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An Uncomplicated Program

Affiliates are a busy lot. It's enough just to keep their web sites fresh and up and running. So they're not looking for any more complications in their life. And that includes any affiliate program that they join.

In any program, affiliates must physically place links on their web pages and/or email. Any kind of links affiliates need to retrieve or any web-based store design they must perform should be easy to find on the merchant's site and easy to place on their site. Affiliates don't want to hunt around a merchant's site looking for this material. There should be a separate place on a merchant's site—or the affiliate solutions provider site—where affiliates can easily and quickly retrieve this information.

Most important of all, affiliates want a simple way to retrieve reports on impressions (how many times their visitors have seen the merchant's product or service offer), click-throughs (how many times visitors click the merchant's offer), the number of sales made or actions performed by their visitors, and, of course, the revenue they have earned. These reports should be available 24/7 and be easy to understand.

The bottom line to all this is loyalty. If you want loyalty from your affiliates, you need to show the same. Glenn Forde, affiliate account manager for i-traffic, says this: "The best way to keep top affiliates loyal is to maintain a relationship with them. If you regularly communicate and form a mutual trust, that produces loyalty in the truest sense. Beyond that, ensure that the basics, including on-time payments, regular chances for bonus compensation, site promotions, and a variety of links, are delivered."

Woodrow Wilson once said, "Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice." That's what dedicated affiliates do. To a large extent they're sacrificing their time, resources, and energy to promote a merchant's program. They expect a lot in return.

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