If you read my bio you’ll see that I got started in affiliate marketing as a publisher in early 1999 in the coupon and deal space. Back then keeping up with all the changes was an entirely manual process. By manual, I mean even the HTML code for the website had to be hand-written! Furthermore, I didn’t know anyone at the time who had a database-driven site that could schedule coupons to appear on their start date and automatically remove them upon their expiration. And WordPress? It was almost a decade away from being launched as just a simple blogging platform.
Fast forward 8 years to 2007. At that time I was invited to beta test a new coupon management tool that eventually became known as FMTC (originally meaning “For Me to Coupon” but later changed to “For Me to Compete”). It marked a major change for me personally. For starters, it gave me access to a team of coupon and deal editors (that alone was a major improvement for me and my business). Second, it gave me access to best-in-the-industry tools and data. This included standardizing coupon entries, offers, dates, data formats and so much more. In short, FMTC did so many things better than I could before. And impressively, FMTC did this all at a lower cost than I could do so internally. On a personal level, FMTC-integration also had the added benefit of allowing me to actually take some time off around Thanksgiving and Christmas!
From that time on I used FMTC for many years as a publisher. They made my affiliate marketing journey much easier by automating many tedious and repetitious tasks. When I started what eventually became AffGeek and began transitioning into the affiliate program management side of things around 2015, I experienced another side of FMTC. This side served merchants, affiliate managers, OPMs [outsourced program managers], marketing agencies and more.
So, with this brief personal introduction in mind, I’d like to introduce you to what I feel are the many benefits of FMTC…
What is FMTC?
Let me summarize FMTC in a few bullet points:
- FMTC is a neutral, third-party gateway or platform for coupons, deals, product catalogs (“datafeeds”) and marketing links. They are privately owned, independently managed and not part of any affiliate network.
- FMTC offers time-saving solutions and tools for affiliate publishers, bloggers, merchants and OPMs. I’d say that given the pricing, most of their services are more on the “enterprise-level” (meaning they probably only make sense financially for publishers who manage offers for more than about 25-50 brands).
- By access to deals, we’re talking more than 150,000 monetized deals with affiliate links from over 12,000 merchants and sellers! This makes FMTC the largest managed deal database supplemented with human intelligence that I’m aware of on Earth.
- FMTC has high standards of editorial excellence. I asked FMTC for details about their deal quality standard: “When you use FMTC, your links work, offers are valid and spelling errors are corrected. Our team of stateside data engineers work around the clock to manually clean and categorize your content.” This statement is something I can attest to personally from my years of experience using them.
FMTC Benefits Publishers
You saw my publisher history above so you know some of the ways FMTC benefited me as an affiliate. Here are some specific publisher benefits:
- FMTC saves massive amounts of time by converting complex but repetitious tasks into a simple but effective user interface (including an API and other integrations). The obvious question to me is why duplicate what they do when they aggregate, test, clean, standardize and monetize affiliate deals so well?
- When you use FMTC you don’t have to log into multiple networks and/or scan, sort, copy and paste (and usually edit) data from almost a dozen affiliate networks and hundreds of marketing emails per day. You simply get all your deals in one place with FMTC. And if you want to build automated systems on your side, you don’t have to build for multiple affiliate networks. You build for FMTC and they keep up with all the network changes!
- FMTC gives you access to real human support (live chat, support tickets and email mostly, plus you can often meet some of their team at various industry conferences and events). AI [artificial intelligence] is great for what it’s good at but it’s severely lacking in many areas. If coupons and deals were easy to manage without human insight then I’m sure Google would have done it years ago!
Another area that I feel FMTC innovates and excels with is their affiliate link management “rules” and automated integrations. For example, it can be hard to know of, let alone respond to, all the link changes, network changes and even approval changes that happen within affiliate marketing, especially if you work with hundreds or thousands of affiliate relationships. FMTC has a creative link management solution called Merchant Sync that makes this process very seamless (and automated). You simply enter your affiliate network IDs and, optionally, your Skimlinks ID into FMTC and they take care of swapping out everything as needed! Another added benefit of this is no dead links for your readers and shoppers!
In particular, I really liked the Skimlinks integration option because that meant I could test a new program out before putting a lot of effort into building out content or even starting a new marketing relationship. If it would convert sufficiently through Skimlinks then I knew it was worth directly joining that particular affiliate program. In short, by using FMTC’s Skimlinks integration I didn’t have to even join the affiliate program to begin testing since I could monetize my test content selected through the FMTC Deal Bank using Skimlinks tracking (and Skimlinks paid about 75% of their earnings through those links to me anyway).
FMTC Benefits Affiliate Managers
Affiliate managers usually have many responsibilities within a company. If they are paid “in-house” by the merchant as a staff member then they often are involved in other marketing channels. If these responsibilities are outsourced to an OPM or agency, the OPM or agency staff involved usually manages several other accounts since one account alone typically isn’t enough to “pay the bills.” In either case, an affiliate manager stays busy juggling many things. They can greatly benefit from making sure their affiliate program is integrated into FMTC (even if they don’t offer coupons) so FMTC can help them reach top affiliates and quickly syndicate their data.
I’ll summarize several ways that FMTC benefits merchants, agencies and OPMs:
- The FMTC Directory is a great place to list your program for exposure to top publishers, especially those involved in the coupon and loyalty space. These typically are the largest entities within this marketing channel. It’s a valuable listing for inclusion and thus a great tool for affiliate recruitment when launching a new affiliate program. They also have an OPM Directory which is great for publishers to use for affiliate program outreach.
- Sponsored options exist within the FMTC Directory for premium placement which can lead to expedited deal processing for your programs. This option is available for merchants, agencies and OPMs. I asked FMTC for details on this so here goes: “As a valuable premium merchant or OPM, FMTC guarantees all English-language deals will be processed in under 1 hour from the time they are added to our premium queues.” There are a few “fine print” considerations about “one-touch deals” within a regular business hour processing timeframe but you get a service level agreement that includes fee waivers if the 1-hour timeframe isn’t achieved.
In conclusion, I’m very thankful for the opportunity to have used FMTC from the beginning. I’m excited to see how they’ve grown, expanded services and improved their interface and features. I recommend everyone within affiliate marketing take a look at FMTC and seriously consider integrating them into their marketing and management plan. From a business cost perspective, I seriously don’t think it’s possible to replicate what they do on your own for anything close to their subscription fee.
For more information about FMTC, I suggest you visit FMTC.co or reach out to them via their contact form. I didn’t mention this above but they also have a free trial for publishers (this offer is accessible through the contact form link or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org).