Dr File Finder - Not only is Dr
File Finder (aka Mike Callahan) back to providing
desperately needed software reviews. The reviews
are now being syndicated and appear on a number
of download sites including Simtel and SoftwareVault!
In addition to reviews Mike provides promotional
services for clients.
more info - http://www.drff.com
simtel reviews - http://www.simtel.com
FILE DISTRIBUTION SERVICES
File Kicker - A new file download
service affiliated with Emetrix. They currently
have four dedicated download servers located in
3 data centers, each of which is connected to
the Internetwith gigabit per second links the
kicker of course is the price! 30 Gigabytes of
transfer for just $ 14.95 less than $.50 per gig.
**note File Kicker allows you to TRY there service
more info - http://www.filekicker.com
SWMirror.com - A new file distribution
service this one affiliated with Shareware Junction.
Backed by dedicated webservers and offering direct
linking to your files on your own yourname.swmirror.com
domain name, LiveStats 5.0 site statistics, 20mb
of storage (expandable) and a generous 100gb of
transfer per month hosting is $ 10.00 per month
and a year ($120.00) must be paid in advance.
more info - http://www.swmirror.com/
Shareware Promotions - It seems
I never have time for anything these days so I
took advantage of an offer by Shareware Promotions
and had them submit my software to the sites.
They did a great job and provided full reporting
with follow up, if you are overwhelmed consider
using their services.
more info - http://www.sharewarepromotions.com
Recently a lot of developers have been asking
me, lots of questions about the various affiliate
programs available, so I decided to change the
format this issue of SMR in order to answer some
of those questions. Please bear in mind that the
following is only my opinions and perceptions
about some of the programs that I've worked with.
I have a fairly unique perspective because we
have sat on both sides of the fence as both an
affiliate and as a merchant.
For clarification purposes I'll define an affiliate
to be any "referrer" or website that promotes
a product in an effort to earn revenue. A merchant
is defined as someone who owns a product and is
sharing revenues with an affiliate based on the
affiliate's performance. There are 3 basic affiliate
programs out there, though only one is common
to software. I've defined all three but for simplification
purposes I've focussed on the one that is most
common to software, Pay per Sale.
Pay Per Click - this is when
an affiliate is compensated for sending traffic
to the merchant.
Pay Per Lead - this is when the
merchant agrees to pay for a qualified (or sometimes
Pay Per Sale - this is when the
affiliate is compensated by the merchant if
the referral generates a sale or purchase.
In order to develop a successful affiliate network,developers
must realize that affiliates are partners, many
times spending ad dollars on site, or product
promotion. If the affiliate is not compensated
fairly they will not remain in the merchants network.
Commonly traffic to merchant sites is measured
and affiliates can clearly see conversion rates.
Meaning, they track the percentage of people they
are referring, and how much of it results in earned
revenue. If the affiliate finds a very low conversion,
they will find a better way to monetize that traffic,
quite possibly with a competing merchant product.
In order to be a succesful affiliate, the affiliate
site needs to to either have tons of traffic or
target a specific audience (frequently one untapped
by the merchant). It has been my experience, the
closer the affiliate site content resembles the
merchant products, the higher the likelihood of
a good conversion rate.
Once you are committed to the idea of affiliates
the next step is to determine the kind of tracking
system you are going to use. Again there are a
number of different kinds, I'm going to focus
on those commonly used with software applications
and within that group I'll talk about those that
I'm most familiar with. Please bear in mind there
are others out there but these are the ones in
3rd Party Software Affiliate Programs
Some of the players are RegNow, ShareIt, Esellerate,
and Emetrix. The benefits in working with these
type companies to manage your affiliate program
is that they obviously understand the software
industry (as it is what they do). The downside
is they don't have large networks of affiliates
that are looking for your products, so you will
need to do the bulk of the recruiting and the
reporting is generally not that good. All of the
companies above handle affiliates differently.
Of the above RegNow has the best system, they
manage affiliates through cookie tracking and
have a searchable database, they rank their affiliates
and merchants based on performance. The downside
is they are one of the more expensive registration
services and inorder to generate any affiliate
revenue they *must* be your primary registration
service. Affiliates are given a RegNow url which
passes them to the merchant site lodging a cookie
on the surfers computer. If the surfer downloads,
and returns later to purchase the affiliate is
credited for the referral.
Cons to RegNow - their reporting is really substandard,
you are unable to see the number of customers
referred (from an affiliate perspective) so you
can not determine if there is a good conversion.
You must check order links to be certain that
the merchant uses RegNow as an order service.
url Example: http://www.regnow.com/softsell/visitor.cgi?affiliate=15863&action=site&vendor=2506
ShareIt's system is fairly new and but their database
is huge. You can find just about any type software
listed. ShareIt provides an url on ShareIts site
that provides a brief description of the software
along with a "try" and "buy" button. In some cases
the merchant customizes the web page. The customer
really doesn't have any options to find more information
about the software unless the page is highly customized.
I've found the conversion with this type of system
just is not as high as passing the customer through
to the merchants site.
Cons to ShareIt - their reporting is substandard,
excel spreadsheets are sent to affiliates upon
request. The spreadsheets just show sales or attempted
sales made, there is no link tracking. Merchants
all pay 15% commissions, as far as I know they
do not have the option of accepting or rejecting
standard - http://shareit1.element5.com/product.html?productid=162115&resellerid=941
custom - http://esd.element5.com/product.html?productid=505223&resellerid=941
ESellerate's system is brand new (launched around
October 1st). Its very similar to ShareIts with
a specific landing page on Esellerate's system.
While they don't have many software listings in
their library, their system has much more flexibility
than ShareIt's. Merchants can approve or reject
affiliates and they have a good searchable database
for affiliates to find programs.
Cons to Esellerate - the conversion on pages that
don't pass through to the merchants site just
does not convert as well.
url example: http://store.esellerate.net/a.asp?c=2_SKU4976178770_AFL403073819
Emetrix doesn't have an affiliate system but they
bear mentioning because they have made an effort
to integrate a number of the popular 3rd party
affiliate systems into their network. They have
told developers in their network that integration
for other 3rd parties is available upon request
should the developer sign up with them. Having
recently signed up with ShareASale and using Emetrix
for ordering I found the integration to be far
easier than I expected. I simply checked a box
in the Emetrix control panel and the integration
Cons to Emetrix - they don't have an affiliate
url example - depends on the 3rd party system
3rd Party Affiliate programs
Many merchants use established 3rd party affiliate
programs to manage and recruit affiliates. The
3rd party affiliate programs have large affiliate
bases and making it easier to recruit affiliates.
Their focus is affiliates and they traditionally
can track the number of visitors referred by affiliates
and the number of sales, so conversion can easily
be obtained. All allow you to optionally auto
approve affiliates or manually aprove or reject
affiliates. Affiliate commissions can typically
be adjusted for top producing affiliates and overall
their systems tend to be a little more flexible.
passing the customer to the merchants site for
Commission Junction's tracking is excellent but
their network is so large its easy for a small
merchant to be lost. Its also likely that smaller
developers will not have the highest ranking as
its based on volume. The initial sign up fee for
CJ is also likely to be out of reach for the majority
of small merchants (I believe $ 5,000). CJ Cons
- intitial expense and sheer size of network (both
pro and con)
CJ url example - http://www.qksrv.net/click-1144390-4129039
ClixGalore's network attracts a number of smaller
companies, and while their system is adequate
I found something that could affect merchants
abilities to attract affiliates. When its time
to pay an affiliate ClixGalore will only pay via
PayPal, yet during the sign-up affiliates are
not told this. PayPal is not supported in all
countries and this could affect an affiliates
ability to be paid. Its likely they are unable
to support a network of ClixGalore - site is difficult
to navigate and payment options minimize ability
to attract international affiliates. ClixGalore
url example - http://www.clixgalore.com/PSale.asp?BID=2847&AfID=8764&AdID=597
info on ClixGalore
ShareASale has a growing network and while their
site navigation isn't intuitive, it has improved
slightly since I've joined their network. They
also offer a number of incentives for affiliates
to promote programs (they are currently running
url example - http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=3939&U=59703&M=1465
info on ShareASale
A number of developers have decided to do what
they do best, and create home grown affiliate
programs, the obvious pros are that the system
can be modified to meet a developers need, reporting
can be changed based on requests and the merchants
have complete control. The downside is the affiliate
program would be independent of any network and
the recruiting burden falls to the merchant. In
addition sometimes affiliates are hesitant to
trust a home grown system where the merchant is
responsible for the accounting. I've had mixed
luck with home grown affiliates some are great
some are not.
TO BE CONTINUED IN NEXT ISSUE....
Many developers have expressed an interest in
reading previous newsletters since the link is
a bit buried I thought I would include it in the
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