Eric Smith, founder of the affiliate network Click Rover, has been making himself and his affiliates money online for almost 20 years.
I spoke with Eric recently and he told me the story of how he went from using forums to market products to running one of the most successful affiliate networks in the biz (his top affiliates to earn 6 figures+ per month).
Hey Eric, tell us a little bit about yourself and where you're from.
First of all thank you for the opportunity Mark. I am a long term online marketing professional and father of two wonderful children. I have a passion for anything that involves my little boy and girl and of course making a sale.
I started out in this industry developing marketing strategies for software developers in late 1996 and today I co-manage one of the worlds best rated ad networks with my brother Donald. We also head up the internal traffic division of Click Rover, LLC and are responsible for reaching nearly 1 billion users world wide each month.
What is your position at Click Rover?
Founder and Managing Officer, I like to get my hands dirty and try to play a daily roll in every aspect of the business. We are a cohesive group and I am proud to say that our core team has been together for over 10 years, which is pretty unheard of in this industry.
Walk us through a day in your life.
I wake up around 5:00am and help my wife get the children dressed and fed, and then I am out the door to the office by about 6:00am. Then it is a day full of dynamic surprises and expected success.
Clickrover has been in business a loooong time. When did you open shop and how did you get started?
We founded this organization in 1997, branching out from generating sales for software developers into email and forum networks that we still run today.
What is the secret to the longevity of your business?
Our core ideas make us successful. Over deliver in everything that you do and there is no fail point to be seen. Surround yourself with the right people and the rest is cake.
Are any affiliates still with you since your founding in 1997?
Certainly, we do not call them affiliates, they are our friends. After that many years you develop a real relationship with people. We still work with several partners and collaborate on a daily basis, both technically speaking and strategy wise.
Were you ever an affiliate? If so what was the first commission you ever earned?
I was an affiliate and in fact started out marketing a number of different programs and products via forums that I built. My very first commission was for a local flower ship in Norman, Oklahoma on a local agriculture board that I operated.
Are your offers exclusive and direct?
We do carry some exclusive offers, in fact we are one of the few ad networks that will build customer offers for well performing publishing partners. Direct is our middle name. We are a large volume marketing firm, our network sprouted from our direct relationships with thousands of top advertisers.
Your payouts match anyone in the industry. How do you do it?
Direct partner agreements, volume traffic, and a knack for quality and support.
How much do your highest earning affiliates make in a month?
6 figures is normal for some of our top partners.
Which verticals / offers are cranking for you right now?
Nearly every, financial being at the top of the list.
Do you have any recommended reading or resources for affiliates?
I would recommend that you set for each day, no matter how busy you are, and make it a primary goal to read and learn something new.
Tell us a story about an affiliate who found success with Click Rover.
My personal favorite is one of my international affiliates who came on 3 years ago with no experience, family trouble, and out of a job. He geared up in the dating vertical and took advice from our display manager George and turns a 4 digit profit consistently each month now.
Does Click Rover offer any training or marketing support for affiliates?
Certainly, we do this on a daily basis and it is coded into our dna.
If it's 3am on a Saturday night is Click Rover there to offer support if needed?
We have a 24/7 support team. Our support team gets rave reviews and they are a key reason for the success of Click Rover as a whole.
What tracking platform do you use?
We operate the ad network on Has Offers, their cloud based system is swift and accurate. Not too mention the API is a step above the rest.
Are you running any promotions or specials?
We do from time to time, but we have never been a company that revolved around gimmicks. Gimmicks lose their luster, when your partners know that you are real, honest, and better, then promos don't seem to matter much at all.
Anything else you would like to tell our community?
We are always open for business, we often get asked if we are accepting new partners. Click Rover is more than a network, we are an experienced agency with the tools and know-how to make a difference in online marketing, and we love developing new partnerships on a daily basis.