What is the best way to handle affiliates who don’t obey the rules; i.e., bid on trademarked terms, don’t update datafeeds for years, etc.? These people make decent sales, so I don’t want to drop them, but repeated emails aren’t working! Any suggestions?
This can be a big problem. As I mentioned recently in an article at iMediaConnection, only 45 percent of affiliates always read the affiliate agreement.
So chances are that your affiliates are oblivious to your affiliate agreement, and if they are not responding to your email, it may be due to their having an outdated email address with your network, or a spam filter is catching your mail.
However, it could also be that they are knowingly ignoring your messages, because they are aware that they are breaking the rules, and they are going to string you along for as long as you’re willing to let it go.
Either way, it’s time to step up the communication efforts. If you have a phone number for them, start calling. If the number on file is not correct, try dialing the number they’ve used when registering their domain(s) by going to http://www.allwhois.com/
If you still strike out in your contact attempts, I’d urge you to go old school and try reaching them through snail mail. Either send them a letter, or if you’re dealing with lots of folks not responding to you, try a direct mail postcard campaign.
If these steps do not result in a response, I’d suggest terminating their account for violating your affiliate agreement (assuming you account for the issues you mentioned in the agreement).
As far as I am concerned, you cannot have a mutually beneficial partnership with somebody that refuses to communicate with you.