EWA Network is turning in to a popular destination for many top affiliate marketers. With the doors opened and a limited number of spots available, you may want to consider jumping onboard while you still can. The network is run by Ryan Eagle, aka The Birdman, aka Some Kinda Messiah Of The Grind. If you’ve ever followed his updates on Twitter, you’ll have read some pretty amusing 140 character pep-talks. The sort of updates I’d expect to read if Anthony Robbins woke up feeling black with a sudden passion for dough and hoes.

Regardless, I’d heard good things about EWA from a number of well known blogging personalities and a smattering of fellow affiliates that I trust. Having worked with them for a while now, it’s easy to see where that following was born from.

What Makes Them Different?

I’ve always felt that the business personality of the average affiliate is informal and much more casual than a typical professional. We’re generally a young bunch, and already too disillusioned by the 9-5 to want to maintain those kind of strict business relationships. Many networks out there don’t quite understand or know how to establish a bond with their affiliates where everybody feels like they’re pulling in the same direction. What immediately strikes me about EWA is the sense that the publisher is valued as highly as the advertiser. And considering the number of advertisers these guys have drafted in, that’s quite an achievement.

EWA, just like many of my favourite networks, is run by affiliates who know what it’s like to face the daily grind. Many people are familiar with Ryan Eagle and have formed their own impressions before actually working with the guy. Whatever you’ve read or heard, it’s hard to think of a network figure that works harder to make sure that haters remain just that…haters. I’ve never suffered from missed payments, blanked emails or unanswered questions. The whole team at EWA are dedicated to helping affiliates, whether you’re sending a single lead a day or 1000.

The Birdman

I’d say EWA is also the most proactive network I’ve dealt with in terms of reaching out to affiliates with tips and guidance. Many networks will flood my inbox with campaign suggestions and exclamations that Offer X is converting through the roof. Of course, most of them forget that ROI is more important to an affiliate than the conversion rates on the internal control panel. EWA regularly deliver detailed summaries of how – and where – you can promote their offers for the maximum ROI.

They won’t give you campaigns off the bat, but I’ve seen Eagle shoot himself in the foot by outing his own traffic sources and being quickly swamped in competition. I consider myself pretty well versed in where to find traffic, but even I’ve stumbled across some hidden gems in the mass emails that EWA members receive several times a week. It’s nice to work with a network that is actually on the beat and willing to share that information internally.

Offers & Payouts

Well, I realize it’s the offers and payouts that ultimately sell a network’s worth to you guys. EWA is stacked to the rafters with a seemingly never ending list of shit you can start slinging. I like to work heavily in the dating and gaming niches. EWA provides great diversity in these areas, including many international offers. They also have a neat “request an offer” feature. I haven’t tickled them with it yet but judging by the rapidly expanding list of active campaigns, I’m guessing other affiliates have seen their requests fulfilled.

Payouts are generally super competitive. Some of the offers I’ve promoted on EWA have topped the nearest matching payout by up to $0.50, which is a big jump if you’re working with smaller lead gen type advertisers. They’re quite noisy about the fact that they want your traffic, and they’re willing to run on the skinniest margins to secure it.

I’ve also noticed a lot of “As Seen On TV” offers. If you’re working in the PPV space, this is definitely an area where EWA can fuel your imagination.

Two of my favourite EWA features are available as soon as you’ve logged in to the interface. You’ll immediately be greeted by the top three performing offers in each and every niche. These are updated on a daily basis which is considerably more helpful than a network-wide EPC, plucked out of thin air, over god knows how long. One of my favourite categories to look out for is the “Top Emerging Offers” section.

Knowing that EWA run a lot of their offers internally, it makes sense to stay on top of what’s rising through the charts. If you get there before everybody else, there’s a lot of money on the table.

The second feature any affiliate will enjoy is the “Campaign Mini Guides”. They seem to be updated once a week, and it’s here that you’ll find teasing snippets of how to promote various offers. Not a Dummies Guide, but enough to kick the balls of a creative affiliate in to action.

Room For Improvement?

As with any network, there are still areas where EWA could up their game and really kick on in 2010. I would personally like to see an overhaul of the offer search facility. I realize the software is what it is, but with over a thousand offers at your disposal, it can be a pain in the arse to search through a giant list.

I’ve had trouble using the search function and the category filtering is about as problematic as the “sort offers by country allowed” option. Offers are prefixed with their accepted country in the title, which is fine, but it makes it difficult for me to filter the list and see only the campaigns from one particular region.

I would recommend you check with your affiliate manager on exactly what countries are open to any offer that’s been around for a while. I had one instance where my conversions for a dating offer fell off the cliff face only to find that it was because the offer description hadn’t been updated to explain that UK traffic was no longer accepted. These are only minor grievances, and understandable given the sheer volume of campaigns that are available to run, but it would be nice to see a little re-organization to make offer selection less of a headache.

The Application Process

I don’t know why I include this section in my network reviews anymore. More often than not, I get accepted on the basis that I run this blog so my insight is about as relevant as a slap in the balls.

That said, I applied to EWA before anybody knew about this blog. I received a phone call to go over the application, which I failed to answer. They reached out through email asking for me to return the call within a week. I don’t know what I was doing but I managed to forget and by the end of that week, the application had been rejected. This was before I’d heard so many ringing endorsements and I eventually reached out to Ryan directly to get onboard.

Moral of the story? When you apply to join EWA, they’ll probably call you. You should probably answer. If that’s not the case and I’m rambling out of my arse again, speak up or forever hold your peace.

Overall Thoughts

It may be hard to get over the first hurdle of placing your trust in a dude who calls himself The Birdman. Especially one who has enough questionable photos online to make that time Finch posted his arse on the WickedFire Forums look somewhat respectable. But most who have worked with EWA will happily put the record straight. When it comes to business, these guys are top notch and a pleasure to work with.

I look forward to receiving the regular email updates from EWA, and they seem to be one of the few networks that know what their affiliates are looking to hear. They’re not the only network to keep such a close relationship, but if you’re not registered with them, you’re probably missing out on the chance to do some good business.

It’s a private network. I’m not sure whether they plan on closing the doors soon to stagger business growth, but it’s worth taking the time to register on EWA. Even if you’re not going to run any immediate traffic, the creative advice alone is worth the free admission.

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