I have been thinking and discussing the issue of parasitic affiliates a lot over the past 40 hours (since the publication of this post, and the recording of this video), and there are 2 things that stand out to me as the main downsides of having a parasitic/adware adware affiliate aboard an affiliate program:
1. Channel cannibalization which I have illustrated vividly in my yesterday’s post.
2. Growth hindrance which I have touched upon back in February [see this post], but would like to re-emphasize today as well.
By having an open-door policy for parasitic affiliates, merchants (or often it’s their affiliate program managers – remunerated on performance basis – who are doing this, and the merchant isn’t even aware) hinder the growth of their affiliate program. We hear the talk about super affiliates all the time. Where does one find them? How does one get them on board of an affiliate program? By cleaning it up!! No serious affiliate will join an affiliate program that is actively partnering with parasites. They would much rather promote your competitor. Yes, the immediate results of partnering with an adware affiliate may look attractive, but the moment you do, your affiliate program loses its long-term growth potential.