Affiliate Agreements: FYI

Have you noticed that many fitness-related authors have been promoting the work of other fitness-related authors? Most of you probably concluded that this was just an example of, “I’ll push your stuff today if you push my stuff tomorrow.”

However, many authors are in affiliate agreements with other authors. Here is a brief description of how these programs work: http://asp.elitefts.com/qa/default.asp?qid=41058&tid=112
(In essence, a writer will get a cut of the action for books another author sells.)

I don’t find these relationships particularly troubling. I am bothered, however, that these relationships are not usually disclosed. It should go without saying that if a person has a financial interest in a product, the people he is recommending the product should know this.

In any event, NEVER assume that when an author promotes another author’s product or services, he is doing this out of the goodness of his heart. It’s quite possible that he is getting a commission for everything you buy.

As always: Let the buyer beware!

Hmm, not sure I’m following you.

On the Internet an affiliate program generally involves a link sending you to a certain page or site. If you buy something after following that link the person that sends you there can get credit for the sale.

Anyone with a bit of web savvy can spot this kind of thing.

Is that what you are talking about?

I think he’s referring to an agreement between authors where Author A agrees to promote Author B’s work in return for a small commission on Author B’s sales.

– ElbowStrike

[quote]ElbowStrike wrote:
I think he’s referring to an agreement between authors where Author A agrees to promote Author B’s work in return for a small commission on Author B’s sales.

– ElbowStrike[/quote]

Maybe, but the thing he pointed to was about online affiliate sales. Perhaps he just doesn’t know what he’s talking about? :wink:

[quote]vroom wrote:
Hmm, not sure I’m following you.

On the Internet an affiliate program generally involves a link sending you to a certain page or site. If you buy something after following that link the person that sends you there can get credit for the sale.

Anyone with a bit of web savvy can spot this kind of thing.

Is that what you are talking about?[/quote]

This is likely visible if you go to the authors personal websites but if you are merely relying on reading the forums here for all your info you may not find this.

Do you see any ethical pit falls to this?

I can see it working as a pro, and think it’s good that well established and reputed trainers would refer to another trainer of the same calibre, different specialty.

The con would be if there were less reputable people doing this, and passing a customer from one schmuck to the next.

CL is correct. You have a product, A. You have a subscriber list of, say, 1000 people. Someone else comes up with product B. They give you an affiliate link to their product, which you then advertise to your list.

You tell them what a great product B is, and how it will help them do whatever it is that B teaches you to do. The customers click on the link, which places a cookie on their computers. If they buy the product before that cookie expires, then you get a large (up to 50%) commission.

Such agreements are not generally disclosed in the sales letter.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
CL is correct. You have a product, A. You have a subscriber list of, say, 1000 people. Someone else comes up with product B. They give you an affiliate link to their product, which you then advertise to your list.

You tell them what a great product B is, and how it will help them do whatever it is that B teaches you to do. The customers click on the link, which places a cookie on their computers. If they buy the product before that cookie expires, then you get a large (up to 50%) commission.

Such agreements are not generally disclosed in the sales letter.[/quote]

Hmm, getting a sales letter would be my first clue…

However, wouldn’t the quality of the referred product reflect on the person who had done the referral?

I mean, if you try to sell me a bunch of crap, your credibility goes down the toilet… so isn’t it more important that the referral is honest and accurate than whether or not it generates a commission?

Commissions and advertising are the way of the Internet (or the greater business world)… to suddenly start worrying about it now strikes me as odd.

Think of it as leveraging or creating a joint venture with someone. Comapnies do it all the time.

You only have so many people on your list. I have a list too. People on my list may want your product. I become your affiliate, market your product to my list. My list buys buys I get a commission, you sell more products.

What’s to keep you from becoming an affiliate of some of these top coaches and marketing their products on a blog you can set up for free and making a small or large, in some cases, amount of money.

Have you told anyone to buy PN? And did they buy it? Had you been set up as affiliate you would have made a good commission. You could simply have e-mailed the affiliate link to your friend, he would have clicked on it to read about the product.

If they would have made a purchase within a specified time you would have gotten paid for your “referral”.

It’s a great way to create another stream of income.

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
Do you see any ethical pit falls to this?
[/quote]

Yes. When someone recommends a product, I want to critically evaluate that recommendation. If someone says, “My stuff is the best,” I think to myself: “Of course he’s saying that: He wants my money.” If someone says, “Buy Joe Blow’s stuff, it’s the best,” I might think the writer really believes in the product if I don’t know about the kickback/commission.

T-Mag, as you all know, is owned by Biotest. If T-Mag did not disclose the relationship, it would be rather shady, no? After all, we want to know whether a product review might be colored by a magazine’s financial interest in the product. (As you all know, I think Biotest is highly ethical. I’m just using it as an example everyone can relate to.)

It would be helpful to know whether someone is endorsing a product because he is getting paid. To the extent a recommendation is not disterested (i.e., the recommender has a pecuniary interest in the product’s sales), I want to know this. Otherwise, I cannot be a fully-informed consumer.

That these relationships are rarely disclosed is telling. If there is nothing ethically questionable to hide, why are these relationship hidden?