Saturday, April 14, 2012

Affiliate Programmes Update

A little over four years back I was thinking about using affiliate links on my websites and discovered it wasn't very easy to find suitable affiliate programmes (affiliate programs?) for the New Zealand webmaster.

Being me, I decided to start an affiliate directory instead and list the ones I could find that were prepared to be open about their programmes and paid in NZ$ or at least in some form that was easy to cash over here. After a few months I had a second unhappy go at finding sites and reported my not very happy experiences on one of my other blogs ¿Que? - Biting The Hand:
"Over the last few days it feels like I've looked at close to 1,000 affiliate scheme sign-up pages, probably only half that in reality. From these I've extracted 50 that I've added to the directory and another 20 where I've queried the scheme owner"
Since then I've added very few new entries to the directory and  just purged ones where the site went away. The directory has been a bit of an open wound that I didn't want to touch.

Last night I decided it was past time to refresh the directory. I purged out all but one of the schemes that still hadn't replied to my 2008 query (I re-queried the other one) and went looking for more. Things have changed a lot in the last 42 months and I was pleasantly surprised. I just searched Google for "affiliate", New Zealand sites only and started following links. Out of the first 60 links I've added 19 sites. OK, 10 of those I queried for some information, but usually just 1 or 2 minor points. Of the others, some were programmes I already listed, some were blog entries about affiliate programs, some were duplicates (Google listing multiple pages from the same site on different pages), a couple were me and only a very few were genuinly bad ones.

One thing I've noticed is that there are programme owners who are now offering 20% or greater commission, in one case 75%. Four years ago commissions under 10% were pretty common. Today I found a program that actually apologised for offering only 10% and explained that it was because they used live sales people to close the deal and human trainers to deliver the product. They neededn't have worried yet, 10% is still pretty mainstream for high value sales.

OK, Webmasters are now much better at creating and explaining realistic programmes on their sites, but how responsive are they? One person I queried late last night responded first thing this morning, despite it being a Saturday. He gave me all the answers I requested. It will be interesting to see how long the others take.

Are things perfect? Not yet. The fact that I had to query basic facts about payment and cookie retention from half the programmes that I felt worth listing means that they still aren't thinking it through properly.

Finally, one local business is offering a massive 0% commission ... it really makes me feel like promoting their products.