How do you choose affiliates?

Discussion in 'Management' started by Claire, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. Claire

    Claire Resident

    So, my site is "going live" (coming out of open beta) and I am kinda at a loss about affiliation. In the past we have had a few static slots and then a couple of "official partners" who were usually sites belonging to friends. We are planning on increasing the number of static slots and having a marquee beneath them (am not bothered about how it looks in the footer :P). My issue is, how many slots should we have in total and how should they be selected. I am kinda tired of having to edit the footer all the time to get rid of dead boards so my instinct is to only affie with those who are a year old or more.

    How to choose? That is the question.
  2. Azureye

    Azureye Newcomer

    However many slots looks most attractive/sane in the context of your overall layout? :P

    I'm only half-kidding, there. I'm not sure if it matters much either way. I think it looks a little tacky when sites have rows upon rows upon rows of affiliate banners cluttering the bottom of the page, but it's not like I spend that much time hanging out at the bottom of the page, so it's not like it affects me that much.

    Though, the last major game I played on didn't even do the affiliates-banner-in-the-footer thing; they just had an old-school separate section of the site called "links" and any game who asked could be listed there. So my opinions are probably old and boring and out of date, haha.
    Claire likes this.
  3. Claire

    Claire Resident

    Mhmm, so are mine, which is why I am asking. :P

    Used to have a webpage for banners and stuff and a collapsable affie button section at the bottom of the forum (was and is again IPB software). However I get the impression that is not acceptable for most forums, so we have had about 10 static spots in our footer (looks alright to me) and added scrolling under it (which my BF did and I am not as much a fan of that).

    I dunno, I want to affiliate but I don't want to have a lot and have to check them every month for activity and broken links, so yeah... maybe fewer, stable and older sites in different genres?
  4. Shriker

    Shriker Shadowlack Owner RPGfix Admin Patron Game Owner

    Here are Shadowlack's current affiliate requirements:
    • Have guest-friendly In Character areas.
    • Be well organized, professional, and easy to navigate.
    • Contain interesting, imaginative themes and content (that either rivals or surpasses our own).
      • If your site is based upon a game, book, movie, or television series, it must respect the original copyright holder(s).
    • Be active (20 active members or 80 registered accounts), have a friendly atmosphere, staff, and players.
    • Have no more than 30 existing affiliates.
    • An 88x31 linking button.
    • Before applying, you must have a visible static link back to us.
    As for how I choose... usually I end up neglecting my affiliate emails for months at a time, which is terrible but they are low priority emails. When I stumble upon one and the site happens to still be alive, I'll often accept the request if they don't have too much overlap in terms of content/themes with my current affiliates. Eg., I likely would never have two Sailor Moon affiliates, but might have a Sailor Moon, Bleach, and DBZ one if I were running some sort of blanket anime site.

    I also tend to pick affiliates based on site content and creativity. I've accepted brand-spanking new sites before just because they had concepts that I liked.

    I'll often creep boards and look at how staff members deal with conflict resolution, as well as how players treat each other. If it's toxic (eg. public ban lists, name calling that isn't playful, etc.), I turn right around.

    For the amount of affiliates... it really varies. I personally wouldn't have much more than 10, and I can't really imagine the people you affiliate with benefiting much if you have over 20 of them. I've seen sites with 60+ and at that point, it's essentially just link farming and no one really benefits from the clutter.
    Claire likes this.
  5. Zozma

    Zozma Resident Game Owner

    If I like the site, I'll affiliate. If I think the members on the site MIGHT join us at some point, I'll affiliate. Otherwise, I don't really bother anymore. I just let them come to me on a first come, first served basis to fill in the spots I have available. Used to be two rows of ten each for a total of twenty but my current layout looked weird like that so I added in a new row for three rows of eight each. I usually don't reject any affiliate requests but I have a couple of times if I didn't like somebody on the other forum or I saw the staff being jerks to their members or guests. I don't want to advocate those kinds of sites.
    Elena and Claire like this.
  6. Draegon

    Draegon Newcomer

    At the moment I'm not overly picky, but if you always make sure the dimensions are coded in for each, you can get away with not checking them a lot (the other thing you could do is to be the site that seeks out affiliation so you can have new edits done when you're happy to) :) On my old site I used to go through phases of what was needed but found affiliating with well know established sites in the same genre proved beneficial until the other site's members subconsciously ignored the banner because it wasn't a new shiny on their skin XD
    Claire likes this.
  7. Claire

    Claire Resident

    See, I tried seeing if people came to us and we have had three in six months! lol I had better success asking for affies at various places, the statics filling up super quick (I think it took three days?).

    I still have loads of scrolling so if anyone wants to affiliate, poke me. ;)
  8. Collapsible Myth

    Collapsible Myth Resident Game Owner

    I'm in the same position as I look to open affiliation relatively soon. Have seen those sites that have countless animated banners in the footer that looks completely cluttered. Restricting to having six spots open when I do offer it.

    Thinking in that I'm going to reach out to other role play like sites that have been around awhile, much like what you've described I might look for a newly opened sight but I'm still working on the details.
  9. I just wrote a long rambling post about this in another spot. (still feels guilty)

    This a bit of what i wrote:

    So, what are my criteria? There are a couple things.. well.. more than a couple.

    1. Advertisement campaign: how much is this site exposed? New sites tend to have very determined campaigns. They want to get themselves out there. Being an affiliate with a new site isn't bad. People will click on them just to see what it is about, and having a button there means they are indirectly advertising you as well. Old sites who have their buttons out there are also good too, but if they aren't advertising then they aren't getting themselves out there.

    2. Population: sites with a small population are less likely to get high traffic. You want a site that has people filtering through. The more that filter through the more that might see YOUR affiliate button.

    3. Display: look to see how they display their affiliates. If they have their scrolling set to putter across the screen in a slow conga line then it isn't right for you. The time that it takes for your button to show up means time that someone has to take to see it. The best sites are the ones that have multiple rows at a speed you can read easily. I prefer to scroll up or down instead of right or left. This puts more buttons on the screen a the same time. To make it easier to read I added a code so you can mouse over it and keep it from scrolling. This way people can look at buttons to their heart's content.

    4. Pick and choose your static wisely.: Static is where you get the most views. Aim high! your site is worth it. This is your best advertisement between site relations so make it count. Make a list of your dream affiliates and aim for them. Keep an eye on positions getting open. If you can get a static position on a resource site then more power to you. I usually aim for a site populated with about 30 or more people with a good display for static affiliates. When I say good i don't mean 'lots of them'. I mean complimentary. How do they respect YOUR button. Even if they are a big site and they have a fantastic advertising staff.. if they hide your button behind their cbox and you have to click something to see? Don't do it!

    5. No dead affiliates!: if they aren't getting rid of dead affiliates within a week or two after they've died then they probably aren't worth it. People don't want to see dead affiliates. They want to see living ones, and if you click on enough dead ones you sort of stop looking. It's a petpieve of mine so maybe i take it more seriously than i should, but If I have a bad position because a few dead sites are taking up the good ones then it's not cool. Remember, display is important.

    6. Affiliate numbers: If they have two affiliates move on. 6? Probably should still move on unless every single one of those are mutual affiliates. I usually have about 20 static in rows of five (that is four lines organized dark light dark so they are easy to see) and unlimited scrolling (which i watch carefully to make sure it doesn't take an ice age to scroll through. It should only take a few seconds to see them all. The gap between the first scroll through and the second should be small so don't make the space too big. They don't need a large gap to hike across to be seen. All it does is make it take longer to see the buttons again.). If they aren't taking affiliates seriously then I don't want to affiliate with them.

    7. Lastly, I try to aim for the players who might have an interest in my site. I usually aim for roleplays with humans involved. It's okay no matter what it is, but I want people comfortable with playing humans. Don't be specific, but don't be afraid to have an idea of how wide you are casting your net.

    Yup, that covers it.
    Elena likes this.
  10. PKMNostalgia

    PKMNostalgia Newcomer Game Owner

    For a fixed slot they need to not have a ridiculous amount of other fixed slots. I give them some premium space right next to the c-box, so I expect to get at least close to the same level of treatment as a fixed affiliate. For scrolling I will affiliate with anyone who is PG-13 so long as they have a button that is of the correct size.
  11. Phantom

    Phantom Newcomer

    As long as they're relevant, I'd accept them as an affiliate. I give people the innocent until proven guilty treatment. We always use any exposure we can since I believe persistence will keep an RP going.
    Elena likes this.
  12. Xexes255

    Xexes255 Newcomer Game Owner

    I don't care who affiliates with me. Unless they cause problems, then they're out.

    When I search for affiliates, my process goes like this :
    1. All sites that are in the same genre. If it's a large genre, I can pick and choose.
    2. All sites that reflect my desired virtues.
    I have been having a lot of trouble with members who do not reflect my virtues, so #2 helps a ton. This means that I won't seek out an affiliate with a site that has a significantly younger age group.
  13. Rowena Ravenclaw

    Rowena Ravenclaw Resident Game Owner

    When it comes to affiliates I have two policies:

    1. Static/Sister Affiliates are (usually) similar genres or genres that have a lot of crossover with mine. For example, people who are fans of Fantasy tend to cross over into Supernatural more than people who are fans of Real Life.
    2. Scrolling Affiliates are any genre and are designed to spread the site around as much as possible.

    Affiliates are about exposure, but you should be getting yourself static and more visible on sites that are likely to bring in a higher number of members for you (such as sites that match your genre or have that crossover).

    As for the number of slots, it really depends on the amount of space you have. Fractured has space for 2 sister sites, 15 static affiliates, and an unlimited number of affiliates in the marquee with newer affiliates being placed to the front of the queue. This works for us as we remove those who are inactive on a regular basis.
  14. EdlynnGremlin

    EdlynnGremlin Newcomer Game Owner

    This is the first time I'll be affiliating on my site, we've got 10 static and I may eventually put a scrolling in as well. Really I'm aiming for sites that might have some good cross over/get a good number of views. Active sites that share my values as an admin, open friendly etc.
  15. RachD
    Caffeine Fix

    RachD Resident Game Owner

    I like the answers already listed on this one.

    I mean, the group doesn't have to be run like mine, but as an affiliate, I would want it to be good enough that I would feel comfortable recommending it to a friend and fellow writer. I aim for cross-over when I can, but that doesn't mean it has to even be the same genre. Curiosity tends to lead folks to at least look in on the other groups you affiliate with - if not join.

    We at one time had a mess of groups - one high fantasy, one urban fantasy, one marvel, one future marvel, and one sci-fi. They all had some really good writers and several of those writers stepped outside their boxes and actually joined others genres for the fun of writing with partners who were already fans.

    So don't count out groups who are not of similar genre.

    I DO count out groups who are of a different rating (if it's too different/adults only please) or different writing style (I like writing in full paragraphs and can be prolific) that would not be comparable.

    Speaking of - we've been looking for a good DC crossover affiliate. That's usually the question we get, as moderators of a Marvel setting - "Know any good DC groups like yours?"

    The ones I've seen (I looked for a while last year but haven't recently) were either very slow moving, did teeny responses per reply (we're talking 5 sentences at most) or they were driven by what seemed to be PG13 limits.

    I don't want to get involved in one as a moderator or owner or admin, because for some reason, I jinx them. Seriously! Even if I have nothing to do with the people in charge! It's weird. Every awesome DC group I've been in implodes within 6 months of my arrival. So, I'm gun shy about it. Therefore... thought I'd look for an affiliate so my group members and maybe even myself when I have more time can write in it. Let me know if you have any suggestions!
  16. Lolotte

    Lolotte Newcomer Game Owner

    I'm shameless and will accept 99% of affiliate requests that come my way. My only requirements are that the site be open for at least a month.
  17. BlackDahliaRP

    BlackDahliaRP Newcomer Game Owner

    I prefer to only accept affiliates that are adult based like my site.
  18. kit the human

    kit the human Fresh Blood

    I prefer to keep it to a similar genre to my site - but it's not a requirement and if I like a forum I'll aff with it, no matter the genre. What is a requirement is that who I affiliate with has a similar limited number of static spots on their site. I don't want my button buried in a wall of them.
  19. Sets

    Sets Newcomer

    I'm not very picky at all. Basically whoever has an active site that doesn't look like hot garbage and asks to affiliate gets it, as long as they don't go posting ads on my site or the site discord. I'm also against the huge wall of a billion affiliates, but that hasn't been an issue for us.
  20. Shinka

    Shinka Newcomer Game Owner

    I only affiliate with resource sites. I run a game in a small, niche genre, and the leakage of members and guests would probably be greater than any incoming traffic from affiliates.

    But a follow-up question for anyone who does traditional affiliates and "sister sites": how do you decide on a site to sister with? Is there any noticeable difference in traffic when you affiliate with another site like that?
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