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CPAEmpire Affiliate Program - Sign up review

A Review of CPAEMPIRE.COM

I met Tyler Hoelting, Affiliate Manager for CPAEmpire.com, at AffiliateSummit in January 2006. He was very persistent about helping me get started with CPAEmpire, which was rather nice, I thought. (Note - not annoyance, just persistence.)

So, I went to the CPAEmpire web site.

They make it pretty obvious for how to get started. Click on "Affiliates" and then the little red button at the bottom of the page saying "Join Now."

One thing that is a bit different in the sign up process is that they ask you "Will you be you be marketing via Email?"

If you answer Yes, they ask you to tell them the Name that Emails will be sent from, and the IP addresses that Emails will be sent from. This could be complex for some marketers using third party services (like Aweber, IsoResponder, etc.) to do email marketing. However,

it is presumably there to try to slow spammers and to limit CPAEmpire.com's liability, which are both good things.

I don't plan on using CPAEmpire for email advertising, so I checked no.

They have the typical Payment Threshold amounts, and they ask for your Soc Sec. #, which is standard, except that they ask for it on a non-secured page, which is always bothersome to me, even though I know how exposed my Social Security number is.

They have you categorize your site, and I always have a hard time categorizing myself, because my sites fall into so many different categories, but that's probably less of a problem for most affiliates, and you'll likely have an easy time knowing what categories your affiliate site falls into.

Then we come to the terms and conditions box.

Note to affiliates worldwide... It's a good idea to ACTUALLY READ the terms and conditions, instead of just agreeing to them.

From CPAEmpire's terms and conditions, you learn some interesting things:

First of all, their terms are written in English, which is good, because lots of terms and conditions are written in LEGAL-EZE, which makes them impossible to understand.
Their terms and conditions tell you that they also go by the name "OptinRealBig" in addition to CPAEmpire.

If you were so inclined, you could Google "OptinRealBig" to see what the Net says about this particular company. Of course, you always want to take other people's opinions as just that... other people's opinions. Don't take it as fact if another affiliate says that they had a really great experience, or a really negative experience, with a particular company. Take it as just what it is - opinion.
Here are some interesting things I learned from the terms and conditions. (These are all pretty standard things, but they are things that you should know, before you do (or don't do) them, and then end up not being paid.) Remember, when you agree to the terms and conditions of ANY affiliate program, you are agreeing to abide by them, 100%

You can not place CPAEmpire Ads into your framed environment, unless approved by Optin in writing.
Your website and/or newsletter cannot be 'point, lottery, or rewards' based, encouraging users to click on our Advertisers' banners or use our Advertisers to generate revenue for users to win points, get rewards, or other incentives unless expressly approved in writing from Optin.
Spawning process pop-ups and exit pop-ups are prohibited.
Your site cannot contain any adult content nor link from, or to, any adult materials.
You cannot post any specific messages to newsgroups, chat rooms, bulletin boards or any other places unless expressly approved in writing from Optin. You can post messages which are generic in nature and do not mention any specific client or offer, which are expressly approved in writing from Optin.
It is the OBLIGATION of the Affiliate to prove to Optin that they are NOT committing fraud. Optin will hold your payment in 'Pending Status' until you have satisfactorily provided evidence that you are not defrauding the system.
Delinquent Advertiser payments received by Optin will be credited to the Affiliate in the month that they are received. Optin does not guarantee payment to the Affiliate if the Advertiser does not pay Optin.
Affiliate will only run approved banners and text in their advertising of our programs and will NOT create their own banners or advertising text, unless expressly approved in writing from Optin. Violation of this forfeits your commissions.
Optin reserves the right to terminate any Affiliate's contract for any reason whatsoever.
This is ALWAYS a scary clause for any affiliate (at least it should be). It means, you can be kicked out for no reason at all. It doesn't make this a bad affiliate program or anything, but it is something that you MUST be aware of.
Affiliate irrevocably covenants, promises and agrees to indemnify Optin and to hold Optin harmless from and against any and all losses, claims, expenses, suits, damages, costs, demands or liabilities, arising from any and all claims and lawsuits for copyright, slander, libel, and trademark violation as well as all other claims resulting from member's web pages. Affiliate will further defend, indemnify and hold Optin harmless from and against any and all actual or threatened claims, damages, liabilities, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys' fees) arising from or relating to Affiliate's performance or non-performance of its obligations hereunder.
This is ALSO a scary clause for any affiliate, especially when combined with the above condition. It means, you agree to forfeit your right to any lawsuit, no matter what happens. Is this legal? Difficult to say.
Optin reserves the right to change any conditions of this contract at any time. Change notices are sent to Affiliates by email, and Affiliates are responsible for complying with any changes to the contract within ten (10) calendar days from the date of change.
Your traffic must come from relevant countries to the campaigns. We monitor IP source and will remove credit for non-country relevant traffic. This means English related campaigns must be delivered to English speaking countries. USA based campaigns must be delivered to USA based citizens, and so forth. (i.e Clicks coming from South America for USA based campaigns may not result in credit).
This is really the only condition that I take issue with. I definitely don't agree with it. There are many English-speaking people around the world, but CPAEmpire reserve the right to not pay you, if your traffic is coming from outside a country where English is the predominant language. It's a little sketchy. It might make me think twice, if I was really targeting an international market.
All e-mails shall contain or include valid and responsive contact information of the sender, list manager or list owner; This includes your physical address and optionally your phone number. LEGALLY, A PHYSICAL MAILING ADDRESS CANNOT BE A POST OFFICE BOX.
FROM LINE in e-mail must be from your LIST NAME
You then agree to the terms and conditions.

Once signed up, you have to wait for approval, which always bothers me a bit, because I may want to get started promoting RIGHT NOW. However, in spite of my impatience, I think that for many businesses, it really does make sense to review ALL affiliates before signing them up, so I can definitely wait.

More comments on my experience with CPAEmpire.com soon.

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