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Old 05-27-2001, 12:38 AM   #1
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harry's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Posts: 126
Thumbs up Resource: the Affiliate Union

Hi Folks!

I wish to introduce a non-for-profit resource for those of you who are interested in affiliate marketing:

The Affiliate Union

The Affiliate Union is a joint effort of affiliates (web publishers),
affiliate marketers, merchants and affiliate solution providers. Together,
they are working to establish a "certification standard" to reduce fraud and
deception against affiliates by some online merchants. This group, based
upon the "open standards committee" tradition of the Internet, has charged
itself with:
developing this certification standard; establishing an infrastructure for
the review, certification and decertification of merchants under that
standard; and the promotion of that standard as a "must have" before
joining an affiliate program.

Only merchants who would agree to these standards would be allowed to run
the "union badge" certifying their program.

This effort needs the participation and support of merchants -- especially
those merchants who run well-thought-out legitimate programs. After all,
much of the mud churned up by the more abusive affiliate merchants gets
splattered on their faces.

This effort needs the participation and support of affiliate directories.
They have heard many of these horror stories first hand and are more like
affiliates than merchants anyway. They will need to be the first line of
education to the affiliates on these efforts -- the ones saying,
"Don't sign up for any program that doesn't run the emblem." Or maybe they
should be saying we won't even list them if they don't.

This effort needs the participation and support of affiliate solution
providers. Every single affiliate network makes their merchants adhere to
terms of service -- some even provide template "affiliate agreements" to
their merchants. They will be an important part of bringing these standards
back to the merchants and, at the same time, they can provide the group with
insight from the collected experiences of hundreds of merchants.

And, of course, this effort needs the participation of affiliates -- lots of
affiliates. The kinds of horror stories that affiliates tell each other in
discussion groups now have a use: they give us the real world examples to
wrestle with when planning the criteria. From each horror story we can
derive a new certification criteria.

You may wish to view our final draft of September 11 2000 :


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Old 05-27-2001, 04:29 AM   #2

Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 9,506

Hi Harry,

This sounds promising in filling a niche that has yet to be occupied by BBBonline or TRUSTe as yet.

The first draft on the website, states that you've been open since April, 2000. I'm just wondering, during the past year, how much support have you received from merchants? Are any big names certified as yet, and carrying the badge on their site?

Also, when things pick up for the union, will directories of accredited and 'avoidable' merchants be presented on the site?

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Old 05-27-2001, 04:46 AM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Posts: 126

Hi Czar!

Many thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated.

In relatively short time, the Affiliate Union has attracted most if not all, affiliate directory editors, affiliate managers in addition to many super affiliates and popular merchants. We all work as a team for a fair and healthy affiliate market. And yes we have received a great support from several merchants.

As to certification, we are working on establishing an Affiliate Union certification team. We haven't started certifying merchants, yet.

At present, our group is discussing the possibility of creating a feedback forum, somewhat similar eBay's but may be more restricted. The idea is that "registered" affiliates and merchants can post their feedback, not only negative but also positive ones.

You are most welcome to view our discussion archive at:

All the best,

Harith http://www.affiliateunion.com
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Old 05-27-2001, 05:23 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: New York City: From Ground Zero to Ground of Heroes
Posts: 87

Hi Harry, because of our recent dispute with Mailbits, this topic is something I've been thinking about a lot in the past few months. We heard from a good number of affiliates who were in a similar situation, but actually, from what I heard, I was mostly thinking that were a lot of reasons why a union wouldn't work.

What you've described though, seems to deal primarily with standards and certification, and so avoids what would be the more problematic activities for an online union, like direct advocacy and mediation for its members.

I think you've come up with an interesting and exciting idea! I'll piggy-back Czar's question, and ask if you've found that affiliate programs are willing to give up that amount of control over their TOS, etc?

Congratulations for getting something like this organized into a formal presentation. I'm sure it took a lot of work! I'll read through your draft, and try to get my thoughts together in a post. http://geekvillage.com/ubb/smile.gif


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