Yup. WooThemes is closing down their affiliate program for some very simply stated reasons:
We’re sorry to say that we are discontinuing our referral program because of lack of traction for the program. Access to signup and log in has been removed for the time being.
Bummer. In a much longer newsletter to existing affiliates, it was clearly stated that not just lack of traction was an issue but also fraud and abuse:
I’m in the unfortunate position to let you know that we will be closing our referral program on Friday, 8 February 2013. In the last couple of months, the costs to maintain the referral program have exceeded the benefit of keeping it around. We have also experienced so much fraud & abuse on the referral program, which means it is currently losing money for us. – Adii said in the affiliate newsletter.
I know about this challenge, like Adii, first-hand as we recently closed down the Standard Theme affiliate program as well.
It was clear to us, as to WooThemes, that the cost of overseeing it, managing the fraudulent cases, as well as seeing the hurt of our strong and existing customers, it was a relative no-brainer.
In fact, one of the best things about our hard decision as a team was the overwhelmingly positive response that we got from our existing affiliate members. Take for example these few responses:
I do hope you guys find a way to bring back the affiliate program in the future, while I may have regularly received affiliate payments, it always did make my day receiving an email notification for an affiliate commission.
Regardless of the program suspension, I will still recommend your products as they have always been of high quality, and that’s what matters most.
– Joseph Mainwaring
I would rather have Standardtheme without an affiliate program than an affiliate program with a dying Standardtheme. I am pretty sure everyone else that uses Standard Theme feels the same way.
– Adam Shields
Wishing you the best. Like Joseph, I really loved the occasional sale I made, especially given how swell the product is, but business is business. And if you’re in a bind, you’ve made the brave move. Go Chris!
– Chris Brogan
All the things the above smart people said, with this additional nugget: I don’t think I’ve sent a single “referral” your way via the affiliate program, but I tell people about Standard all the time.
I’m the worst affiliate ever, in other words, and with no skin in the game I can view these changes with greater serenity than folks who have made a ton of commissions.
That said, do what you have to do to make it safe and okay. Your reputation as a quality platform is a much, much bigger deal, and if the affiliate program is harming that, then reboot or reject as necessary.
I’ll be recommending Standard even without the affiliate program. The support you guys offer goes way above and beyond the $99 I spent a couple of years ago. It’s allowed a non-geek like me to have a nice looking, functional website. Thanks.
– Belinda Pollard
It sucks being put into a place where any company has to share this type of news but it actually ends up being the best for all parties, customers and business owners.
Good call WooThemes and we wish you the very best!