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I sell a few e-products on my site and I have had a number of customers, join my affiliate program and then immediately purchase a product via their new affiliate link.
Should I get annoyed at this? "When I see it, I say why couldn't you pay full price?" I personally do not do it, unless the webmaster encourages affiliates to purchase the item for review purposes.
Now I do not say they "can't" on the website..I don't know, Am I just too uptight?
Say the minimum before payment is issued is $50. If they order a $30 item and get a 10% commission then you don't owe them anything anyway. Unless they bring in more sales or buy more themselves over time.
If they buy $500+ then yes, you owe them $50+ but at that point, who cares. Nice enough sale.
No, of course not. I think this would make anyone chafe.
But, like universetoday, I'd suggest ignoring it. You made the sales (the most important thing) and (I don't know about this for sure, I'm just guessing) you probably have repeat customers at this point.
Chalk it up to "lesson learned," maybe add something to your affiliate and/or site terms & conditions, and try not to worry about it too much if it happens again. :)
I know some savvy super-affiliates who refuse to promote merchants who feature their own affiliate program too prominently on their site, for this very reason.
re: the TOS, Amazon prohibits it and allposters encourages it. I'd say encourage it. Have a minimum payout rate, people are used to it. Maybe to achieve that rate they'll buy a few more as gifts, but then you've achieved something. Depends on how much it actually costs you to have an affilate -- if someone just goes through the motions and generates a half dozen sales, is the return still worth it?