How to overcome bad debt in your affiliate business

Affiliate relationships are built on trust and reputation. Trust and authenticity is often a measure affiliates use to be able to promote a brand in the first place. Sometimes, this relationship can go wrong and affiliates don’t get paid. We look at the options for reclaiming debt to understand how to  overcome these problems when your affiliate services remain unpaid.

Get in touch

First and foremost, it’s time to get in touch with your account manager with the operator. At this point, small issues may come to light, like outdated payment details, these can be resolved fairly quickly. Try to give the operator the benefit of the doubt at this point, as it can very easily be a small mistake that’s quick to fix. 

Take things further

At this point, perhaps your account manager isn’t getting back to you and you’re still waiting for you money. Think about who the next person is up the chain of command and get in touch with them directly. Most operators care about their reputation and will get back to you as soon as possible if a problem occurs. At this point, you may find out that there has been a change to the programme or they’ve cut off this advertising method entirely. This is becoming more and more prevalent, as operators don’t want to take a chance on affiliates that could land them in trouble. Reasonably, you should expect communication to this effect, but you may have missed this within your inbox somewhere. 

Resolving issues professionally 

Now, hopefully the operator is getting back to you to arrange the payment as a result of an honest mistake, however there may be issues to clear up first. Verifying the players and investigating exploits could be a hold up within your payment. This could be because you’ve had a lot more depositors in one month or a sudden uptick of traffic that needs further investigation. 

At this point, an operator may refuse to pay your commission if they feel like you’ve manipulated or abused the programme in any way. This can cause big problems for affiliates, as they don’t have a way to prove that the traffic is authentic. You’ll find that the terms and conditions of an affiliate programme can work against you here, as they can terminate the agreement at will. The key thing is to always remain professional. This is not about the person you speak to it’s about the rules under which you are working together to find common ground and an appropriate solution. Remain calm and professional at all times and document your communications in case you need to take your case further. It’s better to be prepared and organised than flailing and angry.

You can appeal to the operator and ask them to revaluate the case, but there’s no guarantee that they will decide to pay out unless you have water tight terms in place for all situations to be covered.

Talking to others

If you feel like an affiliate programme is unfair, then you probably won’t be the only one. It’s time to reach out to other affiliates that you know through networking or events, to find out if they know of the affiliate programme. They can give you helpful tips on who to speak to or whether there’s any hope of getting your lost commission. 

There are some review and forum sites for affiliates, where you can pre-emptively find out about these programmes. Ask Gamblers and GPWA have a section for affiliates to air their grievances against a programme, which you can use to add your opinion to. This may result in the affiliate operator reaching out to you for a quicker resolution, or it might just help to warn others. Again be professional. State the facts don’t get into a slagging match on public forums as it won’t help your case later down the line should it need to progress to professional methods of reclaim.

Decide to pursue further or cut your losses

If you’ve gone through the fact finding process to figure out why you’ve not been paid, but aren’t happy with the result, then it’s time to decide whether to pursue or cut your losses. If you can prove that the non-payment goes against their terms, then it may be worthwhile to get a third party involved to get your money. However, this represents an expense and it’s highly probable that there’s fine print in the terms that makes this difficult for affiliates to recoup. A standard debt collection agency may be able to assist you to reclaim funds but try and mitigate with operators first to avoid additional expenses where possible.

If this is the case, then you may be better cutting your losses and choosing not to work with this programme in the future. A word to wise affiliate managers out there, it only takes one late or missed payment to alienate a large pool of affiliates. Make sure you pay on time and communicate any issues as quickly as possible. This will keep your affiliates happy and your reputation intact. 

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