Internet Affiliate Programs are Hot, Hot, Hot This Summer!

3:32 pm   -   August 7th, 2006

Internet Affiliate Programs are Hot, Hot, Hot This Summer!

By Durk Price

I thought I had seen some good times as an Internet marketing guy. But this summer is going down as the busiest time I have ever had for affiliate programs.

So why am I sweating?

Besides the fact I live in Dallas.

Because most of the merchants I have been proposing to are not brand name retailers. Some have great local stores in New York or Utah, some have had great success with their PPC campaigns especially flogging individual products. But most are trailing the bigger brand names in getting into the affiliate market.

Now with all of the major brand names in place at Linkshare, CJ and even ShareASale, how hard is it going to be to get found?

Really hard. As in really, really, really hard. We are talking in some categories having 10-20 competing programs already up and running, at each affiliate technology company. Meaning that in every major category there will be 40-60 merchants a new merchant has to leap ahead of to be discovered. Pricing won’t do it, larger payouts won’t do, only brand recognition will do it.

I had a conversation with a prospect, very sharp, great product line, smoking fast ecommerce site with lots of well priced products. Great you say. What about your expectations I asked? After he told me, I politely backed away from the phone. I know what his competitors are doing in the same category, many after being in the space for many years. And it is tough to imagine he will make the numbers he was looking at in the first year in 2 or 3 years, much less in 12 months as he stated his goal was.

But the reality is that many of these late arrivals can and will make it and effectively grow an affiliate program. All they are lacking (well maybe its not all they are lacking, but that’s another topic for another day) is brand recognition. And we are not talking about GMC or Toyota branding levels requiring millions of dollars, we are talking about any kind of relevant mindshare from the affiliates.

So what am I doing for my merchant clients to get them started?

First, I am setting their expectations at a reasonable level. Affiliate programs were never about sprinting they have always been about the marathon of online marketing.

Secondly I am encouraging them to focus on getting noticed on the WWW.

How to do so is very straight forward (and can be time consuming I admit, so I am providing these services as well as my normal affiliate management and recruitment services) and will be successful in the marathon of affiliate marketing. Here’s what I advise them to do:

1. Write articles about your product line and publish them in ezine directories. People like to buy from experts. If you aren’t an expert in your own product line, why are you trying to sell it?
2. Get out press releases on a consistent basis. Not just monthly, but as frequently as you can create them.
3. Blog, blog, blog. How many times do I have to say it?
4. Participate in affiliate related forums.

Once the branding campaign is in place, let’s go start the affiliate program, test some offers, find some likely partners to help us test, set the payouts and build it for the long term.

And as always: Be flexible.

Durk Price is a professional affiliate manager. He has managed affiliate programs for large retailers like LimitedToo,,, Stanford Social Innovation Review and others. He has launched affiliate programs and had affiliate sales account for 27% of total online sales within 90 days of launch. His primary focus is managing affiliate programs for retail companies. To learn more about his services of putting top level affiliates together with top quality merchants visit or email him at stick[at]