Once you have an affiliate program up and running, many always wonder:

Do I need to approve these affiliates or can I just set to approve ALL affiliates?

It’s often a case where a merchant doesn’t have the time to approve publishers but in other cases it is times when they don’t see the value of reviewing and approving affiliate applications.

So the answer is: It depends. 

Let’s take the case for each and warning signs you should consider for both:

Approving Affiliates One-by-One:

If you have the opportunity (and resources and time) to review affiliate applications prior to joining, then by all means, do so. Why? the benefits are bountiful:

  • You can request certain information and review areas of promotion prior to them being active in your program. This gives you the ability to catch any potential “bad apples.”
  • You get to know who is in your program and can reach out to them to forge better relationships.

But, I really want to preface that if you don’t have the framework or commitment for regularly approving affiliate applications it can be detrimental. 

When an affiliate signs up for your program, they have a direct intention or at least an idea to promote your product or service. If they are stuck in any sort of “pending” period for you to review your application for a significant amount of time (and I would argue that that pending time is more than 24 hours), then they could lose interest or be frustrated that someone is holding up the process.  Even worse, if you don’t offer a way for pending affiliates to reach out to their Affiliate Manager then it can harbor even more frustration.

Auto Approving Affiliates:

Many in the industry look down on auto-approval since they think it is a “lazy” way to run a program. However, if you are getting hundreds of applications each day or week and don’t have the adequate support to review them – auto approving is an option…with caution.

If you have proper tools in place to monitor term violations as well as any potentially fraudulent activity, auto-approving can be possible.

Also, you will want to make sure that your Terms and Conditions are firm so that if affiliates/publishers do something harmful it can easily be referenced in the document, and action can be taken.


Overall, it really comes down to preference and if you have the tools and preparation for auto-approving.

Still not sure on your specific situation for approving affiliates? Let’s do a call or email. See how. 


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Taylor is the Founder of The Up Foundry. 7+ years starting, managing and growing affiliate programs for Technology, subscription, and SaaS-based companies, Taylor works with clients all over the world to generate millions in sales and revenue from their affiliate programs each year.

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