How to Survive as an Affiliate Marketer

As soon as you have signed up for what you consider to be a great opportunity as far as an affiliate program is concerned, you will have a firm plan of action, have chosen your banners and prepared all other materials for marketing the product.

Even at this stage though, you may encounter set backs in the development of marketing strategies and find yourself despairing at why everything is not running smoothly.

Detailed below you will find some of the most frequent concerns which have an effect on leads, sales and commissions.

Soggy Cookies

Many merchants use cookies to track your referrals.  This allows those customers who do not make a purchase on their initial visit to be tagged with your ID, enabling you to receive the credit should they buy at a later date.

The lifespan of the cookies vary from one merchant to another, some only lasting for a single session whilst others go on and on for years.

Unfortunately for you, if the visitor makes a habit of flushing their cookies regularly, has software to block cookies, or if the merchants program is not functioning properly there is very little you can do about the situation.

Multiple Payment Methods

If you have chosen to join an affiliate program via a network which processes payments for products on the merchant’s behalf, you will find the merchant offers numerous ways to make payment.  This, of course, is great for the customer but not so clever for you as an affiliate.

You should always thoroughly research the products and services of the merchant’s website prior to commencing with advertisements as an affiliate of a network. If you are feeling doubtful about any aspect you need to get in touch with the merchant before going any further to clarify things.

Monitoring Your Arrangements

It is essential to keep an eye on the merchant site for any changes which may affect your income. Although the majority of merchants are honest and above board, it is not unheard of for problems to arise with their software from time to so regular checks on cookies etc are advisable.


  • Great article Reed. Have to agree with the cookie problem. Especially in the IM niche, people will constantly override the cookies and affiliates will use bonuses to ethically bribe you to delete the cookies.


    Stanley Tang – 15 Year Old Entrepreneurs last blog post..How To Get Endorsements and Testimonials For Your Book

  • Bruno Auger

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    Nice post Reed
    I think that cookies for affiliate programs should just be a session by session basis. I know in the past I’ve lost sign ups because of a cookies lasting a longtime.
    I think a lot of peole do not know about cookies and that they should flush cookies on a regular basis.
    Research is keep to finding a good opportunty for the marketer to profit from. Not every thing is created equal.

    Bruno Augers last blog post..What Is Web 2.0?


    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    You are 100% right Reed
    Blocking cookies can be a problem for an affiliate.

    2ask.wss last blog post..Get 104 Day Free Trial To

  • PV Reymond

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    Hi Reed,

    You explained very well these points.

    It is important to have them clear if you want to make money as an affiliate.

    ^PV Reymond

  • normz2

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    Points well taken. I have noticed that for the last 2 or 3 weeks that the traffic has slowed by 50%. This corresponds to to the world financial crises.

  • Larry Johnson

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008


    “Monitoring Your Arrangements

    It is essential to keep an eye on the merchant site for any changes which may affect your income. Although the majority of merchants are honest and above board, it is not unheard of for problems to arise with their software from time to so regular checks on cookies etc are advisable.”

    All valid points. I think the point quoted above to be very,very important.
    Also, one should be on the alert for affiliate
    programs where admin makes false accusations in order to terminate an affiliate so that they don’t have to pay commissions due.
    This usually happens when there is a high payout threshold, and just before you reach that threshold, they terminate your account.
    Granted, this might not be the case most of the time, but IT does occur.

  • terrie

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    Monitoring affiliate income, to me, is the single most important thing, you as an affiliate, should be doing! I believe that opportunity exists here to those that can seize it.

  • I’m learning lot through your posts. I was reading about this problem yesterday and your post confirms and highlights the problem. Thanks!

    Gimme A Dream (Wynn Currie)s last blog post.."It Can’t Be Done, He Once Told Me"

  • sri

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    Thanks Reed, that’s very useful blog —

  • Alan Petersen

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    Excellent tips! The last one is very important in my opinion and one a lot of folks neglect:

    Monitoring Your Arrangements

    I have had products I’ve promoted pulled off the market without warning. Thus my affiliate link became nothing more than a link to their website.

    So be diligent about your arrangements. You should also monitor profitability. Why leave affiliate links that aren’t converting into sales?

    Finally I highly suggest you cloak your affiliate links using a simple redirection. Not just because it protects you from affiliate link hijackers and bypassers but if a program is dropped or changes you can easily update your links on your end. If you don’t do this and affiliate link changes or the program is dropped and you have reports or ebooks with those naked affiliate links out there–you’re SOL with dead links that won’t make you any money.

    Alan Petersens last blog post..Rising Stars Giveaway

  • admin

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    @Stanley nice to see you on here… shoot me an email reedfloren AT

    @Bruno I agree probably 99% of the population has no clue what cookies are

    @2ask thanks

    @PV thank you

    @normz2 interesting observation

    @Larry I’ve had that happen too… not fun at all 🙁

    @terrie it would be really interesting if there was a way to have a software program log into most if not all of your affiliate accounts and track your earnings and if they had been paid out. HINT that’s a product I’d want…

    @Gimme I’m glad you are finding the blog useful

    @sri you’re welcome

    @Alan great tips

    @business profits online thanks for the trackback

  • David Braybrooke

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    Food for thought.

    Thanks Reed,

    David Braybrookes last blog post..Online Advertising – How To Effectively Promote Your Business

  • admin

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    @David enjoy

  • Multiple payment options. Excellent point Reed and I’m sure that there are quite a few of us reading the article that got burned a while back.

    I don’t want to swear but “stormpay” may be a word that many affiliate marketers may never want reminded off ever again. So not to offend I’ll stop there.But..

    It would be very beneficial to check the financial stability of the payment processor of choice and make sure that there is some sort of security in place especially when some affiliate programmes take quite a substantial amount of time to pay out.

    Kenny Ritchie

  • Chris Imamshah

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    Hi Reed,

    Good information. I guess every business has downfalls and the above points are those for affiliate marketing. Some things we cannot change so we need to stay focused on what we CAN do.


  • Timothy Millar

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    Thanks Reed, You just confirmed many of my suspicions and concerns regarding the cookie situation. Now I can go correct things to make sure I am getting my commission. Hows that son of yours doing by the way? Hope all is well at your domain! “The Leprechaun”

    Timothy Millars last blog post..Blogging for Traffic?

  • Carrie Pierce

    Reply Reply October 13, 2008

    More excellent points to ponder Reed!
    The cookie issue is a biggie and I have also had friends have issues with Affiliate software.
    Lots to keep an eye on, and it is always helpful to hear from a pro.
    Thanks alot!

  • Jayson Herewini

    Reply Reply October 13, 2008

    Great article Reed. Have to agree with the cookie flushing. Especially in the IM niche, people will constantly override the cookies and affiliates will use bonuses to ethically bribe you to delete the cookies.
    Jayson Herewini – 16 Methods For Getting Free AdvertisingHow To Get Endorsements and Testimonials For Your Book

  • Jerry Goodwin

    Reply Reply October 13, 2008

    Hi Reed,

    Absolutely a great post, agree with all you say here. Monitoring, multipayments methods etc.

    I really enjoyed the part about the cookies and how that works.

  • Ari Lestariono

    Reply Reply October 13, 2008

    Thanks Reed, sharing experience though sometimes cookies becomes hindrance for new affiliate marketer or their sponsor, it can also wipe out the commissions and goes to somebody account.Trick or treat in cookies is tricky stuff.

    Ari Lestarionos last blog post..Natural Remedies to Quit Smoking

  • Jussi Koiranen

    Reply Reply October 13, 2008

    There should be an easier or smarter or at least more effective way to track visitors and returning visitors and their route to the site… I guess it can’t be done easily. I wouldn’t like being tracked like that…

    I’m working part time with a site that offers a subscription to their newsletter and as long as people I sent to their site opt-in they will be my customers as soon as they follow the links on the newsletter, but as soon as they find an alternative vendor or affiliate link to the site my residual income goes poof… Not the best possible solution from my point of view… But better than hoping that the people who have clicked there thru my site keep their cookies.

  • Jorge EZ Affiliate

    Reply Reply October 13, 2008

    The cookie problem is an unfortunate part of IM… That is why I think it is important to have GOOD pre-sale pages so hopefully your visitors will buy right away after clicking your affiliate link.

    If you pre-sell your visitors, that will help with the issue of visitors flushing their cookies regularly.

    Hope this helps 🙂


  • Geoff Dodd

    Reply Reply October 14, 2008

    Reed, Thanks for your article. Another thing to watch is the actual conversion rate typical for the affiliate program. I know it varies by keyword, pre-selling, landing page, and targeted group. Some earlier affiliate programs had very high conversion rates (e.g. the Detective programs), but have seen a drop-off and thousands of marketers are left competing with each other. Either you have an Authority site with expertise in an area, or you seek out a less competitive niche. My 2 cents worth. Geoff Dodd

  • admin

    Reply Reply October 14, 2008

    @Kenny yeah I remember stormpay 🙁

    @Chris yes we need to focus on what we can do and change in our businesses good point

    @Timothy thank you my son is doing well

    @Carrie thank you

    @Jayson yes I’d agree there’s a much higher percentage of people who knows about cookies in this niche as opposed to say the scrapbooking niche.

    @Jerry thanks

    @Ari thanks yes cookies can get tricky

    @Jussi one alternative would be tag the individual for life in the database. For example let’s say you have a list and you promote someone’s promote then let’s say I end up buying the product and I’m on that marketer’s list and then from that point forward whenever I buy something from that marketer I am tagged as a customer you brought in so you get credit for it

    @Jorge pre-sale pages are great thanks for your input

    @Geoff interesting points thank you

  • The easier you make it for your affiliates to promote the more likely they are to do so.
    If you can write the great copy for them and they’ll use it then great get the sales letter in there for them.In all likelyhood you will promote your own product if you know the conversion rates of some keywords or email headlines share this info it can only make it more likely they will promote for you.

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