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  1. #1
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    Appropriate Affiliate Program Restrictions
    Hello, a friend of mine is starting an affiliate program for his business. What do you think are appropriate restrictions for any affiliate program? IE: no direct linking and no TM bidding

    Any feedback is appreciated. In today's digital world, I want to make sure they have all the "don'ts" covered.

  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Depends on if you want to have affiliates do PPC for you. Email me and I will send a policy with boilerplate language.

  3. #3
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    Consider Chuck's boilerplate. One thing to add that is a restriction we have in our program: No self-submitted referrals; ie if the affiliate tries to buy the product/service him/herself and get credit for referring him/herself.

    Some programs allow this, but you might want to be mindful about customer's who want to subsidize their accounts with affiliate commissions.

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    I don't restrict affiliate referrals, but I do restrict purchasing through your own link for resale on third party marketplaces like eBay. I like guys who are familiar with our ecommerce process as long as they aren't abusing the commission or stacking with other discounts to run up ridiculous margins for resale.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
    Email wtonkin // at // Fanatics.com

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  6. #5
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaylorBarr View Post
    Consider Chuck's boilerplate. One thing to add that is a restriction we have in our program: No self-submitted referrals; ie if the affiliate tries to buy the product/service him/herself and get credit for referring him/herself.

    Some programs allow this, but you might want to be mindful about customer's who want to subsidize their accounts with affiliate commissions.
    You're kidding, right? Sorry rhetorical question - if that is your mindset.

    @CowboysFan. There have been a few discussions here about self referrals. Most merchants consider a sale to be a sale no matter to whom it goes. We love to see our affiliates buy our checks for their own business. After all, how are they able to judge the quality of our products?

    As an affiliate (something I've been doing for a couple years ), I actually do buy some products for me and my family. If I can't get a commission, why should a "stranger?"

    However, there are still some merchants who are overly protective; while others are just short-sighted. LOL We simply won't join their programs.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  8. #6
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaylorBarr View Post
    One thing to add that is a restriction we have in our program: No self-submitted referrals; ie if the affiliate tries to buy the product/service him/herself and get credit for referring him/herself.
    I will not join a program that doesn't allow affiliates to purchase from their own links. My first thought (rightfully or not) is "what do you have to hide". Many affiliates (myself included) make test purchases to insure that a merchant site is tracking properly. Since we have no view of a click once it leaves our site, this is the only way that we can tell if we are being credited for EVERY sale.

    Many merchants will defend the lack of tracking as an anomaly, however, the odds of something going wrong at the very moment that I placed an order would be so small that it would be negligible. An order placed by myself or a friend or relative that doesn't track is indicative of a larger problem. I immediately stop promoting the merchant and report the sale to the network as well as contacting the merchant with the pertinent order details. Typically, once all earned commissions are paid I drop them.

    *JMJO

    -rematt


    *Just My Jaded Opinion
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

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  10. #7
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    cowboysfan, every program is different and what is appropriate for one program may not be for another. I've worked with merchants that restricted PPC as well as those that encourage it. Some merchants forbid the use of trademarks while others feel that it will help them create their brand.

    A lot depends on how old, how successful and how well staffed the site is. Newer sites typically have fewer restrictions. Affiliates can help them build their brand and their customer base. Older more successful sites may be highly restrictive because they feel that they've already solidified their brand and are looking for incremental business.

    It may be a good idea for your friend to consult with an OPM for help in devising an initial strategy or possibly for assistance in setting up the program.

    And it would certainly be a great idea for your friend to join ABW and take advantage of the resources here.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

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  12. #8
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    There simply is no "one size fits all" in program terms.

    The no self referrals one stands out as strange, unless an affiliate is abusing the privilege, they get more familiar with your products and are better able to tell shoppers why it is better, what details or features make it better than others. First hand experience of a product gives us the ability to expand on information shared with shoppers. In a few cases I have been able to take pictures not available from the merchant to show off really cool features of a product that the datafeed and the merchant's description did not even mention. I think it is a disservice to the merchant to discourage affiliate self referrals. Like rematt said, it is the only way we can verify the reason why 3,000 clicks have produced zero commissions.

    PPC rules need to rest on how the company uses advertising, it is uncommon not to permit PPC at all, many affiliates are highly skilled at bringing in new customers by using different terms.

    Rules are best set by examining the business model and that is best done by an experienced OPM who has learned the pitfalls of terms that are too tight or too loose. ABW has years of discussion on these topics that can be accessed by merchants and managers only. Your friend should sign up here, and then apply for access.

  13. #9
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Consider Chuck's boilerplate. One thing to add that is a restriction we have in our program: No self-submitted referrals; ie if the affiliate tries to buy the product/service him/herself and get credit for referring him/herself.
    We consider the costs for an affiliate sale while factoring ROI so an affiliate buying through their link for additional discount doesn't negatively effect the bottom line. I would love it if affiliate convinced their friends and family to buy through there links and split the commission with them.

  14. #10
    OPM Yocheved's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaylorBarr View Post
    Consider Chuck's boilerplate. One thing to add that is a restriction we have in our program: No self-submitted referrals; ie if the affiliate tries to buy the product/service him/herself and get credit for referring him/herself.

    Some programs allow this, but you might want to be mindful about customer's who want to subsidize their accounts with affiliate commissions.
    I guess this very much depends on the type of program you're running but one thing to ask yourself is, do you allow cashback sites on your program? If so, do you monitor your program for affiliates who purchase through other affiliates' links, ie. cashback sites? If you are not monitoring for this, you might want to reconsider your 'no self referral' policy.

    If I was an affiliate who wanted to use my own referral link to subsidize the cost of the product and was not allowed to, I'd just go shop through a cashback site so I'd at least get somewhat of a discount in the form of cashback. In that case, if all you're doing is forcing your affiliate to shop through a cashback site to get their 'discount', (well, half of it, anyway), you might as well let them use their own link. It shouldn't matter to you what sort of discount they receive on the product, if you're paying an affiliate commission either way.

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