Rhianna’s comment to my previous post has brought up an extremely important point. Some merchants believe they are being proactive when they terminate relationship with affiliates or remove them from their affiliate programs. Email notifications where merchants tell (or would “command” be a better choice of verbs here?) their affiliates: do something (and quick), “or we will have to remove you from the program” [example] abound all around. Merchants that practice such an approach are obviously missing the main point: affiliates are not employees. Terminating relationships with them (unless they are clearly violating your program’s T’s and C’s) will hurt the merchant more than it will hurt the affiliate (they will find a replacement, and direct their traffic right to your competitor, you can be sure of that!)
I touched upon the question of affiliate termination when I wrote about the application of Nigel Nicholson’s principles in the affiliate program management context, as well as when I discussed Alexander Hiam’s observations on effective employee motivation. Termination of relationships with affiliates burns bridges that will often be impossible to rebuild at a later date. It involves two parties (merchant and affiliate) to erect that bridge anew, and in many cases the latter will no longer be willing to partner with the former.
Think twice before you hit that “delete” button. The consequences may be more far-reaching that you can envisage.