A New Book! Climbing the Affiliate Management WallNovember 17, 2015
Greg Hoffman Wins Advocate of the Year 2016January 19, 2016
A quick scan of the ShareASale Top 100 PowerRank will show you a handful of programs that are on Auto Approve. It makes sense that this is possible but I'd like to share the hazards of this type of mismanagement. It's like having 32 cavities behind a pretty smile. It's not something to brag about.
I have steadfastly chosen the route of keeping my programs clean and only working with affiliates that add value. I refuse to work with those that do not obey terms of service and do not acknowledge that their promotions are harmful to the industry. For example, my list of approved coupon sites is no more than a dozen at this point. But auto approved programs will have hundreds ready to cause mayhem at will.
I recently completed an audit for a three-year-old program that was on auto approve since launch. The program generated minimal sales and I concluded that they will continue to have minimal sales because of an overall lack of demand for this particular product. In this type of low volume, low conversion program, only five affiliates had sales consistently. All of them were coupon sites and only two would be allowed under my command. The others were full of terms of service violations, mostly for using fake coupons or buying trademark names. They do generate sales, but at what cost to the customer experience?
For those programs that have high demand and are on auto-approve, I imagine a world of content sites that are suffering from lost conversions. It makes me ill just thinking about all those atrocious coupon sites that never respond when managers complain about fake coupons. Unless you are the queen of affiliate content and they pay you royally for your high demand traffic, the rest of the niche sites are probably out of luck and wonder why they never generate commissions. The merchant sees the huge numbers but is ignorant to the fact that his other channels are being cannibalized and the affiliates are just eating up profit. To you merchants who are paying managers to keep auto approve alive, thank you for running a not for profit charity.
The old argument from affiliates that they love to be auto-approved because they want to get active the moment they join is crazy. If an affiliate wants to have the best opportunity for conversion, they need to be looking at programs that value high-quality traffic, not just any traffic. Not all affiliates are equal. Some need to be paid less than others and some need to be declined immediately. Good affiliates know this and will be patient with a proactive management strategy.
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