Disclosure: Please note that links to merchants mentioned within this post might be using an affiliate link which means that - at zero cost to you - I might earn a commission if you buy something through that affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t personally use and find to be a valuable asset to my business.

Tips for Successful Affiliate Program Management


  1. Awesome post Greg. Great to have an additional resource to point out to folks now when they tell me they’re affiliate program is comprised of 90% toolbar and coupon affiliates. Sigh.

    • Greg Hoffman says:

      Thank you, Rae. I wish more merchants would understand that there are more profitable ways to grow their affiliate programs than working with toolbars and coupon sites that charge slotting fees or paid placement.

      • Rae Hoffman says:

        Agreed – the sad part half the time is they’re trusting companies that are telling them this has value – solely because that’s their business model.

  2. “We are allowed to talk to each other about best practices.” – love it! Sharing is indeed caring, the more affiliate managers learn from you the more affiliates they themselves will recruit and help grow our industry.

    Another helpful tip: make the affiliate program agreement fair and friendly to affiliates, create a summary that is clear & concise. Affiliates don’t have time to read 5+ page program agreements). Also don’t auto approve all affiliate partners, you’ll scare good ones away.

    Shared and look forward to more posts like these :)

    • Kush – thanks for the input! I have to add though, if you’re not auto approving, then you need to manually review the applications on a very regular basis. Because as an affiliate, if you take three weeks to approve me, I’ll already have your competition’s links up on my site and it you’d be hard pressed to get me to change them unless your program was infinitely better once that occurred. :)

      • Greg Hoffman says:

        I approve applications all day long. From Monday – Friday the longest wait is probably about an hour on Shareasale. Maybe 4 hours on CJ. I usually try to hit them once or twice on the weekends too. Every program should be manual, not auto. For each good affiliate that would get auto approved, 100 bad ones would sneak in.

        • Rae Hoffman says:

          Totally hear ya. I applied for an affiliate program once and six weeks later I got the approval. I was long gone on wanting to work with them by that point – so I just wanted to point out timely approvals are a must. :)

          As an affiliate, not getting auto approved is frustrating (I want it NOW!) but I get why merchants with well run programs require manual approval.

  3. Brian Littleton says:

    Greg – great post and I love the Fight Club reference! It is very true though – collaboration helps everyone and has been a staple in this industry from the beginning. (at least in small circles). Thanks for doing your part to keep it going!!

  4. Sabrina O'Malone says:

    Outstanding post, Greg. Everyone involved in internet marketing really needs to read this. Sharing!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      It really was a great post! I know I spoke with a merchant at Pubcon that was in need of the info, that’s for sure. That said part is that most are trying to run a good program – they’re just relying on the wrong companies to get them from point A to point B.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Sabrina. :)

    • Greg Hoffman says:

      Thank you, Sabrina. Now go find me more content sites. :)

  5. Dave Naffziger says:

    Greg, thanks a ton for putting together your thoughts (and for the mention). It feels that the industry is beginning to turn towards content sites (yay!), and I love that ShareASale focused much of the last ThinkTank on content affiliates.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      About time too!! So bummer I missed ThinkTank this year – it was truly one of my favorite events in 2012. :)

    • Greg Hoffman says:

      If I haven’t mentioned this enough, this year’s ShareASale ThinkTank was the best ever. I’m already signed up for next year. Hopefully you will both be there, wherever it ends up.

  6. Dan Carter says:

    I think the rise of content is a very health sign for the industry. I also love the pic you have put. Brad is looking great as usual. Thanks for the great tips. I wish people take the point 7 seriously. Thanks

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