With all this kerfuffle going on around ClickBank at the moment, there have been a few (rhetorical) questions as to why people don't simply start their own inhouse affiliate programs.
And I reckon it's a good point. I've been thinking about it, but I'm not sure where to start, and I'd really appreciate some advice from people who actually do (or have) run their own inhouse prog.
So, if you'd be so kind...
I would start my own affiliate prog in a second if I knew the kind of paperwork that needed to be taken care of come tax time for my affiliates and how to do it. This is one major thing that has, to date, scared me off from looking into my own inhouse jobbie.
I could be wildly wrong about this, but I thought the merchant had to provide a statement of earnings to all affiliates at tax time.
Now, this should be easily handled by software, I guess, but how do you know which countries and when?
And IS it difficult to do? :confused:
On this point of (not) having to provide paperwork, RAP was recommended because of the instant payment feature (via PayPal), so I bought it and installed it on a couple of domains. I've yet to be convinced, however, that it's as great as its proponent's claim. I find that it overly limits what I can do regarding the flow of traffic around my site because everything is more of less run through the main "index" page.
It seems an excellent solution for little "squeeze-page --> sales page --> buy or leave" style sites. But I'm not interested in those kinds of sites on the whole.
Look, I could be wrong. If I am, by all means, educate me. I'm listening.Coz I've got this expensive script sitting around not doing much because I don't really like working with it.
Somewhat separate to this (although not entirely because RAP is configured to run with PayPal as the payment processor--Say, can you use it with another payment processor? Does anyone do this?), I'm a little nervous about running an affiliate program with PayPal as my merchant account.
For small amounts (although I have absolutely no idea what kind of figure PayPal thinks of as "too large" thereby triggering the old account-freeze-a-roony), then I guess PayPal is okay.
(Anyone know what the magical limit is?)
But it still makes me nervous. What happens when I set up that big product launch, or I make 25 affiliate sales of Product Launch Formula in one day, or whatever?
If I set up my own inhouse affiliate program, I don't want it to be at the whims of some stupid fire-first-ask-questions-later organisation. I have NO problem with someone looking into my account if they notice irregular activity. That's actually a safeguard that protects me. But I've heard a few too many hair-trigger stories about PayPal to make me feel comfortable.
To have the most control over my business, what I'd MOST like to do is have my own merchant account (with an IM-friendly financial institution so on that big product launch day I don't have my account frozen as I hear PayPal is apt to do) and my own affiliate software solution.
I've heard JV Manager is pretty good. But someone mentioned recently that security ain't so crash hot. Is this true? (And what qualifies you to answer that question such that we might believe what you say? That sounds ruder than intended. What I mean is: Do you have any tech background to substantiate what you say about it, good or bad?)
I've also seen some big organisations and fairly top-level marketers using iDevAffiliate. It's cheap and seems to work pretty well. But I've read completely scathing reviews of their apparently non-existent aftersales service. Is this true? (Any experiences either way?)
I hate 2CO as a payment processor. I hate the interface and all the hoops it makes you jump through to make a simple purchase. And if I hate it, as someone who regularly buys online, then what's Joe-"Is-the-FBI-tracking-my-online-purchases?"-Citizen going to do? That's surefire lost sales-a-rama, if you ask me.
But once again, I could be so wrong it'd make my head spin Linda Blair style. Let me know.
I think I read some time back that Sam Stephens was releasing a new version of DL Guard with a full-blown affiliate program integrated into it. This might be what I'm looking for. (Sam, any comments/details/teasers? I know you said you didn't want to let the cat out of the bag too early so if you want to PM, you can rest assured I won't then turn around and post what you told me here or anywhere else. Will it integrate with third-party merchant accounts and payment processors?)
Then, I could just approach my bank, get a merchant account through them, develop a relationship with the Manager so if I had a big launch coming up, I could call him or her and discuss things... (Does it work this way or am I just being naiive?)
I'm not in any particular rush to do this. ClickBank and PayPal (via RAP) will do just fine for now because I only have a small number of affiliates and I'm not really doing any volume.
But, ideally, I'd like to set up a "robust" (as software developers seem to like to say) affiliate program coupled with a sensible merchant account and payment processor and then once it's in place, I can just go about scaling things.
I actually operate in two kind of "broad" fields online. One is the so-called "niche" market, which incorporates my blogs, reworked PLR stuff, affiliate offers, etc. And the other is related to my profession.
The "niche" stuff is just a way to get my outta the ratrace so I can concentrate fully on building a global business in my professional field (including lots of "brick and mortar" style "branches") so I'd like to be able to set up an affiliate system in the 'learn to play jello accordion' or 'how to crochet a tank' or 'scuba-diving for left-handed lesbian alpacas' arena...
...get it working to my satisfaction, and then basically duplicate it when my other "real" (if you will) project starts to get its sea legs.
That's why I'd like to try and get it as "right" as possible the first time.
Note: This is not stopping me from getting started. As I said, I already use RAP and ClickBank. But these are solutions that leave me at their whim. I don't like that.
For example, ClickBank are swearing black and blue right now that there isn't any problem. And as I've posted elsewhere, as if they'd admit that there was a problem; they know everyone on this board would drop them--both as an affiliate and as a merchant--in a second.
Yet people keep saying "sales are down... I did a test and something's not right..."
With your own affiliate software, if there's a problem, then you can get your programmers to look into it and you can be fairly confident that they'll find the problem if there is one. But at least you know what's going on.
At the moment, there are a lot of people on here who just don't know what's going on with ClickBank.
Anyway, lots of questions in this post.
If you have anything at all that you could contribute, that would be greatly appreciated.