That simply means that the first affiliate to get a click on his link will embed the cookie to the potential customer’s computer, and get commissions for an eventual sale. If the same person later clicks on your affiliate link and signs up, you get nothing because you were not the first affiliate.
I hate this concept, and here’s why:
- It encourages and rewards non-personal mass marketers (and spammers)
- It’s totally unfair to the guy who put in serious effort to “get the sale”
Imagine if you’re a real estate agent for a while. You find the potential buyer, show him around the house, convince him that it’s the dream home he’s been looking for. He decides to buy it – though your efforts – but the actual commission goes to the guy who put in a spam flyer about that house into the buyer’s mailbox.
The argument is simple: The guy who “closed” the sale should get the reward. Not the guys who blasted his affiliate link to every corner of the Internet.
Even if you write a great review about the product (Aweber for example), continuously recommend it on your site etc, you’re not getting all the commissions that you should. Some of your visitors clicked on an Aweber affiliate link somewhere else before out of curiosity, but they were not interested. It was you who showed them why they should get an Aweber account, you sold it to them.
For example: On my Aweber review page I offer a bonus to whoever signs up from my affiliate link on that site. Almost 40% of the people who email me to claim the bonus swear that they clicked on my link and signed up – yet it doesn’t show in my affiliate earnings.
I have to ask them to contact Aweber and manually adjust the commission back to me, which most are willing to do. Without this sort of manual intervention, 40% of sales from that page, based on my effort and content, goes to someone else. Someone who “got the click first” but never actually “sold” the product.
The lesson: Check if the product you’re promoting works on a first-cookie or “last-cookie” basis. If it works on a first-cookie-gets-the-sale basis, you need to offer a bonus so that people who bought from your affiliate link will get back to you, and you can manually reverse the commissions into your account. It’s a little bit more effort, but it pays.