Check out what competitors are offering and how they structure their affiliate programs because that'll be a good place to start. It's also what your affiliates are going to be comparing you to when deciding whether to endorse you or someone else. Remember, your affiliates have many options of products/services to represent so they're going to want to choose products that convert well and offer a decent payout.
We will determine suitability at our sole discretion. If we reject your application due to unsuitable content, you may reapply at any time once you have complied with our suitability requirements. However, if at any time we 1) reject your application for any other reason or 2) terminate your account in connection with any violation or abuse (as determined in our sole discretion), you cannot attempt to re-join the Associates Program without our advance authorization. Advance authorization may be initiated by completing the Contact Associates Customer Service form available here.
Upon your request but subject to our approval, we may issue you additional “sub-tag” Associate IDs that permit you to monitor and optimize the performance of your Special Links by including different sub-tags in the URLs of different Special Links. Under no circumstances may you associate any sub-tag with a specific end user of your Site (e.g., you may not dynamically assign sub-tags to users as they arrive on your Site for purposes of monitoring such users’ behavior).
In some ways, trying to establish a direct affiliate marketing relationship with a merchant is a lot like trying to get an advertiser to run a campaign on your site. But there is a major difference here that you should consider when reaching out to establish direct relationships: the biggest hurdle to overcome from the perspective of the merchant isn’t a cash payment (as it is with advertising) but rather an administrative burden.
A challenge with a lead-based commission structure is fraud prevention. If the form is easy to complete and the payout high enough, a dishonest affiliate can determine ways to auto-fill that form and collect commission on bogus leads. To prevent this, you would need a dedicated affiliate manager to police the quality of inbound leads. Warning signs include multiple leads originating from the same IP address, or patterns in data entry such as spelling variations on a single name — such as “Jonathan Smith,” “Jon Smith,” and “J. E. Smith.” When you detect fraud, boot the affiliate from the program immediately, and inform the network. And don’t forget to reverse any recorded leads associated with the bad affiliate.
In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.