5 Factors in Selecting an Affiliate Program

As an affiliate, one of the first major decisions that need to be made is selecting an affiliate program. This program then forms the basis of all the time and money that the affiliate would spend trying to generate a sustainable income. You cannot win too often if the playing field is unfavorable! Choosing the correct affiliate program is about choosing your playing field. Also, since this choice is difficult to reverse, affiliates must spend an apt amount of time weighing the choices and the consequences of the decision being made.


The first and most obvious factor while making a choice is reputation. So, affiliates must choose programs that have a good reputation and avoid ones that are bad. This is simple to say but difficult to follow. How can an affiliate establish the reputation of any program? Well to begin with internet gives a good opportunity.

Affiliate marketing is an online business. Therefore, people who are dissatisfied with a program are extremely likely to voice their opinion online. It may not be found on the first page of Google search results. However, bad experiences can always be found after digging a little deeper. Disgruntled affiliates will always reveal details like payment terms and payout ratios. These terms are hidden in the long list of terms and conditions and therefore are difficult for a new affiliate to spot.

Also, there are other symptoms of a bad program. Affiliates must avoid programs that charge them fees to join in. Also, they must avoid programs which offer too many freebies and incentives to join. Joining an affiliate program is a long term decision and therefore must be based on the long term consequences and not on short term benefits and freebies.

Frequency of Payouts

The payout policy of an affiliate program is extremely important for new affiliates. Many programs only payout cash at long time intervals like quarterly or semiannually. Needless to say, affiliates that form a part of such programs face cash shortages frequently! A good affiliate program will not try to earn interest on their affiliate’s money. Also, the program must not have a long and lengthy procedure to withdraw the funds. A simple benchmark figure like $100 must be set. Then, as soon as the account balance accumulates to $100, the payments must be made. Large and reputable companies like Amazon and YouTube pay their affiliates in this manner.

Transaction Costs

Affiliate programs find the clients on your behalf. They have the tools and technology that is required to make the program run and generate revenue. Of course, they are entitled to a share of the money earned. However, the share must be legitimate. A lot of affiliate programs have a wide variety of hidden costs and fees that eat into the affiliate’s commission. For instance there might be a charge for releasing payment, there might also be a charge for a statement of commissions etc. These charges may seem trivial while signing up. However, experiences affiliate marketers will point out that several of these charges quickly add up in combination. As a result, the net earning drops drastically. It is therefore advisable to stay wary of transaction costs.


Affiliate marketing is a technology business. Hence it is essential that the program you join has the best technology available. For instance, a lot of programs did not have cookie based tracking in the past. This meant that the affiliate would get paid only if the sale was made then and there. Hence, an affiliate wouldn’t get paid at all, even though they had persuaded the customer. Better technology has solved this problem. Now, as soon as the affiliate redirects customers to the merchant’s website, the customer’s browsers are tagged with cookies. After that, if the customer makes a purchase in a given time frame, let’s say two months, the affiliate will still get paid!

This example is old. Nowadays every program provides cookie based tracking. However, the point has been made. Technology changes from time to time. Affiliates need to ensure that the program they choose is committed to having the latest technology in place. Negligence in technology can cost the affiliates dearly!


Every affiliate has the right to obtain statistics pertaining to his/her performance. Statistics provide direction. They enable the affiliate to decide what is not working as per their expectations and how they plan to change it. In the absence of updated statistics, affiliates would not know which strategies impact the bottom line in a positive way and which do not. Unscrupulous programs charge affiliates varying amounts for detailed reports in which the more the level of detail, the higher the charge. Since they are aware that affiliates cannot really function without statistics, this is actually a hidden charge. Good programs will provide complete and up to date statistics that can be accessed at the click of a button. Not only does this help the affiliate, but it also showcases the transparency followed by reputed affiliate programs.

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