An affiliate wrote:
I am one of your affiliates and have an affiliate link on my web site www.hisURLhere.com for your store. My site is new this month and I’m working on building traffic (which would benefit both of us) by getting others to link to my site. I was wondering if you could add a link to my site.
No, it would not “benefit both of us”, and here are the 3 main reasons why:
1. Leakage + Conversion Attribution Problem. By adding a link to your site, we will add a window for the traffic to leak from the merchant’s website to yours. The if the visitor that “leaked out” clicks the merchant’s link on your website (which will obviously be an affiliate link), returns to the merchant’s website and makes a purchase, the merchant then has to pay you a commission on the visitor that they initially referred to you.
2. Unfair Advantage. If a merchant adds a direct link to one affiliate, why are they favoring only one out of hundreds or thousands of others?
3. No SEO Value. Finally, there is actually no SEO value in exchanging a direct link for an affiliate link. If the merchant links to you through your www.hisURLhere.com URL, whereas you link to them through an affiliate URL (this particular merchant runs their affiliate program through ShareASale; so your link to them will look something like this: http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=BANNERNMBR&u=AFFILIATEID&m=MERCHANTID), the merchant doesn’t gain any SEO benefit from such a link exchange, whereas you do.