I find their user interface quite intuitive and easy to use. I especially like the 'Create Links' link that takes you immediately to a list of all your current merchant partners in the Linkshare network. This is a step up from Commission Junction's interface where it takes a couple of more clicks to get to the same place.
Within the "Your Account", "Program Controls" section, it's really simple to get all the information you need about an individual merchant and their program, including contact and commission information. It also allows you to quickly see if any of your joined programs have been put on hold or discontinued.
Compare that with the one I have for Commission Junction's affiliate referral program.
Short links are much better for use in email campaigns. If a link is too long, it 'breaks' and goes nowhere when your subscriber clicks on the first part of the link. Linkshare's long links almost demand that you utilize link redirects. For this, you could use the Affiliate Link Cloaker software and get shorter links, as well as some protection from commission theft.
Like BeFree, each of Linkshare's merchants has their own minimum payout, payment timeframe, and method of delivery. I hope they plan to change to a consolidated payment plan sometime in the near future. Right now, LinkShare is responsible for mailing your commission payment for only some of the merchants. In other cases, the merchant is responsible for mailing your commission payment.
Similar to BeFree's Acclaim Program, Linkshare established their Premium Partner Program to spotlight merchants that satisfy specific criteria. A Premium Partner is a merchant program that:
• Uses LinkShare's check-cutting service.
• Pays affiliates on a monthly basis.
• Pays affiliates based on a maximum $25 threshold.
• Promptly authorizes affiliate payments so affiliates are paid at the end of the following month.
• Allows seven or more return days (does not apply to merchants with pay per click programs).
• Has supplied valid and complete contact information in their profile.
• Is active and in good standing.
• Makes timely payment to its affiliates
Linkshare's statistics reporting is quite nice to use, and the different types of reports that can be generated are impressive.
Linkshare's clients include:
• Coldwater Creek
• Delta Airlines
• Hickory Farms
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