PeerFly has few Peers.Written by Pace Lattin
June 13, 2011 # 8:03 pm # CEO Interviews # 12 Comments
Recently PeerFly was awarded the #2 Network in our Annual Survey of Networks. Their CEO Chad French was pretty damn happy about that, considering he only opened the doors in 2008. We decided that it was about time we sat down with him again and see what he is doing with himself, and what we can expect from his network.
We spoke to you a few months ago; you seemed really excited about the future. How does it feel that half a year later your network has blown up and you’re one of the top CPA networks in the world? It’s been an awesome experience. When I started building the platform for PeerFly in 2008, I had no idea we’d be one of the top networks in less than 3 years time. I attribute our phenomenal growth to my team and the long hours we put in every day to make sure we’re the best we can be. We’re never content with where we are at any given moment so we continue to push ourselves to the next level. If there isn’t a next level, we create one. We’ve done so much in 3 years… watch what we do within the next 3!
What do you think that you are offering that other CPA Networks can’t provide? I believe the advantages we have over other CPA networks are two things: creativity, and in-house development. We have a list a mile long of ideas that we want to implement into PeerFly and future assets that are not found elsewhere. We are extremely inventive and think outside of the boxes box! Myself, and two others on my team, have web-based programming backgrounds with varying levels of skill. So, when we come together and conjure up something super creative, we’re able to easily implement those ideas within our system. We’ve never relied on a 3rd party to provide value to our affiliates/clients.
Other things we provide that others don’t are several payment schedules based on revenue, several payment methods, daily payments (over a year now), over 1,300 offers in many different verticals, live chat support, a rewards program, and a lifetime 5% referral program.
As you know, fraud is a serious issue. What is PeerFly doing to combat fraud? What types of fraud are you seeing personally? We have been described as one of the most strict and rigorous in terms of fraud and compliance. To begin, our compliance department is composed of two different segments: approvals and traffic. Among other things, all applicants have to verify their phone number using our pin verification system as well as upload a government issued photo ID. If verification passes, they still have to pass another additional 20+ internal points of assessment. If an applicant is approved and becomes an affiliate, our dedicated traffic manager audits their traffic closely and works proactively with our clients to ensure quality is where it needs to be.
We don’t really see “fraud” like we used to when we first started. Rather, we see non-compliant traffic. IE; traffic that may be legitimate but is not an accepted method or type as described on the offer page. Some affiliates just don’t know how to follow directions. However, most of the time we’re able to catch it before it becomes an issue and steer that publisher in the right direction.
We’ve talked about those networks that don’t pay their bills. What is your philosophy about this? Paying our affiliates on time is something else that sets us apart as well. It shouldn’t even be an advantage because that’s CPA network predicate 101! But, unfortunately for this industry, it is. For the first two years we were in business, we had an extremely low overhead that allowed us to save, save, save. It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that we actually got an office. Even with the office, only a couple of us work there – one being part time. We have had no investors and we’ve bootstrapped everything. Our savings has allowed us to continue to pay everyone on time even when our clients are several weeks or months late on their payment. We’ve been fortunate enough to float money without issues and I attribute that to our non-flashy, low budget, saving mentality style.
For networks that have trouble keeping up with payments and are starting to build a reputation of bad payment issues, you need to step back and reassess what you are doing in this business. The #1 priority we’ve had since day one is paying people what they earned, on time. We will make sure our affiliates are paid on time before our own pockets are paid on time. With the power of the Internet, it’s super easy for a handful of affiliates to take your business down because of your bad financial decisions. I’ve seen it time and time again. Always make sure your output is never more than your input or else you will see failure.
What do you think the biggest mistakes most affiliates are making right now? Giving up. Unfortunately, a lot of people equate this industry with a “get-rich-quick” scheme. They get into it looking to make an easy dollar and then give up when they discover it’s a lot harder than they perceived. I believe there is nothing “hard” about this business. You just have to know what you are doing so you can formulate a strategy. The only thing that separates new affiliates from super affiliates is information. That’s it. You don’t need to have any money, special talent, skills, or degrees. We have affiliates who make $20k a day and it’s not because of their good looks! They understand how to take an offer, formulate an action plan and know whom to target.
Are you offering training for affiliates? Why or why not? What specifically? We’re currently developing a whole new interface and website layout. With the launch of the new design we will also be introducing a “Training & Resource Center” which will focus on providing the information our affiliates need to succeed. We want to start doing live Q&A sessions, video walkthroughs, a dynamic FAQ system, message board and more. We don’t think our affiliates should be paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars on coaching programs when we can provide all of it plus more for free.
Where do you think affiliates need to go to learn how to be super-affiliates? I believe our upcoming resource center will prove to be a valuable asset and will be able to take our affiliates from “newbie” to “super” in a short time. Other places to frequent for free guidance in this business are forums like: WarriorForum (http://warriorforum.com), DigitalPoint (http://forums.digitalpoint.com) and reading all the latest industry related blog posts at AffDaily (http://affdaily.com) where lots of industry bloggers provide valuable insights and information.
Do you recommend that affiliates try many networks, or stick with a few proven networks? Why or why not? Stick with the proven networks. There should be no need for you to go out looking for or working with new networks that don’t have any history. If anything, let them prove themselves first. If they seem attractive because of payout claims on a certain offer or the types of offers they have, simply ask the current proven network you’re with if they can get those offers or match those payouts. Nine times out of 10, not only will they be able to get that offer but also beat the payout on it as well. The proven networks have a lot more clout and can negotiate better payouts with advertisers. Not to mention – if you work with an unproven or unheard of network, they are more than likely brokering the offer from a bigger, proven network anyway.
What is your opinion of all the FTC lawsuits? How are you guys protecting yourselves from legal actions by the government, and what do you recommend for affiliates? Our industry obviously needs regulation. I want to help build an industry of value, integrity, and sustainability. Not scams, lies, and falsehoods. Advertising powers the Internet so we really have a bright future ahead of us just as long as we can stay accepted and compliant! I applaud the efforts of groups like the Performance Marketing Association, the Executive Council of Performance Marketing and even the Federal Trade Commission for creating standards and keeping both sides straight.
As for us, we work with our attorney to ensure our practices stay within FTC guidelines. We have absolutely no intentions of going outside the realm of veracity and standards this industry relies upon to grow.