Monday, 14 May 2007
In the Internet world, many major retailers have grasped the fact that having affiliates on board (and on their side) is a beneficial thing to all concerned. Affiliates can earn money from the merchants, who in turn proportionately earn more again from each sale.
But surely it's time to have some standards. So what do we have to do to get some industry standards in place?
What do I have in mind?
Minimum Commission Levels of 3%
Surely a 3% minimum is a feasible amount. Even electrical retails can stump up this much. Ebuyer is leaving Tradedoubler at the end of the month because it felt a couple of percent was too much for the return gained. So be it but there are other electricals merchants that run successful affiliate programs - Dabs, Comet, Dixons, PC World, etc.
No 1% Commission Die-Down Period
When a merchant announces they are leaving a network, they should not be allowed to reduce commissions to 1%. It's shameful and spiteful.
30 Day Minimum Length Cookies
If I remember correctly, Amazon have a 24 hour cookie so if my referral visits on Monday and buys on Wednesday, I don't get any credit for that sale. That's pants. The only reason a 24 hour cookie would be used is to reduce the overall affiliate expenditure.
30 days should catch all the slow deciders and then gives affiliates the credit the deserve.
Clear PPC Terms
I haven't performed any PPC activities over the last month yet I keep getting generic emails telling me not to bid on this, that and the other. All merchants should have a section that clearly and explicitly states what is and is not allowed on each program.
Full Product Feeds
The best network for product feeds IMO is Paid on Results. They are regularly updated and have industry standard fields. The best network for policing feeds has to be Webgains which check a sample of products in their feeds to ensure accuracy.
Regularly Updated Product Feeds
There is nothing worse than an out of date product feed. Networks should ensure feeds are updated at least weekly. Out of date feeds are worthless both to website developers who use CSV or XML files to create websites and to those PPC affiliates who use product feeds to create campaigns.
The only way to explain this is through practical examples. Look at http://www.pricehaggle.co.uk , http://www.dixons.co.uk and http://www.woolworths.co.uk . They all have one thing in common - adverts on the web page. Affiliates who drive traffic to these sites get no credit for sales made further than the merchant. So, if Woolworths advertises Debt Free Direct, any Debt Free Direct sales made by your referral goes entirely into Woolworth's pockets.
This is a bad practise and should be eradicated via contractual agreements.
No Promotion of Telephone Numbers
Another grievance is advertisers who display prominent telephone numbers. The landing page for Top Skips via Affiliate Future is http://www.topskips.com/index.php?adnetwork=af and right in the middle of the page is their telephone number. A list of 3 ways to hire and that is number 1. NOOOOOOO! There shouldn't be a telephone number there. If I wanted a skip, I'd pick up the phone. It's number one ergo it should be the easiest option. If there was no telephone number, I'd order online.
What's worse that this is merchants offering upgrades or perks on telephone orders as opposed to online orders. There was a flower merchant at Mother's Day who was offering a free box of chocolates with every phone order - advertised on the affiliate landing page. That is well and truly out of order.
I think I've summarised the majority of bug bears we affiliates have to suffer. Please feel free to add any more I've missed to the comments section below. If you agree with these demands, please BUMP this article or Digg it.
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I agree with most of that but the reality is you're never going to have "industry standards" in place. Since each merchant is their own entity and are going to run their program any way they want. And based on that, you can choose to partner with them or not.
I don't know if you were just posting some things you like to see or actually expected something like this to take place?
Written on Monday 14 May 2007 at 20:03:43 GMT (Permalink)
It would be nice to see some continuity amongst networks.
The reason things don't take place is that not enough affiliates group together.
Written on Monday 14 May 2007 at 20:04:47 GMT (Permalink)
"you're never going to have "industry standards" in place" If I thought that was true, Id put my hat on and leave right now (funny cos I do have to leave, but off to my mums). I can't think like that trust.
If more and more of us show folks the way to go by setting examples, this in itself is one step in the right direction? Affiliates can vote with their feet and say, hey we wont put up with this, we can blog about it, some affiliate networks are starting to get a little braver, one step at a time, but I think we will get there, one way or another ;0)
Written on Wednesday 16 May 2007 at 17:20:50 GMT (Permalink)
I FORGOT TELEPHONE TRACKING! If an order is placed via the telephone, a tracking code should be given to give credit.
Written on Saturday 19 May 2007 at 20:18:17 GMT (Permalink)
Thank you to all previous commenters.
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