Nuance Affiliate Program - A Lesson How NOT to Treat Affiliates

Last Update: May 14, 2020

There is a right way to run an affiliate program, and a wrong way. Unfortunately, affiliate programs and merchants are Nuance Affiliate Programreally starting to suffer as a result of not address one of the most immediate and relevant marketing concerns (or so they should be) with their online reach.

One example of this is the Nuance Affiliate Program and I will explain my recent experience that I had dealing with this specific program.

So here's my story...

I use dictation, and I have been using it very actively since August (as a result of breaking my hand in a baseball accident). You can read all about the story here.

BLOG POST: I'm broken.

I have firsthand (not pun intended) gotten to see the benefits of dictation in terms of typing speed. I type at a pretty decent pace, typically 80-100 words per minute. So fairly quick. But using dictation allowed me to take things to the next level, sometimes achieving double that.

So, naturally the topic of "dictation" is something that I am going to be writing about and leveraging within my own personal affiliate marketing campaigns. It is also something that I have been and will continue to recommend here within WA.

When deciding how I was going to go about "blogging" about such a program, I sought out affiliate programs in the dictation software space.

Being one of the most popular, established and useful tools for dictation, Dragon Naturally Speaking was one of the first choices. Although I am currently using Mac Enhanced Dictation (free with my Mac), and it is very good, it doesn't learn my speech, my accent and I cannot add words that I say frequently (that are not part of the dictionary, like Jaaxy).

So I am on the hunt for an alternative, I have been recommended Dragon by a few fellow dictators, so this was the natural direction I was going to head with my advocacy.

And Then Their Affiliate Experience Fell Apart.

So, I sought out affiliate programs in this space, one of the first being that of Dragon. Dragon Naturally Speaking is operated by a company called Nuance, and sure enough they have an affiliate program that is operated by CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction).

I applied through their website, and it took me to CJ (which I already have an account with).

As an added benefit, as a Nuance affiliate call me you get to promote other products and services under their company umbrella. This is always nice, when you can be introduced to new potential markets and products you can promote as an affiliate.

After applying, it was indicated there was an application process. This is typically an in house review team, but in some cases these are operated by a third party that try to decide whether you will be a viable affiliate (representative) of their products/services.

Unfortunately, this where I hit a wall. If you have been around the affiliate marketing space for any amount of time, you likely have been met unfairly with an ambiguous "disapproval" letter.

Nuance Affiliate Application Denied

A little discouraging that a company would send such a generic letter to a potential affiliate. Strike one, Strike two and almost strike three in my opinion.

I decided not to accept this generic response though... allows you to correspond with affiliate programs through their messaging platform, so I reached out and left them a quick message. I am yet to get a response after over a week, so I have moved on.

If they do get back and change their mind, perhaps I will change my overall perception and recommend the Nuance affiliate program and promote their products such as Dragon Speak as an Affiliate.

One denied application can have a profound impact on a merchant (also known as an Advertiser in the affiliate marketing space). And this leads me to.

Companies That Feel Affiliates Owe Them, Will Eventually Fail.

As a result of this, I certainly do not recommend the Nuance affiliate program to others, nor will I have incentive to promote their products or services.

If a program like this cannot give an affiliate the time of day, or the very least open up discussion with someone with a potential reach of a million+ people, then It is my suspicion that they don't have adequate resources in place to deal with affiliates or they simply don't care.

This is unfortunate, because companies are now getting trampled within the online world. Companies that are investing in their affiliate programs and taking pride in the fact that they are working with affiliates, putting affiliates on a pedestal...are succeeded. Those that are not, are starting to vanish.

We have seen the recent closure of some of the largest brands, established companies that simply failed because they could not compete with companies that are doing online right. Companies like Amazon that "get" affiliates (although they have their issues ar times as well) and are receptive to new affiliates are eating thse other companies lunch. There are many well oiled affiliate programs out there that are doing things druggy, which does give me a lot of hope.

We have seen the failure of Toys"R" Us (read my blog about it here), Sears, Aeropostale, Crocs is in big trouble, American Apparel, Macy's to name a few. Here in Canada, we are seeing companies like Hudson Bay (our anchor department store) having issues because they haven't taken their online experience as serious as they should (and they don't even have an affiliate program, doh).

One Lost Affiliate, One Story, But a Significant Event.

Nuance has lost a potential affiliate, free marketing reach in front of potentially millions of people over time, and unfortunately my perception of their affiliate program has been jaded by this experience (and perhaps yours).

If you're a merchant and you are reading this, please learn from this experience and please put your affiliate first. If you are making life difficult for affiliate to promote you, they won't. They will promote something else, and they will recommend anything but your affiliate program to their affiliate and industry friends (other authority website).

When you put affiliates first, you are establishing in essence a significant marketing team when you acquire new affiliates, a marketing team that only gets paid when they drive revenue to your business, and a marketing team that is willing to potentially work HARD for you and do most of it free (until they are making you money).

Try hiring a Chief Marketing Officer that will work for free or on a pay per sale basis. It simply won't happen.

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions, I know many of you have had great experiences with affiliate programs, and in some cases not so great experiences.

Our ethos is that we are all equal in the affiliate marketing world and that you can accomplish amazing things, without a background in websites, marketing, or the internet. That is going to remain true as we move forward in the affiliate marketing industry continues to mature.

I have never been more excited and hopeful, but I feel that there needs to be an attitude change by merchants (advertisers) that feel that new affiliates owe them something. Thye should be working to capture their attention, if not, there are plenty of other alternatives for affiliates and they will be move on to better and more receptive programs.

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GeoffGS Premium
Sadly, my experience with Rakuten wasn't much better. I noticed dozens of links to fishing gear that all led to the wrong product. When I reached out to customer service, they wanted me to give them the link in question. I tried explaining that it wasn't one link, it was a mass issue. I wasn't going to go do the work of reporting a 100 wrong links for them. No way. Then they reached again because of my negative feedback and gave me the same runaround. Sorry. Later. I won't be seeing them again.
Kyle Premium Plus
Yeah, it is not your job as an affiliate to fix their problems. The fact that you reported and you helped this particular program with their links was highly beneficial to them (as they could then assess and fix the problem).

If they don't do so in an efficient manner, then the links simply won't work for the affiliate, and thus they move on. Which is the case here. Thanks for sharing your story Geoff.
GeoffGS Premium
Thanks for the reply. I'll share it on FB when I see it. :)
SamDal Premium
I've never really understood the reason why an affiliate program would reject ANYONE providing their site is not in the prohibited category and they don't violate their promotion terms.

I mean, I know as a business owner, I couldn't give a you know what where my sales come from - the more the merrier!

Kyle's sale on a site he runs having to do with women's bikes is just as good as Lisa's sale coming from her soup blog.

Since getting rejected from numerous programs over the years, I usually don't give second chances to companies who think their affiliates have to earn their business.

Affiliates earn them business!
nudge1969 Premium Plus
I recently had a similar experience Kyle.

The response I received after waiting close to 4 weeks!

'After reviewing your application, we unfortunately cannot approve you at this time. This is due to one of the following reasons:

-- Your website contains coupons. We are not currently partnering with coupon sites and are considering no exceptions.

-- Your website is based out of California, Indiana, or Pennsylvania. We cannot approve these sites due to Nexus and/or other tax laws. We are NOT considering any exceptions at this time.

-- Your website's content is not relevant to our products.

-- Your website has little or no content, is broken or is not live.'

So went through each of these as a response to them.

"Hi there.

After receiving a declined affiliate application I went through the possibilities of why I have been declined.

Your website contains coupons. We are not currently partnering with coupon sites and are considering no exceptions.

Nope, I do not use coupons.

Your website is based out of California, Indiana, or Pennsylvania. We cannot approve these sites due to Nexus and/or other tax laws. We are NOT considering any exceptions at this time.

Nope, I'm base out of Australia

Your website's content is not relevant to our products.

Even though I'm starting off with bar, pool room & kitchen products to promote, I will be branching to other products. I believe my current content IS relevant to your website as you even have a 'Kitchen & Bar' menu on your website.

Your website has little or no content, is broken or is not live.

My website is not broken and is live.

I started this website 7 weeks ago and have 14 posts published with 10 of those posts comprising over 3000 words of reviews. I believe you've only looked at my homepage (my analytics tell me this) and have made an assessment on this.

Feel free to reassess my website but I'm quite content to help out other companies if still declined."

I assume the reason is not enough content. So how much is enough content?
benandnili Premium
Wow. Looking forward to hearing how this one ends!
nudge1969 Premium Plus
Well I'd say it's ended. They haven't got back for 4 days.
I'll just move on to better affiliates. :)
Swangirl Premium
Interesting Kyle. Thanks. I think it will make some people feel better if they got rejected by an affiliate program but see that you did too! is ridiculous you got rejected but I am sure by sharing it here you are helping others, so thanks!

I am always interested in your observations about the shifts in marketing.

Kyle Premium Plus
I surely don't feel invincible to this, I am just want to take one example and show the faults of the current industry. Affiliates, like myself, like you, can choose what we want to promote.

Merchants cannot choose or make us promote their product. Those that behave in this way, will face the consequences of less affiliates, less reach, and less clout within their given niche.

This is just one example, I am sure there are 100's of others that people could share here that are similar to this. My personal opinion is that Kyle, the affiliate, should not be treated any differently than Jessica the affiliate, by any company.

The application process for many is flawed, and in my opinion it can become more of a determent than it can be advantageous for the companies that are too stringent on their policies or simply have an intermediate that doesn't adequate understand affiliates to be making the executive decision in the first place.
EddySalomon Premium Plus
Oh man, someone is going to be kicking themselves when they learn the president of a leading company that has taught millions of people affiliate marketing and has made millions with affiliate marketing was rejected for their affiliate program. Doh! I expect a desperate follow up message very soon. Are they on twitter or Facebook? I need to share this article with them. Tsk tsk. lol

We've all been rejected from affiliate programs before. And the smart ones will engage in a discussion with you. I know its happened to me and when I explained my relationships with other companies and what I've been able to do for them, some will change their tune.

But I always find interesting that companies are willing to reject potential new business. As business owners I would love it if I had thousands of people willing to promote me and only get paid if they perform. It's a no brainer. But I guess some companies don't see the value.

You run an affiliate program so maybe as a merchant you can see the devil's advocate point of view. But it's hard for me to see the downside in that relationship for a vendor.
Kyle Premium Plus
Exactly, and well said. Even if I don't have a website yet in the given niche, how can a program effectively determine whether or not I aqm going to be a quality affiliate for them. They can't.

And why would I go to a trouble building a business around a product/service/company as an affiliate, without approval with an affiliate program. I wouldn't.

The problem is I believe lack of resources in the places that need resources. For an online company these days, that is their affiliate program...and affiliate management.

It is a case of assuming poor affiliate behaviour, before you give an affiliate the time of day. That is adverse to any appropriate rational and hence why there are some many companies WITH affiliate programs that still struggle to get quality reach online.
EddySalomon Premium Plus
That's a great point Kyle. Well I went ahead and tweeted this article to their twitter account. I'm sure you'll be getting a follow up email very soon. lol
judebanks Premium
If that doesn't work Eddy, the CFO and Vice-President are on LinkedIn. I am no longer a member on LinkedIn, otherwise I would do the same. ~Jude
EddySalomon Premium Plus
I'm sure thwid company will hear about this. This article is ranking for their affiliate program name. Lol