In a self-publishing group that I'm in, someone asked what affiliate programs we'd recommend. Here is my reply to the group:
Thought I'd chime in as a blogger. Since I have a big, busy blog, I work with affiliate programs quite often. Here is my wish list for affiliate programs:
- I like an immediate approval, or at least within 48 hours at the longest. Usually, when I apply to a program, I've already written up a post on the product and just then thought of checking to see if there is an affiliate program. I've delayed - and then forgotten about - many drafted posts that took weeks (or never, in a few cases) to approve my application.
- Updated banners and links. It's quite frustrating when I want to promote a Christmas sale that I can see on a company's website, but can find only Thanksgiving banners a month old. This also gives me caution: if they don't keep up with banners, will they keep up with payments? I usually pass on the program if the material is old.
- A low, or no, threshold. I promote the affiliate programs that pay no matter how much I made, or those that have a low threshold, such as $25. I don't like the programs that make me reach $100 before they'll pay out.
- Pay often. If you can pay monthly, that would be perfect. It keeps you in the publisher's mind. When I receive a payment from an affiliate -- even a small $12.99 payment -- I'm reminded of that program, I'm reminded that it worked for me, and I'm prompted to run it through again.
- Be as generous as you can. I love a program that pays out at least 25%
- Be generous with your "cookie." Amazon only pays when a sale was made within 24 hours of the clickthrough. They can get away with that. You can't. We all know that customers like to think for a while. Give us the sale credit, and we'll use your program often. I like 30 day cookies at the minimum, and forever cookies the most!
- I will not work with a program that takes away my money if I don't reach their threshold within a timeframe, or one that requires too many hoops to jump through. I won't work with one big program because although I've earned over $100 in affiliate money, they won't pay me because my account hasn't met this:
Sales made with 5 or more different credit card numbers; and,
Sales made with two different payment methods (either Visa, MasterCard, PayPal or European Direct Debit(ELV)). Note: PayPal purchases do not count toward the minimum 5 different credit card numbers.
Perhaps my sales were all from the same customer or they were all PayPal purchases; I don't know. But I do know that all other programs I've used haven't required that of me, so I'll use those programs instead of this one. (This program also takes money out of your account if you don't keep generating sales, so my $100 is down to $38 now.)
Two of my favorite private affiliate programs:
- BigBrainz.com's affiliate program for TimezAttack. They pay monthly, no matter how little I make, via PayPal. I don't get fancy reports, and I don't get any banners, but I'm okay without those. Theirs is an example of a program that could be run from your site for minimal expense. The commission is 30% for purchases made within 30 days of the clickthrough. Since they pay often, I remember them often, and since the program is independently run, I remember it often. That is, it is not just one of dozens of Commission Junction programs to me. It's the "TimezAttack program" to me. Here is their program: http://www.bigbrainz.com/affiliate1.php
- All About Spelling has been a favorite for a couple of years now. They are also independently run, I think. Banners look professional and are frequently updated; email response is quick; stat reports are great. They pay quarterly. The commission is 15%. The #1 reason why I promote AAS is because they'll count sales that are made any time through my clicks. I really appreciate that, and have made sales from posts that are months old! Here's their program: http://all-about-spelling.com/affiliates.html
Remember, publishers don't have the advantage of knowing that you're being honest about the sales, so the more simple & generous your program, the more it will be promoted.
p.s. I didn't use any affiliate links in this post, of course. ;)