When a affiliate applies to a program and grabs a data feed would it beneficial to ask certain questions? What software or CMS do you use to implement these datafeeds. Do you use PHP
or custom scripts? May it even be more benificial to the merchant to develop a CMS that can implement affiliate feeds.
I think the big mistake that merchants make is not taking notice of ... up and coming affiliates. I'm not talking about the one who produced 20000 in sales in one month but one who has progresively moved up to 1k or 5k in sales over a period of months. Failure to groom those affiliates is a shame as they may be on to a new marketing technique that does not involve spamming or scraping and the merchant is ignorant to investigate and follow up on that affiliate. Its possibly a lost marketing opportunity ... a way for a merchant to learn how to market thier own product!!!
Now I am sure you are all thinking cookie cutter sites. Those sites die by the wayside ... when SE
's come through and see duplicate content.
I would suspect that if a few good affiliate managers of reputable merchant programs helped develop such a CMS or software that incorporated datafeeds and provided a little more training to thier top 25% earners they would even benefit more.
Don't get me wrong there are a few affiliate program managers that are already gooming there up and coming earners and they have learned it pays off.