I receive a few advertising offers on my websites every month and most simply want to buy a banner/link for whatever reason - traffic, sales, branding, seo, etc. Honestly I don't care about their intention as long as it doesn't ruin my user experience.
The worst offers are people trying to get me to signup for their affiliate program.
Here is an example:
I am Harish from Allo.com; we develop cost-effective next generation high quality VOIP products, such as Digital Telephony Cards, PBX Systems, Next Generation IP Phones and Analog Telephone Adapters…
We are interested in advertising our products on [my site redacted].
Please let me know who I should talk to.
What's wrong with this offer?
This looks like a normal advertising request to buy a banner/link. It's not. How do I know it's an affiliate offer?
Here's the response when I quoted a price for advertising on my site:
We have an affiliate program where we pay 25% commission off each sale you generate.
Your visitors are directly interested in our products.
If you place some links on your site, you will generate sales.
Please let me know what you think,
Oh, so you ignore the content of my email and just try and get me to join your affiliate program.
This company has spammed me in the past and we had nearly identical conversations where I offered an advertising price and they tried to get me to join their affiliate program. I've received multiple emails and they aren't even addressed to my name.
Their website doesn't sell products
Visiting their website contains lists of products and ways to contact them (email) but you cannot even buy online from the look of it. So any customer I send will likely lose any tracking once it goes to email, thus I am screwed out of my commission.
Good affiliate programs are about managing relationships with people who bring in customers. Bad affiliate programs are ones that pawn off their marketing risk on unsuspecting victims.
Any company that can identify relevant sites but refuse to spend money advertising themselves has no faith in their product. Why wouldn't I pay a flat fee if I thought it would earn my company more in sales than the flat fee? It just wouldn't be prudent to overspend. However, it's their risk aversion which concerns me, especially as an affiliate, who lacks control over conversions on their website; let alone trusting I would get credit for any sales anyways.
As a website owner, don't try and bait-switch me, don't treat me like a moron and pay upfront if you're approaching me. I can find plenty of reputable affiliate programs managed by third parties I trust on LinkShare, CJ, etc. I also know my links is worth more than just the sales directly referred, you're getting a link (often) from an established site that will help your seo rankings, driving more customers 'organically' to you. If you really think we both will benefit from your affiliate program - offer a minimum regardless of performance. By running your ad, I am losing money from the ads I didn't run instead of yours. You also win either way (free links and traffic with no costs). A situation where you always win and I might win on occasion, isn't a good deal in my book.