Thursday, July 30, 2009

LeapFish Affiliate Program. Can Giveaways Keep It Afloat?

Not so long ago lunched their own affiliate program. LeapFish is a search aggregator that displays the results from Google, Yahoo, MSN and some other websites. They strip down the sponsored ads from the search results provided to them via APIs by Google, Yahoo and MSN while inserting their own ads instead. Ad can be purchased on for a set price with 5% yearly renewal fee. According to LeapFish the average price per keyword is $1,499:

Is LeapFish Affiliate Program Promoting The Wrong Product?
It appears the LeapFish affiliate program is aimed at gaining traffic to their website and the sale of keywords is left to often overly aggressive sales executives- which in my opinion is a mistake. It sends the wrong signal, in my opinion, that is really in desperate need of traffic and exposure (see my take on their linking payola below). According to their FQA an affiliate will make $0.05 for each search performed through a search widget provided by LeapFish. As I pointed out in my comment at 5 Star Affiliate Marketing Forums to LeapFish affiliate manager, I believe LeapFish should have linked their affiliate program to the sales of keywords instead, it would have helped them on the following levels:

  • eliminate partially or completely the need of sales executives
  • saving money spend on hiring and reimbursing the sales executives.
  • finally at 5%-10% commission, it will automatically make LeapFish one of the most competitive affiliate programs out there, if they had a product worth buying that is.

LeapFish Affiliate Program Will Suffer From Bad Reviews
In my opinion, did not go far enough nor were they sincere in apologizing for overly aggressive sales person who committed click fraud trying to “scare” potential client into advertising with LeapFish. While LeapFish reacted by firing the employee, the LeapFish blamed TechCrunch for misrepresenting the entire event and treating LeapFish unjustly. The problem with a such bad publicity is that many affiliates will pass the opportunity to make money with LeapFish once they learn about the above described click fraud fiasco. Many affiliate marketers use extensively the pay per click advertising across major search engines themselves and the click fraud episode will serve as a huge turn off for many of them.

The true irony about this is that, according to Spyfu, LeapFish started to run pay per click campaigns in June. It contradicts their sales pitch that “the prices on PPC have skyrocketed therefore you need to advertise with LeapFish”.

LeapFish Affiliate Program is Nothing More Than a “Linking Payola” scheme
Their affiliate program seams to be focused on “linking payola” as their search widget code contains a SEO friendly link back to their search engine. Since I am not an affiliate with LeapFish, I do not now if removing the link or at least adding a “nofollow” attribute to it is against their TOS. It is my opinion that the best way to gain incoming links is to provide services that your clients and/or users will rave about.

LapFish Search Widgets Might Be Misleading To Visitors
The search widget may confuse some of the visitors, . Many websites integrate search box for the purposes of searching their own website- one of the reason I have implemented Lijit on my blog. The LeapFish widget issues no warning before taking away the visitors to search results page. If you have two search widgets one to search your own website and another is to search LeapFish it may get even more confusing.

LeapFish Affiliate Program’s Payout is To Small To Attract Affiliates. Will Mac Air Giveaways Do The Trick?
Considering the pay out of $0.05 (five cents) per search performed, I am skeptical that any average blogger will be able to make $500 or more per month. LeapFish is trying to get new affiliates by holding a contest at the end of each a winner will receive a Mac Air (note the amount of astroturfing done on Twitter by LeapFish management and employees). While this incentive may attract some affiliates, in my opinion LeapFish’s plan is rather shortsighted- I see many bloggers and website owners taking the search widget down after the contest is over. Unless of course giveaways become regular.

Leaders in “Make Money Online” Niche Will Never Endorse LeapFish Affiliate Program.
Not sue if I would ever get involved with an affiliate program offered by a meta search engine. But to be honest I have never heard of one before. Personally I am always excited to learn that a company’s marketing plan includes affiliate program. LeapFish, in my opinion, introduced their affiliate program too little too late and had been scarred beyond hope by the feedback resulting from high pressure sales methods- some of those contacted by LeapFish sales associates compared conversations to the episodes from the movie “Boiler Room”. I seriously doubt that Shoemoney, Problogger, Zac Johnson, Ian Fernando, John Chow, Jason Katzenback or any serious affiliate or internet marketer will start promoting LeapFish any time soon. The giveaways can generate some temporary interest, but much more is needed to keep their affiliate program afloat- a product worth investing into.

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