As an affiliate marketer, I have to deal with challenges (or you might view them as opportunities) during the course of your campaigns, but when happens when you find out a merchant has been sticking it to you?
A case in point, I’d be promoting web services for a merchant through their in-house affiliate program. It paid about $60 per customer who signed up for their services.
And I discovered a couple of days ago that they’re running the same offer on one of the biggest affiliate networks and paying out $90 a customer.
Boy, I was fuming.
I can understand a $5-10 gap differential when the same offer is listed across various affiliate networks (the networks might be willing to cut out a chunk of their profits to give more to affiliates).
But when there’s a near 50% commission payout gap I feel it unconscionable.
There is an unspoken affiliate marketers’ code of conduct, but there isn’t a formal regulatory body which presides over affiliate networks and merchants.
In other words, who watches the watchmen?
Some might say that in a capitalist society, you are welcome to vote with your feet.
I tend to view business as a series of long term business relationships with real people.
I can only guess that:
- The various marketing/ad departments within the merchant or the network aren’t talking to each other, such that you have a 50% gap in affiliate payouts.
- The service provider faced some stiff competition and upped their payouts in real-time to remain competitive. But wouldn’t you be talking to your in-house team too?
- Affiliates? Who cares.
For the purpose of this post, I prefer not to name the merchant, nor the network, nor the type of service and focus on the core issue instead: Trust.
So does that mean affiliates are going to have to set up a multitude of Google News Alerts to keep track of offers, in addition to promotions, competitive offers and depending on your traffic source – search rankings or PPC campaigns?
Having to look behind my back one less time will certain help me focus more fully on what I want to do: affiliate marketing.
Although I wasn’t bringing in a huge amount of volume to the merchant, I think my contribution was fairly decent.
And now I have to decide if I’m going to bite the bullet and switch to the higher paying program, or choose some alternatives.
I know a number of affiliate network people and affiliates visit this blog, so I’m curious to hear your feedback in the comments.