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Using an in-house software platform to run your affiliate program is a great place for starting a merchant affiliate program, however, you will find that that the majority of larger more established affiliate partners (that have the potential to bring in a lot of sales for your affiliate program) simply will not work with merchants who run their affiliate program in house. Here a few of the reasons why:
Credibility and trust
Working with an established affiliate network provides a level of credibility and trust that an in-house affiliate program software solution can’t compete with. Many affiliates (especially those who have been actively performing as affiliates for an extended period of time) have been burned working with smaller in-house programs when merchants have found themselves in situations where they cannot pay out their affiliates. The security that comes with working within an affiliate network ensures top-performing affiliates that they will receive their payouts and in a timely, reliable manner.
Software and tech resources
Another reason many top-performing affiliates will only work with an affiliate network is that they need to know the company they’re working with has the tech resources to maintain and support their tracking, feed, and payment solutions. Most in-house programs don’t have the tech resources or teams available to provide the level of urgent support that is needed to keep tracking solutions working 24 hours a day 7 days a week. A ten-minute downtime could mean hundreds of dollars of revenue lost for a top-performing affiliate partner.
Time and management
Imagine the time it would take a top-performing affiliate to invoice and deal with the paperwork involved if they were directly invoicing hundreds even thousands of merchants. Or the time that would be involved to maintain and build relationships with every merchant’s tech, finance, creative, and marketing teams. It simply isn’t effective.
This isn’t to say that you won’t find affiliates willing to work with your in-house program. If you are a top 100 corporation, your brand trust alone will overcome many of these objections. Or if you have a very niche product (working with a very niche type of affiliate partner) and realistic goals for your program’s recruitment efforts, an inhouse program may work.
Considering that most affiliate networks offer package levels, the time you will save is well worth using an established, trusted affiliate network for your program.