An interesting topic has been brought up by one of my blog’s readers in the comments to the How to Deal With Mistakes post. Anthony Bloch wrote that in the affiliate program management context “the problem is” that one cannot teach an affiliate manager or merchant “to be responsive”. “They either get it” or deserve being “outed on blogs, forums, etc.”
I’ve been thinking about this topic (of outing merchants on blogs, forums and through other social media channels) for awhile, and as I have mentioned in my response to Anthony, I believe that an affiliate can actually be quite effective in educating a merchant/affiliate program manager. Some of the newer affiliate managers can learn a lot if affiliates contact them about the problems they see within affiliate programs. Of course, there are situations when merchants are too stubborn and/or too arrogant to learn, or make decisions that show utter disrespect to affiliates (here are just a couple of examples: Jangro’s experience | FlamingoGirl’s experience); but in many cases being slightly more tolerant, and not rushing to condemning conclusions, can benefit all parties involved.
I like Anthony’s two-attempts approach. I believe that contacting the affiliate program manager (or merchant) directly should always be the first step. Any error could always be committed out of meer ignorance. Same applies to merchants dealing with affiliates. Talk to each other! It’s amazing how productive a communication can be when a problem is faced. Of course, it requires a two-way communication channel, and its very existence depends on the both on the merchant’s, and the affiliate’s efforts.