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The 10 Commandments of Being an Affiliate Manager

1) Thou shall not be annoying

Annoying affiliate managers make me want to either kill myself or kill them.  In all seriousness being annoying is not a virtue.  Unless I have a close relationship with you as an affiliate manager I do not want to hear from you on the phone……EVER!  If you call my phone a few times a week to touch base, I will hunt you down at a conference and make your life miserable.

2) Thou shall not push on affiliates whatever makes YOU the most money

Just because you as an affiliate manager gets a bonus if your affiliates push 100 sales a day of invisibility cloaks or some equally retarded offer doesn’t mean that your affiliates care.  Affiliates care about what makes THEM the most money, not what makes YOU the most money.

3) Thou shall know what the hell you are talking about

I don’t care if you’ve been in the affiliate game for 1 month or 6 years.  KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOUR TALKING ABOUT.  I’ve had affiliate managers who don’t know what a scrub is (they had to check with their manager).  I’ve had affiliate managers who don’t know the difference between traffic sources.  I’ve had affiliate managers who can’t tie their own shoelaces.  Figure out what you are doing and learn about your industry before you make a fool of yourself.

4) Thou shall respond to requests quickly

If I ask you for info about the top performing offers in a niche, I want that info quickly, not next year.  3 weeks ago, I asked an affiliate manager for some info about a certain offer.  3 weeks later I don’t have the info from that affiliate manager and I’m running the offer at another network.  Time is critical in this business.

5) Thou shall MAKE IT HAPPEN

Lot’s of weird situations come up in the contexts of this business.  If an affiliate needs something, even if it seems impossible, go into getting it done with the mindset of you can make it happen.  Lots of affiliate managers have the “I cant do that mindset.”  If you have the “I can make it happen mindset” you are going to be a whole lot more successful and be the affiliate manager that affiliates rant and rave about.

6) Thou shall not share my campaign info with other affiliates

Affiliate managers can be an affiliates best friend or worst enemy.  Sometimes an affiliate has to share campaign info with their affiliate manager to disclose what they are doing and make sure everything is on the up and up.  Sometimes affiliate managers use that info to help their other affiliates, which in turn makes the affiliate manager more money.  Don’t do this.  It will catch up to you.

7) Thou shall not play the payout game.

Just give the affiliate the best payout you are willing to from the start.  There are plenty of tools out there to find out what other CPA Networks are paying out on an offer (my favorite is Justin Barr’s OfferBuzz).  In addition to this, don’t you think affiliates talk?  As soon as 2 affiliates find out they run the same offer, the first question is “What do you get on that?”  If you want to keep long term business, just give the best payout from the start.

8 ) Thou shall not tell affiliates you are running offers on the side

I’ve heard from various affiliate managers at conferences the old “pssst I’m trying to push some affiliate offers on the side.  Maybe you can give me some tips?”  Uhhh…Maybe not!  As soon as I know an affiliate manager is trying to push their own offers on the side, I develop a distrust for them.  They are obviously unhappy where they are working and trying to make more money.  If your going to do it at least be quiet about it.  Once you start talking about it and asking for advice you seem desperate and desperation leads down a path of stealing your affiliates campaigns for your own gain.

9) Thou shall treat ALL affiliates equal

Affiliate managers have a retarded concept that goes like this:  If an affiliate is not doing any volume on my network, they are a low volume affiliate.  This thinking is horribly flawed.  There a 10 quadrillion affiliate networks.  Affiliates tend to sign up to a bunch of them for various reasons.  Just because an affiliate did $200 with you last month doesn’t mean they didn’t do $500,000 with another network in that same time frame.  In addition, don’t treat newbs like crap.  Todays newb can be tomorrows “thuper duper affiliate.”  If you treat them like crap now, they’ll treat YOU like crap later.

10) Thou shalt contribute a commandment of your own in the comments 🙂

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Published inAffiliate Marketing


  1. Thou shall realize taking $1 margin with traffic is better than $4 with none.

    Thou shall also blogroll add

  2. Epic commandments. 1, 4 and 7 are my favorites.

  3. It’s a shame the majority of AM’s have no clue. You’d think being in the marketing game, their employers would school them on how to best deal with affiliates…

  4. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @Travel + Make Money Online – Quick fact: Do you know that some networks extent of training their affiliate managers is dumping them on Wickedfire to read the posts? Thats it.

  5. BP BP

    I love this!

    There are a lot of managers out there that honestly don’t abide by these rules. it’s really an unspoken regiment that should be taken seriously as an AM.

    I agree with all but the #8 only due to the fact if I’m running a successful campaign, why wouldn’t i want my affiliates to know about it? it’s not as though i want TIPS from them but rather maybe PROVIDE tips for my affiliate, i don’t ever mind sharing my EPC/conversion rates or rather ‘this offer blows so don’t waste your time on it’ with my affiliate. If you don’t want to hear shit like that, cool, but I’m hear for helping.

    Great post either way, and hopefully some of the dip-shit AM’s out there can get hold of this and learn.


  6. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @BP – #8 is different depending on the circumstance. For instance some of the smaller affiliate networks (AMs) run their own offers. They are very upfront about this and it’s well known. This doesn’t bother me whatsoever because typically, the affiliate manager in those cases can help you much more then they could ever hurt you. The situations that bother me is when larger network affiliate managers who are not supposed to be running offers, are going undercover trying to get info out of you. That situation always leads to me thinking they want to steal campaign data and makes me uncomfortable.

  7. BP BP

    Agreed! – all that’s going to do is ’cause confusion and mis-trust between each other. I’ve never really heard of someone doing that, but i don’t doubt it happens. Any AM who knows whats good for them would never put themselves in that situation… for those others who are reading this.

    Also – props on 1,3 and 7 and the whole post… well put, and should again just be a bottom line for any AM who wants whats good for ’em.

  8. Thee King of CPV Thee King of CPV

    Good post now just send it to all your ams

  9. Thou shall not take :30 to respond to me on AIM.

  10. p. p.

    #9 is so true – i hate affiliate managers that look down on their affiliates and believe me there many of them who are like that , you can almost tell by the way they talk to you , while i can understand that they are handling some affiliates that drive 1000s rebill leads/day and are bringing them a nice chunk of bonus, you still can’t act like an arrogant bastard/bitch to the smaller affiliates, everyone has to start somewhere..

  11. Black Dog Black Dog

    “invisibility cloaks” – you just outed the Buddhist facebook advertising guy’s niche!

  12. I think the hardest job in the whole affiliate world is being an AM. I’ve seen all sides of this business.

    You want a knowledgable AM that knows about how to run traffic and help you be successful. How do you think anyone gets this skillset?

    You want someone that doesn’t contact you and let you know what’s going on in the affiliate space. But then get pissed when you missed the boat on a vertical that’s heating up.

    Some are obvious quick response times goes without saying. Not sharing your campaign with other people goes without saying as well.

    I’m very interested to hear what makes a great affiliate manager? I’ve pondered this at length and I think an affiliate manager that doesn’t understand what we go through makes a shitty AM. But how do you understand what we go through without running campaigns? It’s definately a catch 22 and I’m very interested to hear peoples responses on what makes a great AM.

  13. In addition I just had another thought and should be Rule #1

    Thou shall have the affiliates best interest in mind before your own.

    This is one I live by. I talk to a lot of people and most of the time it’s not about me making money. It’s about me helping them make money and be successful. If they’re successful and I care about them then I’ll make money.

    I think if you care about yourself making money as an AM it comes across wrong. The key is think of and affiliates money as your own and like you’re a successful team.

    P.S. When I clean the virus off my blog I think I’ll make a list of “10 Commandments of being an Affiliate” 🙂

  14. Being a good AM takes a lot of work – the person has to really have the desire to know everything and anything they can to help their affiliates and devote more than just 8 hours a day to it. A good AM works around the clock – and talks to people all the time, and is always looking to learn more and keep on top of the industry. I also think that a good AM has to have a sparkling personality, someone that you want to get dinner with, get drinks with and you want to work with because you enjoy working with them and you trust they have your best interest at heart.

    Good AM’s are few and far between, but this definitely sets the appropriate guidelines of what makes one. Great post!

  15. Snowball Effect Snowball Effect

    Thou shall always create a quality product that will provide the buyer benefit

  16. @Smaxor

    “Thou shall have the affiliates best interest in mind before your own.”

    As usual, I agree with you. That statement is extremely concise. It actually sums up some of the other “commandments” more easily. If the affiliate manager always keeps the affiliates best interest in mind they really don’t need to worry about being annoying or anything else. The annoying affiliate managers have nothing in mind except their own self interest and THAT’S what makes them annoying.

  17. Too bad for #3 I had the same situation so instead I just stopped working with the affiliate network and moved on to someone else!

    Oh, thou shall teach you not just learn from you…


  18. good tips, just tweeted it out. I’ve bin an AM now for 3+ years. The issue is that we need @adhuslter cousin Vinny to help enforce these commandments.

  19. cousinvinnie cousinvinnie

    Rule #1, 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

    Annoy me and ill Send Tony and Tony and Anthony After ya.

    There are too many Stupid and Clueless Affiliate Managers out there. Here is a example of what i mean, last year i was a big affiliate on a certain “Billionaire” network. My AM (who wasnt clueless) left to go travel and do another thing and i got stuck with a clueless one. So after trying to talk to this new AM and get trying to explain what the old AM was giving me i Eventually got so frustrated i stopped sending traffic to them.


  20. Hi! Thanks for the information.. I enjoy reading articles like this one. I want to gather ideas and information regarding on affiliate marketing.

  21. Great List. @smaxor “Thou shalt always have the affiliates best interest in mind” = my vote for the “AM Golden Rule”

    My #10 – “Make sure your company pays like clockwork” 🙂

  22. Thou Shall Contact me at your earlist convenience! You are MY kind of Affiliate and I would LOVE the opportunity to work with you… and show YOU, that I am YOUR kind of Affiliate Manager !!!!

  23. Thou shalt write clear and understandable Terms of Service and update them as needed.

    Affiliates don’t need to play a guessing game on this kind of stuff.

  24. thou shalt not whois spam..
    (k most people might not care, but some do)

  25. best affiliates best affiliates

    Hi! You have a nice site, very informative.
    If you don’t mind can you suggest some sites you know that have the same subject as yours?

  26. […] On a related but more lighthearted note, AdHustler has a funny but true list of 10 things affiliate managers should & should’nt do if they want to stay on their affiliate’s good side. The 10 Commandments of Being an Affiliate Manager […]

  27. Turtle Turtle

    thou shall not have their first job in the industry as an AM. Half these companies throw rooks into the job w/o ever being an account rep first, WTF!

  28. […] Over the last few weeks I’ve been talking to various network owners about what they look for in affiliate managers. There’s been a lot of talk about what an affiliate manager should and shouldn’t be able to do. There’s a few different types of affiliate managers as well. If you are an affiliate manager and you’ve come across this thread – you should also check out Adhustler’s Ten Commandmants of Being an Affiliate Manager […]

  29. Craig Mullins Craig Mullins


  30. #10 thou shalt not ask for my code so ‘the merchant can approve my proposal’, then give it to the big guns in a ‘closed group of selected affiliates’ who can instantly drive more traffic than me. Omg u fuckers. Never forgiven and certainly not forgotten.

  31. Akash Akash

    I have a question for all out there –
    How important is it to have the same commission for all affiliates?

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