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Blog Monetization: Lifetime vs One Time Commissions

By david / March 1, 2012

I want to share my personal experience with an affiliate program that offers lifetime commissions so that others will know about the benefits.

The difference can be significant in monetary terms over the long haul.

Of course, you do need to be careful with what you get involved in.    Each program may be a little different.

First, let’s create a little understanding:

What Is A Lifetime Affiliate Program?

Perhaps the best way to explain is by example.  In the program that I am in, every time a customer makes a purchase using the same email address that their initial purchase through my affiliate link I continue to get a commission.

My commission level on this particular program is 20%.    I will not name the program for a number of reasons.   But this example is a real one.

Every time a customer makes a purchase on the same email address I will get paid again and again.

The company I am working with happens to have a rather large email database and they are not shy about emailing their entire list every couple of months or so.

Often times, they have a really big sale.   This can result in 20% commission on larger purchases that can be well over $100.

After working with them for several years I have thousands of people in their database.

One time commission programs by contrast are the most common.   You get a single commission for a single sale and if the company continues to sell to that person, you get nothing after that.

For example, I run a one time commission program at ToothyGrinsStore.com  – that is my online eCommerce store for dental health products.

Some Thoughts On Why This Has Worked For Me

1. The product line of this company consists of a consumable, repeat purchase product item.

2. The product serves a real purpose and a real need that is tied to the everyday lives of millions of people.

3. To continue to get benefit from this product, consumers must repurchase from time to time.

4. The company I work with manufactures their own product.  There is no third party to alter their pricing structure.  This may have a lot to do with why they can afford a 20% commission on a repeat basis.  Their RELATIVE cost of acquisition is much lower than other companies who sell the same product.

5. A customer’s first purchase may be relatively small, yielding a very small commission fee.   However, their subsequent purchase may be quite large once they are familiar with the product and what it can do for them. These repeat purchases occur every few months or so.   This is NOT a  auto billing or auto shipping program (which I detest and I’m sure you do to).

These are products that people are willing to buy more of – over and over again. (Repeat purchases).  This is particularly true when they are mailed sale pricing, which occurs every few months or so.

So long as they use the same email address I originally signed them up with, I will continue to get commissions into the future.   Over time, this can add up.

It is slow going in the beginning.

Some Things That Can Go Wrong With Lifetime Commission Programs


1. The company could go out of business.   This would be disastrous for all of the work I have done over the years.  This produces an element of instability into this income stream.  However, I do not think that will happen with this particular company.

2. The company could change their program.   What if they decided tomorrow that they no longer wanted to provide lifetime commissions?  This would also be disastrous for me.   However,  the people that I have been working with there seem to be particularly honest and ethical so far.  They do not seem to be the kind of people who would do such a thing.   Their business appears to be very stable and it seems unlikely that they would NEED to do this either.

However, you cannot be sure of who will gain control in the future and they may feel no particular obligation to honor the program that was started by someone else.

This is a fear that I have. But I hope that it will never happen.

Other Companies

I am in two other affiliate programs that offer lifetime commissions.  I see now evidence that they are making good on their promise.   I do not have a way to be 100% sure, but I can tell you that I am not earning as much from them.   And again, I am not sure but it seems that I am only really getting one-time commissions from them.

Companies do change their policies over time and one of them doesn’t even seem to offer an affiliate program anymore. But it seems that I am grandfathered in somehow. (This is not the good company that I mentioned above)

Yet, I remember their original pitch letter touted the benefits of lifetime commissions and how they understood what it was like to be an affiliate and how they were trustworthy.  It SOUNDED good.

I still earn from this second companies program, but I do not see any evidence that I am getting lifetime commissions – but again I could be wrong.

The third company also shows no indication of repeat sales or lifetime commissions.  In fact, a very rarely sell their products despite sending a great deal of traffic to their site.  They also have a high return rate.

When I ‘dared’ to question their program – the affiliate manager became very angry and deleted my honest questions in their forum.    This is a bad sign if an affiliate manager does that.  Perhaps there really is something to hide?


What Old School Marketers Say


I heard a rather famous Internet marketer say in an interview that lifetime commission programs are worthless.  I’m willing to be that most of the time that is true.

However, each situation, person, and company is unique and different.  So,  I would say that you need to test everything to see if it works for you.

You cannot go on such generalized statements.  If I had listened to that ‘old time’ marketer, I may have missed a wonderful opportunity.



Lifetime commission programs are getting harder and harder to find.   In addition, out of the three or four that I have tried, I have only developed a really good situation with one of them.

You can never take someone’s word that something does or does not work, you can only try it and see for yourself.

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