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Getting Started - Affiliate Software & Networks

Discussion in 'Affiliate Management and Recruitment' started by ChrisViron, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. ChrisViron

    ChrisViron Affiliate affiliate

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    First of all, great forum you have here. This is a wonderful resource.

    I'm looking for insight on two areas (1) Software for merchants setting up an affiliate program; and (2) Info about the cost structure of major affiliate programs, such as CJ.com, linkshare.com and similiar other programs.

    A little background about me. I'm looking to start an affiliate program. I'm new to a lot of this and trying to figure out how to set it up. I would like to do some fairly advanced things in the future such as datafeeds that affiliates can use to promote my products. I'd also like to set something up like Amazons eshops. But that is way in the future, just wanted the reader to understand that i'm looking for programs that involve more that simple links and banners. On to my immediate areas of interest.

    (1) Software for merchants setting up an affiliate program.

    I contacted the people at myaffiliateprogram.com to get started. They seem solid, but their prices are high. They want $2,500 for the software license plus 30% of my affiliate payouts or $500 a month (whichever is greater). Sounds like they want the best of both worlds to me -- they get paid nicely if I flop and get a nice chunk of equity if I take off.

    My goal here is to make money, not to get the most sales or clicks. Paying out an extra 30% to my software tracking provider would seem to eat away at margins. There proposal seems a little more understandable if the Kilimbo.com network (owned by same company) was the only affiliate program that interested me. At least there they are adding the service of finding people to market for me.

    There's a lot of software out there and the prices range from around $100 to the structure I described under myaffiliateprogram.com So I'm looking for some guidance on which tracking company to sign up with. Do certain tracking companies have connection with networks such as CJ.com, linkshare.com, etc.? Do certain networks require you to either use their software or select from approved tracking software? Which tracking services have the best value?

    (2) Info about the cost structure of major affiliate programs, such as CJ.com

    What do companies like CJ.com, linkshare.com and others charge to be listed in their program? Is it an upfront cost, monthly service fee, percentage of affiliate payouts, or a blend? Are small-timers able to negotiate the price structure. I'd appreciate hard numbers if anyone would mind sharing.

    Thanks for all your help everyone,
    Chris
     
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  3. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Hi Chris,

    Welcome to 5 Star.

    Well 1st of all when you start a new program you either go with software OR a network, you don't need to do both. I recommend starting off with a network

    Linkshare charges around 10K for set-up, CJ charges around 5K but about 3K goes into a deposit toward future commission so it's like money in the bank waiting to be spent. CJ also charges 30% of affiliate payouts or $500 a month (whichever is greater). Last I checked, so this info could have changed.

    The networks I recommend cost much less. (Actually if you had a big brand and big budget, then I would recommend CJ.) But assuming you don't, I would look at

    <a href="http://shareasale.5staraffiliateprograms.com"target="_blank">ShareASale</a> Many affiliates prefer them over CJ. It's a much smaller network but still has lots of strong affiliates. Set-up is only 350. Then they only take 20% or min 25 for network access fees. They still serve your banners, pay your affiliates and do all the things the CJ network does.

    Another good option is <a href="http://www.5staraffiliateprograms.com/shareresults2"target="_blank">ShareResults </a>. They are one of my 5 Star clients and they really go above and beyond for both their merchants and affiliates. Their pricing is about the same as Shareasale. They are both really good options!

    Hope this helps at least point you in the right direction.
    Let me know if you have any other specific questions as you go along!
     
  4. ChrisViron

    ChrisViron Affiliate affiliate

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    thanks

    Thanks for the info Linda, those networks look promising. I'm learning a lot surfing this forum. If there are any links to articles or blogs pertaining to these topics I'd appreciate it. I know I have much to learn, but I feel that I'm going in the right direction.

    - Chris
     
  5. asr_guy

    asr_guy Affiliate affiliate

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    But first...

    Hi Chris,
    Also you might want to make sure your site is converting well before you get into adding an affiliate channel. Otherwise it's hard to recruit the super affiliates.

    Regards,
    Peter
     
  6. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Thanks Peter, thats a point I usually bring up.

    For some reason I assumed you had an established site Chris, but if the site, pricing or model are new the 1st thing you need to do is some PPC and conversion testing. Peter's right, the last thing you want to do is burn out affiliates and ruin your reputation if your site conversion isn't up to par.

    I recommend to merchants that arent sure about their conversions to do this before even THINKING about an affiliate program:

    Set up a PPC account at Google. Set it up to track your sales. Set up a budget of 1,000 or 5,000. NOW PRETEND you are an affiliate for YOUR program. Pretend pay yourself 10% or whatever you think you'll be paying affiliates. At the end of the 1,000 or 5,000 PPC spend did you make a pretend profit? Would YOU want to be an affiliate for YOUR program???

    Not that every affiliate will do PPC, that's not the point. The point is that PPC is the fastest more direct way to get sales. As you see your money leaking out the door YOU have the power to make tweaks in your copy, cart, pricing, offers, landing pages and YOU can test and tweak and improve conversions. Your job is conversions and sales - their is only to send youn the traffic.

    Many affiliates will test a new merchant and give them 200-500 clicks and if they dont get a sale they drop the merchant. IF they send lots of clicks and get 0 sales they often post in forums that the program is dishonest or the program is terrible and tell other affiliates not to join.

    Every affiliate and their expectations are different and various products have different conversion rates. Many affiliates shoot for a 1/100 conversion rate. But I think the average conversion rate for merchants is only about 2% but again varies by industry. So that will give you some guidelines.
     
  7. ChrisViron

    ChrisViron Affiliate affiliate

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    reply

    Thanks for the insight. I do have a PPC on Google & Overture and I've been happy with the results so far. Thanks for the insight on thinking about the affiliates conversion concerns. I'm going to take more time to research how to make my program appealing to affiliates. I've got to come up with a program that will appeal to affiliates, and I don't want to compete on price payouts alone. I'll search through other sections of this forum to come up with more ideas.

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  8. Candice91

    Candice91 Affiliate affiliate

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    Hi. I am very new to Affiliate Marketing and in fact this is my first post here on this forum! :) I know this site could be very helpful.

    We actually had setup an affiliate program and is ready to be launched in the next few weeks. I understand that to market that affiliate program, we need to do some kind of Pay per click, Yahoo//google which i am familiar with. But aside from that i have no more idea on how to market it further aside from those 2 networks that Linda has recommended.

    My question is that, are there any other tools out there that we can use for tracking?
     
  9. webfusion2

    webfusion2 New Member

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    Yes there are tracking tools out there that will do the job and more.

    I like to use http://www.adtrackzgold.com

    Check out there demo I'm sure you'll like this tool.


    Chad
     
  10. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Hi Candice, welcome to our world!

    Thanks Chad for sharing a tool our members may want to use.
     
  11. Candice91

    Candice91 Affiliate affiliate

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    Thanks for the welcome Linda. I saw the tool, fantastic! What i want to do rightnow is to use free affiliate networks if there are any. since i'mjust a newbie, i want to start with something that's free before i consider big budgets.

    Id also appreciate it if someone can share any good sites that i can buy banners from.
     
  12. webfusion2

    webfusion2 New Member

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