Every now and again, I get asked about setting up an affiliate system. Usually this makes sense on paper, after all, the people who ask me for this genuinely like our services and want to spread the word. This makes it especially difficult to explain that we don’t offer this, and in fact, that we have no plans to offer this at any time in the future either. To set the record straight, I’m writing this blog post to let you know why I/O Flood has made this unusual business decision.
The first and most obvious reason that we don’t have an affiliate program is because of cost. Given the choice between lowering our prices 10% and offering a 10% affiliate commission, we feel that lowering our prices is by far the more customer friendly decision. In addition to the obvious cost of paying someone to refer a legitimate new customer to us, there is the less obvious costs of affiliate fraud in the form of cookie stuffing, typosquatting, and other means of taking credit for customers that were not true referrals. Beyond that, there is the cost of managing the affiliate program, which would take time and money away from improving our products and providing customer service.
Although cost alone is a major reason we don’t offer an affiliate program, there is also the very important consideration of integrity. Quite simply, if we have to pay our customers to recommend us to their friends, then we probably don’t deserve a recommendation in the first place. We strive to give such great service that our customers feel compelled to recommend us to their friends and business associates, just because they can’t help but tell other people how happy they are to be hosting with us. If we fall short of that target, then we clearly have more work to get done.
In short, we don’t offer an affiliate program because it keeps costs down and keeps quality up. We certainly could get a few extra sales if we simply increased prices and started offering generous affiliate commissions, and to avoid this common business practice is a bit unusual for a hosting provider. For I/O FLOOD, however, the decision makes perfect sense because it is consistent with our mission to help entrepreneurs start and grow their small businesses. Because doing that requires offering our customers a great value for money, we quite simply can’t be true to our mission and offer affiliate commissions at the same time. I hope that you can understand our decision to avoid an affiliate program rather than compromise our integrity.