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  1. #1
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    New Site - No LS or CJ.
    After the frustrations of the past few weeks with LS and CJ I've tried an experiment. I just finished a new site (what I did while some networks were down). Only Shareasale and independent merchant programs. I actually enjoyed it. The independents were quite excited about a new affiliate, sent personalized emails etc.

    With indies there may be payment issues etc., but after the past few weeks and some of the threads here, I decided that the risk worth it.

    Any merchant's links can be replaced with a competitor's in minutes (or least a few hours in some cases). I only chose merchants that have competitor programs so this is a possibilty.

    I used to choose the program by the Affiliate Manager like some here suggested. But those folks move around. And they don't seem to put pressure on the networks to do simple things let us see reports and make links.

    Just wanted to let merchants and networks who care about affiliates that I've been watching and it matters!

    Lily

  2. #2
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    Sounds interesting
    Lily, thanks for the scoop! Is the site up and available to view?

  3. #3
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Aunt Lily, I'm really interested in how you're experiment turns out. I've been reluctant to deal with most independents do to the lack of a "trusted network". But now that I think about it, I'm not really sure if I trust most of the major networks anymore.

    Good luck on the new site and please keep us up to date.

    -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

  4. #4
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    Good concept and it works. I've been working with three large indies for a long time (first one since March, 2000). All three have no parasites, have good reporting, have never missed a check, and provide the bulk of my income. The other merchants I now promote (with only very few exceptions) are ShareASale merchants. I don't work with any merchants who are the least bit problematic. Auto deposit and "no leaks" are the rule.

    Affiliate marketing allowed me to reduce my "day-j*b" to a half time position five years ago and totally bail out last summer. So, I am a happy camper.

    (Actually, I could have bailed out four years ago, but I was a teacher for a long time and really enjoyed the position my principal created for me on a half-time basis. I worked with 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in a computer lab on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only. )
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    My sites have never had any CJ or LS, SaS and Indies only. Only problems have been disappearing merchants that required quick fix re-dos.

    "(Actually, I could have bailed out four years ago, but I was a teacher for a long time and really enjoyed the position my principal created for me on a half-time basis. I worked with 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in a computer lab on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only. )"

    It's not "work" if you enjoy it, sounds like you did.

  6. #6
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    I haven't went Indy Hunting in awhile but will after the holidays. There are some great ones out there. A couple of years ago, I also got this book (it's tax deductible ) -

    http://www.amazon.com/thepurplebook-...6611084&sr=1-1

    Found some great ones in there. You can search Google and other places, your competition etc. but there are some I find in there that I never knew about.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the feedback!

    I haven't changed my older sites which do contain LS or CJ merchants, because I can't afford to lose the revenue stream. But if this works, my goal for next year is to swap them out.

  8. #8
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Lily
    Thanks for the feedback!

    I haven't changed my older sites which do contain LS or CJ merchants, because I can't afford to lose the revenue stream. But if this works, my goal for next year is to swap them out.
    How does one find good quality merchants that are not on a major network?

    Good luck with your experiment Aunt Lily
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  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Lily
    Any merchant's links can be replaced with a competitor's in minutes (or least a few hours in some cases). I only chose merchants that have competitor programs so this is a possibilty.
    But if you exclude all the competitors you're limiting the options for your consumers. I feel it's best to list every competitor and let the consumer decide who to buy from. Otherwise they'll just shop somewhere that does list them all.

    I see this a lot on ABW and just don't know how to provide value without exhausting all the options for my consumers.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  10. #10
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    Rhia, I searched on google and I looked on other affiliate sites to find indies. Then I emailed the merchant and gave them my site and we continued to "talk." Some were so enthusiastic, it's hard to believe that I'll be stiffed. I think that would only happen if their biz falters. But you never know.

    I haven't had time today, but I'm going to check out the book that Trust recommended.

    Lily

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    But if you exclude all the competitors you're limiting the options for your consumers. I feel it's best to list every competitor and let the consumer decide who to buy from. Otherwise they'll just shop somewhere that does list them all.

    I see this a lot on ABW and just don't know how to provide value without exhausting all the options for my consumers.

    - Scott
    I guess part of that depends on your affiliate model. With Snibs or mine, need to have merchants from different places and they work for me. Other models that could work I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    How does one find good quality merchants that are not on a major network?

    Good luck with your experiment Aunt Lily
    If you're talking about how to find indy's, old thread where I post what how I find them, sure there are many other ways too:

    I'll just copy and paste:

    "Here's how I picked some. I have a big shopping site with lots of indys:

    I check out my competition. I do this on my own but I know some of my competitors are huge with lots of employees. I check out the indys they're using. I figure they get a lot more traffic and wouldn't have them up if they weren't making any money or had problems with them. Found some of my best that way.

    You can check out kolimbo A bunch of merchants using the MYAP software. You can go thru them or you can go directly to the merchant site. You have a couple of options.

    The other main way is just typing in affiliate or partner + the category you're looking for. Exam: affiliate pets, affiliate office supplies. With those i shoot off an email asking if the program is still live and see how fast they get back to me. Lots of trial and error but finding a nice indy is like striking gold."

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...find+good+indy

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    But if you exclude all the competitors you're limiting the options for your consumers. I feel it's best to list every competitor and let the consumer decide who to buy from. Otherwise they'll just shop somewhere that does list them all.

    I see this a lot on ABW and just don't know how to provide value without exhausting all the options for my consumers.

    - Scott
    My value comes from a creative mix of products on niche boutique sites. I try to make the shopping experience a unique one with creative copy and preselling as well as graphics. I think that's why people subscribe to my newsletters - I try to be entertaining and help them select products for their lives.

    I know from dealing with so many people at the bookstore, that some folks really need help making up their minds. Not everyone can handle so many choices. They like to have their minds made up for them and have a limited selection. You would be shocked at the number of men and women, young and old who stop me with 3 books in their hand and ask me what they should read. Or if they should get the $7.99 version or $14.99 version of the same book.

    I spend a lot of time researching trends and try to be forward thinking and help people stay current with their choices. I'm not saying this is what everyone should do - it's just what I find fun (and profitable). I think of myself as a personal shopper. I try to write on my website, the way I help people at the mall.

    Lily

  13. #13
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Thanks to Aunt Lily & Trust for answering my question & to Snib also for the subsequent input.

    Trust, you suggested: "You can check out kolimbo A bunch of merchants using the MYAP software..." but didn't Mark Welch warn against using Kolimbo/Kowabunga for a number of reasons?
    Here's one thread from Mark and I believe there might be others:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ight=kowabunga

    I can't see how using kolimbo/kowabunga would be better than using CJ or LS.
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  14. #14
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    "Trust, you suggested: "You can check out kolimbo A bunch of merchants using the MYAP software..." but didn't Mark Welch warn against using Kolimbo/Kowabunga for a number of reasons? "

    As far as that, I understand some of the issues and he was using Calendars.com thru them until last month it seems like. To each, his own but I don't necessarily agree with some of his stances as far as that. He doesn't use CJ, Linkshare, Performics and in one thread was about to drop SAS too. I think you kind of take yourself out of the game with that approach and most affiliates aren't going to drop all the networks. And if some affiliates did that, they would go out of business. You have to make your own decision as far as that. You know your business, your sites, do what's best for you. There are good merchants in all the networks and you can make good money in all of them.

    But take Kolimbo as an example because there are other places, indy software and sometimes they have a list of merchants that use them, another way to find indy merchants.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Lily

    I spend a lot of time researching trends and try to be forward thinking and help people stay current with their choices. I'm not saying this is what everyone should do - it's just what I find fun (and profitable). I think of myself as a personal shopper. I try to write on my website, the way I help people at the mall.
    Ahhh, I see. I guess to me that sounds like a lot of work and maintenance. I'd much rather automate my site and let consumers provide the content. Manually writing and creating pages is just something I can't enjoy doing.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  16. #16
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    Ah, found one from an old indy thread.

    http://www.affiliatewiz.com/ourclients.asp

    That's sofware that merchants can use to run their own program. And some of them have lists of the other merchants that use them like the link above. So you would have to go thru them and check them out. I would use the method I posted above about emailing them first to see if they respond, make sure they're still active, ask questions.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    Ahhh, I see. I guess to me that sounds like a lot of work and maintenance. I'd much rather automate my site and let consumers provide the content. Manually writing and creating pages is just something I can't enjoy doing.

    - Scott
    I recently taught myself how to handle datafeeds, and wordpress with a goal toward automating a site and letting consumers add content.

    But I just gotta talk....and keep adding stuff. Can't shut up. So I ended up with shopping blogs.

    Guess our differences ensure in the end that consumers truly do get choices!

    Lily

  18. #18
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    Snib,

    Another question. Do you think that consumer content is the best sales content for driving sales? Because when I go to some of these sites, a lot of it seems like drivel. And why would I trust these people? They come they go. I don't know them.

    This isn't meant to be critical. I'm watching the Steelers and Bengals play in the rain and my mind is wandering. I just always try and optimize my copy to drive sales.

    Lily

  19. #19
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Ah, found one from an old indy thread.

    http://www.affiliatewiz.com/ourclients.asp
    Thanks for the list Trust

    I wish you had posted the "old indy thread" -- it might be an interesting read especially in terms of comparing what the posters/contributors were looking for then (+ reactions) with the themes (+ posters/contributors thoughts/questions/reactions) running through this thread.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  20. #20
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    I did Bottom of post 11. Plus if you search on my nick and terms like indy hunting or indy, could be some more.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Lily
    Snib,

    Another question. Do you think that consumer content is the best sales content for driving sales? Because when I go to some of these sites, a lot of it seems like drivel. And why would I trust these people? They come they go. I don't know them.
    I think consumer content can be great if you can get enough of it coming in every day. It really depends on how you use it and what you consider content. For example Digg uses user content to rank stories. Consumers don't need to provide written content. They can provide content by simply clicking a link to better rank products, coupons, or merchants.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  22. #22
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    Trust just read your old indie thread.

    Have you been cutting back on your spaghetti feasts?

    Lily

  23. #23
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    What about independent affiliate programs (not on major networks such as CJ or LS) that ask you to sign up on a page that is not secure?

    I've found "indy programs" that I didn't follow through on because their "sign-up pages" were not secure (the sign-up page did not say https).

    I can't give out personal information on an insecure web page.
    (Instances like that scream out "identity theft possibility" to me)

    How do other affiliates feel?
    If there's money to be made through the affiliate program, then the people in charge of the program should provide a secure sign-up web page or there should be an option of submitting the personal details in conjunction with another private way.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Lily
    Trust just read your old indie thread.

    Have you been cutting back on your spaghetti feasts?

    Lily
    Not really Thursday is spaghetti night for me and it's always almost a full 16 oz. box. Can't help it, I love spaghetti and like to eat till I'm full. And I just got finished baking a cake. Temptation is on the counter, calling my name. I could eat that whole thing in one sitting but have to force myself to string it out over a few days.

  25. #25
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Not really Thursday is spaghetti night for me and it's always almost a full 16 oz. box. Can't help it, I love spaghetti and like to eat till I'm full.
    Maybe you could make a fortune on bottled spaghetti sauce and create an indy affiliate program
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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