Millions make money through affiliate programs these days. As you can guess, the terms of the programs are heavily weighted in favor of the sponsoring site. Do you, the affiliate, have any hope of renegotiating these terms? Let's take a look.
The affiliate program is one of the major business developments of the virtual world. Partnerships of this sort in the brick n' mortar world used to take months of negotiations and preparation of written terms. Not on the web. Just about anyone can go sign up for any old affiliate program. I can start a WordPress blog in five minutes and hookup with Overstock, Amazon or some huge company. That makes for a level playing field.
Recent legal developments have alerted nearly every affiliate that the terms of their relationship with sponsors might not be as good as they thought. The cause is the sales tax issue. When states pass law requiring sites like Amazon to pay sales tax because the site has affiliates in the site, the result is predictable - the affiliates are terminated. Just like that. Without cause. Despite the fact the affiliate may have sent years of traffic. Pursuant to the terms of the affiliate agreement, there is no recourse for the terminated affiliates.
So, can you guard against these types of situations by negotiating the terms of an affiliate program? The answer is almost always no. Why? Leverage. You have none. Why would a huge company like Amazon ever negotiate with you versus any other affiliate? Unless you bring in huge amounts of traffic each day, they won't. Not a chance.
Ah, but what if you do bring something unique to the table as an affiliate. What if you can bring in millions of visitors from feed sites and the like. What if you own Rotten Tomatoes and want to list movies from Amazon? Well, you don't want to sign up for the affiliate program. Instead, you want to contact the site in question and hammer out a separate agreement that applies only to you. This agreement is known as a strategic alliance agreement and can be used on a case-by-case basis.
Can you negotiate affiliate program terms as an affiliate? Not really unless you control a lot of traffic or some other asset. If that is the case, contact the site in question directly and negotiate a separate agreement.