Few days ago I landed on a discussion on an affiliate forum, where many affiliates complained about having to many commissions invalidated by the merchants. They went further and said that if the situation continues they think this whole business will go away.
In the same time, there are so many money on the table in affiliate marketing and in my opinion, it is a much better business than PPM or PPC advertising.
What are the reasons when a commission is invalidated:
While on the first 2 cases, there is clear that you don't deserve that commission if a refund is requested or a fraud involved, the third case is a bit more complicated and open to discussions.
Most affiliate marketers think that their commissions are cut by the merchants for no reason. To understand this you have to know more about the process.
Every merchant will use more marketing strategies for their product, and some of them will get involved in many affiliate networks at the same time. Let's say if a customer get first referred by one
affiliate to the landing page, but he is not buying on the first visit. When he come back he use a link from another affiliate. The question is: Who deserve the commission. The truth is that both affiliates should be credited, but this will never happen.
In other cases, someone follows an affiliate link, but at the time of checkout he uses a coupon code from another affiliate. In most cases, the affiliate who owns the coupon code will be credited, despite he did not worked at all to get that customer.
Sometimes, the commission will be denied because the merchant got that customer from another campaign ( PPM, PPC, etc ) where he paid for.
Despite it may seem normal to have affiliate commissions de-dupped ( this is the term used in the industry ), some merchants will over-use it, while other merchants will give the credit to the affiliate even the customer already went to the landing page from another campaign.
The solution to this is to find and promote the right merchants. But, the big and popular merchants tend to overuse the commission de-duplication, while the small and unknown ones will tend to be
as fair as they can with their affiliates. This means that to get fair commissions you have to promote smaller merchants, but you won't get advantage anymore by the popularity of the merchant.
It is a balance that you have to figure out. I know that in some topics it is very hard to find good merchants, but you can't expect to earn a lot without investing time or money.
The secret is to test and test until you find the best converting merchants that pay.