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This is new to me. I'm used to affiliate programs where you just sign up and is given an affiliate link.
Anyone know anything about these programs where you have to be approved?
Some only want related sites. If you asked me it's the wrong way to go, but it's very common in the aff. networks.
I thought one of the other reasons was to not dilute the affiliate pool (that is, advertisers protecting its better publishers by not letting its ad revenue get spread too thin which would lead to publishers thinking they can do better elsewhere and removing the ads from an on-topic site).
I've been frustrated by this recently. There are ways around it, but I agree it is incredibly annoying.
I've been wondering what sort of tools/data the merchants have access to. Lately I've gotten a few emails from merchants "hey we see you're doing well selling <competitors products> We'd like you to sell our <related products> as well we give you $x/y% commision. To make it wasy we've already aproved you, so you can star generating links right away"
In the past I've been contacted by somebody within CJ who wanted to setup a conference call with the affiliate program manager of their competitor that I was already representing.
I think it's an in-house process with account managers scanning publisher records to maximize the revenues of publishers and CJ, as well as increase the performance of the merchants program.
Kind of along the same lines as when they push an offer to you through the network.
Also many times you will find that the programs that are auto-pilot are not as good at support and not as responsive as programs who have active screening managers. Many programs I know that do auto approvals do it because they don't really have anyone running the program or just have a busy online manager doing 10 other things that does not have too much time to get involved with affiliates.