Recently my good friend Jim Kukral made a video expressing his concern and annoyance with affiliate networks on the "BIG" networks, such as Commission Junction and Linkshare. Jim wanted to promote an offer through BestBuy, which is run through Commission Junction. Unfortunately CJ likes to automatically delete accounts once they go inactive for a couple months. The happened to Jim’s account, so he had to make a new one. Once signing up again, he had to apply to the BestBuy affiliate program and had to wait four days to get a response back… and the response was, "your application was not approved".
I can relate to how Jim feels and I have experienced the same thing several times over. I have not used Commission Junction or Linkshare for nearly three years now because I hate the way their networks are setup. Back when I first was starting out running my own affiliate programs, I had several merchant accounts on CJ and one master affiliate account. Through CJ I had paid out several hundreds of thousands over the course of around two years. In addition to paying out a ton in commissions, I was also earning a ton too. My affiliate account had earnings in the six figure range… but apparently that didn’t matter to CJ. Once I stopped using that affiliate account for a few months, it was deactivated. I contacted CJ and they told me to create a new account. So what about all my data and awesome stats!?.. they didn’t care, it was now lost.
Several years later and I have experienced the same thing multiple times. I find a new offer that is through CJ that I want to check out, then I post a few links here and there, then log in a few months later and my account is deactivated again. I think my latest account with them is my fifth.
So last night I was setting up my new office room and it has a lot of furniture in it from Bombay Company. I decided to check out the site and saw they have an affiliate program, through LinkShare. I really wanted to join the program since I would promote the offer and also buy some furniture through the site as well. It’s been a while since I logged into my LinkShare account, but it was nice to see they didn’t delete my account like CJ does. I logged in, found the offer and and applied. I also added ZacJohnson.com as a new site to my profile, thinking any affiliate program would obviously see my site and how it says "Super Affiliate" and would easily accept the application.
This morning I received a response from Bombay Company’s affiliate manager, and (not) to my surprise, they have denied my account, stating my web site was one of the following: Inability to access Web site, Web site not yet live, Traffic levels too low, Inappropriate material on site. I assume they did find relevant content, as none of the above apply. It’s a shame to have affiliate management in place that would deny a site which states it’s a "Super Affiliate", and has a previous post showing $10k in earnings with another network.
In Jim’s video he talked about how he just wanted to go to BestBuy and other large companies directly. I completely agree, but unfortunately most site and companies do not have the management or knowledge to do so… so they pay too much and outsource to larger networks and miss out on possible opportunities to work with big players like Jim and myself, just because they don’t know better, or provide better and more personal support. The moral of this is posting is that no matter how big or small your branding name or company is, you can always improve your affiliate management and support. As for other large affiliate networks out there, I’m sure deleting accounts saves you some costs on data storage, but deleting accounts of big earning affiliates is just ridiculous. I’ve been in this game long enough to understand how things should be run and so many companies out there are way under par.