One of the very essences of this site is ways to make money using affiliate marketing, something I have strongly believed in for some time. But recent events have shaken my confidence in the system of affiliate marketing broken promises.
Since 2009 when I first started out as an affiliate, I’ve only hit a big run during the summer of 2010 which has been hard to duplicate ever since. Some of those years have been very lean where I had only a few sales amounting to less than $10 which is impossible to live on let alone continue to operate without help from other sources.
My faith in affiliate marketing was partially restored when I started making money again with some of my Amazon affiliate niche sites this past summer. However I was looking for my biggest payday from another program I became completely focused on and dedicated to working on it since the end of April of last year.
Not only that, but I invested a large amount of money to be part of that program, something I have questioned the wisdom of my decision more than once. Kinda like Jack must of felt when he bought those magic beans with everything he had left.
Then I started to make sales and saw my first payout from its results in December even though it was a nominal amount. It was like I had reached a milestone which inspired me to look forward to achieving even more, that was until the rug was pulled out.
The rules keep changing as we continue to go, a problem that can happen when you sign up with a privately run program by the vendor themselves. A casual mention in a webinar is not the way to do business or notify those involved with important changes that directly impact them.
Like any professional affiliate marketing program offer, there should be an agreement to sign. Any changes made in that agreement should be sent to each affiliate in the program and a formal acknowledgment of receiving and accepting it is often required. Otherwise you don’t really have a legally binding contract and become victim to whatever whim strikes the promoter of the program.
I don’t always agree with these affiliate contracts (Amazon comes to mind), but you know what is expected up front from the start. That is why programs like Amazon, Clickbank, Shareasale, and others are popular because they let you know of their changes and make sure you understand by signing before you can proceed. Try logging in to your affiliate dashboard when you haven’t signed the latest updated agreement… you can’t!
Whenever I run into a roadblock like this, I try to find an alternate route. It may take some time, but ultimately I do even if it means I have to walk away and start somewhere else. With Amazon for example, I don’t like their 24 hour tracking cookie because most sales made online are often not made on the first visit. So I have “found” a work-a-round which is a plugin that help boost that cookie to 90 days which is more fair.
Other problems are not so obvious but seem to rear their ugly head once you are deeply involved with the program. I was quite angry with Clickbank in the past when I wasn’t paid from them. I had passed the commission minimum but didn’t get paid. The problem ended up being that I had to make at least 5 completed orders from different sources (methods) before they would pay me. Until I reached that requirement, no pay! In the meantime, every month that went by, a service fee was charged and my balance due to me kept being reduced.
Each time I run into these issues without resolve, I end up cooling my relationship (involvement) with their program and look for better terms from another one. I consequently end up creating another website to go along with that new program, that is why I currently have eleven different sites.
Now that I come to the end of this rant, I will conclude with this summation. Affiliate programs and those who run them are not created equally. Every one of them have problems and issues. It is important to understand as much as you can ahead of time before signing on so that you can prevent future problems. Make sure they provide acceptable notification of changes before you sign up with them. Working with private vendors who run their own programs can be rewarding, but also have the biggest problems that you will ever have to deal with. Good luck!