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Comparing Large Affiliate Networks from a Merchant's View

CJ, Performics, Befree, Linkshare, etc.

     
4:34 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I am currently looking to find a large affiliate network to join (CJ, Performics, Befree, or Linkshare) and I wanted to see if anyone would share their experience, as a merchant with any of these networks.

I am about to sign the contract with Performics as they have been the most helpful and most ready to meet my needs as a merchant. They also have assured me they will be able to get my program a good number of leads immediately through the websites they have close relationships with. I am a little hesitant, though, because they aren't in the public eye as much as CJ is. I know Performics is a large, reputable network but I am just unclear as to how they perform.

The basic merchant plans for Befree, Linkshare and CJ seem to give you a basic affiliate program setup and exposure on their network website where publishers can stumble upon your program. On the other hand, Performics is telling me they are going to take it into their own hands to push my program and acquire great affiliates for me.

Anyone here ever use Performics, or the other networks. Are you pleased with their performance and how long did it take to see true results from them?

2:11 pm on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I am in the same boat - I liked linkshare's program, but the best I could negotiate with them was 3% of sales with a floor of $2k/mo. That means that until I reach $66k per month in channel sales, I will be paying them more than 3% Too pricey for me - now I'm not sure what I'll do...
3:57 pm on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I've signed us up with Performics, hopefully it will go well and I'll sign up with some of the other networks as well.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes for us.

8:46 pm on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Performics is a part of the same parent company as Commission Junction, which is Ideal Labs.

AffiliateFuel, though small, is a good network. When I say small, I mean they don't have a large number of merchants, though I do believe they have a good number of affiliates.

2:29 am on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Todd Crawford from CJ is in this forum maybe he can give you some info on why CJ is better (or the benefits). I was with BeFree for quite a while and they are good but give the most attention to the BIG folks.
6:45 am on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hey Sally,
Thanks for the input.

Who would you call a "big folk"? Our affiliate program is lead based and has a very broad interest and our payout rates are competitive if not better than all of the industry leaders.

Also, how did you perceive these bigger programs getting treated better and what did they get that you did not?

3:54 am on Aug 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Cj is the best from a publisher perspective of the bigger networks because they offer consolidated payment, direct deposit in three currencies, and check issuing in multiple currencies.
Publishers will experiment with CJ advertisers because anything earned is combined with their normal payments to arrive at a single balance.

With Linkshare or Befree you have to earn X amount of dollars with one program alone before being paid.
As a merchant one might think you should be happy that those who probably will not reach a minimum balance will not be using you. But in reality many publishers who experiment because of consolidated payments may in fact find your program works well and be top performers.

As a publisher I see little advantage to running a program that is with Linkshare or Befree vs in house.
Payments with Linkshare depend on the merchant sending the money as Linkshare isn't usually the one issuing the checks.
So the same will I get paid worries a publisher has with in house programs they will have with Linkshare programs.

I suggest CJ for broad reach and Clixgalore possibly to reach the few you will because they only require a $75 starting balance which is used to pay affiliates. Consider that cheap advertising. If you can justify the setup fees of Fineclicks and Shareasale their lack of monthly minimum fees might make them a good option to use too as "advertising" expenses.

If I was running an affiliate program for my own product or service I would test things out with a network with low fees and no monthly minimums like Clixgalore or Fineclicks first. If things work out I would join CJ.
I have seen at least two CJ merchants join Clickxchange or Clixgalore to offer similar programs to reach people they otherwise wouldn't in the last year too. So even Cj merchants see the benefits of the smaller networks.

6:26 am on Aug 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I actually had tried to start a merchant program with Performics, and they said that they would not want to do business with my company, because we did not gross over 10,000,000 USD per year.

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6:42 pm on Aug 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I am also looking at CJ. Currently I am with AffiliateShop. The problem with them is that they don't run much of a network or manage payments. The mainly provide software that does the tracking.

CJ while bigger is also very expensive to operate: 30% on each transaction! Affiliateshop only charges a monthly fee!

Currently my monthly payout on Affiliate shop is around $450 to my serious affiliates. Any idea how much this figure will go up after migrating to CJ?

8:45 pm on Aug 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Cj has a $500 minimum monthly fee regardless of how much in sales you generate.

They require

Setup Fee: $2250
Requres $3000 in escrow or more to pay your affiliates with
Minimum Monthly Fee $500
Commission Rate: 20 to 30 percent of affiliate payout

So it looks like you would be at the $500 a month minimum with your current affiliate payout levels and it would not be economical to join CJ.

11:46 am on Aug 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

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the whole bet with CJ is that it will boost sales via affiliates.
7:55 pm on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I bet CJ is owned by Micro$oft! Must be with those fees, how can anyone make any money.

Youve really got to go some there!

4:32 am on Aug 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well, I am aware of all the fees that go along with these networks. What I am looking for is more detailed information from merchants who have actually ran affiliate programs in these networks. I want to see who is happy with what network and how much of personal investment was involved to get the affiliate from the network to make significant referrals.
10:05 pm on Aug 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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hobbnet,

I have been working with several of the top networks. Don't have time to type alot right now so excuse abbreviations and typos and I'll just give you a bunch of insight and experiences.

One of my clients had a program with both Performics and CJ. I manage the program on CJ for them and do a ton of recruiting. They closed Performics about a month ago and merged all the affiliate into CJ because they felt they were not getting that much support and not many new affiliates through P.

Another clients runs on a bunch of networks. He has one of the top EPCs on CJ, plus a pretty strong private program. He is also running DarkBlue and some other smaller networks. We just launched on BeFree this month. When I get time, maybe tomorrow I will post some of the concerns he has about BeFree. Mainly a lack of ways to promote to BF affiliates. They don't offer EPC ratings or have a way for you to recruit new affiliates through the system like CJ does. He's getting ready to launch on ShareASale next, so I'll let you know how that goes.

One of my other clients does over 1 million a month on CJ and they just launched less than 1 year ago. I launched a program from the ground up on CJ for my previous employer. When I left they were getting a 1400% ROI. I am a HUGE CJ fan. Is it obvious why? CJ is not perfect and many of my other clients have great private programs - it just takes more recruiting effort on my part to attract strong partners. But for most merchants (not all) I typically recommend CJ for a lot of reasons, not just the ones I mentioned.

Hope this helps

.

12:17 am on Aug 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the insight Catalyst.

That is good to hear about CJ but your info about Performics worries me since I have already inked a deal with them.

After signing up as a merchant with CJ how long does it take to see traction with affiliates? I am running a cost per lead deal that requires the users to input a couple pages of info. Do you have experience with these types of deals or do you typically manage % of sales programs?

Thanks again

3:18 pm on Aug 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

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hobbnet,

Performics is a good network and I did not mean to imply they are not, so I think you will be fine. Every merchant's needs and experiences are different. Since the merchant I mentioned was working on 2 networks side by side they made a decision based on what was best for them at the time.

"After signing up as a merchant with CJ how long does it take to see traction with affiliates?"

Well it depends somewhat on the merchant, the recruiting effort, the offer and how well the merchant site converts. CJ says and I agree that is takes a full 90 days to completely launch a program. Complete launch and total sales success however are 2 separate things.
Too many merchants think they can just put an affiliate program out there and the networks will do all the work.
This simply is not true with any network. Just like any other business endeavor - the more you put in - the more you get back.

All the merchants I currently work with are pay by sale, but I think pay per lead programs are good also and some affiliates prefer them. I just don't happen to have a PPL merchant right now, but that's by chance not design.

Some of the best advice I can give you (Off topic) is to run a clean program - NO parasites! Let your publishers know you have taken this important stance. Treat your affiliate partners like real partners! If you have a good offer that converts and can get the word out there, you have a good chance at growing a successful affiliate sales channel.

.

7:50 am on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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You might want to use affiliatefuel for a lead based program. They do not cost as much, from what I understand, as other networks. I believe they do have merchants tweak their landing pages/sign-ups to be affiliate friendly. The cheaters out there probably don't like this, hence the small network at affiliatefuel. This of course, is imho.

Websponsors has a lot of advertisers with lead based programs as well. You might want to check them out.

8:36 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Die_hard,

I have heard some really good things about Affiliate Fuel too, but have not worked with them yet. The other lower cost option that is very respected by affiliates is Sharesale. I didn't re-scan this thread so not sure if anyone already mentioned them. SAS is only $150 set-up and 20%.

9:01 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Shareasale.com is ok, lots of affiliates, but mostly incentive sites. You will have your share of fruadulent leads, but this can be easily seen by the way you track your leads. If you have a decent system, then you should be able to spot the fraudlent leads w/o to much of a problem. Once the affiliates know that you are not going to put up with that type of bull$**t, your numbers will go down, as with the fraud, and only legitamit leads will be turning up. But don't expect a halo of leads from Shareasale. Better than most, but not like CJ or Befree.

CompWorld

9:11 am on Sept 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think CJ is at the upper echelon of the merchant programs. Befree and Linkshare are a close second, and then Shareasale, clickxchange, and possibly websponsors rounds out the third tier. Assuming you can get anyone at websponsors to return your call or e-mail.

I do not believe that any of the other merchant program providers are worth the hassle that I know of. Since CJ is at the top, they can cherry pick the sites they want to do business with, and the sites they do not. For the fees that they charge, I would assume that they have in person visits with their merchant partners. Befree I have no complaints about. They are on the dime with both their affiliate base and merchant partners. Linkshare, I am not too crazy about. They charge their affiliates a few for a lot of services that most successful webmasters use, but then again, so does CJ.

Take it for what it is worth. You have to think long and hard in picking which provider to use. Hands down, I would choose Befree over the other two. The other two are not on the ball for most of their merchants and affiliates. With the second and third tier sites, you get what you pay for. But Clickxchange is not really worth the minimum monthly fee.

CompWorld

 

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