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Affiliates Forum

Inhouse Affiliates vs. Network Affiliates
Trusting the tracking and payments

 10:29 am on May 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I run several affiliate programms on my site that go through a affiliate network (cj, tradedoubler). However, there are some merchants out there who sell perfect products related to my site's topic but offer inhouse affiliate programs instead of joining a network.

Since i distrust all and everybody out there in the business world, i feel better with quality affiliate networks than with inhouse affiliates. What is your experience with inhouse affiliates? Should i try it and trust the tracking they do and their payments? Do some of you have bad or good experiences with inhouse affiliates? Should i only join inhouse affiliate programms if the merchants have big names (most of them don't)?

I'll set up my own online shop to get more than affiliate commissions but until the shop is finished i'll have to live with affiliate programms.



 12:52 pm on May 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've been badly burned by inhouse programs in the past, and I strongly suspect I'm not alone in that. The flipside is, if you find the right program the rewards can be huge:

- inhouse programs don't have to pay a slice of commission to the network meaning more money is available to the affiliate.

- inhouse programs tend to be more obscure, in some industries you have the chance to pretty much dominate the market for that merchant/product without 100s or 1000s of other affiliates all pushing the same program.

It's a weigh-up between risk and potential reward, but you can minimise the risk by only sending a trial amount of traffic to the merchant until you're satisfied they'll pay - ie don't get in too deep initially.

It also helps to pester the merchant with questions etc once you've signed up, if they respond well to your emails it's more likely they're trustworthy.

Finally, you should really do a test purchase to ensure you're getting the credit (if that's possible).


 3:55 pm on May 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I almost always prefer to deal with inhouse programs. Generally speaking they provide better commissions, better service, and are more open to negotiation. I usually try to find 1 or 2 inhouse programs for a site and then backfill it with network affilite sites.


 4:15 pm on May 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

What DrCool said.

Some of the best money to be made is through independent programs.


 4:16 pm on May 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Mix them up and see which work best for your site.

An in house program run by a good affiliate manager can work exceptionally well. Before committing your traffic check out to see which other affiliates use the inhouse scheme, if its been on their site for a long term then theirs often a good reason.



 6:34 am on May 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Many thanks for telling about your experiences!

>It's a weigh-up between risk and potential reward, but you can minimise the risk by only sending a trial amount of traffic

Yeah, that's what i allready do even with new network affiliate programs. I just start with them with a limited amount of traffic. If ctr and sales are ok, i allways can increase the traffic.

>Finally, you should really do a test purchase to ensure you're getting the credit (if that's possible).

Simple and effective - why didn't i think about this ... i'll do test purchases - thanks for this simple tip! ;)


 6:56 am on May 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Besides network merchants can screw you almost as easily as independents.

The whole process only works if it is in the merchants' interests to reward the affiliate.


 8:53 am on May 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

> network merchants can screw you almost as easily as independents

Very true, there's one particular CJ merchant springs to mind who's notorious for near-100% chargeback levels...


 12:49 pm on May 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

>one particular CJ merchant springs to mind who's notorious for near-100% chargeback levels

Uhmm, would you mind to tell me the cj category or sticky me details?


 5:59 pm on May 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I prefer and exclusivly use clickbank now a days. When the sell goes through click bank automatically adds the money to my account and then sends me an email. The downside is you have to wait for the check as they hold it to cover any charge backs. Also for merchants it is a good solution as well because they have a directory and it is easy to get affiliates. The only trick to them or any affiliate network is that you really still need a site of your own to redirect and encrypt the affiliate link. This way people do not just sign up and use there affiliate code and cheat you out of the sell.


 1:48 pm on May 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

The only trick to them or any affiliate network is that you really still need a site of your own to redirect and encrypt the affiliate link.
urasuccess, Can you explaint this a little further?


 11:18 pm on May 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

As manager of an in-house program, I can say that running things outside of the networks gives us more freedom to adjust our program and sites. That translates back to our affiliates getting the new features they ask for, better commissions, etc.

The networks offer a valuable service, and a lot of great programs, but don't let a few bad apples spoil your taste for independant programs either.

Another test for any program you consider joining is to ask questions - even before you send sales or traffic. You want to know that the program has real people behind it and that they reply to questions.




 1:22 am on May 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

Many inhouse programs are run by affiliate software from trusted companies like Directtrack, AffiliateTrends, MYAP, etc. I see no reason why you would trust the tracking any less with these companies as this is there whole biz.

I feel like it's nearly impossible to make the really big dough with a network partner as they just don't offer the same deals and flexibility. If given the choice I steer clear of cj and linkshare programs and opt for a program run by a company that has their own staff to handle affiliates.


 9:03 pm on May 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm with DrCool and Drastic on this one.

In-house programs are also more likely to have flexible links (link to any page on their site), cobrands (so your stuff is on their server, their bandwidth, storage fees, etc...), and also they (inhouse programs) are usually more "game" to new commision rates, ideas, tactics, and suggestions from their affiliates. Most answer the phone and know who you are when you call. Some even call you when something is up.

On the networks I feel like a number. Send an email and maybe get an answer. Here's twenty crappy banners that you can use to drive sales to us.
Don't get me wrong, some of the advertisers on the networks have very good affiliate relations and nice tools for the job of linking, but some programs on the networks are DOA in the linking dept.

As for indy's that go network, I got burnt on that once:
<begin rant>

Dear <affiliate_name>,

After offering a datafeed for one hundred thousand products and easy flexible linking for over two years through our inhouse program, we have reworked our entire site and decided to go with <affiliate_network>.

Besides the fact that we are giving up all of our backlinks to <affiliate_network>, all of your of links are now dead. Please log in to <affiliate_network> and use the crappy interface where flexible linking is a nightmare to get your new links.

Oh yeah, the old inhouse program still tracks your clicks and sales, but we have tweaked it so it does not calculate your affiliate earnings. We will not answer any emails about this fact either, so don't bother asking.

We are very sorry that we are leaving some of our best performing affiliates hanging, but <affiliate_network> is down with spyware. They told us that we could make alot more money if it was easier for their spyware affiliates to jack all your links and overwrite your cookies.

Best of luck.


<end rant>

ahhh....I feel much better now :)


 7:17 pm on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)


There are a few reasons why you want your own site to promote an affiliate program. By using your own site you can get search engine placement, also you can place a subscibe box to your newsletter or free item, buy doing this it is easier to promote plus the average person will look at an offer no less than 7 times before buying it. So by being able to market your product at a later date you will sell more. Also because they do not see an affiliate link in your URL it looks better as well as helps prevent them from just signing up themselves and cheating you out of your commisions. Also with most affiliate programs there are hundreds of members selling or promoting the same thing this allows you to be a little different and stand out. Also you will be able to check your server logs and this allows you to see where your customers are coming from and what words they are using to find you. This allows you to spend your marketing funds more efficently and also to increase sells.

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