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5 reasons to decline an affiliate application

by Dave Tinneny | 13.07.2012
An important aspect to any affiliate programme is approving and declining sites that apply to join and promote the brand.

You don’t have to look far on the A4U Forum to find disgruntled affiliates complaining that they haven’t been approved and that it’s disgraceful behaviour on the part of the brand (how does that Affiliate Manager even sleep at night?!).

The simple reality is that sometimes affiliates seem to do absolutely everything in their power to make sure they get declined. I want more affiliates, I need more affiliates and I’ll do everything I can to get more of them on my programmes.

So as it’s Friday and I’m in a great mood, I thought I would share some reasons for declining affiliate applications, in the hope that we can all just get along and common mistakes can be avoided.

1. List one of the following as your main method of promotion: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, or ‘the internet’: Not good enough, not even slightly good enough. It’s the equivalent of answering ‘Europe’ when someone asks ‘where do you live?’

2. Your site has been in ‘invitation only’ beta for the past 4 years: This is more common than you’d think. Why are you still joining programmes if there’s no site? Is it a cover for something more dubious? Is it that hard to send an invitation with the application to join the programme? I need to understand and see where you will promote the brand before accepting any application. This also goes for sites under construction.

3. I click on your site and am bombarded by pop ups, flash boxes, ‘are you sure you want to leave this page’ messages when I try to go back, or even the ‘malware has been detected on this site’ warning: This is open to interpretation. Some affiliates see these as legitimate tools for promotion. I just don’t want people using one of my brands in a conceited spamming campaign… (I’m just old fashioned that way I suppose)

4. You have blatantly not read the programme terms: I had an application a few months ago. The homepage was an image portraying the site owner as Jesus on the cross, surrounded by ads for ‘single ladies in my area’ and articles that were mostly angry political rants… I have yet to work with a brand that would accept any of those things.

5. The affiliate doesn’t bother to reply when I give them a chance to explain their promotion methods: This one annoys me the most. All or most of the above problems can be overcome by a simple explanation. Maybe they haven’t listed the site they want to use for promotion, maybe it’s a genuinely exciting startup in stealth mode, maybe it’s someone just getting started who would like some advice… It could be anything. I try to give each affiliate a chance to join the programme and explain away my concerns, but if they don’t even reply then good luck and all the best…

I will also concede that some brands are overly protective. Affiliate marketing appeals to me because it’s about win/win partnerships. When either party feels that the other side are ‘lucky’ to be working with them, then that’s completely missing the point.