When we signed up as a Shareasale vendor over a year and a half ago, I didn’t look for any shareasale merchant reviews from other vendors – I simply discussed it with Chris, we considered it for a couple months and then decided to go ahead with it. In retrospect, it might have been smart to read at least one shareasale merchant review! It would have been beneficial to hear about other Shareasale merchant experiences before we moved forward as a Shareasale vendor and opened our Shareasale merchant account.
For the benefit of anyone who might be interested in an honest Shareasale Merchant Review, here’s our personal experience.
We have a high ticket product with a solid 18 year track record of strong online sales (within its target market) with a very generous affiliate payout ($100 per sale). Putting it into ShareaSale should have been a slam dunk. I’m sorry to say, the ShareaSale experience has been utterly dismal. We’ve been merchants for over a year, and have yet to get any legitimate affiliates (and 0 sales). Putting the $500+ in to setting up a Share a Sale merchant account has been a complete waste of both time and money for us.
I have recently heard other ShareaSale vendors complain of being bombarded right from the get-go by affiliate applications from useless coupon sites.
We, too, got immediately hit by a ton of affiliate applications on the first day, and every day after that for the next week or so – all from crappy coupon sites. Why are all these coupon sites applying to sell my product – this is a premium product in its niche, we don’t offer coupons of discounts. Apparently this is to be expected on ShareaSale – they even address on their blog the fact that merchants are going to be flooded by affiliate requests from coupon sites. To this day, over a year later, we continue to deal with the applications dripping in from coupon sites on almost a daily basis
It sucks up a ton of valuable time having to constantly go in and administer (decline) all these crappy applications. Whats worse, no sooner do we decline these sites, and they simply resubmit their application all over again. Its such a nuisance, its almost to the point of being spam. Its the same applications coming in over and over again from the same non-suitable sites – even though we have clearly flagged these sites as “not appropriate” when we decline them.
AND, it gets even better. We FINALLY, just a month ago, got what looked like a legitimate application from a site in our niche, and approved them. They have proceeded to message us through the ShareaSale system on a regular basis, soliciting us to buy advertising on their website. So essentially, they are using the ShareaSale system to send spam to merchants. Lovely.
And no, they did not put up our affiliate links.
If you are looking to attract affiliates using and leveraging the Shareasale platform (which is what we had been expecting), based on our experience, I can only say don’t get your hopes up. In over a year, we have not received a single relevant or qualified affiliate request as a result of being on the platform.
In the meantime, we launched our own affiliate program, did some direct outreach to bloggers in our niche, and have had much better success.
The way we see it is if we are going to invest the effort in direct outreach, we might as well put them into our own self-managed program and not be paying ShareaSale a chunk of each transaction.
We always give the affiliates we reach out to the option of joining via ShareaSale (since we’ve already made the investment, so might as well offer them the assurance of a 3rd part platform if they want it), or thru our self managed program – we offer a bit higher of a commission if they join us directly, and they are happy to do it.
We have a solid, verifiable reputation in our niche and, again, have been around in the niche for a long time. So in our case, affiliates trust that they’ll be paid and don’t seem to feel the need for the 3rd part reporting. And I’d rather pay more money to the affiliate who is promoting us, rather than to a platform that has done nothing for us.
All of our affiliates have been acquired through our own hard work and outreach outside of the ShareaSale platform, after discovering that Shareasale was doing nothing for us in terms of attracting affiliates.
The main reason we joined ShareaSale was to get exposure to affiliates on their platform. Yes, we liked the idea of the assurance we could offer affiliates with 3rd party reporting and payouts, but for us that has turned out not to even be a concern of our affiliates.
So that’s our Shareasale merchant review. Just our experience! Some merchants/vendors may do well with them I suppose, but, in hindsight, they haven’t benefited us in anyway, and we’re simply out the $650 fee ($500 set up fee + $150 deposit against commissions). Since we have this Shareasale vendor account sitting there doing nothing, we may try putting our ecommerce stores (different niche) into ShareaSale, since we can do it on the same account. But based on our experience, I’m not holding my breath on how that would do, and its not a high priority in terms of time allocation.