Lowering Affiliate Commission Rates = Big Mistake

Every once in a while affiliates post (in blog, forum, or other social media channel) about merchants lowering the affiliate commission rates in their affiliate programs. History also testifies that this happens not only with smaller brands, but larger online merchants were caught doing this as well. Some justify commission drops by inaccurate initial calculation of the default commission level, others by financial constraints, but no reason will ever be good enough reason in the eyes of the affiliates.

You want to make your calculations right at the very outset. Lowering the commission rate (permanently or even temporarily) at any time during the life of your affiliate program is a grave mistake.  It can easily bury your reputation, and your affiliate program. Put yourself into your affiliates’ shoes and you will understand why.

Respect your affiliates, and let your actions mirror this respect. You can go up, but never, never, never go down on that commission rate.

4 thoughts on “Lowering Affiliate Commission Rates = Big Mistake”

  1. Totally agree Geno. Your posts are very practical. What about an affiliate who doesn’t respect you? What if they ignore repeated email/contact attempts, are using coupons that are not approved, etc.? Also, what if this affiliate is one of your best (in terms of sales)…what then?

  2. Good point, Patrick. The respect is to be mutual, and affiliates that are ignoring merchant’s contact attempts, continuing to violate either the T’s & C’s, or the commonsense ethical norms (stealing exclusive coupons from other affiliates, etc) should be removed from the affiliate program.

  3. Hi Geno — so if I’m looking to reduce my affiliate spend, what are some other ways to do that besides just lowering commission rates? Would it be changing the compensation structure, or something else?

    1. Josh, let me first double-check if/tahat I get your question right: are you a merchant/advertiser (with existing affiliate program) who looks to lower your spend on the affiliate program?

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