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Dealing with Retroactive Terms and Conditions

Justice Every once in awhile, your affiliate program will change its terms and conditions. This is just the nature of the business, and actually nothing you can prevent from happening.
That being said, some companies have a good grasp on reality, so they either introduce changes in several stages or decide to affect only new affiliates.
Other companies, however, have a different policy, so they tend to introduce changes overnight with no warning. Remember Ladbrokes, and their recent changes?
There are 4 main stages of dealing with change. These principles can be applied to the affiliate world as well.
1. Prepare
If you want to prepare for any kind of changes, the absolute bare minimum you have to do is take care of your affiliate links. Publishing them normally is a very bad idea. If you don’t cloak your links, it will be next to impossible to replace them, especially if you’re using them in multiple places, or maybe even in your ad campaigns.
For WordPress-based affiliate sites use a plugin called Pretty Link. It will take care of cloaking your links and make it possible to change their destination with just a couple of clicks.
2. Decide
Whenever an affiliate program changes the game you have to decide if the changes are something you can deal with.
Remember that a great majority of affiliate programs understand the nature of the business, so the changes they introduce have the goal of improving everyone’s profits, even if they don’t seem like it at first.
Simply start by doing some basic calculation and decide what the changes really mean to you. Will they kill your business? Will they make things just a little harder? Or just a little less profitable?
If the program is no longer worth dealing with then leave.
3. Adapt
If you’ve decided to stay, there are probably some things that need to be changed on your side.
In case of Ladbrokes, for example, the whole affiliate link structure changed. Affiliates who were using Pretty Link just had to make the change in one place and it became site-wide.
Other examples of adapting are: changing banners, ad campaigns, social media campaigns, and so on.
Depending on the scope of the changes, some affiliate programs can also restrict you from using certain methods of promotion that were completely fine just a couple of days earlier.
4. Improve and Move On
Let’s take a look at Ladbrokes one more time. Among the things that changed was the commission structure. Level 5 affiliates now make 15% commissions, while Level 1 affiliates get 35%.
In a nutshell: Change isn’t meant for you to grief over it and stay in the 15% range. It’s meant to get you to the 35% if you’re willing to play the game just a little harder. Don’t waste your time on complaining.
Sudden terms and conditions changes are not something we can stop from happening. We can only prepare, decide, adapt, and then move on.
Are you a Ladbrokes affiliate? What was your initial reaction?