4 Reasons Advertisers Should Police Affiliate Activity

Monitor at all times!As I was working on a presentation for one of my upcoming speaking engagements, I had to outline a few short, solid and sobering reasons why every advertiser who has an affiliate program should actively police affiliate activity, or require their affiliate program managers to do so (reporting on it regularly).

Here are the four that I’ve come up with:

Reason #1: Potential brand damage

You are entrusting affiliates with your most valuable asset — your brand. Wouldn’t you want to ensure that it is being represented appropriately?

Reason #2: Potential channel cannibalization

Some types of affiliate activity (for instance, affiliate adware) will cannibalize your other marketing efforts (e.g.: paid search, organic traffic, and even direct type-ins of your URL into the browser’s address bar), causing you to pay commission on sales that weren’t primarily driven by affiliates.

Reason #3: “Last click wins” model

Since most present-day affiliate programs rely on the “last click wins” rule, even one violator in your affiliate program jeopardizes your whole program. One bad apple directly affects the whole bunch! If/when they set their cookie due to a violation — other affiliates suffer. And affiliates are smart. The more savvy of them (hence, potentially valuable to you!) will uncover the violators in your program even before applying into it. And if they do, chances of them investing their time, money and effort into marketing you are going to be nil.

Reason #4: TOS won’t protect you

Your affiliate program’s Terms of Service agreement (or any affiliate policies you may have in place, however well-thought-out they may be) does not guarantee any affiliate’s compliance with it. It gives you grounds to enforce the compliance, but does not safeguard you unless you police this compliance. Additionally, affiliates will not always read your TOS, anyway.

Are you actively policing yet?

About Geno Prussakov

CEO & Founder of AM Navigator – an award-winning OPM agency. Founder & Chair of Affiliate Management Days conference. Author of numerous books including "Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day" (2011) and "Quick Start Guide to Affiliate Marketing" (2013), international speaker, marketing consultant, affiliate and influencer marketing evangelist.

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4 Responses to “4 Reasons Advertisers Should Police Affiliate Activity”

  1. BrandVerity says:

    #4 is especially resonant. Just as the law doesn’t enforce itself in our society (we still need judges, attorneys, juries, police officers, etc.), you simply cannot expect your affiliate agreements to ensure compliance on their own.

    Always a valuable reminder. Thanks for this.

    • Exactly. They (affiliate agreements) won’t (ensure compliance)! They simply can’t. Advertisers should have them as the first stronghold, but treat them as the foundation (not means of) compliance enforcement.

  2. Exactly! They (affiliate agreements) won’t (ensure compliance). They simply can’t. Advertisers should have them as the first stronghold, but treat them as the foundation (not means of) compliance enforcement.

  3. Great post Geno! Trust and confidence will bring advertisers and their affiliates to success. A little of background check and investigation won’t hurt though.

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