Rebill Offers Come Back to Hurt Affiliates

Written by Zac Johnson
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In the beginning, all the talk was about rebill offers and how bad they are for the customers. Months later and we are seeing the same thing happen to a few networks, affiliates and companies, but in a different backlash.

With such a high payout per free trial, the affiliate networks and supplier companies have to pay out a ton in advance… in hopes they can scam keep customers paying for an extra 2-3 months. But what happens when the overflow is too much and it starts to go the other way. In most cases, you the affiliate, or network won’t be getting paid.

A friend of mine has been running a weight loss rebill offer for a while now, directly with a company. This was outside of an affiliate network and means they would be paid directly and invoice the company for all leads. As an affiliate, most of us use networks as we feel they are the middle man, and most will make good if their advertiser doesn’t. A lot of networks have taken a hit when their advertiser doesn’t pay, but they still pay their affiliates. Unfortunately in this scenario, the affiliate didn’t walk away with their full commissions.

Here is the email notifying the affiliate on the current situation:

The only thing worse than finding out you are only going to receive 33% of what you are owed, is to see the company continue mailing out the same offer for weeks after they told you they won’t pay in full. The email shown below has still been circulating and keep being sent out, despite “suspended operations“.

For anyone who was owed money by Vitrasun, LLC, it looks like it’s already too late. Search “Vitrasun LLC” on Google and you will barely find anything… go to their site at Vitrasun.com, and you will find even less.

Unfortunately there is only so much an affiliate or affiliate network can do in this situation. It costs too much to go into a legal battle, and in most cases there is no money left in the company. Even worse, the majority of companies that play this game, close up shop only to start up under another name and do it all over again.

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25 Replies to “Rebill Offers Come Back to Hurt Affiliates”

  1. That sucks.

    However, I would imagine that this affiliate went straight to the advertiser to get a higher payout and cut-out the middle man (network), so that's kind of the risk you have to take when doing that, no?

    Getting shafted on 66% of your earned income sucks, but how much extra money did they make bypassing the network when things were going well, and how much extra money will they make in the future bypassing networks if they do this.

    It's really their choice if they want to take that risk.

    Personally I prefer to work with networks myself. 🙂

  2. It gives bad name to the product, company and the worst part is promoting such offers through a blog really sucks..coz the buyers are always furious!!

  3. Sounds like the company is just trying to play hardball.. nothing new in the business world. I hope he signed an agreement before spending his own money on Adwords, etc. If so it will be easy to sue for what's owed unless the company goes bankrupt.

  4. <a class="replyTo" href="#comment-111635" rel="nofollow">@Scot:

    As mentioned in the post, the company is pretty done and closed up shop. I;m sure there are many affiliates and networks that were owed by these guys.

  5. Rebill offers are on the brink of extinction if both sides are startingt o have bad experiences. I am happy to see that happening, as Rebill Offers are one of my pet peeves, and the main reason for me not buying into loads more 30-day trials and other similar internet offers.

  6. I am not sure that the rebill world will just fade away.. its been around for many years in different formats book clubs , discount clubs etc.. I think where the problems began is when people were "tricked" into putting their credit cards in order to receive the free trial..

    I think that the affiliates out there should start looking back at offers that made them money just a few years ago.. pure lead generation offers, dating, financial offers… these are all things that are still around and are not fly by night operations.

  7. Sometimes I find that Commission Junction is the best and other times it may be Share A Sale that makes me the most money. It all depends on what type of product that you want to try to sell and what topic it is on. Do your research and don't put all your eggs in one basket.

  8. I am very wary of Rebill Offers. And this from a customers perspective! Once bitten, twice shy sums up my experience, and I am loathe to just part with credit card details and to trust the vendor not to rebill.

  9. I can’t see why it would. You don’t want affiliate links to get in the way of people, but you do want them to be easily noticeable. If you think you have too many, add a separate page for them.

  10. Oh wow. the whole company's going down and only has the money to pay 33% now huh?

    How quickly did all of this happen, I wonder? I mean, obviously over time, but that'll still be something I'll think about in the back of my mind.

  11. Thanks god! It's happening ultimately. These free trial scammers (and their affiliates) are hurting legitimate online businesses. Affiliates should get scammed by merchants and affiliate networks; that's the only way to stop (or reduce) free trial scams. 😉

  12. I guess the example of Vitrasun LLC shows that the financial crisis has hit everybody, and IM was affected as well… ok it sucks but unfortunately we must accept that there is always a risk of not getting paid… and even if we stuck to the big networks, that risk will persist!

  13. Yes, it's bad that there are people who'd do more harm than good in the affiliate marketing niche, but Earth is where we live in, and we have to keep our eyes open.

    That's why whenever I join a new opportunity/network or buy a program, I Google it first, and see what others have to say about it. I rarely join something until someone else has proof they're the real-deal and they're paying on time.

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