Q: I’m thinking of starting a member rewards site where members get rewards for banners, etc they click. Do you know if advertisers which pay good $ / click (like eBay) actually like this idea? Is is important that you tell them before you sign up that your website is an incentive based website?
A: There are a couple of things to consider when putting together a member rewards site that will act as an affiliate.
- Sub ID Tracking – You will need to build an infrastructure to reconcile the Sub IDs, so that you know which of your rewards members are due how much affiliate commission. Some of the networks require applying and/or signing a special agreement to do Sub IDs.
- Know the Rules of Each Affiliate Program – Some affiliate programs will forbid any sort of incentive for their click, lead, or sale. And some networks will ask you in your application whether you are an incentive site.
In general, merchants do not like incentive sites. Sure, they’d rather have the sale over seeing their competitor get it, but when a transaction is incentivized, the customer or user is being loyal to the deal, not to the merchant.
As far as eBay in particular, they do not allow affiliates to offer any sort of incentives without prior permission:
“Terms Governing Incentive Sites. You will not directly or indirectly offer any consideration or incentive for any Commission-Earning Activity or for clicking on an affiliate program-coded link unless expressly authorized to do so in writing by CJ. Each such written authorization will authorize only one specific incentive.”
Last time I checked, Amazon did not permit incentives, either. It’s a tricky landscape, so be sure to to clear things with merchants in advance.