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Old 09-30-2004   #1
kidmercury
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link building with affiliate programs -- does it work?

does link building with affiliate programs work? if so, does anyone know of any affiliate tracking software that is particularly useful for link building campaigns? i know there is myaffiliateprogram.com which allows you to direct users straight to your domain name if you have a certain javascript file on your server, but i was curious as to what else is out there and what other experiences people have had.
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Old 09-30-2004   #2
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Most programs will make you link to their servers, for example Commission Junction (CJ.com) will make links go to www.qksrv.com/tracking-codes. That does NOT help your link building campaigns at all.

Then there are companies that have their own programs with tracking links like www.domain.com/index.php?trackid=1234 and that will be able to give you partial credit to the domain. However keep in mind that search engines look at each URL as a distinct link, so the one above will be different than www.domain.com and www.domain.com/index.php.

In short answer, it most like does not help as much as a regular link building campaing that has no tracking restrictions.
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Old 09-30-2004   #3
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they do help establish your brand, but the only way to get the direct links is to do the tracking on your end...the problem with that is that some browsers might not send the data all the time and that requires a bunch of trust on the other side of that link for all of the referal stuff to be internal...that is part of the reason why there are big third party sites...to get past that trust issue.
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Old 09-30-2004   #4
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Another reason why this might not be a particularly fruitful idea: The point of starting an aff. prog. is to sell your products through your affiliate base.

I cant see many affiliates being overly pleased knowing that your aff. prog. is just in place to build link pop

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Old 09-30-2004   #5
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Lightbulb groundbreak

www.groundbreak.com runs on your server and is CHEAP

Not all that pretty but I run one program with it and with hundreds of active affiliates and nobody has complained about the look and feel. We set it up to creat links like https://domain.com/g.o/youchooseyourID
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Old 10-05-2004   #6
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Quote:
does link building with affiliate programs work?
I had an interesting discussion at SES with a company called LinkConnector, an affiliate network with technology that gets around the tracking url problem (with regard to link credit). I was impressed by their presentation. I'd be curious what thoughts others have about their network.

Quote:
I cant see many affiliates being overly pleased knowing that your aff. prog. is just in place to build link pop.
I'm guessing that this would be true for the top affiiliates who are SEOs... but perhaps not so important for many sites out there that are generally in your field and in the aggregate might produce some supplementary traffic and, with the right technology, help with backlinks.

Which group you want to attract depends, I would think, on whether the affiliates are your primary marketing plan or whether you're an SEO yourself.
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Old 10-05-2004   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert_Charlton
I had an interesting discussion at SES with a company called LinkConnector, an affiliate network with technology that gets around the tracking url problem (with regard to link credit). I was impressed by their presentation. I'd be curious what thoughts others have about their network.
wow. that looks like a godsend. but i'm skeptical of the company based on their site -- looks like it could be a guy in a basement, as the site was a little too thin, there was no pricing info, and no phone number for inquiries. do you know anything more about this company, robert? the technology has certainly piqued my interest.
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Old 10-05-2004   #8
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but the only way to get the direct links is to do the tracking on your end...
Thats not entirely true. You can have a direct link and use a on-unload event or a onclick event to trigger a tracking server. However, you won't get CJ to made that change
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Old 10-05-2004   #9
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Originally Posted by kidmercury
...i'm skeptical of the company based on their site -- looks like it could be a guy in a basement... do you know anything more about this company, robert? the technology has certainly piqued my interest.
I don't know a lot about the company, but I can tell you from their presence in the trade show at SES San Jose that they're definitely not just "a guy in a basement." I was extremely impressed by the people I talked to. They clearly had already thought through every single question I raised.

While I'm by no means experienced in the affiliate area, I have paid some attention over the years to the linking problem, anticipating eventually that I'd have a client that would need help in this area. And yes, they've piqued my interest too.
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Old 10-05-2004   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikkel deMib Svendsen
Thats not entirely true. You can have a direct link and use a on-unload event or a onclick event to trigger a tracking server. However, you won't get CJ to made that change
mikkel, do you know of any 3rd party affiliate tracking systems that would accomodate such a change?
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Old 10-06-2004   #11
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regarding linkconnector.com, i got a response from them; they charge 20% of the payout to the affiliate. i believe cj.com charges 30%. myaffiliateprogram is well priced at just $50 per month after a $1,000 set up fee.

the reply i got from linkconnector was prompt and thorough. i did some more research on the company -- definitely looks like a smart bunch of folks.
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Old 10-06-2004   #12
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Here, here Nick. You can get all the affiliate links you want, but it wont do anything for you no matter what system you use if its not converting and the affiliates aren't being taken care of. Trying to use affiliates as a stepping stone to top ranks probably isn't the best method. And any decent affiliate will see through it and take measures to prevent it (link popularity transfer) from happening.
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Old 10-06-2004   #13
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of course -- a bogus affiliate program wont make money for very long if at all. there's no denying that. but if you can get a legitimate program up and running, why not execute in a way that will help SEO as well? if you are a good merchant you can attract many affiliates, and if everyone is adding value and making money, i dont think link popularity transferring will be considered as a huge and detrimental issue.
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Old 10-06-2004   #14
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"why not execute in a way that will help SEO as well"

Oh, you certainly can, but in all honesty, when I work a program, I am targeting the top spot. Be sure to keep that in mind. You could end up recruiting affiliates who will smack the merchant site in the SERPs. If the goal of the affiliate program is SEO and not increased sales and advertising, they may find themselves disappointed.

And, as I said, with scumware, norton issues and the like, many affiliates are cloaking links and not transferring the value. Then you have the affiliates who will become their competition on PPC on everything except their brand (as this is the only term the merchant can control). Unless you disallow PPC all together, which will drive away a ton of affiliates.

As an affiliate, I don't like to hear merchants thinking they can use me as a part of their link development campaign. If they want more sales, then affiliates can be their execution to that point. But, starting an affiliate program by selling it to the merchant for their SEO value may leave a potential disappointment lurking - especially when affiliates end up taking the top ten slots on some of the terms the merchant is going for .
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Old 10-06-2004   #15
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My name is Choots Humphries and I am the president of LinkConnector. I was hoping to address and clarify some of the issues brought up in this thread.

While we are a brand new affiliate network, we have been building our product for almost 2 years. We built the network from the ground up to address some of the concerns (including SEO concerns) with existing affiliate programs. We are by no means a basement company although I would tend to agree our site is a little thin on the surface currently and may leave that initial impression. We have nine employees in three states (NC, CO, and CA) that have worked hard to build (what we believe is) the best affiliate network today. While we have spent most of our time to date making our affiliate network engine the best in the market, we are now turning to marketing efforts which will include a site build out to include more about our company, our products, and better contact information.

We are an affiliate network designed to help merchants build and administer an affiliate program. An affiliate program that does not generate sales is not effective for the affiliate, merchant, or affiliate network. At its base, any affiliate program must work for all three for the relationship to be long standing. The purpose of our product is not to help companies build link popularity or to facilitate the transfer of page rank. Instead, back link credit is simply something that can be a byproduct of an effective (and well-producing) affiliate program with our Naked Link Technology(tm). As far as we know, no other affiliate program (including those mentioned in this thread which are installed on a merchant’s server) accomplishes this. If a link has a ‘?’, you are not going to get back link credit.

If anybody wishes to discuss our technologies or products, please feel free to contact me (choots.humphries@linkconnector.com) at 919.468.5150, our CTO (Ernie St. Gelais – ernie.st.gelais@linkconnector.com) at 719.594.9657, or our Director of Marketing (Candice Jackson – candice.jackson@linkconnector.com) at 719.548.9890. We will also be attending the next three scheduled SES shows as an exhibitor and I would encourage any reader to stop by our booth.

Choots Humphries
President, LinkConnector Corporation
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Old 10-06-2004   #16
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thanks for the info choots! sounds interesting.
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Old 10-09-2004   #17
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CJ and tracking

I invested a few tens of thousands of USD on CJ working their program hard.
This did give some results.
Some CJ merchants will write about your company and offering outside the link. This will in turn be picket up by others, basically you are getting exposure and exposure can lead to more exposure.

To my great regret we had to abandon our CJ program. CJ where not able to control the amount of fraudulent leads and sales that where coming in from Asia and Eastern Europe. It came to a point where the cost of filtering the leads and fighting with Visa and Mastercard about chargebacks from CJ transactions just was not worth it.

I am looking for a new program and will look into Linkconnector.
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Old 10-10-2004   #18
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2 of the affiliate tracking programs that I know of that use direct links and therefore pass PR are:
Ultralinks by Fusion Quest and MyAP from Kowbunga.

Ultralink really specializes in unique tracking and helping PR. With Myap, which is one of the top 2 leading affiliate programs IMHO, I believe you need to pay to add the option to run the links directly through your own URL. One of the other benefits to MYAP is that once you have their software you can be added to their new network - www.kolimbo.com and their directory www.affiliatecash.com at no additional charge.

I am an affiliate advocate and management consultant so here's my opionion on the issue. I don't believe anyone should set up an affiliate program just for the PR. However if you want an affiliate program for all the right reasons and you take great care of your affiliate partners and pro-actively manage the program, then I don't think direct linking is such a bad thing.

One other benefit of direct linking to your own URL instead of a 3rd party program or network, is that apps that block affiliate links and eat or block cookies won't affect you OR your affiliate's revenue.

Examples being Norton - http://www.5staraffiliateprograms.co...s-revenue.html
and all the anti-spyware, anti-adware and firewall programs that block either links or cookies from most of the popular networks.

Hope this helps and best of luck!
Linda
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Old 10-10-2004   #19
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Good ponts, Linda!
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Old 10-11-2004   #20
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[quote=5starAffiliatePrograms]2 of the affiliate tracking programs that I know of that use direct links and therefore pass PR are:
Ultralinks by Fusion Quest and MyAP from Kowbunga.

I believe myaffiliate program routes people to the merchant's domain name, but each affiliate is given a unique ID to attach to the end of the merchant's domain name when directing users to that site. isnt that the case?
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