Bargain brands aren't always a bargain.

Are companies getting exactly what they pay for when they outsource their affiliate programs to low-cost management companies?

According to a recent blog posting by Robert Glazer titled, Why Cheap Affiliate Management Doesn’t Work, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Glazer’s insights provide real insights for affiliate partners who are wondering why their operator’s affiliate marketing tactics seem out of step with the rest of the company.

For operators, it’s a damning indictment on all-too-common pound-wise-penny-foolish culture that’s long past its expiration date.

Here’s how Glazer breaks down the highs and lows of cheap affiliate management programs and why they’re rarely a good deal.

Cheap and Worth Every Penny

The main point Glazer makes is that, more often than not, operators miss the big picture when hiring low rent affiliate management shops. Sure, that $3,000 monthly fee seems like a good deal, but the long term brand damage from a sloppy affiliate program could cost many times that amount.

In Glazer’s view, there are two types of cheap management services and both come with serious risks.

On the one hand are small services that simply don’t have the manpower to handle growing affiliate programs, and never will. These mom-and-pops may have a lot of personality, but their ability to grow with the program is non-existent.

But don’t think that the middle and large bargain brands are that much better. These services are cheap for a reason and that’s because their affiliate strategy is one-size-fits-all. Operators won’t be getting much personalized attention from this kind of service and partners won’t either.

Damaging the Brand

Another problem with bargain-brand outsourcing is that the management companies don’t really have a dog in the fight. Almost without fail they go for the easy score and can often wind up cannibalizing existing customers who might would have come in through traditional channels anyways.

And, as is often the case, low-quality affiliate managers keep company with low-quality affiliates. Experienced casino affiliates know a bad deal when they see on and will steer clear of poorly run programs.

Go Big or Go Home

At the end of the day,  operators and their affiliate partners are much better off when an experienced, high quality management firm take the helm. Yes, it’s going to cost more but happy, high end affiliate partners are something that’s worth investing in.

Operators who don’t want to take Glazer’s word for it should take a look at the CAP forums, AffiliateGuardDog or any other affiliate advocacy sites. There’s no shortage of legitimate complaints about poorly run programs from partners whose main interest is sending business to operators.

Resolving affiliate partner problems that could have been avoided in the first place is a poor use of an affiliate manager’s time. And because aff managers don’t work for free, it’s a poor use of an operator’s funds, too.

Affiliate management programs are like anything else in life, you get what you pay for.

Have you had any experiences with a bad affiliate management service? Share them in the comments section below.

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