Within the affiliate marketing space, compliance serves as an integral part of maintaining the advertiser-publisher relationship. There are "smash and grab" publishers who knowingly use fraudulent methods in hopes they don't get caught (we WILL find you); and there are those who genuinely try to be successful, but make crucial mistakes along the way.
Below are five simple ways a publisher can avoid potentially deal-breaking mistakes:
Follow the Advertiser Program Terms
There is no better way to educate yourself on what certain advertisers will and won't allow than to read their "instruction manual." Here you can find their TM, software, coupon, social media, and miscellaneous policies laid out in detail. While there are other things to consider, these are at least clearly defined guidelines to follow in order to remain in good graces with an advertiser's program.
Align with the Publisher Service Agreement
Another housekeeping item—equally as important as knowing an advertiser's terms—is the Publisher Service Agreement. Violating Ad Terms might get you removed from the program, but violating the PSA will likely get you kicked out of the entire network.
Respond to Advertiser Inquiries…Yesterday!
Nothing will turn an advertiser off like an unanswered e-mail or phone call. If the advertiser reaches out to you, consider it important and address immediately. Even if you don't have a specific answer, a quick response allows for next steps to be established and lets the advertiser know you care about maintaining the relationship.
Also keep in mind, failing to respond to compliance inquiries leads to program and network removal.
Know Your Traffic Providers
Many publishers enlist the help of third parties to generate traffic via traffic buys, software, e-mail distributors, or ad display. First, do your research on the third-party themselves, then examine the guidelines in place for using them within CJ. If you're not sure or can't find documentation, ask CJ's compliance team. It is far better to ask for permission than for forgiveness.
Proactively Review Your Content and Traffic
Simply put…know the content on your site and the sources of your traffic. For example, are your banners, articles, coupons, and offers still current? Has the advertiser updated link ID's recently? Letting a site sit stagnant hurts both you and your advertiser. Stay current. Subscribe to advertiser newsletters. Out-of-date and misleading content issues are all too often a result of avoidable negligence by a publisher. Proactivity helps create success.
There are certainly caveats along the way, but building a solid foundation on these five tenets will allow you to establish and maintain trusting—and mutually beneficial—partnerships with advertisers and CJ alike.