Affiliate Applications Continued – Recommended Improvements

Last week I wrote about affiliate applications and tried to identify some things that affiliates need to avoid. I also tried to lay out some things that, as an affiliate, you should do in your account and your application to ensure the best chance of receiving a “your approved” email. I received some amazing great comments and really appreciate everyone’s input.

Scott Jangro commented from the affiliate perspective: “I’m a pretty successful affiliate, fall into zero of the categories you list, and do all of the things that you said I should. I still get rejected all the time. And many times don’t respond to emails. I don’t blame the AM. I know as well as anybody how tough it is to weed through all the noise to find the good guys. The application process that the networks offer needs a complete overhaul. A great start would be if they all offer a simple cover letter type field for the affiliate to explain themselves. We’ve got so much going on that the fields in the application process can’t possibly cover it.”

That got me thinking about all the modifications the networks could make to the affiliate application process and approval queue.  At the end of the day, the better and more efficient this process, the more likely the networks are to generate increased revenue.  I’m sure they are missing out on commission just in Scott’s case as I know he is top performer.

Overall, Scott’s recommendation is spot on.  Networks, if you are listening, an easy and major improvement to the application process would be to allow the affiliate applying to the program to include a note to the affiliate manager.  For example, I know that if I received an application from a site that was under construction, but it included a note from the affiliate that we met at the affiliate summit last year and their plans are XX, XX and XX, I would approve that application and the relationship would grow from there.  I know that allowing a note like that would do a lot to explain what the affiliate is, their plans and other information that AM’s would benefit from knowing and are not easily explained in the standard application and account info areas.

On the other side of that fence, ya know what I would love?  While I am approving affiliate applications, I would love the option of having several text or html email templates loaded in my merchant account that I could simply choose to send from the application queue itself.  AM’s, how many times have you reviewed an application and wanted to send an email asking for an explanation, more information, contact info, or a url, but either didn’t have the contact info or it simply got lost in the process?  I’d love to have the ability to load several different text or html templates into the account and have the option of sending one of those emails to that parcticular applicant.

Let’s get a little more specific to a  few of the networks.

Commission Junction:  While the overall process is pretty good, there still is a lot of room for improvement.

  • Accept/Deny – One of the more frustrating aspects of the approval process is the inability to check an application as Approved or Denied.  You have to first go through the list and check all that you want to either approve or deny.  Then you click on approve or deny.  You then go through the list and check the others and do the opposite, deny or approve.  It would save, at least me, a lot of time if I didn’t have to add that step.
  • Include their primary url in the application queue.  Every time I have to click adds time to the process and reduces the amount of time I am able to evaluate each application.  Being able to see the main url on the same page where you see all the applications, their EPC’s, Date Applied and more would reduce time spent on each application and increase the likelihood that each applicant would get the consideration they need.
  • Contact info – I know this has been discussed in depth and to the point of exhaustion, but CJ, please consider allowing affiliates to show all their contact info to the merchants.  Phone numbers, emails, IM’s even Twitter accounts would help us all out.  Affiliates – if you don’t want to share your contact info, are you really a partner at all (that is an entire post itself)
  • Include Make Offer an option for each and every applicant.

Linkshare:  I like their approval process as it allows you to designate each application indivudually as accepted or denied.  But there is still some room:

  • include the url in the application queue.  Again, the less time we have to click around the more time we can spend growing the program.
  • Comments – is anyone sure what that does anyway?  Does it send a comment to the affiliate?  Does it file the comment for later?
  • As I stated above, allow us to email the affiliate right from there with several templates.
  • An option to extend them an offer from this page would be great.

Overall, I think there are a lot of areas where we could make this more efficient and more effective.  The more time your affiliate managers and OPM’s are able to spend on growing the program and not trying to figure out who the applicant is or what they are going do to will lead to more sales and more commissions for all.

But I’ve only really touched on the affiliate manager side.  What changes would you affiliates like to see?

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