Can you set up affiliate codes as an affiliate?

I’ve just been emailed with a request from an interesting perspective and thought it was worth sharing the response.

Hi there,
here’s my question.
I am a blog/site that recommends products for my readers to purchase. Everything I have read about affiliate programs is written for the “retailers website”. I wish to know if an “affiliate sales tracking thing” can be set up from my end, where I convince the sales website to pay me commission when I send them a sale.
I hope this make sense.

The short answer to the question is sadly a simple “No”.

That said however it’s worth explaining why and what else can be done.

It is of course up a to a retailer to decide whether or not they’re going to offer a retail affiliate program with a commission available for sales that are passed through. This decision is usually a question of margins and whether or not the retailer has a margin that is large enough for both the affiliate and the retailer to earn revenue that is worth the out-lay of effort in generating the traffic to their website.

This tracking takes a reasonable level of technical setup and therefore usually development cost by the retail website to allow for correct tracking right through from the in-bound traffic to the sale to be able to tell exactly where the sale came from. This is something that just can’t be set up by an affiliate from their side.

While there are more and more simple tools that can help to track affiliate sales (Google Analytics can do it in a basic form) there is still a lot of time and effort that goes into the setup and running of an affiliate system.

So, what is the best way to convince a retailer to get involved with an affiliate program?

Talk to them.

Give them a call, let them know you have traffic and you’d like to send it to them and see what they say about it and if they’re not interested in spending the time setting up affiliate traffic tracking, perhaps they’ll be interested in directly paying for the traffic?

If you’ve hit a bit of a brick wall in convincing the retailer to bring tracking online, the last option would potentially be to send through a reasonable level of traffic for free that will generate sales to prove to the retailer that they are going to receive value from your promotion.

Prior to doing this you would of course need to know that the retailer can at least track the referrer of the traffic (e.g. your website) through a statistical package like Google Analytics.

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