A trend in theme shops closing affiliate programs
Jonathan Dingman poses interesting questions on his WP Force blog. Why do WordPress theme companies struggle with so much fraud compared to other industries? And I'd rephrase his second question just a bit – as I think it's obviously a trend that theme shops are closing affiliate programs. I'd ask just how big is this trend? Are we approaching the end of affiliate marketing for big theme shops? It seems we might be.
I bought the WP Affiliate System (or whatever it’s called) plugin a while ago and have had that running, but there hasn’t been much activity on it and I’ve been debating about whether it’s more trouble than it’s worth. I’d definitely be for a better affiliate system (which is half of the problem), but affiliate marketing, in general, to me, is kind of sketchy anyway. On the other hand, it’s cool to have your ad on people’s sites for free…except for the fact that ads are kind of evil. I dunno, it’s a hard choice to make and at some point, if you’re going to sell anything, you need to make some concessions…
I don’t know of all the types of fraud affiliates are dealing with but I have seen a lot of fake coupon codes out there. All that does is jerk around the customer (and sometimes snipe commissions from an honest referrer).
Typically smaller and newer shops emulate what the bigger, older shops do sp maybe we are approaching the end of affiliate programs for theme shops.
I’m with you @jazzsequence, affiliate marketing always feels sketchy and gross. I could go on a long diatribe about the long but rarely discussed association between the commercial WordPress theme/plugin world and the skeevy world of “make money online” crap, but I won’t. Suffice to say, it’ll be interesting to see the impact the shuttering of these types of affiliate programs has on discovery for new themes.
After all, for a long time, searching “best WordPress theme” or “premium WordPress theme” would lead to lots of paid ads for a certain affiliate link or spammy non-review reviews of various themes at the top of Google.
Will that change or will it just shift to the remaining affiliate programs?
I’ve been thinking about doing affiliate sales for my book, but on an invite only basis. Of course I’d only invite sites/developers that have a good reputation.
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