Yesterday I wrote about how I, as an affiliate, went about this whole NY internet tax in the wrong way. Today I am addressing how some merchants and OPM’s got it wrong. This also may not be a popular opinion but I feel the need to say it. I think it is important to look back at how we all handled this so that we can learn and move forward.
I respect the right of a business or corporation to make their own business decisions. Each has to decide what is right for their business. If a merchant, for whatever reasons decided that rather than collect the tax as the NYS law required, they would terminate NY affiliates, that was their choice. My opinion that they made a wrong decision doesn’t really matter. That they made, in my opinion, a huge mistake in public relations does not really matter. It does not matter what I feel about the actual decision. What matters is the way in which it was handled. They needed to do things in a professional manner. This is where some got it wrong.
A professional approach involves treating affiliates with respect. You do not show respect by waiting until May 30 to make an announcement. After the decision is made, it does not matter that you were “working behind the scenes” or “pulling for us”. We deserved to know that we were at risk. OPM’s and AM’s should have let us know they were working on things rather than being silent. We understand that you might not have known what the final decision would be but if there was so much uncertainty we should have been made aware. I think we deserved that much.
As affiliates we want more than a bonus every so often. We want to be acknowledged that we are business owners. We are not doing affiliate marketing as a hobby, this is our business, our income. We may not all be super affiliates, we don’t all have staff of 4, 5 or even more employees. We do not outsource all of our work. In many cases we are a 1 person business. It wasn’t a simple inconvenience to be terminated. It was a loss of income. What would follow was hours of finding and replacing links. It meant searching out new merchants. All of this takes time. It is not an inconvenience, it means drastic changes in our sites and in our income.
We are all moving on, finding new merchants, new products. You may at some point invite us back. I can’t say what any of us will decide but I do know this – It will be a business decision. I will look at history and decide what is in my best interest. The respect and loyalty I may have felt has been destroyed and now it is just business. Respect and loyalty must be mutual.
Don’t think I am only writing the negative, my next post(s) will be about the affiliates, merchants and AM’s/OPM’s that got it right.