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from webmaster (publisher) point of view:
What makes an affiliate-program attractive:
-Are there any other criteria?
How important is it to get links, banners, images, product reviews ... easily from the merchants?
Do you have an example for a good affiliate program (I only know Amazon)?
Probably a few more too, I'll have a think.
All too often you'll find that a well known bricks and mortar name has an affiliate program mainly as a vehicle for advertising. Mysteriously, despite a good click through rate, few, if any, conversions seem to take place. Tracking is highly questionable.
I look for:
1. An affiliate manager.
2. A cookie. This indicates a positive attitude toward affiliates.
3. Monthly payments (or better), made on time.
4. 800 number is not prominently displayed.
5. Linking is available to individual product pages (deep linking).
6. Real time (or at least daily) reporting.
7. Attractive commission rate.
8. Prompt notification of changes in links & promotions, etc.
9. Brand name products.
10. A website that's easily navigable & well designed to convert.
After you've been doing this for a while you begin to get a sense as to whether a given merchant is worth a go. Obvioulsy, I go for sales as opposed to leads, etc. which are highly prone to fraud.
Also the affiliate should not compete and advertise in such a way as to undermine its affiliates efforts, there's nothing worse than not being able to rank above the company(s) you've affiliated with :) really it's more subtle than that, but you get the idea.
Some other things I look for:
1. An affiliate manager that provides quick response to my questions
2. Good payout percentage
3. A good track record of conversions
4. A stable company as opposed to a fly by night operation.
5. Deep linking is very important
As others have said, the list can be almost endless. The things mentioned by others are all good things to look for.
I just setup an affiliate program for my site. I used your suggestions for setting it up, so thank you.
If I was to contact you to introduce you to my affiliate program, would you prefer an e-mail? Post my program to a directory? How would someone like you, not saying you, would like to be contacted?
Short and to the point?
Here are the basics?
Post ad somewhere?
Your suggestions would be most appreciated:)
I do not mind a business-like email from a merchant (assuming you can get by my spam filters). BUT, you'd better know my site and make it evident that you've really studied what I do before you contact me. You have 1, maybe 2 sentences to convince me of that.
List your program in the affiliate directories.
Build a good, keyword-rich affiliate sign up page. Chances are many affiliates know how to do advanced search.
One thing that would get my attention is if you offered a spreadsheet with your product details, deep links, images etc all in it. That way I can push your whole product range with little effort - I guess Im lazy, but the merchants who do this are often my best performers.
Something else you could do is give me suggestions on how YOU think I can market your products best, eg which pages do you think they fit best on, which creatives are proving to be most successful, why are your products better than your compeitors and hence more likely to convert. A higher conversion rate is often more attractive for me than a slightly higher commission rate.
I am not a part of the CJ company, just a proud support of there offers and everything they as a company offer.
Take Commission Junction (CJ). If you're in the affiliate business, chances are you have a CJ account and actively use its system to find new merchant programs. You probably also know CJ is free for affiliates and costs a sizeable fee for merchants to join.
This structure obviously favors the merchants, leaving the affiliates without much say or control. In other words, money talks, and... well, you know what walks.
CJ allows its merchants to turn off an affiliate's cookie after the first sale. This is called the "keep=no" feature. It means if an affiliate's referral results in a sale, the cookie is removed, so the affiliate doesn't get credit for future sales. As of today, CJ offers no functionality to allow an affiliate to see which merchants have the "keep-no" feature enabled.
CJ also allows merchants to set one-day cookies. That means the affiliate gets one shot at converting the sale. If the customer doesn't make a purchase that very day, the affiliate does not get credit for a well-earned lead.
You can bet the merchant is happy it got a lead, possibly even a lifetime customer, for free.
You're wasting your time partnering with a company that offers you 5% commission one-off for a sale on a book. That's a mere 50 cents on a $10 purchase. And remember, you'll probably only get that for every one person out of a hundred that you send to a merchant's site. In exchange for your measily 50 cents, the retailer is often gaining a customer for life.