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Knowledge center

Sub-Affiliate Networks - avoid, collaborate or dismantle?

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Idea of energy union, promoted in Europe by Donald Tusk, reminded me of an old truth regarding one-supplier market.

To restore the balance in a monopolistic market, many buyers join together forming a single enterprise (monopsony).“

How does this relate to affiliate programs?

One can imagine an advertiser being this kind of monopolist, dictating terms to numerous scattered affiliates. But if those affiliates band together and create so-called „sub-affiliate network” the balance of power shifts to their side.

In reality, the most common example of this, are solutions for webmasters and bloggers, offering free templates with an integrated affiliate program advertisement, or affiliates running their own affiliate program (having their own affiliates).

For advertisers, who automatically accept new publishers this may pose numerous threats. By accepting such an affiliate and his subgroup, you may accept an unwanted publisher. You don’t know the origin of the traffic and you lose control over the selection of places where your offer is presented – website status and content and the context for your brand.

Infringement of your affiliate program becomes hard to detect and you can easily imagine potential damage to your brand image (your offer may be sent as spam or presented next to racist or pornographic content).

No direct contact with the publisher and lack of control over the program may result in a financial loss for brand owners. And if you are an affiliate manager, you might lose your job.

Flip side of the coin.

But should you always discard sub-affiliate network offers? Recommendation is the best advertisement for your offer. Affiliate marketing power comes from intertwining relations and networks.

Skimlinks and Viglink are positive examples of affiliate networks from Australian market (currently operating also in USA and UK). Both of these companies keep close records of websites publishing their links, and they make them available to advertisers.

Who wouldn’t like to ride the gravy train? That’s way so many companies decide to promote their products on the Internet, where everybody wants to get noticed and make a lot of money. Quite often, to reach your own goals, you’ve got no other choice but to associate with large affiliates, that are not always crystal clear. So if you want to operate on a large scale, you need to make extra effort to keep in control of such partners, or...

Maybe you should try taking over sub-affiliates. In order to do that, you should first consider why they prefer to operate indirectly.

  1. They receive higher commission than in the case of joining the program directly – strength in numbers principle – such super-affiliates are able to negotiate higher commissions because of the volume of traffic that they produce,
  2. They receive their commission more frequently – every 5 to 7 days,
  3. They were banned from affiliate network.

For obvious reasons you should focus on points 1 and 2.

How may we benefit from this?

  1. Large increase of traffic, leads and transactions in a relatively short time. A characteristic feature of affiliates „hiding” behind someone else’s name is operating on the brink of the law – where the greatest potential of large numbers awaits ,
  2. Expanding outside the affiliate network,
  3. Increasing the potential for promoting cheap, niche products. Building a long list of publishers.

This strategy is not for everyone. Before you decide to try obtaining more affiliates, you need to ask yourself few questions. How vulnerable is your brand image to potential setbacks? Do you have enough resources to manage additional affiliates?