Is "Revenue" Defined?
programs (commission-based ones) pay a certain
percentage of the revenue your site visitors generate.
But the meaning of the word "revenue" can
vary depending on which site you're looking at.
Many programs pay
commissions on the gross value of a sale; that
is, the amount of money that the site will actually
receive in payment for the goods or services being
ordered. This always excludes additional charges for
credit card transactions, and delivery charges.
A few sites
apply much less generous definitions of
"revenue", for example only paying
commission on the profit of a sale. It's very
easy to manipulate the figures until the visible
profit simply melts away. You're likely to earn a very
small commission if you sign up for this kind of
service, as the profit margin will at best be about a
quarter of the total value of any sale, and your
commission will be a small fraction of this much
This issue of
"revenue" is often buried deep in the
Affiliate Agreement you'll have to sign when joining
the program. So read the Agreement carefully and make
sure where you stand before you get going.
Watch Out For Returns!
Be aware that
virtually all affiliate programs only pay you for
sales that have actually completed and where the
customer has opted to keep the merchandise. If a
customer returns the goods for a refund, your
commission will be cancelled; you may even be sent a
bill for the amount of the commission if you don't
have any earned credit outstanding with the company in
question. This doesn't happen too often, but be aware
that the possibility exists.
What Is Commissionable?
exactly what you'll earn commission on, and how that
commission will be calculated. For instance, some
affiliate programs will only pay you commission on the
specific item you link to, and even then - only if the
visitor fills in the payment details immediately
without clicking on any other link out of the order
page (a very unlikely scenario). In this case, even if
your visitor goes on to buy 30 different candles from
Candles R Us, you would only see your commission if
they bought the Orange Citrus-scented Candle that your
site's link pointed to. Most programs do pay
commission on all the items sold during a single visit
to the site, or even in some generous cases on all the
items sold during a given period of time from the date
of the visit (up to 30 day's after, for instance)
- just be sure to read the Agreement.
A Quick Look at Cookies
Many sites make
use of a tracking technology known as
"cookies" to keep track of a visitor's
progress across the site. A "cookie" is a
small piece of data that is stored automatically by
your web browser. Inside the cookie, the site will
have encoded a certain amount of information about the
customer, such as a unique tracking code or address
with this approach is that cookies can be refused,
discarded and eaten. Some paranoid web surfers,
worried about their online privacy, systematically
refuse to accept cookies from web sites they visit. In
this case, their purchases will not reward you in any
way since the site has no way to track them. Cookies
will also be discarded when the storage area for
cookies fills up (depending on your web browser, the
storage area has space for up to a few hundred cookies).
If you're participating in a program where you are
supposed to receive income over an extended period of
time, you may well find yourself empty handed if the
cookie expires and gets overwritten by a new one.
Finally, certain system maintenance programs also
"clean" your computer by deleting cookies.
there is very little you can do about this problem,
except be aware that it exists, and that it may have
an impact on your results.
Where's My Check?
You need to
know how long it will take for your check to get to
you. Some affiliate programs pay fairly promptly, a
few days after the end of each calendar month for
earnings during the previous calendar month. Other
programs pay quarterly, while others may pay twice a
month. It all depends on the setup. If you
sign up with a program that, for instance, pays 90
days after the end of each calendar quarter - be
cautious!. On the Internet, anything can happen in a
few months: bankruptcies, server crashes and glitches
etc. - so be wary of a program that will hold onto
your earnings for months on end.