Thanks to Ricky Ahuja for taking the time to sit down and do this interview with us!
[Mark] – What do you see as the up and coming traffic source for affiliates?
[Ricky] – The buzz word over the last couple of years has been primarily mobile and to some extent pay per call. However, in running my network for the last 4 years and having spoken to literally hundreds of affiliates, you can take any traffic source, learn it inside out and all its subtle nuances and make it successful. Some affiliates swear by search, some by mobile, others by email and others by media. It is evident certain types of offers work better on certain type of traffic/media so test and retest.
[Mark] – From a trend point of view what’s different this year over last year?
[Ricky] – As they say, cream rises to the top. A lot of the shady networks are gone and the ones with substance have carved out a name/niche for themselves. Gone are the days of Epic, Copeac, EWA and a host of other off springs – affiliates and advertisers are now starting to ask question, checking references, doing their research before making a commitment.
[Mark] – Which affiliate shows do you like to attend? Why?
[Ricky] – Some shows I religiously attend are the Affiliate Summit, AdTech and Search Engine Strategies. These events are great for networking, catching up with existing clientele and to get an idea of upcoming trends and technologies. It is crucial to go to these shows with an actual agenda rather than just seeing what develops.
[Mark] – What advice would you give to yourself starting out as an affiliate?
[Ricky] – Do your research on what you’re passionate about. Find out what others are doing to run a campaign. Improve upon it. Find out what ESTABLISHED and legitimate network has the relevant offers and start the process of developing a relationship with them. Not worth the headache of jumping around from one network to another for a nominal higher payout. Time is valuable and should be used wisely.
[Mark] – Is it possible to build a long term business as an affiliate?
[Ricky] – Very much so. There are no shortcuts to building ANY business. It takes time, patience, research and dedication. Always best to do things the right way from the start and not cut corners.
[Mark] – Would you ever consider taking an apprentice?
[Ricky] – I have been doing that for the last 4 years. Many of the individuals I have mentored are now successful AMs for many other networks and making a nice living. If you have anyone in mind – be sure to let me know. 😉
[Mark] – What do you see as the most important traits of an affiliate manager?
[Ricky] – Anyone can be a “affiliate manager” but if you want to be at the top of your game here are some traits that are crucial: 1) knowledgeable about trends in the space 2) informed about the offers within their network 3) availability 4) insight about the various traffic types and 5) treating others with respect and dignity
[Mark] – How closely do you interact with the affiliates of your network?
[Ricky] – It gets difficult to interact with all of your affiliates obviously – but it is always good to know who you have, what they want and what you can provide for them. There is nothing holding them back from jumping to another network that is paying a nickel higher on the same offer – so at the end of the day it is about the relationship you build and the trust they have in you. We make it a point to interact with as many of our publishers as possible and working with them to meet their needs.
[Mark] – If you had a choice of buying an awesome car, watch, or vacation – which would you buy?
[Ricky] – Honestly – life has been good so do not have the need to purchase any of the above. We do work closely with a lot of charities close to our hearts so if anyone is interested in donating to the cause – feel free to reach out.
[Mark] – Of all your business accomplishments what makes you the most proud?
[Ricky] – That’s easy! Building this network from the ground up for our investors, buying it out from them and then getting it ranked as a Top 10 network two years running. There are a lot of good people in the industry and we try to do good by them. Treat others as you would want to be treated. One of my favorite quotes about accomplishments is by Henry Ford – “The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right, Which one are you?”
[Mark] – Why do you think so many networks are going out of business?
[Ricky] – There is no one answer for this. Some are in it to make a quick buck, others let greed get in the way, some looked the other way when pubs and advertisers were non-compliant. Karma is a most certainly a bitch.
[Mark] – How important is outsourcing to your success?
[Ricky] – It is an integral part of our success – so important in fact that we have now opened a local Indian office in Jaipur and looking to open one in the next 3 months in Delhi. The talent pool is enormous and AM is at the infancy stage.
[Mark] – If you had to do it all over again would you enter the CPA space or go with big brands?
[Ricky] – Who is to say you can’t do both? 😉 We represent some leading brands in the finance/investing verticals as well as some leading Indian offers. Get to know us.