000Domains affiliate program

Associate Programs Newsletter #133

This week I look at some good affiliate merchants which can't seem to get the details right.


CONTENTS:

1. PayPal goes international - almost
2. 000Domains.com: superb service, awful affiliate program
3. Where the 000Domains affiliate program goes wrong
4. Two-tier commissions AND residual income
5. CallWave affiliates earn $20,000 a month
6. Highly acclaimed FileMaker pays 5% commission
7. Spam from ScooterCraze.com
8. Easy way to distribute your newsletter
9. Time-saving tip for affiliate merchants


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1. PayPal goes international - almost
=====================================

PayPal, the online payment system which has 4 million users, is now international.

It's available in the following countries:

Australia
Austria
Belgium
Brazil
Canada
Denmark
France
Germany
Hong Kong
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Mexico
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Portugal
Singapore
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom
United States

Affiliate merchants will now be able to send mass payments to affiliates in all those countries for less than the price of a stamp.

The cost is the lesser of 2% or 25 cents per payment.

I was very disappointed to see that in this global village of ours the PayPal referral program is open only to residents of the United States.

Check out PayPal here:

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/pal


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2. 000Domains.com: superb service, awful affiliate program
==========================================================

I've been using and recommending domain name registrar 000Domains.com ever since I tried it ages ago. It's a wonderful service.

Unfortunately, its new affiliate program doesn't offer the same high quality. It's a huge disappointment.

000Domains offers a superb, easy-to-use service - especially for anyone like me who buys many domain names.

I've become a collector of domain names. I reckon good ones are an excellent investment, like beachfront land. Goodness knows how I'll make the time to set up web sites for all the names I own.

Just for fun, I checked and found that these names are still available:

USbeachfront.com
UKbeachfront.com
AustralianBeachfront.com

When I buy domain names, I keep returning to 000Domains.com because it has all of the following good features:
It's cheap. You can register a domain name for only $13.50 a year.

You can select a registration period ranging from 1 to 10 years.

There are no other fees, no NIC fees, no set-up fees, no domain parking fees.

It's very easy to transfer a name.

If you bought your domain name from Network Solutions or another registrar you can transfer the name to 000Domains WITHOUT paying anything extra. All you pay is $13.50 for one year's renewal. You don't have to wait till the expiration date. The renewal will add one year to the existing expiration date, no matter how early you transfer it. (I've used this service. It works well.)

The easy, multiple domain look-up saves you time when you're trying to find out if several domain names are available.

The Domain Manager web tool is far superior to the service provided by Network Solutions. If you change any of your registration info, such as your phone number or address, you don't have to update every single domain's data one by one. With one login and one click, you can update all your domains at once.

A clause in the contract (clause 15, about the right to delete or transfer your domain name) makes some people nervous, but the fact that the company is a reseller for the highly respected Tucows.com, which won't want to do anything to harm its good image, gives me confidence.

There's a very comprehensive, informative FAQ, so you probably won't need to contact the support staff. If you do, they're very helpful.

With all those good features, it's not surprising that 000Domains is popular. It expects to register its 2 millionth domain name this year.

If you want to buy a domain name, or transfer a domain to a good, cheap registrar I recommend this service:

000Domains.com

It's a shame that its new affiliate program doesn't maintain the same high standard...


====================================================
3. Where the 000Domains affiliate program goes wrong
====================================================

Here's what is wrong with the 000Domains.com affiliate program:
The commissions are TINY. The average affiliate will earn only 25 cents for each domain name registered.

We're not given any idea how many names the average customer buys.

Commission-counting doesn't begin until you achieve more than 20 sales each month. So you could sell 20 names a month for a year - 240 names - and earn NOTHING. That's appalling.

Commissions (or rebates) increase depending on how many sales you can achieve a month, which is good. However, you'll need 501 sales a month before you reach the top commission rate of $1.50 per sale.

Domains per month       Rebate per domain 
20 - 50  $0.25 

51 - 100  $0.50 

101 - 250  $0.75 

251 - 500  $1.00 

501+  $1.50 

So this program could be OK for a hugely popular site.

The agreement is ambiguous. It implies that you can earn a rebate by buying a domain name through your own referral link, but doesn't exactly say so.

When affiliates sign up they are given NO marketing advice whatsoever. No manual, no page of tips, no links to advice.

Colorful buttons and banners are provided, but they're all aimed at brand awareness as well as getting the click.

You earn a commission only if a purchase is made on a direct visit. If the customer thinks about it and leaves the site to do more research before buying, you'll miss out on the commission.

If the customer remembers the URL and returns to buy more names, you won't earn a commission.

You're paid only when you've earned $100 - far too high for many affiliates. At the minimum commission rates, that's 400 sales.

Like many affiliate managers, 000Domains reserves the right to change its affiliate program at any time. (Any changes will take effect after they are announced to the affiliates via e-mail.)

No real-time statistics are provided. Only affiliates who have earned commissions will receive a monthly report. For an apparently savvy Internet business, that's dreadful and shows the company is out of touch with the needs of affiliates.

Here's one good point:

When I joined the affiliate program, 000Domains.com gave me a useful search box to publish on my site. It lets you check domain name availability for several - or dozens - of names with one click.

You can see the search box on my Good Resources page.

Now, let's see, if 20 of you rush over and register one domain name each for $13.50 a year, I'll earn . . . NOTHING. But if 21 of you register a name, I'll earn 25 cents per name. Wow!

[UPDATE: Not surprisingly, this affiliate program has disappeared.]


__________________________________________SPONSOR__________
Commission Junction, the leading affiliate marketing solutions
provider, has transformed sophisticated affiliate marketing soft-
ware into an affordable and easy-to-use Web-based service that
provides a turn-key solution for managing revenue-sharing
relationships. As an application services provider (ASP),
Commission Junction provides a network of more than 1,300
merchants and 300,000 content sites with a comprehensive suite
of affiliate marketing services.
cj.com/Custom/teamcj.pl?457891 [UPDATE: This link is obsolete.]
___________________________________________________________


===========================================
4. Two-tier commissions AND residual income
===========================================

Order Your Domains has an affiliate program with many features which are better than those in the 000Domains program.

It registers domain names at the bargain price of $11 a year, as long as you register the names for five years. (A two-year registration costs $30, or $15 a year, which is more expensive than 000Domains.)

Order Your Domains offers a two-tier program, paying 10% for your direct sales and 5% commission on your sub-associates' sales.

Better still, all RENEWALS earn commissions, too. So you receive a residual income.

That's a LOT more generous than the 000Domains deal.

However, there's an important feature of the arrangement which doesn't appeal to me.

When I signed up as an affiliate, I was automatically given a mini-site which includes a "best biz-ops" page which promotes Virtualis, GetResponse, ProLink Marketing, One and Only and a multi-level marketing company, Cognigen.

My e-mail address was automatically placed at the bottom of that page. I was given no way of opting out of that, and no way of choosing which "biz-ops" to place on that page. I was just invited to sign up for them.

Building a team with a two-tier program can be a good tactic, but I don't think this site is doing it in the most effective way.

If all you promote is the "opportunity" and not the products, you're encouraging affiliates to sign up and do exactly the same thing. And they'll sign up affiliates who do that...

Result: Everyone promotes the opportunity. Almost no one makes sales.

That happens with sickening regularity in multi-level marketing - and that's why the vast majority of people using that tactic FAIL.

If you want to earn useful commissions, you should recommend the PRODUCT, not the "biz-op".

So I'm trying to persuade Bruce Galle of Order Your Domains to allow me to replace that Biz-Ops page with a page which I would create.

Bruce says affiliates like the way he's set things up and he's receiving requests for co-branding. Well, I'm sure they like the two-tier commissions and residual commissions.

See what you think:

orderyourdomains.com

[UPDATE: Big changes have been made since this item was written.]


===========================================
5. CallWave affiliates earn $20,000 a month
===========================================

In only nine months, CallWave has signed up more than 3 million subscribers for its free Internet Answering Machine, and says the market is huge and "largely untapped".

The company, which has 7,600 affiliates, is now switching its affiliate tracking from Commission Junction to an in-house system.

The program pays $1 per lead and the company says some of its top affiliates are earning more than $20,000 a month.

As one observant affiliate pointed out, there's a horribly worded clause in the new CallWave affiliate agreement:

"4. COMMISSION PAYMENT. Commission payments will be paid each month within approximately thirty (30) days following the end of such month. If during any month your commissions are less than fifty dollars ($50), we will defer payment until the commissions accrued during a month are at least fifty dollars ($50), or (if earlier) until this Agreement is terminated. Upon earning commissions in excess of fifty dollars ($50) during a month, we will send you a check for all commissions due and owing, including the commissions for the prior month(s) during which the commissions did not exceed fifty dollars ($50)."

It looks to me as though the clause was written to deliberately confuse affiliates.

I reckon lawyers who write clauses as complex as that should be given a job digging ditches. Affiliate merchants who publish agreements like that should be ashamed of themselves.

"I've NEVER seen a payment clause like this before," the affiliate says. "Usually any earnings below the threshold are rolled to the next month's earnings. It looks to me I could potentially earn $49, month after month and never receive a single check!"

Before you sign up to help CallWave tap that huge market, you may wish to suggest it rewrites its affiliate agreement.

[UPDATE: The CallWave program has been substantially improved since this item was written. It's now tracked by Commission Junction and pays $7 to $11 per lead.]


================================================
6. Highly acclaimed FileMaker pays 5% commission
================================================

I was chatting with an affiliate merchant the other day and he mentioned that he uses FileMaker database software. It has lots of uses for companies, Web publishers and developers.

One thing he uses it for is to write his checks and address his envelopes when he sends out affiliate checks.

It's wonderful software, he says.

I checked out the FileMaker website, and found that he's not alone in his opinion. The site publishes a stack of glowing testimonials.

For example, here's a testimonial from ZDNet:

"FileMaker is not just the best way to manage your information, it's also great for getting your info on to the Web and sharing it with others." - ZDNet Smart Business, May 2000.

And here's what CNet says:

"FileMaker does the impossible: it makes a powerful relational database easy to use and even boasts one-click Web database publishing." - CNET Software, July 2000.

If you use FileMaker, you'll be pleased to learn that it has an affiliate program. It pays 5% commission, paid quarterly.

You can join at LinkShare:

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/linkshare


=============================
7. Spam from ScooterCraze.com
=============================

My hobby website received e-mail which looks suspiciously like spam from a new Commission Junction affiliate merchant.

The letter, from David Dee, said:

"I found your e-mail address at your Web site,
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~coeliac and recognize
that your traffic is an ideal demographic for you
to MAKE EXTRA INCOME SELLING THE HOTTEST TOY THIS
YEAR

November 2, 2000

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