How To Guide to Starting an Affiliate Program on ShareASale

You are ready to start an affiliate program and have decided to use ShareASale as your affiliate network, but now what? Setting up an affiliate program can be a daunting task, but let me show you a step-by-step approach to successfully set-up an affiliate program on ShareASale. In total there are 8 steps and I will describe what needs to be completed within each step.

Step 1 –Commission Rates and Program Description

This is where you determine your default commission rate per sale and/or lead. It can be entered as a percent or dollar amount (make sure the correct radio button is marked). If you are going to be doing a two-tiered commission structure this is also where you enter that information.

The program description should describe your product or service, the commission being offered and any other enticing details that will get affiliates to join. Along with the program description you should create your program agreement. This document will lay the ground rules for affiliates to follow while promoting your product/service.  It should include SEM restrictions, coupon policy, and other restrictions affiliates should be aware of. Finally, make sure to add your logo here. It should be no larger than 300 pixels wide and 200 pixels high.

Step 2 – Administrative Options

This step is where you have the options to control the behaviors of your affiliate program. Tasks to be completed include:

Setting the auto-approve affiliate option -we recommend reviewing each application individually.

Reply email text – this is the message that gets sent to potential affiliates when they apply to your program. It generally includes a short message informing them that their application is being reviewed and decision will be made within 24 hours and if there are any questions to reach out.

Email notifications (when affiliates join your program) – not necessary, but you can select “yes” to make sure you are reviewing each application as they come in.

Low balance notification – we recommend getting notified, just in case!

Balance threshold notification – you get an email notification when your balance hits the threshold entered here.

Email when a sale/lead takes place – This is totally up to you, but it could just be filling up your inbox. You can see all new transactions upon logging into the main interface of your program.

Tracking Cookie – How long do you want the time to be between the original click through and the sale? 60 days is their default, but you can select whatever one makes sense for your business.

Step 3 – Choose a Program Category

In order for affiliates to find your program you need to select a category. There are almost 40 categories to choose from (they only let you choose 1), so make sure you select one that relates to your business. You also add keywords here for affiliates to use when searching through ShareASale for merchants to partner with.

Step 4 – Place Tracking Pixel

We are getting closer to launch now. This is the most important step of the process because the pixel you will be installing on your site will be tracking all affiliate activity and will be the tracking mechanism for your program (clicks, sales, etc.). We recommend having a person with an IT background install to ensure it is done properly.

Step 5 – Testing the System

Once the tracking pixel is installed you must make sure it is working properly. What happens here is you do a test purchase to make sure the pixel is firing when necessary and all the information is being collected by ShareASale.  The transaction completed will be voided before the program goes live.

Step 6 – Funding the Account

General rule of thumb here is to deposit a minimum of $100 to start. Once the program is live you can set up the auto deposit feature (highly recommended) and deposit more money if you desire to cover sales that may come in initially.

Step 7 – Upload Creatives

In this case “creatives” mean your banners and text links. Depending on how many banners you have created there is an option for a mass upload as opposed to doing it one by one.  If you are not sure what banners to include check out this article that will provide more clarity.

Step 8 – Request Activation

This is final step. Once steps 1 -7 are complete you can request your affiliate program go live to ShareASale. Once activation is requested it may take 24-48 hours to go live. ShareASale checks everything again on their end to ensure you are 100% ready to start running an affiliate program

There you have it, a guide to starting an affiliate program on ShareASale. Follow the steps carefully and you will have a live affiliate program. Now it is time to start recruiting and making money.

Five Types of Affiliates (with Examples)

You have learned how to recruit affiliates into your program and where to find them, but what is their value to you and how they can help grow your affiliate program? Below are 5 of the most common affiliates and a little bit about them:

1. Coupon Affiliates

They are the most common type of affiliate. They are not a fit for every program, but if you do allow them in your program they can drive qualified traffic to your site through coupons offered through the affiliate program.

In many cases the larger coupon affiliates rank highly for coupon-related terms in the organic search results.

Examples include: RetailMeNot, Savings.com, and GoodSearch.com.

2. Incentivized Traffic Affiliates

This type of affiliates shares a part of the commission (received from merchants/advertisers) with the end user.

The incentive may come in the form of cashback, points, virtual currency, or similar arrangements.

Examples include: Ebates, BigCrumbs.com, Mr. Rebates, and even Bank of America.

3. Content Affiliates

They are blog (or forum) owners that create unique content (their own or UGC) for their visitors. They send traffic to a merchant’s site through banner ads and/or text links embedded in content. They may not have the traffic of coupon affiliates, but they generally have a high conversion rate and provide incremental value to merchants.

4. PPC Affiliates

They are affiliates that run paid search campaigns using Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and other platforms and use affiliate links to monetize their efforts. This type of promotion is high risk for the affiliate, as they have to pay for the ads and there is no guarantee for a return on investment. They can work in conjunction with merchant’s current PPC efforts to ensure they are not bidding on the same sets of keywords, or not competing with the merchant by capping their bids.

5. Comparison Shopping Sites

They are price comparison websites and aggregators. These affiliates provide the end user with a tool to compare prices (or other product characteristics!) across an array of merchants, utilizing advertisers’ product feeds to power their engines (Shopping Comparison Engines, that is).

Examples of comparison shopping affiliates include: TheFind.com, Shopzilla.com, and many others.

Knowing the various types of affiliates will help in determining their potential value to the program and will help in growing your affiliate program. Recruiting the right affiliates will be a step toward success and bringing in the incremental sales volume you desire.

How to Find Affiliates to Recruit Into Affiliate Program

Last month I discussed the importance of affiliate recruitment and the effects it can have on an affiliate program. Today I will be diving into where to find affiliates to recruit.

Each day, as you are going through the applications of potential affiliates, you are thinking where can I find quality affiliates other than coupon affiliates? Many times the quality affiliates or super affiliates will need to be solicited to join your program. Here are 4 popular places and tools used to find affiliates for you affiliate program.

I. Search Engines

Using Google, Bing, and Yahoo to find sites that rank for relevant keywords to your business is a great place to start. For example, if you are a children’s clothing merchant you would search for sites that rank highly for keywords related to children’s clothing. Blogs that create unique content are great targets when using search engines.

II. Tools/Software

There are free tools and also paid tools used in recruitment. Many of the paid tools provide more robust solutions, but the free ones also are a great help. Examples of free tools include: SEO Quake and Backlink Watch. Paid tools include: Linkdex Publisher Discovery, Raven SEO Tools, and AffiliateRecruitment.com. The point of the tools is to find sites that have affiliate links of your competitors and then you can reach out to affiliate promoting your competition and invite them to your program.

III. Social Media

Finding relevant prospects may also be fruitful using social media. Searching the social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn groups, etc) using targeted keywords can present you with prospects with strong social media followings that can promote your product/service through their various channels.

IV. Conferences/Events

Conferences like Affiliate Summit, PubCon, Performance Marketing Insights and others are great places to meet current affiliates and most importantly prospective affiliates. Affiliates are at the conference to learn, but also seek out opportunities to grow their businesses. Don’t be shy at these types of events as you never know who you will meet and how they can positively impact your affiliate program.

Later this week I will discuss different types of affiliates you can recruit into your affiliate program. So stay tuned…

How to View ShareASale Pipe-Delimited File in Excel Columns

“Pipe” symbol is a vertical bar as in | or ¦ but more frequently the former.

A “pipe-delimited file” is a file in which each line of represents a record, and separate fields are divided by the pipe. This symbol then serves as a delimiter (or an indication of “the beginning or end of a data item”).

The most common format in which delimiter-separated files are saved is CSV. It may seem a bit strange as “CSV” originally stood for “comma-separated values” but don’t let the file extension’s semantics confuse you here. It is very common that, instead of commas, colons or pipes are used as delimiters.

One of the main reasons why CSV files are widely-used online is because “plain-text makes the data easy to import into any Spreadsheet program or database regardless of what type of computer or software program you are using” [source].

“Easy to import” they say, huh?

However, the reality is that those of us who aren’t too technically savvy, may find the conversion of a CSV file into a digestible Excel format a challenging task… especially when you have to deal with a pipe-delimited original. Don’t despair! It is actually very easy to convert a pipe-delimited CSV into an Microsoft Excel file with columns. Excel will, actually, do all the “magic” for you!

For my example I will use an “Affiliate Timespan” ShareASale report.

Step 1: Generate Pipe-delimited File

If you already have the CSV file you wish to convert into Excel columns, just skip right to the next step.

If you’re doing this on ShareASale, log into your merchant interface, then go to Reports > Affiliate Timespan, and check the box next to “Create Downloadable Text File” (see the image below).

ShareASale Affiliate Timespan Report

Step 2: Open File in Excel

Launch Microsoft Excel, go to File > Open > change “All Excel Files” (to the right of the “File name”) to “All Files,” and find the pipe-delimited file you have just downloaded.

Excel Open All Files

Hit “Open” and Excel’s “Text Import Wizard” will launch.

Step 3: Help Excel to Convert It for You

Keep the 1st step of the Wizard as is (having “Delimited” checked as it is a delimited file that you are working with),  and click “Next.”

But in the 2nd step, pick “Other” and insert the pipe symbol into the blank box to the right of your choice (as shown below). As soon as you do so: Voilà! The preview will already show you the columns you are looking for.

Pipe-Delimited File to Excel Columns

Just click “Finish” and you are all done, and ready to save this file in the format you’ll be able to enjoy a bit better than the original CSV file.

 

The Importance of Affiliate Recruitment

When a company engages in digital marketing activities the main goal is to increase sales and revenue.  When managing an affiliate program it is no different. Growing revenue is not only good for the merchant’s bottom line, but it also helps increase the programs exposure to potential affiliate partners. The higher the EPC and AOV numbers are, the more attractive it will be and the easier it will be to recruit quality affiliates.

Whether you have an established affiliate program or just launched one, getting quality affiliates to join is paramount. Many merchants ask this question: Do I just wait for affiliates to apply to my program? You could, but that is doing a disservice to the program and hurting potential growth.  One of the main pieces to growing an affiliate program is affiliate recruitment. There are two types of affiliate recruitment strategies: passive and active.

Passive recruitment is when an affiliate discovers your affiliate program on their own. On the other hand, active recruitment is when an affiliate discovers your program because of your outreach efforts. When managing your affiliate program you do not want to rely solely on a passive recruitment strategy because you will most likely not get the results desired. If you do passive recruitment you are going to have predominately more coupon/deal affiliates than any other and relying on one type of affiliate is not going to provide the growth and incremental sales numbers you wish to see.

Diversifying your affiliate pool through affiliate recruitment will provide better opportunities for growth.  Engaging in active affiliate recruitment will aid in this facet. Having coupon/deal affiliates in the program is not a bad thing, but including other affiliate types like content, paid search, social media, and datafeed affiliates will help in the growth and sustainability of the program long term. Many of the previously mentioned affiliate types are not going to find you, so you must proactively find them and invite them to your program.

Recruiting the content, paid search, social media and datafeed affiliates is important because they all specialize in different areas of digital marketing and will target different segments of traffic for your brand. Practicing active affiliate recruitment is important for the short-term, but more importantly the long-term.

You may be asking how you find affiliates to join your program? Check back next week for my post where I will be discussing where to find quality affiliates. I will also touch on what each type of affiliate brings to the table in terms of skills and value.

Affiliate Text Links vs. Banners – The Great Debate

I am asked regularly by clients what types of links are best for their affiliate program and I give the same answer, it depends. What do I mean it depends? Every affiliate promotes a merchant differently. For example, some use text links embedded within content, while others prefer banner ads to help convert traffic from their site. I would never say go with one over the other, as both are essential to the growth of an affiliate program, but I would do an analysis of your current creative inventory and see what links and banners are being used more frequently and supply your affiliates accordingly. If you are thinking of starting an affiliate program then I would say have both text links and the most popular banner sizes available for affiliates.

Rakuten Marketing conducted a link performance report across the Rakuten Affiliate Network from October 2013 – June 2014 to see what types of links are most effective for merchants. Please note that this data is specific to Rakuten Affiliate Network and could vary depending on the network.

The report from Rakuten Marketing provided the percentage of sales by link type and the percentage of sales by banner size. They found that 51% of sales occurred using a text link and another 22% using banner links. Does this mean you should not offer any banners or even decrease the amount in your creative inventory? Absolutely not! Offering affiliates a selection of the most popular banners will do, but be prepared to create additional banners if an affiliate requests a size not currently available.

Sales by Link Type

According to Rakuten Marketing, over 56% of all sales from banner links resided from two sizes in particular. The 88×31 (28.1%) and 120×60 (28%) were by far the most popular for affiliates and also generated the most sales. Both the 88×31 and 120×60 banners are popular among coupon and deal oriented affiliates as are text links, but text links are also very popular among content affiliates.

Sales by Banner Size

When deciding how to stock your creative inventory it is wise to provide the most popular banner sizes (88×31, 120×60, 125×125, 300×250) and create text links that include your brand name and all coupons/deals and popular keywords associated with your brand. By equipping your affiliates with the most popular creatives it will save time creating banners that will never be used by affiliates.

Affiliate Coupon Landing Pages: Why They Are Important?

Creating a comprehensive coupon strategy is a great way to increase conversions and overall revenue for your affiliate program;. However, many times merchants ignore a major piece to their coupon strategy — landing pages.

You would be surprised on how many merchants do not employ this tactic (even clients of ours). It does require some additional coding and design work, but the benefits can be tremendous. Many merchants who create landing pages for their affiliate coupons have seen a spike in conversions and that equals more revenue.

Why are landing pages for each coupon so important? Besides providing higher conversions and revenue, it provides the customer all the details related to the promotion and allows them to redeem the coupon all in one place. With that being said, there are four (4) main components to an effective affiliate coupon landing page and they include:

1.       Emphasizes the specifics of the coupon/deal

If there are multiple pieces to the coupon (i.e. a percentage off and free shipping) then it must be spelled out here. Being transparent is important and explaining what the customer gets (in terms of a discount) and needs to do should be highlighted in this section.

2.       Informs the customer of any restrictions associated with the coupon/deal

This is one of the most important pieces to an effective coupon landing page. Providing all restrictions associated with the coupon (i.e. cannot be combined with other offers, not valid on certain brands, etc.) will limit the amount of customer service inquiries received and put the customers mind at ease knowing they are getting the discount on the products they are purchasing.

3.       Clearly illustrates how the customer can redeem the coupon/deal

This may seem like a common sense task, but it is necessary. Walk the customers hand through the process so that they feel comfortable. This part should tell the customer if they need a coupon code and where it should be input during the checkout process. If no code is needed then it should say that discount will be subtracted from total in cart upon checkout. Any piece of information that will be vital to a customer should be included.

4.       Contains a clear and concise call to action

Having the specifics of the coupon, restrictions, and instructions are all great and beneficial, but having a call to action should be considered just as important. Having a button to “Redeem Coupon” or “See Details” should be showcased prominently on the page so the customer can act immediately. There should be no confusion on what the customer should do once on the page.

Creating effective coupon landing pages are essential to any coupon strategy. As a merchant if you are not doing it, then you may be losing out on opportunities to enhance your affiliate program and getting quality affiliates to join too. Beat your competition to the punch and start building those landing pages.

6 Types of Coupons To Use In Your Affiliate Program

In my experience as an affiliate manager I see the value in providing coupons to affiliates. It gives your affiliates another way to convert visitors to their site in customers of yours. Do all affiliate programs need to have coupons? No, but if your products/services are set up for coupons then I highly recommend developing a well-rounded coupon strategy to introduce to all your affiliates (not just coupon affiliates).

During the set up process of clients affiliate programs (even merchants with established programs) I like to have them create a set of coupons to offer their affiliates from the outset. Affiliate coupons should not be intended only for coupon/deal oriented affiliates, but also content, media buying affiliates, social media affiliates. Each affiliate has a different way of promoting merchants products and the more tools given the better chance for success.
So the question you are now asking is; what coupons should be offered?

There are six common types of coupons for merchants to offer affiliates, but please note that not all will be applicable to every program. The six coupon types are: monthly coupons, coupons that are valid from the beginning of the year to the end (i.e. January 1 – December 31), holiday related coupons, short-term coupons, affiliate exclusive coupons, and deal of the day coupons.

1. Monthly coupons

These coupons should target different price points and should change from month to month. We recommend clients try and make the banners/links associated with the coupons dynamic so that the affiliate does not have to change creatives monthly and they can be assured it will update automatically. Having happy affiliates increases the chance of program success. Examples of monthly coupons include: $5 off $50 order and $15 off $100 orders. Each month the offer would change either the amount of the discount, the threshold, or both.

2. Coupons that are valid from the beginning of the year to the end

The main purpose of these coupons is to get the customers to spend more than the average customer would. For example, Free Shipping on orders over $50 or Save $10 on orders over $100. This gets the customer in the mindset that the more they spend the more they will save.

3. Holiday specific coupons

Customers love to save money, especially around the holidays, so create coupons that will excite the customers (an affiliates too). An item simply on sale does nothing, but offering a percentage off or dollar amount off gives the customer more motivation to buy, and it is free money to them. The holidays are right around the corner, so be prepared with coupons specific to your business and the holiday.

4. Short-term coupons

These coupons are valid for a weekend, a 2 – 3 day period during the week, or even a full week, but the purpose is to get the customer to act and spend immediately. If weekends are historically slow then offer a discount to create buzz and spur action (i.e. 20% + Free Shipping on all orders). Also, if you have a product that you want to move then a good strategy is to create a coupon that will aid in that (i.e. $100 off all widgets – this weekend only).

5. Affiliate exclusive coupons

These coupons are self-explanatory, they are meant for affiliates only. Affiliate exclusive coupons should be reserved for the affiliates that you value the most, but making sure they are aware you can do this is essential. Personally reaching out to affiliates that produce and add value with exclusive coupons can help cement a healthy relationship. Some affiliates do not want to promote coupons that the other affiliates are, so providing your top affiliates with their own coupons (with their own vanity codes) will help differentiate them from their competition.

6. Deal of the day coupons

These coupons are geared more towards retailers, but if you have a product that you want to promote, then creating a deal of the day coupon should be an option. Coupons like this should be as aggressive as possible in terms of a discount. If you are planning on implementing a deal of the day strategy be sure to create dynamic banners for affiliates. Affiliates are not going to want to update banners daily. The easier you make it for your affiliates the more they will want to promote your products/services.

A coupon strategy is another way to increase conversions for your affiliate program, but making sure they make financial sense (for the merchant) and are going to be used and accepted by affiliates is another piece to the puzzle. The six above mentioned coupon types gives you a foundation to create your strategy and solidify relationships with your current and future affiliates.

As always your comments are welcome. Please comment below or email me.

10 Elements Needed to Launch an Affiliate Program

As a merchant you have decided to start an affiliate program, but you are not sure where to begin. This is common problem because there are so many components needed to launch a successful affiliate program and your knowledge of affiliate marketing may not be there. Where do you begin? There are 10 major elements that need to be completed in order to launch an affiliate program.

1. Competitive Intelligence

This is the most important piece in getting the program off the ground. Compiling data about your competition will guide you on many of the other necessary pieces to launching an affiliate program. What you want to do here is find competitors (or merchants as closely related to your niche) and see what network they are running on (ShareASale, CJ Affiliate By Conversant, LinkShare, In-House platforms), what commission structure they have in place, what is their cookie duration, and their current EPC statistics. Once all the data is gathered it will guide you in deciding how to structure your program.

2. Choosing a Network

You do not want to choose a network strictly based on cost, but rather where your direct competition is and where affiliates are that will be willing to promote your product/service. For example, if most of your competition is on ShareASale and they are having success, then ShareASale should be strongly considered as the network to launch your program on because they have the affiliates that would be a perfect fit to your program.

3. Commission Structure

This is a tough step for many merchants, but if you performed an in-depth competitive analysis the decision should be less stressful. Being competitive in terms of payouts is a must, but deciding how to structure them is another story. Do you want to offer a flat fee (i.e. $25 per sale), a percentage of the sale (i.e. 10%), or offer a tiered structure based on performance (i.e. if sales exceed $2,000 per month then commission paid will be 12%, up from 10% default)?

4. Cookie Duration

This will also be determined by the competitive data gathered earlier in the process. Affiliate transactions generally occur within the first week of the cookie being dropped. After 30 days a majority of users delete their cookies. 30, 60, 90, and 120 are commonly used cookie durations, but it is up to you and how you think it will impact conversions for your program.

5. Program Bio

This is what the affiliates see when they are searching for merchants to promote within the network interface. You want to include as much pertinent information as possible to make the decision easier for prospective affiliates to choose your program. Items to include are:

a. Brief description of your company

b. Affiliate program details that include: commission structure, cookie like, opportunities to earn more money, and other major selling points.

6. Email Templates

These are what are sent to affiliates upon applying to your program, being accepted into the program, or being declined.

a. The apply email template – this email should include verbiage stating we received your application and are reviewing it and will notify you within 24 hours of our decision as well as contact information.

b. The decline email template – this email should include reasons for possibly being declined and also provide them the opportunity to appeal the decision by contacting you or the affiliate manager directly.

c. The acceptance email – this email should provide a description of your company, on overview of the paid search policy, the program details (commission, cookie life, etc.) and 3 – 5 creatives to get them started with.

7. Terms of Service

This is critical to any affiliate program. It outlines the rules and regulations of the affiliate program. It goes over expected behavior and consequences if not followed. If affiliates violate the TOS at any time you should communicate with them what part of the TOS was violated and expectations moving forward. Any changes made to this document after the fact must be communicated to the affiliates immediately.

8. Banners/Text Links

Affiliate use them to promote your products/services. When creating banners for your affiliate program there are a few requirements that must be met in order for them to be quality banners. Check out this article by Geno Prussakov on banner requirements. Text links on the other hand need to be catchy and be relevant to what you are selling. Providing your deals in the form of text links is a great idea because affiliates can insert them into their own content and they can also be deep linkable.

9. Coupons

Offering coupons is great way to increase conversions through your affiliate program. Starting out with 2 – 3 coupons will give your affiliates another way to market your products. For example, offering a free shipping coupon or a % off to start can get the affiliates excited.

10. Policing Tools

Compliance may become an issue in your affiliate, but the question is how do you monitor what your affiliates are doing? There are tools out there that monitor various aspects of your brand and they include:

a. Paid Search Monitoring – you can find out if any affiliates are bidding on your trademarks through Google, Bing, Yahoo, or AOL ads.

b. Content Monitoring –  you can find webpages that match your current offers being produced by affiliates.

c. Domain Monitoring – you can find out if affiliates are purchasing domains with your trademarks in it as well as misspelled variations.

d. Social Media Monitoring – you can see if affiliates are promoting your brand through social media in accordance with your terms of service.

e. Coupon Code Monitoring – this is used when you do not want affiliates to promote certain coupon codes. This can also be used to determine if affiliates are harvesting coupons from your site or email newsletters.

Launching an affiliate program does not have to be a daunting task. Ensuring it is optimized is the first step on the road to success. Being competitive and providing affiliates what they need to be successful is the name of the game, but ongoing management will be ultimately determine success or failure.

3 Affiliate Types to Keep Out of Your Affiliate Program

There are many different types of affiliates, good and bad, ranging from content, data feed, email marketing, social media, and even coupon affiliates. These 5 affiliate types are considered quality affiliates, for the most part, but there are always bad apples in every bunch. In this case they give the affiliate marketing industry a bad reputation. There are three types of affiliates that do more harm than good to affiliate programs. The three types are: coupon and content hijackers, trademark violators, and adware and toolbar affiliates. To avoid the hassle associated with such “parasites” either decline their applications or remove them from your program immediately.  You will save a great deal of energy, but also money you can invest back into your affiliate program.

Let’s go into more detail on the parasite affiliates and what tactics they use and how it harms an affiliate program.

Coupon and Content Hijackers

These affiliates have been around since the industry started and the problem is still large. What they do is take exclusive coupons assigned to an affiliate or take an affiliates content and place it on their site or social media platform and act as if it is theirs. A tactic also used by them is deal harvesting, in which they seek out deals that are not being used in the affiliate space and promoting them with their affiliate links attached. There are ways to monitor this and ensure they are not negatively affecting your affiliate program. There are coupon code monitoring programs that can tell you what sites your codes are bring used on and then from there you can take action. By actively policing this tactic your affiliate program will be more attractive to affiliates that will bring incremental value.

Trademark Violators

These affiliates bid on the trademarks of the merchants they are promoting. They engage in paid search campaigns on the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) and use the merchant’s brand name plus a discount or deal (i.e. Get 20% off at Merchant X). This practice occurs more often than not and the most effective way to eliminate this tactic is to strictly police your affiliate program and have in the program terms that trademark bidding is prohibited. There are various tools that I use to find trademark violators for the programs I manage, but the key is to communicating with the violators that are engaging in such activities. The protocol in place I use is email them and warn them to remove ads immediately or face removal from the program in 24 hours.

Adware and Toolbar affiliates

These specific types of adware that are downloaded and appear on your web browser (i.e. Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer) and activate when you reach a merchants site, and then a cookie is dropped. When the cookie is dropped it overwrites other marketing channels and alters the user’s experience and other websites visited. Examples of adware/toolbar affiliates include: ShopatHome and We-Care. Do they add value to an affiliate program? No! The incremental value is not there and your program will be better off without them.

Overall, the affiliate marketing industry has more good affiliates than bad, but being aware of who they are and how they operate is important in running a successful affiliate program. If any of these parasite affiliates are currently operating within your program make the decision to remove them, but remember there are tools to help in policing your program and a simple warning (for coupon thieves and trademark violators) goes a long way in stopping the behavior for good.