When an affiliate signs up with a merchant or affiliate network they require that the affiliate agrees to and abides by their TOS. The purpose of the TOS is to outline what is allowed and what is not. It can also contain rules that restrict how you do something and in some cases gives the merchant or network they right to cancel your account and withhold any commissions owed for breaking those rules. TOS is also supposed to weed out the parasites and other dirty dealers from networks to make it a level playing field.

What if affiliates had their own terms of service? When I first thought this up I was going to set up a page on one of my sites and direct all the merchants and networks to that page and then require that they read and agree to my TOS. If they could not or would not agree to the terms then I would not do business with them.

One of the hardest things to do with affiliates is to get them to agree to anything much less work together. I have seen the posts about forming an affiliate co-op or association and they always fall before they even get a foundation built just because of the nature of the affiliate business model. We are all basically loners that require our anonymity to excel and succeed. The networks make good use of us probably for that one reason alone and of course parasites feed unrestricted because it is all driven by one thing, money.

OK so that is the same thing we have all heard over and over again, but I donít like to complain (or whine) so I to try change things by working with the tools that are at hand and possibly give us the affiliate an advantage.

Here are the basics of the idea:

We require that all networks and merchants agree to and abide by an affiliate terms of service. What would be those TOS is something I am working on and hope that some of you will contribute ideas. But I believe that the TOS should be something that gives up more leverage but without taking more than we need. Donít rock the boat but turn it a little more into the wind.

Iíll add more as I see your responses.