On Monday morning I tweeted:
Affiliates, when setting up affiliate network acct do NOT put “None” into incentive program description. It marks you as incentive affiliate
— Geno Prussakov (@ePrussakov) May 21, 2012
I have been getting questions about that tweet. So, let me elaborate on it, as I believe it to be important.
Here’s the example I was referring to:
This is how on Commission Junction (CJ) an affiliate manager sees what affiliates enter for the description of their “special program” or “incentive program” [more about incentive (or loyalty) affiliates here]. Now, I can understand how some may think of coupons and discounts as “incentives” (which they aren’t in this particular sense). But why in the world would anyone mark themselves as an “incentive affiliate”, entering “None” (or anything along those lines) is beyond me.
While I’m not a fan of automatic affiliate declining, in some situations it makes sense to decline certain types of affiliates automatically. Continuing to stick with CJ as an example, here’s how merchants can set up that “Auto Decline”:
You can see that on this affiliate network the “Auto Decline” can be tied to two things: (i) country, or (ii) presence of “special programs” in the affiliate profile. If, for example, it is a pay-per-lead affiliate program, they may choose to auto-decline incentive affiliates to avoid getting “leads” that weren’t interested in their service in the first place (but rather: were looking to get the cash/points/incentive that the loyalty affiliate promised for completing certain steps). Therefore, by marking yourself as a “special program” affiliate — when, in reality, you aren’t one — you will end up being automatically declined from programs that have chosen to auto-decline this type of affiliates.
By all means, do complete as much of your affiliate profile as possible (it is important for affiliate managers that care about their programs, and carefully review affiliate profiles), but don’t “overdo” it. If you don’t know what something means, ask. Thankfully, there are plenty of places where you can get your questions answered free of charge.
On the other side of the fence, affiliate program managers should keep this type of mistake in mind, and when possible, go away from that auto-decline, but
just as shown on the above image choose to manually review affiliates with special/incentive programs.