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A Fair Program

For an affiliate, the revenue is what an affiliate program is all about. That's why they joined in the first place.

They'll be looking for a fair program—one that adequately compensates them for their efforts. They want a high first-sale payout if they're working on a commission basis, and then credit for all additional revenues generated by customers referred to the merchant. Affiliates look at the reliability and frequency of payments that a merchant's program offers. The faster and more frequently affiliates are paid, the better. They also are looking for programs that are free to join. Any program that requires an affiliate to pay to join will almost certainly fail. In addition, and if they can, affiliates seek out merchants who offer programs that don't compete with their own offerings.

Affiliates feel that they're a key part of building a merchant's business, and being paid to help build the business of the merchant seems only fair. Offering two-tier programs that reward affiliates for both referring other affiliates to the merchant and sending paying customers is a way for affiliates to cash in on the work they've done to help build the merchant's business.

Affiliates will run, not walk, from programs that seem to have hidden restrictions on the sales or referrals they perform. Affiliates don't like high sales requirements for a fair commission or fee, unreasonable sales or referral minimums, or long periods before getting paid.

Reliability is another concern of affiliates. The affiliate programs that have a reputation for late or non-payment of commissions to web site owners will not succeed. A merchant should explain clearly the payment process and when affiliates should expect their checks. Affiliates also need to know whether there is a minimum check that the merchant will cut. If there is a minimum payment, they should be told whether any processing fees will be applied.

Finally, affiliates expect to be able to buy a merchant's product or service themselves and apply the commission they normally would get to the purchase. That is, they want to buy the product or service at a discount equal to the commission they would normally earn.

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