By John Lynch
Wednesday, October 27, 2004; 2:00pm EST
When joining affiliate programs there are many decisions you have to make. Unfortunately, few people query what kind of tracking software the program uses. To overlook this can prove costly, and means you may never be credited with 5% - 10% of your affiliate sales.
A good affiliate program will use quality affiliate tracking software that is reliable and tracks all of your sales. You must make sure that they not only track online sales, but also sales by phone, fax and mail order. Many companies only track online, and this means you will lose between 5% - 10% of your sales.
Also, make sure that the affiliate program uses 'cookie tracking' software to ensure that you will be credited for sales from people who don't buy the first time they visit your website, but come back and buy at a later date.
For those of you who don't know what a 'cookie' is. A cookie is a small piece of information that a web site puts on your hard drive so that it will remember you when you return later. This is how cookies can be used to track visitors to a web site. In this way the affiliate program will be able to track all the sales from your site, even though the visitor did not buy on the first visit to the web site.
Many affiliate programs use software that only tracks about 80% of your sales. It has to be said that many of the popular affiliate companies are guilty of this. So beware big names! Some companies use tracking software that only pays if the customer visits your link and buys straight away. If the visitor returns to your site an hour later... a day later... week later... and buys, you will not be credited for the sale. Good 'cookie tracking' software ensures that this never happens.
So, before you join any affiliate scheme make sure to ask about the kind of tracking software they use. It could save you a small fortune in the long term.
? 2003 by John Lynch. For information on reputable affiliate programs that convert to sales go to: http://www. merchant-account-service. com/affiliate_programs. html