Having a read through some of the terms and conditions on NZ affiliate sites (e.g. the NZ Duty Free affiliate program) is like walking into a brick wall of legal jargon saying what needs to be said in approximately three times as long as required.
I’m all for careful contract construction but I also have a very strong belief that plain English in 99% of situations will cover the company (yes, I do know currently practicing lawyers who agree with this). Often in this situation you have a company who is pitching to webmasters who don’t really want to read through pages and pages of legal jargon just to find out what the % rev share is for the program. It took me five minutes of looking through this contract just to find out what the program is offering. How does that sell the affiliate program to the prospective affiliate?
There appears to be (especially in New Zealand) an initial impression from the e-commerce site that the affiliate is going to try to do anything they can to defraud the company. Therefore the company is attempting to protect itself at the expense of facilitating a quick setup of the relationship.
Most of the power in an affiliate relationship is held by the e-commerce site owner as they hold and faciliate the payments therefore the affiliate program needs to do everything it can to help establish the affiliates’ belief that their marketing for the company will be fairly rewarded.