Affiliate Marketing – Part 2: The Networks

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In Affiliate Marketing – Part 1: It’s Quiet Up Here. Too Quiet, I talked about how far behind Canadian retailers are when it comes to affiliate marketing.

For Part 2, I’ve made a few calls and sent out a few e-mails to gather some more specific information for anyone interested in exploring affiliate marketing further. ROI is always a concern, so general pricing information (hint: negotiate) for the most popular networks is included along with my experience as a Canadian publisher.

Commission Junction

Of the four most popular networks, Commission Junction has done the best job of making Canadians feel at home. You can sort advertisers by targeting country and all commissions earned for Canadian, US, or international advertisers can be converted into Canadian dollars (if you choose) to keep your accountant happy. The interface is the most elegant and easiest to use. It’s a breeze setting up and managing multiple sites with multiple account logins – which can’t be said of the others. Commission Junction definitely has the largest selection of Canadian targeted programs of any of these networks.

Initial setup costs for Commission Junction is $2,250, with ongoing monthly charges of 30% of the commission paid out and a monthly minimum of $500. For instance, a $100 sale with a 10% publisher commission rate would mean the merchant pays $10 to the publisher and $3 to Commission Junction.

Notable Canadian advertisers:

  • eBay.ca
  • HomeDepot.ca
  • WestJet.com

DoubleClick Performics

Performics still has a fairly small but well-recognized stable of Canadian advertisers with HBC leading the pack. There are fewer than 10 Canadian-specific programs but many more US ones that Canadian affiliates can participate in. Performics is not making much of an effort to tailor the experience to Canadians; they have no Canadian dollar payment options or direct deposits into Canadian accounts. Price wise, they’re on the high side with a $5,000 setup fee, 3% of sales, and a $2,500 monthly minimum.

Notable Canadian advertisers:

  • YvesRocher.ca
  • HBC.com

Intact Earnings

Intact Earnings is a Canadian company with a Canadian office, something that none of the other networks can claim. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have very many advertisers on board yet. What they do have is a price advantage. For $1,000 you’ll be up and running. A $500 setup fee and a $500 deposit into an escrow account for future affiliate commissions is all it takes. Intact Earnings, like Commission Junction, generates a 30% fee of every dollar that the advertiser pays out to their affiliates.

Notable Canadian advertisers:

  • MastermindToys.com
  • TheSource.ca

LinkShare

Inside the LinkShare interface you’ll find a separate LinkShare Canada group which can make it easy to find Canadian-based advertisers. There aren’t many, but LinkShare has big brands like Canadian Tire and Roots. Advertisers in the LinkShare Canada group will pay commission in Canadian dollars and a direct deposit option is available for Canadian publishers. Setup is $5,000, with 3% of ongoing net sales going to LinkShare and a minimum $1,000 monthly minimum.

Notable Canadian advertisers:

  • Canada.Roots.com
  • CanadianTire.ca
  • Dell.ca

Of course, you don’t have to go to a network at all. Lots of companies work directly with their affiliates, the most famous being Amazon.com. Those companies can roll their own code or just buy, install, and run with any of affiliate marketing packages out there. AffiliateWiz.com ($699 US) is one that seems to be working well for sites like CoastalContacts.ca and BossToolSupply.com.

I would like to hear from the affiliate marketers in the One Degree community – which option did you choose and why?

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3 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing – Part 2: The Networks

  1. Rehan

    There’s another affiliate network not on listed above that is excellent for small and medium sized businesses — Shareasale. For merchants, they have a $350 one-time startup fee plus a 20% commission rate (i.e., 20% of what is paid to affiliates). They also don’t put up with any of the parasite adware that larger networks like CJ/LS/Performics tacitly approve.
    Unfortunately, of the 2200+ merchants listed on Shareasale only a very very small number are based in Canada. But SAS is able to deposit directly into Canadian bank accounts, so they’re very well aware of the country to the north of them.

  2. Nancy Houle

    We’ve had excellent experiences with CLICKBANK for all our digital download products affiliate sales. It has its small weaknesses, but overall, very friendly for small and medium sized businesses selling digital experiences. US$ dollar based only.

  3. Ari Shomair

    One problem with many affiliate networks is they don’t provide link love.
    Affiliate programs can be a great way to build a large volume of natural incoming links (for SEO purposes), but with the affiliate network acting as a middle man between your site and the end affiliate, that link love is lost.
    There are a few ways around this: one is to use an affiliate network which allows you to host the javascript tracking code on your own site, allowing for direct links from your affiliates. Many affiliates aren’t such a big fan of retailer-side tracking though as it removes the 3rd party accountability.
    Alternatively you can use an affiliate network which utilizes 301-redirects, which can transfer pagerank.
    I’d be interested in hearing how others have dealt with this issue –
    Ari
    http://www.newmediaist.com

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