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  1. #1
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    Do AM's read your strategy outline when they accept you?
    I was just booted by a merchant for this stated reason:

    It has come to our attention that you are in violation of our affiliate agreement and you are advertizing our copyrighted name in adwords in PPC programs.

    Which I think translates into "you used our website in the display URL of your ad". (Still talking with them to determine the facts but I can't think what else they mean.)

    Now, nowhere in their agreement does it say that I can't do this (should I link to it here?), but the thing is that when I applied to them I explained how I would drive traffic to them, saying: If you don't permit direct to merchant PPC ads using your site in the display URL of the ad, please don't accept me.

    (I do this for all my applications because so many terms are either unclear or nonexistent on this point.)

    When they accepted me I figured that meant they approved of this method.

    Wrong?

  2. #2
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_C
    Now, nowhere in their agreement does it say that I can't do this (should I link to it here?), but the thing is that when I applied to them I explained how I would drive traffic to them, saying: If you don't permit direct to merchant PPC ads using your site in the display URL of the ad, please don't accept me.
    Apparently, if what you've stated is correct, this merchant doesn't even read their own Ts&Cs. I've commented on this in the past and it is perfectly fine for a merchant to run their program however they choose but they can't expect us to be mind readers. "I meant to include this restriction" just doesn't fly. The same goes for merchants that change their TOS without any notification and expect us to immediately abide by the new TOS.

    I would recommend that you e-mail a copy of their TOS to them, in case they don't know where to find it, and ask them to point out the specific section(s) that bans your use of their trademark. At the very least you should receive an apology and reinstatement in their program (which you may not want at this time) and it will remind the merchant that they have been lacking in the updates to their TOS.

    A message to merchants:

    We are perfectly willing to play by the rules when we know what they are. You write the rules, you have to communicate your wishes to us through some means other than telepathy.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  3. #3
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    I've been doing PPC for them for about two months now. It was obvious where my traffic was coming from.

    I'm thinking maybe I'm wrong and that's not what they're talking about...except I'm not bidding on any of their trademarks so I can't think what else.

    But anyway, if I state this is what my strategy will be and they accept me, isn't that binding? Like accepting a proposal from me?

  4. #4
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    I know that some merchants glance at my overview/strategy document, because some merchants have summarily rejected me as a PPC affiliate (even though PPC is only a portion of my affiliate work, and I expressly state that I never do direct-to-merchant PPC without permission, and that I never bid on merchant names, domain names, or prohibited trademarks).

    Other merchants basically conclude that I must not know what I'm doing because my primary link registered with ShareASale is not to an "affiliate site" but to my strategy/overview/affiliate-role page (not my home page, but a special page that identifies the kind of affiliate work I do and a list of some of the sites that I own. (In other words, they see a text page and reject my application because it's not a slick affiliate site.)

    Sometimes they look a little bit further -- they'll click on to the first site I've listed, and then reject me because that site isn't a close fit (I once had a merchant reject me even though the #3 site in my list was a perfect fit). Sometimes they actually look at the list and notice that I don't yet have a domain that's a perfect fit for their product, and reject me for that reason.

    And yes, some affiliate managers read my page and send me a personalized email greeting, inviting me to work with them in some specific way, or asking me to contact them at my convenience.

    Bottom line: For me, merchants fall into two categories: those I work with, and those I ignore. In the "ignore" category are all merchants who've declined me, all those where the application is still pending, all those with poor offline histories, and of course all those that I've discovered are actually "defunct" even though their affiliate program still seems to be online.

    I do periodically "quit" those programs where my application has been declined or where the app has been pending for months, and then I re-apply to those programs. (I think I've gone through this process twice in the past 12 months.) Usually, I am declined again or the app just remains pending again -- but sometimes I am approved.

    I generally do not try to "appeal" rejections -- in a few cases, I'll send a response, especially if the rejection email was poorly written or offensive. Most often, I get a generic rejection that lists either no reason or a list of 6-8 possible reasons, none of which seem to apply, and I just note the rejection and work with other merchants.

    Finally -- as rematt wrote, "it is perfectly fine for a merchant to run their program however they choose." If a merchant only wants to work with a specific type of web site or affiliate, that's fine with me.

  5. #5
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    mmm i would suspect they do not have a dedicated AM to run their program. This would account for some of the notes after a few months of sending them traffic.
    They took the generic T & C from SAS, never read it.

    Then a few months down the line they notice someone is sending in lots of sales and the "wow someone is bidding on our name">>

    then they contact you and tell you thats not allowed.

    IN the past i have had many affiliates write me after they sign up and specifically ask if they can bid on our name and I write them back and say, yep, no problem.
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  6. #6
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    I think I'm going to adopt your strategies. I'm going to have to get an email from the merchant explicitly stating they agree to PPC.

    I think this is one area of SAS that needs some clearing up, though. Hrm. I'll start a different thread about that...

  7. #7
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_C
    But anyway, if I state this is what my strategy will be and they accept me, isn't that binding? Like accepting a proposal from me?
    Actually, no. Securing an e-mail from the AM that explicitly allows your PPC strategies is probably your best bet, however, keep in mind that even if a merchant agrees to your strategies that they can rescind that agreement at any time (hopefully with proper notice).

    Good luck.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

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