The Republican National Committee launched an affiliate program on Commission Junction back in July 2004.
There was a bit of buzz initially, but the affiliate program never really blazed a trail.
Some affiliate marketers were wary of getting a piece of commissions for political contributions at the time – they were concerned about fallout from their visitors. I didn’t think that concern was merited, as political advertising is not free in other venues.
People understand, at least I think they do, that when they respond to direct mail, phone calls, newspaper ads or television commissions that there is a cost to reach them, and part of their donation pays for the marketing.
Anyhow, the RNC affiliate program was paying 30% of each donation (capped at $30) with 45 return days.
But it closed down on July 31, 2007.
I can’t so I’m so surprised. I would check in occasionally, and the EPC was pretty much always low. The creative was stale, and I don’t recall ever hearing from the affiliate manager in the nearly three years I belonged to the program.
Maybe political contributions aren’t a good fit for affiliate marketing, but I think it was more about the execution of this particular affiliate program.
I think an affiliate program for an individual candidate could be a winner, but do any of their teams even know of affiliate marketing?