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Monday, April 20, 2009

HOW TO DEAL WITH ONLINE MERCHANTS CREATING PARTNERSHIPS

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When you decide to become an affiliate marketer, you are basically just asking another web host to add a link to your website to theirs which will bring your website more traffic and hopefully generate more sales for them, which gives you a commission sale. Of course, there are some things that affiliates look for in a website before they will sign you on as an affiliate. Before you even consider signing on as an affiliate, you should make sure that your website has something to offer that theirs doesn’t.

To be more specific, even if you are going to a “like” website as an affiliate, you don’t want to approach a site that is selling the exact same thing as you because that makes you direct competition with you. For example, if you are selling designer clothing of a particular label, you do not want to try to go to a site that is selling the exact same items as you, but a like site that may offer the same brand, but not the same items. That way, both sites are selling the same label, but can push each other’s sites for the items that they don’t carry.

Once you know exactly what type of website you want to run and which web companies are actually offering you the right revenue sharing opportunities for products and services that complement your web site genre, you can’t just offer to put up banners and buttons on their behalf. It is best to begin by writing up a review page of the product or service and how it will definitely help boost sales, especially if you are recognized as being knowledgeable in your field.

One of the best ways to show that you know what you are doing is to offer articles and reviews on your website about your items for sale. Keyword articles are best for getting search engine to come calling. You can also put in a brief history of the product’s inception etc. Basically just put in as much information as you can about your product or service so that visitors and merchants will know that you are on top of things and know what you are doing. Here are some more things that you should do when dealing with potential affiliates that you are trying to get in with.

TALK TO PEOPLE

Talking to people could not only increase your sales, but also save you some heartache in the long run. It is very easy to talk to an affiliate company, and you can start by contacting the merchant, let them know what you are doing to promote their product and ask their advice as to how you could improve your marketing technique. Think about it, it is always best to approach a potential affiliate with a standing technique in mind as well as an outline of what you plan to do to help them. If you have the means, try it out for a while so that you can approach a merchant with solid facts backing you up.

When you ask the merchant for advice you are setting yourself in great standing with them and showing them that you understand their knowledge. After all, the merchant knows their product best right? They would also have a very good idea of the strategies that are used by other affiliates to boost sales. Don’t bother checking for this information on an affiliate site because you will not be getting to the nitty gritty of it.

By contacting the merchant yourself, you are also showing your enthusiasm for marketing their products and services and that you are working to become known as a "power" or "super" affiliate! Any merchant who understands affiliate marketing knows that over 90% of sales are generated by less than 5% of their affiliates. A good merchant will see your efforts and give you further information and resources and may even boost your commission fees as a result of your efforts and success. All of this means more money for you both!

DEALING WITH MERCHANTS DIRECTLY:

When you are dealing directly with a merchant, there are some things that you have to realize. You need to know how to deal with them but also what to expect to encounter from the as well. That is what this section is going to help you with. Let’s take a look at some of the various things that you can expect to hear and deal with when going through a merchant.


a) If you are going to go to the trouble of emailing a merchant and they don't respond the first time, do not worry about it, be persistent because many merchants receive countless numbers of emails daily and take time to sift through them and weed out the spam. If they still fail to respond to your, think twice about continuing promotion on their behalf because a lack of communication can also be indicative of other problems such as payment or just plain disinterest. You should also bear in mind that some merchants work on the shotgun principle. What this means is that they make big promises, set a high payouts knowing full well that few affiliates will ever reach it. Next thing you know, they get as many affiliates promoting their products and services as possible which will give them the maximum exposure, with the minimum cost and effort on their part. It's not a good business model for them to use in the long term and after a while affiliates drop away, but not before the company has raked in thousands. Many MLM (multi-level marketing) programs also work on this principle and only the guys at the top generate any serious revenue so you need to expect this and watch out for it.

A good way to protect your payments from merchants is to sign up for affiliate programs that are extremely well established ad networks such as Offers Quest or FastClick if you want to get paid for your work. When you are working with a major ad network means that even if you only make a few dollars from each program, those dollars that are generated will all feed a common account, accumulate rapidly which will allow you to reach the payout threshold in a shorter time period. Most ad networks work with merchants on a "money up front" or monthly "pay as you go" basis because this decreases the risk of those merchants who are suddenly disappearing with your hard earned commissions. For this to work, you need to demonstrate your web marketing prowess

b) Unless you have a web site that already generates high traffic, don't ask the merchant for higher commissions in the first communication. So many affiliates do this and end up being totally ignored because most affiliates probably can't deliver on their promises due to the fact that too many of their claims are unachievable. If you don't have a solid sales record for the product or service you are promoting, you'll need to prove yourself to merchants off the bat and put some thought into your promotion and rack up a few sales before attempting to secure higher payout rates. Be professional in your communications

c) When you are communicating with merchants, you have to make sure that you use a professional manner not the laid back style that you use when talking toy our friends. If you have suggestions of how a merchant could improve an offer that would convert into more sales, let them know, but be very polite and constructive in your feedback –not insulting by saying things like: "Your banners suck" because this will alienate them.

d) You have to remember that the Internet as a trading place is still very new in comparison to the business platforms of the last few millennia like regular advertising through television or newspaper ads. Some of the quality companies that are offering an affiliate program may be just breaking into this side of marketing and will appreciate any feedback you can give them.

e) A smart merchant understands that good affiliates can’t be found everywhere as is often assumed and hoped. Merchants need someone that acts business like and treats them with respect, assists with resources and provides prompt payments. Smarter affiliates understand that a merchant wants quality promotion and sales performance for minimum outlay. Successful merchant/affiliate partnerships happen when both parties understand these points and work together because that is when the money starts rolling in.

Here is a sample of the type of contract that you can expect to see from a merchant and/or some of the listings that will be in it.

Sample Affiliation Contract was located at and provided by:
http://partners.pcsecurityshield.com/agreement.html?CLIENT_NAME=nextaisle


PUBLISHER TERMS OF AGREEMENT

PCSecurityShield ACTIVELY monitors traffic for Fraud. If we detect Fraud, your account will be made inactive pending further investigation.

1. All websites, newsletters, companies, or individuals need official approval from PCSecurityShield, Inc. ("PCSecurityShield") http://www.pcsecurityshield.com before they can become an Affiliate Partner ("Affiliate"). Only websites and newsletters that have been reviewed and approved are permitted to use the programs. PCSecurityShield reserves the right to withhold or refuse approval on any website, newsletter, company, or individual for any reason, whatsoever.

2. In order to be eligible for Affiliate approval, all websites and newsletters must meet the following criteria:

2.1. Be content-based, not simply a list of links or advertisements, nor can the site be centered around making money off of our Advertisers

2.2. Be written in English and contain only English language content

2.3. Receive a minimum of 1,000 unique page views per month

2.4. Have a top-level domain name

2.5. Cannot offer incentives to users to click on ads; incentives include but are not limited to awarding them cash, points, prizes, contest entries, etc.

2.6. Be fully functional at all levels; no "under construction" sites or sections

2.7. Spawning process pop-ups and exit pop-ups are prohibited for click approved affiliates

3. The content of the website and/or newsletter cannot contain any adult content nor link from, or to, any adult materials including but not limited to:

3.1. Explicit, vulgar or obscene language

3.2. Posting or referencing of sexually explicit images or other offensive content

3.3. Promotion of adult services, such as phone sex or escort services

4. The content of the website and/or newsletter cannot infringe on any personal, intellectual property or copyrights including but not limited to:

4.1. Racial, ethnic, political, hate-mongering or otherwise objectionable content

4.2. Investment, money-making opportunities or advice not permitted under law

4.3. Gratuitous violence or profanity

4.4. Material that defames, abuses, or threatens physical harm to others or to you

4.5. Promotion of illegal substances or activities such as illegal online gambling, how to build a bomb, counterfeiting money, etc.

4.6. Software Pirating (e.g., Warez, Hotline)

4.7. Hacking or Phreaking.

4.8. Any illegal activity whatsoever

4.9. Any questionable or controversial subject matter

4.10. Any spoofing, redirecting, or trafficking from adult-related websites in an effort to gain traffic

5. You cannot place our advertisements into your framed environment, unless approved by PCSecurityShield in writing.

6. Unless expressly approved in writing by PCSecurityShield, Inc., YOU ARE NOT PERMITTED to provide compensation, benefits, or incentives of any kind whatsoever, including, but not limited to, points, cash, contest entries, or rewards, to encourage a user to click on an advertisement or to complete a form.

7. In order to be approved as a "Click Program" Affiliate, all websites and newsletters must meet the following criteria:

7.1. Be approved as a "Leads Program" Affiliate

7.2. Be content-based, not simply a list of links or advertisements, nor can the site be centered around making money off of our Advertisers

7.3. Cannot offer incentives to users to click on ads; incentives include but are not limited to awarding them cash, points, prizes, contest entries, etc.

7.4. Spawning process pop-ups and exit pop-ups are prohibited

8. You cannot send Unsolicited Commercial Email (i.e., SPAM). You cannot post any specific messages to newsgroups, chat rooms, bulletin boards or any other places unless expressly approved in writing from PCSecurityShield. You can post messages which are generic in nature and do not mention any specific client or offer, which are expressly approved in writing from PCSecurityShield. You must be in compliance with our Policies and Guidelines posted at _____________________.

9. If you fraudulently add leads or clicks or inflate leads or clicks by fraudulent traffic generation (as determined solely by PCSecurityShield, such as pre-population of forms or mechanisms not approved by PCSecurityShield), you will forfeit your entire commission for all programs and your account will be terminated. PCSecurityShield reserves sole judgment in determining fraud, and you agree to this clause.

10. It is the OBLIGATION of the Affiliate to prove to PCSecurityShield that they are NOT committing fraud. PCSecurityShield will hold your payment in 'Pending Status' until you have satisfactorily provided evidence that you are not defrauding the system. We flag accounts that:

10.1. Have click-through rates that are much higher than industry averages and where solid justification is not evident

10.2. Have ONLY click programs generating clicks with no indication by site traffic that it can sustain the clicks reported

10.3. Have shown fraudulent leads as determined by our clients

10.4. Use fake redirects, automated software, and/or fraud to generate clicks or leads from our programs

11. Filling out this form constitutes an agreement between PCSecurityShield and the Affiliate. The commission payment that is generated to the Affiliate varies per registered subscriber to the programs offered and/or per clicks. This commission payment is made approximately 60 days after the end of the month and after receiving payment from the Advertiser. Delinquent Advertiser payments received by PCSecurityShield will be credited to the Affiliate in the month that they are received. PCSecurityShield does not guarantee payment to the Affiliate if the Advertiser does not pay PCSecurityShield. Commission payment totals must exceed $25.00, otherwise this payment will not be made until the $20.00 minimum is reached. International Affiliates (outside of the United States & Canada) agree to a minimum $50.00 to be reached.

12. Affiliate agrees not to carry objectionable materials on their website which would revoke their affiliation as determined by PCSecurityShield. Affiliate will only run approved banners and text in their advertising of our programs and will NOT create their own banners or advertising text, unless expressly approved in writing from PCSecurityShield. Violation of this forfeits your commissions. Affiliate WILL NOT spam or send unsolicited email mentioning or promoting the Affiliate programs. Any violation of this will result in the Affiliate being liable for damages of $1.00 per email sent and other damages as deemed by a court of law.

13. Editing of an Advertiser's program images or copy is strictly prohibited. Affiliate will only use approved banners and text to link to an Advertiser's sign-up pages. Affiliates will not mislead people to make it seem that they are signing up for an offer that is offered by the Affiliate site. Affiliate can ONLY use banners and approved text, any other use of link and sign-up processes will result in the loss of all sign ups/leads accrued for the Affiliate.

14. PCSecurityShield reserves the right to terminate any Affiliate's contract for any reason whatsoever. Termination notice will be provided via e-mail and will be effective immediately. All legitimate moneys due to Affiliate will be paid during the next billing cycle. If Affiliate defrauds the system, then payment is revoked as determined solely by PCSecurityShield.

15. You guarantee that all content, products, and services on your website are legal to distribute and that you own or have the legal right to use any and all copyrighted material.

16. Affiliate irrevocably covenants, promises and agrees to indemnify PCSecurityShield and to hold harmless from and against any and all losses, claims, expenses, suits, damages, costs, demands or liabilities, arising from any and all claims and lawsuits for copyright, slander, libel, and trademark violation as well as ll other claims resulting from member's web pages.

17. If any Affiliate violates or refuses to take part in their responsibilities, or commits fraudulent activity against us, PCSecurityShield reserves the right to withhold payment and take appropriate legal action to cover its damages.

18. PCSecurityShield reserves the right to change any conditions of this contract at any time. Change notices are sent to Affiliates by email, and Affiliates are responsible for complying with any changes to the contract within 10 calendar days from the date of change. Failure of the Affiliate to terminate the agreement within those 10 calendar days will constitute acceptance of the changes to this contract.

19. PCSecurityShield gives no warranty, express or implied, for any and all services and products provided, including, but not limited to, warranty of merchantability and warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. This statement expressly includes any reimbursement for losses of income
due to disruption of service by PCSecurityShield or its upstream providers.

20. You agree to settle any dispute under this agreement under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Any litigation arising under this Agreement will be brought in the federal or state courts of Western Pennsylvania.

21. Any legal action taken by an advertiser, agency, client, person, or entity against PCSecurityShield for actions of you (the affiliate) that violate these terms and conditions, you accept that PCSecurityShield will work with the advertiser, agency, client, person, or entity to divulge your personal information. You also agree that PCSecurityShield is not liable for your actions, and you will bear all costs (legal or otherwise) that PCSecurityShield incurs if PCSecurityShield is sued by advertiser, client, agency, person, or entity.

22. If any provision of this agreement shall be held or made invalid or unenforceable by a court decision, statute, rule or otherwise, the remaining provisions of this agreement shall not be affected thereby.

23. You must be 18 years or older to sign up as a PCSecurityShield affiliate.

24. Your traffic must come from relevant countries to the campaigns. We monitor IP source and will remove credit for non-country relevant traffic. This means english related campaigns must be delivered to english speaking countries. USA based campaigns must be delivered to USA based citizens, and so forth. (i.e Clicks coming from China for USA based campaigns may not result in credit).

Nowadays, you can get millions of different goods and services on the Internet, advertisers look to individuals and companies to help them sell their products by using webmasters and others to spread the word. These advertisements can come in the form of banner advertising on affiliate sites, text links, reviews written by affiliates, direct email, blogs etc. How it works is that the advertisers pay webmasters for displaying the ads, or for click throughs that are sent to them, (Called pay per click) which is a commission that is paid on any sales that happen as a direct result of a referral from their web site or email message or during each visit. I will explain more
on this in a later section.

The fact of the matter is that you will likely not need to be bothered with a merchant at all if it weren’t for the money involved. The fact that affiliations can be used as a mass promotional opportunity for both sides that results in more money for both just adds icing to the cake. That is why the next section is about mass promotion through affiliation.


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