It is incredibly disappointing when an affiliate program fails to pay it’s publishers. Not only because the publisher doesn’t receive money hard earned, but because it’s a failure of the entire affiliate system.For the past 4 months, I have been attempting to contact GTA Hotels regarding an unpaid commission. Not only have they not paid, but they have not bothered to respond to a single email or phone call. Bummer for me. Even bigger bummer for them and now I’ll tell you why. When I find an affiliate program that pays, I aggressively market them on 1 to 20 of my websites. So in this instance, this advertiser chose to keep their commission on a $500.00 sale, but at the cost of thousands in potential sales.
When I first sign up for an affiliate program, I immediately check their terms to see if they permit their publishers to purchase using their own affiliate links. With GTA Hotels, for example, this was not only allowed, but suggested, in their affiliate contract. The following week, I booked my hotel for a 4 star San Francisco hotel through their site. A few weeks passed and no record of the commission. 1 month passed and I sent an email. No response. I sent 3 more emails. No response.
Well, since the amount would be less than $100 USD, it obviously isn’t worth my time to pursue this further. What I prefer to do instead is this: First, I immediately opt out of their affiliate program, removing any and all links and emailing them as to why. Then, I contact commission junction (if applicable) to let them know of my reasons for dropping their advertiser. Finally, I head over to Affiliate Scout (http://www.affiliatescout.com) and a few other affiliate review sites and share my experience with them. Note that I do not do this out of spite, but rather to offer fellow publishers a heads up that something might be fishy with this particular affiliate program. And finally, in the case with gtahotels.com, I am using them as an example on what to do when an affiliate program doesn’t pay so at least something good comes from this!
If anyone else has tips for handling non-paying affiliate programs, by all means share them below. In the meantime, here is a YouTube video by Shawn Collins on the subject. Happy earning!