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30-Oct-2011

Are affiliates addicted to the job

Intermittent Variable Reward

So, you build a new site or site section. You don't know if it will yield anything and if it does, you don't know when or how stable the commissions will be, or how long they will continue to come in.

If they do start coming in, they sometimes stop suddenly for a while. Then just when you were getting a bit disillusioned, they reappear.

If you look up addiction, you'll find that this is called "Intermittent Variable Reward" and its the most powerful driver, particularly in gambling where it plays a large part in continuing to part you from your money.

Always checking commissions

Why ? Because you're getting rewards at quite random intervals.

I'm not sure its entirely healthy and I know that when I've been on holiday and not checked commissions for a few days, it feels a lot more relaxed. (I deliberatly did this for the last 2 holidays to see what effect it had). Not a scientific experiment of course.

Lots of affiliate gamblers

I wonder if there is a larger proportion of affiliates who gamble than in the general population?

Because our occupation could be 'training' us to behave in an addictive way.

So if you're using up a lot of time on something with no reward, perhaps its time to take a cold, hard look at why you're spending so much time on particular activities...

Don't waste efforts

Perhaps the worst consequence of intermittent variable reward that I've had, was getting a £120 commission very early on from a site. It encouraged me to keep developing the site, which if you took a step backwards to assess it with a business head on, would have reached the conclusion that it was a 'freak' commission and very unlikely to be a viable site, because nearly all buyers would be phoning the merchants with questions and then using a card over the phone.

But the 'exciting' commission was an incentive.
It worked because I felt that there was 'always a chance' it would repeat.

I had learnt that from the intermittent variable reward effect. But it was a false feeling.

So BEWARE. Put a business head on to assess your sites before you commit resources.

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