Affiliate Managers: How Not to Treat Your Affiliates

Affiliate Managers: How Not to Treat Your Affiliates

In my time as an affiliate marketer, I have quickly learned that all affiliate managers are not created equal. With some companies like Amazon, my experience has been that you can generally expect a prompt and courteous response to a question within 24 hours or so. With some other companies, you’re lucky if you ever get a response.

Update: In April 2012, based on this post, I finally did receive a response from Wild Divine and the issue was sorted out.

And then there is Wild Divine. Wild Divine is a package consisting of a bio-feedback device that connects to your computer and one or more games and other software programs that interface with the device. The Wild Divine device collects data such as your heart rate and galvanic skin response, while the software uses this data to let you do things like levitating items by breathing calmly. It’s actually an excellent relaxation tool — I have two of them. The flagship Wild Divine package costs $399, and I recently discovered that Wild Divine has an affiliate program on ShareASale with a commission rate of 25%. Not bad! So, I signed up and was auto-approved.

Less than 24 hours later, I received the following email:

Subject: Affiliate Program Application DECLINED

Date: Sat, 14 Jan 2012 10:15:44 -0500 (EST)

From: (removed)

We are sorry but the website that you have listed in your profile has been declined.

With that, I was unceremoniously booted from the Wild Divine affiliate program, and my link stopped working without warning. The message contains no actual information that I could use to understand why Wild Divine felt I wasn’t a good fit for its program or what I might change to fit the company’s affiliate criteria. Now, is this really an appropriate way for one business to communicate with another?

I realize that some affiliate marketers are what you might call parasites, and that this sometimes gives affiliate marketing in general a bad reputation. The rest of us, however, realize that Affiliate Marketing is a slow but fulfilling way to earn an income, and we play by the rules. I really don’t think that this email projects the professional image that a company such as Wild Divine wants.

I own many websites and participate in dozens of affiliate programs. Although none of those websites contain any content that could be considered offensive, many of them are completely unrelated to a product like Wild Divine. It would have taken all of about two minutes to write an email more like this one:

Dear Sir,

We have looked over your profile on ShareASale and found that you operate many websites. We feel that a few of those websites may not be good fits for our product. In order to maintain our image as a leader in relaxation and meditation products, we ask that our affiliates advertise Wild Divine only on websites with related content. To remain in our program, please take a moment to detail your plans for promoting Wild Divine and let us know on which website(s) you plan to display our banners.


Wild Divine Affiliate Manager

Now, was that really so difficult? In spite of the poor treatment, I actually do want to advertise Wild Divine on one of my websites. So, I tried to contain my frustration at receiving a curt one-liner from this supposedly professional operation and responded with the following message:

Good morning,

I’m sorry, but this is a rather unhelpful email that doesn’t provide enough information with which to formulate a response. I own many websites and participate in many affiliate programs, and have no intention of advertising Wild Divine on unrelated websites. The website I displayed your advertisement on was (removed), a computer-related website that receives thousands of visits each month and is an ideal pairing for your product.

I assume that you are looking for high-quality affiliates to partner with. I have an excellent track record with my merchant partners. In order to fit your criteria, please take the time to let me know what you are looking for and what about my operation specifically you find fault with. Thank you.

Overall, though, I find myself quite disappointed with the way I have been treated by the Wild Divine affiliate manager and feel that the company could really stand to step up its professionalism a bit when communicating with its affiliates.

Postscript, January 24: after ten days, I still have not received a response from the Wild Divine affiliate manager. Affiliates, be warned!

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