Affiliate Marketing Pitfall – The 800 Number

There are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to affiliate landing pages. Make sure yours aren’t bleeding you dry.

There are many advantages to using affiliate programs to increase your earnings but there are also a few things you should keep in mind.

Most of us, especially early on, believe that the companies with affiliate programs are more than willing to pay it’s hard-working affiliates a commission. After all, you’re doing your part by sending them customers right? Most of the time they’re above board but it’s not always the case.

What if I told you that by adding one simple, seemingly innocuous thing to their landing pages they can, and do, steal away you commissions? The affiliate landing page is the page you, or a visitor, “lands” on when you click the affiliate link containing your unique affiliate tracking code. That page is where you send your valuable visitors to buy a particular product or service. It’s an important page and when you sign up for an affiliate program you should always check it before deciding to link to it from your site. What could possibly be on that page that could literally steal your referrals and, in turn, your commissions like a thief in the night? It’s very simple, a 1-800 number.

Back in 1999 I was the webmaster for an internet mall. The mall directory was categorized by the types of products and services I thought would be useful and attractive to my visitors. I worked hard to create a large directory of affiliate web sites that sold the products and services I thought might interest my visitors. I had a link to my affiliate landing page, a brief description of the company and a feedback form for each business I linked to. The feedback form proved to be a very valuable tool. Not only did it give me valuable feedback from my visitors about a particular site, it’s customer service and it’s product or service but it also occasionally notified me when a visitor to my site made a purchase.I regularly read the feedback my visitors were sending me. It was valuable information and helped me evaluate what worked and what didn’t.

On one occasion I received feedback on a tobacco company and box of rather expensive cigars that one of my visitors purchased. My visitor had reported that the tobacco company’s customer service representative was friendly and helpful over the phone and that he was very happy with his purchase. Later that day, thinking that I had received a commission on that sale, I viewed my third-party tracking statistics and looked for my commission on the sale. It wasn’t there.

Remembering that my visitor had mentioned that he had spoken with someone I decided to check my affiliate landing page for a company phone number and sure enough, there it was. It stood out like a sore thumb. Scrolling down the page I saw it again at the bottom of the page. The first thing my visitor saw when he reached my affiliate landing page was the company’s 800 number. It was in bold type and very visible. It was the first thing that caught your eye when the page finished loading. It was big, bold and obvious.

I called the company and spoke with an affiliate support representative and let them know what product was purchased and on what date. They informed me that there was “No way” they could verify that my visitor purchased anything from them because it wasn’t tracked. I told them that they should not have a 800 number on their landing pages but my comment was ignored. They continued to carry that 800 number on their affiliate landing pages and may still to this day. I lost a nice commission and they lost an affiliate. I have no idea how many commissions I may have lost to their 800 number.

I immediately checked every other landing page and found a few others. I immediately removed them all from my site.

I would like to suggest using a feedback form. The information you get from your visitors may be very valuable to you and may help you locate problems.

If there’s an 800 number featured on any of your affiliate landing pages I would seriously consider removing any links to that site. If the number isn’t very noticeable it may not be a problem but featured 800 numbers are leaches that can suck up your commissions before you realize it. Be sure to check your affiliate landing pages for any perceivable problems. Don’t let them bleed you dry.

Good luck!

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