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How Should You Treat Your Affiliates?

As an affiliate you play a very important part because if you do your job well you’re making whoever you’re affiliated to a lot of money. That being the case you would think they would treat you properly wouldn’t you? Generally companies who are looking for affiliates to help sell their products will make sure they offer fair compensation. They may even offer other incentives to entice people to join as an affiliate. After all, the more affiliates you have working for you the more potential for increasing the money in your coffers.

This leads me to the crux of this post. The other day I was approached by someone to design a website for them. Knowing I couldn’t design a professional looking website I convinced them to let me start up a blog for them. It wasn’t too hard to convince them once I explained how easy it was to update a blog as compared to a website.

As these guys belonged to a non profit organization I told them I would do the work for free, thinking that the money I would get from using products I was affiliated with would be enough compensation for my time. The first thing I did was email HostGator as they offered a great product at a great price. I explained the situation and asked if I would still get paid the commission if I licked on my own affiliate link? Their reply.


Thank you for your email.

No, you will need to have them setup and pay for their account using their own details simply using your affiliate link in order to receive credit. Thanks again!

Please feel free to let us know if you have any further questions.

Honestly, if someone was paying me to set up a site for them they would expect me to set it all up from start to finish wouldn’t they?  So I wrote them back explaining how I was expected to set it all up for them and saying that I had no option other than to source another host to which they replied;

Hello Peter,

Thanks for the consideration, understandable. Unfortunately that policy is in place for numerous reasons and isn’t able to be lifted. We wish you the best of luck and if anything changes we hope you’ll bring them our way! ;)

Thanks again, have a good one!

Please feel free to let us know if you have any further questions.

Roman Gods

Sorry people but that makes no sense to me. As far as I’m concerned I can’t see any reason why an affiliate can’t click on their own link. What’s the difference if someone else clicks on that link or I do? They make exactly the same amount of money don’t they? And what’s wrong with giving their affiliates a little discount for buying their product.

Another case in point; you all know about my Lottery site? Well, I wanted to write a post on how easy it was to Buy USA Mega Million Ticket Online and the best way to do that was to actually buy one. I figured why not ask the guys at MyLotto if I would still get my commission if I joined by clicking on my own affiliate link. They said not a problem, and true to their word I got 10% of the sale. You see that is what looking after your affiliate is all about. By letting them join, or buy a product, under their own affiliate link not only are they making money their affiliate get’s a discount. By not allowing them to do so only costs them a sale.

As it is I still needed a host and so I asked the guys at BlueHost if they were OK with it and they said they were which just goes to show there are people out there who know what good business is all about. As for the theme, naturally I’ll be using FlexSqueeze and yes Ryan has given me the approval to click my own link.

All I can say is that when I finally have products for sale online and I’m looking for affiliates I have no problem at all if they click on their own link when buying a product. What about you, are you willing to reward your affiliates buy letting them purchase under their own link?

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 54 Comments

  1. How interesting. I am currently an affiliate with Hostgator.

    Hmmm. Looks like I will be looking up the BlueHost affiliate program and signing up for it.

    This is not the first time I have heard them referenced in this way.

    Thanks for the heads up…;)


    1. Nothing at all wrong with HostGator, I use them for other blogs and have never had a problem with them. Unless you’re wanting to use them to set up a site for someone else you should be fine. If on the other hand you do want to do that then BlueHost is a good choice.
      Sire recently posted…Las Vegas More Than Just CasinosMy Profile

  2. Hi Sire

    Amazon has the same policy. I wanted to buy some things recently and thought I would just check with a friend who also is an Amazon affiliate.

    Glad I did cos I would have got banned if I’d clicked on my own link! And as I want to have some Amazon products on my new site, don’t want that happening.

    So there must be a reason for it. Both Amazon and Hostgator are large successful companies so maybe they have had problems in the past with affiliates. Who knows??!!

    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. Patricia, I can understand Google not wanting us to click on Adsense ads because that would cost their advertisers unnecessarily. That’s not the case as far as HostGator or Amazon is concerned so I don’t see the problem. I mean why shouldn’t you be allowed to purchase a product considering as how they still get to make the sale?

      1. You have to look at it this way: If people figure out they can buy anything with a 10% discount (on top of the discount they are already getting with a hostgator 20/30% off discount etc.) Then many people will just set up an affiliate account to do so.

        If you look at the support you can get both from amazon and hostgator, and look at what amazon has developed to make it easy for us. They do want to be good to us. But they have to protect themselves for people who want to abuse this to get discounts.

        Sadly it gets in the way when you set up blogs for other people. But the rule is not meant to get in your way, it just happens to be, and big companies like Amazon and hostgator can’t protect you from getting banned or punished from their automatic system.
        Danny recently posted…Husqvarna 327P5X Pole pruner 25cc 12 inch barMy Profile

        1. Danny, I understand what you’re saying but the fact remains that their policy, especially in regards to Hostgator, is costing them sales. Let’s say that because of my new business I was able to sign up a thousand customers a month. That’s a thousand customers that Hostgator is losing and Blue Host is gaining. Also it’s not really costing them any more if they pay me the affiliate fee or someone else.

  3. It is silly the obstacles that are put in place and as you say how are you supposed to finish a project setup. It seems overly complicated, I would have thought that as long as they got the sales…

  4. But of course! That’s a yes to your question. Even one with a little bit of business sense can see your point in that. I mean, really, what’s wrong with letting the affiliates click on their own link? I don’t know what Host Gator’s reason is, but, okay, each to his own? No need to speculate though. Thanks for sharing this:)
    Amy Turner recently posted…Class of 2011 College Students Majoring in DebtMy Profile

  5. I have had a similar situation, Sire, and the way I got around it was to go to my client’s office, use their computer to browse to my account and click the needed link, fill out the forms – except the credit card number for billing; I had them fill that in for security purposes . This made the vendor happy, and prevented me from getting into a loop where I have to pay their bills and bill them for it. Especially with non-profits (I’ve worked with many) where I don’t mark-up the costs and payment of bills tends to be slow, I don’t want to have my cash tied up like that. Better to let them pay their own bills.

    Of course, this only works for local clients!
    I’m glad of Patricia’s comment about Amazon. I’ve wondered if I bought something through my own affiliate link if they’d get upset. I suppose even if I have my wife buy it from her computer at work, they’d still slap us around because the purchase would be made with the same account the affiliate fee would be paid to. Red Flag!

    Setting up another account for this purpose starts to wander into that darkness called fraud. Better to just let that thought go…

    As to your question: as long as the affiliate fee is paid on a *purchase* not just a click, I don’t think I’d have a problem with my affiliates (if I had any) purchasing a product through their own link. I don’t see a problem as long as a sale is made. But then I’m pretty naïve when it comes to all this “gaming the system” stuff and it amazes me each time I hear about the latest way someone found to cheat their way to riches. I guess there’s a reason for these rules.

    1. I may have to follow your lead on setting up the account Allan, I’ll just play it by ear,

      As to gaming the system I can’t see how clicking on your own link and buying a product could be a bad thing for them.
      Sire recently posted…Your Guest Poster Breaks The Rules! Now What?My Profile

  6. Hmm, I think hostgator is afraid that people would apply for their affiliate program just to get discounts on their hosting plans.
    But that doesn’t make sense either, because even if that new client wouldn’t use their affiliate link and would use someone’s else affiliate link their gain would be the same.

    I don’t think they thought that through and the person you talked too I don’t think he can do something about it, he just has some rules and must clarify them to those who ask him.

    This being said, I know that some people have signed up via their affiliate links without any retribution from hostgator. I think you could use your wife’s information to register the account or just fill in the non-profit organization details in the fields they require to create an account and pay with your credit card.
    Alex recently posted…Parcheaza masiniMy Profile

    1. It doesn’t make any sense does it Alex. I mean what’s wrong with letting your affiliate buy another hosting package using their link. You’d think they would be happy to reward them in such a manner?

      I don’t mind using BlueHost as long as my client doesn’t mind paying a little extra. At least with BlueHost that get a free domain for life as well as being able to add subdomains if they decide to go that route.

  7. Sire, I liked every single word in this post AND the comments since I’m deeply interested in hosting accounts, affiliates and such.

    My experience with HostGator has been good, so good actually that when I had my first account with them years ago, somehow I just stopped caring about it and never used it anymore.

    The account was due and kept going so I got charged on a recurrent payment but didn’t noticed like after 3 or 4 months ago.

    When I finally got a client and went to my account I saw the mess that it had happened, I immediately got in touch with them and after a few polite emails and then some where I was actually being very nasty, I had the money refunded and the account package terminated.

    They did set up a new package for my client and everyone ended up happy (at least I did lol)

    Back to other points, I tried and tried to explain exactly the same as you Sire and I never got anything positive feedback on clicking on my own links to set a package to someone else, even though I had my own live package for my own websites.

    It’s beyond my understanding.

    As you said in one comment, it’s very unprofessional to ask the client to sign to something and not do it ourselves.

    The HostGator guys really let me down on this, because them as we, are technical people providing a technical service about business, they should know how business is run outside shouldn’t they?

    To skip this problem I had to buy a reseller’s account, which is meant solely for local clients, is not open to the public.

    Honestly I wasn’t happy with this choice (it turned out to be almost a $600 investment upfront) and I would not have bought it if I wasn’t focusing in site flipping, micro sites that run just for months and other ideas but those are another story.

    Somebody mentioned putting your wife and create another account with them.

    Honestly that’s bad because I guess you live in the same place, what I would recommend is using a credit/debit card from a relative who DOESN’T live on the same house.

    The only drawback is to explain the whole thing to that person and it can be more extenuating than actually going to some other company like you did and avoid all the hassle.

    Besides looking desperate is not our style. ;)

    What you said about Blue Host really got me interested and now I want to know if this is a default policy from BH or should I ask them if I can use my own affiliate link to create websites for my clients.

    It is not important as I’m not currently focusing exactly on that aspect right now, but I need to address this in the short term anyway.

    Take care Sire and lovely post, I enjoyed it quite a lot!


    PS. If for some reason a client asks for HostGator no matter what and you don’t want to lose a juicy $50 to them, you can click through my link and I’d be more than happy to issue the entire commission back to you after the 3 month period is done (otherwise they don’t qualify as a sale) and we could do this viceversa as well.

    Although I’m not good as a HG affiliate, so don’t expect much lol

    1. Sergio, I would always ask and then getting a response from them I would keep the reply in case they decided to change their mind.

      Thanks so much for the offer Sergio but after contacting the client they seem happy with BlueHost, after all, they don’t want to go through all that hassle, that’s why they have me.
      Sire recently posted…The Bellagio, The Jewel Of Las VegasMy Profile

  8. Your argument is valid.Hostgator or any other businesses should allow affiliate marketers to buy their product.The main reason they do not allow is that anyone will sign up first for affiliate link before buying a hosting package,and their profit will go down.As affiliate business is no longer a secret,Hostgator does not allow this.

    1. So what if they do Nipon, they may make a little less profit but they still make the sale. Isn’t that better than not making anything at all? Anyway, I explained in my email what I wanted to do, I’m sure there is a way for them to allow it to happen like flagging my account as a special affiliate.
      Sire recently posted…Tips for Choosing the Best Business Website BuilderMy Profile

  9. Totally agree with you on this one. Like you say, who cares who’s clicking on the link as long as the money lands in their pocket. Doesn’t make too much sense to me, either, but it’s their company and you have to abide by their rules, as hard as it might be to understand the logic behind them.
    Petra recently posted…Continuous Delivery: IT-Dialog bei HypoportMy Profile

    1. Hi Petra, it’s because it’s their company and I wanted to make sure I didn’t do the wrong thing that I thought to ask them. They said no and so I looked elsewhere knowing that there would be some out there who had some business sense.
      Sire recently posted…Which Is Of More Value A Tweet Or Google’s +1My Profile

  10. Hi Peter
    Untin now, I just accepted that rule, but you’ve highlighted how absurd it is.

    “They make exactly the same amount of money don’t they?”

    I’m sure that they do, so I’m even more confused.

    Does anybody know why the rule is there?
    Keith Davis recently posted…The Coolest Voice on the InternetMy Profile

  11. Frankly I’m stunned at how many on this thread are unaware or shocked at this rule. My years online make me take the bet that more companies have this rule, then don’t.

    1. I was aware of the rule Dennis which is why I asked. What shocks me is that these people actually have the rule. Their loss as they are losing money while those without it are making it.
      Sire recently posted…How I Am Marketing My Online Lottery NicheMy Profile

      1. Think on this a minute…would you want EVERYONE getting 50% off your product/service?

        (or whatever the commission is)

          1. For starters, the first thing I’d bet on is all merchants doubling their retail and proclaiming…use your affiliate links and enjoy!

            1. And what is the end result Dennis, they would make more sales meaning more money in their pocket. Without this incentive they would go elsewhere meaning less money. I know which one I would choose.

  12. The people who would normally agree to give their affiliates a piece of the pie or a discount using their own link are normally marketers that are offering a product and want to keep their customers and promoters happy.

    They do this to encourage proper promotion and to ensure there are no hyped out reviews out there.

    However, this is not a rule of thumb as for example Market Samurai has a closed doors affiliate marketing strategy.

    You can jump, whine, yell, cry, you won’t be able to promote them if you don’t own the program, period.

    Just to add a little extra about the HostGator policies, the commission relies on a one time only and exclusively for new accounts.

    There’s absolutely no foundation to keep up with the no clicking on your own link rule, but that’s how it is.

    To this day I’m quite happy with them anyway but yes, these changes are not going to be happening any time soon as far as I know.

    Call it a gut feeling lol

    @Sire That would be great mate! If you get a reply please by all means let me know, and just in case you don’t ask them I can always send them a ticket myself, no biggie.

    Have a great day!

    1. I can actually see a couple of reasons why Market Samurai would do this.

      1. They would only have people promoting it who actually know what the program is all about.
      2.It’s a great incentive for people to buy the product and once they have it and see how good it is they become avid marketers.

  13. Hey Pete!

    I’m with you on this. What they are saying to you is: "Yes, you can sell our products. No, you can’t have one for yourself" That’s just insane.

    This actually reminds me of an article I read on another blog earlier in the year (holler if you want the URL). In this article the author was trying to illustrate a point about incentives and motivation. The hypothetical scenario went something like this…

    You are offered a product to sell via an affiliate programme, the product retails for $20, and you get $5 per sale. However, you are not given a demo, or display version of the product, and you are not allowed to purchase one at retail price either.

    Could you move 20 units and make $100?

    It was proposed that some people probably could if they were to hit up their friends and family. It went on to say…

    What about 500 units? A few people could do that with a lot of hard work and persistence. But most probably would think that they couldn’t. But what if the affiliate company was to offer a $10,000 bonus to affiliates who moved 500 units?

    The author of the article presumed that most people could move 500 units if they were offered the bonus, indicating that with the right incentives and motivation it is amazing how much you can accomplish.

    And although in some respects this is very true, that scenario is flawed. It is flawed because nobody with even a modest amount of integrity should touch that deal with a 40 foot barge pole. What is wrong with this company, or its products, if they refuse to allow the people selling it to own one? Makes you think, don’t it?

    That was a completely fictional and hypothetical situation so luckily nobody was sucked in and no cute furry little bunnies were harmed.

    To try and make an analogy in the real world of bricks and mortar business, this idea of affiliate companies refusing their affiliates to purchase the products is like a wholesale company refusing to sell to a retail company, telling the retailer that their customers have to buy direct from the wholesaler.

    Have I rambled long enough? Did I get my point across? Did I make any points? who knows, but bottom line, I agree, Pete, Hostgator could handle their affiliates with a bit more care and understanding.

    Thanks for letting me rave on.
    Kind regards,

    1. Hey Steve, alarm bells were going on all over the place while I was reading your scenario. Why would you even want to sell something that you weren’t allowed to try? There sure as hell must be something wrong with it.

      Your analogy is spot on too mate, and you’re welcome to ramble on anytime you feel like it.

  14. I still do not understand why companies have this kind of policy. If I had a product and wanted “affiliates” to sell my products for me, the first headline you will probably see is.. “buy from your own affiliate links and get commissions”. Maybe even a better commission :) if you buy two, lol

    I have been in business for a long time now and I can not find any reason why, there are certain companies that will simply disapprove of this practice. BTW, I use Bluehost too and they are great as far as giving their affiliates incentives.
    DiTesco recently posted…Protect Your Online Business, WordPress BackUp Solutions For Free?My Profile

    1. Like you DiTesco I’ve been in business for a long time and for the life of me I can’t see why some companies have this policy as it makes no sense. Even so, I knew they existed and that’s why I asked, otherwise I would have picked one that wouldn’t pay me the commission I deserved.

      As to Bluehost, now they have their head screwed on right.

  15. Hi Sire,

    I agree with you that treating your affiliates with respect and giving them what they deserve is important. Nothing comes free these days. Its very important to have flexibility in your approach. There is no harm in challenging and changing policies that are an obstacle to growth in any way.

    1. Who knows Shivam, perhaps one day they will read this post and all the good comments and they will see the error of their ways. :drunk_tb:

  16. Hi Sire

    O yes, if affiliates help me sell my products, they are welcome to “stock” up on it if they want and I won’t give a hoot. A sale is a sale. It is like Cocacola telling their distributors that they can’t buy the drinks. All they should care about is that their money is intact.

    Even if you are buying these hosting accounts for yourself, isn’t there a limit to the number of accounts you need?

    As you righly pointed out, they are not running PPC ads. I just hope that Bluehost will not adopt this stupid policy when they become very big.

    PS. All you gators, it’s time to move to Bluehost.

    1. Well said Flo. As to Hostgator I will still continue to host with them because even though they have a silly affiliate policy they are still good at what they do.
      Sire recently posted…Google, Google Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?My Profile

  17. Twitter:
    I have to say that this doesn’t sound quite right. Though I’m not with them, I am with Commission Junction (yeah, I have problems with them here and there) and there’s no policy whatsoever that one can’t buy products from an affiliate using your link and then get credit for the sale. I do it all the time.

    However, with clients, I always send them an affiliate link and tell them to sign up so that it’s under their name rather than mine and my account. In my mind, it makes sure they pay it rather than my doing it and then potentially getting burned on the back end. That way I get my money and they get the passwords and have to give them to me, and everyone’s happy.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Firefox 5 Already?My Profile

    1. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem Mitch but these guys are not technically minded which is why they want me to handle the whole thing. Once I have it up and running I’ll just transfer it all over to them.

      I’m not worried about getting paid as they’re a church group.
      Sire recently posted…How Art Can Make The Naked Form More AcceptableMy Profile

        1. I’m not worried, I’ve know the president of the committee for years.

  18. Getting into affiliate programs is considered to be the best way of making money online. In context to the experience that you had with; I would like to elaborate on some terms. Every sale refereed by the affiliate marketer, through clicks on the banner, URL or text link on your website, will result in your commission. Most of the renowned web hosting companies provide with a tracker system that tracks every sale originated through your website/ URL and accordingly your commission is approved. I guess its very important to get the terms and conditions clear before signing into any web hosting affiliate program. Moreover a good web hosting affiliate program does not put any limit on the earnings; then it is like your own online business where you can make as much money as you want to.

    1. Perhaps instead of using the term ‘good’ in describing Host Gator we should use the term smart because they are a good web host just not business smart as far as affiliates are concerned

  19. Hi, Mate !

    there are alot many reasons for hostgators. Its all because of those people who always scam different systems. So to get rid of all this they just stopped it.

    Now its their kind of universal rule so they can’t change it for any single person. They run a big organization so that matters alot for them may be, to get rid of all the mess.

    Well your point is still there that companies must give some thing back to their affiliates but that only depends how big the company is of whom you’re affiliate, so that they can listen to your needs.

    Kind Regards

    1. So Rom, that makes no business sense. According to your theory it seems that they are punishing their good affiliates because of the spammers. If it was me I would get rid of the spammers and allow the good affiliates the benefit of selling their hosting packages to their clients.
      Sire recently posted…Building Your Brand With A Guest PostMy Profile

      1. Well they are not small organization. If they go this way they need to put another team for this purpose which do cost money as well.

        I accept they are loosing legit affiliates but who care ? Because you’re not talking to owner , you’re in contact with their employees, who have to follow rules.

        Kind Regards

        1. BlueHost are a big operation too Rom and they allow it and because they do they will pick up all the customers that HostGator lose.

          Also in this day and age of computers and stuff you don’t need to employ people to monitor this stuff, all you need is a decent program. If Akismet can take care of blog spammers I’m sure a company the size of HostGator can get a program that will keep track of people who spam their product.

          As to not caring about losing legitimate affiliates, no business minded company in their right mind would accept that as good business sense.
          Sire recently posted…Another Avenue For Making Money With Your BlogMy Profile

  20. In my opinion affiliates should get a discount but only if it is confirmed that they have sell a few products before because if anyone who become affiliate get a discount just for them without promoting and get sales for these products companies would just lose money

    1. I think it would be a great idea for them to give affiliates discount as this makes it more likely that they will buy the product. Once they own and like it they are more likely to promote it properly.
      Sire recently posted…Social Media Should Begin At HomeMy Profile

  21. Sire,

    I, too, cannot understand their point. You click it or others click it, will not be a loss on their part. Actually it’s a gain. Now that’s a bad treatment to an affiliate :)

    1. I think they are worried that they won’t make as much profit if they allow it. Unfortunately they will make less sales and even less profit by not allowing it.

  22. I believe in giving affiliates discounts too. I also know of some programs that give their affiliates bonuses and Christmas gifts if they are within their top 20 or so earners. That makes other people want to sign up and sale for you if you do something like that.

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