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-access to a big pool of affiliates (low affiliate recruitment costs)
-effective tracking of traffic/conversions
[edited by: jcoronella at 12:47 am (utc) on Aug. 30, 2005]
[edit reason] removed specifics / competitor [/edit]
With an in-house program:
-Software is typically cheaper
-You probably will need a dedicated person to manage, recruit, and grow the program
-You have direct access to your affiliate's info (email, phone, addresses) for marketing/retention
-More flexbility to customize your program
I think it comes down to money and resources (doesn't everything). With a network, you can pay them to do everything for you (but you'll pay them alot). With inhouse, your fees "should" be lower, but you'll need a dedicated AM. You'll have to weigh the costs/benefits of each. Some companies eventually end up doing both.
Keep in mind that an affiliate network most likely will not be a "set it and forget it" solution. If you really want to grow your program, you're going to have to promote it on your side as well and constantly keep your eyes open for new prospects. Sure the network will help, but I wouldn't count on it to solve ALL of your problems.