20 Reasons For Affiliates Not To Work With Certain Merchants

When an affiliate takes time to post their thoughts on what annoys them, merchants should take heed… Such is the case with Logan Thompson’s recent 10 Reasons Affiliates Don’t Like Your Website blog post, and I fully agree with Joe Sousa’s tweet:

In addition to the 10 website-related concerns that Logan has outlined in his above-quoted post, I’d like to add 10 more reasons why affiliates, instead of joining your affiliate program, may just go straight to your competitor. These are:

1. Uncompetitive offer(s) — If you aren’t more attractive to the end-user than the other store, don’t expect many affiliates to promote you.

2. Unreliable/unknown tracking platform — As Mike Allen put it, “Ultimately, affiliates need solid tracking and payments. Everything else is icing on the cake!”

3. Poor/inexistent tracking of alternative payment options — Be it Google Checkout, PayPal, or anything else, you want to ensure that payment made via these methods are properly tracked via your affiliate program.

4. Poor graphics — Be it product images, affiliate banners, or any other graphics, it must be of top notch quality. Period!

5. Low commission/payouts — If you’re paying less than your direct competitors, don’t hope for much in affiliate marketing. Same applies to previous history of commission drops.

6. High reversal rate — Not many affiliate platforms let affiliates see this information up front, but all affiliates find this data sooner or later. If your affiliate program has a high reversal rate, you won’t succeed.

7. Inaccessible affiliate manager — When a prospective affiliate does not know how, or cannot connect with your affiliate program’s manager, it’s never a good sign for them. They won’t assume it will be different when they have a problem to take care of.

8. Short cookie life — I, generally, recommend setting the default affiliate cookie life at the 60-90 days or higher [see my arguments for it here and here].

9. Vague program descriptions — “Best conversions in the industry”, “highest payouts”, “unbelievably high average order value”… Cut the BS! Talk exact statistics, and real-life successes (without giving out any sensitive info, of course).

10. Lack of personalization — Nothing devalues your affiliate more than calling him/her a “Dear Valued Affiliate” at the very outset of your email. Be personal and relevant too. Otherwise, even if they’re already aboard your program, you won’t motivate them to go out of their way for you.

If something important has been missed (between Logan’s post and mine), please do add it in the “Comments” are below. My blog is read by multiple merchants and affiliate program managers. So, your comments will definitely be seen by the right eyes.

9 thoughts on “20 Reasons For Affiliates Not To Work With Certain Merchants”

    1. Thank you, Logan, and thanks for putting that post together, in the first place. United we will make merchants and affiliate managers more educated.

  1. you forgot one.

    heavily pushing a offer that has a small cap and then is gone in a few days to a couple of weeks. (how to suck money out of an affiliates pockets for testing with no hope of them making profit)

    want to tell me how you optimize that campaign and make it profitable offer networks ?

    we had the same issue in the financial world. we solved it this way.

    Try to buy an annuity and then back out in 2 days. You can and you will forfeit 90% of your investment. Wait a yr. drops to 80% and so on.

    But, until then the smart larger companies will keep using affiliates for ‘testing data’ and very cheaply too. Can we say “BLOCKBUSTER”

  2. #2 is the biggest one to me right off the bat. If they don’t have one that I don’t trust, there is no way I will run with them unless they can somehow convince me. And it must be a killer exclusive offer as well. Good list Geno.

  3. Logan’s #4 is also mentioned in your new book, Geno. I was surprised to read that many affiliates assume that when a phone number is displayed on a merchant’s site it’s a leak. That’s not always the case. If affiliates send visitors to our site where we display a phone number and the visitor calls and a sale is converted, the referring affiliate is credited with the commission.

    I wonder how this can be best communicated to prospective affiliates before they join a program. Potential affiliates may check out the merchant’s sales pages which have the phone number displayed, make the assumption that it’s a leak and move on deciding not to join that program when in fact, the phone number could be a high converting tool for them.

    1. Erin, it’s awesome that you track affiliate-referred phone transactions in addition to the online ones. Very few merchants do, and it is commendable when someone does. This is your competitive advantage, and I would stress it (bold font, and everything) right in your program description. I always emphasize it in program bios of my clients who are equipped to track phone sales. Everyone should.

  4. One thing that never stops annoying me is the fact that merchants give affiliate links to their own sales page.

    If, through the content of the affiliate site, the customer wants to buy stuff they do not want to go through the whole buzz of reading long sales pages again and being confronted with up- and downsells. They want to buy, period!
    All other is simply annoying and might even keep them from buying goods.

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