Hi, it’s Joey again from day job hacks TV and in this video I want to talk about shaving and throttling in CPA networks, what it is, why do we have to look out for it as affiliate marketers and why would anyone do it in the first place.
So, what is throttling? It’s the same thing as shaving, basically in affiliate marketing we use tracking systems and some of those tracking systems (for example cake) have the ability to throttle.
With a simple little setting inside of the administrative section of the tracking-software most networks use they’re able to throttle conversion reporting. This means if you get a hundred conversions through your marketing efforts your network can still set a throttle rate of 10% so that only 90 of your conversions would show up in your stats and you would not know any different.
That is basically stealing and the ability to do this has been put into many CPA network tracking platforms by the companies that build the software. There are some reasons why these tracking software providers say they have the capability built-in, but none of them really make any sense when you think about it.
Things will usually comes down to lead generation and using the throttle ray to apply a certain percentage of false leads into the system. This can be done just by adjusting a payout so the throttle rate is not really there for any reason in my opinion. You really need to understand how it works and so you’ll know it is possible it’s happening to you.
How do you fight against this if it is actually something that’s happening? First, you need to work with trust-worthy networks. CPA networks that you know are not trying to steal money from you. It’s the good networks out there which have absolutely no reason to throttle or shave your stats, if they do they’re actually shooting themselves in their own feet. It’s the worst thing you can do as a CPA network owner is to shave your affiliates because if your affiliates are not making money then they’re not going to work with you, they’re going to go directly to the advertiser or with with a different network instead.
Any networks that are shaving are likely weak networks with zero cash flow. You can see this through all of their other signs, that they’re not really a network to be working with do to lack of performance as a network. If you have a suspicion that you think your network is shaving there’s a really easy way around it.
The first thing you can do and which is the easiest way is to split test the offer you’re running on another network. If you find an offer you’re running on one network and you think the conversion rate was good and then maybe it dropped down a little bit then find the exact same offer on another network and split test them inside of your own tracking system, very simple. You can see which network is performing better and then if one goes lower you can ask that network “why is that network converting less than the other one?” That’s one way to do it.
Another way to do it is to actually just go work direct with an advertiser. Often times you can see if there’s any discrepancies in your statistics by comparing them with figured that come directly from the advertiser compared to figures from a network. Many networks don’t like it when you go work directly with an advertiser, obviously, because they’re losing you as an affiliate which is losing them money. In light of that fact, this isn’t encouraging you to go work direct with advertisers as there are many risks involved with that. Just know it is an option in some cases.
One of the last things that makes it evident that there’s some type of fishiness going on is when you have an offer that has a maximum payout on one network and you know it’s actually a really good payout, then you have another network say “we will beat any payouts” which often happens. There’s nothing fishy going on in every case, many networks are competing against each other, but when you know that the offer payout is extremely high and you get somebody that comes in with a 10% higher payout it kind of makes it a little suspicious. Make sure your split testing that higher payout with the actual lower payout offer just to make sure you’re not getting tricked into a network that’s using high payouts to attract affiliates. Many affiliates make the mistake of thinking that the payout is the most important thing when it comes to promoting the affiliate offers but it’s not the most important thing.
The most important thing is the amount of conversions you’re getting. The amount of key performance indicators that are being hit in your own marketing campaigns, your landing page rates and all that stuff is vital. You’re gonna look at the conversion rates, the earnings per click and other stats and make your decisions. If somebody offers you a payout that’s super high, for example… one time I was running an offer I was getting $20 per lead and a company came and offered me $40 per lead. The funny thing is that I actually knew the advertiser and I brought it to their attention. I told them that this company is offering me $40 per lead and the advertiser responded with “we’re not even paying that company $40 per lead” so it’s impossible, they would be losing money which means they had to be shaving or they just decided they wanted to lose money today.
These are the things you need to look out for. I’m not saying every network out there shaves because it would be stupid, but if they did it’s the absolutely worst idea that any CPA network could do. Once their affiliates start losing money they just moved to another network or they go work direct with the advertiser.