About the author


A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.


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  • Good advice! I’ve found that some networks have higher payouts than direct! Usually being because they are running more traffic and got the higher payouts, so higher margins aren’t always the case!

  • Excellent info Finch. Any general rule (though there may not be one) about how much traffic you should be able to generate before an advertiser — specifically in the dating vertical — would give you the opportunity to go direct? Also, I have some really great relationships with a few networks and I was worried that making attempts to go direct might get back to them and sour the good will I had developed; what’s your thoughts on that?

  • I think most affiliate networks should be happy to accept that their affiliates have to do what’s right for their own businesses. Otherwise, these are probably networks you should be working with in the first place. I don’t think that’s an issue.

    As for the volume of traffic, I think the ratio of sales to leads is more important. If your quality score is high, they’re going to be able to offer you better payouts that may help you naturally send more volume.

    Personally though, I don’t normally look to go direct with a merchant until I know I can send them around $1000/day in rev. It may be higher or lower depending on who you run with, but that’s just my preference.

  • Nice post Finch. I’ve found that consistently sending a couple hundred leads that back out for the site owner will usually justify going direct.

    Not only will it be enough to start the relationship, it is the amount you will need to get the payout high enough to justify not going through a network. Under a certain amount, it’s almost always better to go through a network.

  • How do one find these merchants who are ready to buy your leads?
    can you please cover it in your next post?

  • Well, it’s normally pretty easy to find them. If you’re registered with a network like CJ, they give you direct lines in to each company. Usually with the contacts responsible for handling affiliate operations.

  • As an affiliate who also works as a consultant for a couple of advertisers, you’re definitely right in recommending that people run through a reliable network in most situations. The number of cases in which it’s better to go direct is extremely small, and a lot of advertisers (like the ones I work with) aren’t interested in going direct anyway. It’s a pain in the butt to keep track of that many affiliates, and you end up drowning in a sea of “How I make link????” and “Did I make sales yet?” questions to the point that you hardly have any time left over for real affiliates.

    That said…if you’re serious about an offer, you’d be silly not to contact the advertiser just to “touch base”, as the network folks like to say. If the advertiser has an affiliate manager/coordinator around, you can get all kinds of juicy details about what’s working, what kind of promotions back out best, etc. If you let them know your affiliate ID/network, they can also see how your quality compares to others and possibly even convince them to hook you up with private banners or LPs.

    I’ve also witnessed a couple of cases where the network told the advertiser they wouldn’t cancel leads from a certain affiliate, then they told the affiliate that his leads sucked and he wouldn’t get paid…which would have worked out for them if not for the fact that the affiliate contacted the advertiser and the 2 pieced things together.

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