If you’ve ever heard me speak or if you’ve read this blog for a long time, you’ll know that since 2006, Share a Sale has been my go to network for Clients for a number of reasons. Shareasale.com remains consistently superior in custom technology, tracking and improvements in creatives technology with banners, datafeed tools, etc… as well as provide a facility to enable Merchants and Affiliates be able to work together and communicate. If you aren’t an Affiliate on Share a Sale, or if you are a Merchant and want a better program, I highly recommend you sign up now to begin and find out what the Share a Sale difference is. With that said, here are 5 things that Share a Sale Merchants and Affiliates may not know that could have an effect on their and your business/es.
1. Make a Page and SEO benefits and damage – Since the actual keyword links on the Make a Page tool inside Share a Sale point to the Share a Sale servers, they are not backlinks to the Merchant. However if you pull open the programming and code that the Make a Page tool gives you, you’ll discover that the image links do not redirect or point to the Share a Sale server.
For Affiliates, by having these links you are boosting the merchant up above you with backlinks from your site. Although this sounds good for Merchants, especially if the Affiliate fills out all of their tags, you could be damaged as well if you ever cancel your program, anger your Affiliates and they pull their feeds, etc… because you will all of the sudden lose all of these links overnight. This can have an impact on your SEO. With that said, if you’re an Affiliate and the Merchant is an Authority site, the links can help and benefit you. If the Merchant is not an authority site, then you will be benefiting them more and potentially helping them rank above you. To solve this issue, simply go into the code and add in rel=”no follow” in each image link.
2. The Tell The Merchant About You Box – Affiliates, as you are signing up for a program, think of it like a partnership or job application. Tell the merchant in this box about how you will promote them and why you want to promote them. Share the site the Merchant will appear on and also confirm that you have read their terms and conditions and let them know you will follow them. If you want to get approved into more programs, or at least increase your chances, use this to sell yourself as a great and valuable partner and don’t forget to explain why they are are good fit for your site.
Merchants – If the Affiliate fills this out and makes it about you and why you are a good fit, read it and pay attention. They obviously have an interest in you and are excited to promote you. They are looking for a relationship with you and that is why you should pay extra attention to these applications. You can find this information in two places, your Affiliate applied emails from Share a Sale and underneath in the white space on their application. If you still have questions, click on contact and then you can ask that partner to further clarify what they mean or want to do within your program. These are some of the best relationships because they are excited enough about your company and products that they actually wrote how and why they want to promote you above your competition.
3. Your Email Address When Being Contacted and Privacy – When I click on the contact Affiliate and select email a copy to myself, I get the Affiliate’s email address in the email that goes out. Although I love this, even though the Affiliate may not. For me, it enables me to be able to reach out in case there is an emergency or something important like non disclosures or false statements about my clients, and for them it can open a line of communication. To be honest, when you join a program, in my opinion you have given the Merchant your email address already and they should be able to contact you, as long as they don’t go overboard.
At the same time it could enable Merchants to abuse this power and over email their partners. As an Affiliate it is important to have a legit email address here if you want more approvals because we want to be able to reach you if you have a question. If you find a Merchant abusing the fact that they can get your email, write to sharesale (at) shareasale (dot) com and you can always add that Merchant’s email to your blocked email list. However, if the merchant stops getting responses, you could get removed from the program. It works both ways where if they need to get a hold of you and you are non responsive, they can remove you and stop responding to you, just like you can stop working with them and when you get frustrated when they don’t respond to you.
Before you get paranoid about this, in my opinion, Share a Sale protects your information more than any other network. In some networks I can select all when pulling an Affiliate list and export all of your data from your websites to your IDs and also your email address in seconds. Other ones let me look up Affiliates by category that aren’t even in my program and they show me your email addresses and contact info. Some just let you click show more info and all of the sudden your email address, phone number (I have seen this in one network), etc… is right there. Share a Sale is the most protective from what I can tell. At the same time, if you are frustrated that merchants don’t respond to you, you also get any email addresses the Merchants’ use which may include an actual person instead of just email@example.com.
4. Icons and graphics – If you’ve noticed random images or icons like Power Rank or Auto Deposit, etc… in Share a Sale. Those are there to help you determine if it’s a program you want to work with. Here is a way you can use each as well as what they mean (at least what I think they mean).
Power Rank – This means they are on the Share a Sale top 100 Power Rank programs. That means that they meet a certain criteria within the Share a Sale algorithm to rank above the rest of the programs in the network. It doesn’t mean your commissions are safe from coupon poachers, trademark bidders or adware. It does mean that people are making money with them,,,but not how much.
Auto Deposit – This means the Merchant has a credit card on file and is paying out commissions. Auto Deposit is a good thing for both Merchants and Affiliates on Share a Sale because Merchants don’t have to remember to constantly deposit money into their accounts and because the Merchant’s account won’t go below zero (unless the credit card gets declined). It also lets the Affiliates know that they have a better chance at getting paid and none of their links will break because of a zero balance. The reason I say have a better chance at getting paid is because the Merchant can still reverse sales, close a program, etc… which would mean the Affiliates won’t get paid. Auto Deposit and the icon is something that is unique to Share a Sale as far as the big 4 networks, from what I can tell, go and one tool that makes the difference for many Affiliates when deciding between two programs.
Exclusive – If you see the Exclusive banner or icon next to a Merchant, that means that they are or at one point were exclusive on the Share a Sale network. It would be almost impossible to see if everyone is still exclusive or not on the network so when you see this and it is a selling point for you, go to the Merchant site and see if it is still exclusive by reading their Affiliate section. If they have an in house program, are on another network, etc… then write to firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know this Merchant is no longer exclusive and Share a Sale will do their research and remove the icon if they are no longer exclusive. Here is why exclusivity is important.
Because of auto deposit and the stance that Share a Sale has on adware, many Affiliates would only want to work with Merchants that were exclusive to Share a Sale so their cookies were safer than on other competing networks. Although it isn’t a perfect system, if you find something like the image below, let the CEO know about the active adware or Affiliates who are using it and he instantly removes them when he finds it and tests it. You do have to send solid proof that it is active adware and against the TOS of the network. If it is a toolbar, he’ll have it tested to make sure it isn’t active or malicious. This is the strongest stance against adware that I have seen on any network, besides Buy.at. This is one of the reasons that I love Share a Sale and trust them. The CEO will not allow this type of behavior when he finds it and can prove it is against their TOS, but I have seen it coming in with applications like the one below so you do have to do your own sorting and should not be on auto approve ever.
5. Grouping and Reporting – One thing that makes Merchant’s live easy is that Share a Sale offers a ton of options for reports and sorting Affiliates. You can group them by niche, category, etc… You can also pull reports by state for Nexus tax laws, send newsletters to groups based on performance, tags, etc…. and you can also save past reports to be able to pull them again quick and easy. Although some of the stats are confusing, and you have to pull it into notepad and sort pipe to column, Share a Sale offers the most and best options for reporting and easy to understand results and metrics.
Besides the massive amounts of tools, good customer support and extremely reasonable prices, ShareaSale.com continues to be the leaders in innovation and ethics within Affiliate Marketing. Although I don’t agree with certain rules and policies, they are the best there is and you should 100% consider being on their network as a Merchant and as an Affiliates. I also recommend going exclusive with them as you can get a lot more content sites joining and if you want the coupon sites from the other networks, they are already on ShareASale.com anyways, except some of the larger toolbar and adware coupon site Affiliates. Please also feel free to use my Affiliate link for them which is the banner on the top right of this site or the two links in this post.