Q: I am pretty new to Affiliate marketing. I watched your web seminar on StartupNation.com a couple months ago and started our affiliate program soon after. I offer a free Data Feed on ShareASale.com and now my affiliates are in direct competition with me on sites like Froogle, PriceGrabber, etc. I cant decide if this is a good thing or bad thing. We like having more exposure, but when a customer places an order through an affiliate via Froogle when my free listing is on the same results page, it’s tough to swallow paying 12% on the sale when I could have had it for 0%. If possible, could you give me thoughts on this situation?
A: Yours is a common issue and one that is sort of parallel to competing with your own affiliates on the pay per click search engines.
The solution here is to establish ground rules in your affiliate agreement. ShareASale.com has all affiliates agree to certain standards when they join the network – basics about not putting affiliate banners on adult or hate sites, no spamming, no fraud, etc.
But you also have the opportunity to add conditions that are unique to your affiliate program.
I would encourage you to consult with a lawyer and draft some terms and conditions for your affiliate program regarding data feed usage and any other issues you might wish to cover.
If you have certain sites where you already run your company data feed and don’t wish for affiliates to compete with you, just institute that rule (and police it).
On another note, I see you have impressive, popular brands on your site. If you do not wish to allow your affiliates to leverage those brands in title tags, meta tags, PPCs, etc., be sure to specify this information in your agreement.
However, if you wish to essentially outsource the marketing of these products in PPCs and other areas, don’t set any guidelines, and then encourage your affiliates to use these brands to increase their sales.