I run a good number of websites in a variety of verticals. One of my sites that does exceptionally well in the search engines monetizes poorly with contextual ads and does not yet have the scale to sell direct ads, so I tried integrating affiliate ads on it.
When I initially applied for CJ with this site, the advertiser I wanted to partner with rejected my site (I am guessing because there was a new account associated with that site). The traffic quality and relevancy are as high as you can get though. About 3 months later that same advertiser contacted me asking me to join their affiliate program with my search-marketing.info website, which is wildly off topic. I joined the affiliate program and also added my relevant site to the account about two weeks ago. I integrated the offer and waited for the money to roll in. But did it?
This particular affiliate program was a lead generation program, which I figured had a delay in reporting while the leads were classified and approved. This site is a high traffic site in a big money vertical. The advertiser's ad was integrated similarly to how it is integrated on other sites still in their program today, and their ad was seen by about 100,000 people.
I logged in today and still no conversion. Odd. Weeks for an approval? Hmmmm.
I looked at my invalid clicks report and it said my offer from this advertiser was disapproved. I was not told why, and was not even informed of this disapproval (from the advertiser who approached me) until after I searched out the information.
Meanwhile that same company is paying search engines thousands of dollars to buy similar traffic to the stream they rejected from me. I know someone in upper management in the marketing department at that advertiser, so I will ping them to see what is up with their affiliate manager, but how many publishers get scammed like this every day? Sleazy workflow their CJ.
The value add for publishers going through an affiliate network (vs going direct) are
- having fewer accounts
- independent reporting (for if you don't trust the advertiser)
- the offer data on top performing offers
But on the down side,
- many other marketers are looking over the same offers you are
- some networks (like CJ) require tracking images or other footprints that identify your site as an affiliate site to search engines (and search engines do have algorithms to detect and demote certain types of affiliate sites)
- communications channels are generally worthless when you add a bulky affiliate network to the mix
I have had a number of affiliate networks come to me asking me to join them, often offering reduced rates, but I still don't see their value add, especially after this experience.
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