Q: Over the last year I have been running e-mail campaigns on several networks and vendors, so I am not “unaware” of how CPA networks work. But I find myself tired of the lead gen game and want to take my products to an online model working with affiliates. Here’s my question, am I better off going with someone like LinkShare, where they basically manage all of the affiliates and do everything, or am I better off doing it on my own? I have the affiliate tracking software, and working directly with affilites, I can offer a higher payout because there is no network in the middle! But then the next question is how do I get my offer “out there” so that I can build a huge network of individual affiliates? The only advanatage I can see to a network like LinkShare is that they have the broad reach of affiliates that I don’t have day one. Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated.
A: I think you have a common misconception that when going with an affiliate network, the management of the affiliate program is part of the deal.
You can pay incremental costs to have the network manage your affiliate program, but the basic service you are buying from an affiliate network is the tracking and reporting for the affiliate program.
You are correct that you will have access to more affiliates with one of the affiliate networks, but bear in mind that having access and having them in your program are two very different things.
It will still be essential to recruit these affiliates and get them to join your program. It’s easier to get them to join your affiliate program when you go through a network, because most affiliates already have an account.
Whichever way you go, affiliate recruiting is going to be one of your main challenges.