How to Spot a Bad Affiliate Program

This post started as something that was intended to be a review for Creations for a Cause. I just signed up for their ambassador program, but soon realized if I did this, my personal brand could get hurt. Today I’ll explain why I won’t be sharing my affiliate link and how you can look out for other bad affiliate/ambassador programs.

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Why Is This Important?

I’ve never written a blog post about blogging itself. Meaning, I’ve only ever written about wellness and lifestyle topics, not how to write a post, which hosting site I use, how to get subscribers etc. I decided to break that today because your brand is literally everything. Your domain name is your own, your fonts and colours make your blog what it is, and the affiliate programs you sign up for say a lot about you. You need to protect your brand and I want to help.

If you sign up for affiliate programs that have a bad reputation, you’re going to hurt your brand. If that happens, you probably won’t even sell anything which is part of the reason you signed up in the first place, right?  Being completely honest, the reason someone signs up for an affiliate program is 1) they like the product and 2) they want to make money by selling it. If you sign up for a bad program, your readers may be turned off of your site altogether making all your other affiliate programs now essentially useless.

Creations for a Cause: Why I Don’t Like Their Marketing Style

Let me start by saying I have nothing against the brand’s products. I like them. I think they’re a good quality for what you’re paying and part of the proceeds goes towards one of their chosen charities. BUT they have the absolute worst affiliate program I’ve ever seen. As a brand ambassador for Creations for a Cause, you don’t get paid. You get points for money off a purchase in the future. If you reach a certain amount of sales, you might get 15% commision. However, they never actually state anywhere on the website how much you have to sell to be able to qualify for this. Which brings me to my first point…

Red Flag Number 1: Unclear About Earnings

If you see that there is no clearly stated sales goal/target on a site, that’ a huge red flag. The company can always say that you just didn’t reach a certain amount of sales, even if you did. If there is not a clearly stated amount of what you need to sell to earn a profit, you cannot possibly trust that the company will be honest. This isn’t saying that every company that does this is a liar, but I personally wouldn’t take that risk.

Red Flag Number 2: Spammy Social Marketing

Another thing is the spammy Instagram and Twitter messages. Oh, and Facebook…let’s talk about that first. Upon signing up you are invited to join their private Facebook group. I got so many messages from people sharing their personal links that it made my phone bug out. To those people: obviously, I’m not going to use YOUR link if I just got one of my own. This was another red flag. When I looked at the points system I realized that the more you share, the more points you can earn. If you make a separate Instagram account for Creations for a Cause, you get points. The more you message people and get them to click, the more points you earn. This is a terrible marketing strategy.

If someone asks you to send personal messages to people to get them to sign up for something, that’s a red flag. If you have to create a whole new special account just for the company, that’s a red flag, too. I just want to say that though the company never flat out states that this is a rule, it’s STRONGLY encouraged by the point system.

Doing this for a company makes you look spammy. It makes both you and the company look bad. Honestly, I liked Creations for a Cause before realizing that their ambassador program was pretty much a huge scam. It made me wonder if the money from my purchases was really going to charities at all.

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Red Flag Number 3: Broken Discount Codes

So now that marketing strategy is out of the way, let’s talk about how they track your sales. They give you a link, which is great, but then you have the option to sign up for a personalized discount code. If people use your code, you get points and then there’s the whole bit about sales with your code MIGHT make you some money. So I decided to give that a try.

Well, my code didn’t work. Which is another major red flag? If you bring someone to their site and give them your code, that should be YOUR sale and count towards your profits. However, when I tested my code (which is a good habit to get into – always test your codes) it didn’t work. I asked a few family and friends to try it out and I tried it on different browsers and devices but still nothing.

Red Flag Number 4: No Contact Page

I tried reaching the company but realized there isn’t even a contact page on the site. This is another MAJOR RED FLAG!!! They have a chat box for people to reach them at on their site and I tried it 5 days in a row with no response. So obviously at this point, I had decided not to trust the company.

Red Flag Number 5: Constant Emails

This affected not just me, but everyone I asked to try my discount code. I got about 3-4 emails a day for the next few days. These were to remind me there was something in my cart, that I had a discount code (which hadn’t even worked), that I needed to go back to the site, that I should check out their social pages, etc. This was incredibly frustrating. I felt guilty that everyone that I asked to test my code was now getting these same spammy emails.

I know you’re thinking “why not just unsubscribe?” Well, I did that eventually. But I wanted to see how long the emails would continue for. Turns out, a long time. After 4 or 5 days of getting reminded to buy something, I finally unsubscribed.

 

I hope that my experience with a horrible affiliate/brand ambassador program will help you be able to identify more of them in the future and protect your brand. To me, this program was full of red flags and I’ve seen similar ones operating with the same strategies before. Spamming people isn’t a proper way to sell and though I do honestly like Creations for a Cause’s products I can’t put my blog at risk to be an affiliate with them.

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8 thoughts on “How to Spot a Bad Affiliate Program

  1. I’ve been blogging for awhile but I still haven’t delved much into affiliate marketing. This post really helped me keep my eye out for the be ones. Thank you.

    1. I’m so happy to help! I’ve learned a lot by making a ton of mistakes haha. Feel free to ask if you ever need some advice 🙂 Thank you for your comment!

  2. I just started blogging and got an invitation through Instagram to “be an ambassador”. I am so so glad that I found your post before I even replied!! Thank you!

  3. So happy I found this blog post! I got invited on Instagram too! At first I was happy someone wants me to be an ambassador! And now you saved me and my brand! ✨💖✨ I just hope they’re really donating to charities…

  4. Hey I am an Ambassador for Creations For A Cause and took the time to read this article. This article has a few good points but I did notice many contradicting things.

    I agree that they do send a lot of emails (sometimes too much) but much of their emails are brand-oriented. I also agree that sometimes the Facebook Group has a lot of self-promotion by other Ambassadors but there are many other Ambassadors sharing their stories and talking about social causes they believe in.

    They do have a Contact Page on their website and they also include details on their Rewards Program/compensation in the FAQ Section of the page.

    Also if you watched any of their videos, you can see that their team does donate to charity and even does local giveback. Furthermore, their mission page goes over all their causes in detail, the causes they support and the giving partners they affiliate with.

    I appreciate you taking the time to do a thorough review and educating others, but I would take the time to do your full research before making false claims about a company

    1. Hello Hanna,

      I understand that you’re an affiliate for them and are trying to clear their name but I absolutely did my research before writing this. In fact, I would not have taken time out of my busy schedule to write this article if I did not think it could be useful for others. I politely disagree with you saying that what I wrote was “false claims.” I found that what they encourage their ambassadors to do to be highly suspicious compared to the practices of many good programs and brands I have had the chance to work with or will be working with very soon.

      This was written more as a general article about how to spot a bad affiliate program. I’ve come across a few but Creations for a Cause hit every single point on my list of red flags so I thought I would share with my readers why they would not be seeing that partnership from me. Especially because I had mentioned that I was looking into it in a previous post.

      I’m glad you have had a good experience with them but mine was not. I really do hope they actually give to charity and do good in the world but for me, this is not a brand I am willing to stake my reputation on.

      Thank you for your reply and I wish you well with their program!

      xoxo

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