As a follow up to our discussion on Affiliate Management Software, I wanted to discuss some of the popular thoughts on the concept of building links to a merchant's site through the use of an affiliate program.
Affiliates are an incredibly important part of many e-commerce driven sites. That being said, affiliate managers should treat affiliates with respect and give them what they need to build the best possible affiliate program. The relationship should work towards cooperation and not competition. The concept of using one's affiliate program to build links for popular keyword phrases, that your affiliates themselves are ranking well for is not a cooperative style. Affiliates are there to bring you leads and get paid for them. If you use affiliates to bring you leads and not pay them a commission on that, they will drop you. I have spoken to many affiliates who use SEO to bring in the commissions, and they are very against affiliate managers using this link building tactic.
One member posts, "Does the merchant want a good affiliate program to have good affiliates, or for links?" The member goes on to explain that affiliates can spot these affiliate programs that pass link popularity, "almost as easily as we can see which programs have leak problems." It is a serious thing for an affiliate to compare link popularity passing with leak issues. For those that do not know, "leak problems", I believe is when an affiliate manager "skims" revenue from the affiliate (can be wrong).
An other nice quote from this member deserves to be in blockquotes...
I send you the traffic, you send me the checks. Answer my email if I need something. Otherwise leave me alone, I've got limited time.
This makes for a wonderful thread.