It seems like every week there’s another company charging exorbitant fees for people to become affiliates, but is it worth it? Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes the answer is no.
Sometimes It’s Reasonable and Logical
There are a lot of companies out there that require you to be a member of their product/service before you’re allowed to be an affiliate. This is most commonly done to prevent affiliates from abusing the affiliate program or to control the user experience. After all, how can you be an effective or honest affiliate if you’ve never been a member or customer yourself?
In my experience, this is a really reasonable requirement for things like monthly subscriptions, annual subscriptions, etc… As long as you’re being delivered something of value for that fee (membership fee, product fee, etc…) then it’s perfectly reasonable for that company to require you to be a member or customer before you can be an affiliate.
If you’ll gain any benefit from the product or service, go ahead and join. Then if it’s everything you hoped it would be, apply to become an affiliate and promote away!
Sometimes It’s Very Unreasonable and Illogical
The most common industry I see this in is MLMs, but there are other companies following suit. If you’re already a member of a product, whether it’s a one-time, monthly, or annual fee, and they are going to charge you ANOTHER fee to be an affiliate, in my opinion that’s completely bogus.
That policy isn’t for quality control. That policy isn’t to prevent abuse. That extra fee to be an affiliate is solely to increase revenue for the publisher. If you’re going to be their affiliate, they’re ALREADY making money off of you, so charging an additional fee exclusively for being an affiliate is completely bogus and inexcusable. You’re being required to pay them to make them more money. It’s completely illogical.
Sure, you can make some decent commissions with certain companies if you know what you’re doing. But every time I’ve seen this business model employed it has been for a completely immoral or illegitimate business.
Bottom line: If you’re not getting anything in return except for the right to make commissions off of other people you sell the product to, it should be a big red flag and approached with caution.
The Guidelines Apply 90% of the Time
The general guidelines above will hold true at least 9 times out of 10, but there are instances where the decision isn’t so “cut and dry”. They also vary from person-to-person, and you may feel like it’s completely reasonable to pay to be an affiliate in certain situations where the person next to you may think it’s completely unreasonable.
Use your discretion and trust your instincts. If it feels wrong or fishy to you, there’s probably a reason and you should pay attention to what your gut is telling you.
Wrapping it up
Affiliate marketing has become a lot more complex in the last few years and we will repeat it once again, while it can certainly generate a good amount of income, we think eventually you should be selling your own products (more on what we’ve been doing in that area in a post soon :)).
Yet, it’s great icing on the cake as well as a perfect early monetisation method.
But avoid the cheesy/scammy schemes as they never last and you’ll find yourself having to keep working to maintain a level of income which what most of us site owners are trying to avoid.
Want to Know What we Think About Your Opportunity?
Are you struggling with the decision to join a program that requires you to pay to become an affiliate, but you’re not exactly sure whether or not it’s worth it? Describe the situation in a comment below, and we’d be happy to give my opinion and help any way that we can!