I’ve got a couple points you should consider in choosing affiliates.
One thing I want to mention is that it’s very important to focus on quality over quantity. You really don’t need thousands or tens of thousands of affiliates.
It’s more about the qualified affiliates who are going to do a good job of promoting your affiliate program.
To that end, you should definitely not consider auto-approval of affiliate applications. Without question, you should be manually approving all affiliates, so you can see what they’re doing and what they are all about.
When manually approving affiliates, you should have a certain criteria to qualify these affiliates for your affiliate program.
The actual criteria will vary from one affiliate program to another, depending on the vertical of your affiliate program and which affiliates make the most sense.
Some things I like to do to gauge whether an affiliate might be a problem or a good affiliate for me…
- Domain being submitted is a well known domain, but the contact information is based in a P.O. Box and/or a free e-mail service (Yahoo, Gmail, etc).
- E-mail doesn’t match domain being submitted. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but it’s just an indicator to consider.
- Site is down or “under construction”.
- Inverted first and last name (common practice of fraudulent applications originating in China).
- Validation of a real Social Security Number.
It’s very important to perform due diligence. You must find out whether an affiliate seems legitimate or whether they are a potential liability.
I cannot comment enough how you must treat the affiliate application process seriously.
In my opinion, transparency is key with affiliates. You have to know what they’re doing and where they are doing it.
Some affiliates have privatized domain names, so you cannot see who is behind the given domain. I understand people do this for various reasons, but I think it’s a good practice to stay away from these players (with some exceptions on a case by case basis).
I like to know who I am working with, and if they are going to cloak their domain, I have to wonder what else they might be hiding. It may well be an unfair prejudice, but I think it’s a prudent practice.
Also, you should consider calling each of your applicants to have a chat with them on the phone. Use this as an indicator to see how they respond to various questions. If they act a little uncomfortable with some questions, it could raise red flags for you.
It also gives you a snapshot about who they are and how they plan to promote your company.
Again, spend time and attention on the application process. Quality should be your focus. Work with partners that make sense, rather than just building up a huge database of random affiliates.
In the end, you’ll find that you have a more successful affiliate program.
Go back to the Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants Video Book.