Interview: Luke Kling (PeerFly)

Luke KlingWe're very excited to present our 58th interview with Luke Kling of PeerFly.   Luke Kling is the sole Affiliate Manager for PeerFly, recently voted the #1 affiliate network by affiliates throughout the industry in a survey performed by Performance Marketing Insider. Luke was also ranked the #1 Affiliate Manager receiving more votes than any other affiliate manager OR affiliate network that participated in the survey (including PeerFly). He is a very active and well respected member of the industry who enjoys building websites, playing basketball, watching TV, and hanging out with his wife and friends during his downtime.   First up, congratulations to Luke for being voted as the #1 affiliate manager as per PMI's survery. Meanwhile, PeerFly was also voted as the #1 affiliate network according to this survey. Congrats to Chad, Luke, Corey and all the rest of the PeerFly team!  

1. How did you feel when you found out you were voted as the #1 affiliate manager? What does it mean for you?

I was thrilled. The contest was actually announced when I was driving back from Illinois to Florida with my wife over our Christmas break and we were joking about what we would do with the money if I won. Of course, the PeerFly crew also had decided if I had won that I definitely needed to take them out for dinner (which is still up in the air at this point). I have always gotten great feedback from my publishers, but winning this contest and receiving so many votes has really given me perspective on the gratitude of my publishers and those I work with in the industry and I truly appreciate every opportunity. It's easy to see from our growth at PeerFly that we are doing things right, but this has definitely proven it and I know that we are going to work extra hard to continue to take the big strides we've seen over the past few years.  

2. When and why did you decide to work as an affiliate manager at PeerFly?

I started working as the Affiliate Manager for PeerFly in October of 2009. The main thing that drew me to PeerFly was the custom platform that Chad (PeerFly CEO) had built. At that time there were very few (and still are) networks that were operating on their own platform. I am a developer at heart and I had a deep respect for the system Chad had built. It's very easy to hand a few thousand dollars to a company and lease their platform, but that limits you in so many ways. PeerFly has been custom built from day one and it's the driving factor in our success. We can build to our publisher and advertiser's needs. It's the same reason a lot networks are now finally getting around to developing their own platform to operate on. Unfortunately for them, we're a few years ahead :)  

3. What is the one thing you love about your job as an affiliate manager and what is the one thing you hate the most?

Working for PeerFly in general is the thing I love most about my job. Honestly, I could be put in any position at the company and I would still enjoy myself. Our team has great synergy and it's the reason we had been able to accomplish so much over the past few years. Now, the thing I love most about being an Affiliate Manager is answering emails. Just kidding! No, the thing I love most about being an AM is watching my publishers grow. This industry has an amazing earning potential. Not everyone is going to be the next Ryan Eagle, but I've had thousands of publishers make their first dollar in affiliate marketing working with me at PeerFly. Working with them to build on that and turn their affiliate marketing into a nice secondary income has been very rewarding. The thing I hate most about affiliate management is the constant struggle with fraud. Luckily for me, PeerFly has a Compliance Manager and Approval Manager who stop a majority of the fraudsters. However, on a rare occasion I will have a run-in with a guy doing decent volume, work my ass off to make it the best possible win/win/win situation for everyone (us, advertiser, and the publisher) just to find out soon after that he was driving garbage traffic through Craigslist or something and we're going to have to suspend him and no one is getting paid. To be bluntly, nothing pisses me off more.  

4. How to find and recruit good affiliates? Can you share some tips for affiliate managers out there?

I started working for PeerFly within it's first year of operation and at that time it was very difficult to find publishers who were interested in working with us. Even guys I had been working with in the past were a little scared to start running traffic with a brand new network. Looking back, I don't blame them. However, as our reputation has grown over the past few years the amount of work it takes for me to convince someone to try out our offers has definitely decreased. Usually I'll just point them over to and tell them to look at #3 ;) Most of our publishers recruit other affiliates for us, but I get a lot of publishers that sign up through my Affiliate Manager blog and I'm also pretty active on the popular affiliate marketing blogs (WarriorForum, CPAFix, etc). A lot of companies are missing out by not pushing their AMs to be active on the forums. There are PeerFly related questions being posted on WarriorForum on a daily basis and by participating in the discussion I am not only answering a question that was probably going be emailed to me anyway, I am showing that I care about the success of my publishers and it's definitely contributed to the great reputation we have on WarriorForum. I don't want to give away too many good secrets, so we'll end my answer there :)  

5. PeerFly was also voted as the #1 cpa network according to this survey. How did you make it happen?

We were not expecting to do as well on the PMI survey as we did. The mThink Top 20 Networks survey had ended about a week before the PMI one started and we had pushed the mThink survey pretty hard because last year we were ranked #20 on their top 20 and wanted to do a lot better this year (we ended up at #4). So, we were not expecting as many votes. It turns out our publishers really love us :) One thing that I think helped rally some votes was that I sent out an email in my newsletter (Affiliate Manager Exclusive) and personally asked my publishers to vote for me and PeerFly if they thought we were doing a good job and of course encouraged them to let me know if there's anything we could do better. We try to provide a personal touch to our large publisher base, which isn't always the easiest thing to do, but it can really pay off.

6. There are so many cpa networks out in the industry. What makes PeerFly unique?

As I mentioned above, our network is run on a completely custom platform. We have a very easy and intuitive backend that makes it very easy for our publishers to go in, find the offers they want to run, get their links, and start making money. Not only that, but once they start making money we have an early payment system that allows them to request their payment at any time. I have also developed a few tools to make things a little easier for my publishers. For example, we have both a Firefox add-on and Chrome extension that allows you to monitor your earnings directly from your browser without actually having to open PeerFly. This is kind of nifty if you are building a campaign or reading through AffDaily :)  

7. One way to keep affiliates happy is to pay them on time and faster. What steps has your network taken to ensure that your affiliates will be paid on time?

PeerFly ALWAYS pays on time. Whether you're on our net30, net15, net7, bi-weekly, or weekly schedule you are always paid on time and this is something we have done since day one. A lot of the steps we've taken to ensure that our publishers are always paid on time aren't things that a publisher actually cares about until they aren't paid on time. These include working direct with clients, making sure we are on good payment terms with our clients, and a bunch of other things that my client service guys have to take care of. These are critical to make sure the cash is flowing well for everyone and the things often forget about or do not care about. Well, how about getting paid daily? PeerFly is one of the only networks that sends out payments daily. We do this through our early payment system called Cash Flow. Cash Flow was one of my best ideas and one of my best contributions to PeerFly. With our Cash Flow system, our publishers can request a payment at any time as long as they have over a $50 balance on their account. They have two options, a 3 day payment or an 8 hour payment. Either option has a fee (8 hour is obviously higher than 3 day) and each request is manually reviewed by our Compliance Manager. So, if you sign up for PeerFly today and earn $50 today you could potentially get your first payment from us…today!  

8. Any advice for someone who just started as an affiliate marketer?

Read everything, but don't pay for anything. There is so much great free information on affiliate marketing available if you just take the opportunity to look for it. I get so frustrated when a publisher will email me asking for advice and then go on to explain that they are ready to give up because they've spent $500 on different courses and ebooks. Yes, I make money telling people how to make money, but I do it for free. PeerFly pays me, you do not have to. Most of the stuff out there claiming that it'll help you make hundreds of dollars a day is just garbage. I suggest taking a look through the blogs available on AffDaily (*cough* *cough*) and becoming an active member on WarriorForum, but not an overly active WSO buyer. Once you have a good idea of the direction you want to take your marketing hit up your Affiliate Manager for as much information as possible to help you. That's why we are paid.  

9. What are the top converting niches at PeerFly; Email/Zip submit, Financial/Insurance, Health/Fitness?

Our best vertical has always been email/zip submits. We have over 500 of them and they perform really well across the board. We have also recently seen a nice increase in conversion rate with our sale offers. As Seen on TV and weight loss products are doing really well. We currently have over 1,300 offers and we are developing new client relationships daily to be able to provide our publishers with new and unique offers that convert.  

10. What are your plans and goals in 2012? Where PeerFly may be going?

This year is the first year that our PeerFly team is working full-time out of our office so it's a year of adjustment for us. We've all been building PeerFly to where it is today working from home and mostly part-time (not that we didn't put in full-time hours or effort). So, we plan to continue pushing forward with PeerFly and as we do that we'd like to build up our assets by providing other services to the industry. Only time will the success of that adventure, but our primary focus is to continue to do the things we are doing to make PeerFly the best network possible for both our advertisers and publishers.  

11. What does a typical day for you involve?

I am in my office by 8:00am EST and when I arrive the first thing I do is make a giant coffee to help me make it through the morning. I will then prioritize my email, open my Skype, and get to work cracking out replies. Every once in awhile I'll take a break and hop on Twitter to see what everyone else is doing. I'll usually get up and go walk around our office to see what everyone else is working on too. Pro Tip: DO NOT take "breaks" without actually getting up from the computer. If you take a break by opening up your Facebook and Twitter in a new browser, post some messages, and then get right back to work you are not actually giving your mind a break. Get up and take a short walk and then get back to it. You'll feel much better and be more productive. Around noon I head home and have lunch with my wife. We get an hour lunch and I only live about a 2 minute walk away from our PeerFly office, so I'll usually relax and watch some TV. When I get back I hop back on Skype, open up all my other messengers (thank you Adium), and our Live Chat. I'll do that for a couple hours, hop back on my email, and then take a half our to an hour and work on one of my side projects or write up a post for my blog. I leave the office at around 5:00pm.  

12. Thanks a lot for this interview. If there is anything else you would like to say to the readers of now is the time!

I would like to thank all the AffPaying users for their support of not only PeerFly, but myself. We truly appreciate your business and hope for continued success for the both of us. If you are not already working with myself and PeerFly, please get in touch. Do not let a missed opportunity be what limits your success. Let's make some money :)  

Many thanks to Luke for sharing your time with us and for sharing some great insight tips here! What are your thoughts on the interview? Kindly share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, if you have any experience with PeerFly, please write a review for them on the PeerFly review page. PS. If you are an affiliate marketer, affiliate manager or affiliate network CEO and are interested in answering a few questions about you, your network and affiliate marketing, please drop us a message.
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