It's about time someone remodeled the existing Affiliate
Marketing Networks, so corrupted by an advertising mindset, into a model that works for
both Affiliates and merchants. I therefore have formulated all the pieces necessary to
migrate the easily abused advertising based model into a sales based model I dubbed The
Safe Haven Network in early 2004.
The goal of this business plan is to make the vision and promise of
the "pay for performance" advertising model into a entity that can't easily be
manipulated by the bad actors playing on both sides of the ecommerce fence. Important to
this endeavor was feed back from thousands of posts I made at AbestWeb's affiliate marketing forum
since year 2000 concerning problems in existing network's sales reporting processes,
merchant diversion tactics, shady forced return day cookie setting practices by both
domain bound and BHO (Browser Helper Object) software affiliates. Basically the goal was
to come up with a bullet proof pay-per-performance network model that made it impossible
for merchants not to report sales, or having any 3rd party mess with the links placed on
the affiliates actual web pages for diverting referral commissions.
Here are the important components of the Safe Haven Network model
that together expand the merchants sales opportunities while leveling the playing field
for value-added affiliates to earn a commission on those increased sales. Keep in mind
startup costs for the network and all parties has to be kept to a minimum.
#1 Goal: Eliminate merchants from not reporting
sales with a solution, which is totally opposite the current merchant aggregator network
model offered by Linkshare, ValueClick's Befree and Commission Junction, Performics and
other lesser networks like Share-a-Sale and others.
Solution: Require all SHN merchants to place their
product ecatalog items into a CyberMall shopping cart that is able to process sales from
multiple merchants placed in a single shoppers shopping basket. Possible carts come from
companies like www.Miva.com ,which allow quick existing
ecatalog database uploads with separate merchant administration sections for each SHN
merchant. Ability to personalize each merchant Mall storefront with HTML, artwork,
navigation and unique look and feel is a necessary differenciator performed by merchant's
staff. All affiliate coded referral links, to any SHN merchant, get sent through the SHN's
Cybermall domain URL to the secure shopping cart for setting the sales tracking cookie.
Option is available to notify each affiliate of a referral sale via e-mail with a fully
functional merchant/affiliate sales and traffic reporting administration backend.
Benefits: Tying merchants into the SHN shopping
cart, rather then their existing domain's cart, assures affiliates that the merchant
cannot cut off affiliate sales reporting without cutting off all sales activity. Immediate
Trust factor with the added benefit of the SHN's transparently publishing each merchants
average conversion ratio to the affiliate group. (Conversion ratio = average # of clicks
to report 1 sale). SHN Merchants complete on their conversion ratio for prime real-estate
on affiliates sites by the perceived value and their closing ability on the actual
referred shopper. For the first time affiliates can judge their own conversion ratio
against the average posted for each SHN merchants and adjust their creatives and pre-sell
Additional benefits: Applications like Norton's
Internet Security product and other Ad blockers blank out existing network banner and text
links, tagging these networks as spyware operators due to clickstream data mining. Coding
links to the existing networks domains setting a return day cookie or recording an
impression, before sending the referred shopper to a merchant's landing page, exposes them
to blanking or BHO hijacking without legal recourse. It is illegal to blank or block, in
any manner, an image or text link to a merchants shopping cart area as a restraint of
trade legal issue. So all affiliate links require a physical click pointing to a secure
shopping cart where the cookie is set and a server re-direct is performed to the chosen
landing page in the SHN Cybermall.
More Benefits: The 7 to 30 return day cookie, set
in the above scenario, applies to the initial referred Merchant-A. The bonus is the SHN
Mall has a navigation and search function to other competing merchants, where that
referred shopper can browse other offers or buy an item from Merchant-B, Merchant-C during
the same shopping cart session. The referring affiliate gets credit for any sales made
during this shopping session, as well as credit for future purchases during the return day
period of Merchant-A if their cookie isn't overwritten by another SHN affiliate. All
merchant commission earnings and payments are consolidated.
The Safe Haven Network model has strict rules for joining
Rules for merchant's:
For merchants with more then 500
products. Only the top selling 30% of products they offer in each product category can be
placed into their SHN ecatalog.
Coupons and special incentive offers
can only be displayed and credited from the actual merchant's pages within the SHN
storefront and shopping cart. Incentives cannot be used in affiliate creatives nor given
to SHN affiliates to use on their pages, SE listings, PPCSE and e-mail campaigns or BHO
applications to eliminate common spamming practices.
Merchants must keep their
network escrow account for monthly commission payments to affiliates at a level necessary
to assure payments by the 15th of the following month. No merchant is allowed to overwrite
campaigns. Use those ploys on your other network(s)... not the SHN. You'll get plenty of
non-cookied traffic from bookmarks, SERPs, and expired session only affiliate referrals
who browse your offerings having visited a SHN competitor.
Merchants may daily backup their SHN
ecatalog, but are not permitted to give this database file to affiliates for use to build
complete mirrored sites. Use of this database feed to power a Product Showcase Creator or
similar application is acceptable and encouraged.
Live -Help applications are allowed
but must be manned by non-commissionable operators. Use of 800#'s hotlines are
allowed, but can only be used on the "merchant contact page". No links to the
merchant's main website(s) outside of the SHN Cybermall are allowed.
Affiliates also are subject to SHN Terms of Service and
All Safe Haven Network links require
a physical click from the affiliates domain pages. No re-directs to merchants using any
PPCSE listings will be permitted. All e-mail campaigns must conform to CAN-SPAM
No affiliate using a S/W browser
plug-in will be allowed into the SHN group. Those lending their SHN ID# to any forced
cookie stuffer or BHO will forfeit their commissions and be terminated upon detection.
All affiliate domains sending traffic
to SHN merchants must be identified in the affiliate administration area and have accurate
contact information on file with SHN to get paid commissions.
The time is right now for launching the Safe Haven Network as both
the merchants and domain bound affiliates are taking a bath from the sleazy un-ethical
practices so rampant within the existing major networks. Any Honest Merchant, with a
viable sought after product or service, can join and will be judged by their ability to
please the SHN shoppers with their offerings. Honest ethical affiliates willing to place
shopper friendly showcases on their domain pages also will make more money per click under
the SHN model then any other network model. They just have to leave the "tricks for
cookie setting clicks" behind and concentrate on focusing targeted traffic to the
higher converting SHN merchants knowing upfront the merchant's average conversion ration.
Over all this sales Network model is designed to remove the Gorilla deceptive marketing
practices, while empowering the shopper with a Safe Haven for their online purchases and
Unique copywrited concepts not practiced by any
existing affiliate marketing network....
1. All network merchant's products are administered and displayed
to referred shoppers from a common Cybermall Cart/eCatalog designed for checkout from
multiple merchant purchases. Current network models loose total control by having to
interface to existing merchnat carts and serve links routed through network servers.
The Safe Haven model has Network Sales tracking and affiliate return day cookie set
from within the secure shopping cart link coding, with redirect to merchant's chosen
landing page. Sample linking code tested since 2003 for one of my clients affiliate
program. Holdup Suspenders using the Americart program ....
goes to their Double-Ups suspender page for details and purchasing. Blanking,
hijacking or interference in this links destination is a restraint of trade
violation. No merchant can turn off affiliate sales tracking without turning off
their SHN shopping cart. Smaller volume affiliates can opt to get an e-mail notification
of each completed sale in real time. Placing competing merchants within the same Cybermall
site, with navigation and search feature to Cybermall and product category directory is a
time and money saver for referred shoppers. It's their Safe Haven too as merchants who
can't compete on a level playing field get weaned by their published conversion ratio from
prime affiliate exposure, or just showcase their best sellers.
Thanks for reading this ebiz/affiliate marketing concept
... Webmaster Mike Hyland
Copywrited and published April 2004. All rights reserved by author.
Please e-mail your comments and suggestions...click
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I have always believed in affiliate
marketing's potential to add real value to online merchants, without resorting to Gorilla
or preditory marketing tactics. This Award recognizes my often vocal demands and suggestions for
eliminating the incessant popups, spam and deceptive advertising practices of desperate
http://forum.abestweb.com . The Industry has listened and made the needed changes.
Doing what comes naturally, what we enjoy doing, and what we do
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"mastery" over the need to build on personal competence -- as one of the four
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