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Affiliate Marketing & Reputation Management???

Linda Buquet

Affiliate
affiliate
Just blogged this and wanted to throw it up for discussion.
Anyone have any thoughts?


A merchant's primary motivation for starting an affiliate program should be to increase sales (or leads) since affiliates only earn revenue when a sale is made or an action is taken. Some merchants "use affiliates" for branding and some "use their partners" to boost their search ranking - which really isn't fair since affiliates don't get paid for branding or link building.

However if you don't have an affiliate program yet and need another reason - besides sales - to start one, think of the reputation management benefits an affiliate channel can provide.

"<strong><a target="_new" href="http://www.firstpagefitness.com/blog/2007/07/05/every-brand-needs-an-affiliate-program-for-reputation-management/">Every Brand Needs an Affiliate Program for Reputation Management</a></strong>." What??? When I read this blog title in my feedreader, I totally skipped over it about 10 times because I had just never thought of affiliate programs this way before, so just didn't take the post seriously enough to click through and read it (even though it had <a target="_new" href="http://sphinn.com/story/160">19 Sphinns</a>). Now that I finally stopped to see what it was all about, I have to admit the article raises some interesting points. Everett writes:
<blockquote>"Even if you don?t make huge profits from offering an affiliate program you should still have one. Here?s why: ...there are sites out there that make money selling other people?s products. ... some of these are comparison shopping websites. The people who own these sites are more likely to advise their readers to choose the product that they get a commission on instead of your product. <strong>Even if yours is clearly superior. </strong> <a target="_new" href="http://www.firstpagefitness.com/blog/2007/07/05/every-brand-needs-an-affiliate-program-for-reputation-management/">More</a>..."</blockquote>
To take the concept one step further... if you are a small unknown brand you can also get increased exposure and a reputation jumpstart, if you offer higher commissions than the name brands. Not sure it's necessarily right, but many affiliates will list or review products higher, that pay more. So if your new "Coolio Mouse" gets great reviews and is ranked above the Microsoft Mouse on a bunch of affiliates sites, don't you think that will give both your sales and your reputation a boost?

So now can we add RMS (Reputation Management Specialist) to the long list of acronyms in the affiliate marketing industry?
 
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