Ricky Ahuja

Imagine a new advertiser coming to you to launch a new product. What’s the process between contract and launch?

This is a matter that we take very seriously.  As we are a health focused network, we get pitched on things all the time and we cannot possibly say yes to everything that comes our way.  We have to be picky.  So, when a new advertiser approaches us to promote their product that we are interested in promoting and placing on our network, the first thing we do is vet the client’s financial worthiness to ensure that we are not going to get burned and not get paid.  Our contracts are very fair for both sides, but also do not leave any grey areas for any matters that may arise.  In saying that, just because you have good contracts, it does not always necessarily mean you will get paid, so we generally cap each offer/advertiser out of the gate as well to a level we are comfortable with (so that any non-payments would not have an effect on our day-to-day operations).  If we feel that the client has enough financial worthiness, we will not require a pre-payment for traffic.  For clients that we are not as sure of, we ask for a pre-payment for a minimum of 250 sales/leads, etc.  That money is then put into an escrow account and can only be used to make payments on that offer(s).   Once we have all of this put into place, contracts are signed, pixels are placed and tested multiple times, we will generally test the offer out with our internal media division to see how well it converts and to be able to give our affiliates solid intel on what worked for us and what didn’t.

During that process, how do you evaluate the relative importance of different channels and what proportion of budget you allocate to them?

As the majority of our traffic is media buys, we do not allocate any portion of our traffic to each source, we simply allocate the cap based on distribution and monitor the quality of the traffic vigilantly.  If we notice a source consistently has lower quality, we will dis-allow that source for that offer.  We definitely do try to use multiple channels, however at the end of the day, sending quality traffic is our most important function and responsibility to our advertisers.  We are an extension of every advertiser’s business that we work with and we take that responsibility very seriously.

How does an advertiser prevent affiliates from competing with and cannibalizing the advertiser’s own search or display campaigns?

If an advertiser is running internal traffic to their own offers, we leave it as their discretion as to whether or not they want that source to be allowed.  Some preventative measures that we put in place would be

  • No brand bidding on any search traffic
  • No display traffic on certain sites (to lessen the competition and keep their bids down)
  • No pop traffic to certain sites if they are currently bidding on them

Most advertisers that we work with are NOT running any internal traffic, hence them working with a network.  We do assist our exclusive advertisers in building out internal media buy teams however with affiliates that we know and trust in our database as well as giving them access to John Crestani’s Super Affiliate System course, which is an extensive 12-week media buying course.  Again, our role with all of our advertisers is to be an extension of their business and to make sure they make more money by working with us than any other network in the space.

What are the factors that help you decide whether you are prepared to pay a publisher upfront for traffic?

While there are many factors that go into this, the main one being is if you have an existing relationship with them or what level of credibility and reputation they have in the marketplace. There is no shortage of advertisers to work with so quality publisher traffic is at a premium and if I want them to send it to me – there has to be a value proposition in place for them, especially if they are purchasing media/traffic.

Have you ever had a merchant try to cut you out by working directly with a publisher? How did you deal with the situation?

Fortunately in my last 12 years of AM – this has rarely happened. I am all about transparency and communication from the onset and the only people I work with are ones that I know and trust. In certain cases we do have paperwork available which will prevent circumvention from both side, the merchant and the publisher.

What is the best way for a publisher to “get to the next level” where they are offered exclusive offers and improved commission rates?

This industry is all about optimization and scaling and the best way for someone to get to that next point is by sending quality traffic and lots of it. Running an all Nutra network – it is about retention rates on the rebills. If their traffic is quality and beyond the benchmarks we have in place, they will have access to offers and budgets that your typical affiliate will not have. Data, Data, Data!

A serial entrepreneur, Ricky Ahuja has been known and well respected in the affiliate industry now going on 15 years, for his strong acumen as an online marketer and social media expert. His former agency Affiliate Crossing was constantly ranked in the Top 10 on the “Top 10 Networks” and was most recently ranked as a Top 10 CPA Affiliate Network on Blue Book survey by Revenue Performance. Ricky is now the Affiliate Director at Nutryst, an all Nutra based network. A passionate writer, blogger and traveler – always looking for the next adventure.