For 4 years I have been an advocate of using Namecheap for domain registrations. They have had the occasional technical problem, but overall I am extremely satisfied with their service, their interface, and above all knowing they are not going to switch off a domain just because of a single spam complaint.
At least one of Namecheap’s major competitors will switch off your domain and force you to pay a huge processing fee to switch it back on, even if the spam complaint was for an email that just listed your domain, or an affiliate link that went to one of your sites, sent by a 3rd party.
That can happen at any time, and Sod’s / Murphy’s / Finagle’s Law it will happen at the wrong time, such as a major product launch.
I have been told by friends that Moniker are also reliable in this regard, though I have never used them for normal domain registrations.
Some time ago during other support requests with Namecheap I asked about a possible affiliate program, as whilst it would never pay big on domains, it could offer a little more on things like SSL certificates and maybe hosting.
Namecheap Affiliate Program… Disappoints
Here is their announcement email in full
You appreciate NameCheap’s easy to use interface and responsive customer support, so why not earn money letting others know about it? We now have an Affiliate Program so you can make money spreading the word about NameCheap. Earn 15 percent any time someone buys our services for the first time from your affiliate link. Then use those funds towards other NameCheap purchases or eventually deposit them into your PayPal account.
Signing up takes less than two minutes. Just login to your NameCheap account and choose “Affiliate Program” from the right hand side. Follow the instructions and you will be provided with a unique affiliate id. You will get a unique affiliate URL which you can either advertise by itself or with a banner. For more information, please see this page.
If you have any feedback about our program, please send our Marketing Specialist an email at michelle(at)namecheap.com. We are very happy to finally offer this to the many people who have asked about it for some time now.
Get the Savings and Support You Love from NameCheap Hosting
You’ve come to love the support you get with your domain names and we promise you won’t be disappointed with our web hosting. You can use the following coupon codes at our website:
SCHOOLTIME – 10% off any shared, business and reseller package
HOSTSWITCH – 15% off any shared package and business package
USE4VPS – 10% off any VPS package
This Month’s Domain Coupon Codes
Save money on all your new domains with coupon code DREAMTIME. For transfers, use coupon code SWITCH2NC.
Have a wonderful September and thank you for choosing NameCheap!
Note: as bolded (by me) the affiliate program only covers the first sale, and all the coupon codes Namecheap have traditionally offered.
Now lets pull some info from the referenced page
* Earn 15% commission on any sale(First purchase only)
* Commission upto 15 days of referral
* Coupon code can’t be used with Affiliates
* Commission on new purchases only
* 30 day waiting period
* Commission reversed on refunded orders, cancelled orders or fraudlent orders
So as someone who recommends Namecheap to others as a better alternative than some of their competitors, especially for any internet marketers who may be launching products with affiliate programs, or running mailing lists (even when using a 3rd party autoresponder service), I have a choice to make.
- Use an affiliate link, and make a minimal commission on a first domain sale that would most likely happen as a test, before someone transfers more domains, oh and whoopee maybe 15% of 1 month webhosting or a cheap SSL.
- Inform my readers of the cheaper prices they can get by using a coupon, which thus forfeits the affiliate commission, but my readers will thank me.
For me the choice is obvious, I want my readers to get the best possible value. Affiliate commissions should never be at the expense of customer value, in the same way product producers should never get in a price war with their own distribution channels – it is just bad business.
The obvious solution for unscrupulous affiliates would be to create an coupon site for Namecheap, but only list old coupon codes that are now invalid.
A significant percentage of users would just purchase regardless, though chances are anyone looking specifically for a coupon in Google would already have an existing Namecheap account.
The only people I can see gaining value from this affiliate program are search services for domain names, but they might earn more from another services which pay significantly more for hosting referrals or a reseller system.
Namecheap are still great, I will still recommend them, but I am not going to push an affiliate link that offers my readers a worse deal than using a coupon that is widely available.
With affiliate programs or CPA networks offering $1-$2 just for an email signup, and hosting often offering $50-$100 for a new customer, I find it amazing that Namecheap are being cheap on customer acquisition. Surely they have enough data to be confident of their lifetime customer value for genuine new referrals.