For a number of years now, TiVo has had an affiliate program for sites, such as this one, to earn commissions on sales referrals. The site runs TiVo ads or users their affiliate links, and TiVo pays a bounty on any sales that result. Pretty simple and very common.
This site was a TiVo Affiliate in the past, but during the hiatus my Commission Junction account (TiVo’s program is run through CJ) was closed down for inactivity. As part of the re-launch I opened a new CJ account and began re-applying to affiliate programs – including TiVo’s.
After a week with my application pending I decided to ping TiVo to see what was up, and they told me that they’re not approving any new affiliate applications – because they’re closing down the entire affiliate program in three weeks. I asked for further clarification, if they were replacing it, etc., and was told “We don’t have plans to reopen the affiliate program at this time.”
TiVo will continue working with ad networks and exchanges for their online advertising needs. But this is the end of direct affiliate referrals.
Shame, first we lost the TiVo Rewards program – that was shut down way back on April 28, 2008. And the promised ‘new program’ never materialized. Now we’re losing the affiliate program as well.
Not that I think we’re entitled to anything – I covered that in my thoughts on the end of the TiVo Rewards program way back when. TiVo is under no obligation to offer referral bounties, etc. But I can’t say it isn’t nice to be able to get a cut from recommending a product I use and enjoy. And, while I wouldn’t recommend a product I didn’t feel I could get behind, for any amount of money (I regularly receive offers to accept paid content for the site – I always turn them down, and I won’t become an affiliate for any product I don’t support), affiliate programs are one way small sites like this one can pay for themselves, and maybe make a little money.
Since I have a ‘day job’, I don’t run the site with a primary goal to make money, so I don’t spend a lot of time optimizing the SEO, tweaking my ad settings, looking for the highest returning ad programs, etc. But there are costs to running a site and it is nice to cover those, and anything extra is a bonus to use for little things – like helping to pay for my upcoming wedding and honeymoon. However, other bloggers do make their primary income from their blogs, and affiliate programs are often a key part of that. So I’m sorry to see TiVo dropping out. Ad space is finite (if you’re smart), so you have to run with what pays. And, in three weeks, TiVo no longer will be.