|Something I don't understand about affiliate networks|
Very often, when applying to an affiliate network, we're asked to specify a website, and they suggest that they or the merchants will look at it and decide if my site "matches" their business.
But the thing is:
(a). The site that I use when applying is not necessarily the one that I will use when applying to different merchants' affiliate program. Obviously I'd want the ability to present a different site to each merchant that I apply to, and is this even possible?
(b). What if I don't want to use a website to promote the affiliate programs? I may want to use PPC (direct linking), for example. Would they still force me to present a website?
I think that in most cases they want to see a website because it tells them that you are ready to promote their product/service. Affilate networks probably get hundreds of signups by affiliates who never go on to promote them and this is a way of weeding those out.
And some merchants are very concerned about their brand and what context it appears in. For example, not all merchants are willing to be associated with other brands or services on a website even if they get sales out of it.
That said, if a merchant allows you to advertise via PPC without a website, send them off an email and let them know of your plans. They basically just want to know that you are serious and have a plan for promoting them.
Some networks like CJ enable you to put in multiple websites so the merchants can see them all. Others like LinkShare don't I don't think, but could be wrong there. It definitely helps if you at least have some good looking related site to get started. Once you can prove you can generate some sales, it gets easier to get accepted to new programs and get help getting accepted by people at the network and in merchants.
Likewise, some networks enable you to list your promotion methods in which case it should be pretty easy for merchants to gt an idea of how you will promote them.
I've been wrestling with this for a while now too. I've got sort of a patchwork quilt of various sites about different topics - it's impossible to list them all on the application.
I finally just recently decided to create sort of a "portfolio" type of site for this purpose. It has my business name and a short bio of who I am, what I do, the industries I publish in or promote, methods used to promote affiliate sites, etc. But a word of caution: I haven't used it yet to apply for any new programs, so the verdict is not in yet on whether I can vouch for it being a good idea (or not).
Thanks a lot for the replies. I appreciate it.
CatLady, your suggestion is brilliant indeed, and I actually think that it can work well. Coincidentally, I talked to a super affiliate and he suggested the very same thing (i.e: building a portfolio site).
[edited by: eljefe3 at 5:24 am (utc) on Nov. 29, 2007]
I really can't take credit for the idea - I heard of it from a super-affiliate as well! :)
Many times, if you simply explain that your website is irrelevant and you will be using PPC (or, if it's the case, ad networks) to drive traffic, they will let you in. Some may contact you to better understand your intentions.
A few networks -- bound by the limitations of their traditional views -- may insist on a website anyway. You're probably better off not dealing with them.
Like CatLady, I've created a "portfolio" site which explains how I participate in affiliate programs (with both niche sites and PPC), and listing links to a couple dozen of my active web sites, as well as listing some past success stories.
I use this "affiliate role" URL as the web page I list in affiliate applications.
Quite often, merchants click to my "affiliate role" page, see that it's not actually a web site for consumer, and then blindly reject me because my "portfolio page" isn't a web site about widgets. I've found this to be a very successful "screen" to exclude "clueless merchants" from my efforts.
This month, ShareASale actually added a text box to the "join program" form for each merchant, so affiliates can provide specific information in the application email -- thus, if I am applying to a widget merchant, I could list my widget-world-dot-com web site in this text box, and when I am applying to a grommet web site, I could list my grommets-r-us-dot-com web site.
I belong to a dozen or so affiliate programs.
I did not have a site to show them. On the application when I had applied, I put I am a search marketer in the comments area.
Then I would receive a call from their office to be certain I was a real person and I am serious about promoting their products.
I again explained, all I do is search marketing, period.
Never had a problem.