Affiliate and other cooperative programs are announced almost
daily. Website owners are flocking to these programs. Enthusiasm
is high. But………why not compare and evaluate first?
The following checklist was prepared from the point of view of one
seeking a program to affiliate with. But it can also help a program
initiator compare current programs in order to make his better.
A. Does the Program Offer a Strategic Fit to Your Business?
1. PROGRAM PURPOSE – Define in broad terms
2. COMPLEMENTS YOUR PURPOSE – Does it help you better
realize your website long-range goals?
3. VISITOR LEARNING – Are your visitors interested and will
program help them learn?
B. Do You Trust the Business Initiating the Program?
4. SUCCESS – Does the business have a history of successes?
5. BELIEVABLE ADVERTISING – Does it promise impossible
rewards: get-rich-quick and MLM schemes? Or is it honest and
6. REPUTATION – What does the business literature tell you about
their past operations?
7. WHAT CLIENTS SAY – Contact current clients and ask for
their opinions. Would they recommend this business
organization? Are they benefiting from it?
C. Is the Program Well Designed?
8. AFFILIATE QUALIFICATIONS – Are they signing up
everyone? Or are they being picky? Picky is better.
9. AFFILIATE RESPONSIBILITIES – Better, too, if there are
specific responsibilities. Are affiliates asked to do
promotion, communication with customers, sales?
10. INITIATOR RESPONSIBILITIES – Does the outfit offer help
in promotion, sales and after-sales support?
11. PAYMENT & TERMS – Is there a fee or commission
structure? How frequently are payments made? Does affiliate
get credit for future sales?
12. TRANSACTION TRANSPARENCY – How frequently are
transaction reports made? Are transactions independently
checkable by the affiliate? Is there a third-party audit?
13. CONFLICT RESOLUTION – Is there a SIMPLE method for
14. RETURN TO SITE – Is there a simple way for a website
visitor to return to the site of the affiliate after a
transaction is executed?
D. Will You be Part of a Community?
15. COMMUNICATION MEDIUM – Does the program have a
newsletter, a mailing list, a forum, or some other means of
communicating among all affiliates?
16. AFFILIATE DECISION-MAKING – Does each affiliate have
a voice in making decisions that affect all affiliates?
17. MUTUAL PROBLEM SOLVING – Is there a method whereby
affiliates can pose problems and have them solved by the
affiliate community?- – – – – – – – – – – –
Be extremely careful when evaluating an affiliate program. Most
people dwell on the financial arrangements. These are important, of
course. But more important, I believe, are efforts made to achieve
community. These efforts may bolster your ability to achieve
greater financial goals.
Spend time in evaluation. It will pay off in the long run.