BeFree Reportingnet

Programs - CPC, CPA, CPS

Minimum Payout - Varies according to merchant.

Payments - Payments are made by the individual merchants. Timeframes also vary. Real-time Tracking - No Multi-Tier - No

Email Marketing Permitted - Depending on individual merchant specifications.

One of the BIG 3 affiliate networks, (i.e. BeFree, Linkshare and Commission Junction), BeFree's information page for new affiliates advises that BeFree merchants have paid out more than 220 million dollars in affiliate commission. My guess is that this comment was made quite some time ago, and that the amount is now substantially larger.

Their application process has two (2) tracks. You can either select a number of merchants whose programs you wish to join and then fill out the application form, or go straight to the one-page form. Either way, it's a fairly easy process.

There is one significant drawback to the BeFree program. While Commission Junction (CJ) will cut you a check as long as you generate $25 in total commissions across all the affiliate programs you've joined through their network, each BeFree merchant sets their own minimums and payout protocols. That means you need to read each and every affiliate agreement in detail to make sure that you think that their payment terms and conditions are acceptable before you join their program. For example, I joined a BeFree merchant program and later realized that the minimum payout was $300.

I've seen comments on the forums that indicate that BeFree is looking into the possibility of consolidating payments. IMHO, (in my humble opinion), as far as I am concerned, that can't happen soon enough.

Super Affiliate Handbook

BeFree does have one nice search option that should be implemented on the other networks as well. It allows you to exclude specific merchants from the search if that merchant is dominating the results.

For example, a 'general' category advertiser might show up in all your searches. After seeing their listing two, three or four times, you don't need to be reminded that they are in fact a BeFree advertiser, so you can exclude them from future search results.

BeFree is one of the few affiliate networks that does not pay for affiliate or merchant referrals. While I appreciate that they get enough word-of-mouth advertising not to need to pay for affiliate referrals, I think they are losing out on not paying a commission for merchant referrals. Oh well, the next time you get asked about starting an affiliate program through a network, you can send the requestor to an affiliate network that will pay for your referral.

BeFree's homepage for the affiliate interface, called the Partner Gateway has a number of design and display problems. It is mis-aligned, forcing users to scroll a page width to the right to access the logon portion of the screen. There is also a section with black text on a purple background that is impossible to read. Within the interface itself, the left navigation covers text that rightfully belongs in the middle of the page. Considering BeFree's huge revenues, and the amount they save on not paying for referrals, they might want to pay a designer to fix those long-standing problems.

Other than those few issues, I quite like BeFree's overall interface, and find it easier than some others to use. It's particularly nice to have fast and easy one-click access to a full list of your own merchant partners. Some of the other networks put that list a click or two further away.

In September 2001, BeFree launched its Acclaim Program to reward those merchant programs that provide their affiliate partners with a truly exemplary experience. The

Acclaim Program identifies programs that meet partner-friendly criteria such as monthly payment cycles and timely payment within each cycle. Acclaimed merchants are reviewed once each quarter.

Acclaim Program - Required Criteria:

• Provide monthly payments to partners.

• Send payments to partners within 35 days of the payment period end date.

• Provide partners with 14 days advance notice of compensation changes.

• Provide BeFree with timely and accurate transactions information.

• Post an e-mail address for support inquiries on and respond to inquiries within five business days.

• Be in good standing with BeFree.

We can only hope that this sets an example for other networks and even independent merchants to eventually accept these guidelines as standard and fair industry practices.

BeFree also has a feature that they call 'FlexTrack'. It's is a feature that allows you to track sales and earnings to the sub-affiliate level, so that payments can be credited back to the end-customer, designated charities, and other third parties.

Super Affiliate Handbook

To benefit from FlexTrack, affiliates must either: qualify as 'master affiliates', be partners that have a large number of sub-affiliate partners, or work with charity sites and/or loyalty programs that offer points or cash-back rewards to customers.

The BeFree network is a MUST to join. Just take a look at the list of clients below. Forgive me, but I just had to include the FULL client list because the number of brand name merchants is so impressive. It includes:

• Adidas America


• Affiliate Program

• Answer Financial


• BabyUniverse


• Bird Dog Associates

• BoatersWorld


• Boscov's Department Stores

• Bowman International Sportsbook and Casino

• Brookstone

• CameraWorld (A Ritz Interactive Company)

• Cashcade -

• Checks Unlimited

• CitiFinancial

• CitiFinancial Canada


• Collectibles Today

• Commit/Nicorette/NicoDerm CQ


• ConsumerInfo.Com

• Crane Paper Company

• Dell Business

• Dick's Sporting Goods

• Discovery Channel Store

• eFastAdvance


• Entertainment Publications, Inc.

• Entertainment Weekly

Equifax Consumer Services

Experian Automotive

• Experian CreditExpert


• Fleurop-Interflora

• Fleurop-Interflora - DE

• Fogdog Sports


• Giardinelli Music


• Gift Certificates

• Government Liquidation

• Hammacher Schlemmer


• Home Shopping Network

• Homestead Technologies

• AG

• Joi Internet - Hawk Communications



• /


• Maidenform

• Matchmaker

• Micro Warehouse,Inc.

• MobileShop




• Musician's Friend


• Neckermann

• - Medical Web Service



• One Step Ahead / Leaps and Bounds


• Pacific Poker

• Payless ShoeSource

• Personal Names

• PhotoAlley



• RadioShack

• Rosetta Stone

• SBC Communications

• Scholastic At Home

• Silver Vision

• SmartBargains


• Sony ImageStation

• Sony Style Stores

• Sporting News



• Tan Thru Suits by Lifestyles Direct





• Travelocity Canada


• &

• TXU Energy Services

• United Online



• Verizon/


• Vermont Country Store


• Warrantybynet

• WorldCom Conferencing


• Yankee Candle

^ BeFree

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