Affiliate marketing used to be nice little sideline getting lots of people into web development who would have never considered it otherwise. Anyone could just setup the most basic of sites, add a few links and Google would come along love what you did and start pointing people at your little site/blog.
That is how it used to be, but now it only seems to be that way for the likes of HotUKDeals who are the big players in making commissions from links (added by other people…). What with Google getting all stuffy over its search algorithms and only sending traffic to blogs who add to its $100 MILLION a day adwords revenues and an overwhelmingly obvious amount of commissions no longer being tracked by networks like affiliate window (who through the power of their tools and signup sweeteners) managed to nick merchants from almost all of the other affiliate networks quite a lot of whom seemed to play the game more fairly, one of ones I remember most fondly was smart quotes who handled financial products.
Even Amazon associates seem to have a “screw you over” policy I found today. I used to naturally use my own link when making a purchase from amazon, then had a commission cancelled for that and enquired why.. they said they knew what I had done and cancelled it – from then I never really seemed to get much from Amazon associates but due to becoming a dad I didn’t really pay so much attention to affiliate issues anymore.
This week I sent a link for a camera to someone and put my tracking code at the end of it though, and saw the sale count in the Amazon associates orders report, he got the camera delivered, but no earnings report entry which naturally I sent them an email to find out what was going on. They used the same reasoning as a couple of years ago although the only connection between that sale and me was my affiliate id.. so they ripped me off to the tune of £25 on that sale alone.. there have been a few in the past like that I can see.. Their actual response is below
Thank you for contacting the Amazon Associates Programme.
I have checked your account and found that you have not received advertising fees for the order not appearing on your reports as a result of personal orders being placed through your Associates links.
Due to the proprietary nature of the process, we will not share with you the criteria by which we detect personal orders placed by an Associate. Please know that we are able to determine when an order has been placed by an Associate via their Associates links.
Associates do not receive payment for advertising fees on any personal orders placed. This is because the Associates Programme places certain restrictions on the types of orders that may be placed through an Associate’s web site.
Here’s how our Operating Agreement explains it:
7. Advertising Fees
Qualifying Purchases exclude, and we will not pay advertising fees on any of, the following:
any Product purchased by you or on your behalf through a Special Link (e.g., personal orders, orders for your own use, and orders placed by you for or on behalf of any other person or entity).
Given the relatively slim retail margins on our products and our strong discount pricing, the advertising fees we offer to our Associates can only be sustained by meeting new customers through our Associates. These customers may return to us in the future for items unrelated to the topics served by the Associate web site, and this future business helps to offset the advertising fees we pay. If an Associate orders for their own use, even if they plan to sell the items to customers who cannot order online, it can’t lead to this kind of future business. This is why we can’t afford to offer advertising fees on such orders, as we want to keep the program viable for the long term.
We understand that some orders may unintentionally be tagged to Associates accounts as you are updating your site(s) and checking links. However, we do request that you place all personal orders directly at http://www.amazon.co.uk through sessions not tagged to your Associates account.
If you require any additional assistance or information please use the following link to contact us again:
Thank you for participating in the Amazon Associate Programme.
So it seems in the worldwide recession, affiliate marketing companies / networks are just being complete cocks to personal web publishers ripping us off left right and centre, I think I’ll just shut down all my affiliate sites and save on hosting costs given the people higher up the chain have lost the capacity to play reasonably.