You have all probably heard by now that GAN (Google Affiliate Network) is closing down. Personally I am happy to see them go. I don’t really think they brought anything to the table for this industry that you couldn’t get elsewhere, I never really used them, and I have never heard anything good about them.
That said I know there are thousands of affiliates and merchants who are affected by this. Affiliates will need to find new merchants to work with, figure out where their GAN merchants are going, and deal with all the hassles of changing links.
Merchants have some tough decisions ahead of them but in many ways this could be a blessing in disguise. For many of them this could be a perfect time for a “program reboot”. Talking to a number of affiliates and other affiliate managers I have heard the same thing: most of the affiliate traffic coming from GAN is toolbars, trademark bidders, and in general “bad” affiliates who don’t bring much in the way of real value.
Once an affiliate program gets caught in the trap of working with some of these sites it is hard to get rid of them. They do produce sales so the numbers can look good and it is hard for some people to look beyond the raw numbers and see what is really happening. But with GAN closing down these merchants can take some time to reexamine what they really hope to accomplish with their affiliate program. Do they just want any sale they can get through their affiliate channel? Are they wanting affiliates who can produce new customers? Are they seeing the affiliate channel as a compliment to their other marketing efforts? Do they want to approve everyone who applies to their program or do they want to limit which affiliates they work with going forward?
This can be a great opportunity for a merchant to wipe the slate clean, examine their affiliate agreements and policies, rethink what they want their affiliate program to accomplish, and rethink who they want to be working with.
GAN merchants: Don’t just jump to the next network without thinking through some of these issues. This is a great opportunity to talk to some experienced affiliate managers, talk to some other merchants, talk to some of your affiliates, and talk to some of the other affiliate networks to see what they would recommend.
My personal recommendations? Work with a network that strives to be free of bad performers. Shareasale.com is my personal recommendation when it comes to that. Also, find an affiliate manager who can help you grow your program by working with affiliates who can actually add sales rather than just poaching them from other sources. Contact me and I can give you a list of people who can do this for you.
If you want to find out more about GAN closing and what you should do now here are a few other blog posts you will find helpful:
What To Do Now that Google Affiliate Network is Closing – Tricia Meyer
Thoughts on the Google Affiliate Network Shutdown – Scott Jangro
Affiliate Migration – Three Immediate Action Items – Carolyn Kmet
Migrating Affiliate Programs from Google – Greg Hoffman
How To Move Your Affiliate Program To A New Network – Vinny O’hare and Deb Carney
5 Reasons Google Shut Down Its Affiliate Network – Angel Djambazov
Beware though, vultures are circling. If you are a GAN merchant there is a good chance you have gotten emails from different affiliate managers who just want to move you over to another networks full of toolbars, parasites, and trademark poachers. Take your time to ask around and talk to different affiliate managers to see what they can actually do for you. I would be happy to take a look at your program and make some recommendations. I know and have worked with most of the good affiliate managers in this industry. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and I would be happy to point you in the right direction.
Take this great opportunity to clean up your program.