Changing faces of affiliate programs?

Written by Chuck McCullough

Its hard to have a discussion about affiliate programs without mentioning They are considered to berepparttar pioneers of affiliate programs. And with over 300,000 affiliates, its hard to argue that point.

But affiliate programs are changing. Many, many companies are realizing thatrepparttar 102590 best way to sell products and services onrepparttar 102591 Internet is to recruit affiliates. Along with this comes a form of competition. Affiliate program managers want you to sell their products, notrepparttar 102592 products of their competitors. How do they make sure that you stick with them and not defect torepparttar 102593 other side? They do their best to make their program more attractive to you.

There are many ways to make a program more attractive to potential affiliates. They can offer a higher percentage ofrepparttar 102594 profits, and/or they can offer more benefits. Benefits can come in many forms, butrepparttar 102595 topic of this discussion will berepparttar 102596 benefits that come fromrepparttar 102597 way sales and visitors are tracked.

Let's bring back intorepparttar 102598 limelight for a minute. They are huge...everyone knows about them...everyone knows that you can create a site, add some good content, bring in a highly targeted audience, and sell them books! Simple enough...create a site with a good topic, drive traffic to it, send them to Amazon, and get rich. But...its been tried before...and guess what...not that many of those 300,000 affiliates even earn enough to getrepparttar 102599 minimum $25 check inrepparttar 102600 mail every quarter.

Why? Is it because you have 299,999 competitors out there selling books just like you are? I'm sure that plays a part, butrepparttar 102601 real reason isrepparttar 102602 way you are credited for a sale. You work hard to create a website full of content, and work even harder to promote it and bring visitors to your site. Then, what do you do with that coveted visitor? You wisk them off to Amazon to become their life-long customer, and never to return to your site again!

That may not seem fair to you, but can you complain? They give you a whopping 5% ofrepparttar 102603 sale, maybe even 15% on some ofrepparttar 102604 books if you are lucky. Or, worse yet, they bookmark, and go back to buyrepparttar 102605 books tomorrow and you don't even getrepparttar 102606 5%. Either way they are gone. That precious visitor that could have been a life-long customer of yours is now off to They will buy a book or two to test outrepparttar 102607 process. Then after their books arrive, they will merrily open up their browser and type in and spend their entire paycheck buying books.

How much do you get from this return visit? Well, it WAS your visitor after all, right? Unfortunately every penny of that visitor's paycheck will fall into Amazon's pocket. Of course you have to feel sorry for Amazon, though. They aren't making any money after all (violin music playing inrepparttar 102608 background).

What happened? The same that happens with many affiliate programs. You get paid per click, per lead, or per sale. From that point on, they own that customer.

But I'm happy to report that times are changing! Companies are starting to look for better ways to compensate their affiliates for referring customers to them.

How to Create a Lifetime Commissions Affiliate Program

Written by Christopher Pearce

====================================================== How to create a lifetime commissions affiliate program

Christopher Pearce, ======================================================

Affiliate programs are a great way of marketing online. You pay only forrepparttar results you get - if someone referred to your site makes a purchase.

But if you want to make a really strong affiliate program, with adoring-sales-machines for affiliates, it must be VERY attractive to affiliates.

The best way to do that is to offer lifetime commissions. That means you pay commissions on EVERY purchase a referred customer makes, not just onrepparttar 102589 first purchase.

If you pay commissions for every purchase that your referred customers make, you offer your affiliatesrepparttar 102590 chance to earn a lot more money than they otherwise would.

That will strongly motivate your smarter affiliates to work harder and be creative, and that is EXACTLY what you want them to do.

There are lots of things that make an affiliate program great, but one ofrepparttar 102591 most important is reliable tracking.

============================== The magic ingredient: Tracking ==============================

If an affiliate sends you a customer,repparttar 102592 affiliate must earn a commission when that customer makes a purchase.

You would not have that customer ifrepparttar 102593 affiliate had not referred them, sorepparttar 102594 affiliate deserves to be rewarded.

To achieve this you must track all referrals reliably, both online and off.

You should use cookies to storerepparttar 102595 referring affiliate's ID number. You should set them with no expiry date, but they will inevitably be lost well within a few months, if not weeks, after they are set.

Browsers have a limit torepparttar 102596 number of cookies they can store. A lot of web sites now use cookies. This means that your cookies will often be overwritten by those from other web sites.

You must make sure that your cookies work with Internet Explorer 6, which will discard cookies not compliant with P3P standards.


Tracking by IP address is not an accurate method of long-term tracking, however it is an effective way to track visitors during their FIRST visit to your site.

It is a good idea to use IP tracking to catch any people who have cookies disabled.

Every time your affiliates send someone to their affiliate URL, your server should send them to either a dynamically generated or pre-generated page with their affiliate ID embedded in it. The affiliate's ID should also be stored inrepparttar 102597 URL, so that ifrepparttar 102598 customer bookmarks and returns,repparttar 102599 affiliate is still credited withrepparttar 102600 sale.

In your database of customer profiles, you should storerepparttar 102601 ID ofrepparttar 102602 affiliate who referred each customer. Whenever a customer "profile" makes a purchase (online or off) you should creditrepparttar 102603 appropriate affiliate(s) forrepparttar 102604 sale.

Storingrepparttar 102605 affiliate's ID inrepparttar 102606 customer's profile isrepparttar 102607 best, most reliable way to track inrepparttar 102608 long term, both offline and on.

Some systems also allow you to track offline by supplyingrepparttar 102609 user with a fake phone extension. This extension is actuallyrepparttar 102610 referring affiliate's ID. You can also ask people faxing you to quote an order number - which includesrepparttar 102611 affiliate's ID.

To catch any who "slip thoughrepparttar 102612 cracks", your order processing software should scan your order history for any orders going torepparttar 102613 same name, e-mail address or phone number of a customer, and payrepparttar 102614 referring affiliate their due commission.

======================================== Where to get affiliate tracking software ========================================

You have two options: build or buy.

-------------------------------------------------- Buying affiliate software --------------------------------------------------

Buying affiliate tracking software isrepparttar 102615 way to go. It is so much cheaper than developing it yourself, and quality is guaranteed.

There is only one merchant offering a system that can handle true lifetime commissions: My Affiliate Program, with it's LifeTime Commissions module add-on.

This isrepparttar 102616 only system custom-built for lifetime commissions, and it's fresh offrepparttar 102617 production line (December 2001).

There is one other good near-lifetime system - Ultimate Affiliate.

It is not specifically designed for lifetime commissions, but it can handle residual commissions with ease.

------------------------------------ My Affiliate Program ------------------------------------

This is a great affiliate tracking software suite, recently made even better byrepparttar 102618 addition ofrepparttar 102619 LifeTime Commissions module.

It is run by Kowabunga Technologies, and was honored withrepparttar 102620 "Editor's Choice" Award by Dr. Ralph Wilson of Wilson Internet, who called it "the 'Cadillac' of its category."

Wilson Web:

It is hosted on Kowabunga's secure servers, though a version hosted on your own domain is possible. Over 500 Merchants use MYAP.

It tracks primarily by a cookie forrepparttar 102621 first purchase. CGI/ASP tracking is also available, and it can even track sales made overrepparttar 102622 phone.

Affiliate management is also simple, with automated sign-up and a clear interface.

You can even reward your top earning affiliates with bonuses that can be easily and securely awarded.

The LifeTime Commissions module itself works by generating a "LifeTime identifier" when your customers make a purchase.

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