As an affiliate marketer of
Internet dating services, I'm always on the lookout for
good quality dating sites and products to offer my
single visitors. Merchants help me out when they let me
know about their new products and affiliate programs.
I was therefore thrilled when one of my friendly
affiliate competitors got in touch to tell me that he'd
started his own Internet dating service and affiliate
Having launched a community membership site myself last
year, I could fully appreciate the huge amount of time
and money my friend had invested to develop this new
site. He was justifiably proud of his accomplishment and
I was excited by the prospect of having a product to
promote that would benefit everyone - my customers, my
friend and myself.
Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out that way.
The first stumbling block was the low commission he
offered. His top rate was 30%, with no commissions on
This puzzled me. As an affiliate marketer of dating
programs, he should have been aware that new sites offer
at least 50% on new and recurring sales to entice good
affiliates to sign up. If commissions on recurring sales
are not offered, then the rates on new sales should be
increased to between 70 and 100 percent.
In most cases, his affiliate program would have struck
out for me at that point. However, as this was my
friend's site, it occurred to me that perhaps his
product was so unique that the potential for high volume
sales might offset the lower commission. Hoping for the
best, I continued my review.
When I got to the site, the first thing I noticed was '6
registered members' prominently displayed at the top of
the homepage. That normally wouldn't be a problem,
except for the fact that my customers are looking for
friends and soul mates. If I send them to a site where
there are only six people to meet, they'll likely be
disappointed. Worse, by wasting their time, they lose
trust in my judgement and then I will lose them as
That's not good. My customers are literally my bread and
butter. Giving them what they want and expect is how I
stay in business. Paying for traffic that I send to a
merchant site where there is nothing to buy, will put me
out of business.
(This is how a membership site should be structured.
When starting a dating service, the merchant pays for
advertising to bring people to their site. To entice
visitors to sign up as members, he will initially offer
his services for fr*ee. When the database is large
enough to attract paying customers, the affiliate
program manager then invites potential affiliates to
join their program.)
Although my friend's program had already struck out for
my customers and me, I was still curious, so I kept on
Next I clicked on a link labeled 'Dating Resources'.
Expecting to find Internet dating tips and advice, I
found links and banners pointing to Lavalife,
FriendFinder and other affiliated dating sites instead.
When I asked him about placing affiliate programs on his
friend said he simply wanted to supplement his income
until the dating service got *rolling*. I can understand
his motivation. However, what he doesn't understand is
the concept of customer 'hijacking'.
As an affiliate, you pay
good money to get visitors to your site. You presell
your merchants' products and expect the merchant to
honor their end of the bargain by making the sale and
sending your commission check. You don't pay for the
merchant to send YOUR customers to THEIR affiliated
I didn't need to look any further. I told my friend that
I would hold off on signing up and why. Fortunately, he
understood and has already alleviated some of the
problems I mentioned.
Knowing when NOT to sign up for an affiliate program can
sometimes be a tough call. However, you can simplify the
process considerably. Put yourself inside your
customer's head. If the product won't work for them, the
program strikes out. Simple as that.
Article by Rosalind Gardner, author of the best-selling
Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797 in One Year
Selling Other People's Stuff Online".
To learn how you too can succeed in Internet and
affiliate marketing, please visit
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