A year ago IAB UK released an updated Ethical Merchant Charter, a document that “offers guidance on how merchants can strengthen their relationships with affiliates through increased transparency. The Charter primarily focused on increasing “the knowledge of merchants by outlining to them that they need to treat publishers as partners.” [see it here]
In the U.S. we do not have such recommendations from anyone (yet). However, transparency is, certainly, no less important than it is over the pond; and it goes both ways (not only should merchants be expected to be such, but affiliates too).
I’ve had an incentive affiliate apply into one of the affiliate programs we manage on Commission Junction (CJ). As described elsewhere, on CJ affiliates may enter a “Special Program” description. Very seldom, however, are the cases that a merchant sees one as straightforward as what this particular affiliate had:
Four and a half years ago, I wrote that incentive or loyalty affiliates, generally, do not work well for pay-per-lead affiliate programs.
Yesterday was the first time (in 13+ years) that I’ve seen an affiliate explicitly state it in their “special program” description. But this sort of transparency is important both for the affiliate (not to have their commissions/payouts reversed later), and for the merchant (to know right from the outset what to expect).
Whether you are just establishing affiliate-merchant relationships, or are working on maintaining them, transparency goes a long way in ensuring they develop in a healthy and productive way.