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  1. #1
    Newbie bshah's Avatar
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    what's the use of the TOS Contract?
    What's the use of the TOS contract? In other words what can be the worst thing happen to Merchants who does not have a contract for the affiliate network? Have anyone had a bad experience to share for the same?

  2. #2
    Manager - Affiliate Marketing Patrick Vesperman's Avatar
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    if you are at all interested in protecting your brand as a merchant, you will have a TOS. It outlines what is acceptable and what isn't acceptable for your affiliates.

    Without a TOS, you are basically saying you don't care how an affiliate promotes your product or brand.

  3. #3
    Newbie bshah's Avatar
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    I would like to know if any e-retailer have been in issue due to this. Everyone wants to protect their brand and product but any incidence of affiliates mistreating merchants or the other way.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Not sure what the "worst thing" would be, or has been, but we have a TOS for every program we managed. There has to be some rules. And, yes, there are some affiliates who abuse this and the TOS helps with this. It's easier and faster to notify an affiliate they are in violation of the program terms instead of "we don't like what you're doing". We notify them of the violation, give them 3 days to respond and remove them if they don't reply or comply. It's always blatant and often the same players doing bad things in other programs as well.

    Maybe a better question would be "Why not have a TOS?" I don't see any cons to having one and do see cons to not having one.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
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  5. #5
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    If you don't have a TOS that excludes specific practices you can't remove affiliates from your program that are doing things you don't want them to do.

    Bottom line is if the network doesn't prohibit a method of promotion and your own TOS doesn't prohibit a method of promotion and an affiliate uses a method of promotion you don't like, you don't have grounds to remove or penalize that affiliate. If you have a TOS that outlines your allowed and disallowed methods, you can take action. And affiliates are clear about what you allow and don't allow.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    As an affilaite I like to know what types of activity are approved and not approved. It also sets a guidline for promoting a program.

    If a merchant doesn't have TOS, it makes me leary of joining the program.

  7. #7
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    The TOS serves several purposes:

    - It clearly identifies what practices are and are not allowed. If you do not allow specific behaviors (adware, trademark bidding, typosquatting etc.) you will have affiliates that engage in those practices.
    - It provides for clear resolution when an affiliate inevitably violates those terms. Do you want to kick an affiliate out of your program? Maybe reverse commissions for unauthorized activity? The TOS enables you to do this.
    - It provides for clear ownership of Intellectual Property.
    - It may provide you some protection if an affiliate engages in a prohibited activity that is against state or federal law.
    - etc. You could pretty much substitute the answer to 'why use contracts'

    The agreements used by the networks provide some of these protections, but not all and not necessarily to your benefit.

    Lawsuits are common and many well-known (do a Google search for eBay Commission Junction Lawsuit).

  8. #8
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    If your TOS is clear and complete, it offers guidelines for an affiliate as to what is or isn't allowed. It does not really protect you from problems or abuse but attempts to prevent or anticipate problems and recourse.

    A TOS offers an affiliate zero protection - whether it is a merchant's individual TOS or the networks. Most TOS also offer no guidelines as to a merchant's responsibilities.
    Melanie
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  9. #9
    Newbie bshah's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the 2 cents.
    Other related question would be, If I use almost similar TOS for all the Merchants I manage(I would accept it's due to lack of legal knowledge or ramification), is that a major No No???

  10. #10
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bshah
    Thank you all for the 2 cents.
    Other related question would be, If I use almost similar TOS for all the Merchants I manage(I would accept it's due to lack of legal knowledge or ramification), is that a major No No???
    Terms set out what is and is not acceptable in promoting your program. If you want to allow and or prevent the same promotional methods with all your programs then all the TOS would be similar.

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