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Affiliate programs – watch out for leaks

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday April 2, 2011 )

Commission leaks are an unfortunate part of affiliate marketing, but if a merchant is using decent software; it shouldn’t be so much an issue. It’s surprising how many merchants still don’t.

One of the most common ways to lose commissions is when cookies are deleted – cookies are still a pretty important part of affiliate tracking; but additional tools such as IP tracking and grabbing email details on a landing page can help minimize this happening.

No matter what you do, you’ll always lose a few commissions though, no matter how solid the tracking system. What irks me in this day and age of very good affiliate software that only costs a few hundred dollars, that some merchants don’t use it and instead cobble together systems with holes big enough to drive a truck through. Sometimes this is done on purpose to cheat affiliates out of revenue, other times it’s just ignorance.

For example, I was recently asked to join an affiliate program that showed some promise. The concept and products were good, the revenue share was okay and it would have done very well – for the merchant.

Once we got down to tin tacks and I was able to look at the system, I found the following potential commission leaks – and none of these were minor:

a) No cookies – if the person I refer didn’t purchase on their first visit to the merchant site, but on a subsequent visit, no commission for me.

b) Landing page had a subscription box that didn’t tie in with my affiliate ID. This meant free lead building for the merchant who would market to these folks at a later date. In the product category, those email leads were worth at least 50c to a buck each.

c) Social bookmarking links on the landing page to promote the offer. Again, not tied in with my affiliate ID, so more substantial potential free sales for the merchant on the back of my work.

d) Insecure account interface. All you needed to know was the statistics URL and the affiliate ID (which could be found in the source code of the page of any partner) and you could see that partner’s revenue and traffic stats. The account interface wasn’t even secured with a password.

As mentioned, as good affiliate software is available for just a couple of hundred bucks these days, there’s no excuses for a merchant not to have a solid affiliate platform.

The unfortunate thing is many affiliates don’t know what to look for when considering an affiliate program. They start promoting the product, perhaps even making a few bucks – but they are likely missing out on far more. Many are blinded by the promises of big bucks to be made or huge revenue share percentages. The problem is 75% of 0 still equals zero.

Learn more about the tricks and traps – affiliate marketing survival strategies.


Affiliate software review


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