Lifetime commissions programs are affiliate programs which pay commissions not just on the first sale, but every time a referred customer makes a purchase from the merchant.
In contrast, most affiliate programs pay only on the first purchase made by the customer.
For example, if you refer someone to Amazon and they buy a book you earn a commission. Next time, they remember the name, go directly to Amazon.com, buy a book and you DON'T earn a commission.
With lifetime commissions programs, the customer you refer becomes “yours” for life and you earn a commission on EVERY purchase the customer makes.
You do the work once and get paid over and over again.
Lifetime commissions programs include programs paying residual commissions on recurring fees. These are often associated with private membership sites, such as dating sites, or with Internet services like web hosting and autoresponders.
Each time a customer pays to continue the membership or service the referring affiliate earns a commission.
Look for good tracking
Good lifetime commissions programs are not always easy to find.
Many merchants advertise their programs as “lifetime” programs, but rely only on cookies for tracking sales. Cookies alone are not very reliable when it comes to long-term sales. They get blocked, or overwritten or the customer simply upgrades to another computer. When that happens the affiliate misses out on commission payments.
When considering lifetime commissions programs check to see how sales are tracked.
The very best programs are those that use database matching. They link the referring affiliate to the customer by associating the affiliate's ID with the customer's record. That way, if the customer returns months or even years later, the affiliate still earns commission on any purchases.
For reviews of lifetime programs, including information on which ones use database matching, see the LifetimeCommissions.com directory.
Limited lifetime commissions
Occasionally, a “lifetime commission” program may say that you have to generate a certain limited number of new sales each month for these “lifetime” payouts to continue. My top earning affiliate program does this.
This restriction scares off some less serious competitors.
Much more important to me are the company's superb products and fantastic value for money, which I can be genuinely enthusiastic about.
The program has been my top earning one for several years.
Here's my favorite lifetime commissions program