Affiliate and other cooperative programs are announced almost daily. Website owners are flocking to these programs. Enthusiasm
is high. But … Why not compare and evaluate first?
The following checklist was prepared from the point of view of one seeking a program to affiliate with. But it can also help a program initiator compare current programs in order to make his better.
A. Does the Program Offer a Strategic Fit to Your Business?
1. PROGRAM PURPOSE – Define in broad terms
2. COMPLEMENTS YOUR PURPOSE – Does it help you better
realize your website long-range goals?
3. VISITOR LEARNING – Are your visitors interested and will
program help them learn?
B. Do You Trust the Business Initiating the Program?
4. SUCCESS – Does the business have a history of successes?
5. BELIEVABLE ADVERTISING – Does it promise impossible
rewards: get-rich-quick and MLM schemes? Or is it honest and
6. REPUTATION – What does the business literature tell you about
their past operations?
7. WHAT CLIENTS SAY – Contact current clients and ask for
their opinions. Would they recommend this business
organization? Are they benefiting from it?
C. Is the Program Well Designed?
8. AFFILIATE QUALIFICATIONS – Are they signing up
everyone? Or are they being picky? Picky is better.
9. AFFILIATE RESPONSIBILITIES – Better, too, if there are
specific responsibilities. Are affiliates asked to do
promotion, communication with customers, sales?
10. INITIATOR RESPONSIBILITIES – Does the outfit offer help
in promotion, sales and after-sales support?
11. PAYMENT & TERMS – Is there a fee or commission
structure? How frequently are payments made? Does affiliate
get credit for future sales?
12. TRANSACTION TRANSPARENCY – How frequently are
transaction reports made? Are transactions independently
checkable by the affiliate? Is there a third-party audit?
13. CONFLICT RESOLUTION – Is there a SIMPLE method for
14. RETURN TO SITE – Is there a simple way for a website
visitor to return to the site of the affiliate after a
transaction is executed?
D. Will You be Part of a Community?
15. COMMUNICATION MEDIUM – Does the program have a
newsletter, a mailing list, a forum, or some other means of
communicating among all affiliates?
16. AFFILIATE DECISION-MAKING – Does each affiliate have
a voice in making decisions that affect all affiliates?
17. MUTUAL PROBLEM SOLVING – Is there a method whereby
affiliates can pose problems and have them solved by the
affiliate community?- – – – – – – – – – – –
Be extremely careful when evaluating an affiliate program. Most
people dwell on the financial arrangements. These are important, of
course. But more important, I believe, are efforts made to achieve
community. These efforts may bolster your ability to achieve
greater financial goals.
Spend time in evaluation. It will pay off in the long run.