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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager buyjewelry's Avatar
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    Question Affiliate that wants to only purchase for themselves
    Hey ABW,

    I have received an email, not sure if it was spam or not. But the gist of it was that this person (or company) wants to join affiliate programs, not to promote products - but to receive further discounts for products they want to purchase anyway.

    Are there many people that do this? What are the pros and cons? What I gather is that the downside is that they are getting discounts without earning multiple sales, the upside is that a sale is a sale.

    I would love some input before I think about replying to the email.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    I would not worry about it. If they get good deals then they will most likely tell their friends and that will lead to future sales. These future sales might just be via direct type in w/ no affiliate cookie.

    I would say that is a rather strange email though.

    -sfcom
    Last edited by sfcom; March 7th, 2008 at 02:24 PM.


  3. #3
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    This is a policy that you need to set in your affiliate program terms. Some merchants (including Amazon) prohibit affiliates from earning commissions on their own purchases.

    Note that many affiliates will initiate their own purchases as a way to "test" and verify that your affiliate tracking actually works. (There's a whole sub-forum here devoted to "test purchases," and perhaps 20% to 30% are unfortunately reports about merchants whose tracking doesn't work.)

    Some merchants (such as many web hosting companies with in-house affiliate programs) allow affiliates to "accrue" commissions on their own purchases, but won't actually pay out any commissions until at least two or more sales occur.

    A separate but related issue is how discount and coupon codes are applied to affiliate transactions. Some merchants have special discount or coupon codes that are used "offline only" or are offered only to existing customers, and the merchants either won't pay commissions on any transactions using these codes, or (much more rarely) won't allow the codes to be used for otherwise commissionable transactions.

    My usual advice to merchants (when I'm wearing my consultant hat) is to allow affiliates to accrue commissions on their own purchases.

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager buyjewelry's Avatar
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    Thanks guys,

    I am not going to reply to this person without more research.

  5. #5
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buyjewelry
    I have received an email, not sure if it was spam or not. But the gist of it was that this person (or company) wants to join affiliate programs, not to promote products - but to receive further discounts for products they want to purchase anyway.
    This might be the initial motivation for the affiliate[s] to put your links on the web page[s].
    Affiliate merchants with the products that appeal to me (and those on which I can earn a commission for my personal purchases) are usually the first product links up on my sites[s] (in terms of psychology).
    Once the links are visible to all, the affiliate in effect is promoting your products to more people than just to himself/herself/the affiliate.

    I appreciate and personally patronize affiliate merchants who allow me to earn commissions on my personal purchases -- I see that as a benefit of being an affiliate.

    I've been motivated to purchase from affiliate merchants because of the ability to earn a commission for my personal sale and would not have ordered from certain affiliate merchants without having the capability of earning such a commission.

    The commissions are not usually high enough for the affiliate to establish a competing business [i.e. with your inventory] I wouldn't worry about such a scenario.

    I've worked in retail stores where I received a nice commission on any items I bought So you can believe I patronized the stores that gave me an employee discount
    Last edited by Rhia7; March 7th, 2008 at 05:10 PM.
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  6. #6
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    It's strange that they would email and tell you that...

    What I gather is that the downside is that they are getting discounts without earning multiple sales,
    They may or may not actually secure a discount that way.

    Their aff account would show a commission, yes. But they'll only GET that commission if they manage to pass the payout threshold.
    If you're at a network, they may be able to do it without too much trouble. But it's a lot harder at indies, since then there're no other programs to consolidate commissions with.

    With jewelry, it's more likely that they'll finally reach the payout figure, but by then they'll have bought hundreds of dollars worth of stuff!

    I don't see any downsides to accepting them other than the remote chance that they'll try to bring on all their friends for the same kind of deal. This may be too irksome to you from a mental standpoint--although economically speaking, it'd be no worse than if they just referred those friends the normal commissionable way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    The commissions are not usually high enough for the affiliate to establish a competing business [i.e. with your inventory]
    LOL if they did that, they'd have to charge way more than the original merchant to make any profit! So the buyers probably wouldn't go to them if they did try that.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I don't see any downside in it. Happy customers can be the best marketers. Even if they have no intention of marketing you (and your situation--where they admit that up front--is pretty rare), that could change if you treat them right as customers.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  8. #8
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Margin should have been built in, I'd let them do it.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Over 60% of our affiliates own pets, I would be happy to be their source.

    It can be considered a perk for our affiliates.
    Bob Pets Warehouse
    Worlds Largest Pet Supply DataBase
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  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager buyjewelry's Avatar
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    I am agreeing with the majority here. I also agree with rhia that being able to purchase for yourself is a perk of being an affiliate.

    I did end up emailing them back, and it turns out it WAS spam. LOL, the email bounced back to me. Not really sure what this person was trying to do.

  11. #11
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I check for affiliate programs when I make a purchase online and am upfront if my application is questioned. I have also setup several accounts for companies I work for to purchase airline tickets, hotels and office supplies then turn it over to the office manager.

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager TrishaLyn's Avatar
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    Way back when before I managed our program we let a lot of our returning customers sign up to receive commissions on what they were doing for themselves or their clients (as a printing company we have a lot of graphic designers as customers) and what we ended up with in the long run was a lot of people interested in discounts and not a lot of people interested in making sales to website visitors.

    What we did to combat this when we re-launched our program was to create a sister program, a Reseller program for our clients who are more likely to be reselling the product to a client. That has helped weed out most of the "in it for a discount" publishers we had before, however we do still allow some to join the affiliate program instead when the conditions are right.

    Overall I'd say one apple isn't going to spoil the bunch, but watch out that it doesn't snowball.

  13. #13
    Member shopsat24seven's Avatar
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    I'd let them do it. Better they buy that way then not at all or from a competitor that's cool with it.

    Something I get sometimes that is more odd. Affiliates want to have their own shopping cart on their site with our products and then they manually place the order through our site with their affiliate link. I tell them, you do that, then you become responsible for all customer service issues because now they've bought from you and you don't have access or the workforce to handle customer issues.

  14. #14
    Outsourced Program Manager TrishaLyn's Avatar
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    We have people interested in that for us too... but since our products aren't really retail and it's a customizable process, we're reluctant to allow it.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    The only reason I started this business was to use coupons and go through my own links to get the commission. I had no plans to do this for a living, that was accidental.
    So you never know what might come of it.

  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    Haiko is right surely you have taken your margin into consideration before setting the affiliate commission.

    If you can create happy affiliates while remaining within your own guidelines everyone wins best I can see.
    I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die
    to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there
    isn't and die to find out there is.

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador newestuser's Avatar
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    you said it, "a sale is a sale"
    if you want the sale, let 'em in.. if you want to take a chance that they'll go elsewhere, then don't let 'em im.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko de Poel, Jr.
    Margin should have been built in, I'd let them do it.
    I think it all depends whether the margin was built in or not as to whether to allow them.

    We did in the past allow it, however, recently increased our affiliate payouts, and stopped the self-signups.

    On the same token though, I'd have no problem with a self signup from an established, productive affilaite, but it's the customers who sign up as an affiliate strictly for the discount that get to me..

  19. #19
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    We screen the affiliates and require that they have a site. In the past if an applicant admits to applying to get the commission as a discount I allow it. How can you have an affiliate program that can not afford to pay a commission regardless of whether it is for sale to a consumer or for self purchase to an affiliate? That simply does not make sense.

    The exception is when an MLM company will direct their members to purchase gift certificates to be used to purchase products. They get the commission on the GC and on the purchase. Many programs don't commission on GC for that reason.

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