Outsourcing Your Affiliate Program

As we all know, a skilled and experienced affiliate manager is nearly as rare as a Honus Wagner T-206 baseball card. (There are an estimated 58 of these cards in circulation.) This shortage of talent and the rapid growth of the affiliate marketing industry have resulted in a variety of services available to outsource the duties of an affiliate manager.

For those who do not have the internal resources and know-how to staff an affiliate team, but would like to add a scalable affiliate solution to their marketing plan, I have assembled a directory of services for outsourcing your program.

Affiliate People
Clients receive a marketing specialist that will take care of affiliate strategy development, communicating with current and potential affiliates, advertising and creative options, targeted affiliate recruitment, technical integration, and affiliate-content provision. The dedicated affiliate program manager spends 40 hours per month marketing and supporting a client program, and this affiliate specialist is capped at servicing four programs.

Rates: $2,495 per month, as well as affiliate program enhancement services that are available on an a-la-carte basis

Alliance Builder
Whether you are looking to build a program from scratch or increase the effectiveness of your current program, Alliance Builder offers the following services: strategy development, affiliate recruitment, affiliate relations (customer service), enhancement of super affiliate relationships, and ongoing communications (newsletters, personalized emails, and discussion forums).

Rates: begin at $2,000 per month

E-Base Interactive Inc.
E-Base Interactive can plan, develop, implement, and manage an affiliate program for your business. In addition, it can promote your affiliate program and recruit affiliates. The program management includes affiliate management, recruitment, support, and communications. Also, it will create strategic alliances and business partnerships, analyze site traffic, and budget and create customized reports.

Besides the option to outsource junior-level and senior-level affiliate manager duties, it also offers affiliate application review ($3 per application), and affiliate program management consulting and training (at $145 per hour, plus expenses if travel is requested for onsite consulting and/or training).

Rates: $50,000 to $65,000 per year for full-time management, or $50 to $60 per hour for part-time management

One of the stalwarts of the affiliate marketing field is Maurice Bretzfield and his company, EComWorks. Founded in October 1997, it manages affiliates by applying merchandising techniques based upon affiliates’ retail merchandising experience. Additionally, it creates a strategic marketing plan, integrates affiliate solution provider technology to client systems, creates the architecture and interface of the program, and recruits a database of affiliate sites.

Rates: Inquire at info@ecomworks.com.

FlightPath Marketing
Rob Flynn, a former client program manager at Be Free, started FlightPath. Its services include day-to-day management, affiliate recruitment, compensation analysis, affiliate base analysis, affiliate communications, and performance analysis.

Rates: Inquire at information@flightpathllc.com.

greater than one inc.
The same group that launched and managed the ibeauty, barnesandnoble.com, and M&M’s affiliate programs has now formed greater than one inc. It has consulted on, launched, and/or managed various programs using both Be Free and LinkShare.

Rates: $5,000 to $15,000 for strategy, creative and web development, technical integration, testing, and launch; $2,000 to $10,000 per month after launch depending on client needs.

i-traffic has been working on pay-for-performance networks since 1996. It has experience with all aspects of launching and managing affiliate networks from third-party technology provider contract negotiation and network implementation through to creative development, ongoing network management, and growth.

Rates: range from time of staff to a combination of time of staff and revenue share

LinkProfits is “The Affiliate Program Management Specialists,” according to its site. Its Total Program Management package includes program setup and initial launch, product merchandising campaigns, offer development and refinement, creative services, new affiliate acquisition, affiliate program development, and affiliate review and approval.

Rates: Submit no-obligation proposal request at http://www.linkprofits.com/proposalform.html.

Mass-Transit Interactive
Mass-Transit Interactive offers the full suite of affiliate marketing services: establishment of a client’s network (technology provider recommendation, commission structure recommendations, contract negotiation, and implementation); recruiting and management of affiliates, both base affiliates and super affiliates; structuring and managing different promotions to affiliates; ad creation; high-end merchant-to-merchant partnerships; reporting and analysis; and providing innovative tools to optimize network performance.

Rates: vary depending on the client’s objectives

Vizium designs, implements, and optimizes affiliate programs in two stages: Stage I is the affiliate strategy and business plan that outlines the strategy, objectives, tactics, specific milestones, resource requirements, and targets; Stage II is the affiliate program implementation, including the affiliate technology infrastructure, affiliate recruiting, affiliate approval, and affiliate support and maintenance.

Rates: Stage I spans four to six weeks at a rate of $30,000 to $45,000. Stage II is ongoing at a rate of $7,000 to $10,000 per month.

The British Invasion

The trend of affiliate outsourcing isn’t limited to U.S. shores. As the affiliate marketing model gains more prominence in the United Kingdom, the affiliate outsourcing boom is also alive and well across the pond.

DVisions Limited provides affiliate program start-up and management services, including the setup of a program, copywriting, design of graphics, formulation of other linking assets, affiliate program promotion to 50-plus affiliate directories, management, and targeting materials.

simplesiteUK is one of the U.K.’s leading affiliate marketing solution providers. Its services include the creation, design, launch, marketing, and management of affiliate programs; ongoing affiliate marketing solution services; affiliate recruitment and retention services; a search engine positioning service; and permission e-marketing services.

If you’re planning to implement an affiliate program at your company, or you already have a program that hasn’t met your expectations, you have to make a decision… find an all-star affiliate manager to bring your program into the major leagues, or outsource the program to a company who can do it for you. There are only so many Honus Wagners out there.

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