Automatic Approval of Affiliate Applications (AAAA) is a mistake commonly spread among new and seasoned affiliate program managers alike. If automatic declines of affiliate applications can be destructive to the development of your affiliate program, automatic approvals may end up costing the merchant significantly more than an auto-declined application.
The main reason for the danger of the AAAA approach actually matches the reason why automatic declines are a bad idea; and it is the immediacy of consequences. The reason why these consequences can be more deadly in cases with AAAA is because the open-door approval policy can let unwanted affiliates into your program, and an approval of an unwanted affiliate is naturally significantly worse than a non-approval of a decent affiliate.
I know of affiliate program managers who practice auto-approval, but diligently monitor all auto-approved applications on an ongoing basis. The thinking behind practicing a Monitored AAAA approach is this: if an affiliate who has the right traffic, finds my program and decides to give it a try, it is best to get their application approved immediately (so that they could start promoting the merchant right away). While there is logic behind such an approach, I would argue that even Monitored AAAA is dangerous. Since no affiliate program manager is on duty 24/7, the if a rogue affiliate is auto-approved into a program, they will have their time to cause damage to your brand while you’re sleeping. Yes, you will be able to reverse any unwanted transactions, but the brand damage is seldomly fully reversable (as an example, imagine that this were your auto-approved affiliate). Therefore, in my opinion, the negatives that even Monitored AAAA may lead to, always outweight the positives (because the immediacy of negative consequences is always more critical than the immediacy of positive consequences).
Are you practicing an Automatic Approval of Affiliate Applications? If so, I hope you rethink your approach upon reading this post.