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Author Topic: A dilemna regarding affiliate fees  (Read 3641 times)
mouser
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« on: September 05, 2006, 02:14:05 PM »

We have an interesting dilemna and i'm curious to hear what you guys think about it.

It is our policy never to accept any affiliate or commission fees for software discounts offered through DonationCoder.com

Such fees are quite common on websites that recommend software, but it is our belief that they introduce a conflict of interest, in that the website has a vested interested in sales of the programs, and so we avoid this if even just to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

What we always do is ask the company if they are willing to pass on what would be the (sometimes substantial) affilliate fee to the purchaser.  This can mean the difference between the user getting a 5% discount and getting a 25% discount.

However, sometimes we get back a reply saying that the company is not willing to do this, for a variety of reasons (they arent technically able to set up such a thing, or they dont want to disadvantage other affiliates).

So, generally in this case we just turn away the discount completely and do not accept the program into our discount list.

Now, there is no way we are going to get into the business of making money on affiliate fees - it's just not the direction I want this site to go in.  I think we can be proud to be able to survive simply on user donations.

However, I thought it might be interesting to think about other possibilities.

One thing we could do is agree to the affiliate system and then have a way of everyone who bought the program using the affiliate link getting credited back the affiliate fee through the DonationCredits system.  The only downside here is all the additional work we'd have to do to organize and process this, which probably makes it a bit inconvenient.

Another thing we could do is donate all affiliate fees to a charity of some sort.  Not sure the amounts are going to be worth the effort though..

Ideas?
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2006, 04:17:22 PM »

Leave things as they are.
I respectfully suggest that any other course can be inferred to be the very compromise that you are unwilling to make.
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Chris
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2006, 05:04:44 PM »

I agree with cranioscopical, leave things as they are - other solutions could end up pretty messy and unmanagable. It also sends some signal to companies, I guess...
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- carpe noctem
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2006, 05:21:50 PM »

Yep - leave well alone (IMHO)
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Darwin
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2006, 08:04:11 PM »

I'll cast my lot in with Carol, fodder and cranioscopical. I'd like to think that you could pull this off and as a result offer an even more extensive set of discounts on some really amazing software but I really do feel that this would compromise dc's right to claim that its reviews are truly unbiased.
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mouser
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2006, 08:14:30 PM »

I will leave this open for others to comment on, but it seems like there is a clear consensus here and it's good enough for me:

We will reject discounts from companies that are not prepared to switch from an affiliate fee to a customer discount.

It doesn't happen so often as to give us real concern - and there is no other solution that doesn't involve extra work on our part, so I'm perfectly happy with this solution. Thanks for all the input  thumbs up
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housetier
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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2006, 08:58:47 PM »

I am in line with my four previous speakers and mouser's conclusion.
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app103
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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2006, 12:51:26 AM »

Quote from: mouser
However, sometimes we get back a reply saying that the company is not willing to do this, for a variety of reasons (they arent technically able to set up such a thing, or they dont want to disadvantage other affiliates).

That's not your problem, it's theirs. You shouldn't have to make drastic changes to things to make them more money. With the way this site is growing, there is a good possibility that they may change their minds some day and change things on their end and be more agreeable.

Until then, the more agreeable companies will have an advantage over them.

This is a 2 way street here. You are not just obtaining discounts and deals for members...you are helping software companies make money, too, even if that isn't really your goal or intent.

And I agree with Darwin. This could cloud the idea of this site providing objective reviews and make us look like another Top Ten Reviews type site, which I am sure isn't what we want.
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