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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Selecting the best Affiliate Program

Selecting affiliate programs
Here are the most important factors you should consider before joining associate programs...

The Fit
Join only those programs that fit the audience of your site. A close match will always yield better performance.

The Commission
A reasonable commission starts at 20%, and can go as high as 50%, but if the product is too expensive, no one will buy it. The best affiliate programs will also pay you a second tier commission, that's the commission you make on sales initiated not by you directly, but by someone you referred to the program.

The Product Quality
Don't associate your business with low quality product or service. In addition, if the quality and usefulness of the product are low, few people will be interested, and the refund rate will be higher.

Referral Duration
After you've referred a visitor to a site, how long does the site continue to "remember" you as the referrer of that visitor? Many associate programs won't remember you at all. This means that if the visitors you referred didn't buy directly on their first visit to the site, you'll never get commission, even if they went back to the site later that day to purchase the product.

Good affiliate programs should at least remember you for 60 days. It's usually done by setting a cookie on the visitor's computer when they arrive at your merchant's site. Beware of associate programs that don't mention anything about this cookie and its duration.

Residual Commissions
The best affiliate programs will even pay you commissions for a prolonged period of time, after the original sale has been made. This is especially attractive for programs that sell services with regular fees. For example, if your referred customers make monthly fees, you'll earn the commission each month.

The Payments
Make sure the payments are made often enough, preferably once a month, with reasonable minimum. Some affiliate programs will only pay you every 3 or 6 months.

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