The premise behind affiliate programs is pretty simple. You publish a blog, or a website, sell something using the affiliate links (preferable things you used and can recommend), everything goes well and you make money. However, sometimes it’s not that simple, and I’ve learned it “the hard way”.
That’s why I would like to know: Do you read the terms of affiliate programs you apply to? I have to admit that I don’t because I’m one of those people that just click “I Accept” without reading what I’m accepting.
Here’s the catch, when a customer buys something through your link you earn some commission, but if a customer decides to ask for a refund (and gets it) that commission is taken away from you. Why? Because in that case, you didn’t make a sale.
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Affiliate programs I apply for are for digital products as for them creators don’t accept refunds (in most cases). What I failed to realise is that some creators offer a money-back guarantee if a customer believes the product is not what they expected. This is the case with courses or some memberships.
I recommended a course by a creator about making printables in my blog post about passive income and someone bought the course. The commission was something like $50. I loved that course and learned a lot from it, which is why I recommended it in the first place. It was my first sale in that affiliate program and I was happy.
A few days later I get the email that the creator issued a refund and that my commission was taken back. I was shocked and didn’t quite understand what had happened. I asked a question in one Facebook blogging group and got the explanation — technically I didn’t make a sale as the refund was issued and that it is probably written in the fine print of the affiliate program.
I honestly had no clue it works like that. No one ever told me this stuff happens and no blogger (I follow) writing about affiliate marketing mentioned this.
After reading the details and thinking about it, I removed my affiliate link and left a regular one on my blog post. I didn’t want to put myself in that situation again.
My advice to you is to read the terms of affiliate programs carefully before applying so you don’t end up shocked.
The takeaway from this is that you should always read the terms of an affiliate program before you apply to it. Don’t just skim over it; really look at what you’re being asked to commit to.
This blog post was originally posted on Medium.