Webmasters Resources
Affiliate Programs
(Revenue Streams)
What are Affiliate Programs?
How do Affiliate Programs Work?
How do I know if I have earned money?
Where to Join Affiliate Programs?
Common Affiliate Program Scams
Can I Start my own Affiliate Program?
 

See Also:
Domain Services
Building Your Web Site
Promote / Marketing

Affiliate Program Scams, Legal Loop Holes, and Dishonest Crooks
We have been hosted web sites for years (since 1997), we currently have over a dozen domains and 100,000+ web pages.  We have plenty of experience with affiliate programs and unfortunately... plenty of experience with dishonest affiliate programs. Many of dishonest affiliate programs are exactly that "DISHONEST", You can not legally list them on a site labeling them as a Scam because legal loopholes and other nasty misleading tactics. So, in order to keep from possibly being sued... we will not list the bad guys here.  Instead, we will list the Affiliate Programs we are certain or believe to be honest in our Affiliate Programs Directory. 
 

Affiliate Program Scams
You should be very leary and skeptical of many affiliate programs. Be sure to carefully read the affiliate agreement before you Apply/Sign up.

Affiliate Program Agreements
A careful look at the affiliate program agreement can help you weed out many Misleading and Dishonest Crooks from your potential Internet Affiliate program partner sites.

Here are important things to look for in the affiliate agreement.
1) Payment Details, Payment options, is money earned from page impressions, banner impressions, click thru's, leads, or sales (either flat rate or a percentage commision)
2) When are payments sent out to affiliates.  Will you be paid weekly, monthly, quarterly (every 3 months), or annually?
3) Is there a payment threshhold? Most affiliate program sponsors have a payment threshhold.  Meaning... a set minimum amount of money must be earned in order for each affiliate web site to recieve a payment. This is very reasonable. It would be accounting hell, expensive, and counter productive to send out $2.00 checks to hundreds of affiliates weekly. But... make sure the minimum amount earned threshhold is realistically achievable. Most balances below the payment threshold are carried over to the following pay period until the minimum amount of money has been earned in order for a affiliate payment to be sent.
4) Is there a phone number for the business? It would be important to be able to speak with a human if a problem should arise (ex: non payment)



Affiliate Program Scams, Legal Loop Holes
Take a careful look at the affiliate program agreement. Print it out and put a date on it (if there is not one already). Read the terms carefully, specific legal wording can be used to make an agreement appear good while rendering you powerless to collect due payment.

When linking to companies using a affiliate program (with your code embedded link) check to see if the company uses cookies to track repeat visitors/shoppers, you may only earn money on a visitors initial purchase.

Once you sign up and have the links embedded with your unique linking code, follow the path and click the link so you can see exactly what visitors you send would see.

BEWARE OF THE THIRD PARTY TRACKING TACTIC
Beware of companies that claim you have no need to worry about getting credit for sales, sign ups, leads of whatever because they have third party tracking. Honestly, the third party may be able to track traffic. But they do not have access to a companies cash register. Suppose they do not post that a sale was made, or that there was a return. Boasting about third party tracking only scares me from promoting them as they appear to be interested in achieving a position where credit/blame can be directed elsewhere.

(example: I set up some advertising through a "Third Party Tracking Company" on a highly targeted domain. In the end (of a very short period) I had 141,000 page views, 8,000+ click throughs and yielded only $31.00 in sales. If that were not bad enough.  I received a check for under $8.00.)

AFFILIATE PROGRAMS FOR USA COMPANIES and WEBMASTERS
Aside from Offshore companies... If a company located in the USA...
Most USA Businesses offering Affiliate Programs have you sign a form to join. When they do... they have you give your social security number (or business tax id #). This is so they can send a 1099 form to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), stating that they paid you X-amount. You must file this income as earned income if you earn X-amount of dollars from them is equal to or greater than $500 per year (I believe (I am unsure of the exact amount as my accountant takes care of that (I will findout and change this soon))). This is so the company offering the affiliate program can claim it as a expense paid to reduce thier own taxes. So...if they do not ask you for your social security number or business tax ID then either they do not expect you to earn $500. within a year or they are crooks. MOST IMPORTANT: If ever you need to give your tax ID or social security number... be certain it is in a Secure area.

SKIMMING YOUR SALES
Are there links on there site that DROP your linking code?
If there are links on thier site that do not contain your code, you may not get credit for visitors going further than one click into their site. If the company you are linking to does not offer products or services one click deep then no matter how many visitors you send you can not earn anything.

Do you earn money from sending visitors to the companies homepage?
Some companies will only pay for visitors sent directly to specific product links. 

Do you earn money from ALL products you sell?
BEWARE of terms such as "Commisions on Qualifying Products"
(example: You promote store which offers thousands of products but "Qualifying Products" could be extremely overpriced bandages.)

SKIMMING YOUR TRAFFIC AND PROFIT
Are there 1-800 phone numbers plasted all around there site?
Many of the visitors you send would rather call than to place a order or inquiry online. Therefore.... much of your potential income can be skimmed away.

Are there advertisements for third party companies for which you do not earn money?
Many affiliate programs use affiliate programs of thier own. Your hard earned traffic is sent to the affiliate site only to be skimmed away by a third party advertisement.

FOLLOW THE EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL WEB SITES
Are other webmasters using this affiliate program?
If you see large successful sites using a specific affiliate program that is a good indication the affiliate program is good.

DO A LITTLE RESEARCH
If you are going to send your valued visitors to a third party. Do a little research. Search the popular web master forums for complaints and/or compliments of various affiliate program hosting companies. A good way to find scams is to search the popular search engines.  If there is a dishonest sponsor and web masters feel they are or have been ripped off it is no surprise the word travels fast.

Example: A Search on Google for the term "linkshare scam" will yield 11,500 pages!!  Not all of them are saying that linkshare is a scam, some just happen to have the term "linkshare" and "scam" on their web page.  Still that is quite a lot of negative thoughts towards Linkshare.  In my personal opinion and from my own experience.... I believe they are DEFINATELY A SCAM!! A little research and I could have saved alot of time and avoided losing a lot of money. 
 
*Note: They Linkshare was recently sold to another company but my negative thoughts about them will remain here.  Perhaps the new company should have done some research as well because as far as I am concerned they bought the problem.  My reasoning.. suppose I bought a house and back taxes were due. I would then owe that money.  Similiarly, I feel back payments are due to many web masters. 

Also.. a search fpr the term "linksynergy" will yield close to 2.5 million results.  Linksynergy is a cookie used by linkshare to track your movements on the internet.

JOIN HONEST AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
Click Here for Recommended Affiliate Programs
 

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