Considerations for Working With Affiliates

Subscribe to Elliot's BlogI was thinking about something today regarding affiliate relationships for your websites and online ventures. When you choose to partner with a company, make sure there are no ways for the customer to be lost during the hand off from your site to theirs. If a customer leaves your site, you should be guaranteed that they won’t end up making a purchase without your site getting the credit.

i can think of a couple examples off the top of my head, which will lead me to questioning my affiliates later this week:

1) If the customer can call the company, they should have to enter a unique code for your website. If they don’t have to do that, the sale won’t be attributed to your site.
2) If there is no automated sales process and they can negotiate the price with the company, you may end up losing the sale.

It’s important that you work with affiliates who make certain that you get credit for all sales attributed to your website. You should also work with affiliates where the product is easy to purchase, the sales process is seamless, and the entire process is trackable. All of this will lead to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Let say I offer an affiliate program ofering a CPA deal of $10.

    Imagine I noticed statistically 50% of my visitors lead to a phone call to close the sale.

    So it become smart to do the following:
    – Show our phone number to anyone reaching our pages.
    – Double the CPA to $20

    The result is showing my phone number:
    – The affiliate will statistically earn the same.
    – But I will double my sales.

    All this to say that don’t panic when you see a phone number in a merchant site. The marketer behind is probably already giving you the best deal to cover posible phone sales generated from visitors you refered.

  2. Well said. The key is to have a quick and easy way to purchase on your website keeping cart abandonment to a minimum (if under your control). Customers can always inadvertently or deliberately get around your affiliate process. The key is to make it so easy on your website that it is not worth their while doing so.
    You have choose your affiliate carefully because you will likely not have control over the final part of the sales process.
    You need to monitor your sales carefully and compare to reports from your affiliate company because there will be discrepancies from time to time guaranteed. Good record keeping is your friend.

  3. Good point, and it’s something to always keep in mind. Even when the sales process is entirely electronic / online, this can be an issue.

    For example, a user might be browsing a website from his work computer — and that computer will be cookied and tracked, but maybe he doesn’t decide to buy until later at home, from a different IP and from a browser that is not cookied.

    There is no perfect way around this, unfortunately. So as Francois mentioned, taking a hard look at the payout is something that needs to be kept in mind, perhaps factoring in the fact that a certain percentage of sales are going to be ‘missed’ because of edge-case issues like this.


  4. Beware of BlackLabelAds (Adbrite’s sister adult ad network). We used them to monetize our developed adult/celebrity domains like (Celebrity NSFW) and (Humor), but over the last several months the revenue has been minimal. We used Google Analytics to compare outclicks and other data to their Analytics, and the numbers don’t match. When we contacted them, they just give excuses. We just rely more on our Google Analytics picture to provide a reliable analysis when checking things.

  5. Another thing I have seen is that the buyer gets to the affiliate site with the click and the cookie. But, if they enter a COUPON CODE, you may lose the sale.

  6. I’ve never seen anyone who has the “enter a code” for a phone call though in a perfect world that would be great. We take phone orders and definitely don’t do that.

    I’d also add that I would trust someone more who is running their network through linkshare or as opposed to running it in house or through a second or third tier network….


    On my hotel affiliate page, I use WCT, and it says:


    Please call 1-888-254-0637
    Outside the US please call 1-210-507-5997
    Give code 21808 when calling”


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