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Is hiring an affiliate management company the right solution
A good company would be able to give you advice on everything from which software to use for your program, to the best offers to attract affililates. Many affiliate schemes (especially new ones) find that a small number of high profile affiliates will provide the bulk of sales, and so look for a company likely to have the right contacts.
Expertise in setting up a campaign will always improve performance from the start, but whether it's worthwhile is really a question of scale: if it's small in financial terms then the returns will be correspondingly small and may fail to justify the high cost associated with buying in expertise. But then, a good company should also be quick to tell you if an affiliate program is likely to be cost-effective, taking into account competing programs, the size of the market and so on.
So far I've spoken with a number of Outsourced Affiliate Management companies and it seems that most are e-commerce based that use the bigger networks, and will add CPA networks depending on the product/service. From what I can tell, there are no OAM services that specialize in CPA networks? hmmm...
The other part is that if you can go about adding an affiliate platform yourself slowly, if time isn't an issue, then you will save a ton of money.
There's always confusion because of crossover and sometimes sloppy language. Affiliates are usually more concerned with sales of actual goods or services, quite often on a percentage basis. Cost per action can be a newsletter signup, request for a quote, download a piece of software, etc., usually on a fixed price basis.