Three Despicable Affiliate Policies and Bad Practices to Steer Clear of

Whether you’re the webmaster of a page running an affiliate marketing program or the manager of such a campaign, there are certain things you need to be aware of, in order to dodge them like the potential profit-damaging bullets they are. It would be great to start from the presumption of good intentions, yet, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, especially when business and investment are concerned. That being said, not all affiliate mistakes are born out of ill-will, yet all of the ones listed below need to be kept in check, especially if you’re in charge of affiliate program management at your company.

Watermarks on pictures

Be wary of affiliates who send you product pictures, which bear their watermark splattered all over the picture – be that watermark a logo or their business contact details. This usually means that they are out to build visibility for your brand at your expense. In most affiliate programs, said affiliates will prohibit you from using their brand name, since they don’t want you to draw in more traffic ‘at the expense’ of their own websites. By forcing you to display their watermarked images, though, they are literally improving their market reach through your website, while not providing you with any benefits whatsoever. It’s like you’re allowing them to post an ad banner on your site without paying you a dime.

Dead product URLs

You might have come across this situation when browsing data feeds of product pages – many of the links seem dead, outdated, and inaccessible. Usually, this is not an honest mistake, as affiliates will use such links to redirect to a page on one of their websites. By doing so, they would be effectively building their reputation and traffic, while also preventing you from converting clicks on your website into purchases.

Sudden changes in program policy

In a nutshell, the best advice when considering an investment of time and money toward building an affiliate relationship is to thoroughly research them, both online, as well as on the market. If you hear anything about sudden policy changes in their history, be weary that this might mean they are in the habit of simply dropping affiliates whose fees and commissions they disagree with. Such brands will start out negotiations from a very strict position, in which they allow no amendment to their policies on your part. Then, as you grow into one of their most profitable partners and start demanding higher commissions, they decide to change those policies themselves, in such a way that will not allow you to take part in the program any longer.