Evaluating Advertising Coops

When you join a program, you might find that they have an advertising coop available.

The idea of an advertising coop is to pool the money from many members and split the benefits between the members of the coop. You must carefully look at each coop, though, to make sure it looks effective. There are two primary characteristics of coops I look at: where they get their traffic, and what’s the benefit you get from the coop.

Where The Traffic Comes From

The traditional coop is an advertising coop. Members pool their money, and then advertising is purchased, both offline and online. Any responses to the advertising go through some sort of rotator so that benefits are split between the coop members. You might get no responses at all, although that would be unusual for a well designed advertising campaign.

Another type of coop is one where responses are paid for. For example, in SFI, members can join an advertising coop. Signups from that coop come from other members who are paid to recruit new members. They get paid a certain amount for each new member they bring in.

I personally don’t like this sort of coop, because of the potential for fraud. When you pay someone for each new recruit, arbitrage inevitably happens. They’ll pay someone else to get guaranteed signups for less than SFI will pay them. Those guaranteed signups will be paid still less to signup. Everyone makes money except for the coop members, who get signups who have no intention of being active.

That’s not to say everyone who gets paid for signups in SFI does this, but the potential is there.

What’s The Benefit?

Benefits from coop come in two flavors: visits and actions.

A traditional coop spreads visit across the coop members. So if there are ten coop members and advertising generates one thousand visits to the program site, each member’s page will get one hundred visits. Some members may have no actual sales/signups, if none of their hundred visitors decided to take action. This is implemented pretty easily with a URL rotator.

An action based coop guaranteed that each coop member will get the same number of actions. So if the advertising campaign above generated one hundred sales, those sales would be split among the ten coop members, at ten sales each. This is a bit harder to implement, as it requires changes to the site software that handles purchases.

If you find a coop that fits your needs, you can get some terrific advertising. The people running the coop are, generally, experienced at marketing their particular program and may get better results than you would doing it yourself. The size of the coop can also enable them to negotiate better advertising deals, getting more advertising for your money than you could yourself.

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