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  1. #1
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Somewhere in this thread someone mentioned we should write the merchants.

    I emailed MyDavinci a one line email daily that said "Pay Shareasale - we're sick of you being offline"

    They never responded... but it appears they sent some money to Chicago

  2. #2
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    Somewhere in this thread someone mentioned we should write the merchants.
    I totally agree that affiliates should immediately notify a merchant when they go offline. I always write a short generic message and it has happened more than once that shortly thereafter the merchant is back again. That may be a coincidence, but if simultaneously a bunch of other affiliates were also making contact, then perhaps we got their attention.

    And what about when they go off, you write, they stay off, and they don't respond to you? Well, that tells me everything I need to know about that merchant -- I start removing their links on my sites and even if/when they do come back, their presence on my pages has been greatly diminished and they've been replaced by someone else. With this approach, you slowly establish a stable of quality merchants, and thus over time the headaches are fewer and fewer.

    My attitude is to reward the good merchants; eliminate the bad. Going offline and not responding to affiliates puts them in the latter category, so I pull the plug and have one less headache.

    .

  3. #3
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    I totally agree that affiliates should immediately notify a merchant when they go offline.
    Affiliates should immediately notify a merchant when they go offline?

    I think that the bigger affiliates are too busy making money, and probably won't be checking all their merchants that oftem.

    I think that since the bigger affiliates are the ones making more money and the ones that may cause a merchant to go offline faster, that then they should be the ones notifying that merchant immediately so they don't lose their PPC money.

    I think that the smaller affiliates are the ones that most likely would be checking most of their merchants regularly because they want to see some more sales showing up allready.

    I think that since the smaller affiliates may have more importan things to worry about, that they should not be the ones to have to do any immediately notification to that merchant unless he/she wants to.

    But I don't think, I believe, that any merchant that wants to run a program in a profitable manner, should have the program run on auto-deposit, and also, that once that merchant sees that because the program is making more money than what they were expecting, and sees that the program is beginning to go off-line too often, then they should either increase the auto-deposit amount, or at least have someone in their program monitor the daily cash flow, so they don't go offline and lose money during that offline period.

  4. #4
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    I believe, that any merchant that wants to run a
    program in a profitable manner, should have the program run on
    auto-deposit, and also, that once that merchant sees that because the program is
    making more money than what they were expecting, and sees that the
    program is beginning to go off-line too often, then they should either
    increase the auto-deposit amount, or at least have someone in their program
    monitor the daily cash flow, so they don't go offline and lose money
    during that offline period.
    Could not have said it better!

  5. #5
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    Pricester.com,Inc
    As one of the first programs we worked with and managed I do not think you will ever see that one active on sas again.

    I think affiliates sending emails to merchants is good and to get them on 'auto deposit', but they already get warning emails instantly when merchants go off-line. Three emails are sent even when the backup credit cards don't work, if they have on on file.

  6. #6
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    Jorge wrote: > "I think affiliates sending emails to merchants is good and to get them on 'auto deposit', but they already get warning emails instantly when merchants go off-line. Three emails are sent even when the backup credit cards don't work, if they have on on file." <

    One problem for new merchants is that they often forget to "whitelist" ShareASale, and the SAS notification emails get filtered out as spam.

    I have found that if I send an email to the merchant directly (not through the SAS "contact merchant" form, but instead directly to the email address shown in the 'approval' email), my email is often the first that the merchant actually receives saying that the account is offline (or at least that's what they say).

    If my email to the merchant "bounces," I sometimes use the contact form on the merchant's site (or email to the posted email address there), as merchants sometimes forget to update their email address within the ShareASale interface.

  7. #7
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    Good advice Mark -- I also use the email address that they sent to me upon acceptance, and like you, generally find it to be the best way to make contact.

    Also, the point of the affiliate email is not only to notify them that they are offline -- as has been mentioned, they likely are getting that message already from SAS.

    It is equally important IMO to let them know that we affiliates are PAYING ATTENTION, so when they go offline, we are AWARE and are closely monitoring the situation.

    As I said, I have a few merchants that at one time had a respectable presence on my sites, but because of their not responding promptly to excessively going offline, they have been either totally eliminated or have had their links dramatically reduced. If I'm not alone in that reaction -- and I'd guess I'm not -- then these merchants are successfully shooting themselves in the foot.

    You don't have to be an orthopedic surgeon to figure out that's not very smart.

    .

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Guess I'm one of those small affiliates that write the merchant. lol Itry to give everybody the benefit of the doubt. I've taken an attitude now and it's 3 strikes and they're out, tho.

    If I'm in SAS getting my links I check the invalid links and if I notice that one is offline, I write them from inside SAS. Have written a few and I'll give em a day or two and if they don't reply with an explanation or be back online, I remove them and they won't return.

    A few I've written, they've replied immediately and gone back online quickly. After three times of this continuing tho, I remove em.

    If I know the affiliate manager will email them and it's been some flukey thing that's happened and everything was fine.

    Recently wrote one and she thanked me for letting her know and put herself on auto-deposit afterwards. So, definitley think most of the time it's probably a waste of time.......but then there are those times when it is definitely worth taking the time to write them. Sometimes it can be somebody that just didn't realize how important it is to go on auto-deposit, if ya let em know, then sometimes there's a happy ending.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador boningroup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    "One Stop Shop Catalog" has been offline for almost a week (since 01/07/2008 at 2:56:29 PM).

    I've just stripped out all PopShops links to this merchant also.
    Wish that I saw this earlier.

    I was also working on a PopShops project and saw that I needed to add two merchants that I was not associated with. One being One Stop Shop. I went to Shareasale's View and Search Merchant List and put in One Stop Shop and nothing warned me that they we offline. I applied and got accepted. Since I worked on the other merchant that I need first, when I went in to grab the links for One Stop Shop I than say the Offline Notice. They need to show Offline at the View and Search Merchant List as it would had saved me a little time!

  10. #10
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    Janew wrote: > "How can they be offline when they at one time added funds via autodeposit? Are they auto-deposit or not?" <

    My assumption, when a merchant goes offline despite having auto-deposit set up, is that there was a glitch with the credit card used to handle the auto-deposit. (I assume that smaller merchants don't have a backup payment method set up, or if they did set it up then the same glitch may affect both cards.)

    An optimist might expect that the most common glitch is probably "expiration," where the credit card shows an expiration date of 11/2007 and the merchant doesn't think to log in and update the credit card expiration date when the new card is issued.

    A cynic or might assume that the more common glitch is lack of funds or credit -- that is, the account associated with a debit card is depleted, or the credit card is at its limit or perhaps closed.

    Several merchants have claimed, in emails and phone calls to me, that their accounts went "temporarily offline" when there was absolutely nothing wrong with their payment accounts, and instead they blame a glitch by ShareASale caused the problem. While I think that's certainly possible, such claims aren't very credible if the merchant fails to act quickly to restore their account. (If a merchant claims that they didn't realize their account was "offline," then I ask why the merchant didn't pay more attention to their affiliate program, and I ask why the account was still offline many hours or days after the merchant acknowledged receiving MY email or phone call.)

  11. #11
    http and a telephoto
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    Auto Deposit doesn't help if the balance is WAY below zero and the deposit doesn't bring them back to the low funds trigger. The balance needs to be ABOVE the trigger, and drop again to trigger a second refill. A very large affiliate sale can cause this to happen (and did with one of my prior merchants several times). The solution is higher funds kept on deposit, higher trigger and much higher refill amount. Not $200 in the kitty, $200 trigger and $200 refill. Affiliate sale with $201 commission brings merchant to negative $1, autodeposit brings balance to $199 and unless merchant or AM logs in and sees the situation, it goes offline again without triggering additional autodeposit.

    Clear?
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    HI;

    OK we are on auto-deposit and we have gone offline twice,
    heres the reason;

    1. was like was mentioned, they cc on file expired that month and the merchant did not think to update till i told him.
    2. the bank website was down for temp upgrade.
    so that forced the cc to be turned down by SAS but after i resubmited the next day it was fine.

    Please do not assume that when a merchant goes down for a day they are in trouble.
    and like Loxley mentioned they might have had a big sale and the auto-deposit kicked in and refilled but then 30 minutes later another big sale or 2 and the cc company might be think fraud , why 2 withdrawls so close together and withhold payment. One resaon why we place a very high refil value so this does not happen.

    After 3-4 days then i would be looking to pull links thou :-)
    Richard
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  13. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    Jorge wrote: >as merchants sometimes forget to update their email address within the ShareASale interface.......One problem for new merchants is that they often forget to "whitelist" ShareASale, and the SAS notification emails get filtered out as spam
    There is an easy solution for that as SAS implemented additional emails a while back that any merchant can use and setup.

    On all programs I've signed up and/or managed I've always added at least two or three emails:

    1 - jorge @jrami.com (I use it when sending out newsletters, help affiliates know it is from me)
    2 - affiliates @merchandomain.com (should be main one and set as default incase they have no am/opm)
    3 - mike @merchantdomain ( backup email and also merchant can keep up with emails going out from sas such as 'low funds' and if their other inbox is full)
    4 - mikemerchant @gmail.com (If I was a merchant and had no am/opm I would create this one as an email option two, for backup for when traveling or spam blocking not getting in on the other default emails or main one used)

    Perhaps other am/opms already do this or should I think. Or merchant has no one in to manage and they mis the program details on sign up or how to set that up, they should perhaps get help from SAS upon setup or suggest it in there big bold letters.

  14. #14
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    LOL Wethead. It all does sound pretty messy if you're not smack dab in the middle of it. :-)

    It's important to note that the "offline merchant" issues is not a ShareASale bad thing - it's actually a good thing that they remove working links if the merchant hasn't maintained their program properly. It's the merchants that are at fault here, not SAS.

    Meanwhile, private ad sales is a good gig when it comes around. Just not as lucrative as affiliate marketing.

    Quote Originally Posted by wethead
    WOW !

    What I saw in the plumbersurplus.com control panel today and seeing the thread just convinced me NEVER TO use share a sale.

    All I have to say is WHAT is wrong with these companies?

    Thanks for the inspiring thread AND most of all THANKS for saving me all the headaches that you all have endured.

    I think I will stick with private ad sales as I have been,....

    What a bunch of jokers..........
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wethead
    WOW !

    What I saw in the plumbersurplus.com control panel today and seeing the thread just convinced me NEVER TO use share a sale.

    All I have to say is WHAT is wrong with these companies?

    Thanks for the inspiring thread AND most of all THANKS for saving me all the headaches that you all have endured.

    I think I will stick with private ad sales as I have been,....

    What a bunch of jokers..........
    This isn't the fault of ShareASale, this is the fault of the merchant. If they're actively managing their program, they either wouldn't go offline or be offline for very long. Crap happens and sometimes the charge doesn't go through for a number of reasons but this isn't ShareASale's fault.
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  16. #16
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    Well said Rexanne. SAS is a reflection of the business world and life in general -- mostly good people, with a few bad apples ruining it for the rest. This thread and the posts in it are a way to alert the SAS community at large, so as you said, it's a valuable service. And thanks to people like Mark keeping careful tabs of things, it's possible for the rest of us to avoid a lot of headaches. Of the 4 affiliate networks I utilize, SAS remains the best -- the problems with offline merchants not withstanding.

    .

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Rice
    This isn't the fault of ShareASale, this is the fault of the merchant. If they're actively managing their program, they either wouldn't go offline or be offline for very long. Crap happens and sometimes the charge doesn't go through for a number of reasons but this isn't ShareASale's fault.
    I disagree and I will tell you why in a friendly way.

    If you had an employee or business partner that drove away your clients or at least pissed them off, How many times would you put up with that before you fired him / her?

    It should be that way with shareasale and there "mechants"

    Offline, online x 10 - 15 times,?

    Thats just POOR business and at that time shareasale should dismiss that company, BUT NA!...it doesnt happen...

    Explain that...........



    Quote Originally Posted by Aphiliac
    Well said Rexanne. SAS is a reflection of the business world and life in general -- mostly good people, with a few bad apples ruining it for the rest.

    .
    Excellent point and well said,

    I don't keep bad fruit in my fridge , so why does shareasale?
    Last edited by wethead; January 25th, 2008 at 07:49 PM.

  18. #18
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    While I don't like to see my favorite network attacked, I agree with wethead. The problem with some merchants going offline repeated (and generally not taking affiliate marketing seriously), is ShareASale.com's biggest problem. These merchants do reflect poorly upon ShareASale.com, and I think there's some threshold where it would be in SAS's best interests to terminate them. Give them ample warnings. Give them time to improve. Give them training. But when all of that fails, cut the dead weight and move on.

    Despite that, however, ShareASale.com remains my favorite nework. It's easy enough to identify and avoid those merchants who don't take affiliate marketing serious (and easy enough to identify and work with the best merchants). But I'd rather see this issue just completely go away. I don't see why they continue to hold on to some of these merchants.
    Michael Coley
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  19. #19
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    This is one of those issues where we are all kinda' on the same page -- the differences are one of degree.

    Wethead has had enough and has decided "to never use share a sale". That, to my way of thinking, is the more extreme point of view, as in so many other ways, they are exceptional.

    Michael's exactly right in saying that this is the one area where SAS needs to come up with some solutions that are more satisfactory. When he says to give merchants ample warning and training, that is right on.

    And it's equally right to say "when all of that fails, cut the dead weight and move on".

    What I've not seen anyone from SAS address is that precise point -- when have they reached the end of their patience? When is "enough is enough" for THEM?

    Personally, I'd like to see that put out as an official policy statement which is available for everyone's reference. That would help clear the air for the affiliates AND for the merchants. As it stands right now, the problem seems to go on and on and on, and after awhile, that certaintly does get wearing.

    .

  20. #20
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    You both have great points and earlier I was a bit more "emo" then I normally am, because I was exited to use this one affiliate program and thought it would do well and then not only did I log in to find that there "widget" was like 4 months out dated but then there account was on and off like 10 + times.

    For me as an "affiliate" I am EXPECTED to act like a true business professional I.E. each programs TOS ( no bidding, no cheating etc )

    So now as this "business professional" which I truly am, (just sometimes not so well spoken ), I log in to find well ...lets do this

    Here is a sample of me




    • Build and provide a excellent website with a huge reader base
    • Search hours sometimes trying to find the "perfect match" for my site
    • Join up with that affilate network so that I can become a affiliate of the company
    • GET the "Your application is being reviewed , you be be contacted if approved"
    • Get the "acceptance letter" ( at this point super excited to get "rolling" )
    NOW here is where the "simple" thing like NOT terminating the program or "training them" comes into play.

    • Login to share a sale
    • Go to get my widget ( YAY! )
    • Find out the widget I was all excited about is expired by 4 months
    • Go to "program history" and see merchant "on and off 15 times"
    THINKS TO SELF, #$%% I just wasted a bunch of time to find ou that this program is as stable as a 14 year old with an unlimited credit card.....

    There is something called "reputation management" and I know that most of you will know exactly what I mean,

    BUT we all need to help these "affiliate programs" learn what that is .... ( referring to the actual merchants not shareasale )

    I mean come on, not updating a widget , going off line...things like that are way unprofessional...BUT they expect you to live by the "ten conmanments" when you sign up....



    ....and I do again realize this is the merchant ..But what about shareasale just "peaking in" once and a while and doing "spot checks" and "quality control" ... that would be cool

    These things not only hurt the repuattion of a program , but the rest of us, ANYONE that is an "affiliate" is affected.

    We all as affiliates loose money when these crappy guys fall and are aloud stay around.

    So with all this said, My apologys to shareasale.

    I wasn't trying to "attack" shareasale in anyway, I was merly frustrated that the "hobos" of this industry are still aloud to hang around in the "palace"


    • Palace = shareasale

    • Hobo =bad merchants
    So - I would LOVE to see some sort of action or rules set in place for these not so stable merchants.

    Ask yourself this .

    Why let these unstable people ruin it for us?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    > "Selah Jewelry has been offline since January 14; looking at their history, they were offline three times in December (one of those for 5 days)." <
    FYI, Afshin at Selah Jewelry replied to my email yesterday, writing (in part):

    > "The reason we went offline is there was a technical error at shareasale . . . . We contacted shareasale about it, but it kept going through, so we left the account go offline for a little bit until we could resolve this. I have added funds again today, as I believe this problem is solved now." < (emphasis added)

    I wrote this reply:

    > "While I can sympathize with your situation, the plain fact is that you just admitted that you "left the account go offline for a little bit until we could resolve this" -- yet you did not notify your affiliates of a problem. I can't imagine any reason why I'd choose to promote Selah Jewelry in the future." <

    Afshin replied twice. Yesterday (in full):

    > "To be honest, if you are that stringent about things and cannot give a person a break, we don't want your help." <

    And today (in full):

    > "You affiliate marketers take yourselves way too seriously." <

  22. #22
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    So I can put Selah Jewelry on the Do Not Ever Promote List. Crazy responses.

  23. #23
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    > "You affiliate marketers take yourselves way too seriously." <
    I'm even at a loss for words. I have no idea how I would even begin to respond to that.

    -rematt
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  24. #24
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    > "To be honest, if you are that stringent about things and cannot give a person a break, we don't want your help." <

    And today (in full):

    > "You affiliate marketers take yourselves way too seriously." <
    Wow - run screaming with your arms in the air!

    I had a similarly bizarre email exchange with a merchant (Party Basics) who went off line too many times in a few months last year.

    It went like this after I contacted her about going off line yet again within a 2 month period after she assured me it would not happen again:

    Me: "Your program is once again off line.

    Your program "uptime" history is a clear signal that you do not value your affiliates.

    I only wish we didn't make money together so I could rip your inks off my site without ANY remorse."

    Merchant: "Incase you wanted to know, I had a serious illness and was not able to access my account for a few days. By all means you can take all of my links off your site and I will not have any remorse! Thanks for your lack of understanding."


    Me: "Maybe you should have put a huge banner on your program alerting your partners of your illness, C. This is a BUSINESS matter and GUILT has no place in business. I could say plenty more but I'm leaving for the SAS Think Tank and don't have time to play games with you."

    The next day, she reversed a sale on me. I could have brought it up with Brian because it was an apparent spite reversal but I didn't want to waste his or my time with nonsense.

    Instead of trying to make sense of this idiot, I found another merchant with the same products and have been making money steadily with the other merchant ever since.

    Merchants who think we take ourselves too seriously need to drag their heads out of their a**es. Clearly, they have no clue what it takes to succeed in business and are not worth partnering with.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  25. #25
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    Clearly, they have no clue what it takes to succeed in business and are not worth partnering with.
    That really does get to the heart of it. Merchants who think that dead links are "no big deal" obviously have NO clue how e-commerce works; they have NO clue about web surfing psychology; and they have NO clue how to run a successful online enterprise.

    Deadlinks will drive visitors out of a site as quickly as anything -- and the more they see, the less likely that they'll ever come back. Merchants who do not understand that simple fact are either ignorant, arrogant, or stupid -- take your choice.

    This response makes it abundantly clear how important it is that we continue to publicly identify those merchants that have no particular concern about populating other people's websites with deadlinks (siteowners who are trying to support them by the way!), so the rest of us can avoid their programs.

    Thanks again Mark for the job you are doing in getting all this out on the table. The good merchants (overwhelmingly the majority) have absolutely nothing to worry about -- and as for the rest, we'll all be better with them gone.

    .

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