How Can You Rely On Your Affiliate Network?
Affiliate marketing and affiliate networks have always gone hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other, which leaves affiliates in a position where they must ultimately pick and choose which networks they work with.
In recent months it was sad to see two UK networks close down (The Affiliate People and New Media Co) and I am sure there were affiliates that were left chasing payment. This is not the first time this has happened nor will it be the last time this industry chews up and spits out genuine companies trying their best to succeed. So how do you avoid working with a company that could potentially leave you out of pocket?
Well, clearly there is no defined rule of thumb for this but there are certainly things to look out for and questions to ask yourself and your network, which could help put your mind at ease. Also ask yourself if your network is taking steps to protect your earnings. You would be surprised by the amount of networks that do not take any steps at all to protect their affiliates or themselves.
What does your network do to ensure they can always pay affiliates on time?
Reputation is the name of the game in our industry and without it you have nothing. In the 8 years I have worked at Monetise we have NEVER paid affiliates late or missed a payment. On the flip side of this, we have heard all sorts of delays and stories as to why our advertisers are late paying us but this is our burden, we would never pass this on to an affiliate.
If your network is delaying payment without a valid reason, which would only ever relate to the traffic in question, then this should be a red flag and I recommend pausing their campaigns until you have been compensated. If an Affiliate Network is having cash flow issues then this is another worrying sign and you should consider how much business you give them if they are going to struggle to pay you on time!
Ask your network what their process is if a client does not pay them!
We have seen this too many times and it still shocks me. ‘Affiliate Network will only pay their Affiliates once they have been paid themselves.’
You should ask your Network what processes they have in place to protect the commission YOU are generating in the event the client does not pay the Network or goes into liquidation.
At a minimum they should operate with a ‘Risk Pot’, which is made available in the event this happens but what we have found to be the most secure for Affiliates is to use a Trade Credit Insurance company who will insure each and every Advertiser up to a pre-determined limit. This insures against non-payment and Advertisers breaking contract agreements.
This allows us to comfortably make affiliate payments without the risk of non-payment and ultimately it is a much safer environment for affiliates and us as a network to work under safe in the knowledge that we have insurance to fall back on.
If your affiliate network is not comfortable answering these questions or gives a flaky answer then this should act as another red flag.
How compliant is your affiliate network as a whole?
I have spoken with affiliates in the past and asked them to complete our due diligence documents and they have instantly got defensive. This is not a tactic to trip you up as an affiliate, it is to cover our own backs and give what advice we can do if anything is not up to scratch. I have heard all of the following responses plus many more:
- “I’ll carry on running with Network X because they do require this level of compliance”
- “I’ve never been asked to provide this information before”
- “We have all the opt-ins but we cannot give away our sources’
Lets face it, if your network is not asking you questions and carrying out their required due diligence on you then it is fair to suggest that they are not doing it, period! This is great news if you are a cheeky black-hat affiliate trying to operate in the shadows…. but what about the genuine affiliates running traffic to the same campaigns? If the necessary checks are not being done then the offers and the Network is only heading one way, which will ultimately leave you with your campaign being paused and the network to potentially face compliance issues with their clients or worse the ICO.
Since GDPR came into effect it has helped the affiliate industry to become more transparent with each other, which can only be a good thing! So if we ask you to complete some due diligence checks in the early stages, please help us to help you in the long run as you will know that you will be working with a company who has a great reputation and safe in the knowledge that you will be among a group of affiliates all operating in a compliant fashion.
If you would like ongoing guidance in the world of GDPR feel free to give us a call on 01332419999