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  1. #1
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    [split] Should I Only Approve the Most Relevant Affiliate Sites?
    Very useful information, thank you for taking the time to write this. I did have a question though.

    You recommend auto-approval in your post...We have a couple different affilaite programs, one straight e-commerce and another is subscriptions. The e-commerce is on auto-approve and the subscription I manually approve affiliates on a daily basis. I look for sites that are focused towards our core demographic and/or related to our product. I am considering moving the e-commerce site to manual approval as well because we don't want to lower sitewide conversion rates by having affiliates send unqualified leads to the site. I will give an example; let's say my site is for hardcore video gamers...it makes no sense to me to approve an affiliate whose site is aimed at mothers of babies selling diaper bags. Any traffic this site sends me will more than likely be worthless and not convert.

    What are your thoughts or recommendations?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Have you ever thought of a mother going into walmarts just to buy baby diapers and while she's there - she sees a game her husband wants - and buys it - she happens to remember some stuff she needs at the grocery - she buys it while she's there - and etc.

    By the time she gets done she has a cart full at checkout - not just a package of baby diapers.

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  3. #3
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    IGN-Dana wrote (in part): > "Let's say my site is for hardcore video gamers...it makes no sense to me to approve an affiliate whose site is aimed at mothers of babies selling diaper bags. Any traffic this site sends me will more than likely be worthless and not convert." <

    You're making some assumptions there.

    Let's go ahead and assume (for purposes of this discussion) that very few "moms" are hardcore video gamers and that most people who buy diapers are either moms, dads, or day-care providers. Are dads also unlikely to be hardcore gamers? And what if there are some moms who are hardcore video gamers? What about those parents who might also have older children to buy gifts for? What about the hardcore-gamer older sibling who watches (and changes) the baby after school, who may need to go to the diaper site to re-order or get advice or whatever?

    And then, you're also assuming that the owner of the diaper site doesn't have other sites, and doesn't plan to create other sites. In my role as an affiliate, I've received a number of rejections lately because "my site" doesn't match the demographic -- but what the merchant sees as "my site" is a landing page written specifically for merchants to explain what I do (as an affiliate), and is NOT a page that consumers visit.

    Generally, a link from a non-relevant site is not going to draw clicks, because it's not relevant. But if someone does click, why would you assume that they aren't interested in your site? (Assuming, of course, that there are no issues of click fraud or incentives.)

    My experience (in my occasional role as an AM) is that when I approve sites that don't have relevant content, they rarely post links, and when they do, there are very few clickthroughs. Certainly, if you have an affiliate who is driving a lot of clicks but no sales, you should work with the affiliate to improve performance (which might even mean suggesting that the affiliate remove your link.) But why make assumptions that may cost you some customers?
    Last edited by markwelch; September 11th, 2007 at 06:55 PM.

  4. #4
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    MODERATORS - could you please split off this discussion (the three posts above) into a new discussion thread, perhaps titled "Auto-Approval and Manual Rejection of Non-Relevant Sites" (or maybe something sexier)? Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Great points made ...

    "what the merchant sees as "my site" is a landing page written specifically for merchants to explains what I do (as an affiliate), and is NOT a page that consumers visit." - I hadn't even considered this...

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I split this out from the Consolidated List of Affiliate Friendly Policies thread.

    You never know what affiliates are going to produce the sales. Yes, some will be obvious. If you're selling video games, a large video game community or a video game price comparison site is very likely to be a big producer. But many of the ones you wouldn't expect can and will generate sales (sometime significant sales). Keep in mind that the site you see may not be the only site they run. Affiliates very rarely fit into just a single category or use just a single method. Successful affiliates are well diversified. They wouldn't be signing up for your program if they didn't think they could effectively promote it.

    For most merchants, I don't think it makes sense to turn down (or terminate) any affiliates, unless they are using fraudulent or deceptive methods or their site is clearly not something you want your brand associated with (hate sites, porn, warez, illegal things, etc.). A good network is going to eliminate those affiliates anyway. This is all very similar to terminating inactive or low-performing affiliates, which are bad practices.

    Why would you care if you have some affiliates with lower conversion ratios? It's still incremental sales that you wouldn't have. If I run a really untargeted site with huge volume and send you 1000 clicks a day which generates only 1 sale a day (0.1% CR), wouldn't you still be happy to get that extra 30 sales a month?

    Even with your example of the site for mothers, there may be sections on the site where it would be great to promote you. For instance, they might have a forum where mothers talk about their other interests. Perhaps some subset of those mothers are hardcare gamers and they have a subforum to talk about their favorite games. Ads in that forum would be totally targeted. Or perhaps they have older kids too, and there's a gift recommendation section by age. If they list the top 5 hot, new video games for various age groups, that could be very highly targeted.
    Michael Coley
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  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Keep in mind that the site you see may not be the only site they run. Affiliates very rarely fit into just a single category or use just a single method. Successful affiliates are well diversified. They wouldn't be signing up for your program if they didn't think they could effectively promote it.
    Exactly!

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Why would you care if you have some affiliates with lower conversion ratios? It's still incremental sales that you wouldn't have. If I run a really untargeted site with huge volume and send you 1000 clicks a day which generates only 1 sale a day (0.1% CR), wouldn't you still be happy to get that extra 30 sales a month?
    Those extra sales are why you have an affiliate program, don't lose sight of that.

    Allow in lots, but do keep a close, skeptical eye on those producing the most sales.

  8. #8
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    AutoApprove: I'm in the minority, I don't approve. If you manually approve, at least you're forced to look at all your partners at the get-go. And the ones you feel are not relevent, you can email them, which also establishes a "relationship" from the get-go.

    Irrelevent Sites: I agree with the majority. I add SAS merchants as a favor to the merchants I know, thinking they are not a match. But sono***un, they make money.

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