New Genealogy Affiliate Program Launches

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World Vital Records officially launched its affiliate program this week with the most generous commissions in the genealogy industry.

I believe we are the first genealogy company to offer recurring revenue for affiliates when a subscriber renews their subscription. I know that many genealogy affiliates have wanted this for a long time.

Here are the details from Brad Pace, who manages our new genealogy affiliate program.

Program details:

* Earn a 30% commission on every membership plan
* Send more than 25 members a month and your commissions go up to 40% for every membership plan
* Earn a 10% commission on ALL recurring membership plans for any member you refer!
* 60 day cookie duration
* Commission checks paid very next month after commission is received
* Easily link to any page or search result on our site
* Affiliate API to add functionality to your site (COMING SOON)
* Tons of great articles and content to add to your site (COMING SOON)
* World class affiliate tracking through MyAffiliateProgram

SPECIAL LAUNCH OFFER! Help us launch our program. All affiliate sales in January 2007 will receive 50% commission! So got to http://www.worldvitalrecords.com/affiliates/default.aspx and signup today.

Brad would love to personally speak with you. Please feel free to call him with any questions at 801-653-5977, starting on Tuesday. (He is taking today — January 12th — off and Monday is a holiday.) You can also email him at brad “AT” worldvitalrecords.com.

Do you need something to promote WVR on your site? He will build any custom images and will attempt to get you any content you may need. Just let him know what you need.

There are tens of thousands of genealogy sites that belong to affiliate programs. We hope that many of them will give us a try. We will do our very best to be a great partner for them.

In 1998 when I learned about affiliate marketing and decided to create the first affiliate program in the genealogy industry at Ancestry.com, our affiliate managers recruited affiliates simply by doing searches on popular search engines, finding genealogy sites that came up, and trying to contact the owners. It was a tedious process.

I remember how much the affiliates loved Amy Roberts, our first affiliate manager. She recruited 9 of the top 10 affiliates that we had at Ancestry.com. (I haven’t worked there since February 2002). Many of them were able to quit their full-time jobs and live on the income that they generated from their web site–which, by the way, they all started as a labor of love and not as a way to make money.

Today, you can use a crawler to visit thousands of web sites very easily, and scan the pages looking for code that indicates someone is already an affiliate for another genealogy company. Knowing the domain, you can do an automatic who-is lookup or crawl the site looking for “Contact Us” type info. Then a personal email contact or phone call can let them know about the new opportunity.

It’s so much easier to build a successful affiliate program today than it was 8 years ago. And the most recent statistics I’ve seen are that most successful ecommerce sites generate between 10-20% of their revenue from their affiliate marketing program.

While I was at 10x Marketing, we crawled the top 10,000 web sites in the U.S. and determined if they had ever joined an affiliate network, and if so, whether they belonged to the Be Free, LinkShare, or Commission Junction Network. (Be Free is now part of Commission Junction.)

When we launched affiliate programs for our clients, we could easily contact the largest potential super affiliates for them. We didn’t want to waste our time with high-traffic sites who sold ads or sponsorships and who had not yet embraced affiliate marketing.

Richard Stauffer, who is our lead engineer at World Vital Records, was our engineer at 10x Marketing who wrote all the crawling tools for our affiliate recruiting effort. So we hope that within a few weeks, we’ll have thousands of active genealogy affiliates. They will be valued partners as we try to build an international genealogy company that meets the needs of millions of family historians around the world.

In the MarketingSherpa 2006 ECommerce Benchmark Study Anne Holland reports that there has been a lot of tension over the past two years between merchants and their affiliates. I’ve seen this tension in the industry for years, because for some reason, companies resent paying affiliates for generating revenue (even though they pay only straight commission) because the companies think they could generate those same sales on their own and pay less to do it.

So many companies limit their affiliates ability to use search engine marketing and email marketing. According to MarketingSherpa, many affiliates have migrated out of ecommerce to more lucrative lead generation opportunities in different industries.

I hope our World Vital Records program is the kind of program that affiliates will want to join. As Brad indicated in his email, we will provide creative and content to help our affiliates succeed. We respect our affiliates as full partners in bringing more family history researchers to our content and we are happy to pay them for finding new customers for us.

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