Removing Affiliates Because Your Program is To Large

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A couple months ago my friends and I were talking about work.  Well they were since they work real jobs and have to be in an office all day.  I was remembering how much I hated it…(insert thank god for my friends convincing me to go out on my own)….when they came to a realization.  The generation after ours which grew up as kids in the 90’s not teenagers, and were given everything, and were constantly told they can do whatever they want; really actually believe that as an adult.  Now, it is true in a way, but the thing that was left out was all of the hard work you have to put in to actually achieve that level of success and to get to a point where you can be and do what you want and have a job you love.

The conversation continued for a while and it got me to remembering when I was managing 20+ people at an agency.  Almost everyone from that generation on my team was a clock puncher.  They took long lunches and left work without completing their tasks or projects which were due that day.  (This was before I got there, a bunch of them quit when I god forbid held them accountable for their lack of work and made them stay late to finish…and by late I mean 5:30 when the day was technically over at 5).  I got “Well no one did this before or made us stay before” and “why should I have to when I didn’t before”.  Nothing angered me more than that and all I could say was guess what, because it is your job.  You are being paid to complete a task and if it isn’t done then we have a problem.

I would get the excuse, and this one still bugs me to this day, “well it’s 5 so I am out of here”.  Again, I would say you are salary and you are staying until it is finished.  If your work isn’t done and done on time, you don’t leave until you finish.  (BTW, when 5 of them left I was able to complete their work in under an hour, their entire days worth of work.  They were not missed and productivity increased since they were also distracting the rest of the team).  The thing I realized when listening to excuse after excuse was that their parents told them they could do whatever, they could be whatever, jobs would pay great; their parents forgot to tell them how hard it is to get a job, how hard it is to do real work and that they have to focus and sometimes stay late to achieve their goals.  The one thing that has always bugged me the most is clock punchers.  It’s no wonder clock punchers never really progress and always complain about never getting a promotion, and it really seems like that generation is full of them.

I have rarely ever left work on time (Unless I was depending on someone else for a ride) and when I got home I always got another few hours of work in.  Guess what, in return for my efforts, I was always one of the first people promoted, one of the first to get ahead and so were my friends who I was having this conversation with; well more or less listening in on at the one person’s house while they had this conversation.  Laziness is a huge pet peeve of mine and today on I was reading about an Affiliate Program for a well known company did the same thing that many others had done, they removed all but a certain small amount of Affiliates so the program is “easier to manage”.

That is one of the lamest excuses I have ever heard.  “I can’t manage 200 Affiliates”, “I can’t manage 100 Affiliates” “I can’t manage 50 Affiliates”.  Bullsh*t, if you cannot manage that, then guess what, something is wrong with you and your program, period no excuses.

If you are running a smooth and clean program, guess what you rarely get complaints.  When I take programs over or help fix and clean established ones, there are usually daily complaints in the beginning.  After I have taken over for a month or two guess what, I am usually down to a maximum of one or two complaints or questions a week (in larger programs with a lot of newbies 10K+) (There are always exceptions like if tracking comes down, huge sales or links breaking).

I have managed programs over 10K Affiliates while also managing programs with 20K+ Affiliates and at the same time 3 or 4 programs with 1K or under and guess what, I never had a time management issue with them because I didn’t give them things to complain about.  I honestly do not understand why anyone would have that many issues managing a program with more than 100 Affiliates.

I have been told it is to more easily catch fraud and theft, however these same people also partner with the well known toolbar Affiliates and when you show them the toolbar theft that runs rampant in most of the Major US Networks they all of the sudden go quiet or deny it; even when you show it to their faces.  They seem to not understand that they probably won’t get in trouble with their bosses by letting them know about the theft.  They didn’t know better until you told them and they are worried about their numbers dropping initially when the theft stops.  The reality is that their bosses will more than likely say good catch and lets see how to move this program forward, if the boss has any sort of brain.  Furthermore if their bosses are worried about the Affiliate numbers decreasing, watch as other channels grow, sometimes slightly depending on how large your company is since their sales are no longer being poached.  If anything, your boss should reward you for finding a way to save the company money and by removing theft and showing them where to better invest their ad dollars and to which channels they should be investing more in.

The next excuse that I love is that they are focusing on growing the program by having those Affiliates only.  This is a great one.  Unless you are Walmart and have tons of products that people may be looking for daily or weekly, there is only soo much searching and promotion one Affiliate can do for you.

Affiliates have to always present new offers and stores to their readers and visitors or guess what, their sites become stale and their traffic leaves for newer fresher sites.  By limiting to 100 or even 200 Affiliates, you are more likely to tap out your Affiliates from the extra pushes that their readers see over and over and you may very well tank your program in the long run since no one will give you any more pushes and their audience no longer cares for your offers, no matter how good they are.  If you are constantly building your base of Affiliates by recruiting blogs, content sites, etc,,, you have now grown the amount of sites you can ask for pushes from and are actually able to have a better chance of getting those strong pushes year round since you now have a large enough group that won’t be exhausting their audience all the time.  Since you only have to ask a small portion every once in a while instead of every month, you can now set up a promotional schedule and push through each group at different times of the year.

The other thing I don’t understand about this easier to manage thing is that I don’t see how inactive or even active but Affiliates who don’t complain or write to you can be hard to manage.  If they don’t need your help, don’t ask for advice and follow the rules, how are they making your program unmanageable?  It doesn’t make sense and to me just sounds like laziness and a very poor business decision.  Again, your boss and your company really needs to reconsider your position and your salary and why they are paying you.

I don’t understand this mentality or the reasoning behind only having a small number or a limited amount of Affiliates if the goal is to grow your program.  It may be that companies higher and put entry level people in Affiliate Management roles (Which seems to be true) and that they have the mentality that work doesn’t have to be work but it is a popularity contest and fun time.

To me it is ridiculous that one person cannot manage a program, even if it is only part of their job, with more than 100 or 200 Affiliates.  If you cannot handle that then there is something seriously wrong with you and your boss really needs to reconsider your role and your paycheck and see when you leave the office each day.

Sorry for the rant here but I was in shock when I saw this happen again today.  If you agree or disagree I would love to hear what you think.

As always, these are just my thoughts and personal opinions, it doesn’t make them right or wrong but does make me want to hear other people’s opinions.

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