Last week on my Internet marketing radio show GoodKarma I was discussing affiliate managers and the concept of skimming (the act of not paying affiliates for all valid sales). It seems I might not have been clear and some people might have misunderstood what I meant. My position is that every affiliate manager should know what skimming is NOT that every affiliate manager is skimming. There are many good affiliate managers that DO NOT skim, are very HONEST and are nice enough people I would take them home to meet my mom.
Affiliate managers have a hard job. They need to make sure the affiliates are promoting the program and not damaging the brand reputation. They also need to make sure their technical team is properly tracking sales and paying affiliates on time. Not to mention the many other things a good affiliate manager needs to do.
If an affiliate manager does not know what “skimming” is they can not keep an eye open to make sure it is not occurring. When an affiliate contacts them and wonders why their conversion rate has dropped with no obvious reason, the affiliate manager better know what “skimming” is and be able to truthfully say that is not the cause. I am lucky and have found several really good affiliate managers who do a great job running their programs and proactively finding sales that accidentally fall through the cracks and paying me for them. I have also found the occasional “rotten apple”.
The most humorous incident of dealing with a bad affiliate manager was when my conversion rate kept falling for 3 months until it was almost exactly 1%. When I confronted the affiliate manager, the person claimed to not even know what the concept of skimming was and said it was impossible for me not be receiving credit for all my sales. The next month my conversion rate rose to almost exactly 2%. And he still claimed he was not manipulating my affiliate account. Needless to say I stopped sending him my traffic and spent more time working on projects for the good affiliate managers that I know.