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  1. #1
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    Does "In House" usually mean exclusive?
    I just noticed that one of my best advertisers now has an in-house affiliate program. This worries me. I mean, wouldn't the only reason be that they would do that be to cut costs and stop outsourcing to affiliate networks? Does anyone know if the majority of advertisers with in-house programs still have programs with other networks, or if is usually not the case? Thanks.

  2. #2
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    A lot of programs have both in house and on a network

    I just use 1 though, and thats newegg.

  3. #3
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    I think that in most cases, a merchant's addition of an in-house program is simply "an extra option," not a signal that the outsourced program will end.

    For 10+ years, I've recommended to my consulting clients that their affiliate programs be built on the "foundation" of an in-house tracking solution, which ideally allows for in-house affiliates as well as processing traffic from one or more affiliate networks. The same solution can also be used to track non-affiliate activity (including organic search, PPC search, and other advertising) in a consistent way, even though other tools may also be used to manage those.

    However, there are a lot of benefits that an affiliate network can provide which generally offset the potentially-higher costs (note that a network solution is actually cheaper than an in-house solution, for nearly all small merchants and many medium-sized merchants).

    Among those benefits: Consolidated Payment; Common Reporting Interface; use of trusted intermediary; standard linking format; ease and standardization of datafeed access; network pre-screening of affiliates.

    If a merchant feels that their current solution is not cost-effective, they may replace an outsourced solution with an in-house solution (as a few Kowabunga merchants have done since Kowabunga jacked up its fees and pushed away many of its long-term clients). However, in most cases I think merchants who add an "in-house program" are unlikely to abandon a successful and profitable affiliate-network relationship. In some cases, merchants have "secret in-house programs" which are offered only to the best-performing affiliates, often allowing the merchant and affiliate to each benefit from eliminating the intermediary's fees -- but at the cost of also eliminating the third-party monitoring and reporting, among other benefits.

    My suggestion: just ask. In the past, when I've seen "signs of transition," I've emailed the affiliate manager to ask specific questions (for example, when a Kowabunga client added another network option, I asked and was told that yes, they planned to drop the Kowabunga solution some time in the next few months, and they advised me that there would be two alternate networks I could work with).

  4. #4
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    To me, in-house means more than one hand is in the cookie jar and often insufficient time and expertise by the in-house staff to monitor for affiliate fraud. So while they often pitch it as a higher comm % available via savings from the network's removal, they forget that a good network does more than read a cookie - and those things go away when the network is removed.

    The network has the power of aggregated stats making fraud easier to detect and monitor, they have the scale to make it more effective - and it's in their interest to know these things. The network is supposed to be a partner to the merchant, so advertising to me, that you're going it alone, means I'm going to ask a lot of questions to determine if you're capable of that - it's rarely the case.

    I'll work with merchants exclusive to a good network long before I'll consider working with one that's got parallel programs running, one at that same network. If you choose to complicate your policing, and to automate last-in detection and switching, I'll more than likely find your in-house affs tagging you in ways you didn't think were happening.

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    We had parallel programs running, from '03 until June of this year, it was a PIA.

    We are very happy that we are managing just one source at SAS.
    Bob Pets Warehouse
    Worlds Largest Pet Supply DataBase
    Join our Share-A-Sale Program [since 2003] Twitter



  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador
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    BDS has run in-house since 4/2003 and on SAS since 01/14/2005 without any problems.

    The same terms apply to both programs.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
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    Yeah, I just see it as another option. Maybe you don't like the network they're on and you have the option of working with the inhouse program. And a lot of times, the commission is higher with the inhouse.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the input everyone. It just seems strange to me that the in-house program is less than half of the compensation you recieve from the network I'm currently with. I'm hoping everything stays the way it is.

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