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Delivered to over 8,000 Affiliate Industry Professionals.

29th April '03


1. Action Referral Occurrences
2. The EPC Cull
3. Invite to UK Affiliate Get2Gether
4. How to recruit coupon sites into your program


1. Action Referral Occurrences

With the launch of Commission Junction's new interface it's now a lot easier for publishers to see more detail over the handling of an advertiser's cookies and policies on repeat purchases. However, some advertisers I've spoken with donít appear to understand the impact the choice of their options will have on their publishers.

I believe that in the past CJ have always provided the functionality for an advertiser to only pay commissions against the first sale via the 'cookies keep=no' switch. Certainly there's nothing wrong with this if the program has been structured to reward an affiliate for 'customer acquisition' rather than pitched as a revenue share play.

It's a good move on CJ's part to ensure that the terms behind cookie handling events are now defined for their publishers, but with the added level of sophistication this now offers I fear that few affiliates and indeed many merchants whom I have spoken to understand how this works!

The terminology can be a little foreign to start with.

The new interface now presents two additional fields:

a) Action Referral Period, translated this is the commonly accepted 'cookie period' (ranging from 1-120 days)

b) Action Referral Occurrences, this is the number of times an advertiser will pay a commission within the *same* cookie period (ranging from 1 time to unlimited).

Hereís where there is room for confusion.

Many affiliates are under the belief that they earn commissions for *all* sales during the active cookie period.

However, this is now metered by the 'Action Referral Occurrence' setting. The comment from one super affiliate I discussed this with, sums it up: "I feel short changed"!

Certainly if your program is designed to pay for customer acquisition then it's not a problem but if you're selling your program as an ongoing revenue share for referred customers then please ensure your action referral occurrence reflects this with appropriate unlimited occurrences.

Last week I politely emailed several merchants I work with explaining that their terms of '1 time' sales against long cookie periods while considering their low commission rates weakened their offer to the point that I could not continue to promote it. One replied instantly to agree and alter their occurrence settings - the others havenít bothered to reply yet!



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2. The EPC Cull

There are many factors or decisions that can be taken that decrease your programs profitability for your affiliates. I see them everyday. Last week alone I've seen my merchants:

- Using branding based banners with no regard for direct response
- Diverting referred traffic to sister sites that do not return a commission to the affiliate
- Sites with a strong emphasis on transacting offline via free phone numbers
- Session cookies that only last 20 minutes
- Offensively low commission rates
- Sales reversed for no valid reason
- Sites popping up a traffic exchange, who are effectively my competitor diverting my hard earned traffic (surprisingly popular right now with many of the UK's brand name retailers!)

I'm not always vocal on these issues. As an affiliate it's not my place to dictate how you do business nor you mine. It's a two-way street and we both decide if our models provide an equitable relationship.

I'm not going to say that as a merchant you canít use any or all of these techniques to enhance your business but in doing so it's important to understand that you undermine the net revenues I can generate. Every week I analyze each individual merchant's performance based on their earnings per click. Poor performers simply see their placement slip until they drop off the radar and lose their positioning completely.

Chances are if you take the time to read this newsletter you already 'get it', but just in case... focus on helping your affiliates to increase their revenues. By concentrating on your partner's bottom line your profits will rise in tandem.


3. Invite to UK Affiliate Get2Gether

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors I'm pleased to announce that we have another UK Affiliate Get2Gether organised.

The Get2Gether is a networking opportunity for affiliates, merchants and solution providers to meet, share ideas and develop new contacts.

The event will be held at the Roof Gardens, London on June 10th.

Its invitation only so if you want to join us please register using the link below and you'll be added to the guest list:



4. How to recruit coupon sites into your program

Recently I've been compiled a 'prospect list' of top performing affiliates who reach US consumers (hundreds of thousands of consumers in fact!).

This prospect list provides a de-duplicated file of the leading 'coupon and discount shopping' sites, some of these sites are incredibly popular. According to Alexa's traffic rank the most popular coupon site is one of the web's top 2000 most visited site.

You can find more details on the traffic rank of these affiliates at:


As an affiliate manager this prospect list could provide the basis for a carefully targeted affiliate acquisition campaign - recruiting new partners capable of driving significant volume.

Undertaking such a campaign will require a little effort but this 'prospect list' provides a real helping hand!

Correctly implemented, this could prove to be a very lucrative and profitable exercise in developing your programs revenues.

Find out more at:


All the best,

Neil Durrant

PS. Looking to recruit those elusive 'super affiliates'?

Discover a shortcut to locating your ideal prospects: