During the management of an affiliate program the marketing manager will undoubtedly need to vet and review publisher applications. Based on the type of program, this will be done on different levels. Some programs have no criteria while others will need to rigorously review all affiliates.
The programs that require the highest level of application monitoring are usually those that have a lead generation aspect. Lead generation affiliate programs are more susceptible to fraud because false leads are easier to generate than false sales. There are also affiliates that will incent their traffic to generate leads. This is acceptable in some programs but may be restricted in others. There are also certain countries that typically have a higher rate of affiliate fraud. Our recommendation for lead generation programs is always to manually review affiliates.
The next level would be program that pays out a higher commission than the purchase amount. A good example of this is a subscription service based program. For example, an advertiser may be selling a $9.99 / month service but want to incent affiliates with a $25 payout because their customers typically subscribe for a year. If a credit card is required up front (straight sale) this may be harder to fraud than a pure lead program. With that said, it’s still a program that opens itself up to fraud due to the structure of the payout.
Straight sale affiliate programs usually start to relax their affiliate application criteria. Although, some advertisers may have strict brand marketing guidelines and wish to keep the program more private so that monitoring is easier. Advertiser may also want to restrict certain types of publishers from marketing their program. This can be paid search, email, coupon, etc. affiliates because of the program restrictions set up in the program.
Regardless of how the criterion is set up, it’s always crucial for an affiliate program manager to review auto-approved and manually approved publishers. A manager must keep their pulse on the affiliates applying to a program so that questionable ones can be monitored and partners that represent a good fit can be contacted. Every affiliate marketing manager should know their publishers and manage them based on the needs and goals of the program.