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Old 12-17-2004, 03:43 PM   #1

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Question What do you hate about CPA programs?

I am in a foul mood right now caused by dealing with some CPA programs today. It really made me realize something that I already knew, and that is that I really don't like CPA programs.

Yes, it is possible to make money with them. But they can be a pain at times. Also, I don't feel most of them are really all that fair to the publishers.

What I really hate are the advertisers who stick toll-free numbers on their ads and do everything possible to make the person call that number or do something else to avoid clicking on your site. They don't want you to get a commission. I try to avoid dealing with those.

Next it is obvious with CPA programs that advertisers are getting free space on your site. You might be told all types of double-talk and see the use of smoke and mirrors. But, the fact remains that the advertisers are actually getting free advertising. Call it branding or whatever you want to, you are still giving them free space.

I think all CPA programs should actually be a combination of CPM and CPA. One should not expect to be paid a lot for the displays, but at least a small amount. Then of course they should get their appropriate commission when the required action is taken.

Obviously when there is some CPM there are going to be some publishers who will try to cheat and ruin things for
others and give those responsible for the program something else to deal with.

Then there are those constant changes to deal with. Something expires or something expires early. Something has to be replaced.

There are ways to make it a little easier to deal with this problem and I do everything possible to make it as quick and easy as possible, but it is still more trouble than it should be. I have nothing against doing some work in order to make some money.

That is some of what I hate about CPA programs. It would be nice if all CPA programs would see things the way I do and eliminate these problems.

What do you hate about CPA programs? What do you think can or should be done to make them better for publishers without causing serious harm to the advertisers?
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Old 12-18-2004, 11:18 PM   #2

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I definitely have a love-hate relationship with CPA programs.

I use CPA and CPS affiliate programs a great deal and they certainly do produce for me, but it has only been through an extended period of trial and error that the right balance has been struck. There are CPA programs on which I have actually lost $100s in real revenue, where I promoted the programs either directly or indirectly through paid search marketing methods and generated leads, only to have said leads reversed or to watch as the program is discontinued and affiliates are left to bear the brunt of poor affiliate management.

Apart from poor planning and management, some of the factors that raise flags for me these days are:
- Miniscule commissions
- Delayed lead verification methods
- The ready availability of phone numbers, third-party advertising or other distactions on landing pages
- Unattractive creatives that don't seem designed to stimulate conversions
- Overly-restrictive placement regulations
- Extended payment terms (beyond NET30)
- Program is operated by another affiliate, directing visitors to a mini-site or reseller property
- etc, etc.

CPA programs can be very strong performers, but separating the wheat from the chaff is an unenviable task and one that involves a good deal of risk. I will continue using CPA/CPS to supplement CPM and CPC-based online advertising revenue sources, but I do understand your position and can definitely relate to your negative experience.

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Old 12-20-2004, 09:39 AM   #3
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I guess it all comes down to using the right CPA program for you. Try only using campaigns with published EPCs. That might help you.

A combo CPA/CPM rate would not work as the standard. More affiliates have junk traffic than not, virtually worthless traffic which won't sign up or convert to any campaign.
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Old 12-20-2004, 12:22 PM   #4
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Please don't lose faith in CPA, there really are some good, honest high paying programs out there. Try to find programs that are well managed, that have eliminated all the "commission leaks" and that are parasite-free so you get all of your hard earned commissions.

I wanted to weigh in on the topic, even though I am an affiliate management consultant, not really an affiliate.

One of my biggest concerns with CPA programs is cookies. With all the apps that block or eat affiliate cookies and all of the consumers that are concerned about spyware and delete their cookies, I think cookie-based tracking is becoming less and less effective.

So I am hopeful that some companies will come up with some other type of tracking or at least a back up system, to ensure affiliates get credit even if cookies are deleted.
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Old 12-20-2004, 04:46 PM   #5
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I sometimes feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy's football. I get frustrated after failing to profit from countless impressions and clicks and swear off CPA. Then, after a while, I think "Hey - I can do this!" ... and fail again. I have gone through this cycle several times and am currently trying to kick the football again.

I believe generating good revenue from CPA is much more complex than it first appears. It is a skill I have yet to master. I have stopped throwing so many impressions at them however and now use limited programs in a few places hoping to find the ones that may work.
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Old 12-21-2004, 07:03 AM   #6
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I am not a "super-affiliate" by any stretch of the imagination. But CPA really is what puts the roof over my head and the food on my table.

Some people might jump to comparisons simply based upon effort. A CPM network doesn't take much effort to put on your site, while CPA campaigns have to be more carefully selected, with the real money in text links that take time to write. I know that I have said this many times, but, again - The CPA Money Is In Text Links Integrated To Your Content (you do have appealling content, right?)

Also note that an ad that is paid on a CPM basis is still measured by the advertiser for clicks and conversions. Sure, there are Branding-oriented campaigns, but there are also CPM-paid campaigns that are trying to get actual sign-ups, etc. And for those, the continuation (and rates) of the campaign depends upon the advertiser's conversion rate (even though the publisher cannot see it.) IOW, a CPM campaign with a poor click and conversion rate may tend to offer a lower pay rate to the publisher.

Back to CPA programs, for selecting a merchant, this is a point where Commission Junction has a great advantage. They list overall performance stats for each merchant.

As far as payment terms, I use a CPM network that does NET90, and some CPA networks that are NET20 (or thereabouts.) And I understand the reality of, say, a credit card app that needs time to be checked and issued.

Anyway, on a more positive note:

How much of a chance to other publishers give to any individual affiliate program? How many banner impressions, and how many text-link impressions? Some of this is hard to break down with network reports combining CTR for both banners and text. What is your personal threshold for dumping a program for poor performance? (This especially applies to banners that can easily be filled with better things in your rotation.)

Last edited by wsz; 12-21-2004 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 12-21-2004, 01:54 PM   #7
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Originally posted by wsz
Back to CPA programs, for selecting a merchant, this is a point where Commission Junction has a great advantage. They list overall performance stats for each merchant.
...as does MaxBounty.

Doug and Larwee, in my opinion the best way to start on CPA is to start small. Don't go for the sponsors paying $20+ CPA. Often their EPC is the same as lower paying campaigns, but you need to send more traffic to generate a lead. Also, without much experience under your belt, you might have a hard time turning your traffic into leads.

Start with smaller programs paying a buck or two per lead. Many convert well, and target a pretty general audience, so it's easy to generate leads with almost any traffic.

Get your feet wet with some easy conversions, then move up to the "better" paying programs.
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Old 12-21-2004, 03:36 PM   #8

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JP I said the following in my original post.

"Yes, it is possible to make money with them. But they can be a pain at times. Also, I don't feel most of them are really all that fair to the publishers".

I have used CPA and CPS for years and I have made money with them. In fact I've made good money from them. The reason I hate them is because in my opinion they are a pain and some aren't all that fair to publishers.

To be honest, what really made me hate CPA/CPS was AdSense.

I remember how things were for me and others in the late 1990's and probably into 2000 before the big dot com bust.

It was really easy to make money and lots of it. The payouts were very high. Of course that spoils a person.

I got paid a lot during the good times. But, I'm owed thousands of dollars by those that went under during the dot com failures. Naturally I won't ever see that money. Others have had that same experience.

After most stopped the payment per click and the amount earned from CPA and CPS sales dropped it was harder to make money. But, I was happy with what I was making with Commission Junction and others.

I do this full-time and have for several years. It is my only source of income and it allows me to make a comfortble living. So there was a time when I was making a living from CPA/CPS programs.

I didn't say I couldn't make money with CPA programs because I did make a lot off of them.

I simply stated things I hated about CPA prgrams. These centered around them being a pain and that I didn't think publishers were being treated fairly under the CPA/CPS system.

What wsz said is good and it is something I did for a few years and it worked very well. Many years ago I also did what you mentioned and it was effective.

I didn't say anything about not liking them because of not making money with them. But, I didn't fully explain what I considered to be a pain.

You know how it is when you really don't like to do something? Even though it is important, it is just something you don't like doing.

I mentioned it is my original post and that was dealing with all of the changes. You would put up a code and a few days later you are told that is being eliminated, or you find that something has an early expiration date, or that something has been replaced by something else. What I really hate more than anything else is dealing with that.

Yes, I'm even in your MaxBounty and I haven't done well at all. But, it is my fault and I know it. I haven't tried and I haven't done the things that I know work from many years experience of having success with such programs.

I love content and I deal with a lot of content. I like content sites. But, that can take a lot of time. I just want to have as much time as possible to deal with content and not need to spend time dealing with changing codes due to changes in a program or expirations of programs.

I like ValueClick because it is possible to put everything in rotation because when something expires it no longer shows in the rotation. I can put something in place of what expired when I get a chance or not put anything there. But, with rotation some things shown on some pages might not be the best for that content.

MaxBounty doesn't offer rotation, so I used a rotation system to do the rotating of MaxBounty offers.

Amazon also has it where you can just place the code and forget it because they take care of all the updates automatically. This type of thing just makes it so much easier. I love it!

Right now I'm doing something else with CPA programs that I know won't work. It is just an easy way of doing things until I get time to do it right.

When dealing with a lot of content, I just found the extra work involved with CPA programs just required too much work.

With Google's AdSense I can just put the code there and forget it and make good money at the same time. I don't have to worry about changing something when something expires. It gives me more time to deal with the huge amount of content I must handle.

BidClix, Clicksor, BidVertiser and others also make this possible. They just don't perform as well as AdSense does for most people.

I really want Yahoo and Microsoft to come up with something similar so I can use them as well.

Because of the time saved by just putting up a code and forgetting it, I really started hating dealing with all that is required with CPA/CPS programs.

But, eventually I hope to do things right with them since I know how from past experience. At the same time I just might not have the time because of dealing with content, which simply requires a lot of time.

A few years ago I had success selling ad space on my pages directly to advertisers.

I'm doing that on a limited basis now but will be devoting more attention to it.

Let me try to end this before it becomes a book.

People can like things and people can hate them. Each will have his or her own reason. Sometimes the reason might not even be logical.

Czar mentioned he has a love-hate relation with CPA programs, and that is probably what I have but probably for different reasons.

I have made good money on them before so I know and love the fact that one can make good money with CPA/CPS programs.

In fact I know that with the right CPA/CPS programs and the right effort put into them it is possible to make a lot more with them than with AdSense or anything similar to AdSense and I know there are people who do much better with CPA programs than the do with AdSense or those trying to be like AdSense.

So, when I started this thread I only mentioned a few specific things that I hate about CPA/CPS programs and I thought there might be others who also had specific things that they hate about CPA programs and I was curious as to what they were.

I hate CPA programs for the particular specific things I mentioned.

For me to have the type of content that I want I just simply need advertising that pays well that doesn't require a lot of extra work and for me personally CPA programs require more time than I want to devote to them because it takes away from the time I need for content.

However, I'm working on changing that. I've had very good results from CPA/CPS programs in the past. There is good money that can be made with them. I've seen it for myself. I would always encourage people to use them if they are willing and have the time to put in the effort to make them effective. Under the right circumstances it is possible to make a very good living off CPA/CPS programs. I know it is true because I did it and I know others who have done the same.

Last edited by Larwee; 12-21-2004 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 12-21-2004, 06:40 PM   #9

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Maybe you've struck upon the solution. If one of the networks was willing to invest in the following technology, it could generate a good deal of interest in high-performing CPA programs, while offering the ease of application required by so many time-poor publishers.

The proposal:
- A network supports individual CPA and CPS programs
- The network allows publishers to define their content channel and to select rotation code that contains access to campaigns contextually related to that channel and/or target audience.
- The network's technology monitors response rates derived from the rotation of these ads for a few weeks to generate an appropriate sample and then begins to automatically optimise campaigns so as to increase the weight assigned to those programs that convert well.
- The network adjusts on-the-fly every few hours to swap campaigns in and out so as to maximise returns for both the operators of quality CPA programs and for the publisher.
- Poor performing programs are presented with a natural incentive to raise their rates and/or to better optimise their landing page and conversion device so as to allow them a greater share of the market on offer.
- Expired offers and creatives are obviously automatically removed from rotation so as to avoid lost commissions from over-selling.

I do appreciate that some systems have claimed to function similarly to this in the past (ie Teknosurf/Advertising.com), but technology has improved vastly since those days.

I do also appreciate that CPA/CPS programs are a unique beast, making the optimisation of programs difficult if they require manual intervention in approving or dismissing commissions (such as with loan/credit applications, etc), but in regards to lead-based offers, this may be a workable solution.

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Old 12-21-2004, 07:26 PM   #10

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Absolutely GREAT, Czar!!!! I know I would love it and I'm sure others would as well.

When I started this tread I listed more than one thing that I hated and the major thing wasn't noticed. I should have only mentioned the major thing that I hated. It was all of the time that is required by the CPA/CPS programs.

If people have the time to deal with everything that is required to make them successful then there is no big problem. But, for those of us who don't, we need something different to deal with the CPA programs.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way. There is market for this. There are probably people who would want it if it were available but haven't even thought about it.

I would fall in love with CPA/CPS programs again if some network would do things this way. I hope one or more of them will do this. It is a change from the way things are now done and some hate to change.

I'm really interested in what some of the networks would have to say about this.
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Old 12-21-2004, 08:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: What do you hate about CPA programs?

Originally posted by larwee
Next it is obvious with CPA programs that advertisers are getting free space on your site. The advertisers are actually getting free advertising. Call it branding or whatever you want to, you are still giving them free space.
Yep. You send them 100 visitors and 10 of them convert, and they get 90 free visitors!!!!! I don't mind that so much on programs that have a high payout, like $25.00 for ebooks, mainly with ones around $1.00 pay-outs. You should atleast get a penny a click!

Some have it easy to generate the lead, such as the page having the form be the main thing the visitors sees after they click the link, while others I've seen it be hard to even find the sign-up form.

Last edited by Nintendo; 12-21-2004 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 12-21-2004, 10:57 PM   #12

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Nintendo I obviously agree with you since you quoted what I said.

Did you read the suggestion Czar had earlier in this thread?

I like that, but I would like to see some revenue added to that. I mentioned CPM of a small amount you mentioned a small pay per click.

You mentioned the free traffic they get, just as I did. These advertisers pay for traffic from Overture and AdWords. One might say that is better targeted traffic.

But, those of us who are publishers are sending free traffic to the advertisers. In addition some of them have very short cookie duration. So some sales are made for which the publisher doesn't get credit.

I really am not trying to make a big issue out of getting paid something. Even if the CPM was five cents. That five cents per thousand would be better than nothing.

However, I actually like your suggestion of paying per click better. Naturally in either case there is going to be potential fraud for the advertisers to deal with.

But, I wouldn't want the payment to be high, possibly even lower than the one cent per click that you suggested.

I'm saying it as a matter of principle more than anything else. With the pay per click as you suggested they would be paying something for traffic sent to them rather than getting all that traffic for nothing, and it is a lot of traffic when you add it up from all of the publishers sending it to them. As I said, in many cases the advertisers aren't fair to the publishers.

Even if they just paid 10 cents per 1000 clicks, that would be something based absolutely on principle. They shouldn't expect to get tons and tons of traffic free from people who are giving them space of their sites.

The publisher gets paid when the proper action is taken or when a sale is made. But, the publisher also gets paid at least a very small amount on principle, or fairness for sending traffic to the advertiser.

Take that and combine it with making things easier for the publisher, then one would have a very good CPA/CPS program.

You know what? I wouldn't be surprised if Google decided to offer something like this.

Last edited by Larwee; 12-21-2004 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 01-03-2005, 10:47 AM   #13
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Default What a great thread

I'm looking to begin a new distribution program ...

it's an interesting point that GeekVillage CPC / CPM forum has 27 times as many threads as does the CPA / CPS forum.

Publishers find the ease and predictability of CPM the way to go (27 times more preferred or so it seems).

So naturally I intend to find a way to go that direction, no matter how much trouble it is.

But on the other hand I notice that my successful competitors depend heavily on pay per lead or pay per sale affiliate programs.

Here's my perspective ... hopefully we can learn from each other.

CPC - requires distributor to assume click fraud risk and to monitor which publishers clicks produce leads / sales.

CPC - requires publishers to (A) meet distributor's minimum clicks / action ratio (B) get visitors clicks (C) maintain a balance between the two for long-term success.

CPA (Pay per lead or sale) - distributor avoids (A) risk / expense of ads that don't convert. (B) avoids most fraud risk

CPA (Pay per lead or sale) - publisher assumes risk of lost revenue from poor conversion.

CPM - distributor needs to monitor affiliates on an on-going basis to see which convert to sales / leads and drop the non-performing ones quick. Anti-fraud measures nessacary.

CPM - publisher has little risk other than the company might go belly-up or be dishonest.

Hmmmmm - I guess it's easy to see why distributors favor pay per sale or lead ... and why publishers many times favor CPM.

All comments welcome
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Old 01-03-2005, 12:50 PM   #14

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Worthen you made some interesting points.

Most people probably like what works best for them.

I like CPC programs much more than CPM programs because I make a lot more off CPC programs.

Natuarlly depending upon what type of a site a person has he or she might do better with one than the other. There are people who do better with CPM programs. But, CPM rates are very low in my opinion.

Publishers could have a lot of programs that are better than they are if ALL publisher were honest. A good many of the things we as publishers don't like is a result of things done by dishonest people who were cheating in order to get paid more than they deserved. The advertisers had to do things to keep from hurting themselves.

Since I started this thread about things that are hated about CPA/CPS programs. I started another thread to see what people loved about CPA programs. Here is a link to that thread http://www.geekvillage.com/forums/sh...268#post148268

The interest in contextual advertising is really growing and there are plenty of new players in the market. While I have no figures to actually prove it, I believe that operators of CPA/CPS programs are going to have to make some changes in order to make them more attractive to publishers or the interest in them is going to drop by a large amount.

Last edited by Larwee; 01-03-2005 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 01-07-2005, 03:11 PM   #15
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Nothing thing that has just ****** me off about CPA programs is that they donít pay you if the actions donít convert to sales

I mean then why do you list your program on a CPA bases if you really want to pay on a CPS bases.

I just experienced this with websponsors.com They have cut out about 50% of my pay saying that it didnít convert to enough sales for them.
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