IAB Guidelines - Ethical Marketing Charter
Publishers are at the heart of the affiliate model and do a marvelous job driving traffic to the merchants and brands whose programmes they work on. Often sole traders or small firms, Publishers are reliant on the commissions earned as their primary income. As such the AMC wishes to highlight some basic best practice aimed at ensuring Publishers are treated fairly and ethically, in the same way as other business partners.
The recent eConsultancy Affiliate Buyers Guide highlighted how affiliates feel that there is not enough transparency between themselves and merchants, and improving this would make them more likely to promote that merchant above competitors. We feel that closer relationships should be sought by both sides and being as open as possible about how you operate will engender this.
Below are some guidelines which seek to ensure the Publisher has clearer information on the terms and conditions of the merchants business and programmes. Also we have provided explanations on why we feel this is important and how it will help you. Please bear in mind that not all of these categories will be relevant to you so please speak to your Agency or Network to clarify.
Why could sales get deleted?
We feel that affiliates have the right to understand why sales that they drive may subsequently be rejected. Reasons will clearly vary from merchant to merchant but here are a few examples. This is not an exhaustive list by any means rather a guide.
- Failed credit check
- Sale cancelled by customer
- Item returned
- Item out of stock
- Duplicated order
- Breach of campaign terms and conditions
Many merchants will deduplicate between Affiliate Networks and/or other online sales channels, eg PPC, SEO, display, direct partnerships. Providing information to affiliates on which channels you deduplicate against and the logic that is involved (eg last click wins) is a good idea as it enables affiliates to optimise their campaigns accordingly.
What type of affiliates will you work with?
Giving affiliates an idea of the types of affiliates that you work with enables them to focus their efforts and creates clear and visible rules.
- Brand bidding – do you allow affiliates to bid on your brand terms? Is this a closed group or open to all affiliates?
- Voucher code sites – do you allow your campaign to be promoted on voucher code websites? Do you actively provide voucher codes for use in the affiliate space?
- Cashback sites – do you permit your campaign to be promoted on cashback and/or incentive sites? If so can you provide a commitment to dealing with any missing transactions that occur?
- Software applications – do you allow your campaign to be promoted by
affiliates using consumer downloaded software applications?
Do affiliates earn commission on all products on the site, and is commission paid on the total inclusive of additional costs such as VAT and delivery?
The merchant agrees, wherever possible, to provide affiliates with reasonable notice period on any significant changes to the campaign. Examples of significant changes include, but are not limited to, commission changes of more than 25%, alterations in deduplication criteria and campaign closure. Affiliate marketing has established itself as a key part of the digital marketing mix. Working with merchants, Networks, Publishers and Agencies the IAB through the Affiliate Marketing Council (AMC) has worked to ensure that this industry continues to grown and that necessary standards and best practice are in place to facilitate this growth. At the heart of the industry is transparency and the IAB’s Affiliate Marketing Council is committed to improving transparency across the affiliate industry.
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