I usually define “high commission” as programs that pay $100+ per sale. It’s something that – at least on the surface – makes it very easy to hit income goals for a site. You only need 10 referrals (or less) to break $1,000 a month, and getting to $10,000 is a simple 100 sales…right?
Not always. Before you sign up for a high commission affiliate program, you should make sure you know what you’re getting into.
3 Enticing Examples
To illustrate this point, let’s work through a few examples of offers that look attractive at first glance, but really are more hassle than they’re worth.
- Job placement organizations will often pay $1,000 or more if they place a candidate.
- Medical lawsuits usually payout $300-500 for a viable participant in a class action suit.
- Adult sites easily pay $300+ for new member registrations.
Breaking Down The Reality
Professional recruiting is a serious business. Companies often pay 10-20% of an employees first year salary to recruiters, which yields them commissions of more than $10,000 per candidate.
Many firms are happy to pass on a percentage of that income to affiliate partners. If you refer a candidate that they place, then you’ll get a hefty commission, either as a percentage or a flat fee. Hired.com, for instance, offers $1,500 for referrals. Incredible, right?
Not really. Think about the process that a candidate is going through before they choose a job. Even if a person signs up for a recruiter’s list, the likelihood of that recruiter placing the candidate is fairly low.
Not only do many candidates work with multiple recruiters, but the overwhelming majority of new hires come from individual recommendations and referrals, not recruiting agencies.
That makes it difficult to build an affiliate business.
Medical lawsuits are another famous example of programs that dangle enticing offers in front of affiliate’s eyes.
They promise hundreds of dollars per viable candidate, but the devil is in the details.
Firstly, finding viable candidates is not as easy as it might seem. Many times people looking for lawsuit information don’t qualify, and the people who would qualify don’t know there’s a lawsuit! Hence, it’s difficult to put 2 and 2 together, and when you do, the referred candidate still has to undergo extensive screening before he’s approved.
Even worse is that many programs will only payout in the event that the lawsuit settles or wins in court. As an affiliate, that’s a huge risk to take. Personally, I don’t want to be in the business of betting on legal cases.
Finally, there’s the idea of adult content.
A lot of unscrupulous new affiliates are more than eager to try their hand promoting a few off-color sites in exchange for the ability to make $300+ in commissions, per membership.
Considering that the “sale” is often only $20 a month or so to the end user, that seems like an unbelievable ratio. A 1500% commission, really?!?!
The reality behind the scenes is that this is an extremely competitive industry. In addition to their being a ton of very sophisticated marketers at work behind the scenes, you’re up against search engines’ bias against inappropriate content, and an industry that is notoriously “private,” meaning your users aren’t going to be sharing your content anytime soon.
The Tortoise Beats The Hare
The better alternative in my mind is to remember the parable of the tortoise and the hare.
Rather than chase these hefty, alluring sums and wear yourself out in the process, try building a site where you can make steady, smaller earnings.
These smaller increments will build up over time, and in the meantime, seeing some progress will be extremely motivating and keep you working!
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