Further discussion on duplicate affiliate programs…

I was emailed recently regarding my previous post on my annoyance surrounding offering duplicate affiliate programs on a sign-on page and thought it would be worth further publishing my response here.

Here are the details from the email. Hopefully the person concerned does not mind the post going public as I believe this type of discussion is exactly what the New Zealand Affiliate Market needs to shape-up it’s thinking. Both views have good merit and until these things are worked out for the specific NZ demographic then the affiliate market will continue to struggle;

I’m writing in regards to your post “Duplicate Affiliate Programs”.

Let me explain why merchants do this.

Most publishers/affiliates only join one affiliate network. And some high profile publishers/affiliates need to join the merchants own program because they negotiate special terms with the merchant.

If the merchant was to join only one affiliate network, that merchant would miss out on advertising from affiliates who are members of a different affiliate network and are not interested in joining any other affiliate network.

And why should merchants only support one network?

Deciding not to join the merchants affiliate program because the merchant supports more then one networks is extremely disappointing. It’s like telling a manufacturer that you won’t buy their product because their confusing you by supplying it to too many different retailers. How lame is that?

Perhaps you just didn’t understand the concept.

Thanks for your comments although I believe you mis-understand my original point as well as my experience and understanding of the affiliate market 🙂

There are a couple of things to tackle here in a response.

Firstly the email suggests;

Most publishers/affiliates only join one affiliate network

This appears to be a good part of the premise for the email and mis-understanding.

My opinion (based on discussions with many affiliates at conferences internationally) is that affiliates are joined with many networks at any one time in order to give themselves the maximum opportunity to promote relevant products. Granted, there are some affiliates who will say that they will only ever promote products from one network due to the specific reporting or tracking that network has however in my experience this is often bluster from the affiliate, they are usually joined to other networks as well with a preference to the one they are promoting. The key point here is that the dollar rules. If an affiliate can see that the relevant product they know will work on their site is only available through another network then they are most likely to join that network as well.

On the statement;

And why should merchants only support one network?

This is a very good question. My initial post was not suggesting that merchants should only join a single network in every scenario, it was suggesting that they should not be pushing all networks they are a part of, as well as their own program on the same page as it creates a confusing decision for specifically a new affiliate who is not part of one of these networks.

I do believe that an affiliate program should be very selective in the affiliate networks it may join, for example it would not be my suggestion to join more than one affiliate network in the same geographical market (e.g. the New Zealand market). Creating partners of your affiliate networks is a strong necessity in this situation and I would freely admit that the New Zealand affiliate market is just not mature enough yet to have strong affiliate network partners who are promoting the affiliate programs in the way they should.

If an affiliate program is part of a network and they are looking for affiliates who they believe are part of a different network then it is in the best interests of the affiliate network to work closely with that partner to source the affiliate concerned.

Finally;

Deciding not to join the merchants affiliate program because the merchant supports more then one networks is extremely disappointing.

I couldn’t agree more and do not believe any affiliate should do this. It is counter-productive to the whole idea of building the highest returning business online that the affiliate can!

My problem with the program in question revolved more around usability and the way in which an affiliate program offers its wares to the affiliate. In this case I was in a rush, wasn’t already joined to the networks offered and didn’t have the time to research which option was the best (e.g. which offered the higher %).

If the program had promoted its own internal program first on its site with logos for the networks having a lower weight on the visual display of the site (just to show they were part of that network if you recognised the logo and would prefer that option) then I would have had an easy choice. I was there to sign-up and would have if I knew which network / program was my best option.

On the question of negotiating a higher affiliate percentage;

And some high profile publishers/affiliates need to join the merchants own program because they negotiate special terms with the merchant.

This type of statement is exactly the reason why I didn’t sign-up to the program that day. How would I as an affiliate know (without researching every term and condition on every network) that I could only receive an increased percentage through high traffic levels by joining the affiliate program of the site itself? Affiliate percentages should be negotiable based on traffic levels irrelevant of the network the affiliate is part of. In this case I would have joined the program through a network that I happened to be already signed up to and would have there and then made the wrong choice based purely on the way the options were presented.

If you have any thoughts related to this I would be happy to post them on here. Just email affiliate@nzbase.com.

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