In an age where the average Joe can follow celebrities on Twitter and famous reporters have their email addresses listed at the bottom of their stories, accessibility seems to be the zeitgeist. So why does it seem so hard to reach some companies in the affiliate marketing community?
I realize nobody likes to be spammed, and companies worry that putting their email addresses on the Web opens them up to bots trolling the Internet eager to snap up such low-hanging fruit. But what message are they sending to potential business partners or customers by not providing contact information on their websites? And if bots are the only thing they worry about, why don’t they at least provide phone numbers?
Recently we’ve been reaching out to affiliate networks to discuss partnership opportunities. We’re amazed at how many of these companies provide no contact information whatsoever on their sites. Even crazier, of the sites that do, many have contact information that is wrong.
These are the same networks that show up at trade shows, spend thousands on a booth and shove business cards at you when you walk by. I don’t understand the double standard, but they seem to be saying, “Unless you meet us at a trade show, we don’t want to talk to you (but hey, you should fill out this online form and join our affiliate network!).”
I could understand not wanting to be contacted if I was A) engaged in shady business practices, B) pretending to be someone I’m not, or C) paranoid about everyone stealing my ideas. Some might say all of the above applies to affiliate marketing. Maybe for some, but not for the whole. I think most affiliate marketers are trying to run real businesses. And part of running a real business is making it as easy as possible for potential customers, partners, and yes, even potential vendors, to contact the right people at that business.