Affiliate Marketing
Yesterday I attended a meeting lead by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), that consisted of a number of the Nations largest Mobile Carriers and Aggrigators. It was exciting to finally get some real insights into the world of mobile, the types of concerns that the eco-system has and some of the issues that they are facing as a larger group…

I’m happy to say true spam is not a major one (at least at this time) due to the built in controls of the communication networks and the contracts/agreements that aggregation systems and marketing content providers and the mobile networks have built into the systems (the limited number of players also helps). But it wasn’t all roses either, just like in the email space, the largest concern seemed to be dealing with rogue affiliates generating subscriptions that violate the guidelines of the CWTA and Short Code programs. This is a problem that many email marketers will also be very familiar with.

Listing to the discussions between the three groups at the table got me thinking… how to dissuade rogue affiliate from filling your subscriber list (email or mobile) with junk subscriptions that could cause you some real i$$ues down the line, or suspension/revocation of your short codes or internet connectivity.

Here is what I was thinking, if you have more ideas please add them in the comments:

  • Build a policy guide for your programs should you decide to use affiliate marketing tactics for list growth. Include things like; payment terms, acceptable practices, zero tolerance termination notices and legal recourse for violations.
  • Make the payment cycles long enough (at least at the start) to gauge how well your affiliate is doing, consider reducing over time for those that prove to be good sources. Example: Pay after 90 days, withhold all payment once you receive complaints until they are resolved to your satisfaction or termination of affiliate is decided.
  • Build a “klout-like” reputation score for affiliates that tracks the affiliates programs and pays higher for better performers with lower issues, have a cut off for who you will deal with “no scores under 40/100, can participate”
  • Have a clearing house of rated affiliates – write reviews after using them for a period of time (ex: iTunes app store review model).
  • Only pay for offers sent from registered sites that you can regularly review for compliance to your policies, build a process to reject other sources – go through the process with the affiliate to ensure your policies are being maintained
  • Set an internal “walk away” process for affiliates that are out of line with your policies – even if they say others let them get away with these same practices
  • Have an application process for affiliates in order to screen potential affiliate partners, try and identify fake or misrepresented applications before they get on your network

Do you have any other ideas for dealing with bad affiliates, leave them in the comments.

Building a win-win process from the start, or totally reviewing your current processes to be win-win, as you can better screen affiliates to work with and potentially pay higher premiums based on some of the items listed above due to the reduced number of individuals but higher quality leads that are generated.