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Affiliates Forum

Affiliates: What catches your eye?
Curious from the other end.

 8:27 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Affiliates:

I'm looking at starting an affiliate program for potential partners for a piece of software we're bringing to market very shortly. I need ideas on what would make you want to join.

I'm very new to the whole affiliate world, and have read and talked to a few people, but wanted to get a more "worldly community" view of what catches your eyes in choosing products and services to promote. I'll explain below what my general idea is going ahead for this affiliate program, and I think it's okay within the terms of the charter, but please mod me out if not. :)

All thoughts/comments are appreciated. Here's where I am so far:

- Since this piece of software is based upon an ASP-model, where it is billed monthly, I was thinking of paying partners monthly for each client signed up, for the entire time the client used the software. This monthly reward would be a percentage of the monthly fee for the software (the initial thought was between 10%-20% of the monthly fee) for the life of the client.

- Commissions earned would be paid monthly, with no minimum.

- Traffic to the site doesn't count. Only successful sales will be paid out.

- No upper limit.

As I said before, I need ideas. What makes the relationship valuable for you? What would you like to see retailers doing for you, as an affiliate?



 8:38 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Multitier system
if its a monthly service then reoccuring commission.
ooo and the bonus points to get stuff from the 'shop' is always fun :D


 9:00 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yeah, as I stated above, we were definitely considering the monthly commission.

But Multi-Tier? Does that really entice you? From the archives, I've gathered that most stay away from MT programs!


 9:29 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am evaluating an email program that has a similar model to what you are considering - ASP - nice sized on-going residuals PLUS it is 2 tier.

Ongoing residuals will make your program very strong and attractive to affiliates. Because of your product and the fact that it deals with e-Marketing, I would strongly recommend a 2 tier program. I personally know a bunch of affiliates that would jump on this if were 2 tier. Multi-tier is nice for those of us who know how to recruit other affiliates - I like multi-tier programs - but to some people it starts looking a little MLMish. I think 2 tier would be best and is an accepted e-commerce model. My 2 cents.

What are you planning to use for affiliate tracking? Your program can have the best commission structure but affiliates need to feel confident your tracking is solid and you pay on time. ( I assume since you are in the biz you will design your own - just be sure it's bullet proof. )

[edited by: Catalyst at 9:36 pm (utc) on July 10, 2003]


 9:35 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

1 of the biggest things overlooked is YOUR website and usability etc etc.

You can have the greatest product in the world, along with fabulos payouts, but if the "targeted traffic" that your affiliates send does NOT convert, than its NO good.

2 tier is a superb vehicle to use, no more or it starts getting a bit messy (imo).

Go a bit further than standard banners and buttons, how about bespoke content, white label order forms, or co-brand.

just some ideas for you to think about.


We don't join affiliate programs, they join us

copyright: Brett Tabke and RC Jordan


 9:43 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Residual commission is a huge pull to me.

I couldn't care less about 2nd tier. However, there are some out there that do.

Do you want mass, as many affiliates as you can possibly get? Or would you rather have a few select, hand-picked top guys. Answering that tells you whether you need add'l tiers or not.


 10:52 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all of the suggestions so far. Shak - Good to hear from you again - I don't know if you remember, but we had dinner together with Brett et. al. in early June in London.

Catalyst said:

What are you planning to use for affiliate tracking?

At this point, we're not planning to design an in-house solution, because I have no idea what affiliates desire in the way of a tracking application. If anyone has any suggestions, please sticky them to me (since I don't think this forum allows for name dropping).

Shak said:

1 of the biggest things overlooked is YOUR website and usability etc etc.

I am very aware of this. This is something I'm addressing personally. :)

Go a bit further than standard banners and buttons, how about bespoke content, white label order forms, or co-brand.

Interesting. Basically, make a packet for affiliates that lets them create a site from scratch? Great idea. Co-brand is definitely something being considered as well.

And your quote from rcjordan and Brett is dead on. Which is why I'm asking here at WW. :)

Drastic said:

Residual commission is a huge pull to me.

I figured it would be to most. From a merchant's standpoint, and an affiliate standpoint, it's only fair. I've learned this from reading the archives, as well.


Now, a couple of questions I just thought of:

1. Demo period - The thought was to offer a demo period (30-60 days). My initial thought was to not pay commission until the user actually became a paying customer. How do affiliates feel about having a delay for a possible commission? What timeperiod would be acceptable? And if no delay is acceptable, what do you feel is acceptable compensation for demo periods? (i.e. small percentage of monthly, number of demos signed, etc.). I'm shying away from paying for demos because of the potential for abuse. Thoughts?

2. Right to refusal: For technical, moral, legal, and other reasons, we may feel it necessary to refuse persual of a client. What are affiliates thoughts on this? Do you have any experience with right to refusal clauses in current agreements?

Thanks again for all the great advice!


 11:34 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Demo Period: A couple ways you can address this. First you can just pay out based on how many people download the demo. If you know your conversion rate of getting the demo users to actually buy the product you can figure out how much you can pay your affiliates. Obvoiusly you would have to pay less than if the person actually made the purchase but that would do away with a waiting period. Example: If you were to have 10% of the demo users buy the product and were willing to pay $10 for every purchase you could just pay $1 for every demo download. I know I don't like delays. It kind of scares me away from program a bit. You could always pay bonuses based on conversion as well so if you have some affiliates who are converting the demos into sales you could reward them further.


 12:11 am on Jul 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, you got my attention with your headline and lost it as soon I realized that my potentiall earnings depend on factors I donīt have ANY control of.

Commission based on usage?

The only thing I can do (maybe) is to send potential customers (your customers) to your website.

I do NOT sell your software, do I?
I am NOT responsible for Customer Care, am I?
I have NO way of controlling if a customer stays with your product or not (you are not giving me your customer list so I can check, are you?).

So, why in Gods name should I join a program that is not willing to pay me for the ONLY thing it allows me to do (and therefore I am able to influence) - SENDING YOU (targeted, preselected) TRAFFIC? - This is on a CPC basis and it better be higher than $0.01 per visitor (click)!

However, I am sure you will find plenty of affilliates if you make the carrot big enough. How about a bonus of $1000 if customers still use your software after 5 years :,)


 12:22 am on Jul 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

So, why in Gods name should I join a program that is not willing to pay me for the ONLY thing it allows me to do (and therefore I am able to influence) - SENDING YOU (targeted, preselected) TRAFFIC?

That's a great question, and one I've thought over at great length myself. The only answer I have for you is that it is in my best intrest to keep them as a client too. I'm open to all suggestions. If you have a suggestion for some sort of traffic metric to pay affiliates for, please share it.

Shak mentioned above co-branding and providing materials to affiliates so they can essentially market the product themselves. So I suppose the answer to your question could (if this direction is taken) be "Yes, you can sell the software.". I don't know if that is the best solution, though.

Again, I'm trying to create the perfect program, so it benefits everyone concerned. Please keep shooting holes in this. I've learned a great deal already. :)


 12:39 am on Jul 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just noticed that in:


Shak mentioned

VERY difficult to do correct ROI on affiliate programs, as you normally do NOT have access to the sale/confirmation page to match user>purchase..

As an affiliate, if the merchant offered this information, would it be of any help? Meaning, if the merchant can tell you which clicks converted (at least filled out a contact form, possibly even sales information), would it be of benefit?


 1:32 am on Jul 11, 2003 (gmt 0)


I guess it depends on what you really want as a product seller.

Do you want to build a sales force who are selling your product? Then you find plenty of patterns that work very well in the "real world" and I dont see a reason why you could not transfer those models onto the net.

E.G. Allow affiliates to build a site dedicated to your product (call it a "Net Franchise") incld. co-branding, and provide them with marketing tools like banners, sales pitches etc.. Make sure to match customers to the affiliate (kind of "even though he is buying my product, its your customer - take care of him") with all the reporting that goes along. An approach like this has implications. e.g. If an upgrade of your software becomes available, the affiliate has to contact the customers to notify them (customer care = follow up commission).

This also means more work for you in terms of affiliate education about your product and enabling them to handle customer complaints etc. and therefore building a "real" business relationship".

On the other extreme: If you goal is to get as many affilliates as possible to send (hopefully targeted) traffic to your website where you make the conversation (sales) and pay as little as possible for it, then, have a look at Amazons affiliate program and simply "translate" it to your needs.

Plain advertising: If you are looking for an idea how much to pay under a CPC model you may have a look at Googles Adwords - You will be able to discover how much it costs you to get traffic from Google - pay 50% of that to affiliates and they will be more than happy (I guess they would make a real hard effort to send you as much traffic as possible)!

Under any circumstances, I would guess it would be a wise idea if you set up some kind of budget to promote your product, assign a goal to it, track everything you can and after six month sit down for a week to analyze your data, learn from it and ajust your marketing - After all, we are talking about marketing.

Just an idea that crossed my mind right now. How about a multi level program? Affiliates start out with a CPC model and, if qulified over time, can be promoted to an Amazon like model and eventually become a "net-franchise"?

Helps you to sort out non-performers and build a trusting business relationship with high performing affiliates that can be turned into a real "outlet" of your products.


 1:37 am on Jul 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

BTW: If you look into the AdSense thread you will find plenty of food for thought



 3:35 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

You mentioned
"- No upper limit." That to me is like saying the program is run by amateurs. If an affiliate program is set up so that the merchant makes money why would there be a need to say no upper limits?

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