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  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Consolidated List of Affiliate Friendly Policies
    There are dozens of affiliate-friendly policies that merchants can do to make their programs more appealing to affiliates. Any one by itself won't usually make a huge impact, but the more of these policies that a merchant follows, the bigger the impact will be.

    (I picture this post as a living document, almost like a Wiki. If you have additions, or links to threads that expand on any of these policies, post them and one of the Moderators will update this post. Almost all of these would make great threads here in the Merchant Best Practices Forum. Let's keep the discussion of specific policies in the appropriate threads rather than here, too!)
    • Make sure the commissions you offer are at or near the top for your niche.
    • Make sure your return days are at or near the top for your niche.
    • Do everything you can to improve the conversion ratio on your site.
    • Provide full contact information (email, phone, IM, address, etc.) and use your name (not Affiliate Team, Affiliate Manager, etc.) in your signature and your company name as the From address in newsletters.
    • Keep your program clean. Don't work with parasites, cookie stuffers, or coupon scrapers, any other bad players.
    • Never, never, never delete Inactive or low-performing affiliates. It infuriates affiliates (examples: 1 2 3 4), and you never know which affiliates will become big producers.
    • Make sure your PPC policies are fair, clear, as minimal as possible, and easily followed.
    • Commission on everything possible. Affiliates hate it when there are noncommissionable products, no commissions on gift cards, no commissions if coupons are used, no commissions for returning customers, etc.
    • Eliminate all of the leaks you can. If you absolutely have to have ads, suppress them for affiliate traffic.
    • If you list a phone number (especially a prominent toll free one), implement phone tracking. Another method. Never try to divert sales to phone to avoid paying commissions.
    • Don't overwrite affiliate cookies with your newsletter links.
    • Make sure to keep your links up to date and make sure to use the most appropriate landing pages.
    • Approve affiliates quickly (or automatically) so they can get links up while their interest is the strongest.
    • Report sales as quickly as possible. The longer it takes to see reporting, the less responsive some of your affiliates (especially PPC ones) will be able to be.
    • Pay as quickly as possible. (Tip for LinkShare Merchants.)
    • If you add or change anything (like Google Checkout) in your checkout process, make sure affiliate tracking doesn't get broken.
    • Don't compete with your affiliates. It's good for affiliate managers to learn what it's like to be an affiliate, but only in noncompeting areas.
    • Make sure to communicate about promotions in a timely manner.
    • Verify that all promotions and coupons work before you post them or send them out.
    • Run activation campaigns to get your inactive affiliates active.
    • Make sure your datafeeds are up to snuff with up to date, accurate information, a good category structure, good product names, and only products that are in stock and commissionable.
    • When you run coupons, use best practices and communicate full details.
    • Provide the ability for affiliates to deep link to any page on your site.
    • Don't try to get SEO benefits from your affiliates.
    • Make sure your program never goes temporarily offline. Use auto-deposit on ShareASale.com and keep a positive balance on CJ.
    • Maintain a presence everywhere that affiliates go: ABestWeb.com, Affiliate Summit, other conferences or gatherings, conferences for the network(s) you work with, etc.
    Last edited by MichaelColey; November 3rd, 2007 at 10:29 AM.
    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

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  3. #2
    Newbie RichardFulk's Avatar
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    Thumbs up In a word, as a reply to your post "WOW"!
    Granted I am new here but that was extremely informative and as an Affiliate, I had no idea that some merchants could stoop so low as to overright affiliate cookies with that of the cookies from their own newletters. Thank you for all of the great information you've provided here in your post.

    Kind Regards,
    Richard Fulk

  4. #3
    http and a telephoto
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    Nice summary Michael.

    I would add that having a forum here is also a big help to communication and would be considered a Merchant Best Practice.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  5. #4
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    as always... thanks from all of us

  6. #5
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    Thanks for another great contribution. I really hope merchants take just a few minutes to read your postings. They would do well to follow the advice you give in all of your posts like this one.

  7. #6
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    If you have additions, or links to threads that expand on any of these policies, post them and one of the Moderators will update this post.
    Don't forget:

    Many affiliates may not join programs that are not on auto-deposit.

  8. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Great insight Michael, most if not all are in my programs but I will certainly run through these point by point. It is always refreshing to have an affiliates perspective!

  9. #8
    Member TonyCafaro's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thanks Michael
    I am a merchant and rather new to this forum, but man the thread was awesome. I only represent companies with those policies, but because of your thread I am going back ensure my clients are up to date with their phone tracking methods. I absolutely do not want my affiliates missing out THEY ARE IN THE TRENCHES!!! I have spent the last three weeks revamping banners and running activation campaigns.

    Let me throw a piece of advice out though: I recently noticed that I have some multilingual affiliates promoting sites, so this prompted me to come with multilingual banners. So, for all merchants and affiliates alike remember E-Commerce is worldwide.

    Keep the threads coming sometimes the simplest practices are the ones we most easily forget.

  10. #9
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Beginning to print all of this. Thanks for consolidating it all Michael!
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  11. #10
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyCafaro
    I absolutely do not want my affiliates missing out THEY ARE IN THE TRENCHES!!!
    Nice, Tony. I like you. :-)
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  12. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager Stephanie Harris's Avatar
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    Thanks for this, Michael! I thought this was a really concise, thorough list of merchant best practices, and plan on sharing this with the rest of the Schaaf team.
    I would also add to the list to always make sure your program's affiliate team is represented at the major affiliate conferences. This allows the affiliate and the merchant to get to know each other and put faces to names, etc. The merchant should never be this untouchable, anonymous "thing" attached to an email address. This is a business about people and it should be a priority to get to know the people you work with and have them get to know you. Besides, that's the most fun part of the job :-)
    Stephanie Harris
    Schaaf Consulting
    p/f: 323.386.2338
    AIM: stephschaafco
    www.schaafco.com | stephanie@schaafco.com
    Our Programs: Baby Catalog | Blue Bee | Constant Contact | CourseSmart | ForMeToCoupon | Homestead | InTheSwim | Ipsos Survey Panel | LightInTheBox.com | Moosejaw | Mrs. Prindables | Payless ShoeSource | simply youth ministry | SnagAJob.com | Specialty Pool Products

  13. #12
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Affiliate marketing is about relationship building. Do not be suspicious until you have talked. That holds true for the merchant (Affiliate manager) toward the affiliate. It also holds true for the affiliate with the merchant. When both parties are above board you resolve problems and deepen the relationship.

  14. #13
    Member TonyCafaro's Avatar
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    Chucks Right
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    Affiliate marketing is about relationship building. Do not be suspicious until you have talked. That holds true for the merchant (Affiliate manager) toward the affiliate. It also holds true for the affiliate with the merchant. When both parties are above board you resolve problems and deepen the relationship.

    Hey Chuck your definately right I had an payment issue today with one my affiliates. We apparently only credited the account with a portion of the payment, which was substantially short. Being on board and speaking with the affiliate 1 - on - 1 allowed us to have the new payment processed by lunch. I like to reach out and make contact with my affiliates once a week and this method only has delived top notch returns.

  15. #14
    Affiliate Manager David Carter's Avatar
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    I'm proud to say that our program in 100% compliance with Michael's suggestions and improvements are in the works. Thanks Michael for taking time to keep everyone informed. You ROCK!
    David Carter
    MagazinesQuick.com

  16. #15
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    Michael,

    This is awesome, I am bookmarking a few of the points above and will impliment them into our program ASAP. I did not know about coupon scrapers. Thanks again for your posts.

    Cheers,

    Phil Andrews
    Earth Class Mail

  17. #16
    Member lookingfortips's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for your post! I just launched my affiliate program tonight and will be buying a post here as soon as I launch with SAS as well.

    Although I have most of the things you mentioned already done, I am bookmarking this page and going straight down the list to make sure everything in this list is done.

    Thank you again!

    *bookmarked*

  18. #17
    Affiliate Manager izzyprints.com's Avatar
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    Hey, Michael,
    I never did thank you for this posting. This was one of the very first readings of mine when I joined abestweb. The post is a very good insight on what affiliates look for in a good program. It helped me a lot while I was setting up a program of my own.

    Thanks again,
    Torrel Alexis
    Last edited by izzyprints.com; March 16th, 2008 at 03:58 PM. Reason: grammer correction

  19. #18
    Affiliate Manager felipe.cortelezzi's Avatar
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    Great post. I will work to fulfill the bullets given within my program.

    Thanks Michael!


    Regards,
    Felipe Cortelezzi
    Affiliate Manager

  20. #19
    Newbie
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    Michael, why don't you start a Merchant U? I've read so many informative and insightful posts by you that I'd sign up man! Just ordered Geno's book because of the link under one of your posts and I'm hoping it's as good as what you write. Just wanted to tell you how much your posts are appreciated!

  21. #20
    Affiliate Network Rep
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    I did a point-by-point writeup on each of these and how I feel we do on them. Thanks Michael. Your advice is priceless.

  22. #21
    Affiliate Manager harrymond's Avatar
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    Great Post Michael,

    Yes, we do follow most of the points you listed, but yes there are stil few areas of improvement.

    Thanks once again for this invaluable list. i have taken a print out of the same
    Cheers,

    Harry.
    Mondera Affiliate Manager
    http://www.mondera.com/affiliate_support/
    Winner of the LinkShare 2004 Golden Link Awards "Affiliate's Choice Award"
    Winner of the 2002 Abestweb.com "Best Affiliate Program Award"

  23. #22
    Affiliate Manager
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    Smile
    Thanks Michael for the great post! I am new to ABW and am thrilled in the amount of wonderful information available. I am printing your advice now to use as a reference . Thanks again!

  24. #23
    Newbie Petstuff1's Avatar
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    Thank you for some great information here!

  25. #24
    Member
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    Thanks Michael,saved it on my desktop for ready reference.

  26. #25
    Newbie BoostSilver's Avatar
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    Again Michael, great work!

    I plan to go through your list as it applies to my campaign line by line, thanks!

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