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Sometimes as affiliate marketers we feel like we are stuck promoting specific merchants, even when we think the terms of those merchants are not exactly “affiliate friendly.” It may be that the commissions are low or that the cookies are short. Or maybe we just cannot get the attention of the affiliate managers when we have problems. If the merchant fits our niche well, do we just accept the terms and promote anyway? Do we give up on the niche? I don’t think we do either. Instead, we get creative and look for alternatives.
One of the merchants that I hear a lot about (because of my own personal interests and those of my friends) is Disney. There have been a lot of complaints in forums about the Disney Store affiliate program as well as the Disney Movie Club affiliate program (which I do not think is even managed by Disney and shows up on a lot of CPA networks). It’s the perfect example of an opportunity to find alternatives because there is no shortage of Disney merchandise, especially when you widen your search. Here are some great merchants to look at not just for Disney but for any niche you want to find alternatives for.
- Ticket and Travel sites. Promote hotel rooms, tickets, and even excursions for the Disney Cruise Line. Surprisingly, you can find opportunities even through niche merchants like Viator.
- Jewelry. Chamilia now has an affiliate program, so you can promote the Disney charms directly through them. Check out the Swarovski program on buy.at for beautiful officially licensed Disney jewelry. Take it a step further with jewelry boxes from MusicBoxAttic.com.
- T-shirts. Shirt licensing must be cheap because I see official shirts for Disney and other characters everywhere from the drugstore to the Fashion Mall. It’s nice because you can find products in a range of prices and designs and can pick and choose between merchants.
- Checks. You might think that people are using fewer checks, but it is a HUGE affiliate marketing niche. Between just a few of the biggest check websites you will find licensed checks for thousands of different images from Disney to sports to movies.
- Media. Depending upon your merchant type preference, you can find books, magazines, and DVDs at literally thousands of merchants. Consider even merchants that sell media used if your site focuses on bargains or deals.
- Seasonal merchants. Even though we tend to think of sites like BuyCostumes.com at Halloween, they are actually a great source of branded merchandise throughout the year. Consider how costumes and party supplies can be used year round.
As a general rule, the bigger the brand, the less leverage you are going to have as the average affiliate. Because of that, you should consider niche alternatives for comparison of commissions, cookie lengths, and promotional opportunities.
Do you have merchants that you feel you need to promote but wish you had alternatives? What have you done to find them? Any affiliate managers or OPMs feel like you have programs particularly suited to affiliates like us?