19. #19
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    How do affiliates feel about merchants who have multiple programs...say an inhouse and one on CJ?

    Does it make it more confusing? Which one would you choose all being equal...or not?
    My preference is a one program merchant be it CJ, SAS, inhouse, or whatever.

    My experience (limited as it is) sees the merchant treating one of the programs with lower priority. If you happen to be in that one you feel the neglect.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    In the end, I think there are just way too many differences in merchants and their programs to give a stock reply to the question. What might be a good choice for one merchant to run multiple programs may not be good for another merchant, even a similar type merchant. Every program is unique and must find what works.

    But I do agree that having multiple programs creates a lot more work for the merchant (and AM/OPM).
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  21. #21
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    I think it also depends on the situation, do they have an inhouse program and want to add a network because they have been told while recruiting affiliates that they would work with them if they were on (insert network name here)? Or is their current program unsuccessful and they think adding a new source will breathe new life into the program? Or are they on a network and want to add inhouse so they can pay more and have more control than they get at a network?

    There are a lot of reasons to be inhouse vs network or both, some are good reasons, some are unrealistic reasons. And bottom line is that it *will* be more work to manage, and someone has to be sure the correct affiliate gets credited for sales when a shopper may have picked up cookies from both inhouse affiliates and network ones.
    Deborah Carney
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  22. #22
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    There are cases where working with just one network are advantageous, as well. If you're on a parasite-free network, that security goes away if you open up a second program where parasites are allowed. With the normal multi-network implementation, the merchant keeps track of which network the last affiliate click came through, so a parasite on one network can steal a sale from an affiliate on another network.

    Running on multiple networks will create a lot of extra work for the merchant. Why not put some of that work into recruiting instead?

    Another question to ask yourself: Do any of the really big merchants run affiliate programs on multiple networks? Very few do. Yet they're doing well.

    Almost all of the best affiliates will be on all of the major networks. Some will only work with the parasite-free networks. As long as you choose a parasite-free network, you're not going to have a problem "excluding" affiliates.
    Many merchants think about this question and Coley's answer is perfect.

    It's only March, but I'd like to nominate this for post of the year.

  23. #23
    Member Welshie's Avatar
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    IMHO: In most cases cookies over 30 days are pretty much useless. If people haven't bought within a 48 hours chances are they found it somewhere else or planned not to buy.

    That said, it's always good to have a longer cookie, but I don't think that should be a deciding factor on which program to take.


    Ceri

  24. #24
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    While I agree that very few people buy after the 48-hour window (and that purchases outside a 30-day window represent far, far less than 1%), I find that cookie duration is a "signal" about whether the merchant is serious about compensating affiliates.

    A merchant with a short cookie-duration setting is signaling to the affiliate that there is some value being held back -- and perhaps we can expect the merchant to hold back in other ways also.

    If a merchant actually believes that return-visit-purchases beyond 48 hours are insignificant, then why hold back commissions on those sales from affiliates?

    A merchant who recognizes that there is no logical reason to restrict cookie duration is a merchant who will probably be inclined to make other decisions that are friendly (not hostile) to affiliates.

    I do understand that a few merchants do choose a "shorter" cookie duration based on payment of a high affiliate commission rate that already factors in the probability of repeat sales -- but the merchant should explain this clearly, not "hide the ball" by simply pretending that those post-cookie sales are not worth tracking.

  25. #25
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    I find that cookie duration is a "signal" about whether the merchant is serious about compensating affiliates.
    I agree with your entire quote (snipped it for brevity) but what what about a merchant who has what appears to be a nice long cookie duration but the cookie duration becomes moot due to "parasites" or some other program, set-up, or gizmo that "cookie stuffs" (essentially overrides the affiliate's cookies) regardless of the beginning "cookie duration promise?"

    Some long cookie duration promises don't mean anything because there exists a possibility that there *could be* a mechanism that will interfere in the cookie data.

    There could be a promise of a "500 day cookie" or a "lifetime cookie" (heh) but if there exists a possibility of an override, then those promises don't have real meaning.
    Last edited by Rhia7; March 23rd, 2007 at 04:25 PM.
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