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Thread: Clueless affiliate programmes

  1. #1
    Marketing Mentor Mikl is a Premium Member
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    Clueless affiliate programmes

    In another thread, Kay complained about affiliate managers who seem to have no idea of the needs of affiliates or how to run an affiliate programme. This struck a chord with me, because I've seen too many poorly organised affiliate programmes - and especially programmes where those running it don't seem to know how to communicate with their affiliates.

    Some examples:

    1. Affiliate sites that won't give you any of the essential information about the programme unless you register as an affiliate. By "essential information", I'm thinking of things like the commission structure, the "latency" (the maximum permitted period between the customer clicking on your link and making a qualifying purchase), the rules governing affiliates' own purchases, and other stuff like that. In other words, you have to join the programme before you can decide if you want to join the programme. And, having signed up, if you decide not to go ahead for the time being, you risk having your account closed as inactive, which makes it difficult to get started at a later date.

    2. Programmes where the vendor (the company whose products you are selling) insist on the affiliate using only the vendor's own banners or other promotional material, or only HTML (for the affiliate links) that they have approved. This restricts the affiliate's ability to promote the products in a way that works best for their site. For example, you might prefer to write full reviews of the products, rather than to promote it with display advertising.

    3. Value Added Tax (VAT). (This is only relevant where both the vendor and the affiliate are EU-based.) It's often difficult or impossible to get the vendor to pay any VAT due on the commission. They typically rely on a get-out clause that says that "local taxes are the affilate's responsibility". But if the affiliate is a company, and the company is registered for VAT, then it is legally obliged to collect the VAT from the vendor.

    4. Payment methods. Some vendors insist on paying commission by PayPal. That's unlikely to be a problem if the affiliate is an individual or a very small business. But many companies are only geared up to receiving payment by more traditional means, such as cheque or bank transfer. It is a hassle to change their systems to cope with exceptional cases - not to mention the extra cost of using PayPal.

    Interestingly, none of the above points apply to the biggest of all affiliate vendors: Amazon. But Amazon have a major snag of their own: they are country-specific. You have to open a separate affiliate account each for national Amazon company; and each of your affiliate links can only point to one of those companies. So if your site attracts visitors from, say, the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, you end up providing four separate links for each product; if the customer chooses the "wrong" link, they might be discouraged from buying the product (because of unfamiliar currency, higher-than-expected delivery charges, etc), and in some cases they might not even be allowed to buy the product.

    Anyway, that's my opinion, based on my own experiences with affiliate marketing. I'm sure some of you will disagree with the above points - or can add further complaints that haven't mentioned. Feel free to comment.


  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Mikl For This Useful Post:

    Chabrenas (23 July 2014), Clinton (23 July 2014), David S (23 July 2014), dsieg58 (23 July 2014), Kay (28 July 2014)

  3. #2
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Oh no! I wish I had never seen this thread. You made me choke on my Mini Cheddars (breakfast) and now I'll be here all day adding my complaints and tales of woe. Why did you have to get me started?

    Picking up on your point 2. The vendor's promotional materials. Aarghh! They often leave a lot to be desired. The good ones will give you a variety of sizes to choose from and also a range including generic ones and specific promotions, eg Christmas, summer holidays, Spain specials, etc. Lots to choose from and you can use them all or some as appropriate to the content of your site. Sometimes you can even make a new page to suit an interesting new promotion they have. This is great! They're helping me to sell their goods/services.

    The bad ones hardly give you anything to work with. For example, let's say I had a blog for serious artists (I don't), and I am affiliated with a merchant with an excellent range of art supplies - everything from top quality canvases, artist quality paints, kangaroo tail-hair brushes, the lot. They give you one stupid full size banner with "Back to school. Get your crayons here!" on it. And that's your lot. Grrr. Standard banners don't sit well on most blog postings and none of my audience needs crayons to go back to school. You sell some marvellous products, why can't you even offer a generic square, say 250 x 250, that says, "Get your art supplies here!" And when you try to tell them they're making things difficult for you, they just don't understand.

    Another thing along the same line is Christmas. Around September, they get into a frenzy about Christmas. Every darned banner is Christmas this, Christmas that, Christmas the next thing. They don't seem to consider that maybe your blog is about travel for Islamic dentists. Nah, it's all Christmas. OK so Christmas passes and you're hoping for some new creatives. It's mid-January and it's still only Christmas promotions available. February passes. March. April. Hey! Did you forget to update your banners or something? I can't use Christmas ones mid-April.

    The cries for help fall upon deaf ears. Never mind, there's only a few months to go until the next festive retail frenzy.

    I think that's enough for now but I expect I'll pop back later when I've calmed down enough to type more.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

    The joy of Internet delivery - the cartoon illustrating this will make you laugh!

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to Kay For This Useful Post:

    Mikl (28 July 2014)

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