Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of top affiliate networks come and go. Many of them rode the lucrative wave of countless Acai Berry, Resveratrol and E-Cigarette offers. Affiliate marketers made millions of dollars until the FTC came in and started investigating the legitimacy of the claims about their products and billing practices to consumers. Some affiliate networks got caught up as the middle-man between “shady” advertisers who couldn’t pay for the traffic they received, leaving many affiliate marketers unpaid and seeking restitution. So, how do you as a marketer avoid this scenario from happening to you?
You can take immediate steps to protect your income by monitoring for signs that your affiliate network may be failing. Keeping the checklist below in mind can help you to determine whether your affiliate network is going to be there for the long haul, or if you could become a victim of a failing affiliate network.
1. Is the Affiliate Network Consistent with Payments?
Strong affiliate networks will pay you as agreed on a consistent basis. Payment delays of 48 to 72 hours are usually a good indicator of problems with their advertisers and potential cash flow issues. If other affiliates are complaining about not being paid on time, it might be time to jump ship even if you are. Many networks in the past have failed because they acted as banks, paying affiliates before they were paid themselves. Don’t be a victim.
2. Is Compliance a Priority?
Does your affiliate network have a compliance team or at least one person dedicated to compliance? Are they asking you the tough questions about how you are promoting their offers? Sure, you grumble anytime you hear the words “website audit” or your affiliate manager asks how you are promoting their offers. But if they are not doing these things, they aren’t nearly as concerned about compliance as they claim. And if they are not taking appropriate steps towards compliance, you may want to reevaluate working with them. Compliant practices and compliant offers will help to ensure the longevity of the affiliate network and your relationship with them.
3. Is the Affiliate Network Auditing Its Buyers and Advertisers?
An affiliate network that is concerned about compliance is also concerned about the types of offers that they are promoting. An affiliate network that is promoting offers that are non-compliant is usually looking for a fast buck. We all love money, but when the FTC or any governmental agency starts looking at the CPA offer and determines it to be non-compliant, people will be left unpaid. Do yourself a favor and take a look at the offers for compliance issues proactively.
4. Is There A Level of Professionalism at Your Affiliate Network?
We all love to be wined and dined, invited to fabulous parties and flown to exotic places as a reward for our hard work. But if your affiliate network is more interested in selling you the dream of “making you millions” and throwing money around at expensive parties, you may want to evaluate their priorities as a company. A professional, efficiently run network will be able to pay you higher margins translating to more money in your pocket. Money being thrown away on frivolous extravagance can cause a cash crunch, which in turn can leave affiliates unpaid. Look for a company whose affiliate managers treat you in a professional manner and care about their business, as well as your own. That is the company likely to be there for the long haul.
5. What is the History of the Affiliate Network?
People in the affiliate industry form new affiliate networks every year. Some of these companies are good, but others are just a new name for a company that went out of business, had legal issues, or stopped paying people. Make sure to research the company history and its founders well before getting started.
Don’t get left empty handed as the result of another affiliate network going under. At the end of the day, it’s your business and your income on the line!
Image Credit: Affiliate Summit