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    Default Sponsors Duties ...

    Do you require your sponsors to be active in the forums? If so how active and if not, why not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by arkyt View Post
    Do you require your sponsors to be active in the forums? If so how active and if not, why not?
    *BUMP* Great question Arkyt !! I would also like to know the answer to this one.
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    This has been answered in the past although cant find thread at moment.

    Basically there are no requirements as sponsors pay for the right to be a sponsor.

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    We require sponsors to respond to complaints raised. We do not require other forms of participation, such as posting news about their programs, or ideas for affiliates to help in promoting them, or participation in social discussions, site review feedback, etc., but we do encourage this actively because we believe it provides value to affiliates and programs alike. Similarly, we do not require participation for webmasters, although we try to encourage it and provide an atmosphere that welcomes all.
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    Hi Cityguard,

    Thanks for explaining arkyt's questions, all except...

    Quote Originally Posted by arkyt View Post
    why not?
    Any reason why?

    Quote Originally Posted by CityGuard View Post
    We require sponsors to respond to complaints raised.
    What time frame is set on this requirement?
    I ask (and maybe things have changed), but I recall the Vegas Affiliate fiasco.

    Cheers



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    Last edited by AussieDave; 9 March 2010 at 8:56 pm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pompeyrayuk View Post
    This has been answered in the past although cant find thread at moment.
    After I posted it, I sort of got the feeling that I had asked this before, but couldnt recall for certain.

    Quote Originally Posted by CityGuard View Post
    We do not require other forms of participation, such as posting news about their programs, or ideas for affiliates to help in promoting them, or participation in social discussions, site review feedback, etc., but we do encourage this actively because we believe it provides value to affiliates and programs alike.
    IMO, if you only "encourage" it and you don't "require" it - then the value is going to be far less than satisfactory for the community.

    I see numerous sponser forums where there has been little to no activity in quite some time - that amounts to nothing more than a paid for recruitment opportunity. At the end of the day that adds little value to the community.

    & AussieDave - I figure they dont require active sponsors because they know it would reduce the amount of money they take in.

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    there's also the saying, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Not that I think a lot of programs would fall into that category but I can see not wanting to force something that wasn't necessary to begin with.

    As long as they pay on time, and aren't doing anything unethical, I can understand both them not being required to do anything further.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bb1web View Post
    there's also the saying, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    Thats fine for those who are raking in the money, but it does little to benefit the community that the earners are feasting off of. There should be no doubt that without the community their would be no sponsors and for that very reason IMO the site owes it to the community to give them the absolute best product they can. Simply taking in money and slapping up a forum and banners does little to achieve that.

    IMO, again, at the very least, the site should require active participation of sponsors. Seriously, how do members and others, benefit from programs who pay to get listed here and then never participate? I would argue they get absolutely no benefit in those instances.

    Is this an affiliate program banner farm OR is this an affiliate community?

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    This is an interesting point. From a business perspective, if I was running a forum like this, I would be very aggressive about encouraging my sponsors to contribute.

    The reason being: I would want my sponsors to get value from being on the forum and they will get better value by contributing more. That way, they will renew every year.

    Let's face it, from an affiliate perspective, there's a trust issue here. If program A is active on the forums, then you will trust them more, even if you are not happy with them at the time.

    Conversely, if program B is not active, your perspective is negatively effected even if you personally have no issues with them.

    For my own self, I would require a certain level of contribution to a forum.

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    I agree to a degree tryme.

    ...but....if programs are not smart enough to recognize WHY they should be more active....

    ....if they are not smart enough to realize answering a question one time in a forum is easier than fielding the same question 40 or 100 or 300 times in email isn't more efficient.....

    ....if they are not smart enough to realize that if they were a bit more active that affiliates would give the benefit of doubt and more time to work out issues if they just took the time to show the community they were making good faith efforts to get the issues fixed....

    ...then that just shows a lack of intelligence in dealing with the affiliate community.

    Now in my opinion NONE of the above is reason for any kind of posting quota or participation quota!

    We don't like when rules or terms place us under performing based upon a quota, and they shouldn't either....

    ....however, like I stated above...they should WANT to participate more....but some of them "just don't get it".

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    My believe is, they HAVE to be active in thier ROOM only. No need to be active in any other part of the forum, but they have an obligation to address any issues in thier room and should be subscribed to each thread so a timely answer is received. They would and should be the ones to update all news, problems and promotions that they want affiliates to promote.

    If they can not keep tabs on thier own room and do so in a professional manner, then they do not need a room and i would close it and have them post in the public forum, in the general thread any news they want their affilaites to know. Period.
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    Quote Originally Posted by giggles7p View Post
    If they can not keep tabs on thier own room and do so in a professional manner, then they do not need a room and i would close it and have them post in the public forum, in the general thread any news they want their affilaites to know. Period.
    Thats what I would do with "participation" guidelines ... I too think they should be required to at the very least participate (maintain an up to date forum) otherwise what benefit are we, the community, getting from that forum / sponsorship? If they dont use it they should lose it.

    Course this site and others like it, dont seem to care if the program actually offers value to its members all they seem to care about is that the program is paid in full. Thus the community, IMO, loses over all value as it becomes saturated with programs who are not participating regularly.

    Coffee is on ...

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    The thoughts here have been very good to read and it is heartening to see such passion around the fact that program participation is of tremendous value for affiliates.

    I hadn't added a detailed "why" to my initial post because I thought the mention that the approach for programs was the same as the approach for webmasters made the why case implicit, but seeing some of the thoughts here I want to elaborate. The heart of the philosophy is that nurturing voluntary participation is likely to provide more higher quality resources than its forced counterpart. I actually think in the long term it ends up not only with higher quality info, but more info. To explain the reason I think this I'll use webmasters as an example. Many webmasters who join the forums are shy at first -- viewing that their input may not be helpful, and therefore not posting it, or that their questions may be too basic (they're not). This thinking and other reasons results in some people not feeling comfortable participating to their fullest capacity at the outset, but we recognize that not everyone would like to post a lot and we respect that by encouraging webmasters to share without mandating it. Over time many of the people who did not participate or who were not as active begin to feel more comfortable participating or decide it makes more sense for them to participate by posting, and their posts help them grow and help others. They come to serve as valuable resources for the community. In these cases, the participation is only able to eventually surface because the community was welcoming initially. If the webmaster's first experience with the community was feeling a sense of unwelcomeness unless certain actions were taken, that would drive some people away who weren't comfortable. And the result of driving away that individual webmaster initially would be they wouldn't be around to listen, learn, and one day give back. The result of that initial barrier to entry would be that the future-contributor becomes a never-contributor, and the community loses out on that person's insights. Although not in precisely that manner, I think there is a similar phenomenon that could be expected with an affiliate manager participation quota -- we'd see some more (low-quality) posts initially by those who made them just to meet the criteria, but we could also expect some people feeling put off and that the uneasy feeling would make it more difficult to nurture participation over time, as well as shrink the number of people participating, which over time would end up with less information being posted rather than more. The key to the voluntary participation philosophy is to keep people engaged and help them move to fuller participation step by step.

    So, we try to put emphasis on that in a lot of ways and nurture more participation without doing the quota approach that turns off potential contributors, and for those affiliates who recognize the importance of a program being active in this type of communication we try to make it easy to tell who is participating. I think we do a good job of making it easy to identify who is participating, but I am always very interested in lessons and ideas about what we can do on that front and making it easy for you to pick affiliate programs based on who is participating actively. I know it can be done by going through the forums list, which is partly facilitated by the index page noting the most recent posts in each section. We also try to make it easy to factor that into decision-making by linking to recent forum threads in a programs' section from their program review and by linking to the staff members' individual profiles from the program review (with the individual member profiles themselves linking to all of the person's posts and all of the threads they started). And each month we post a list of the most active affiliate program representatives in the forum with the list also added to the homepage. As we work on the site improvements that are underway I'll spend some time brainstorming other possible ways to make it easy to reference activity levels, and feedback anyone has to spark the brainstorming is always helpful/appreciated.
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    Well said Steven.....

    Forced quotas just don't work....

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    Quote Originally Posted by universal4 View Post
    Well said Steven.....

    Forced quotas just don't work....
    Well said?

    For starters it was very difficult to read. Next, comparing affiliate programs which pay $$$$$ to be listed to affiliates who make this forum what it is for free? Seriously, that doesn't seem to be a very good comparison at all. IMO, each group should have both a set of basic shared standards and a set of unique standards to follow regarding forum participation.

    Seems more like a misdirection - I know another guy who ran a similar site who was great at those. With that said theres little difference here than was there - that site always issued the statement - "you got to pay to play" ... pretty much what is going on here. IMO that puts those who make the site what it is at the bottom of the benefit list.

    This site was initially created for the benefit of the webmaster - the first few years it was great for sharing information - and Im certain that still goes on, but the last several years it appears to have lost that primary focus and has become more of a cash farm for the operators.

    I believe affiliate members could get just as much, and likely more benefit out of a site that wasn't bilking their partners out of tens of thousands of dollars for an opportunity to compete with dozens of other programs to advertise to non-active member numbers, but I digress ...

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    I think you're correct that my reasoning is sometimes hard to follow. The reasoning is clear to me, and sometimes it is difficult to convey my thinking in a way that is easy for others. I'd like to understand what part is confusing so that I can do a better job of communicating it.

    Here is a summary of my thinking put into a list of the individual steps:
    1) Increased requirements mean an increased barrier to entry.
    2) An increased barrier to entry means fewer people at the initial levels of engagement.
    3) Fewer people at the initial levels of engagement means fewer people to step into highly engaged roles in the future.
    4) Fewer people available to become highly engaged in the future means lower participation in the future.
    5) Lower participation in the future means the forum is not as valuable a resource as it would otherwise be.

    This is why when I follow the logical progression, I conclude that increased requirements over time leads to the forum being a less valuable resource.


    In my understanding, this sequence applies to all types of participants. I used affiliates as the example in the explanation because I viewed that most of the people reading it would be affiliates and that it is easier to understand an idea when you can place yourself in the example. But that was meant to make it easier to follow, not to misdirect. Hopefully the step by step outline is clearer for you, and if there are leaps I've made between the steps that make them seem disconnected please note which ones need more detail and I would be happy to add it. I think the basic flow of increased requirements resulting in lower engagement over time holds true.


    [If it helps, my thinking about moving along a continuum of participation is largely formed from the work of Etienne Wenger, a social theorist who helped create the idea of "communities of practice". There is some background about his ideas at http://www.ewenger.com/theory/index.htm. In his parlance, what I'm trying to say is that people engaged in "peripheral participation" need to be welcome and encouraged in order to sustain continued growth in the number of people engaged in "central participation".]
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    I agree with most of what you are saying as it relates to affiliates - I do not believe they should be forced to participate at any level - though possibly rewarded for going above and beyond. GPWA does do this at some level (hp links etc) but they could do much more. Though as I stated before, I'm not concerned so much with the current level of affiliate participation - I'm more interested in seeing how sponsors are participating.

    Quote Originally Posted by CityGuard View Post
    In his parlance, what I'm trying to say is that people engaged in "peripheral participation" need to be welcome and encouraged in order to sustain continued growth in the number of people engaged in "central participation".
    I agree with this concept - specifically as it relates to 'encouraging' participation. Possibly programs which maintain an active forum account could be rewarded with a free month of sponsorship or some other merit based benefit. On the other hand, programs which are encouraged but fail to come to the table after X number of days could lose benefits.

    RE: Wenger, I can see where you coming from relating GPWA to a community of practice - I think that is an applicable comparison. However, IMO, it is important to consider the totality of interactions among the individuals of the community as an intergral part of the communities well being.

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    Forced participation in any form is never going to work simply because it is not in the DNA of some them to communicate.

    Simple routine tasks of answering emails and PM's is beyond some of them and their inability to cover the basics makes them hardly likely to be interactive to any decent degree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Betpartners View Post
    Forced participation in any form is never going to work simply because it is not in the DNA of some them to communicate.
    Thats sort of the point ... get rid of the dead weight.

    Heres a simple question for anyone who actually believes that sponsors should not be obligated to participate.

    What value do the programs which are not active participants of the community bring to the community?

    Sometimes you just have to beat a dead horse.

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    Ahhhh....but they are obligated to address issues and problems in a timely manner.

    If they aren't smart enough to also become "truly involved and active" then that is their loss.

    Inactivity and lack of involvement cost them affiliates and exposure, some of them just fail to see that.

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