Most affiliate programs have minimum payout limits for referring their products in order to reduce payout fees.
Some affiliate managers set their limit sensibly however others price themselves out by making their limit too high. This is a sneaky tactic that is used to vastly reduce the money paid out from their affiliate program. The result is that many publishers bring in only a few customers. If dozens of publishers do this it means a lot of sales for the company but none of the publishers get paid because they didn’t break the minimum payout threshold.
I do appreciate that some raise their minimum payout so that they only attract top affiliates but I am sure they lose out on a lot of sales because webmasters who own smaller websites won’t promote their products.
Others are a little more blatant about it. For example, programs which pay a few cents for an email sign up but have a $50 or $100 minimum payout. These programs help add thousands of people to newsletter lists but the owner needs to pay very little out because such a high percentage of affiliates don’t make the minimum payout.
Stupidly Priced Minimum Payout
I came across a premium photo theme for WordPress today so I made a note of it in order to review it over the next few weeks on WP Mods. I then noticed they had an affiliate program so visited their information page and noticed that they paid out $20 for every sale of their product (which costs $79). 25% isn’t amazing for a theme referral as many competitors pay out 50% but it is by no means terrible either.
However I quickly noticed that the minimum payout is $100. I will probably still post about the theme as I want to write about designs and plugins which visitors of WP Mods haven’t come across. Though I must admit that from an affiliate point of view it is very discouraging. It means that you won’t get a penny unless you refer 5 customers.
If you only referred 4 customers then you would never get paid. That means you would have generated $316 worth of sales for them but you would never get a penny back in return. As I said before, I’m not too bothered about the affiliate program for this product as I am writing the article for readers rather than to push a sale (but I usually include an affiliate link if there is one). Though I would not promote the site in any shape or form otherwise as I stay clear of affiliate programs with high minimum payouts.
It’s easy to miss the minimum payout when you sign up to an affiliate program though it’s something you must do. Make sure your website has the traffic to generate a lot of sales if it does have a high payout threshold. If it doesn’t it’s maybe worth looking at another program. If not, you could be one of the millions of affiliates with commissions sitting in their account they will never get their hands on.