Yes, barely 3 months into a year in which I vowed that all my posts would be positive, I find myself in the unfortunate position of having to share some bad news with you.
It's what I call the “Merchant Bait and Switch” and it works like this:
- Merchant gets you interested in a product.
- You sign up for their program.
- Loving the product, you promote it in good faith.
- You discover (if you are lucky) that your affiliate links no longer produce commissions.
Fortunately, this is a relatively rare occurrence.
However, if you learn that you've driven thousands of visitors to a site without the hope of being paid what you are due — you might be somewhat teed off.
Especially if you learn that one merchant has done it not once, but TWICE.
Sadly, that's the story behind my dealings with Affmeter.
When I started to promote their product, they were using one payment processor with an affiliate program.
Sometime later (read years), I discovered they'd switched to Clickbank.
Yet, despite the fact that I'd done beta testing for them to help them improve their product AND then given them a great testimonial after they'd made the changes to develop a great product — no one ever notified me of the change.
The last time I checked, my testimonial was still on their homepage (although I expect it to disappear shortly after this article is posted).
So, what did I do?
I contacted Firuze Okten Gokce, the owner (whom I knew personally from conversations over the phone and at industry conferences), to tell her that I think she's committed a major faux pas in terms of fairness to her affiliates. I then change my links over to the new Clickbank links.
When I next met her at an industry conference, neither of us mentioned the incident and life went on.
Considerable time passed and one day I'm reviewing all my affiliate links again and guess what I notice?
The Clickbank link to her product works, but when you go to the order form from the merchant page — the processor is NOT Clickbank.
Not only THAT, but the affiliate signup page on her site still gives you Clickbank links.
Here's the video I took to show what happened.
I'd like to say this was an honest mistake, however, in this case, I know better.
The owner of this company started in this industry as an affiliate, and as an affiliate, she'd have known better. At least you'd think she'd have the integrity to contact her best affiliates to let them know of the changes… but no.
And, to prove I was a super promoter of her product, just search “Affmeter” on Google. My 4 year-old review (January 2008) still comes up 3rd in the listings. Granted – what a waste. Gotta wonder how much she owes me. I assume it is a LOT. (The listing in 2nd place doesn't even have a link to their site… weird).
Anyway, fool me once, shame on you — fool me twice, shame on me — and I should have kept a much better eye on this bad actor.
On the brighter side, it looks like Affmeter recently went out of business, which I'm sure has nothing to do with the software – which was great – but really, really bad karma on the part of its owner.
I wish I could say this was the only time I've seen this happen, but it's not.
Over the years, I've soused out a number of links to programs and products that had been terminated and the links redirected to totally different products. The links still worked so you won't get a broken link error notice like you would if they were a Commission Junction merchant.
In most cases, they are Clickbank merchants of products that are no longer viable (out-of-date or violated Clickbank's terms of service) and their affiliate links redirect to a landing page with an email opt-in form.
Hopefully in the future, Clickbank will contact every affiliate who ever sold a specific product to advise them of changes to the product or terminations of the product.
Most recently, my affiliate links to Bizzites redirected to a Chinese Bee Pollen site.
Fortunately, the owner of the company had warned me that he was selling the company and that he didn't know what they new owners would do with it — so when a subscriber informed me that the links were being re-directed, I wasn't as surprised as I might have been otherwise.
The point is — keep an eye on your affiliate promotions. Don't just check to see that they redirect to the merchant site, but make sure you are getting credit for the sales as well, i.e. check the order page.
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