How To Spot A Bad Affiliate Program

Affiliate marketing is a proven method of bringing in cash online. There are thousands of affiliate marketing networks on the web, but how do you spot a bad one? Affiliate marketing networks that don’t have their marketer’s best interests at heart can withhold payments or charge a sign up fee.

Knowing that you have a great affiliate program under your belt can save you time and money. Building links and implementing them into your website takes a lot of time and when people aren’t buying products from you, you’re losing money. Having a bad affiliate program can cost you dearly. If you don’t know what to look for in a bad affiliate program, here are some signs that will help you hit that “Back” button very quickly.

Negative Reviews

Before you ever submit your information to an affiliate program you should always read reviews. The reviews are going to help you determine whether or not the program pays their affiliates on time. If you read negative reviews of the network you should never give them the benefit of the doubt. A bad affiliate marketing network is going to have access to your social security number. If they aren’t paying you on time there’s no way of knowing what other practices they could be a part of. Read through customer reviews before you choose your affiliate to put a little safety into your information.

Sign Up Fees

Affiliate programs allow you to make money and they make money off of their clients. Why would you ever pay for an affiliate program? Most of the vendors on an affiliate program would not want to list their products on a network that charges affiliates anyway. This is counterproductive because a vendor is going to want as many people as possible trying to make sales. A vendor knows that an affiliate that charges fees scares off affiliates. Never pay for a program that is going to charge you a fee to join. There are a lot of affiliate programs on the market so research the network and join one for free.


While this isn’t the sign of a bad affiliate, this is definitely something that you should watch out for. The links that your affiliate provides you with should be numerous. One of the biggest affiliate programs on the Internet is Clickbank. There are tons of people who don’t like Clickbank because it only offers text links. Commission Junction on the other hand offers banners, text links and even Flash based videos. When you are looking for an affiliate you want a variety in the way that you present products to your customers. Text links are great for Adwords, but a banner is something that you can put on your website. Banners and geo-tracked links can lead to high conversions. Don’t limit yourself with text links alone. Branch out.

Bad Products

Before you sign up for an affiliate account with a network, you should be able to see the kinds of products they are offering. If the affiliate program has really bad products you’re not going to make a single sale. They might have great products, but for 2004. Make sure that the products are up to date and that they offer something your customers are actually going to buy. Affiliate marketing is not about selling a product. It’s about offering a solution. If your network is not offering solutions to problems, then you don’t want to sign up with them.

Technical Support

The tech support on an affiliate program can be one of the best features. This all goes back to the negative reviews section. If you have read that the affiliate has horrible tech support, you do not want to get involved with them. There are issues that can come up during the marketing process. Dead links, bank account situations and other problems need to be dealt with immediately. If your affiliate program is taking two to three weeks to get around to your support ticket, you’re loosing money.

Affiliate programs can lead to wealth of opportunity. But if your affiliate doesn’t have your best interest at heart, you could get burned. Vet all of your affiliate programs before you sign up with them so you know what you’re getting into. Make sure that your network has excellent customer support and really great products for your niche. Avoid negatively reviewed sites and sites that only offer one-way of linking to the products. Following these guidelines will keep your information safe and your money coming in.

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