Essential “Need to Knows” for Affiliate Coupon Management

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to listen to Todd Crawford speak about coupon affiliate management at the Online Marketing Summit. He made some really great points. Here are my immediate takeaways:

 

A Few Top Coupon / Loyalty Affiliates:

  • Offers.com
  • Shopathome.com
  • Cheapsally.com
  • Bradsdeals.com
  • Clickdeals.com
  • Dealtaker.com
  • Couponsurfer.com
  • Mrrebates.com
  • Deals.com
  • Savings.com
  • CouponCabin.com
  • Amazing-Bargains.com
  • RetailMeNot.com

 

Two Types of Buyers on Coupon Sites:

  1. “Penny Pinchers” – can only afford to buy if they get a discount
  2. “Deal Seekers” – will buy (and up their order volume) only if there is a deal on

 

Challenges with Working with Coupon / Deal Sites:

  1. Margin Erosion
  2. Increased media cost (pay for affiliate plus ppc)
  3. Brand dilution
  4. Poor customer satisfaction (the coupon doesn’t work)
  5. Loss of control (once you let it loose where do you go? It gets out of control)
  6. Inaccurate analytics
    1. – how do you measure the effectiveness of one particular coupon on one particular site when it gets let loose and picked up everywhere?

 

 Alternatives to Giving a Discount Coupon

  1. Free shipping
  2. Minimum purchase amount
  3. Product, Brand or Category Specific
  4. Deal of the Day
  5. Limited Quantity
  6. Bundling
  7. Gift with Purchase
  8. Clearance
  9. Seasonal Sales

 

Marketing Goals of Working with Coupons (and you should be measuring these):

  1. Increased AOV
  2. Acquire new customers
  3. Re-engaging existing customers
  4. Limit Exposure
  5. Control media costs
  6. Extend Brand

 

How to Manage your Coupons Properly:

  1. Test with select groups of partners – try a coupon with only one or two affiliates first and see how they work.
  2. Use exclusives / vanity code
  3. Negotiate for premium placement
  4. Limit use to channel or partners
  5. Determine the right metrics to measure before you start

Industry Interview with Award Winning Affiliate Manager, Matt McWilliams

As a continuation to my “Getting to Know Performance Based Marketing” interview series, I asked award winning Affiliate Manager, Matt McWilliams, a few questions. In his responses are some great points and tips for new merchants coming into the space.

Q:   How did you get into the Affiliate Marketing industry?

“Everyone seems to have a story for that question. It seems like we are approaching the first generation of people who actually got into affiliate marketing because they wanted to and set out to do it.

I am like so many over the past 10 years…I got into it by accident. I worked with a good friend of mine, Hunter Ingram, at HometownQuotes in 2004. I had no idea what an affiliate was. I was doing sales, web design, PR, and small bits of coding and Hunter was doing the marketing and affiliate management and was CEO. 

By mid-2006 it dawned on me that I was the one doing all of the communicating with affiliates. Poor Hunter…he was completely clueless on the programming and technical side of things so inevitably everyone got turned over to me at some point.

I complained about it so he made it official…I was the new HometownQuotes Affiliate Manager. Congratulations to me. Everything from that point forward is a blur and I have loved every minute of it.”

Q: What do you like best about the industry?

“First, the growth potential for individuals. Anyone can truly make as much as they want within reason…and “within reason” can have a lot of zeroes. 

Second, the individuals themselves. The people are generally amazing. Some of my most productive and enjoyable relationships are with affiliates and other affiliate managers. I have received so much help from well over 50 people over the past 6 years; affiliate managers and affiliates alike. “

Q: What do you think merchants need the most help with when starting out?

“I still don’t feel like I have figured that out yet.

If I have to answer it I would say they absolutely have to understand what affiliates want from them and there is no better way to find out than to ask. If at all possible, they should form an advisory group of 3-5 affiliates on whom they can lean heavily. It’s hard to do that without getting started, so if they have the money, get an experienced manager. If they are doing it themselves, they need to reach out to a few, offer something in return, and get their help. It takes a lot of time, but is well worth it.

Also, they need to know the landscape of their industry insanely well. They need to know who has an affiliate program, they need to join it if at all possible, and they need to know every detail about those programs: commissions, products, conversions, features, etc. You cannot lose sight of the fact that often affiliates are a small commission increase or better offer away from bolting for greener pastures.

Too many merchants throw up a link, get a $99 software to run the program, offer a % of the revenue and think it’s going to buy them a new house in the country with a well stocked lake and a new Mercedes. The reality, there is so much work before the program even launches.”

Q: What do you wish you knew when you first started that you would have done differently?

“The one thing I would have done differently is putting our program on a network. At HometownQuotes, it might not have been a good fit for ShareASale because of the dynamics, but with every other program I have been a part of it is absolutely the right choice. Being on a network has a ton of benefits, from helping recruit affiliates to tons of features that you just cannot get on an in-house program without tons of development time. 

Also, you don’t have to worry about paying them. Early on, that is important. You can consolidate your expenses into one payment rather than hundreds.”

Q: What do you think needs to be done to help bring a better name to the affiliate marketing industry overall?

“This might be a little controversial…OK probably not, but I wish that about 2% of the people in this industry would get out and do something else, like join the mob or the space program. The 98+% of the people in affiliate marketing are drowned out too often by some of the bad apples. The spammers, the coupon crooks (again a few bad apples within that niche give the rest a bad name), cookie stuffers, and shady review sites make the industry as a whole look like a scam to people who don’t know any better.

It begins with merchant education on the problems so they can police their own affiliates. Then the networks have to use information wisely and judiciously. As much money as some affiliates are making some networks and/or merchants, it can be hard to do the right thing, but it must be done for the sake of our industry as a whole.”

Matt is an affiliate manager consultant and trainer at Affiliate Management Trainers which offers personalized affiliate management training for internet retailers, and is available along with the rest of the AMT team to help merchants better understand their affiliates needs, how to get them active, how to recruit strong performing partners, how to improve their internal performance based marketing strategy and much more.

Shedding Some Light on the “Dark Side” of Performance Based Marketing

As part of shedding light on the “good” side of affiliate marketing, I think it’s important for merchants out there to get a better understanding of the different types of affiliates including who they are, what they do and how they think.

Too many people assume affiliate marketing is about “get rich quick”, multilevel marketing, pornography and online gaming, let alone scams, fraud and malicious activity. This is not the case for everyone and there are thousands of good affiliates out there who focus on smart and ethical marketing practices to drive incremental sales and value to a merchant’s bottom line.

I recently interviewed Nick Chertock, accountant by day, affiliate marketer by night.  Nick is a video blogger in the golf niche focused on the improvement process.  He promotes high quality golf training and practice related merchandise on a performance basis through blogposts, social media, product reviews, and his own online communities of golf professionals. His website is GolfProgress.net.

Q: Please tell us what you do and your interest in the affiliate marketing world.

“I’m a golf blogger and video blogger focused on the improvement process.  My website is a destination for average golfers who would like to play much better, those who are addicted to the game.  As an affiliate marketer I call attention to products like practice equipment, training aids, dvds, learning software, fitness equipment, and golf related gadgets and unusual merchandise.  

I own about 50 other domain names, mainly in the fields of health, fitness, and back pain.  I’ve been following affiliate marketing closely since I first heard of Amazon’s associate program in 2000, before I even owned my own computer or had been on the internet.  I read about it in Fortune magazine and as someone who had dabbled in “work at home” and direct mail, this seemed like a legitimate way to market other people’s products and be compensated well to do it.”

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to a new merchant coming into the space, what would it be?

“Establish a real connection with your customer and you will build genuine trust which will allow you to rise above competing on the basis of price alone.”

Q: What would you say makes affiliates different from any other group of people you’ve worked with in the past?

“Affiliates are able to identify offers that visitors will be interested in that the visitor themself has never even imagined.  They are compensated only if they generate results for a merchant but at the same time they are free to change direction at any time, so merchants need to be aware that affiliates are not your sales force.  They are not a captive audience who will promote what you tell them to promote.  You must appeal to their desire not just to make money but to impress their own visitors in order to build long term credibility.” 

Q: For new people coming into the space, where would you say they should direct most of their time / attention?

“I still consider myself new to affiliate marketing in terms of how long I’ve actually been putting it into practice, but my recommendation, and what I’ve done in the last year, is to connect with influential people in your niche, build a sense of community with yourself as the leader, and put out unique and memorable content.  This assumes you are trying to build a long term business and are not attempting to simply broker web traffic.  Social media is a fantastic tool for becoming a thought leader.”

Q: Please give us one affiliate marketing prediction you see coming in the next year that you’re excited about and why.

“Interactive video excites me.  I’m talking about having clickable areas on top of a video that allows the visitor to both be led to other video content and to be directed to merchant sites to make purchases.  Think choose your own adventure in an online shopping center.

So as you can see, nick is just a regular guy who loves golf, business strategy and the affiliate marketing industry. Merchants can learn a lot from these guys simply by getting to know them and asking some good questions.

Stay tuned for more interviews of affiliates from different verticals and levels of skill set. Understanding your affiliate groups is one of the best ways to better leverage performance based marketing. Listen to them. Consider their suggestions. They will know how to help you more than you’d ever think possible.

Q&A with Affiliate Fraud Monitoring Solution: Brandverity

Brandverity affiliate fraud monitoring toolIn my quest to help better the name of the affiliate marketing industry (#FBAME), I decided to interview certain people who work to make a difference through the services they provide or the knowledge they shed on particular affiliate marketing matters. This week I had a Q&A with David Naffziger, CEO of affiliate fraud monitoring solution, Brandverity.

Q: When was Brandverity first Founded and how long did it take to create?

A: We first began looking at the idea in November 2007. I made it to my first Affiliate Summit in January and gathered enough interest to begin work that month. We launched an alpha version by mid-May and opened up to a much broader audience in September 2008.

Q: Why did you personally start the company?

A: BrandVerity was really the result of my work at two prior companies. I co-founded Quova to provide a service that identifies the geographic location of an IP address. Quova’s technology is currently used by Google to help target AdWords ads.  However, the core of Quova’s business was selling to the fraud departments at large e-businesses. I learnd a lot about the tactics of fraudsters and developed a healthy respect for their ingenuity.

After Quova, I helped launch and grow Judy’s Book (once a Yelp competitor).  Judy’s Book experimented with affiliate ads and at one point our marketing team ran ads that ran afoul of a large merchant’s affiliate policy. The merchant contacted us, and we asked to part of their partner’s that apparently had permission to run ads.  After a quick back and forth, we realized that the other advertisers were reverse-geotargeting their ads and the merchant had never known it was happening.

It stuck in my mind that there had to be a better way to provide visibility into ads from different geographies. The fraud aspect appealed to my interest from Quova, and the IP-geography nature of the problem seemed like a natural fit.  Following a lot of research, a lot of time reading on abestweb, and a trip to Affiliate Summit, BrandVerity was born.

Q. What makes Brandverity.com better or different from other fraud monitoring tools?

A: I think the biggest difference between BrandVerity and our competitors is that we are an affiliate compliance service as opposed to a ‘search intelligence tool.  Customers that have considered multiple solutions tell us that it feels like our service was truly designed for them. This reflects in many aspects of the service itself, who our target customer is (affiliate marketers) and how we do business.

Q: If you could tell merchants anything you wanted to about fraud monitoring, what would it be?

A: I think the most important thing is that managing affiliate compliance takes both tools AND process.  Merchants need to carefully consider their affiliate policy, determine how they will handle the different types of infractions and they need to regularly review infractions and enforce them consistently.

Q: What do you think can be done to help bring a better name to “affiliate marketing” everywhere?

A: Affiliate marketing needs to move beyond the simplistic ‘last click’ attribution. Last click is ultimately unfair to affiliates that build brand recognition and create value earlier in the buying process.  It also encourages affiliates to focus on the last possible touchpoints before a purchase.  The result is often that the most valuable web properties spurn affiliate ads in favor of higher-paying CPM ads, while some affiliates look for ways to get a commissionable cookie placed just prior to a purchase with side-effects that don’t necessarily help the brand.

As an outsourced affiliate management company, AIM continues to use Brandverity to help monitor affiliate behavior for our clients. The entire team at Brandverity is responsive, highly knowledgeable and open to helping any merchant who wants to learn this side of the industry more. I encourage anyone serious about having a successful affiliate marketing program to consider speaking with David and his team. It could be the difference of several thousand (or million) dollars a year in commissions paid out to affiliates not following your program terms of service.

To learn more, visit Brandverity.com

E-commerce Affiliate Marketing for Merchants 101 – OMS12

 

Online Marketing Summit 2012I have the great honor of leading this year’s first Affiliate Marketing Workshop at the Online Marketing Summit being held in San Diego from February 6-9th, 2012.

The workshop outlines all the most essential elements of how to plan, launch and run a successful affiliate marketing program for merchants. It addresses the major issues faced by new merchants coming into the space, as well as industry best practices for communicating with affiliates, negotiating placement of affiliate sites, recruiting “super affiliates” and much more. By the end of this workshop, merchants will have a greater understanding of whether an affiliate marketing program is right for their product and brand, how it can be integrated into their overall online marketing mix and what to do to make it succeed against all other affiliate programs in the same space.

Merchants will learn:

  • What affiliate marketing is and if it’s right for them
  • How to plan their affiiate marketing program
  • Strategies for recruiting affiliate marketers
  • Affiliate activation, motivation, communication and negotation
  • Essential key performance indicators
  • Plus a wholeBUNCH of bonus material.

My session is from 8:30 – 11:30 on February 6th and we’ve already got a good number of people register for the workshop (about 30). I’m happy to see more merchants showing an interest in this area of online marketing and investing a little to learn it properly.

It will be an information packed workshop and a great show overall! I’ve been to the OMS before and really enjoyed how diverse it was, including the caliber of speakers. Last time I went there was a keynote from President Obama’s social media team on how they won the election through smart social media campigns and multivariate testing.

I’m looking forward to seeing what this year has in store. If you still want to register and haven’t yet, as a speaker I can offer you a 30% discount on the passes. Just order online here and use coupon code SPEAKER30.

Looking forward to seeing you all in just over a week!

 

For the Betterment of Affiliate Marketing Everywhere! #FBAME

Make a Difference with #FBAMEI couldn’t sleep last night. I kept having the question asked of me in my interview with Daniel M Clark of QAQN.com yesterday “What do we need to do to turn this industry around and give it the positive name it deserves.” repeat in my head. My initial answer was “People need to be more accountable for their actions and what they do. Education is also key and will go a long way.” In return I asked Daniel what he thought and he replied “We just need some good PR”. Yes. We do.

A press release or two will not do the trick. This isn’t about one or two people trying to put the word out there that good, dedicated, hard working people exist in the world of affiliate marketing. This is about a MOVEMENT to fearlessly and drastically change the way the world sees affiliate marketing as a whole. Its about the involvement of everyone who believes this industry can be great. That good people do come out on top because they care enough to do something about it and spread the word about the issues and needs of the industry. We’ve been letting the bad apples haunt us for too long.

We have so many amazing people who make this industry great and together we need to get the word out there that they exist. These are the people who fight every day to make it better, that help each other so that we can improve together as an industry, as a community and as a way of life. These people’s actions are for the betterment of affiliate marketing everywhere, and hence #FBAME is born.

Each time someone speaks of a possible solution to a problem it’s #FBAME (ie: @revenews, @brianlittleton). Each time an affiliate helps a merchant or another affiliate out, its #FBAME (@jamesmartell, @kimarketing). The conferences that teach new affiliates and merchants how to do better in their work contribute to #FBAME (@affiliatesummit, @AMDays). Companies that exist for the sole purpose of keeping things legit is #FBAME (@brandverity, @KellieAFP, @AMTrainers). This movement starts now. If you believe that this industry deserves a better name and the recognition for good people making a difference, then retweet, post, share, tattoo (@JasonRubacky) – do whatever you need to do to get the word out there to the world that affiliate marketing IS a positive and legitimate business and solid solution to many needs, and that it can be done well with hard work, honesty and integrity.

In the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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Top 5 Highlights from Affiliate Summit West 2012

Affiliate Summit West 2012I’ve just come back from another great Affiliate Summit event and am excited to share my top 5 highlights from the event. In no particular order, here are my personal top 5 favorite things about Affiliate Summit West this year:

1. The People

A record breaking 5000+ attendees made it out to Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas this year. Although many newbie merchants, networks and affiliates made there way around the sessions, meet market and exhibit hall, I was able to meet up with an incredible group of people from various places.

I had the great pleasure of having personal conversations with Shawn Collins and Missy Ward, founders of Affiliate Summit. I had great conversations with top performing affiliates such as Scott Jangro, Todd Farmer (Affiliate Legend), James Martell (Affiliate Super Bootcamp), Tricia Meyer (Sunshine Rewards), Lisa Kennedy (Savings.com), Mike Allen (Shopping-Bargains), Diane Khania (Coupon Cabin), Bill Swartwout (High Noon Marketing) and Sandi Wohlford (FatWallet) to name just a few.

I was able to catch up and have a few laughs with industry veterans Carolyn Kmet (Groupon), Lisa Picarelli (ReveNews), Todd Crawford (Impact Radius), Kim Rowley (Affiliate Legend of the Year) and so many more.

I love this show because of the great caliber of awesome people who attend each year. It’s a warm and welcoming place to spend three days while being productive and progressive. Without all the amazing people who attend each year, this event just wouldn’t be the same.

2. Eric Thomas, Keynote

Eric Thomas, also known as The Hip Hop Preacher and author The Secret to Success of started the day with an incredibly motivating and inspiring keynote right after the Pinnacle Awards ceremony. Within the first 10 minutes of his talk I was welling up, having to wipe inspired tears from my eyes. What a beautiful soul this guy is, to share his story of success despite his disadvantageous start in life. More importantly, his story was brimming with pride for his children and the successes of others.

I very regrettably had to leave half way through his presentation to attend a meeting I had booked at the same time, but WOW, what a great motivational speaker and overall great human being. I wish there were more people in the world like this who are not afraid to keep going, never quit, and create success for themselves and their family through honest, dedicated hard work and belief in ones-self.

3. SeaWorld’s Affiliate Event

OK, maybe it was because we had our baby with us or maybe it’s because I’m really just a kid at heart, but the Sea World Affiliate Event thrown by SeaWorld Affiliate Manager, Ashley Edwards was so much fun!  A few of the SeaWorld crew, including some amazing birds, reptiles and animals from the park came to show themselves off to the room of giddy attendees. They went over the highlights of their affiliate program and a reminder of why SeaWorld is such an awesome place to visit. A few people got some free SeaWorld day passes (including yours truly) and even got to hold some of the creatures that came to Vegas with the team.

It was a very cool promotional idea on their part and I’m glad we got to have some fun with a few other family and kid oriented people. Regardless, affiliate managers could take note that this tactic brought in some very eager and targeted affiliates who signed up for their program right on the spot.

4. ShareaSale’s “Under the Stars” Party

This by far was one of my favorite nights of the entire four days at Affiliate Summit. ShareaSale’s president, Brian Littleton, is notorious for throwing awesome parties and he did not disappoint again. The ShareaSale “Under the Stars” Party was held outside of the Paris Hotel right below the Eiffel Tower! The view was spectacular – a clear view of the Bellagio Hotel and fountains across the street. The DJ was awesome, playing music that even the dead would have wanted to dance to, and the free flowing open bar kept people’s whistle’s wet throughout the night.

Aside from the music and the atmosphere, my personal favorite moments where seeing Brian Littleton in a classy three piece suite and fedora (you looked great, Brian!) and watching a lady roll by with a desert table around her waist. Talk about extravagance! In the words of Missy Ward – those deserts literally went to her hips!

Great job again, Brian. Another successful night by you and the ShareaSale team.

5. AMT Launch Excitement

The most exiting part of the entire show for me personally was the overwhelming positive feedback and excitement around the launch of our new company, Affiliate Management Trainers (AMT). Not only were affiliates thrilled that such a service now exists, helping merchants and affiliate managers learn the business to provide better support and experiences to their affiliate partners, but merchants, networks and even independent industry veterans were interested in the opportunity to further the level of personalized support and education to merchants.

The Merchant Sponsorship Program rewards an “upstanding merchant” for their efforts in working with affiliate partners when following industry best practices and strong business ethics, and was one of the main areas of interest with the AMT launch at the show. Merchants have the opportunity to win a free trip to Affiliate Summit next year through this program, keeping in mind that merchants must be nominated by an affiliate to be considered. The idea is to help better the industry through personalized education and accountability of merchants through “upstanding behavior” as deemed by their affiliate partners.

All in all, the show was another great success and I look forward to attending another Affiliate Summit event again soon!

First Ever Affiliate Management Conference: Affiliate Management Days 2012

Affiliate Management Days 2012There has been some hustle and bustle the last few weeks with some great affiliate related conferences coming up over the next couple of months. Affiliate Summit West 2012 (#ASW12) is just around the corner and with thousands of attendees it’s bound to be another great show.

However something new has come into the space recently that also deserves some attention. Affiliate Management Days 2012 (#AMDays), the industry’s first conference targeted specifically toward affiliate managers and business owners looking to get into the space, will be held in San Francisco on March 8th and 9th.

This event is part of the Data Driven Business Week and will be made up of two full days of informational sessions related to properly and effectively managing affiliate programs. The list of speakers is impressive, ranging from Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners to Ben Edelman, Assistant Professor at the Harvard Business School.

This event will be a new “must attend” for affiliate managers looking to properly optimize their programs, improve their skills, keep up with industry issues, trends, industry benchmarks and best practices.

Some of the topics will include Trends & Innovations in Affiliate Marketplace (presented by Ali Pasha of Google), Top 10 Tips for Combatting Affiliate Fraud (presented by Joanna Lord of SEOmoz), and The Latest Tricks, Traps & Techniques Black Hat Affiliates are Using to Cheat Your Affiliate Program (presented by David Naffziger of BrandVerity) as examples. I personally will be doing a session on How to Find & Recruit Super Affiliates Into Your Program. You can find the entire conference agenda here.

I think it’s an important time for a conference like this to be introduced into the marketplace. With the mass expansion of affiliate programs and few affiliate managers having the experience to be a strong leader and thoroughly effective in their work, it’s about time a conference dedicated to the betterment of affiliate management was put forward.

I’m personally looking forward to checking it out. Like affiliate summit in the early days, I feel it will grow year over year and contribute to the betterment of merchant affiliate programs and the affiliate marketing industry around the world.

Top 50 Best Affiliate Network Comparison: 2009 vs 2011

In 2009 Website Magazine came out with a Top 50 list of Affiliate Networks that ranged from CPA (Cost Per Action) to PPS (Pay Per Sale) and PPL (Pay Per Lead) networks. In 2011, they came out with a new list of Top 100 Advertising and Affiliate Networks (which was actually only 99 if you count them). What I find interesting is the new blend of Ad Buy Search Networks vs the Affiliate Marketing Networks and the differences between them. You can read the full article here for more information about these. More Ad Networks, such as 7Search.com are popping up as well as more CPA. I also find that most networks are looking to offer additional services to be more E-Commerce 3.0 friendly. Ultimately networks are continuously looking for new ways to increase their revenues and service offering in this highly competitive industry.

Here is a recap of the lists from 2009 and 2011.

Top 50 Best Affiliate Networks in 2009

1. ClickBooth.com
2. OurFreeStuff.net
3. Copeac.com
4. XY7.com
5. RevenueLoop.com
6. CJ.com

7. ClickBank.com
8. FriendFinder.com
9. ShareaSale.com

10. Zanox.com
11. Fluxads.com
12. LinkShare.com
13. Axill.com
14. TradeDoubler.com
15. AffiliateFuture.co.uk
16. HydraNetwork.com

17. AdsMarket.com
18. AdValiant.com
19. WebGains.com
20. InstantDollarz.com
21. MarketLeverage.com
22. PantheraNetwork.com
23. LevelClick.com
24. aZoogleAds.com
25. DirectLeads.com
26. MaxBounty.com

27. MotiveInteractive.com
28. ROIrocket.com
29. ShareResults.com
30. PlatinumPartner.com
31. Rextopia.com
32. IronOffers.com
33. ClickXChange.com
34. LeaderMarkets.com
35. MarketHealth.com
36. TriadMediaNetwork.com
37. OfferWeb.com
38. ClixGalore.com
39. Convert2Media.com
40. PepperJamNetwork.com

41. iLogins.com
42. PrimaryAds.com
43. CandadianSponsors.com
44. Affiliateer.com
45. AffiliateWindow.com
46. LogicalMedia.com
47. AffiliateFuel.com
48. MoreNiche.com
49. Affiliatebot.com
50. LinkConnector.com

Top 50 Advertising and Affiliate Networks To Consider in 2011

  1. CJ.com
  2. 7Search.com
  3. AffiliateFuture.com
  4. ClickBank.com
  5. PepperjamNetwork.com
  6. AdFunky.com
  7. Revver.com
  8. BurstMedia.com
  9. Chitika.com
  10. ClixGalore.com
  11. Marchex.com
  12. LinkWorth.com
  13. BlogAds.com
  14. BravenetMedia.com
  15. Advertise.com
  16. AdonNetwork.com
  17. MaxBounty.com
  18. Text-Link-Ads.com
  19. Pheedo.com
  20. ClickXChange.com
  21. adside.com
  22. admarketplace.com
  23. leadermarkets.com
  24. brightroll.com
  25. neverblue.com
  26. popuptraffic.com
  27. ybrantnetworks.com
  28. jivox.com
  29. yieldbuild.com
  30. commissionsoup.com
  31. tremormedia.com
  32. crispads.com
  33. payperpost.com
  34. pogads.com
  35. revenuepilot.com
  36. cpxinteractive.com
  37. clicksor.com
  38. infolinks.com
  39. clickbooth.com
  40. bidvertiser.com
  41. shareasale.com
  42. adbrite.com
  43. tribalfusion.com
  44. blogsvertise.com
  45. incentaclick.com
  46. paypopup.com
  47. kontera.com
  48. copeac.com
  49. zanox.com
  50. adengage.com

49 More Advertising and Affiliate Networks to Consider in 2011

  1. linkconnector.com
  2. contextweb.com
  3. azoogleads.com
  4. fluxads.com
  5. bannerconnect.net
  6. bluelithium.com
  7. adknowledge.com
  8. 247realmedia.com
  9. interclick.com
  10. casalemedia.com
  11. kanoodle.com
  12. adap.tv
  13. enhance.com
  14. adify.com
  15. adblade.com
  16. rightmedia.com
  17. adparlor.com
  18. advertising.com
  19. fetchback.com
  20. audiencescience.com
  21. admanage.com
  22. spotxchange.com
  23. videoegg.com
  24. theepicmediagroup.com
  25. kitaramedia.com
  26. mirago.com
  27. adfish.com
  28. blinkads.com
  29. adgenta.com
  30. auditude.com
  31. fastclick.com
  32. specificmedia.com
  33. intellitxt.com
  34. valueclick.com
  35. admaxnetwork.com
  36. adpepper.com
  37. liverail.com
  38. admagnet.com
  39. adfusion.com
  40. yume.com
  41. adotube.com
  42. scanscout.com
  43. adtegrity.com
  44. adagency1.com
  45. accelerator-media.com
  46. adtoll.com
  47. adsmart.net
  48. adservingnetwork.com
  49. atxdirect.com

What I find interesting is that no affiliate network or ad network made it into the top 5 both years. Even ShareaSale dropped for #9 in 2009 to #41 in 2011, ranking far below many other newer affiliate networks Ive never even heard of before. It makes me wonder what rating criteria they are using to select their rankings and how they are assessing the quality and value of each of these networks to determine who deserves the #1 spot. Either way, you can see there are a great variety of affiliate networks and ad networks to choose from. I recommend shopping around to find the one that best suites your needs while also taking into consideration their reach, ethics, affiliate base, cost, tracking technology, back-end platform and overall reputation in the industry from people who’ve actually used them.

Why ShareaSale over Commission Junction, LinkShare or an In House Program?

 

I recently had a question from one of my new client’s web development team asking why we’d choose to work with Share-a-Sale over one of the larger networks such as Commission Junction or LinkShare. He also suggested that we could use a shopping cart plug in for affiliate tracking instead. Here was my reply to him.

“I have worked with a variety of different in house programs as well as with the big names in affiliate networks. The big three for e-commerce are Commission Junction (CJ), LinkShare (LS) and Google Affiliate Network (GAN). There are about 1000 affiliate networks these days all offering “the best solution”.

What I’ve found over the years is that it’s not necessary to launch in one of the big name networks in order to have a successful affiliate program. Shareasale has one of the best reputations in the industry for several things:

  1. Incredible support and tool options for both their merchants and affiliates
  2. Ethical affiliate activity – they go above and beyond to ensure fraudulent activity is kept out of their network as much as possible, which allows the merchants to focus more on things like affiliate recruitment and activation instead of full time fraud monitoring and policing
  3. They are less expensive than the big networks
  4. All of the legitimate super affiliates (who do not use malicious malware, spyware or toolbars) work with them.

Aside from my personal recommendation to work with them, Pat Grady from RhinoFish had also recommended them separately from me. They have a very good reputation in many regards and we can do the job well with them.

Why work with a network vs in house program? Several reasons:

  1. Many good affiliates have been burnt by unethical merchants trying to scam them out of commission payouts and will now ONLY work with networks to ensure tracking and payouts are fair.
  2. We get additional exposure for more efficient recruitment and activation
  3. We get additional support from their in house tech team to make things easier for our internal team
  4. Many affiliates are already comfortable with their interface and do not have to learn an in-house solution to be able to participate with us.

That said, it might make sense in the future to have an in-house solution as well. Sometimes we’re able to offer both and keep higher performing affiliates we’ve personally recruited using the in-house tracking platform, which saves on network fees.”

There are many options out there, and I do encourage you to do your homework to find the affiliate network which best suites your needs. Sometimes merchants will launch with multiple networks, but that’s another discussion all in itself.

For those of you who’ve worked with Shareasale (whether you’re an affiliate or a merchant), why do you like to work with them?

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