Every time I buy something I try to do it through an affiliate link (my modest attempt to ensure affiliate marketing does grow to $4 billion by 2014). That is why you’ll often see me tweeting out requests for an affiliate link to this or that merchant… So, prior to placing an order I (a) check if the merchant has an affiliate program, and then (b) see if any of my affiliate friends or followers have a link for me, and (c) once I receive the link — buy.
Since between steps B and C there’s frequently a time gap of a few minutes, I like to spend this time giving the merchant’s program a little closer of a look. I look at their program’s stats, creatives, program agreement, past affiliate newsletters (when available), etc. But out of all it always the merchant’s agreement and policies that are always of most interest to me.
Not too long ago I blogged about a confused merchant who prohibited the use of their URL for the paid search campaigns display URL, yet “allowed” direct linking. Today I’d like to give you an example of a merchant who knows exactly what they’re doing:
Those more experienced in affiliate marketing can quickly tell that the above merchant runs their affiliate program on Commission Junction (CJ). Those readers who run (or have ever tried setting an affiliate program up) on CJ, know that to host your full affiliate program agreement on CJ you’re charged an additional (substantial, in my opinion) fee. Having said this, CJ does give you an opportunity to spell out your specific affiliate policies in a concise form, and this merchant has utilized this function very well. They’ve covered policies related to paid search, domains, content, coupons, and CPA-network/subaffiliate — and all in just 161 words. While some of their policies may not be right for all merchants, this is definitely a good example to consider while working on your own affiliate program rules.