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A Credible Program

The last thing an affiliate wants to do is damage his credibility with his visitors. In addition, an affiliate is looking for an honest and credible affiliate program from a merchant.

If a customer referred from an affiliate to a merchant is unhappy with his or her purchase or service after the sale, the affiliate's credibility will suffer. Affiliates will be looking for not only a credible affiliate program, but also high-quality products and services to sell. A good affiliate will not offer shoddy merchandise, products, or services to his or her visitors, or associate with merchants who offer poor service after the sale.

If customers feel that they were overcharged or received poor service or support, that the offer didn't measure up to its promotion, or that they were scammed—all this will reflect on a merchant's reputation.

Credibility also resides with the program itself. Merchants should be up front on everything about their program. They should hold nothing back. The last thing affiliates want after signing up for a merchant's affiliate program is surprises, such as how they will be paid. Affiliates want to see a professional, considered, and detailed affiliate agreement with few or no restrictions on their ability to sell your and other merchant's products or services. The agreement should be posted on the merchant's site for all to read in simple, understandable language—no "legalese"—before the affiliate agrees to join the program. The agreement should be fair, with expectations on both sides spelled out clearly.

Good affiliate partners will shy away from outright scams, deceptive or misleading promotional materials, or no clear examples of the merchant banners and links—or other means—for use on their site. A "too good to be true" promotion of a program where affiliates are told they'll make thousands of dollars overnight will attract sites that do little to enhance your affiliate network.

Another consideration that affiliates look at is how the merchant treats spammers. The last thing a merchant or any other reputable affiliate needs is to have the reputation of the merchant's product or service besmirched by other affiliates in the program (or even by the merchant itself) for sending out unsolicited email to everyone who has an email address.

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