As many of you know a good portion of my revenue comes in from affiliate links that I place on my videos. With “social shopping” becoming more of a thing we’re starting to see major retailers develop programs that are better integrating into social video platforms.
That’s why I was interested in Walmart’s new “Walmart Creator” program, especially after some of the success I have found on Amazon’s influencer program. That was until I tried signing up for Walmart’s effort.
As a creator you’re asked to link your social media accounts to the Walmart Creator website. No biggie. But my alarm bells went off when I got to the next screen where they ask for what is essentially full control of my YouTube channel. Have a look:
The first item provides them read-only access to your analytics. While you’re giving them all of your analytics data there’s not much damage they can do there. But the second item which allows them to “manage your YouTube account” is one no creator should grant to anyone outside their organization. Here’s what they’ll be able to do without your intervention with this permission enabled:
View and manage videos and playlists means exactly that: they could change your descriptions, thumbnails, playlists, probably even delete entire videos. You’re also giving them the ability to comment as you on your own videos and others.
This goes without saying but YOU SHOULD NEVER, EVER GIVE THIS ACCESS TO ANYONE, EVER. This makes the Walmart Creator platform a juicy target for hackers who could take control over who knows how many channels in one shot.
What’s worse is that Walmart’s not actually running it. You’ll notice that Activate Holding LLC is the company seeking this access, which is a subsidiary of Impact.com. Impact is an affiliate marketing technology provider that Walmart uses for their normal affiliate operations.
And the fun doesn’t stop with YouTube. Look at what they want from your Twitter account:
And for those of you building your brand on Facebook & Instagram you’ll find they require granting extensive management permissions to your accounts there too:
I don’t have a TikTok account but I’m sure they’re looking for the same level of control there too.
The worst part is the Walmart program is (at the moment) not much different vs. a standard affiliate program where you send people from social platforms to Walmart to make purchases. So if you’re already using affiliate links from them I don’t think being a part of this program is going to be much different unless they cut you a better deal.
But a point or two more commission is not worth turning over this much control to a third party IMHO.
My advice: hold off on this until they change these requirements. Otherwise you’re putting your accounts at significant risk for not much gain.
I have reached out to a number of Walmart and Impact executives via their LinkedIn profiles and have not heard back. I’ll update this post as I get more information or if things change.