Why the Deceptive Bonus Slant?

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Hi everyone! Someone emailed me this morning about a topic that’s always irked me, so since she asked, I plan on spotlighting this subpar practice today.

It’s about bonuses.

Specifically, here’s what happens…

You, the buyer, get an email saying (this was what my subscriber sent me and I don’t know who sent it and don’t care – it’s common among so many people):

“If you ACT NOW, along with the incredible Instant Product Engine, you’ll receive incredible and exclusive bonuses as your special gift from me.”


Only … oops. It’s not exclusive at all.

In fact, when the buyer logs into the main product he or she bought, it’s right in there for ALL buyers.

The wording makes it sound like the AFFILIATE is providing the bonus, doesn’t it? That pesky “from me” part.

This is such a common practice in launches it’s not even funny.

The vendor wants to get affiliates onboard. So they create a bonus and have a special “bonus page” download for affiliates to use that makes it seem like it’s coming as a gift from the affiliate.

Only everyone gets it no matter what.

So why not just put at the bottom of the sales page: “Bonus” and list it there? Because let’s be honest, they WANT to allow affiliates to seem exclusive so they make more sales.

I feel slimy about it.

I have vendors contact me ALL the time telling me they created a bonus page for me. I always ask, “Do they get the bonus anyway?” If the answer is yes, I don’t even mention it. I never use their bonus pages anyway because even if it wasn’t included in the main product, they’re probably letting multiple people use the bonus slant anyway.

Recently, Jeannie G sent me an invite to promote her toy pack and she literally said she created a bonus JUST for MY list, period. No one else got it. It was truly exclusive. That rocked. WAY above and beyond.

I am on the final day of MY launch and I have a bonus of eCovers but I was VERY specific with my affiliates telling them they could use them and that they are NOT automatically included for everyone in the download. I also told them I would tell my list about the bonus so I was very upfront – and when I mailed out, I told people to email me for their bonus because it wasn’t included for all.

Why is it SO hard for people to just be upfront about what’s exclusive or what’s from them and what’s cookie cutter for everyone?

I don’t get it.

Here’s why I think it’s shady…

These buyers truly believe they’re getting something exclusive and they make a purchasing decision based on what you told them.

Especially in an industry where everyone and their grandpa is promoting stuff, they may have been able to get a better deal (a truly exclusive bonus) from someone else, so you basically robbed them of that opportunity in a way.

The buyer in this particular instance was confused about feeling disappointed. She wrote to me:

I bought something last night via an affiliate for the product who had set up a bonus page and I THOUGHT it read that HE was supplying the bonuses.

I wrote asking for the bonuses since I didn’t see them in JVZoo last night. But logged in to go through the training just now, noticed a bonus section and… there they were. Provided by the vendor, for everyone.

She probably had several offers from people who really DID put some elbow grease in to create a unique bonus she would have enjoyed in ADDITION to the already included bonuses – but she supported the wrong affiliate – the one who wasn’t quite upfront.

Now she’s learned a lesson.

The bonus page they gave this affiliate specifically SAYS “exclusive bonuses as your special gift from me.”

That’s a flat out lie – they’re neither exclusive NOR from you.

If I say something is exclusive, it is.

If I say it’s from ME, it is.

And I can’t count the times someone said, “I bought this specifically for your bonus – I don’t need or want their product.” So imagine if I sent them something from the seller instead of something I created?

Now to the credit of the seller and affiliate, there IS an asterisk where it says “*Bonuses will be delivered automatically in the members’ area.” So that’s a red flag right there – it tells you it’s available to all, but many buyers wouldn’t know that. That’s a technical issue – and for all they know, the affiliate has something set up with the vendor to make that happen.

They did lie again though because on the page it says, “IMPORTANT: To get my bonuses, you MUST see affiliate ID “###### (removed)” at the bottom of your checkout page like this.”

Well …

So no, they don’t need to see any ID. It’s in the members’ area and that asterisk statement SAID SO. LMAO!

So how can YOU, dear subscriber, protect yourself from this false promise practice?

Well it sucks, but you can email the affiliate and ask. Then, if they outright lie, I’d refund on them and call them out publicly.

Hopefully they’d be honest. You can also ask the vendor directly about the bonus. If there’s another affiliate you want to buy from who also has a bonus but it sounds different, you can contact THEM and ask.

Say something like, “Hey I am trying to make a buying decision and I see you’re offering XYZ bonus – but so and so has ABC bonus. Are either of these already included in the purchase or are they truly exclusive through your link?”

That way, the other affiliate can say, “Oh ABC is already in everyone’s members’ area, but my bonus is truly just for my buyers.”

It’s time consuming and you may miss out on discounts. But it also protects you.

And don’t be afraid to voice your opinion to people who practice this kind of behavior. If they know it’s not welcome by them, they may be more apt to serve their audience – but if no one speaks up, the process continues.

Tiff 😉




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16 Responses to Why the Deceptive Bonus Slant?

  1. Avery says:

    Oy. Yes! I hate seeing affiliates do this…a lot of times a bonus doesn’t sway me one way or the other for a product. If it’s a good deal and it’s from a marketer I trust, I buy. Period.

  2. Paul Williams says:

    I’ve fallen for this too. In the end, I didn’t get too mad because for me it was about how much I wanted the bonus material or not. If I wanted the bonus, I wasn’t too fussed about where it originated from between the vendor and the affiliate. But yes, I totally get that it is misleading. And I did get a slight hackle-rise when I compared the sizzle with the steak. Keep on laying this out for all to see Tiff. The industry needs good practices and people need to see what ethics look like.

  3. Jason Daly says:

    This is absolutely rife, on JVZ especially and is especially bad among the PLR vendors selling the “biz in a box” type stuff. It makes me laugh as I get multiple emails from folks promoting it, all with their “exclusive” bonus and invariably they are all the same 😂.

    I also tend to visit the JV page to see what bonuses the vendor offers as it is usually there along with their swipes.

    Bonuses don’t usually sway me if a product is something I want but I would rather buy through a trusted persons affiliate link just to help them out.

  4. Nerine says:

    Over the years I’ve learnt to wait and see which affiliates are offering a bonus product, before I jump in and buy a product.

  5. Trevor Emdon says:

    Glad you called this out, Tiff. As the public get wise to it, it’ll become harder for us as affiliates to promote stuff with a genuine exclusive bonus, so both vendors and affiliates will lose out in the end too. It’s very short-sighted of the vendors not to have realised, so I hope this post of yours goes viral among the vendor communities especially!

  6. Jeannie says:

    Awwww thanks Tiff! You’re the best and I WANT to give your list a bonus because you are so good to all of us. I was happy to do it!

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  7. Ethan Hale says:

    Only once, so far, have I been the victim of this because I noticed it then and now I pay attention.

  8. Hello Tiffany,

    I have experience in just that situation. It was as if I had been cheated, I actually went back and re-read the promotion page. ALL OF IT. You know, if you were to print it off, you would use 15 or more pages….

    Found a few *’s, but still thought I had overlooked an email.

    Since then, I have not purchased from them.

    There is so much glamour and fluff when you see some of these promotion’s, your eyes glaze over before you get to the bottom of the page.

    Sad, Sad, Sad.

    It’s like this: I have never bought a burger/chicken sandwich from a fast food place and it look exactly like what is portrayed on the commercial. Now chicken, is another thing. Well, unless it has been sitting under the heat lamp for hours………… LOL!

    Buyer Beware!

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