10 Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Affiliate Application Approved

Over the past two weeks I have set-up and launched several new affiliate programs. They all outsourced their affiliate program management to us. So, now that they’re up, we have hundreds of new affiliate applications to review. Looking through some of the newer ones this morning, I couldn’t help but highlight the mistakes and problems which I have seen many times before that cause affiliate applications to be declined. I’ve decided to pick ten more frequently occurring ones, and list them in my today’s post (note: in no particular order):

1. Inappropriate categories — Do pay attention to this one (and don’t list your “dating” website in Cosmetics category), as affiliate managers do look at this.

2. Spelling mistakes — I am sure I’m not the only affiliate manager disturbed by these (if you don’t care how your affiliate profile looks, why would I entrust you with the promotion of client’s brand?). Here’s this morning’s example:

3. Invalid URLs / Nonexistent websites — “Website not found” is never the first page you want the affiliate manager to see when they’re checking out the URL you’ve listed on your profile.

4. Irrelevance — If you’re applying into a steaks affiliate program, but on your profile I see websites about hosting and payday loans, I’m confused as to how exactly you plan on selling the steaks.

5. Lacking disclosure — You must have an affiliate link disclosure on your website! Especially if you run “review” type websites like this particular affiliate does:

6. Social only — If the only URL listed on your account is your Twitter URL, your chances of getting approved are really slim. Oh, and that picture of the half-nude woman being among your “Recent Pictures” certainly doesn’t help either:

7. Banner overload — Here’s a sadly typical example of an affiliate page/website overloaded with banners (do not make yours look like this) from one of this morning’s applications:

8. Vagueness — If I arrive at a one-page website and all I see is vague text about the-sky-is-the-limit opportunity (without any specifics of what exactly it is that you do), I’m not going to approve you. And neither will the majority of other affiliate managers.

9. Lack of clear understanding — If you’ve chosen to start an affiliate account, make sure you educate yourself not only about affiliate marketing, in general, but also about the meaning of things (terms, fields, etc) in that affiliate account, in particular. Two weeks ago I wrote about wrongly used “incentive program” field; and here’s a fresh example of an affiliate who isn’t helping himself  there:

10. Please-approve-me-anyway requests — If your application got declined, but the affiliate manager doesn’t burn bridges and they’re open to hearing from you, please put some thought into your follow-up email. Too many are just asking to be reconsidered without providing any reasons for the reconsideration. Tell the merchant/manager about your plans for the promotion of their brand. If they make sense, and the program isn’t on an auto-pilot, there are high chances of getting approved.

Both affiliate managers and affiliates may also find the following earlier posts of mine of help:

12 thoughts on “10 Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Affiliate Application Approved”

  1. We were *just* talking about this in our office. #3, #4, #6 and #9 are the most common reasons we reject partners to our B2B network. For #3 & #8, I’ll also add new sites that don’t have much content or are poorly designed.

    In relation to relevance, I would also add adult, political or religion-affiliated sites should recognize they will not be accepted to many general networks and should seek networks that are focused on those topics exclusively.

  2. All good points as usual, Geno. At the other end of the spectrum are affiliates who do have content and seek relevant products and are turned down because the (usually in-house) Affiliate Manager doesn’t get it. I can understand turning off Auto-approve, but take some time to think while you check out that site. It may be a blog about travel and you sell kitchen products, but you have the best line of mini plastic containers that travelers have been looking for. Once they get to your site they may notice other things and come back again. I thought one of the ideas of affiliate marketing was to bring in new traffic that might not ever hear about your site otherwise. When the affiliate has spelled out their plans and gets no response for reconsideration, it makes you think they have done you a favor by excluding your participation in their program. I think that unless there is a legitimate reason not to accept an affiliate that they should be accepted. This has happened more than once and leads me to think that some have preconceived notions of what they want and have little understanding of how things work.

    1. Nancy, as always, thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts (and experience!) on this one. They are as relevant as ever!

      Since the topic you’ve brought up deserves much more than our two comments, may I quote your above thoughts in a new dedicated-to-the-subject post I already have in mind? I have a couple of additional real-live examples I’d like to share in this regard, building up on what you’ve already said above.

  3. Do you actually look at the rank/number of visitors of the website? Sometimes affiliate programs would ask about a “monthly visitors” stats, and it seems like you can put whatever you want. Or not? What are the chances they will actually know/care about your real traffic?

  4. Jenny, we do, but this is more important when an affiliate charges a placement fee (in addition to the CPA arrangement). In most cases that “monthly visitors” KPI is not a metric that can/should influence the affiliate manager’s decision for or against approving an affiliate into their program. I’ve seen niche sites (with very modest monthly UVs) beat huge news portals as far as the actual referrals went.

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    1. A Bulgarian affiliate network. They haven’t translated the post, but linked to it, providing a brief description of what the post is about (which I’m absolutely fine with).

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