5 Claims That Turn Affiliates Off

You know the phrase “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”? Well, it is exactly the same way with affiliate program descriptions: an affiliate will rarely give it a second look if it has made a bad impression during the very first read.

Being the first detailed page on what your affiliate program is and how it works, it must shine — listing the top pieces of information affiliates care about, staying within 250 words or less, following a particular format, avoiding unnecessary phrases and other mistakes — but shining also comes from being authentic, concrete, and not littering your text with claims that turn affiliates off.

If I had to rank the top 5 claims that don’t belong in any affiliate program description, they would be:

1. “We’re in the top 10 matches for [abc keyword] and [xyz keyword] on all search engines.”
— So what? How does it help the affiliate?

2. “Our program will generate consistent sales.”
— How do you know? I always thought that the responsibility for conversion is mutual (one party can never guarantee it).

3. “You will earn/make [$X] in [X] days/months”
— Really? And where exactly could you know that from?

4. “We’ll have your site visitors coming back again and again for high quality at the best price.”
— Unless you can have them “coming back again and again” through my affiliate link, or have a way to ensure lifetime affiliate commissions, this is another unnecessary phrase.

5. “We’re the number one affiliate program”
— That’s quite a claim! May I see comparisons with Amazon’s, and eBay’s affiliate programs, to begin with?

NOTE: All of the above have been taken from actual affiliate program descriptions.

Also, while it’s pretty obvious that you don’t want to do it, I often see unattractive stats (e.g.: “conversion of 0.2%” or “EPC of $2.59”), false claims (e.g.: “many of our top affiliates earn $25,000/mo” when I see that a program is a 2-bar merchant on CJ), or questionable statements (e.g.: “lowest prices available on the web” or “largest selection available online”) in affiliate program descriptions. Don’t do that! Good affiliates (the ones I hope you’re trying to recruit) are smart people, and quickly separate the wheat from the chaff.

If you’re reading this as an affiliate, and can think of something that I have missed, please chime in below!

9 thoughts on “5 Claims That Turn Affiliates Off”

  1. The other thing that instantly turns me off are references to “super affiliates.” I often see descriptions that say things like “Our Super Affiliates make X amount” or “We work with Super Affiliates to help them blah blah blah.” Who are these Super Affiliates and what do I care about them? Are you saying that they are getting special treatment or that I will get special treatment if I am a Super Affiliate as well? It comes across as pretentious to me.

  2. selling to affiliates is the hardest as we tend to spot bs claims quite well … good networks usually stand out in forums and that’s how I usually find them

    1. True. And though I was talking primarily about affiliate program descriptions, the same is true about proactive merchants, and affiliate program managers.

  3. I know you’re talking CPS, but walk though any affiliate conference expo hall and you’ll hear time and time again “exclusive offers” and “highest payouts”. It’s so bad, it’s become a joke in the industry.

    Back to CPS… some networks, like ShareASale, give true program metrics, like average commission, return rate, etc. If the network reports average commission is one thing, but you’re wildly different in your program description, something fishy is going on.

  4. Hi Geno,
    Wow this is fun…we can add our pet hates to yours! Mine is more related to sales pages. I hate when I see a sales page or similar that says “this is how i earn $4,000 a week….” Grrrr..


  5. I slightly disagree with your 1st and 4th points

    1) Search engines are trusting and valuing that particular website, that is why it is ranking for a few keywords. When an affiliate also recommends that merchant, it is double

    It is eventually increases the credibility and there by more sales and more commission for the affiliates

    2) Repeated sales from the same customer is absolutely an encouragement for the affiliates. The cookie life of most merchants are 30-60-120 days, some even provide lifetime cookie. Cookies will be lost if manually removed but that is another issue.

    Suppose you are promoting an online printing service with 120 days cookie life. The customer will definitely comeback if the service is good. He may order 5 more times in that period of 120 days. So the affiliate is getting commissions 5 times from the same customer.

    Isn’t that a good motivation for any affiliate?

    Just my thoughts

    1. Nikhil, thank you for your comment.

      On #1: While I agree that merchant search engine rankings do increase credibility (in the eyes of the end-user), they are a lame argument in selling your affiliate program to prospective affiliates. Had the merchant mentioned prizes, awards, rankings, etc… it would’ve been a different story.

      On #4: Good point, and, I guess I should’ve included a few more qualifiers (or disqualifiers?) in there… This is a good one only if you offer long cookie life, and reward affiliates for return customers.

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