Do you have an affiliate program?

The short answer is NO.

 

Our strategy is to offer the lowest transfer fees in the world.  We are serious about this.  We believe that banking fees are exorbitant and that there are alternatives for making online payments.

 

Consequently, we cannot offer an affiliate program because any affiliate program will increase the fees to our members - you.  We want our members to enjoy the lowest possible fees.  As a happy member, we hope you will tell your friends and trading partners about iGolder, and our network will grow.  The more people join iGolder, the more it will attract independent exchangers, and specialization will give you more affordable payment options.

 

Below are the main reasons why we do not have an affiliate program (please note that we are NOT against affiliates):

  • An affiliate program is a privacy breach to our members.  First, it is very difficult to track who referred a new member to us.  To have an effective affiliate program, we must implement a sophisticated mechanism to track visitors.  Many of these mechanisms require a third party performing independent monitoring for credibility.  Since the affiliate earns a percentage on your transactions, the affiliate may easily reverse-engineer all your transactions, and find out how often you make payments and the amount you transferred.  Since your privacy is our top concern, any affiliate program will go against our goal of having a private payment system.  This alone should be enough to end the discussion, but you should read on to find out more.
  • An affiliate program increases the fees for everyone.  If we promise a 75% commission to our affiliates, as some affiliate programs do, then all your fees are automatically quadrupled.  If we promise a 50% commission to our affiliates, then all your fees are automatically doubled.  Even a cheap 33% commission to our affiliates would translate in a fee increase of 50% to you.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg; the affiliate program has many other costs, including developing the program itself, maintaining it, giving support to affiliates and spending time to handle fraudulent affiliates.
  • An affiliate program requires time to design and implement.  We prefer to use our resources to add new features to the iGolder platform, rather than spending time writing special code and web pages for tracking the commission of our affiliates.  Since we want to offer the lowest fees, we spend our time writing code to improve our platform enabling new transaction types such as delayed payments (Safetransit™), rolling reserve, dispute reserve, promise to pay, cancellation provision, 100% money-back guarantee, security vault, as well as providing tools to automate recurrent transactions.  We are also craving to implement state-of-the-art system to measure the performance and reputation of our members.  Although the reputation Karma is always displayed next to the member name, the reputation summary and feedback comments are private.  iGolder offers a great flexibility regarding your reputation details to accommodate your business.  For instance, you have the option disclose your reputation details on your public profile, and even display the best feedback comments on your website via Web Services.  If you prefer for more privacy, you have the option disclose your reputation details only to selected members.  This can be useful to increase your credibility when negotiating with a new customer.

    We also want to develop the best network for dispute resolutions with independent competing mediators and arbitrators.  Our private messaging system plays an important role when negotiating private exchanges and/or resolving disputes.  iGolder's private chat offers more privacy and security than any other instant messaging or email service.

    Our fee schedule is based on the number of transaction you made, total amount transacted and how long you have been with us.  The longer you have been with us and the more transactions you made, the lower your transaction fees will be.  Your transaction fees increase when you earn Demerit Points from disputes.  Another feature is having a comprehensive Online Directory to classify products and services sold by our members.  The online directory would have a search facility and display the merchant reputation as well as comments from customers. We also have plans to have an interface to post classified ads.

    All those features require time to implement, and having to track affiliate commissions for every transaction would increase the complexity of our platform, in addition to slow down each transaction.  Speed is crucial to our platform, as sometimes a transaction must be done in real-time as it is the case of a debit card at an ATM cash machine.  As you can see, we have plenty of work without the need of additional work from an affiliate program.
  • An affiliate program does not allow flexibility.  Let's say we promise a commission to our affiliates on all transactions, but we offer a promotion, or decide to waive the transaction fees to our best members. The affiliates will feel cheated because we promised them a percentage on all transactions, and now they can no longer earn a commission on the transactions we decided to offer free of charge.  Likewise, say we offer a new service, such as an insurance against currency fluctuation, without paying tribute to the affiliates - then the affiliates will feel cheated again.  It appears once we have an affiliate program in place, there is little room for innovation.  Since we do not want our customers nor our affiliates to feel cheated by us, iGolder offers the same lowest fees to everyone.
  • Sometimes it is almost impossible to determine the affiliate's commission.  Let's say you make a payment to someone and decide to split 50-50 the transfer fee, or pay the entire transfer fee.  Which affiliate should get the commission, assuming both you and the recipient have been referred by a different affiliate?  What if later, the recipient gives you a partial refund?  The code to perform a partial refund is complex enough, without having to take care of the affiliate's commission.  What if the affiliate account is empty... should we collect the affiliate to reverse his commission fee?  By the way, we are not addressing the topic of affiliate fraud which increases the complexity by a tenfold.
  • An affiliate program invites fraud.   We have personal experience with affiliates.  In 2001, we created an affiliate program for our first business.  Our affiliate program was simple: giving a $5 commission per sale.  Naively, we thought our users would join the affiliate program.  Instead, people who never used our product joined our affiliate program and we started having fraud.  Our "affiliates" would use stolen credit cards to make purchases hoping to pocket the $5 commission. We spent a lot of our time writing code to track visitor patterns, IP addresses, emails, and so on, in the hope of reducing fraud.  Every transaction involving an affiliate referral had to be verified manually. Fraud was a daily activity.  Two years later we scrapped our affiliate program.  Since then, we have not had a single chargeback despite having much larger sales.
  • An affiliate program opens the door for theft. There are people spending their whole day trying to exploit cracks in a system.  Those people never learnt that trade is not a zero-sum game, so for them it is perfectly acceptable to get rich on the backs of others.  If we offer an affiliate program where a member can earn a referral commission of a few milligrams of gold per transaction, then sooner or later, an unscrupulous individual will find a way to make a transfer, earn the commission reward, move the commission to another account, cancel the transfer to get a full refund, and repeat again.  With our automation interface, the fraudster could repeat this process hundreds of times per minute, stealing gold at an incredibly high rate.  By the time we discover the fraud (a few hours later), the gold would have already been exchanged or spent at the ATM cash machine.  Since the independent exchanger is unaware of this plot, and therefore innocent, we have to bear such losses.  Of course, iGolder has a protection mechanism named First Transaction Protection Delay to reduce the velocity of gold spends, however we do not want to rely on this security feature alone to protect us against massive gold theft.
  • Many affiliate programs are deceptive.  Prior to co-founding iGolder, we joined many affiliate programs where we could convert genuine qualified traffic into thousands of dollars per month.  The affiliate programs we joined were real, selling products and services to complement our product, and sometimes we purchased these services ourselves.  The story is, however, that our business never made enough to pay the minimum wage for the time I spent reading the affiliate agreement.  I am sure you probably joined many affiliate programs and wasted your time.  We do not want iGolder to inherit the bad reputation of having questionable affiliate programs.
  • People often refer themselves to reduce the fees.  Instead of opening just one account, people open their first account, join the affiliate program, and refer themselves to open a second account to save on the transfer fees.  We prefer to give you the lowest fees right away saving your valuable time.  Having an affiliate program increases our costs (therefore transaction fees) because it requires more support, including email changes and password recovery.  Since our policy only allows a single account per member, we give less incentive to our members to open multiple accounts.
  • An affiliate program does not generate genuine referrals.  People give biased recommendations when they can make money from their recommendations.  Also many people join the affiliate for the wrong reasons and make deceptive publicity in order to make money.  Having an affiliate program will create deception to new members.  We want our members to refer other members because they are using iGolder and it is beneficial to them, not because they wish to collect gold from other's transactions.
  • An affiliate program incites spamming.  When an affiliate program is present, spammers often send mass emails inviting people to buy the product or subscribe to the services offered.  Sometimes, spammers are more sophisticated, spamming other websites, such as forums or classified ads, by posting messages containing referral links to the website offering an affiliate commission.  By not having an affiliate program, we do our share reducing spam pollution.
  • Greedy individuals often join an affiliate program to lure others into the same greed.  Those individuals are not interested in our low transaction fees or our innovative services, but in the affiliate program itself.  When a referral program encourages the recruiting of newcomers, it becomes just another pyramidal scheme.  Many join only affiliates giving 80% commission or more, otherwise they are not interested.  Our answer is we do not want those individuals as our members, never mind as our "affiliates".
  • An affiliate program is often a zero-sum-game.  The affiliate makes money on the backs of others without offering any value-added to the transaction.  If iGolder had an affiliate program, you would have to pay tribute to the affiliate for the rest of your life just because you followed a hyperlink from their website.
  • We believe having an affiliate programs is useless for iGolder. If a member likes our services, he will use it regardless of our affiliate program.  The best way to satisfy our members is offering low fees and excellence in our customer service.  We prefer spending our time serving our members than tracking our affiliates.  Word-of-mouth is an effective advertising strategy.  We believe that word-of-mouth will be sufficient, therefore keeping down our operating costs which will translate to low transfer fees to our members - you.
  • In the long run, you will save more by having lower fees than by earning a commission on other's fees, and you will have the flexibility to offer lower fees to your customers.

 

iGolder is NOT Against Affiliates

Although iGolder does not have an affiliate program, we welcome all members having affiliate programs.  There are many cases where it makes sense to have an affiliate program.  One example is having Google advertising on your website.  In this case, you supply web traffic and Google supplies the advertising on your site. This is a perfect example of the division of labor where you supply content to your visitors, and Google supplies relevant ads, tracks advertising statistics, deliver reports on advertising campaigns, collects money from sponsors and gives you a percentage of the sales.  This synergy benefits both you and Google, however the day you stop displaying Google advertising, you stop receiving checks from Google.

 

This is far different from a theoretical affiliate program where an iGolder member pays higher transfer fees forever because he followed a hyperlink from a website.  The affiliate no longer supplies any value to the new member, yet the member has to pay tribute to him for the rest of his life.

 

An affiliate program is not a pyramidal scheme.  A pyramidal scheme is when the focus of the business is recruiting new members instead of selling its products or services.  A pyramidal scheme often offers generous commission to its affiliates, thus making the product or service sold overpriced.  The only reason why people join such a pyramidal scheme is to recruit new members to do the same - not to buy the product sold.

 

Also, there is nothing wrong with getting rich quickly, provided you have not used some dirty tricks to get wealthy.  Capitalism means allowing people to get rich by serving the needs of others.  There are thousands of people who became wealthy by providing useful services to mankind.   What we are against is using iGolder for promoting deceitful schemes to get wealthy such as HYIP, MLM or get-rich quick programs.  You are welcome to become wealthy by selling quality product and services to your customers, however you are not allowed to use the iGolder network to sell any kind of "underground wealth secrets".  Selling such "underground wealth secrets" is a fraudulent activity - it may work for you, however at the expense of your customers.

 

 

Our strategy to substitute our affiliate program

People are always attracted to low fees.  We are dedicated in offering the lowest possible transfer fees in the world which we hope will generate genuine referrals to iGolder.  Our strategy is specialization.  By having many independent exchangers specializing in online payments, the iGolder network will ensure you will always get the best deal for your type of transaction.

 

Become an independent exchanger instead

You can make money while providing a valuable service to others by becoming an independent exchanger.  As an independent exchanger, you can exchange gold with your local currency.  You decide what price you charge depending on the payment method and currency.  However, if your price is too high, you may only get a few customers because people will use a cheaper exchanger.  As an independent exchanger, you will also earn a reputation similar as on eBay.  If you have a great reputation, you can attract bigger customers despite charging slightly higher fees than others.

 

The iGolder network rewards reputable members by lowering the transfer fees.  As an independent exchanger, you will always get the lion's share of a transaction because our fees are inexpensive.  Say your fee is $5 for exchanging $100 worth of gold.  Assuming your reputation gives you our lowest transfer fee of 0.1%, it would cost you only the equivalent of a dime ($0.10) to transfer the gold from your account to your customer's account.  You would keep $4.90 for yourself, which represents 98% of the $5 fee.

 

Business Opportunity

We welcome suggestions and ideas.  We are interested in establishing a long term business relationship with our members and to serve them as best as we can.  If you think you have an idea that will benefit our members, we will be happy to hear from you and we will do our best to establish a plan to implement your idea to share the benefits.

 

 

Since August 1st, 2013 iGolder is no longer accepting new accounts and balances can only be redeemed. During the past years, we have been recommending Bitcoin more than our own payment system. We believe in physical gold ownership, and developed iGolder as a mechanism for people to acquire physical gold by trading with one another.

Since iGolder has a central point of failure (our server may be raided by thugs wearing some kind of uniform), we feet it is safer for us to cease operations. The iGolder experiment has been personally rewarding as we met many gold enthusiasts and also learned about Bitcoin in the process. For those who have no idea what Bitcoin is, we recommend doing your own research. Bitcoin is far superior to iGolder in every way, both in privacy and security as our server is always vulnerable to confiscation. Bitcoin is a communication protocol with a built-in "escrow service" capable of protecting both the buyer and the seller, rendering our Safetransit completely redundant. To learn more about the Bitcoin protocol and its feature, please watch "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD4L7xDNCmA (Bitcoin 2012 London: Mike Hearn).

For those having gold in their iGolder account, we will ship the physical metal to anyone having more than 1 ounce of gold, assuming the owner is willing to assume the shipping costs. For smaller quantities, we offer to settle in Bitcoin, however we will also settle with any other reasonable payment system. We will give everyone at least two full years (until 2016) to contact us to claim their gold. After that period, any unclaimed gold will go to fund an economic development project in Honduras helping local people to become entrepreneurs.

We sincerely wish you the best in life and hope to keep in contact with you.

Yours in liberty,
The iGolder Team.


Update 2014: Since we announced we no longer accept gold transfers, we have received countless emails asking to keep the free gold charts and the PGP encryption tools. We plan to keep running the domain iGolder.com for both the gold charts and the encryption tools. Better, we are developing state of the art open-source software for a secure decentralized social network with a built-in wallet. We will announce when we have a product ready for use. Stay tuned!