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:
- Incredible support and tool options for both their merchants and affiliates
- 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
- They are less expensive than the big networks
- 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:
- 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.
- We get additional exposure for more efficient recruitment and activation
- We get additional support from their in house tech team to make things easier for our internal team
- 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?