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    Does Any SEO Take Commission?


    I was recently offered an SEO position that will pay based on commission for an 8 month old website that has about 10,000 products for a very specific industry. The commission would be based on the growth of gross organic revenue.

    Has anyone ever taken a commission like this before, and if so, how did it go? What are the factors I should consider before taking the position? Your thoughts would be much appreciated!
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    Originally Posted by visiongrove
    I was recently offered an SEO position that will pay based on commission for an 8 month old website that has about 10,000 products for a very specific industry. The commission would be based on the growth of gross organic revenue.

    Has anyone ever taken a commission like this before, and if so, how did it go? What are the factors I should consider before taking the position? Your thoughts would be much appreciated!
    Are you able to do the job? Be honest with yourself.

    If I did a commission based SEO service it would be setup in the contract in tiers. The more profit the business makes the higher commission I would receive. I personally don't like commission-based SEO because it is too volatile. You can do your part and get the positions they need, but if the site converts horribly, products are way over-priced etc then you will lose big time. So i'd be very careful...

    Most of the time businesses want to hire SEO based on commissions because they can't afford to pay for one.
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  5. A.K.A. Grumpy Pants
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    I have done commission based but only In addition to a base payment, not exclusively. I think its a nice setup, gives you a reason to go above and beyond.
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    EGOL
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    The problem.... what if they decide to break their relationship with you after you bust your *** building links for several months. Do you have perpetual claim to the revenue stream that you have built?

    Better to take a commission for promoting their products on your own site as an affiliate. Since you don't control the full deal you can carry your rankings to another vendor if the relationship turns sour. If you do really well you can become a reseller.

    Comments on this post

    • europa agrees
    Last edited by EGOL; Jun 2nd, 2009 at 12:51 PM.
    * "It's not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, it's the size of the fight in the dog." Mark Twain
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    not with a 10 foot pole would I ever again do that kind'a deal!!!!

    as offered here by Egol, you will un-doubtedly be "cut" from the team once the $$$ begins to roll in..there is no way that they will share that new $$ with you is what I mean...and I speak from exact experience having done just that about 3 years ago....

    my advice? ask for a base salary, that they will contract for, but pay in the future. don't take stock options either in this economy, but even a personal Promissary Note from the founders/owners would do and have your lawyer vet everything. in fact, bring in your lawyer early in the negotiations as such foresight provides this employer with the knowledge that you intend to be paid for your work....re-read Visio's comments about the Tiered idea of the contract and make sure that all docs are signed by them and you and both legal teams too...

    in reality tho, that kind of a project based on Commission % only, is fraught with "outs" for the employer...and you will be left "hanging!!!"

    :-(

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    Twitter: @JVRudnick

    read. learn. hypothesize. test. analyze...then rank!

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    EGOL
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    They want you to build an equity stake but are not willing to give you equity.
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  13. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by visiongrove
    Has anyone ever taken a commission like this before,
    Sure lots... but not with companies I don't have any clout with.

    Commission is a way to manage a reward system... most companies that don't have an existing relationship with there commissioners use it as a means to manage risk.

    There isn't anything wrong with that but "IF" the system is to manage risk you should get a very high percentage on the first sales 50% on first 10, 35% of next 10, 25% on next, and maybe 20% on everything after that.

    That way the risk/reward ratio is favorable to you - for doing all the work on the companies "unrealized sales" (sales they would have never gotten without you).

    Obviously since the first 10 sales came in "there is no risk" and your payout is deserving ... and these each month will be the sales that define the relationship... in hindsight the company will likely tried to swithc you to a salary role in the future to reduce your fees... but it was "all your risk upfront" and now it's all you rewards.

    That said, as Visio said... be honest with yourself... if you need to ask about this model you likely don't have to talent to predict your own lucrative future using it with any degree of certainty... the risk is "all yours".
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    From the consumer of SEO standpoint I would also want everything spelled out by lawyers before entering any revenue sharing agreement.

    Lets say I currently sell 100 units per month (through organic search). That could grow naturally on its own. But I agree you get 10% of natural search revenues. So when I get 200 next month I pay you 10% of the additional 100 sales. Which is great...

    Except...

    I don't want to pay you 10% on everything above 100 organic sales every month till the end of time. What happens when my company is selling 2,000 units a month and the site has gotten to the point where it needs only occasional SEO? Do I want to pay you 10% month after month for 1,900 sales when not much is being done? Sure it is still positive ROI but it is a big cost compared with not continuing to pay when we go years and years down the line.

    So of course many companies will try to find a way out of that.

    So as a consumer of the service I would want some kind of termination on the commission. And then you get into the details of how much can you make within the limits for your invested time, how sure are you of that number, and how tight is the contract.
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  17. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by realityhack
    Except...

    I don't want to pay you 10% on everything above 100 organic sales every month till the end of time.
    That's why you take the risk of salary positions... so the rewards are yours until the end of time.

    Comments on this post

    • realityhack agrees : Yep. And it is easier to get out if the results are mediocre and you want to bring someone else in.

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