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Managing Your Affiliate Program: Software Systems vs. Network Systems

By Keller Flynn
Posted Thursday, November 18, 2004

There are numerous aspects to starting an affiliate program. You've got to do all kinds of research and footwork to get the ball rolling, and the work doesn't stop there. Assuming that you've already done your research, found a great product, and enrolled several affiliates, you've now got to decide on how to run and manage your program. There is a long standing debate on whether it is better to use a pre-set network management program or your own software based program.

The benefits of a network based program basically come down to this: With a network based program, you don't have to do a lot of work. You sign up with a network program, and the network system basically runs your whole system for you. It runs your sales tracking, your affiliate communication, and your commission structure. Network systems even promise to bring in new affiliates for you. You just sit back and watch the cash flow in. Sounds great right? Great if you don't have a lot of time, or great if you're involved in several other ventures, but if you're counting on your one program to really work for you, using a network management system is selling yourself short.

Now I'm not saying that using a network system is bad, a network can be really helpful for someone who's short on time. I'm just saying that if you have the time and energy to manage your own program you should do so. As with any other business, when someone offers to do something for you, they generally want something in return. Network management systems are no different. In exchange for their services, they will expect a percentage of your commissions, and with the reigns taken out of your hands, they also will effectively have control of your affiliate relationships.

If you want to truly manage your affiliate program to the best of your abilities, you've got to do it yourself. By using an affiliate management software system, you can keep total control of your program, and keep all your commissions. You can decide how often to get in touch with your affiliates and make it personal rather than relying on group e-mail. Your affiliates will be impressed, and may even work harder for you. And as for recruiting, you're far better off working on your own. The network programs that offer to sell your program to potential affiliates do that for ALL their customers, so the people who are being notified about your program are also being notified about countless others. You may get lost in the shuffle.

So make a little time and take a little initiative. With just a little extra work, you can run your own affiliate program without sacrificing your personal involvement and your commissions to a network. Running your own program may seem intimidating now, but once you get the hang of it you'll be glad you did.

About the Author
Keller Flynn knows about Super Affiliates and what it takes to find or help create them. Keller also knows the full spectrum of tools, ideas and action steps needed to create and run a successful affiliate program. Reach him at or 801-328-9006. Get his Extra Money Newsletter FREE at (


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