Should a Merchant Require Affiliates to Buy a Product to Promote it?

I heard someone recently state that they would “steer clear of any merchant that required someone to buy before becoming an affiliate” and I took issue with the sentiment. One one hand, affiliate marketing has been promoted as one of those businesses you can get into without spending money, but the reality is that most of the people who are successful at selling a product or service have used the product or service and can speak intelligently about it.

In my early days, I used to wonder if all of the folks who wrote product reviews actually tried to products. I wanted to have integrity, so I typically promoted the stuff I had used or reviewed. I recall one of the few times I wrote a product review for a product I had not purchased and I was blessed to have someone send me an email saying “if you care about your reputation, you need to not promote this… it’s crap.

Some may ask “wouldn’t that get expensive to buy all of the products and services you want to promote?”Well, if you had to buy them all, then I guess it could. But if the products were good and you were promoting them, you would always get your money back, and then some. Also, successful affiliates work in a niche market, so it’s not like they are going out and buying every product under the sun, just those that serve their niche market, so if you have to pay for a few products, it should not be a big deal.

In the end, there are plenty of product that you can promote without having to purchase. I just don’t want people thrown for a loop or listening to bad advice about whether or not a merchant should only allow their customers to sell their products as affiliates. The merchants know that only those who are professionals or those who truly have a passion and understanding of their products will sell them anyway.



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