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6) Recurring Commission
Taking referral duration a step further, some affiliate programs will even remember you not only for first product you sold to a given visitor, but also for every product they will buy from them in future, including upgrades, etc. This aspect is especially attractive for affiliate programs that sell services with a subscription model. For example with a monthly subscription-based service you earn commission each month. This can quickly add up over time.
7) The Statistics
Most affiliate programs will give you reports on your sales activity. Some will send you a monthly report, others will give you a URL to view your statistics in real-time at any time. I much prefer latter. Real-time statistics allow you to see early on how affiliate program is performing on your site. They also allow you to tweak your promotion (e.g. use different promotion material) on a daily basis and get most out of program. Personally, I am always suspicious of affiliate programs that don't provide any real-time stats.
8) The Payments
Last but not least, you want to make sure payments are made often enough, preferably once a month. Some affiliate programs will only pay you every 3 or 6 months.
There you go. I suggest you print or save this article somewhere. Next time you are thinking of joining an affiliate program, take a moment to evaluate its quality by going through these 8 criteria. If it passes test, then you probably have a winner. Otherwise don't waste your time, move on to a better program.
Dom Vonarburg is the founder of AddMe.com (http://www.addme.com), the most popular site submission and promotion service. AddMe.com also publishes the Add Me Newsletter, a 500,000-member ezine full of tips on website and business promotion online. To subscribe send a blank email to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org