How I Banned My “Top” Affiliate – And Lessons Learned

If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know that one of my traffic sources is affiliates.

The basic principle is simple:

1) You create a product
2) Publish it on an affiliate network like JVZoo or Clickbank
3) Allow other people to send traffic to your sales page in return for a percentage commission on sales that they make

There are loads of really effective strategies that you can use to encourage people to sign up as affiliates and send you traffic. And when you get these hooked up this traffic source can be immensely powerful in any niche.

I’ve personally had well over 100,000 visitors sent to me using this method with some amazing results.

However, like with anything in business and life, not everything always goes occurring to plan….

What Went Wrong

I logged into one of the affiliate networks that I use (JVZoo) and saw this:

Banned Affiliate JVZoo

As you can see the affiliate at the top of the screenshot – who will remain nameless – sent 13,849 visitors to my sales page without making a single sale!

If you’ve never published a product on an affiliate network before then it probably won’t be obvious why this is necessarily a problem.

The issue is that the traffic that this gentleman sent – over quite a short period of time I might add – was absolutely junk.

He probably purchased it from one of the various sites around the internet that make offers like “5,000 visitors for $10″.

At first site these traffic sources often sound appealing but in reality the visitors are either automated robots or come from developing countries where people are paid a pittance to repeatedly click on links.

The problem that this gives you as a product owner is that the traffic doesn’t make sales and therefore lowers the conversion rate on your product.

Several popular affiliate networks, including JVZoo, publish your conversion rates in the marketplace so this in turn puts off other quality affiliates from promoting.

I hope that makes sense? If not, please ask in the comments section below and I’ll be happy to clarify or explain it in a different way :-)

Basically, it’s a rare case of having traffic that actually hurts you instead of helping you!

Over the period that this traffic was sent, the affiliate in question was top of the list in terms of number of visitors but as soon as I saw what had happen I went into my JVZoo account and promptly set his status to “Banned”!

Important Lessons Learned

In this specific example the lesson is to regularly login to JVZoo or whatever affiliate network you are using and keep on top of who is sending you traffic.

Because I didn’t do this for a few weeks I got caught out and this guy was able to send me so many visitors, hurting my conversions and no doubt putting off other affiliates from promoting.

5 minutes, 2-3 times per week would have saved me from this.

Luckily, this particular product did very well regardless. It could have been a lot worse and I’ve only got myself to blame for not keeping on top of things!

The wider lesson is be careful who you work with in your business. Whether it’s a mentor, coach, affiliate, joint venture partner or anything else it always pays to do your due diligence.

Would love to hear your thoughts, questions and comments below. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience concerning other people too? Please SHARE and TWEET if you enjoyed this too to help spread the word about it. Cheers, Rob :-)

29 Responses to How I Banned My “Top” Affiliate – And Lessons Learned

  1. Nicko October 22, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Hi Rob, I love your product, and want to promote you. I have also tried learntoblog, with the exact same prices, and think your program is at least 10x better in terms of value.

    But I have one question, how many sales do your best affiliate get a month right now?

    • Rob October 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

      Hi Nicko,

      Thanks for your kind words. As you can see from the post and the other comments I’ve made, I’m careful about who I approve to ensure good quality traffic. Not sure which product you are referring to but feel free to get in touch via the appropriate affiliate page and I’ll be happy to consider you as an affiliate :-)

      Cheers, Rob

  2. Dave Gale October 22, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Ha ha he prob could have sent 100,000 hits and still not get a sale.

    On your affiliate page I would just use screenshots of decent affiliates conv data which you can get from the JVZoo sales report by selecting the affiliate and product etc.

    Cheers,
    Dave.

    • Rob October 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      Absolutely Dave – I doubt he would ever get a sale with that traffic source!

      I do vet the affiliates before approving them but my mistake here was not checking the stats regularly as you always have some people like this one who slip through the net. Thanks for your comment!

      Cheers, Rob

  3. Leon October 22, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Very enlightning…to newbies. thank you. Your last / penultimate paragraph resonates with me a great deal. I really do wish I could ‘evaluate’ who is true and who is not in the IM industry and what products are real. The lesson I have learnt and wish to pass on is: by buying products/systems all the time (most shiny?), and not taking action to ‘go forward’, you remain a newbie forever! in remaining a newbie, (for whatever reasons – there are many), then you do not learn enough, you do not earn money, you actually spend more than you earn and you remain incapable of carrying out the due dilligence to which Rob referrs. Either carry on spending….or DO SOMETHING WORTHWHILE! The reward is not only escaping the IM trap and earning money, it qualifies and enables you to help others and ‘give back’ to industry….just as Rob does. Leon

  4. Kevin October 22, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    Hi Rob

    Interesting article. I hadn’t really considered how “lousy” traffic can harm your business.

    Maybe this particular affiliate didn’t know he was buying junk traffic?

    A useful lesson to those of us who are inexperienced – thanks for sharing this.

    Kind regards

    kevin

    • Rob October 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

      Hi Kevin,

      I highly suspect you are correct.

      After all, why would you buy that traffic if you know it doesn’t convert? I was probably a Guinea pig for his testing!

      Cheers, Rob.

  5. Jamie October 22, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Was this affiliate known to you, Rob?

    Something similar happened to me during my launch. A very well-known marketer sent 300 to my sales page and not a single one purchased. Must have been his twitter list! Needless to say, I barred him from promoting my subsequent products.

    For affiliates not known to me or who have not launched a product of their own, I ask how they propose promoting. On my JV offer page, I list what form of promotion methods are out. If I get no response to my question, I bar them from promoting. In that way, I keep my EPC rate higher than it might otherwise be.

    • Rob October 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      Hi Jamie,

      Great advice and thank you for sharing it :-)

      I do exactly the same but I think this example shows that people can still slip through so it’s really important to regular check the affiliate account to ensure that you are not being taken for a ride!

      Cheers, Rob

  6. Michael Bury October 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Rob
    thanks for the post Rob, it’s unfortunate that some people will apply theses methods, more importantly a great reminder to keep an eye on stats & act accordingly.

    Hopefully genuine affiliates know better!

    Regards

    Michael

    • Rob October 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

      Hi Michael,

      Yes, they usually do :-) thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Cheers, Rob

  7. Cheryl October 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Hi Rob!

    This guy was definitely using bad traffic, no doubt about it. But what happens when you get someone who is relatively inexperienced, and they may successfully send people to your product (probably not many), but the list isn’t converting?

    And if you would ban them, in that case, how would you suggest they go about promoting affiliate products?

    My first thought is that they would need to know their list better, but what do you think? ^_^

    Best,
    Cheryl

    • Rob October 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

      Hi Cheryl,

      If they convert, even with a few sales that’s fine and I personally would never ban them. Banning is a last resort really for excessive cases like this (rather extreme) example. We can all improve our relationship with our lists so you make a very good point here. Plus there are various structured ways of doing that but I suspect this person didn’t have a list at all – he was probably just sending traffic direct from a traffic exchange or something!

      Thanks for your thoughts on this, good to see you on the blog :-)

      Cheers, Rob.

      • Cheryl October 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

        Hi Rob!

        Thanks for the quick response! :D

        And you are definitely right; there was something not quite right about that guy. I’m glad that you’re more forgiving with the more inexperienced JVs. For their sake, I hope that everyone is as nice as you are! ^_^ lol

        Also, sorry for being a bit absent for the last 2 weeks or so! I was working hard on getting a free WSO out and review copies for a paid WSO, so I’ve been a busy girl! I’ll try my best to pop up more often. ^_^

        Either way, I’ll be reading; you can count on that! ^_^

        Have a wonderful day!

        Best,
        Cheryl

  8. Sergio Felix October 22, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Hey Rob, I believe this is the exact reason why Clickbank introduced the “white listing” feature for your affiliates.

    I’m not sure if this option is available inside JVZoo but it surely must exist since I know product owners can ask for affiliate approval in advance.

    My bet is that traffic came from a direct link in traffic exchanges (not saying that TEs do not work at all, they do for list building purposes as long as you use a unique page) but they definitely do not work for sales pages, that’s a given.

    Sergio

    • Rob October 23, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      Hi Sergio,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Yes, JVZoo do have some features which allow you to control your affiliates in a similar way. You’re likely correct about the traffic exchange, either that or some other very poor traffic service!

      Cheers – Rob.

  9. Daryl October 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Hey Rob, Great info in this article. I hope to set up my first product in the next couple of week and hope to get some affiliates to promote it.

    • Rob October 24, 2013 at 6:06 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it Daryl and thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Good luck with the product launch and keep an eye on those affiliates both when you approve then and during their promotion :-)

      Cheers, Rob

  10. Mike Hardy October 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Hi Rob –

    I had to read the article twice to fully appreciate the implications of what actually happened to you. I guess even the BEST among us get caught!!

    Thanks for the alert – always be vigilant at all times.

    Best – Mike

    • Rob October 24, 2013 at 6:04 am #

      Thanks Mike,

      Glad you enjoyed it, all of us get caught out occasionally. Good to share the experiences though so others can avoid hopefully!

      Cheers, Rob

  11. John Banks October 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    Blimey – that looks like Adf.ly or something…..

    Thanks for sharing, I really must go and check mine! :-)

    Regards,
    John

    • Rob October 24, 2013 at 6:01 am #

      Hi John,

      Yep. Could indeed be Adf.ly!

      Thanks for your comment :-)

      Cheers, Rob

  12. James Dominic October 27, 2013 at 1:22 am #

    Hi Rob
    I am a complete newbie to all of this…The question I have for you is…does this type of selling apply only to e-books and programs that can be downloaded or would it work for physical products also….

    • Rob October 27, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      Hi James,

      Yes certainly affiliate marketing is used very much for physical products. Amazon Associates is the obvious example but it goes well beyond this too!

      Cheers, Rob

  13. Louise Lewis November 13, 2013 at 2:11 am #

    Great advice. What is your criteria for choosing your “Affiliate Requests” within JVZoo etc.? Do you set them all to “Delayed” unless you know them personally?

    • Rob November 13, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      Hi Louise,

      Yes, I normally choose delayed unless I know them. On my JV Pages I also include this text: “IMPORTANT: If we haven’t worked together before please make a note in your request saying how you intend to promote.”

      You can see an example here: http://www.wpspybar.com/jv/

      Serious affiliates will usually provide info with links and so on so in this case I often approve them for instant commissions.

      Great to see you here on the blog, come back soon :-)

      Cheers,

      Rob.

  14. Latha December 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    Something new I learnt today. Conversions would drop and product rankings would get affected…

    • Rob December 16, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

      Hi Latha,

      Yep, you’ve got it in one! Glad it helped :-)

      Cheers, Rob.

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