Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Affiliate Window has unveiled a new affiliate contract with some interesting terms. I've gone through the terms and picked out some rather interesting facts and figures which will impact quite a few affiliates.
Apart from the standard legal terms and conditions, these two points stood out:
3.1) An Affiliate may place links only on its Affiliate Properties, including its Affiliate Websites and any other venues provided to and approved by DWL.
A common sense point but make sure you're affiliate account profiles are up to date. Remember to add new URL's you have forgotten to add and remove any that have been sold on or dropped.
3.2) Links must not mislead Visitors.
Links should be clearly identified and to the point. A link labelled 'register' must point to a registration page, 'buy now' must link to a sales page. Using a link that says 'download for free' that points to a page where a $49.99 fee is payable is prohibited.
Code of Conduct
These seem to act as a bar, ensuring positive content and solutions that help consumers are acceptable and those that are unethical are prohibited.
1.3 Each Affiliate Website must reflect favorably on DWL and Merchants.
Despite favourably being spelt incorrectly, this point states that whatever affiliates publish, it must reflect well on AW and it's merchants. I'd be interest to know whether expired or invalid voucher codes contravene this as I get a lot of searches from unhappy shoppers who are using invalid or out of date voucher codes. Naturally this reflects badly on the merchant as customers will go elsewhere.
2.1 Affiliates must act ethically and reasonably in their use of the Service and their provision of Visitors to Merchants. Affiliates must not do anything (or cause or permit anything to occur) which will cause any Merchant to pay CPA or CPC to an Affiliate on sales made by the Merchant which the Affiliate did not procure legitimately.
Essentially, you must ensure a sale is generated legitimately. This could be seen to refer to spyware and the likes which is expressly prohibited elsewhere in the agreement although it could also refer to voucher code sites. By forcing a new window and cookie dropping on revealing a voucher code, can the sale now claimed by the voucher code site be deemed as ethical and legitimately procured? I suspect not although there are provisions for voucher code sites:
2.2 DWL will only pay CPA or CPC to an Affiliate when the Affiliate procured a Visitor who actually and intentionally accessed the Merchantís Website by means of a Valid Click from an Affiliate Property.
2.3 Affiliates must not use spyware, adware, malware, robots, forced clicks, automatic openings, automatic cookie dropping, or cookie stuffing.
Point 2.2 states a valid click needs to occur. The voucher code site doesn't necessarily generate a valid click as it is the result of a click to reveal a voucher code. However, as the link is often labelled "click to reveal voucher code and site", I assume this is a loophole that voucher code sites can exploit. Point 2.3 does go a little further but does not explicitly state that sites cannot automatically open windows as a result of a click to see something else (a voucher code).
Overall, there is nothing much to worry about in the new terms. So long as you are a genuine affiliate who is working towards creating ethical content and solutions that benefit users affiliates, merchants and AW, there's no worries. However, if you are involved in dodgy dealings and leaning towards unethical practises, expect AW to take action.
I can't see anything in these terms that is detrimental. They seem to move closer towards creating an affiliate best practise document although there are a few terms I would like to see, centring around voucher codes sites.
As I see it, if a voucher code site is responsible for a sale (i.e. visitors land on their site as a result of searching specifically for a code) without any other site being involved, the sale should be attributed to them.
If a voucher code overwrites a cookie legitimately placed as a result of a third party affiliate who essentially generated the customer desire to purchase, the original affiliate should be credited. The same goes for exclusive voucher codes that are listed on unscrupulous voucher code websites which list every code under the sun.
This is a pipe dream shared by many affiliates but is understandably difficult to implement in practise. I'm all for ethical affiliates and for a level affiliate playing field. The sooner unethical practises are eradicated the better. Oh, and the sharing of network overrides with affiliates is just plain wrong so hats off to AW who prohibit this uncompetitive act. That's a topic for a different post so I'll stop there!
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