Q: I am going to be setting up an affiliate program for a client. Do you know of any good resources in which to find information on legal aspects of acting as a consultant? Are there any good resources for contracts and what is included in the consultant affiliate mangager – merchant agreement? For example, if I set this up for the client, who owns the affiliate program? Do I or the merchant? Who owns the affiliates? Questions like these. I searched high and low on your site as well as the internet and could not find anything on it.
A: In my own business, I met with a local lawyer and they constructed a contract for me, based on the issues I asked them to cover. I take this boilerplate contract and customize it for each new client.
As far as the content of the contract, my opinion is that the merchant should own the affiliate program and any creative assets created for the affiliate program.
Who owns the affiliates? This is a touchy question. First of all, affiliates don’t want to be “owned” by anybody. That aside, it will depend on which technology is powering the affiliate program – some networks will insist that they own the relationship. In other cases, the merchant will have a more direct relationship.
You will have your own relationships with affiliates, which can be seen as an asset to potential clients, but you don’t own anything.
Ultimately, it’s a typical consulting contract that you will need, but with varying customizations depending on the client. Since I am not a lawyer, I purposely avoid posting detailed legal resources on my site.