5th August 2007

Strictly Forbidden

posted in Affiliate Marketing |

Please, please, please will merchants with keyword restrictions stop using inappropiate wording & stop being so mellow dramatic in the choice of words they use, which only gives the perception they are treating affiliates like naughty, little, adolescent school children with reference to the pre-warnings in their keyword policy sections which only sounds like they are scolding affiliates from outset.

“The use of the official URL: www.whatevermerchant.com for any affiliate activity is strictly forbidden.

… how about saying “please do not use” or “it is disallowed”.

What if we, as affiliates, starting making demands like the following and having them inserted into contracts, saying it is for example … strictly forbidden for the merchant to be ever late with payment or it’s strictly forbidden for your tracking to EVER go array & it’s strictly forbidden not to pay remuneration for when tracking is down … etc … etc … etc ……. otherwise you’ll be chastised or hung, drawn & quartered.

“Rogue affiliates who refuse to adhere to the keywords and url terms and conditions will have their commissions voided and will be suspended from the campaign immediately.”

As for the term “rogue” … please will they grow up, it sounds more like some blood elf character class out of the game World of Warcraft.

It’s fine having keyword restrictions & mentioning it, but please, please, please use appropiate wording & treat affiliates like professional mature adults.

When I see wording like this, imho it simply creates the perception that the merchant has got a potential attitude problem & it’s preferable to avoid even if we did want to promote them via a non ppc route. As a side note we automatically do rank / order merchants on our website according to their epc’s & wording of keyword policies, so inappropiate wording does add a negative rating to their overall scoring … Yep, we have introduced our own quality score too which is applied to merchants.

PS Apart from a small handful of programs, we haven’t signed up to or promoted any new programs this year becuase of the trend we were noticing, except in the past week or so where we are signing up to most programs on various networks for incidental income , however we are starting to notice the wording of keyword policies are becoming more frequently frivolous than before.

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There are currently 7 responses to “Strictly Forbidden”

Why not let us know what you think by adding your own comment! Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses, so come on... let us know what you think.

  1. 1 On August 5th, 2007, Nadeem (Azam.biz) said:

    Well said mate.

    I like your blog because you are one person who says it as it is.

  2. 2 On August 5th, 2007, DerekBeau said:

    I definitely know where you’re coming from. There are way too many merchants in CommissionJunction that are far too concerned about what affiliates can and cannot do.

    They should be happy that we want to promote their products/services, or at least, as you say, speak to use in a professional manner. I never promote merchants who use these types of rules and wordings. Their loss ;-)

  3. 3 On August 7th, 2007, Kevin Edwards said:


    Personally I’d prefer T&Cs to be explicit, stating EXACTLY what the situation is so there’s no room for ambiguity.

    I’ve experienced campaigns in the past that have been less forthright about their T&Cs only to see affiliates looking for ways to circumvent the rules.

    Some of the words may seem a little dictatorial and I’d always push for a more diplomatic approach but as long as they’re explicit affiliates can’t complain if they’re caught breaking them…

  4. 4 On August 7th, 2007, Matt Bailey said:

    Hi Paul,

    I have to back Kevin up here. The number of times we have had affiliates claiming confusion over Ts and Cs when they have been discovered to be breaking the rules has meant that we have had to tighten up the wording on restrictions.

    Also please remember that a lot of the clients that we work with will run these things through their legal teams, who we all know don’t see the point in using 5 words when 50 will do.

    I agree that it would be pleasant if we could be all friendly but we are all aiming to professionalise the industry and I’m afraid that with that professionalism we may lose some of the familiarity we have been used to.


  5. 5 On August 7th, 2007, Paul said:

    Hi Kevin,

    There is a complete contrast to being explicit & being dictatorial i.e. there is no correlation between the two & never should the twine meet. We are not talking about exact / explicit keyword guidlines which are welcomed & required, we are talking about the dictatorial approach. When time permits I will publish all merchants who adopt this approach. Those merchants with dictatorial & forthright attitudes are gladly circumnavigated for more amenable merchants, so let’s not confuse the two. So, yes to non ambiguous keyword policies by having them clear & concise with a singular point of reference only, but importantly using polite wording.

    Also it seems that albeit only a few comments, there does seem to be a line drawn in the sand with affiliates one side & networks the other with regard to their opinion on this topic.

    Hi Matt,

    I appreciate your comments, but there are a number of programs where T&C’s are ambigious on DGM or changes have been made without notification, it happens on all networks, so don’t worry it’s not the worst I have seen.

    Kev & Matt,

    Would it be okay to ask for your opinion on these two blog posts please?



  6. 6 On August 7th, 2007, John Lamerton said:

    I can’t believe there could be any confusion over the T’s and Cs that would require such a rude, overbearing tone to welcome new affiliates?

    Surely there is no difference between “please do not bid on…” and “affiliates are strictly forbidden to…” in terms of affiliates understanding?

    Make the PPC policy crystal clear by all means, but don’t forget your manners when doing so.

  7. 7 On August 7th, 2007, Wardy said:

    I have to agree that there is a more friendly way to inform affiliates about T&Cs instead of the way many do it with the aggressive undertones!

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