Yesterday I got an email from one of the merchants I work with that said in order for the affiliate program to remain profitable they needed to cut the commissions. They were paying 6% with some performance tiers (commission bumps at $750, $3500, and $6000). Now they are at 5% with commission bumps at $6000, $12,000, and $24,00o in sales. And the cookie was going from 20 days to 7.
Today I got an email from another merchant that was cutting their commission from 10% down to 5% and adding in the performance tiers at $6000, $12,000, and $24,000.
Yeah, I know there is a statement in the affiliate agreement that says the merchant can change the terms at any time. So yeah, legally they are entitled to do this and there is pretty much nothing I can do to fight it (that is if you consider sending traffic to a competitor “nothing).
But the thing is I have already done the work to promote this merchant with the understanding I would be getting a certain commission. Now they cut that in half? That just doesn’t seem right. Can companies buy some ads in a magazine and after 4 issues decide to only pay half of the agreed upon rate? What would happen if I was getting some teeth pulled at the dentist and halfway through the procedure I told the dentist I would only be paying him half of what we he was owed? Sure, if he raised his prices before I came in again I would have to decide if I wanted to stick with him or find a different dentist but you can’t change mid-stream. Doesn’t make sense.
Once I have done the work and have the links and websites up it doesn’t seem to be good form for a merchant to change the terms. If they want to change their commissons or terms going forward that is fine. At that point I can choose not to build any more links for that merchant or join your program but the links I already have up were put up under the previous agreement. Of course there would be tracking issues to deal with and I know that it isn’t really realistic but based on common sense (which really isn’t too common) there is something messed up about this.
Of course I know I won’t be changing the merchant’s mind here but I just wanted to give this as a warning to other merchants and affiliate managers. In my opinion lowering a commission is a no-no. If the merchant had the 5% commission to start I never would have promoted them (plenty of viable competitors in this market) in the first place.
Not really angry here since I don’t have a ton of traffic going to these merchants and it won’t really do anything to my checks. I have started integrating them more and more into some of my sites though in hopes of sending some decent traffic to them. Not now though.
And if you will excuse me I have to take down some banners and update some datafeeds…