OPW INTERVIEW -- Sep 11 -- AzoogleAds sends a LOT of traffic to internet dating sites. It's one of the top affiliate networks and is highly respected amongst affiliates. Here's my interview with the CEO, Randy Nicolau. - Mark Brooks
What is AzoogleAds’ founding story?
AzoogleAds was founded in 2000 by two affiliates, Joe Speiser and Alex Zhardanovsky. At the time, they were running competing coupon and discount websites. They realized early on that if they combined their volume, advertisers would pay them more. So, they began gathering all their affiliate friends under one company name, Zoogle. The aggregated traffic led to higher payouts, which they passed on to their affiliates. The model kept spinning like that until today where we are working with some 30,000+ affiliates.
What does AzoogleAds do?
We are an ad network, which means we essentially do two things: We help affiliates make the most amount of money from the traffic they have, and we help advertisers improve their yields and affiliate networking traffic through highly-effective campaigns.
What do you do differently from other affiliate networks?
I think the main thing we do differently is we provide a very high-touch service to both publishers and advertisers. I think most of the recent independent affiliate surveys rank AzoogleAds as the number one network particularly in terms of the service we provide our affiliates. We recognize that our affiliates have very unique businesses, websites, and abilities to drive traffic, and we very often customize landing pages, advertisements, and service offerings to meet their specific needs.
Unlike other affiliate networks where you’re just a number somewhere on a spreadsheet, AzoogleAds actually assigns you to a very knowledgeable affiliate manager who, if you’re a beginning affiliate, will hold your hand and help you get your campaign up and running. If you’re a more sophisticated affiliate, we’ll help you perform whatever technical integrations are necessary to operate your business more efficiently.
So, on the affiliate side, I would say high touch and high service. The second thing is we think of ourselves as a company of direct marketers. We live, eat, and breathe all of the data that we are generating here on a minute-by-minute basis, and we use that data to create more effective campaigns, such as the search optimization of affiliates’ websites. We have access to literally billions of pieces of data that we’re constantly mining and using to improve the performance of our advertisements. And that benefits both affiliates and advertisers.
Why do affiliates trust AzoogleAds?
Primarily because we’ve been doing it longer than anyone else. We weren’t a company that was started by some venture capitalists who had some great idea. We were founded by two affiliates who partnered with a bunch of other affiliates to create this company. So, now we have a six-year-old reputation for having rock-solid payouts and always paying our affiliates on time. You could spend all the branding dollars in the world to build your image, but nothing is going to be more powerful than actually providing a high level of service and standing behind your products year in and year out, which is what we’ve done successfully for six years now.
What can you do for Internet dating services?
We can drive very high volumes of high-quality traffic for online dating services. We have access to multiple sources of traffic and recognize that not all sources are created equally. Some sources of traffic are going to provide higher retention rates for online dating companies and higher lifetime values. And, conversely, there is lower-converting traffic for which you obviously would want to pay a lower acquisition price.
We help our dating companies understand all the different traffic sources and create specific offers for the channel that they’re going into. Once we know from where the customers and potential customers are coming (web-based advertisements, banner ads, search channels, etc.), then we can determine what type of order flow or offer would work best.
We also utilize a small portion of email solicitations to help drive traffic to our online dating advertisers. So, again, an entirely different order flow and typically a very different offer flow. The biggest thing we do is to always push and encourage our online dating partners to test, test, test. It still amazes me to this day the very limited amount of testing that goes on. So many people launch something, think they have the formula figured out, and never test it again. We find the whole “set it and forget it” model to be highly ineffective and unsuccessful.
Are you looking for more internet dating advertisers at this time?
I wouldn’t say that we’re looking for more; we’re looking for the right ones. This isn’t a game about quantity; it’s about quality. Let’s say, for example, there’s a universe of 50 online dating properties. Why would affiliates want to work with properties 2 through 50 if property number 1 is going to give them the highest yield? We can and do drive hundreds of thousands of dating leads per month, and would rather work with those partners who have the willingness and the budgets to take on our “fire hose” of customers. 50 or 500 leads a day won’t allow us to scale. We need to work with the bigger partners who can handle our volume of leads and are willing to do everything from price testing to offer testing down to creative testing and creating for different channels.
Online marketing is an incredibly complex medium and we need the partners that have the scale and the ability to work with us to maximize each one of those channels. It’s not just creating; it’s not a one-size-fits-all marketing solution.
What is AzoogleAds’ cut for linking advertisers and services?
The advertiser side is fixed. They come to us and we work out the various offers. For example, maybe they want to do a 7-day free trial that converts into a monthly subscription. We would tell them that costs, hypothetically speaking, $5.00 per completed free trial. They would know upfront the fixed amount. If somebody wants to drive traffic directly to a subscription and their subscription rate is $29.95 or $39.95 a month, we would give them another price for that. In essence, every time we would bring you a customer who charges “X” amount to their credit card, you would give us “Y” amount. That’s all predetermined.
What percentage of that we give to the affiliates is on a case-by-case basis. In the same way that AzoogleAds gets rewarded by its advertisers for being able to deliver high volume, we in turn reward our affiliates. Those who are able to drive very high volume traffic for us are rewarded with a much higher payout than smaller affiliates who get a fair or reasonable payout. I won’t disclose exact splits, but they’re consistent with what you’ve seen in the industry.
This interview also appears on OnlinePersonalsWatch.