When an email that contains an affiliate link is marked as spam, internet service providers (ISPs) investigate the URL for malicious activity and may blacklist the domain. Blacklisted URLs in a campaign negatively affect delivery for the sender and everyone who uses the same email service provider (ESP).
MailChimp has an obligation to maintain high delivery rates for our customers, so our system automatically scans for problematic links each time you send a campaign.
In this article, you'll learn about affiliate links in MailChimp.
Affiliate Marketing vs. Affiliate Links
Affiliate marketers are typically rewarded by a third party for recruiting customers. The reason we don't permit this activity is that there's no real obligation to care about subscriber satisfaction or to maintain a healthy e-commerce relationship with them. MailChimp isn't meant for this type of marketing.
Affiliate links encourage subscribers to click through to a third-party product or service, and are used by a wide variety of marketers and e-commerce businesses, often in the context of a partnerships. For example, if you're a blogger, you might link to or promote the website of one of your sponsors. These types of links are fine to use in MailChimp, as long as the URLs you link to haven't been blacklisted.
How We Treat Affiliate Links
MailChimp doesn't always stop campaigns that contain affiliate links, but we do stop campaigns that contain blacklisted URLs. If you send an email that links to a blacklisted URL, regardless of whether it's an affiliate or direct link, spam filters may block your message completely. This hurts our reputation as an ESP and negatively impacts delivery for all our users.
What You Should Do
We expect you might, at some point, inadvertently send a campaign that contains a blacklisted affiliate link, but there are some things you can do to help prevent this from happening.
Assess Your Affiliate Links
Several factors can help you determine if an affiliate link might cause issues in your campaign.
Here are some guidelines to help assess if a link is safe to use in MailChimp.
- Advertisement Links
Advertisements for another company in your campaign should appear under your branding, in your voice, and be presented as a special offer from that company to your subscribers. An unrelated advertisement from another company that appears under their branding and isn't specific to your subscribers could look like spam, and isn't okay to use in your campaign.
- Product or Service Recommendation Links
- Links to Prohibited Content
You can't send emails about, or include advertisements for, any content that's prohibited under our Acceptable Use Policy. For example, it's not okay to include links promoting "Get Rich Quick" opportunities. This type of content is prohibited because it tends to generate a high number of abuse complaints.
Research Domain Reputation
Many ISPs don't make their blacklists public, so it's hard to be absolutely sure an affiliate link isn't on a blacklist somewhere. But these resources can help you determine the reputation of a domain before you link to it in your campaign.