Affiliate programs close all of the time. If you’re a content site with a ton of links place and you’re not using a service/tool that can change out links automatically, you’re ready to cry when you get the email. This recently happened to me with some of my older sites when the BuyCostumes.com program closed it’s doors this week. I got the email Monday evening.
Before I go into how to handle this, I want to make a note that you know that you SHOULD NOT SHOOT THE MESSENGER.
When a program closes the affiliate manager or agency is in a bad situation like you. Someone has probably just lost their job, the agency has to restructure and find revenue so they don’t have to fire someone and also help partners like you with solutions. They also probably got the same amount of notice as you did. This is why a program closing should not reflect the agency or in-house manager and your opinion of them.
Sometimes the company will pre-write what has to be sent out and the manager or agency has no control or say over it. Company’s ask for things like backlinks where you currently have their affiliate links so your readers have a “good user experience”. Other times they’ll set all commissions to zero so they can still get the traffic and sales and you get nothing.
When a program asks for backlinks, it is typically someone who doesn’t understand SEO or didn’t even consider it. When they set your commissions to zero instead of taking it offline, then it’s usually a merchant with a lack of understanding or ethics since these links are your income. In both cases you should not give them the traffic for free or boost their SEO. Remember, this is your traffic and your money and you can find alternatives to make up the revenue. The only exception is if you were poaching their site by ranking for their trademarks + coupons. You will never be as profitable, even if you redirect to a competitor.
Remember it isn’t the agency or in house manager you should hold accountable for what they’re forced to do. They are having the same issues as you with losing money, etc… When they get their next job or client, remember how well they supported you and also know that you can expect the same level of service with their new program.
Now, here’s what you can do when an affiliate program closes and you need to replace your revenue stream.
- Invest in a tool to automatically change out links
- Look for other options where they have the same/similar products at the same/similar prices
- Measure your revenue by merchant/page and sell ad space
- Take a breath and relax, it’s not the end of the world