Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why You Should Read Before You Enroll In Any Affiliate Marketing Opportunity

by Lyn Troyer

One of the benefits of an affiliate marketing opportunity is after you have joined one, if you decide it isn't for you, you can find a new one to join.

Most affiliate marketing opportunities are free to join so there is little consequence for calling it quits, besides the time you put into it.

However, just because you find a new program does not always mean you are free from the old one. Sometimes leaving an affiliate marketing opportunity can be hard to do. A number of programs have strict guidelines that may keep you in the program or can withhold payment. This is why reading the fine print is essential because some merchants use the following tactics to sabotage your success.

Exclusivity clause: This is where a company contract states that they should be the only vendor of that product on your site. For example, "you agree that we shall be the exclusive merchant of books on your site." Clauses like this are ridiculous and are considered unfair business practice.

In worst cases affiliates have been sued for allowing the banners of other merchants that sell similar products. Read the terms and conditions carefully, and no matter how big the company, or how high the success rate, know that there are other fish in the sea.

Non-disparaging clause: Although you can understand why the affiliate merchant would not want you to criticize them, it does make it harder for the affiliate to honestly review the products.

A customer who reads an affiliate's review may consider it fake if there is nothing bad about the company. If you are not allowed to say anything bad about the company you can't honestly weigh the pro and cons which is what consumers look for these days.

As an affiliate most of what you say will be good with maybe a few minor criticisms. But any merchant that keeps you from doing this, is keeping you from running an honest business. Not only are you not allowed to disparage the affiliate marketing opportunity as an affiliate, but in some cases you can't say anything bad about the company even once you break up.

The no-PPC clause: Some affiliate marketing opportunities will forbid their affiliates from bidding on keywords they use. However, some companies go too far. They can make outlandish claims of affiliates using PPC, bidding, or cheating if the affiliate's site is doing well.

Multiple merchant's contracts: Instead of one affiliate marketing opportunity contract, some companies have their affiliates sign separate contracts with each merchant in that company. The problem is every merchant has different conditions and terms, so even if you have left their opportunity you are still bound to their conditions until you break your contract with.

Closure fee: Though not too many programs do this (thank goodness), there are a few that will charge affiliates a fee to leave the program. This is a ridiculous clause. It's like paying your boss after you decide to quit your job. It's your right to leave the program without having to literally buy your way out.

The main reason you want to read the terms and conditions is because of the popular "retain payment" clause. This is a clause that is showing up more and more. Companies now are claiming the right to retain payment for "disobeying other clauses" and if your account was "less than the threshold."

Even if it's trivial amounts, it morally disturbing for an affiliate marketing opportunity to keep even a cent of what you worked hard to earn. This is just an excuse for companies to keep people's money and it comes in especially handy when they switch service providers.

You should read the terms and conditions carefully, because any company that states they will keep your money has put in a several clauses that will ensure they are legally bound to it.

Don't just carelessly sign up; read all the fine print. The last thing you want is to be stuck in an affiliate marketing opportunity.

About the Author

Lyn Troyer and his Niche Power Group teach beginners how to make money online with niche marketing. Please visit their online business mentoring website here to learn how you can go from making nothing to a full time internet income in 12 months or less. http://nichepowergroup.com