Many advertisers don’t realise (or care) that they are stealing from their affiliates. I am not talking about programs that shave valid sales, I simply referring to sites that have any kind of links or cross promotion that isn’t commissionable to their affiliates.
I have a few examples:
Case 1: Finance Products
At work we send a fair bit of traffic to credit card campaigns. Let’s say the bank pays affiliates for each credit card application, but has the traffic delivered directly to their main banking portal. My traffic suddenly clicks on a promotional advertisement for a personal loan and my traffic and commission has been stolen!
Solution: Create custom landing pages for the commissionable product only.
However, a few of the campaigns have successfully created custom landing pages but continue to steal traffic and money from me. How? They have links and phone numbers plastered all over the page for “call now”, “print an application form” or “go to your local branch” etc.
Solution: Get rid of those links! That really is the only answer, creating a special phone number, email address and applications forms with affiliate tracking is far beyond the capabilities of these programs so the only real solution is to remove them.
Imagine if you were a sales person working on commission in a television retail shop? Which way would you direct customers if the boss told you that only certain products in the store would pay commission? <THINK OF ANSWER HERE> That’s right! Of course you would!
Now, what if you worked with a customer, you provided all the information they needed in order to purchase a new TV, but then they spot one of the “other” products and pick up up one of those non-commissionable
credit cards television sets? Would you be disappointed? Would you be angry? How long would it take you to go next door to another banks affiliate program television retailer who paid you commission on all TVs?
Maybe you could ask your boss to pay differently, maybe on a salary? After all, the
bank boss doesn’t care what televisions get sold, he makes money on all products. As long as you convert those leads to sales, he’s happy! Maybe the banks should be paying me differently?
In this example, the St. George bank commits both sins. Traffic is delivered to their main banking portal and can go walk-about into other areas such as personal loans. They also have “call now” and “other ways to apply” buttons that are larger than the “Apply Now” commissionable buttons.
Case 2: Homewares Retailer
This one really is offensive. If you are an affiliate sending traffic to this program, close your eyes. The home couture affiliate program running in ClixGalore is a shocker! They have two very bad thieving mechanisms running directly in front of affiliates. Sure these guys are not the only ones doing stuff this, but it is just very easy to point out since they have it on their homepage and category sub-index pages!
1. eBay store - Home Couture auction some of their products (new) on eBay. If I send traffic to buy a new set of steak knives and then the visitor hops on over to eBay and Home Couture just happen to be selling those steak knives brand new and at any discounted price on eBay, who here is going to get the commission? It’s definitely not me!
2. Google Ads - OMG! Why am I sending my traffic to your program to hopefully make a sale and some commission when all you are doing is turning my traffic into CPC revenue for yourself? I don’t get a cut of that! Let me see how this works. I sent my traffic to Home Couture, they send my traffic on to one of their own competitors (faith in their own product?) and then help themselves (and Google) to a bit of revenue and I miss out completely. I think I am better off putting the Google ads on my own site. Sinner!
Solution: Whilst Home Couture does seem to offer an alternate landing page (for affiliate traffic) that does not have the eBay advertising on it, a simple click on the logo and you are back at the real homepage and off to bid on those steak knives. Home Couture, get rid of it! Maybe you make your pages smarter and put an “if” statement around the offending elements. IF (traffic = from_affiliates) THEN (dont_steal = true).
Case 3: Adult Product Programs
Most adult retail product websites use (read “rely on”) affiliate traffic. Many soon realise that the traffic doesn’t convert as well as they suspected so they start looking for other ways to cross promote to visitors. Linking off to DVD sister sites, dating sites, or straight up adult content sites. Some of those programs are in-house, but not commissionable and some even resend affiliate traffic directly to other programs! Many do this right under the nose of their affiliates; others do it behind closed doors. Sure this might not be considered “stealing” as direct as the other examples, but some sites will capture “leads” via newsletter signups, free trials etc and then remarket that traffic in the background (to their own site again, or to other programs as mentioned).
Solution: If you are going to steal from us, just do it behind closed doors. We can’t stand to see you rip us off blindly. Just remember that if you do rip off your affiliates, there are thousands of other adult programs who would love to get our traffic!
Affiliates: Take a good look at every site you are sending traffic to. If you think you could be bleeding sales like this, do something about it! Contact the advertiser, express your concern. If they don’t see the problem, or refuse to fix it for you, send your traffic somewhere else!