If An Affiliate Program Offers 20% On Converted Sales, Would You Object To a Minimal Investment To Access The Platform – Say $50-100 For An Annual Subscription?


The title of this post is a question I was recently asked over on Quora.

Here’s my answer…

Yes, I would object.

  • First, 20% is a very low commission rate for a digital/online product/service so, unless that 20% was worth at least $50/month, it wouldn’t be worth my time promoting. If the product/service requires a one-time payment, then the commission would need to be in the hundreds of dollars range for promoting it to be worth my time.
  • Second, you’re expecting affiliates to do the marketing for you, sometimes at a cost as with paid advertising, yet you’re offering a low commission rate in compensation (unless the commission has a high Dollar value).
  • Third, you’re asking affiliates to pay to advertise your product/service with no guarantee they’ll make any sales/conversions. So they’re out of pocket right off the bat.
  • Fourth, if what you’re suggesting is that affiliates have to become members in order to promote your product/service then you’re artificially inflating the popularity of said product/service and in some countries saying you’ve got X subscribers (including affiliates) could be seen as misrepresenting your “real” number of subscribers.

I know some programs require that people must own or subscribe to the product in order to promote it.

The idea being that those people will be able to speak with knowledge and enthusiasm about the product and be able to generate more sales as a result.

I don’t subscribe to that viewpoint.

If a product is good, it should be able to sell itself with a little front-end advertising from the company or affiliates.

If the commission has a large dollar value, then some affiliates will sign up and pay a fee just to promote the product to try and get those commissions.

That doesn’t mean they’ll do any more research other than looking at the sales page.

It doesn’t mean they’ll use the product so that they can speak from a position of knowledge and authority.

For them, the affiliation fees are worth the gamble of making sales of a high-ticket item (and it is a gamble).

If you believe in your product/service then you should get as many affiliates on board as possible, for free, so that you can get the word out about it to as many people as possible.

Affiliates are effectively salespeople working on commission except you have no base salary to pay them.

Why should anyone have to pay to go to work for you which is what you’re proposing with an affiliation fee?

You can think of commissions as an after-the-fact advertising cost.

You pay for the sale rather than for advertising on platforms that may never generate a sale.

It’s a very cost-efficient way of promoting a product.

That’s my $0.02 worth anyway smiley face

What are your own thoughts on this affiliation model?

Have you signed up as an affiliate for such programs in the past?

All the best,

Gary Nugent

P.S.: Don't forget, if you want to create an internet income of your own, here's one of my recommended ways to do that:



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  1. Love your site, a lot packed in but navigation is easy and articles or information blocks well defined. The above article is informative and clearly explained, a great help especially to people starting out in affiliate marketing. Also explains for affiliates what to look out for.

    • Thanks, Lola. It’s always nice to hear when people find my posts useful.

      So many more people are now affiliate marketers or at least looking into becoming one than when I started out in 2004. There are a lot of crappy products out there that are aimed at newbies and I try to make people aware of how they should approach affiliate marketing before they spend any money.

      I spent probably thousands of dollars over the years buying courses and products that didn’t live up to expectation, didn’t deliver on their promises, didn’t support their students/buyers or simply weren’t maintained and died a slow death due to lack of interest from their developers.

      It’s all too easy to spend money looking for “the secret” to affiliate marketing and ultimately being let down and feeling disappointed.

      That’s why I now recommend that any marketer, at whatever level, gets themselves a mentor. No matter how much you know about something, there’s always someone who knows more and who you can learn from. Leveraging what they teach is how you level up your own business.

      Plus, a mentor provides a framework around which to build a business by teaching you what’s important starting out and what’s not worth wasting your time on.

      And mindset is crucially important to long-term success. It’s something I used to think was woo-woo nonsense (and some of it is) but how you think definitely affects how you act which, in turn, affects your level of success.

      For anyone who’s reading this reply, go check out my How Do You Find a Good Affiliate Marketing Mentor? post for tips on what to look for in a good mentor.

      All the best,

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