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?

Skimlinks an Affiliate or Affiliate Network?

Recent Update (several months after original post) : there are several merchants and outsourced program managers who are complaining about Skimlinks being a sub-network and the types of affiliates they are allowing into their network. The original post which made it sound like a positive solution and one to accept into your programs may no longer be accurate. The bottom line is Skimlinks IS in fact a sub-network and there are pros and cons to this. I encourage you to do your own research and make a decision for yourself as to whether you will allow sub-networks into your program or not. There are many who are for it and many who are against it. It will ultimately be up to you.

— ORIGINAL POST —

There have been a few questions lately about what Skimlinks is and how it fits into the affiliate marketing world. Some question whether it is an affiliate, a network or something in between.

Skimlinks is actually a great affiliate tool that allows an affiliate to easily and seamlessly earn money from text links on their site (perfect for bloggers!) where as Skimlinks puts in an affiliate link to a related product or service for you. Then if a sale is made, both Skimlinks and the affiliate earn money from the sale (25%/75% split respectively).

I signed up to see what it was about myself and here are the instructions I got emailed to me once approved:

“To install Skimlinks on your site, you first need to login to your account using your username (which is the email address you registered with: sarah (at) allinclusivemarketing.com) and set your password here:

http://skimlinks.me/uNPdWJ

Once logged in, you’ll be guided through the process of installing Skimlinks on your site. Installation is really straightforward: copy and paste the Skimlinks Javascript into your site’s footer. If you are using one of the following platforms, we have a dedicated installation guide which can be found under the Installation tab in your Account Interface: WordPress, vBulletin, Blogger, Typepad, Tumblr and Glam. If you don’t want to add the code yourself, we’ll show you how to send all the relevant details to your tech team.

Your Skimlinks account also allows you to:

  • Monetize content keywords with our SkimWords product
  • Run detailed revenue and activity reports
  • Check your balance
  • Search for suitable merchants
  • Apply to use Skimlinks on additional sites
  • Add new users to your Account
  • Access our extensive suite of publisher tools, specifically designed to help you get the most out of your content

To get most out of our service, we recommend adding product links and references to any content that is relevant. SkimLinks will turn these merchant links into their equivalent affiliate link, and SkimWords will turn product references into unobtrusive shopping links. Both services are automatically enabled on your site when you add our code. You can downgrade or deactivate any feature at anytime on the Installation page of the Publisher Interface.

If you have questions on any of the above, please visit the Support pages once you’ve logged into your account.

Thank you for choosing Skimlinks to help you earn more money from your content!”

Here’s what it looks like live:

Note to Merchants: Skimlinks gets to approve the affiliates, which means you don’t. However they have very strict rules about who is eligible and you can stop using their service at any time as well as request particular affiliates be removed from their service (though it’s up to them whether they remove them or not).

Skimlinks was nominated in 2010 as affiliate tool of the year in 2010 on AbestWeb by Wade Tonkin, Affiliate Manager of Footfall Fanatics. It is also used by many reputable affiliates including some of the founders of Affiliate Summit.

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