One of the strongest tools an affiliate manager has in their toolbox are custom and vanity coupon codes. Many affiliates value highly a coupon code with their sites or services branded right on the code. For example, if the affiliate site is WowzaBigCoupon.com, the coupon code could be WOWZA. Building custom coupon codes provides a great incentive to get affiliates active quickly (putting up links), and / or providing you with better or additional placements on their site.
Once you do start providing custom coupon codes, sometimes you will find an issue with those codes finding their way to other affiliate sites. Either the affiliate hosting the “unauthorized” code for their site might be unscrupulous, or perhaps they provide a mechanism for visitors to add their own codes they’ve found. This will frustrate the high-value affiliate you originally provided the code for, as they look to you to monitor and prevent this from occurring.
You can stay ahead of this issue by paying attention to what codes customers are entering and where those customers are coming from. If you’re seeing a certain exclusive code coming from a different site or sites than you created the code for, you have a problem to address.
Generally a quick email to the offending affiliate will get the code removed. However, in some cases it may be necessary to remove the offending affiliate from the program. This is a rare occurrence however, since if the offending affiliate has sent converting sales to your site, they definitely should want to stay in the program. Another third option, which might be best of all, is to simply re-credit all sales with the exclusive coupon to the correct affiliate and void those sales made by the offending affiliate. Generally the offending affiliate gets the message very quickly and makes the appropriate adjustments.
Another issue you might come across with less diligent coupon affiliates is letting expired coupons remain up on their site or posting completely invalid coupons. The reason affiliates do this is they they simply want more “content” or coupons available on their site to attract more visitors searching for your deals.
Again the quickest and best way to detect this activity is to monitor what coupon codes are being provided by your customers and where those customers are coming from. You can also be pro-active as part of affiliate manager duties by frequent surveys of coupon affiliates to see for yourself what those affiliates are posting on their sites . Along with those surveys you might also see opportunities for better or additional placements on affiliate sites that you can inquire about with the affiliate.
These are just a couple of additional speed bumps you might encounter with coupon affiliates, however none of them are so extraordinary that a bit of due-diligence can’t contain the issue. Coupon affiliates can be a valuable asset to many different affiliate programs, don’t let the minuses that can be controlled dissuade you from incorporating coupons in your overall affiliate strategy.