By Adam Yamada-Hanff
Yesterday I got an email that informed me that the Name.com Affiliate Program was shutting down at the end of the month. Here is what the email said;
Dear Name.com Affiliate,
After careful consideration, Name.com has decided to suspend the Affiliate Program. We have a busy roadmap for the year ahead as we keep up with customer requests and unveil new products. We will revisit the Affiliate Program at a later date. We genuinely appreciate your participation, and thank you for helping to promote Name.com.
- We will continue to record referrals and issue commissions through April 30, 2014. We will cease to record commissions on May 1, 2014.
- Payments will be made as scheduled to eligible affiliates. Please note that to receive payment we need a W-9 form on file.
- aff.name.com will be shut down on April 30, 2014.
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sincerely, The Name.com Team
I thought this was a bit weird since I've never seen any company shutdown a large affiliate program on fairly short notice. (Especially a company who's products are digitally based.) The email went out on April 23rd which is only a 9-day window. This means a Name.com affiliate could easily miss the news. Since I wasn't sure about this and I wanted to confirm this was actually happening I emailed Caroline Temple, Name.com's affiliate program manager, but… the email bounced shortly after sending it. I realized that was not a good sign and probably the Name.com affiliate program was in fact closing for good. I then wrote to Steve Donatelli who is part of the Name.com customer support team. This is the email I wrote by the way;
I got this email yesterday afternoon that Name.com was shutting down the affiliate program. Looks legit but just wanted to double check with you to confirm.
If you could provide me with any reasons why Name.com has decided to do this, that would be helpful.
I then called Name.com and waited a few minutes to get connected to a support representative. I explained that I got this email that the Name.com affiliate program was shutting down and I just wanted to confirm this was accurate information. I was told that the affiliate program was in fact being suspended but the Name.com support team wasn't really given any other information outside of that by managers. I was told they could possibly be revisiting an affiliate scheme in the future. I was also told they had been receiving a lot of inquiries from affiliates about the Name.com affiliate program shutdown today, which was not surprising.
A few hours later I got a reply from Steve Donatelli;
Thank you for your email. Sorry for the delay in responding. I don't often check my personal inbox queue. Unfortunately, we are currently in the process of sunsetting our Affiliate program at the end of the month. At this time, they haven't provided us with any information as to how the powers that be came to this decision. I am terribly sorry for the inconvenience. If you have anymore questions, please do not hesitate to shoot me an email and I will be happy assist wherever I can!
This news kind of sucks for me since I have utilized the Name.com affiliate program on my Name.com Review. While I won't be retiring in the Caribbean on my Name.com affiliate earnings it was a nice steady stream of money here and there. For a small time blogger like myself these affiliate payouts can really add up across the board.
I imagine the affiliates who will be most annoyed and affected by the sudden shutdown of the Name.com affiliate program will people who build and run domain name generators. You know someone like Mohit Aggrawal who created NameMesh and other domain generator operators and domain finding tools. Affiliate links to domain registrars is how these sites make money.
What's odd to me is that the Name.com affiliate dashboard was updated last month to a much cleaner look. It was also a lot less confusing than the older dashboard user interface they had. I was happy with the changed and updated design.
I assume Rightside, Name.com's parent company, wants to put as much money as they can into marketing New gTLDs (generic top level domains) and releasing them over the next few months. At least I am pretty sure “unveil new products.” probably means New gTLDs. They'll want to offer new gTLDs at below registry pricing to encourage people to buy and Name.com has been heavily promoting these new domain extensions. Paying out affiliate commissions is probably something upper level management deemed a waste of money. Why pay people who link to us and send us business? 🙂
It will be interesting to see if the Name.com affiliate program shutdown will be permanent or if they will bring it back eventually. Since I like and recommend them as a domain registrar I hope they do. I'd imagine in the long run Name.com will lose business as affiliates and websites will stop linking which in turn makes Name.com lose traffic and business.
If you are someone who will be negatively impacted by the Name.com affiliate program shutdown please share your thoughts below. Did you earn a lot through the Name.com affiliate program? What will you do make-up the lost affiliate revenue? What if you didn't earn a lot of money? Will you just recommend another domain name registrar now?