"Affiliate Programs to Avoid"
by Rosalind Gardner
Affiliate Programs to Avoid
Copyright 2003 (c) Rosalind Gardner, All Rights Reserved.
As an affiliate marketer of Internet dating services, I'm always
on the lookout for good quality dating sites and products to
offer my single visitors. Merchants help me out when they let
me know about their new products and affiliate programs.
I was therefore thrilled when one of my friendly affiliate competitors
got in touch to tell me that he'd started his own Internet dating
service and affiliate program.
Having launched a community membership site myself last year,
I could fully appreciate the huge amount of time and money my
friend had invested to develop this new site. He was justifiably
proud of his accomplishment and I was excited by the prospect
of having a product to promote that would benefit everyone -
my customers, my friend and myself.
Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out that way.
The first stumbling block was the low commission he offered.
His top rate was 30%, with no commissions on recurring sales.
This puzzled me. As an affiliate marketer of dating programs,
he should have been aware that new sites offer at least 50%
on new and recurring sales to entice good affiliates to sign
up. If commissions on recurring sales are not offered, then
the rates on new sales should be increased to between 70 and
In most cases, his affiliate program would have struck out for
me at that point. However, as this was my friend's site, it
occurred to me that perhaps his product was so unique that the
potential for high volume sales might offset the lower commission.
Hoping for the best, I continued my review.
When I got to the site, the first thing I noticed was '6 registered
members' prominently displayed at the top of the homepage. That
normally wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that my
customers are looking for friends and soul mates. If I send
them to a site where there are only six people to meet, they'll
likely be disappointed. Worse, by wasting their time, they lose
trust in my judgement and then I will lose them as customers.
That's not good. My customers are literally my bread and butter.
Giving them what they want and expect is how I stay in business.
Paying for traffic that I send to a merchant site where there
is nothing to buy, will put me out of business.
(This is how a membership site should be structured. When starting
a dating service, the merchant pays for advertising to bring
people to their site. To entice visitors to sign up as members,
he will initially offer his services for fr*ee. When the database
is large enough to attract paying customers, the affiliate program
manager then invites potential affiliates to join their program.)
Although my friend's program had already struck out for my customers
and me, I was still curious, so I kept on looking.
Next I clicked on a link labeled 'Dating Resources'. Expecting
to find Internet dating tips and advice, I found links and banners
pointing to Lavalife, FriendFinder and other affiliated dating
sites instead. When I asked him about placing affiliate programs
on his site, my friend said he simply wanted to supplement his
income until the dating service got *rolling*. I can understand
his motivation. However, what he doesn't understand is the concept
of customer 'hijacking'.
As an affiliate, you pay good money to get visitors to your
site. You presell your merchants' products and expect the merchant
to honor their end of the bargain by making the sale and sending
your commission check. You don't pay for the merchant to send
YOUR customers to THEIR affiliated merchants.
I didn't need to look any further. I told my friend that I would
hold off on signing up and why. Fortunately, he understood and
has already alleviated some of the problems I mentioned.
Knowing when NOT to sign up for an affiliate program can sometimes
be a tough call. However, you can simplify the process considerably.
Put yourself inside your customer's head. If the product won't
work for them, the program strikes out. Simple as that.
About the Author
Rosalind's amazing Internet business success story has been
profiled in Secrets to Their Success, Six Figure Income and
numerous other publications. Learn how you too can can build
a lucrative eBusiness, by reading her entertaining, informative
and hype-free newsletter, the Net Profits Coach, available at: