Most affiliate programs are offered through sites such as Commission Junction, LinkShare, ClickBank or one of many similar sites. You really don’t have to worry too much about the quality of these programs as the participating companies are checked out thoroughly before hand. If you decide to join an independent affiliate program then there are a number of things you should do to make sure the program is bona fide and you’re going to get paid on time.
Examine the affiliate site thoroughly to make sure the contact details are accurate. Email or call the number to be satisfied that if your customers call the number with a problem, it will be answered quickly. The Whois database is also extremely helpful and a general internet search should turn up anything detrimental about the company and its practices.
Affiliate Marketing Terms and Conditions
Many affiliate marketing companies stipulate that you can’t use their logo or trade names within a domain name. There are many other guidelines that you should follow, and if you decide on one particular form of marketing be sure that is allowed under the company’s terms and conditions. If you break any of their rules you may be surprised by an e-mail from their legal department, or worse you will be told to take down your website.
Check out how long it takes for the company to answer queries. You are as valuable, if not more so, than a one-time customer. You should get an automatic autoresponder once you send a question stating how long it will take them to answer. If it takes longer than that, then move on. If you do get a response within the stated time, just do a quick check that the URL and the company or network’s domain name matches. If the company is outsourcing this work to third parties overseas then the chances are if you run into a real problem it’s going to become a major hassle.
Be sure to check out this section of the company’s site for your own peace of mind. You want to know exactly when you will be paid and how you will be paid – and you should be given a couple of different options. How long before a cookie expires? This means if a potential customer was to click on a link on your website but not purchase immediately, but come back later to do so, how much time do they have before you don’t earn a commission for the sale. Many companies offer 60 or 90 day cookies, some longer.
Make sure you’re not going to be suckered into paying fees for anything such as a tracking system. I don’t care what they say this information should be provided for free and be updated in real-time.
Have you ever encountered a really bad affiliate opportunity? Tell us about the problems you had so others can learn from your experience.