First of all this is not a rant against all CPA networks and affiliate managers….nor am I claiming this is a new issue. I guess I am just bringing life to an old discussion about when is it right to share?
Being someone who has worked in the network industry for 4 years, I totally see the need for affiliates to be part of a strong trustworthy network to protect yourself from getting screwed by shady advertisers who don’t pay. Period.
Trust me in my 4 years managing a CPA network I have seen several advertisers up and walk awxay with thousands of the networks dollars…but the network still paid out to the publishers who would have gotten screwed had the network not been there for them. Do I think we should be praised for that? HELLLLLL NO…because that’s what good CPA networks are supposed to do, and there are lots of them out there.
Good networks should also share with their publishers industry leading advice and tips on how to make their campaigns better…BUT.
WHERE SHOULD NETWORKS AND AFFILIATE MANAGERS DRAW THE LINE ON WHAT THEY SHARE?
I want to describe my own experience, and let you be the judge on whether they crossed the line…
My issue concerns two things…
1. When a MASSIVE network shares TOO MUCH intelligence on affiliate campaigns…and
2. When affiliate managers (trying to boost there percentages) share specific tactics with others.
Let’s look at the network example first.
For over 5 years I ran a CPA offer called “Bring Me Sports” and made a decent amount of money from it during football season especially. It was doing extremely well and could bring in roughly $4000-$6000 a week in profit. Until that is…when I opened my email and saw a message from the network I was running it through that I should try running Bring Me Sports during Sunday football and included the exact traffic source. The message went on to deliver exact ad headlines, ad text that works, and landing page images.
As you can guess…the campaign quickly got over saturated…and affiliates were making much less money on it. But the network was happy…cause now they had a rapid influx of traffic.
EVERYONE was doing the exact same method…end relentlessly ripping each others pages like it was going out of style.
Now I know people eventually find these campaigns on their own…but if you are a member of one of the highest paying CPA affiliate programs in the world and getting the best CPA offers to promote…then you expect them to keep this strong, instead of being greedy right?
Instead of sending a public email to thousands of their affiliates explaining the exact method some of their affiliates are doing, perhaps there is a better way to promote the offer. Now I am not claiming this was “my method”, and I can certainly say I wasn’t the only pissed off affiliate that day, but I did learn this method myself with years of testing…only to see it handed over to lazy pubs who jacked up click costs.
So who was the actual person who hit the “send button” on that message? Do they know how to generate traffic and affiliate marketing opportunities? Was this their idea of a good marketing campaign or is it because they see affiliates’ daily stats and traffic sources in their network that they feel they can share this data publicly? Are they there to help affiliates make more money or are they there to help advertisers make more money, or both?
If you are an affiliate that is on a network that shares specific marketing campaigns or crosses the line when it comes to information sharing, then you need to think that eventually it will be your campaign they share.
I mean let’s be honest…there is a line to be drawn on what networks and affiliate managers share. It should be very obvious to you if your network shares too much information with others.
Now let me talk briefly about affiliate managers. God love them.
I mean these are the people who help you get the creatives you need fast, and tell you new traffic sources that should be great for scaling your existing traffic and niches, and are real a helping hand on a daily basis.
The same theory applies to affiliate managers in terms of information sharing. If you start seeing your affiliate manager is sharing too much info with you about others…then you can only assume they are doing the same once you start generating traffic for them.
Let’s be honest…the majority of affiliate managers make most of their money from commissions they make from YOUR traffic!
Sure many of the big networks also throw in a base pay to their affiliate managers, but it’s RARE there is any affiliate manager out there that doesn’t get commissions. I mean it only makes sense, and its the easiest way to manage people remotely. (in other words, perform or get lost)
From my experience the majority of affiliate managers want to run their own traffic! So wtf are you supposed to do as an affiliate?
It’s kind of like a double edged sword. My point is, the affiliate manager can be a very valuable resource when you use them properly. And sure it doesn’t hurt to ask them for specific money making campaigns! I mean heck they might just give you a nugget…but if they give you a nugget before you even build trust with them…that’s a red flag in my opinion.
Eventually it will be your method they want to share or try for themselves.
Any way I think I am done ranting. In my opinion, running with a network is much better than running direct with advertisers for the added protection of being paid. Whether you run with a network or direct, you will still need to keep your campaigns as private as possible.
But no matter how private you are, (whether with a network or advertiser direct) you will always have the risk of someone seeing your campaign. You just need to trust the company you work with not to email the angles, the ads, the traffic sources, and the landing pages to 10,000 affiliates….and then have the audacity to ask you for more traffic.
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