Forgive me, but I have to vent...
I was an affiliate for Smooth Fitness for about 6 months and averaged about 2 sales per month. Out of the blue, I got an email from them that my contract was being cancelled (no explanation given). I had to call their corporate offices to track down the affiliate manager to find out what's going on. Their affiliate manager looked up my account and told me I was cancelled due to lack of sales. All he told me was that my sales weren't enough (he never told me what I had to sell to stay in their good graces).
I told him my site had only been up for about 10 months and I've just started to heavily promote their products and that I was planning on ramping up my efforts. He said he appreciated that and would "try" to reinstate my contract and that he'd let me know through Commission Junction, who facilitates their affiliate program. He said he's had problems with CJ so if I didn't see a new contract offer in a day or so to call him back. He was very friendly and seemed very sincere to get me back on board with them.
I never heard from him or Smooth Fitness again. It's been over 8 weeks now and I have left numerous voice mails. I even called Smooth Fitness the other day to confirm the afiliate manager still works there. Of course he does - into his voice mail I go! My last voice mail was almost embarrassing as I was "pleading" to hear back from him one way or another. I told him in the message that I need to know one way or another as I will be launching a large AdWords and Article Writing campaign promoting their products. I told him I needed to know if I should hold off or go ahead.
You would think this he would have the courtesy to get back to me! He can't even shoot me a quick email telling me it's not going to work! How much time would that take?? Whatever happened to being a professional and putting on a good face for the company you represent? I would never treat my customers like that.
At this point it's just a matter of principle - just call me or email me and tell me it's not going to work! I want to fight this thing and take my beef right up the chain to the CEO but I know it's not worth the time and effort when I can be doing other things. Plus, what do they care what one little affiliate thinks about their business.
It's for this very reason that I've often thought about giving up on affiliate selling entirely. As an affiliate - especially a relative newbie just getting started, we have no power OR control what these merchants do. What if I would have spent tons of time and money promoting these jokers only to have my contract pulled? While I didn't spend any money promoting them, I did spend countless hours writing reviews and submitting articles promoting their products. And now I'm out $300+/month - which is a lot of money for someone just getting started.
Sidebar: Whatever happened to customer service? When I graduated from high school back in the early 90's, customer service was all the rage. Every business book and article stressed the importance of providing unparalleled customer service. It was taught that if you didn't treat your customers well, your business was doomed. And who can forget the statistic, "It takes 10 times more money (or whatever the figure was) to obtain a new customer as it takes to keep an existing one."
Now fast forward 15 years...it seems like no company cares about customer service. We have automated phone banks, people who can't speak English, and rude reps who could care less if you take your business elsewhere. I miss the days when the customer was king :'(