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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Personal Invitation vs SPAM
    Once the school year wraps up and I can finally devote the necessary time to my web site, I will be looking to start an affiliate program. However, prior to a general launch (which I will DEFINITELY advertise on ABW), I want to run the program with a couple of select affiliates and pay them more money to establish a sort of client base on which the rest of my program will run. I have some ideas about who I would like to invite to do this for me from ABW, but I don't know the best way to contact them to send them the invite without it being construed as SPAM.

    I've reread all the rules, and even did a pretty in-depth search, but I wasn't able to clear things up in my own mind. Specifically, I'm looking to avoid a situation like this. What is the best way to invite a select group of people prior to making a general (and paid) announcement?
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    I thought of a possible solution, and was wondering what everyone thought.

    What if I created a pre-launch application. Everyone who enters will get a bonus once the program fully launches and they put links up to my site. Those selected will enjoy a 100% commission rate during the pre-launch phase.

    Would such a setup generate sufficient interest, but still not alienate those who aren't chosen to participate in the pre-launch?
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  3. #3
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    getting the ball rolling by buying an ad thread, providing a sign-up link with the proviso that only a few will "get in on the ground floor," hoping the rest of us don't get that left-out feeling which might poison us forever . . . yup, that's a potential problem.

    I'm sure there will be a natural percentage of sore-heads. Happens in every crowd.

    But perhaps making it as clear as possible that this is starting out as an experimental program? Leave the gate open for just a few [days] or [day] or [so many hours] . . .

    opening the program for any and all who apply within a narrow time period may sit better with us. the randomness of admission versus a pick-and-choose approach may also help the "experimental" aspects of the pre-launch.

    are you sure you need only the "select affiliates?"

  4. #4
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    "any and all" as a figure of speech. If you know, as AMs should, which affiliates to not let in, of course you must deal with that. (remember the lurkers looking over our shoulders . . . )

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herb ԿԬ
    are you sure you need only the "select affiliates?"
    Here's the ugliness of the beast.

    My site will generate web development leads for companies who sign up to pay for those leads. My problem is in creating a fairly stable company base before going full scale into generating leads. I don't know how long I could afford to pay for leads when I don't have companies to whom I can sell them.

    My original thought was to roll out a pre-launch program that only targeted acquiring web development businesses. In exchange for a delay in receiving leads, I would wave the traditional account set-up fee. At this point, I would be paying my aff's quite handsomely for each company that is set-up (upwards of $50 / company). Once the base of buyers was established, I would roll out the full-scale program of paying for quote requests as well as signing up new businesses.

    I thought that rolling out the program in steps at a general level would be somewhat confusing and disorienting to the affiliates.
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herb ԿԬ
    "any and all" as a figure of speech. If you know, as AMs should, which affiliates to not let in, of course you must deal with that. (remember the lurkers looking over our shoulders . . . )
    I can feel them breathing down my neck....

    I'm no experienced AM. I've done quite a bit as an affiliate, but this is my first foray into managing a program. Perhaps that's clear from my posts here... I've got an idea that I think can make decent money (my overhead is next to nil, meaning I offer lower prices and higher commissions - as an affiliate, those are the things that matter most to me!).
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herb ԿԬ
    getting the ball rolling by buying an ad thread, providing a sign-up link with the proviso that only a few will "get in on the ground floor," hoping the rest of us don't get that left-out feeling which might poison us forever . . . yup, that's a potential problem.

    I'm sure there will be a natural percentage of sore-heads. Happens in every crowd.

    But perhaps making it as clear as possible that this is starting out as an experimental program? Leave the gate open for just a few [days] or [day] or [so many hours] . . .

    opening the program for any and all who apply within a narrow time period may sit better with us. the randomness of admission versus a pick-and-choose approach may also help the "experimental" aspects of the pre-launch.

    are you sure you need only the "select affiliates?"
    That is definitely something I will consider. Thanks for the good insight. Like I said, I'm aware of the potential for alienating quality affiliates. I'm not sure how I would say someone didn't make the cut. "Thanks for applying, but you're just not good enough. But when the program rolls out full steam, I would love to work with you then. Just not now. Here's $10 to make you happy." Yeah, I see that going over well...
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  8. #8
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    classic "need deep pockets" problem. understood.

    you may have to go into pick-and-choose mode after all.

    suppose the announcement thread made it clear that there would be a questionnaire looking for qualifying expertise and/or site emphasis or something like that? probably still not a good time to ask for ABW nicks.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    So in the end, to avoid the appearance of SPAM (the original subject of the thread), it would be best to keep from sending unsolicited PM invites to a program. Rather, I should consider a way to carefully craft a program announcement such that I don't go bankrupt, and my needs are met.
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  10. #10
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    still not the best solution: interested parties who have the privilege can PM you for further discussion*. with the understanding that it is for discussion, not making it an application.





    _____
    *with this post the trigger point.

  11. #11
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbsturg
    So in the end, to avoid the appearance of SPAM (the original subject of the thread), it would be best to keep from sending unsolicited PM invites to a program. Rather, I should consider a way to carefully craft a program announcement such that I don't go bankrupt, and my needs are met.
    definitely.

    my previous post wasn't meant to refer to this one, by the way. I had an interruption here that upset the timing.

    also, I'm surprised we haven't seen more input from others. maybe too early in the morning . . .

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    I'd definitely be interested in lots of opinions. I want to be careful not to go too far off the original topic in the Spam forum, but I might open another thread asking for suggestions as to how to pull of the pre-launch program such that I don't alienate people and I can still get my needs met.

    Thanks for all your insight Herb. Bouncing ideas off of someone definitely helps create a clearer view of what I want to do. I definitely appreciate it.
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  13. #13
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herb ԿԬ
    I'm surprised we haven't seen more input from others. maybe too early in the morning . . .
    I was going to but you answered it perfectly, I couldn't have said it better.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herb ԿԬ
    classic "need deep pockets" problem. understood.

    you may have to go into pick-and-choose mode after all.

    suppose the announcement thread made it clear that there would be a questionnaire looking for qualifying expertise and/or site emphasis or something like that? probably still not a good time to ask for ABW nicks.
    You'll forgive the question, but what do you mean by "probably still not a good time to ask for ABW nicks"?
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Limited Prelaunch Program Without Alienating
    My web site will generate leads for web development companies. However, in order for the business to be profitable, I have to have a core of companies signed up to pay for those leads. Thus, before I can run a successful affiliate campaign, I need to get a minimum number of companies signed up.

    To accomplish this, I am looking to run a prelaunch campaign that will focus on recruiting those companies. However, due to the nature of the site, I will not be realizing any immediate profit from those sign ups. Thus, I am interested in running a very limited prelaunch program that's carefully monitored so that I don't go bankrupt.

    So the question is, how do you spark interest in the program so that people apply, without alienating those who, because of limited resources, will be declined? Those same people who I can't afford to pay in the prelaunch could very well be my best affiliates when the full program is being run.

    More information about this conundrum can be found here.
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  16. #16
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Is this program for the site in your sig?
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    It is indeed.
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  18. #18
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    OK I don't get it then, you can easily cover any possible loss and complete the jobs by bidding them out on other sites like elance or rentacoder at a set price until you recruit people to buy the leads. I think you've either seriously over thought it or possibly under thought it out, logistically and financially.

    As for interest in an aff program, that's simple look at all the affs of elance, there's your answer. So if you have to bootstrap it, fine but don't talk about going bankrupt before the thing is even live, that doesn't instill any confidence, in you, your program, management thereof nor entrepreneurial spirit. KWIM?

    PS. I'm not trying to slam you I'm just being truthful.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    I take no offense. I'm out here looking for advice, so when you ask for an opinion, you should be willing to receive it.

    I hadn't thought of bidding them out on other sites. That's certainly a possibility that will need some exploration. I'm not sure if I want to go that route, but as it's something I haven't researched yet, I'm certainly open to looking into it.

    I'm confident that there will be interest. My main question was, if having a prelaunch program where only a select few would be admitted would make those who weren't admitted feel burned. I certainly don't want to alienate potential affiliates before the program even gets off the ground.

    Bankruptcy's not an option. More, it was a bit of a stretch to explain why I can't just let every affiliate into the program. In the beginning stages, I need companies, not leads. And I will pay handsomely for them. But paying large bounties on what doesn't yield immediate results can't be a successful long-term business model. Or even short-term if there is all of a sudden a huge flux of companies and now I'm committed to paying out the nose. Hence my desire to work with a smaller number of affiliates to build a company base before launching the program full steam.

    If I do end up just launching the program and bidding out the excess leads that aren't supported by the number of companies in place, I'll definitely have to rework the site a bit (especially the privacy policy...). Again, it's something I'm open to, but am not informed enough about to speak intelligibly.

    Thanks for the input Haiko. I do appreciate it.
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  20. #20
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    OK as for the prelaunch, there is an easy answer to not ostrasize affs ... do an announce, then once you get the number of affs you want then remove (or hide) the announce and then build the program and work out the kinks and then do a full launch.

    PS. A good way to recruit cos to sell the leads to is freelanceworkexchange (see their forum on ABW), talk to Greg the AM when he comes back from OZ ... I'm sure there is some symbiosis there.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  21. #21
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I've merged the two threads, leaving the most recent subject and location, which I think is more descriptive/accurate.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  22. #22
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Thanks Michael (again, happy B-day).

    Haiko, I had no idea that was an option. I like that a lot actually. I will definitely get a hold of Greg and see if we can reach some sort of arrangement. As a guy who still considers himself pretty new at ABW (and very new at affiliate management), I appreciate the advice.
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  23. #23
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Cool
    Quote Originally Posted by cbsturg
    You'll forgive the question, but what do you mean by "probably still not a good time to ask for ABW nicks"?
    I think I had club privacy on my mind at the time, but you've had some very good suggestions after, so it is irrelevant now.

    Not being a mod or merchant, I had little knowlege of what tools and switches were available to you in controlling your announcement thread. Good ideas there.

  24. #24
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    I had no idea, either. I like the on / off thought a lot.

    Haiko, provided a wanted more affiliates to join the prelaunch after having hid the original announcement, am I able to show the post again? Put more clearly, can I toggle the viewability of the post at will?
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

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