Special Links may be created by you or made available to you by us. If we inform you that your Site does not qualify to use certain types of links, you must cease displaying those types of links on your Site. You are solely responsible for the content, style, and placement of each link that you place on your Site and for ensuring that Special Links (whether created by you or made available to you by us) include the appropriate formatting necessary for us to properly track referrals of our customers from your Site. You must not encourage customers to bookmark your Special Links. All Special Links must be accessed directly from your Site. For example, you must include your Associates ID or “tag” (appearing as XXXXX-20, or such other format as we may designate) as a parameter in the URL of each link you place on your Site to an Amazon Site.
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.
If you can't ship when promised, you must notify the customer of the delay and the right to cancel. For definite delays of up to 30 days, you may treat the customer's silence as agreement to the delay. For longer or indefinite delays, and second and subsequent delays, you must get the customer's consent. If you don't, you must promptly refund all the money the customer paid you without being asked.
Once you acquire a new customer through one of your affiliate partners, they've entered your ecosystem and you can direct market to that customer without going through your affiliates. Remember to consider that long term value of your customers into the equation when deciding your commission structure. For many businesses, I wouldn't care if I broke-even on affiliate sales – so long as I had a way to maximize the long term value of each new customer they brought me. As you probably know from experience, breaking even on acquiring customers to your sales funnel is nothing to sneeze at in e-commerce. There are many circumstances where I'd literally do that unlimited times if given the option!
At the other end of the spectrum is the small merchant who is only willing or able to work with a handful of affiliates. In this case, the merchant and affiliate may come to an agreement and utilize a “low tech” solution to determine commissions earned (e.g., a custom referral path and an earnings statement powered by Google Analytics). This type of affiliate relationship will typically develop when there is a logical affiliate relationship between two parties, but the merchant isn’t interested in opening up the affiliate program to a wide range of partners via an affiliate network.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.