What should I know when running an affiliate program?


I am cooking an idea for an online job board product. I'm thinking of using affiliate program as the primary marketing vehicle.

I have no experience running an affiliate program (though I've participated as affiliate in other company's program in the past). What are the things I don't know that I don't know about affiliate marketing?

BTW, I can't afford to use Commission Junction or any other paid network. Promotion will have to be very grassroot.

Marketing Affiliate

asked Feb 23 '10 at 13:24
G Rex
683 points
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2 Answers


I don't know what you don't know about affiliate marketing but in my honest opinion,

You should consider an affiliate as one of the important persons in your life. Provide him a good control panel to manage and see his sales statistics, provide him enough marketing material such as banners, promotional text etc.

Also be in close interaction with him or her when you know that the affiliate is not doing well even if he has good resources for marketing and growth.

You can also go for a 2-tier affiliate program which will make the deal more interesting for the person who is marketing it.

If you know all of the above then it is well and good. Best Luck :)

answered Feb 23 '10 at 23:53
Manoj Shinde
91 points


Just some thoughts of how I looked at it:

  • What affiliate companies are out there?
  • Which have experience in my space?
  • Are any being used by my competitors?
  • How much do they cost? (Seems you know that Commission Junction is going to cost north of $5,000 just to get started.)
  • How big are their affiliate networks?
  • How much will I have to pay in commission to get affiliates interested? Can I afford it?
  • How much are my customers worth?
  • What services does the affiliate provider provide? What do you need? E.G. host sign up, advertising creative, management on their site vs. require development to host some of the services on my site.

That's off the top of my head.

Best of luck,

answered Feb 23 '10 at 14:25
4,214 points
  • Is using an affiliate network an absolute requirement? What if I decide the run it myself without signing up with any external network? Thanks for the insight. – G Rex 14 years ago
  • It completely depends on your situation. One big benefit of an affiliate network is your offer will be publicized out to hundreds / thousands of prospective affiliates who can opt in and start promoting you. And based on the network, the startup costs can be very low (I'm using ShareASale.com) so really you pay when you get a customer. And that customer has a monetary value so you determine if the math works out or not. Hope that helps. – Chris 14 years ago

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