Rules Ignored by Affiliates and Affiliate Managers. Worldwide!

Yesterday, as I was looking through the moderation queue (of “discussions” submitted) in the Affiliate Program Management group I run on LinkedIn, I was once again struck by the fact that on a weekly basis we have group members (including affiliate managers at some of the world’s top brands) who just do not care to play by the rules:

And nearly every time I email the violator, it becomes obvious that they haven’t even read the rules. No wonder why they don’t comply.

Coincidentally, inspired by my recent post on affiliates not always reading program policies, Mikhail Garkunov, head of marketing at a Russian affiliate network, ran a poll on whether Russian affiliates read affiliate program agreements prior to applying. The poll has just closed and he summarized its results at Here’s the translation of his pie-chart:

Apparently, the situation in Russia is even worse that what we see in the U.S. (or maybe they are just being more honest?). We see that only 22.7% always read affiliate program policies. 12.1% said that they often do so. 35.6% answered between sometimes to rarely, while nearly one-third of respondents admitted that they never do. Sobering, isn’t it?

Conclusions? Aren’t they self-evident? Some recommendations would be suitable though… Here are the three I’d like to leave you with:

  1. Whatever your agreement is, precede it an eloquent to-the-point summary of its key points;
  2. Always include an “I agree to be bound by these terms and conditions” button/checkbox/radio button which could not be by-passed;
  3. Do not presume that if they have applied they’ve carefully read your rules and consciously agreed to them

…and back we go the necessity of policing. Rules and agreements give us good foundation to enforce them. However, unfortunately, they themselves do not safeguard us from violations.

6 thoughts on “Rules Ignored by Affiliates and Affiliate Managers. Worldwide!”

  1. Sounds a basic thing Geno, and I can see why people often overlook rules as they make the inaccurate presumption that they will be the same everywhere, and that perhaps there may not be anyone who will actually enforce these.

    Whatever the false sense of entitlement to disregard rules, it’s quite rude and disrespectful to the individual to whom the programme/group belongs.

    1. I think part of the problem is precisely in the fact that this is so basic. By extension, we presume that once they’ve agreed, they’ve really agreed to comply. In reality, though, we end up with infested affiliate programs, “discussion groups” full of junk, blogs full of comment spam, and so on, and so forth.

    1. Thanks, Dave. There are a number of current situations when on affiliate networks where while every merchant expects prospective affiliates to review these policies, they can still apply into an affiliate program without even seeing these. Hence, the suggestion.

  2. People can’t usually be bothered to read the rules. When they see others breaking them, they follow suit, thinking it is OK to recruit affiliates in your group. It’s just herd mentality for rules they are unaware of.

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