In my past life as an Affiliate Manager, the first time I thought about URL’s in affiliate promotional material was when a very influential affiliate came to me and said;
I will not promote your site because all of your promotional material includes your URL on it.
I was quite properly shocked.
I hadn’t even considered that an issue (this was a good few years ago now) when we were in development of the promotional material for affiliates.
After talking with the affiliate for some time, it came down to choice in the market.
This affiliate had the option of promoting many different affiliate programs, they were all pushing for his attention and prominent spots on his homepage. When this situation occurs (an affiliate dream scenario) then it’s all of the small things which a program can offer the affiliate which make the difference on their decision to pick a particular product or program to go with.
In this case it was the fact that the affiliate was not interested in the program promoting the main site URL through his affiliate banners as that would mean a percentage of viewers (even if it was small) would not click the advertising but would instead type the domain name directly into their browser. They may even remember the URL from the affiliates advertising and later on type it in.
If the URL had not been there they would have been a lot more likely to either click the banner to get to the site or to come back to the affiliates site to find the resource again.
This may be a very small percentage of people but when you’re talking about super-affiliates with millions of page views per day across their sites then the percentages all start to add up and there’s just no reason for them to promote a banner with a URL on it as opposed to one without.
I was thinking about this recently as I was contacted directly by an affiliate manager about a site, I agreed to post their banner on the homepage of the site as a trial run however on getting into their banner farm there was no banner which didn’t have the URL splashed across it. Needless to say I didn’t put them on my homepage and have since requested a banner without the URL.
Something to think about it you’re an affiliate looking to promote a program or an affiliate manager working with your creative team to come up with advertising options.