So what kinds of agreements do you have sign and what do you need to look out for when dealing with affiliate networks and affiliate programs? Today’s blog post will examine the contacts, or agreements, that you will need to enter into with Affiliate networks or Merchants.
Affiliate Network Agreements: – These are affiliate agreements that govern your relationship with the affiliate network. They are contracts which cover the Terms of Network Service, Promotional rules and restrictions and Payment Terms. These agreements are legally binding so you must adhere and comply with their terms and conditions or there will be repercussions. It is very important to understand them fully so you can set the correct expectations as to what you might earn from any particular network.
It is very important that you fully understand all the clauses and terms before you begin to work with an affiliate network so there are no misunderstandings. You might want to keep track of all the different affiliate networks and the conditions which are particular to that network in a spreadsheet program like Excel.
Affiliate Program Agreements: – These define and govern the relationship between affiliates and Merchants or Advertisers. Many merchants will have additional terms to those you see in Affiliate Network agreements that you will have to comply with. Make sure you understand all their terms before you start to promote a merchant.
In some cases merchants will summarize their terms in the first paragraph of the affiliate agreement, while others go into great detail and break down their requirements into easily digestible and understandable sections or paragraphs.
When reviewing Affiliate Program Agreements you need to keep in mind the following when you go through them.
Payment Terms: What is the number of referrals that you need to have or what is the payment threshold you need to reach before the merchant is willing to pay you? What are the “Locking dates” and what if any extension possibilities are there related to these time limits?
Trademark Policies: What can you do with trademarks? How do their policies relate to – Paid Searches, Domains, HTML Tags and Trademark + rules. You may not be able to bid on trademarks exclusively but it may be possible to bid on Trademark + additional keywords such as Brandname + review.
Coupon and Discounts Policy: Are you allowed to use only affiliate program specific coupons or is it acceptable to harvest coupons from other sources such as social media and email campaigns of that particular merchant? What are the non-commissionable sales or products?
Search Engine Marketing Rules: What if any rules pertain to Keywords, display URL, Ad copy and Direct Linking?
Domain Related Policies: What rules must be adhered to regarding Trademarks and specific keywords?
Content Related Policies: What constitutes unacceptable content? Where may you use trademarks and logos? May you make use of press releases?
Promotion related Rules: What may you do in relation to incentives, software, email, sub-affiliates, social media and other promotional techniques.
When reading through and understanding affiliate Network and affiliate program agreements it is important to clearly distinguish between the two. Do not underestimate the importance of these legally binding documents to your business. Keep in mind the points outlined above relating to Payments, Trademarks, Coupons, Search Engine Marketing, Domains, Content and Promotional methods.