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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    Amazon vs. other merchants
    For those who are Amazon affiliates and promote their products on their wide range of products on their sites, do you also use other merchants that might have similar if not the same products? What I am trying to say is, do you even bother with adding other merchants to your site?

    An Independent Affiliate may pay 10% commission on product X, and it is also sold on Amazon for the same price but lower commission like for me 4%. Do you stick with the megastore-and-highly-recognized-brand Amazon or do you also add other merchants in? I don't know if people are more likely to purchase since it's all from one site, than having to be from different sites.


    edit: ok, changed terminology. affiliates-->merchants
    Last edited by ladidah; October 15th, 2007 at 02:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Yup, Sure ... now let me check ... Cagles Mill's Avatar
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    I think you are confusing affiliates with merchants that offer affiliate programs. People with websites who put up links to merchants with the intention of earning sales commissions are the affiliates. The companies that want their products promoted on other sites are merchants - not affiliates.
    Rick M.
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  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I've changed "affiliates" to "merchants" in the title.

    Give people a choice. Some may prefer Amazon.com because they're familiar with them and they already have an account. Others may prefer another merchant because of a lower price or some other factor.
    Michael Coley
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  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cagles Mill
    I think you are confusing affiliates with merchants that offer affiliate programs. People with websites who put up links to merchants with the intention of earning sales commissions are the affiliates. The companies that want their products promoted on other sites are merchants - not affiliates.
    OOPs! Yes, that is whatisza! that is what I meant!

    Edited!

  5. #5
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    For some of my sites, I don't show Amazon at all; on other sites, I may list another merchant first, and Amazon second or with a smaller link; on other sites, I list Amazon and no other merchants for that product.

    One of the key factors that I evaluate when choosing merchants is whether they have the potential to generate a conversion rate in the same ballpark as Amazon. If I conclude (guess) that Merchant Z will probably have a conversion rate about 60% of Amazon's conversion rate,and they pay twice the commission rate, I might try promoting that merchant "in addition to" or "instead of" Amazon. (Other factors to consider include faster shipping times, upselling and multiple-item discounts, and other factors that might increase conversion and/or average order size.)

    In general, I never design or optimize sites specifically with Amazon in mind -- the commission rate is too low (whether it's 4% or 7%), compared to the opportunities elsewhere. However, it certainly makes sense to consider adding Amazon links on some sites and pages.

  6. #6
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Amazon is a last choice for me because the commission is so low, however, they convert better than most other merchants so it's a toss up.

    If I can't find a product I want to promote anywhere else, I'll use an Amazon link.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  7. #7
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    Beyond commissions and conversion rates, another thing to consider is the fact that Amazon has dropped some of us with bargain/coupon sites from their program or scaled back the list of what we can promote. Having been burnt by this personally, I'd highly recommend diversifying and using Amazon and Amazon competitors. Amazon converted great for me, I usually hit within their top 2 commission tiers, and it was worth it to often bypass other merchants who paid even higher commissions...but when Amazon pulled the plug on me (for no bad behavior on my part, btw), my readers definitely noticed that the Amazon deals had vanished.

    I was diversified, BUT, I promoted Amazon more heavily than any other merchant, and in retrospect, I would have leaned less on Amazon. Too risky to to rely on an unreliable merchant. That said, I don't think that any other merchant has converted higher for me...yet.

    Cheers!
    Sharon

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    I read the threads on Amazon on this board and am appalled to hear what happened to you all. They must found it unprofitable to take that incentive away from affiliates. But what a way to treat affiliates though and going about it.

    I have an astore that has yet to get credited for sales. It has generated traffic and sales for them but no credit for me. I have pulled the plug on that one. I still have links to them through individual products that have generated some sales so I will keep that. I was considering getting into associate-o-matic but don't know if it's worth it or not. So before I commit, I wanted to check my options out. However, the thought of what happened to you all, is still in the back of my head....

  9. #9
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    WifiOrDie wrote (in part): > "Amazon has dropped some of us with bargain/coupon sites from their program or scaled back the list of what we can promote. . . . Amazon pulled the plug on me (for no bad behavior on my part, btw) . . . . I was diversified, BUT, I promoted Amazon more heavily than any other merchant, and in retrospect, I would have leaned less on Amazon. Too risky to to rely on an unreliable merchant." <

    This should be a lesson to others about "diversification." I suspect that if you had created two separate entities -- one for your bargain/coupon site, and another for other activities -- and registered for separate associate accounts at Amazon, then only the coupon site would have been squashed.

    I haven't bothered to do this in the past, since I haven't done any significant "bargain and coupon" activity, but let's face it, this could happen for other reasons also, and so I'll start looking at the option of having separate affiliate accounts for some major projects. (This would also help if I decide to sell a site again, since it's annoying to have stats for several sites combined in one affiliate account.)

    Of course, creation of multiple affiliate accounts for one person, or from the same IP address or with the same Taxpayer ID Number, is (properly) a "red flag" for merchants and networks, since this is what the parasite/malware folks and other scammers do. I'll need to review the terms & conditions for each network and merchant before I consider for this option.

  10. #10
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    "This should be a lesson to others about "diversification." I suspect that if you had created two separate entities -- one for your bargain/coupon site, and another for other activities -- and registered for separate associate accounts at Amazon, then only the coupon site would have been squashed."

    You can't do that. Unless if you mean by two separate entities, using different names, SSN etc. which is a little sneaky. I asked them about it before and they said you couldn't do that but could have separate tracking id's but it has to be under one account. My main site is a coupon/deal site and I haven't been hit (yet, hopefully not) but I asked for a new tracking id earlier this year for a niche site of mine and got one without any problem and they could clearly see my main site is a coupon site.

    I'm wondering if that might help some. If coupon/deal sites have other sites not dealing in that and they get tracking id's for them. Who knows.

  11. #11
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    This should be a lesson to others about "diversification." I suspect that if you had created two separate entities -- one for your bargain/coupon site, and another for other activities -- and registered for separate associate accounts at Amazon, then only the coupon site would have been squashed.

    Mark, usually affiliates don't register under different identities for taxation purposes. Affiliates usually create one profile and list all applicable sites.

    I was not aware of doing this any other way.
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  12. #12
    http and a telephoto
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    Amazon is one program where multiple accounts *may* be allowed. I have several separate accounts with them because I started with them many years ago and as Mark said, I wanted different sites to be under different accounts. I haven't looked to see if I shouldn't have multiple accounts. Although I mostly use one because I like the id, it's easy to remember, and with tiers of course you want all your sales lumped together as much as possible.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  13. #13
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    "Amazon is one program where multiple accounts *may* be allowed."

    You might have multiple accounts but I wouldn't suggest anybody doing that now since they clearly said no when I asked earlier this year.

  14. #14
    Outsourced Program Manager RogerSnow's Avatar
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    The bottom line is, what generates the most sales and profit. The customer will go with who they feel more comfortable with or who has the lowest price. If it is Amazon, so be it. If it is another merchant, so be it. It doesn't matter so much about commission. It is a matter of who makes you the most money at the end of the day. I will always take lower commission and higher conversion rate than higher commission and less conversion.
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  15. #15
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    Trust wrote (in part): > "You can't do that. Unless if you mean by two separate entities, using different names, SSN etc. which is a little sneaky." <

    Yes, when I say "separate entities," I mean it in the legal sense: separate companies, properly set up. (I'm not talking about signing up one account under your name and another under your spouse's or child's name.)

    It certainly would be sneaky if you were doing it to circumvent rules or "play the system" in ways that aren't permitted.

    But if you truly are diversifying, it often makes sense to create a legal separation between your entities.

    A good rule of thumb might be, if someone posted on ABW or sent an email to your merchants pointing out that you owned these two (or six) entities, would you feel that you'd been "caught" or embarassed in some way? If so, don't create separate entities. (Never say or do anything you wouldn't want reported on the front page of the New York Times.)

  16. #16
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    "Amazon is one program where multiple accounts *may* be allowed."

    You might have multiple accounts but I wouldn't suggest anybody doing that now since they clearly said no when I asked earlier this year.
    I haven't logged into any of my Amazon affiliate accounts in quite a while (over a year most likely) and I am sure that 90% of my existing links are to one account. I may see if they can combine them, and actually remember emailing someone a couple years ago about that issue and they said to just remove my links. That's not always easy

    But thanks for the clarification, I certainly don't want to be doing anything inappropriate, or suggesting anyone else do it either!
    Deborah Carney
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  17. #17
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    aStore
    I have a couple of aStores that convert well. I don't host the iframe on my site but I market the stores as seperate sites. I market the store's link.

    Embedding the store in my site didn't work well at all but marketing the store as a stand alone site has converted well for me the last couple of months.

    Anthony

  18. #18
    Affiliate Manager Ryan at MDC's Avatar
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    Finally, a thread that rattles my chain:

    America, freedom of choice.

    As a merchant, I can tell you that there are an array of benefits (not news to anybody) with working with a powerhouse, that is Amazon. What an incredible example of a double edge sword. Businesses, as always, aim for the stars - we attempt to create a name that people can rely on - not just with price but with product availability, ordering accessibility, price conscientious and customer satisfaction. But, what if we work so hard and we get so big that the connection is lost.

    With Amazon, we see a successful product - brand loyalty, consumer reliability and a tremendous amount of cash flow - so, at the end of the day, you know that your commission is not getting "lost in the mail."

    America has become this hard driving corporate giant - where wal marts, best buys and shop rites are popping up in every small town in our country, inevitably, forcing out the hardworking family run businesses. Just to be clear, I am not preaching - this is simply an issue that stems from more than just affiliate commissions.

    I'd like to believe that we live in a world where the mom & pop stores are the ones converting the same (maybe better) but willing to give away more because we understand that It's a tooth and nail fight but at the end of the day, it's about who you are as an affiliate. There is no wrong or right. Simply, what you'd like to do and not like to do.

    Amazon is our online wal mart (which, sad to say, has become easily resented and easily relied). It's so simple - go there - get what you need at a fraction of the price - and be home in 20 minutes instead of going to 50 stores - taking a few hours - and probably spending more.

    Decisions, decisions, decisions - affiliates, are in the business of making money but I believe there is justification in their choice, and it's not entirely based on commission and converting (maybe it is and I'm wrong) but it's also about having a relationship with a merchant - being able to get them on the phone and knowing that your sales are inevitably coming from a human and not a cold corporation.

    America, freedom of choice.
    Ryan Alovis
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  19. #19
    A Real *and* Darn Cool Member! lstolze's Avatar
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    I do a mix. I offer certain brands which are popular on my site. Merchant A might have a nice mix, but to really reach my niche customers, I also have to list Brand X's merchandise on Amazon. It pains me since the commission is lower, but if I didn't offer these other items at all, I might not make ANY commission.

    Of course it really needs to suit your model to make it work.

    As a shopper, I hate Amazon's 'return' policy, and their customer service stinks. If I can offer people a better option, I do. But it's sometimes hard because Amazon DOES offer such an eclectic mix.

    Just my two cents...
    ~Lisa - Brilliant Mastermind, or Nut? You decide!

  20. #20
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I've had just the opposite experience as a customer. I've placed dozens of orders with Amazon.com. It's quick and easy to shop there. They ship quickly. I've only had to contact customer support a few times, and they've been far more knowledgable and helpful than customer support from most other large companies. I've had to return two items, and both were handled very well. They paid return shipping in both cases and quickly issued credits.
    Michael Coley
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  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    I don't see them as the online Wal-Mart at all... not just because Wal-Mart is, itself, online, but because they don't always have dirt cheap prices that you can't beat. If you compare something like books or DVD's, they might come in a buck or two less than another site, but that's hardly positioning themselves in a "Wal-Mart kinda way", if you know what I mean.

    I also think there's a huuuuge difference between Wal-Mart going into every small town in America and shutting down the local competition and Amazon... well, just existing, since they don't actually affect local businesses to the degree that Wal-Mart does.
    Daniel M. Clark
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