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  1. #1
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    What questions to ask Affiliate Networks when speaking with their sales reps.?
    Hello everyone,
    I am a very soon to-be new merchant, trying
    to decide on the right Affiliate Network to work with.
    Needless to say I'm a little overwhelmed right now.
    I'd like to know what questions I should be asking
    when speaking with sales reps. Please advise.

    Thanks in advance for your input,
    msmp

  2. #2
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msmp
    What questions to ask Affiliate Networks when speaking with their sales reps.?
    I would strongly advise you to search these forums for the networks you have in mind before speaking with them. This will not only give you a better idea of what questions to ask but also which responses can be believed. You'll find that a lot of the affiliates here have very strong opinions of all of the major networks and this should give you a pretty good idea of the overall trust and reliability that you could expect.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  3. #3
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    Just a thought here, but what if you asked the affiliates what might need to be done to your site to make the whole effort that much more productive..

    phone tracking
    leak plugging
    data feed (if needed)
    general navigation
    page formating

    do you have a site that will convert already?

  4. #4
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Plan to fail.

    Not really but there is a book out there. Just being the devil's advocate but you should consider this. What if you decide that affiliate marketing is not suitable for your business. What actions are you going to take? How much is it going to cost?

  5. #5
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    Ask:
    "Do you actively recruit affiliates?"

  6. #6
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    The one question I've always want answered is this:

    'Why are you charging so much upfront just to give me the privilege of adding one line of code to my thank you page?'.

    But maybe that's just me being cynical.

    With my non-cynical head on, Merchant Consultant Team's question has to be up there among the most important.

    2nd : Who owns the relationship with the affiliates. Ideally you want direct contact info with all your affiliates.

    3rd: How many other merchants in my niche do you have ? This works on two levels -

    if a network is well known for, say, lots of travel merchants, then there is a good chance there will be lots of travel affiliates.

    however, if a network has lots of travel merchants and affiliates, is your offering strong enough to attract their attention.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    I would strongly advise you to search these forums for the networks you have in mind before speaking with them. This will not only give you a better idea of what questions to ask but also which responses can be believed. You'll find that a lot of the affiliates here have very strong opinions of all of the major networks and this should give you a pretty good idea of the overall trust and reliability that you could expect.

    -rematt
    Thanks for your reply,
    I've been reading the forums ,and I'm getting the impression that SAS is
    the network praised by most as most reliable and trustworthy.

    msmp

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WyndhamVacationR-EricEwe
    Plan to fail.

    Not really but there is a book out there. Just being the devil's advocate but you should consider this. What if you decide that affiliate marketing is not suitable for your business. What actions are you going to take? How much is it going to cost?
    Thanks for your reply,
    Do you means there's a book titled Plan to Fail?
    msmp

  9. #9
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msmp
    Thanks for your reply,
    I've been reading the forums ,and I'm getting the impression that SAS is
    the network praised by most as most reliable and trustworthy.

    msmp
    There's no such thing as a perfect network, but by comparison SaS probably comes close.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbshouse
    Just a thought here, but what if you asked the affiliates what might need to be done to your site to make the whole effort that much more productive..

    phone tracking
    leak plugging
    data feed (if needed)
    general navigation
    page formating

    do you have a site that will convert already?
    Thanks for your reply,
    As soon as the final tweaks are done and the site is live,
    I'd like it to be reviewd by affiliates and get feedback.
    -phone tracking, phone orders will be minimal, and tracking will be implemented
    -there shouldn't be any leaks
    -data feed, I'm not clear on the pros/cons of it yet
    -page formating, is pretty straight forward

    msmp

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant Consultant Team
    Ask:
    "Do you actively recruit affiliates?"
    Thanks for your reply,
    What would be considered 'active recruitment'?
    msmp

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by markymark
    The one question I've always want answered is this:

    'Why are you charging so much upfront just to give me the privilege of adding one line of code to my thank you page?'.

    But maybe that's just me being cynical.

    With my non-cynical head on, Merchant Consultant Team's question has to be up there among the most important.

    2nd : Who owns the relationship with the affiliates. Ideally you want direct contact info with all your affiliates.

    3rd: How many other merchants in my niche do you have ? This works on two levels -

    if a network is well known for, say, lots of travel merchants, then there is a good chance there will be lots of travel affiliates.

    however, if a network has lots of travel merchants and affiliates, is your offering strong enough to attract their attention.
    Thanks for your reply,
    I spoke to a rep. today and didn't get the sense that there will be much of
    a Merchant Consult Team support as far as them 'pushing/promoting' my site
    to their affiliates other than making an initial announcement, and then listing
    the offer in their merchant directory. They suggested that I try to recruit
    affiliates outside their network myself.
    2.As far as communication with affiliates, they said it's done through their website.
    3.I looked at that network's merchant directory in my niche, and there weren't any merchants that could be considered direct competitors. Would this mean that this network's affiliates are not a good match to promote
    my type of product?
    thanks,
    msmp

  13. #13
    15 years and counting
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    msmp- I've been reading the forums ,and I'm getting the impression that SAS is the network praised by most as most reliable and trustworthy.
    If you don't know what questions to ask to a network it means you need to learn more about affiliate marketing. In the meantime, just pick Shareasale, you can't go wrong with them. All real affiliates are members of most affiliate networks including Shareasale.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    In reading this thread it appears you are new to affiliate marketing.

    Perhaps you should consider hiring an outside program manager, OPM.

    They can get your program off the ground if it's a viable product or service.

    You can look them up right here on ABW.
    Bob Pets Warehouse
    Worlds Largest Pet Supply DataBase
    Join our Share-A-Sale Program [since 2003] Twitter



  15. #15
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Ask for all of the setup costs.
    Is there a renewable network fee?
    Is there a higher charge for performance incentives?
    When does the monthly minimum start, the first full month?
    Are there fees to your affiliates to receive datafeeds?
    Will you have an account manager that you can personally speak with after launch?
    What kind of recruiting support will you get, do you have to pay extra?
    Will you have affiliate contact information?

  16. #16
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    Zeus wrote (in part): > "All real affiliates are members of most affiliate networks including Shareasale." <

    Let me correct that: most of the "significant" affiliates (your potential affiliates and super-affiliates) are members of several major affiliate networks (such as ShareASale, CJ, LS, Performics, AvantLink). However, some affiliates (including me) absolutely will not work with affiliate programs through certain affiliate networks, which means that your choice of affiliate network(s) will inevitably exclude some potential affiliates.

    For example, I refuse to work with either Commission Junction or LinkShare, because I believe that those companies are unethical and incompetent. Recently, I've also grown to dislike Kowabunga/MyAP/Kolimbo, after its new parent company appears to have abandoned the company's historical ethics, and don't expect to work with any merchants using that system, either, even though my largest affiliate relationship for the past two years was with a Kowabunga merchant (that merchant is leaving Kowabunga, too, and moving to Performics, which has convinced me that I should avoid them, too).

    Warning: Some networks claim that they will 'bring you access to XXX,000 affiliates' or that their network is the largest or best (or gives you access to the best-quality affiliates). Those claims are meaningless. Very few meaningful affiliate/merchant relationships happen just because a merchant joined a particular network; instead, good relationships are built through direct recruiting and one-on-one communication.

  17. #17
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    -Chuck, this list will be very helpful, thank you!


    -Mark,
    Thank you for your valuable insight. How would one go about direct recruiting of affiliates. I'm new and don't have a trackrecord, which
    might put off the quality affiliates?

  18. #18
    CPA Network Rep
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    I would read Geno's book on "A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing" and then talk to an OPM. There are many great OPMs here on ABW that can help you.

    Even if you just need help with the initial phases such as structuring your offer, choosing a network/tracking system etc, they will save you tons of money and time.

    good luck!

  19. #19
    Outsourced Program Manager Azam Marketing's Avatar
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    Some great advice there.

    Quote Originally Posted by msmp
    I'd like to know what questions I should be asking
    when speaking with sales reps. Please advise.

    Thanks in advance for your input,
    msmp
    Don't just speak to the sales reps - speak to the account management team. The sales reps on many networks will say (almost) anything to lure you. Once you've signed up, they'll stop returns your calls in many cases. The people you'll be dealing with will be the account managers, so ask to speak to them.

    You are doing the right thing by participating in forums like this. Do a search for the networks you are considering on forums and search engines and see what people say about them.

    Good luck.

  20. #20
    Full Member asr_guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msmp
    ...I am a very soon to-be new merchant, trying
    to decide on the right Affiliate Network to work with....
    msmp
    I think you're asking the wrong question at this time.

    If you are a new merchant, you might be better off focusing on getting your
    business up and running, making sales, improving conversion,
    and in parallel learning about affiliate marketing re the resources
    mentioned, including Geno's book.

    You could also get a couple ebooks on affiliate marketing - targeted
    to the affiliates - so you get into their heads.

    The suggestions you are getting are great questions to ask ... when you're
    ready.
    [URL=http://www.typoassassin.com/?utm_source=abestweb&utm_medium=forum&utm_content=p&utm_campaign=sig]Are these affiliates stealing from you?[/URL]

  21. #21
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    Thank you all for your valuable input,


    'asr guy'

    I think you are right about first getting my business up and running as well as learning more about what affiliates want. But how will I know that it's the right time for my business to start recruiting affilates?

  22. #22
    Full Member asr_guy's Avatar
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    Good question.

    My consulting-style answer is "it depends"

    It depends on how quickly you can optimize your conversions to the point where super affiliates start to come knocking, how much bandwidth you can afford to start tinkering with a few early-adopter affiliates before the big jv's come along, how open your niche is to the affiliate marketing model, just to give a few suggestions.

    Hard to say in your case.

    I guess you'll get a feel for it as you research the channel in parallel with growing the business.
    [URL=http://www.typoassassin.com/?utm_source=abestweb&utm_medium=forum&utm_content=p&utm_campaign=sig]Are these affiliates stealing from you?[/URL]

  23. #23
    Member avanquest's Avatar
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    I realize I am echo-ing several statements already mentioned here, but here are my top 3 questions:

    1) The Affiliate Relationship: a) do you own your relationship with the affiliate or does it end if you leave their network? b) is there a way to contact the affiliate other than via the network email "system" and c) if you can contact the affiliate what is the cost?

    2) Affiliate Recruiting: does the network help you recruit affiliates? If not, how can you identify and recruit affiliates in your niche?

    3) Special Affiliate Tools: what kind of incentives do the affiliates have for joining their network? Affiliates need to like the network (actually this should be #1)

    All this learned the hard way in my 18 months as an Affiliate Manager. The best source of information on which networks the affiliates like is this forum so read on and read often!


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