In the last week, I’ve had a series of unrelated discussions that all seem to go back to the topic of an affiliate program’s TOS, or Terms of Service. These interactions have hammered home the importance of actually reading and understanding these documents and not just clicking the box at the bottom of the wall of text. One series of discussions was with an affiliate program in the making, and wanted my input on their TOS. The other was in relation to a very well established affiliate program that I had recently joined.
TL;DR version – read your TOS, and even if you get the OK from a program to go against the TOS, don’t. You’ll be screwed.
We all are aware of the selective enforcement of these documents at times (as the case with WordPress’s freehosted blog service and their view on adult materials). While a program may be “unofficially” allowing a TOS to be broken by not enforcing it, there usually does come a point where that document is enforced, resulting in anything from a minor annoyance to the full fledged shutting down of your web site. This was the issue I was faced when joining this already established program, taken to another level.