Affiliate Programs are Awesome (but you need to find the right partner)

26 Feb

I hate affiliate programs. Not the actual concept, or what happens when you make a sale. Oh no – I hate the actual programs. Many of them are setup in a rather sneaky way that do nothing but try to extract money from your traffic without giving up a dime. And then you have the problem of cookie stealing, and companies building up their brand without paying you a dime – argh!

I make more money from affiliate programs than advertising or sales. But – every single one of the affiliate programs we use (we use 5) all provide XML systems. We are able to complete a transaction without a user ever knowing that we are just a frontend. The most important part here is the provider is never able to exert their brand influence on the end user. Next time User X wants to buy a product, he (or she) will come back to our site and re-purchase. Huzzah!

Actual example: iBegin Toronto. Revenues from ads: $x. Revenue from hotel reservations: $x * 4.

And our partners treat us well. We get solid traffic. We don’t trick our users or annoy them. And we have generated millions in revenue (literally) for them. Its a relationship where both parties try hard to make the most of it.

Speaking of which – none of the companies I work with actually advertise an XML system. We contacted their affiliate manager, talked about the high quality traffic that flows through us, and reached a deal. Simple and easy :)

[this post catches me up for the weekend so I am again averaging exactly one post per day]

2 Responses to Affiliate Programs are Awesome (but you need to find the right partner)



February 27th, 2007 at 10:52 am

Do you have any links to more explanation of how this type of xml system works? I’m very interested in this but haven’t heard anything about it before.

thanks, Ben



February 27th, 2007 at 12:17 pm

XML is just a ‘container’ for data – a way to present information.

In the case of affiliate programs, there are usually three kinds:
1. Classic link with affid. Eg you get a link from CJ or linkshare

2. White-label frontend. Basically you tell them what you want the deisgn to look like, you send people to their site while it looks like yours

3. XML – the affiliate provider gives you all the info they can. You can then embed this on your site to make it look like its a part of your site. Some will even let you do transactions through a secondary domain so your customers have no clue who they are buying from.

So with an XML program, by embedding it right into your site, you have much greater control over what your users see and how they see it. The rest you can play around with :)