The popular voucher site Groupon has had an ongoing issue with their affiliates that has largely been flying under the radar until earlier this week. The company has apparently not been paying some of their affiliates who have earned commissions over the past few months. The issue primarily impacted European affiliates. The issue does not appear to be a problem with finances but rather something related to them looking to switch to a new affiliate network platform. Whether intentional or an oversight, it was causing a lot of anxiety for many affiliates.
Groupon was operating through Zanox Group, Affiliate Window and OMG (which was recently rebranded as Optimise). Though the Optimise relationship has not been active since 2012 so it is not likely that any affiliates through that network were in any way impacted. The companies affiliate programs were suspended by the entire Zanox Group because of the backlog of missing payments, but that only lasted approximately 24 hours. Groupon quickly made the payments that were owed so that the suspension was lifted.
Possible Long Term Impact
While Groupon seems to have fixed this issue and gotten all their affiliates the money they were owed, many people are wondering about what, if any, long term impact this will have. Payment issues are one of the main things that cause top affiliates to avoid promoting a certain product or company, so if people are losing confidence in the fact that Groupon will pay what they are owed, it could have a significant long term affect on the company.
Top affiliates are able to pick and choose what products or services they promote so they may decide to stop working for Groupon to avoid the risk. Of course, the risk still seems fairly low since Groupon is a very successful company and the non-payment issue was fairly short lived. That being said, however, there is no shortage of companies for a good affiliate to work with so why add any risk at all.
Groupon has been having a very good year thus far, reporting revenue from the first quarter to be up 2.9% to $750.5 million. This growth is based on successes both in the US where they have been expanding their services to include a food delivery network and in Europe where the voucher business is still growing well.