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Old 12-09-2003, 01:09 AM   #1
n1a2n3r4
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Default Invitation only affiliate programs

Do merchants sometimes offer affiliate commissions to a select group of publishers rather than to the universe of publishers via the third parties?

If so, how do they find the select group of publishers?

Using search engines to find the currently best positioned sites occurs to me. Then I suspect an arrangement would be made with those sites if they are not in direct competition. If the sites that rise to the top are all merchants, rather than publishers, then how do merchants find talented publishers?

Or is it the other way around and the talented publishers find the merchants via the third party services, posts on barter/sell/trade areas like on GeekVillage, and ???

Would I be correct to assume that people who are successful publishers in one niche, can, if they identify a suitable merchant in another niche, use their publishing skills to rise to the top in the other niche in order to profit via affiliate commissions from the merchant's offerings.

If so, then why don't they do it all the time?... or do they?

Shooting in the dark here. Any thoughts you would be willing to share?
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Old 12-09-2003, 02:02 AM   #2
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I can tell you that both of those scenarios do frequently take place.

In most cases, though, those merchants active enough in the online marketlpace to pursue affiliates individually are also eager to pursue relationships through the networks in order to yield greater margins at lower volumes. They may need to offer incentives to larger publishers in exchange for technology, better placement, trust and/or increased transactional volume, but also like to keep feelers out in other channels.
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Last edited by Czar; 12-09-2003 at 02:02 AM.
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Old 12-09-2003, 02:22 AM   #3
Jack
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Quote:
Do merchants sometimes offer affiliate commissions to a select group of publishers rather than to the universe of publishers via the third parties?

If so, how do they find the select group of publishers?
Private affiliate programs are rather rare online. This is because there really isn't much incentive for a merchant to close off their program as costs to maintain an affiliate program do not rise much with increased numbers of affiliates (and the slightly increased costs would usually be made up with increased sales).

I understand what you are getting at with your post - the benefits of being a Super Affiliate and how to become one. While private affiliate programs are rare, there certainly are other benefits to being a Super Affiliate. What is most common is a merchant offering a commission bonus to the Super Affiliate. As far as how to be recognized as a Super Affiliate, if you produce a high volume of sales for a merchant, then you generally have the ability to obtain a better rate. Keep in contact with your affiliate manager and use programs where the affiliate manager knows his or her stuff. Of course, if you have an extremely well known site like fatwallet.com, you can do all of this negotiating up front and may even receive a signing bonus/slotting fee for placing links to a merchant on your site.

What it boils down to is this: If you can generate a lot of money online, you are a Super Affiliate and will receive the perks associated with it. There are little things you can do to raise your profile, but it all comes down to your numbers.

Quote:
Would I be correct to assume that people who are successful publishers in one niche, can, if they identify a suitable merchant in another niche, use their publishing skills to rise to the top in the other niche in order to profit via affiliate commissions from the merchant's offerings.

If so, then why don't they do it all the time?... or do they?
You would be correct in this assumption: Super Affiliates should have the knowledge to expand into other areas. I'd have to say the majority of people who have a great, profitable site either do not expand into other areas or do so at an exceptionally slow pace. I believe there are several reasons behind this:

- They are happy with their current success. Some people are very happy with working 1-2 hours a day and making $10,000 a month. They like where they are and do not really feel the need to expand further.

- They are bogged down with work. They may have made a site which requires far too much of their time. Thus, they spend all their time maintaining their sites and do not have time to grow sites.

- They lack the willingness to use resources to expand. Some people are afraid to hire others or make some investments in their business which would allow them to expand into other areas.

Personally, I attempt to be as agile as possible in this business. Automation is key. I attempt to expand to new areas as fast as I possibly can. I am very happy to say that the time spent maintaining my current sites is less than 2 hours per week. The rest of the time can be spent on growing them or working on others.
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Old 12-09-2003, 02:32 AM   #4
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I don't mean to go off on a tangent here but something caught my eye.

Quote:
They are happy with their current success. Some people are very happy with working 1-2 hours a day and making $10,000 a month. They like where they are and do not really feel the need to expand further.
Jack, I just have to ask if you know many, or any, people currently in this category.

That would be inspiring.
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Old 12-09-2003, 03:06 AM   #5
Jack
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Quote:
Jack, I just have to ask if you know many, or any, people currently in this category.

That would be inspiring.
Sorry, I cannot personally confirm anyone who makes that amount of money and works those hours after making it. However, I am quite certain there are people out there who decide 'I've made enough and have a steady income stream coming in, so I'll just vacation for the rest of my time'. I know I have read many of those stories online. There are several good sites out there to read inspiring stories of those who are generating a large amount of revenue on the web. I'd link a few but can only recall one at the moment and that is a paid site.

Regarding my comment, I actually felt somewhat negative towards those who slow down after having one big success. I feel with the way the Internet is right now, change can happen at any time. Thus, you must continue to work hard and grow your business no matter how much money you have coming in. While the idea of building up a stream of income and then checking out is very appealing, I continue to worry that something could come along and wreck the hard work I have done unless I continue to expand and continue to work hard. Maybe I feel this way due to the fact that I felt my income was high enough in 1999 during the advertising boom times and rested for quite some time instead of continuing to build and go into other areas which would have been a hedge against the coming advertising crash. Or, it could be that I am young and have somewhat of a 'Take on The World' attitude.

In any case, I agree that making that amount and then having the option to no longer work is inspiring and a dream of many of us.

Last edited by Jack; 12-09-2003 at 03:07 AM.
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Old 12-09-2003, 10:03 AM   #6
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While I'm sure that there are people who could sit back and make a good income with little work most entreprenurial types would never do so. First because until you're Bill Gates rich you can always use more money Second because when you're Bill Gates rich you get to making money as a game. Read bios of the business tycoons - I recently read a good one about Marvel - and you'll find that even when these guys don't need to money they keep working the deals - for ego and fun.

As a business person you have to make decisions on how to apply limited resources. I have at least 3 or 4 other sites I could build that I think would be successful. I have to balance that with growing the 2 sites I already run. And yes, I've already gotten to the point where I hire people to do some of the work that I don't need to do myself. It's a tough balancing act. Remember that there is such a thing as growing too fast and being too agressive - ask the head of any telecom related company. Sometimes slow and steady really does win the race.
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Old 12-09-2003, 11:08 AM   #7
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Interesting subject..

These points make a lot of sense to me:
Quote:
As a business person you have to make decisions on how to apply limited resources. I have at least 3 or 4 other sites I could build that I think would be successful. I have to balance that with growing the 2 sites I already run.
Quote:
... the majority of people who have a great, profitable site either do not expand into other areas or do so at an exceptionally slow pace.
I've often wondered about this, do the long-term successful people focus all their energy in one niche or diversify at a measured pace, or frantic pace?

I like the idea of doing one thing very well, better than the rest. Maybe one website on one subject is too risky (all eggs in one basket as they say). Or maybe the internet is big enough dump all your energy into one niche super-site? I realize there are too many variables for anyone to really answer this.

At this stage just getting one site started is enough for me. I just wonder.

Last edited by DougM; 12-09-2003 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 12-09-2003, 02:10 PM   #8
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You said: "If so, how do they find the select group of publishers?"

More sources:

1. Sometimes via Forums. You may not be able to tell who they are via their screen name but they are around Carefully reading posts and looking for Super Affiliates to approach.

2. To a certain exstent the age old "word of mouth" technique also works. At this level, Super Affiliates like most sucessfull people tend to hang out or at least have knowledge of like-minded and other great producers in other spaces besides their own. This point may be hard to grasp, given the fact that their are millions of sites trying to make money BUT at a certain 'level" the Web nee universe of sites, becomes a "very small world".

HTH

Last edited by Steve_S; 12-09-2003 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 12-09-2003, 04:32 PM   #9
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Maybe I am missing something here.

Are "publishers" and "affiliates" the same group and "merchants" a different group?

I thought "merchants" had a product or service to sell to a market.

I thought "publishers" were those successful at making web pages that rank highly in the search engines and thereby receive the bulk of the web traffic focussed on the targetted search phrases.

I thought "publishers" made money from the traffic they gather by (1) selling ad space on their pages, and (2) inserting CPA or CPM links to the merchants sites at which products and services are sold to the market.

Is there some other distinction between "publishers" and "affiliates"?

It seems to me that "merchants" entering a new niche market would be interested in identifying good publishers/affiliates to dominate the new niche market. Wouldn't successfull publishers / affiliates considering a new niche market currently dominated by merchants with limited web savy as an untapped opportunity if they could structure the right deals with merchants?

Last edited by n1a2n3r4; 12-09-2003 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 12-09-2003, 06:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Is there some other distinction between "publishers" and "affiliates"?
Publishers and Affiliates are essentially the same. However, I tend to refer to those who receive payouts from merchants as Affiliates in my posts instead of Publishers because many times I receive payments from merchants without even putting up one page (since I do not publish anything in that case). This is usually done through making traffic buys and simply redirecting them to the merchant's site without the traffic ever moving through one of my servers.
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Old 12-09-2003, 09:37 PM   #11
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Timely topic for me.

I'm no super-affiliate but I just received an invitation to participate in a private program at an increased percentage rate.

Cool.

Makes me wonder what the selection criteria was as I'm not at all active with the network the merchant belongs to. I guess I'll have to give them a second look.

Hey...maybe they chose me because of my sterling reputation and my girlish good looks!
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Old 12-10-2003, 09:50 AM   #12
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Just remember that not all "special invitations" and "private deals" are really special or private. Art.com recently sent mass mailing to lots of people inviting them to a special offer with special rates that seems pretty much open to anyone. Just don't let the fact that it's a "special" offer change your criteria in determining if its worth your time and effort.
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Old 12-10-2003, 06:34 PM   #13
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Good advice, jnestor.

Actually, the company is one I've done business with as a consumer. They have some very nice products and I might be able to sell a few items here and there, but I don't think they'll ever be one of my top five merchants.
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