It’s been an interesting month.
Early in August, I went through all the affiliate programs I was participating in and checked my stats. Most programs I hadn’t checked in about a year, so I didn’t know whether commissions were owed to me or not.
I had two big surprises…
Surprise #1: One of the products I was promoting could no longer be purchased. Believe it or not, they had actually let their 1ShoppingCart account expire.
For some strange reason, my affiliate link was still working properly, so my broken link checker hadn’t detected anything. The sales page was still up, but nobody could buy the product! I instantly dropped the product from being mentioned on my blog and kicked myself for having not checked my stats sooner.
Surprise #2: One of the products I had been promoting had generated some $400+ in commissions. That part was exciting. But then I noticed the commissions had matured more than 90 days prior. I checked the affiliate agreement and payments were supposed to be made each month. Why no payment?
When I contacted the company to find out what was going on, I received a prompt and courteous response:
Just an official apology, we’re a couple months late in paying you. This is not normal. I apologize, I know this adds to your burden.
Reasons are, I’ve hired more staff in combination with hitting some obstacles in our new sales promotions; the sales dept is behind and catching up. I’m working on a promotion right now that I hope will get us back to normal.
We’re going to make at least partial payments but we may be running 60-90 days for a while instead of our normal 25-40 days. We might be able to catch up faster and if we can we will.
I’ll stay in communication with you about this.
This particular company is fairly well-known. They have a reputation for good business practices. And yet, at some point, affiliate commissions were spent on the business’s day-to-day operations. When it came time to pay affiliates, the funds had already been spent.
As I’ve become attuned to this issue, I’ve discovered that non-payment and late payment of commissions is far more common than affiliates think. Most affiliates never realize they’re being ripped off because, like me, they don’t bother to check their affiliate stats for months at a time.
Fortunately, in my case, there is a happy ending. The company in question made good and caught up on their affiliate payments. And I’m still happy to promote them.
Remember: Promoting products as an affiliate carries risk. You need to check your stats regularly to ensure you’re getting paid the commissions you’re owed. Of course, whenever possible, make sure you’re promoting companies that are listed in the Paid On Time Affiliate Program Directory.
-Ryan M. Healy