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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    Radisson.com (LS) Did Not Track
    I average 5-10 Radisson bookings per month. I noticed that I haven't had a reservation show up on my Linkshare reports since 12/30/07. Radisson reports the initial booking (reservation) as $0.00 and then reports it again after the stay has occurred with the actual amount of the reservation and the commission.

    I made a fully cancellable reservation through my affiliate link yesterday just to see if it tracked. It didn't. In the past, the initial reservation has shown up the morning after the reservation was made.

    This program is fully managed by Linkshare with an @linkshare.com email address. I've had a personal email address for one of the members of the Radisson affiliate team at Linkshare since last year. I just emailed her and will follow up here when I hear back from her.

  2. #2
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Interesting. I'll be keeping an eye out for the response - just because I am curious.

    Over the last several years I have put (literally) hundreds of people into one particular Radisson Hotel. It is a very large hotel in a very popular area

    I have used three different white label programs for that particular hotel, but thought I would try the actual Radisson direct program through LS. I knew the commissions were lower, but I thought the conversions would be higher and (maybe) yield a better overall commissions. I was WRONG - and that was before I was a member here and knew anything about parasites. I've always wondered if it was the difference in sites or the difference in tracking. Hmmm...wonder if eBates (3% Radisson rebate) and UPromise (5%) have anything to do with it.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  3. #3
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    What was the date of your last initial booking (with a $0.00 commission) and what was the date of your last consumed booking with commission?

    If you also promote Country Inns & Suites (same parent company), what are the dates of both your last initial booking and your last consumed booking. I've had nothing for CI&S since October.

    Anyone else?

  4. #4
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    I received a response before my last post but I wanted to wait until I received a reply to her response. Her first response:
    I hope all is well. On January 19th the Merchant updated things on their back end, which has been causing delays in the reporting (the tracking is not broken, but is delayed).

    This is of course is a very urgent matter, and we have been working closely with the Merchant to resolve this as soon as possible.

    I do apologize for this inconvenience, and will let you know as soon as we have an ETA.

    Thank You again for contacting me.
    My reply:
    Affiliates deserve to be kept informed when there are issues like this. Why hasn't a notification gone out?

    Could you confirm that you are seeing initial bookings from 12/31/07 until 1/19/08; i.e., what is the last date you are showing for any affiliate specifically for initial bookings?
    Her response:
    We have been working with the Merchant on a formal communication, but are waiting until we have a better estimate of when this will be resolved. A communication should be sent out early next week.

    With regards to the bookings, we have confirmed with the Merchant that they are seeing them on their end—we cannot see them on our end at this time because of the delay in the reporting to us.
    Since she didn't respond to what I asked, I replied:
    Thanks for the followup. I asked if you are seeing initial bookings from 12/31 to 1/19 since you said the problem started on 1/19. Are you? Since the last initial booking showing on my reports is 12/30, I'm trying to determine if this problem actually began before 1/19.
    I never suspected parasitic activity since my personal non-tracked booking was done on my clean computer.

    I'm very disappointed in Linkshare for not notifying affiliates of this problem. Just one more example of their lack of open communication.

    I'll post if she responds to my last email.

  5. #5
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    She just responded to my last reply:
    I looked at this as it relates to [my site], and the last booking to come through for you was on 12/30/07.

    However, I looked at bookings for other Affiliates as well, and bookings have been reported consistently thru 1/19/08.

  6. #6
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman
    What was the date of your last initial booking (with a $0.00 commission) and what was the date of your last consumed booking with commission?

    If you also promote Country Inns & Suites (same parent company), what are the dates of both your last initial booking and your last consumed booking. I've had nothing for CI&S since October.

    Anyone else?
    I can't quite break out that much detail in going that far back (or maybe I'm missing something in the L/S interface). As I mentioned I tried that "experiment" a long time ago. I actively promoted that program for over a year on two different sites; however my last three bookings were on the 10th, 17th, and 18th of May, 2005. I am still "with them" in L/S but have not promoted them in nearly three years.

    With two other merchants, however, I had 32 Radisson bookings thus far in 2008. 17 of them have already been consumed. I should receive payment on 11 of those before I head to Affiliate Summit (keep me away form the tables, please). And by coincidence I had a 2-nighter in Key West that was booked on New Years Day and just "consumed" today. (Wish I was there.)
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  7. #7
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    The Individual Item Report will give you that info., but if you are no longer promoting them through Linkshare, then it's moot. By the way, Linkshare told us they no longer keep reporting info. for longer than 2 years, but I'm having no problem getting reporting info. for several years back.

    I link directly to a lot of specific hotels. Since most sites do not offer the lowest available rate that may only be available on the hotel's own website, I cannot in good conscience link directly to a specific hotel through a site other than the hotel's own website so that I can earn a higher commission. Have you found a site that guarantees the lowest available rate anywhere that is not the hotel's own website? If you have, I hope you'll provide the name(s).

  8. #8
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman
    ...I link directly to a lot of specific hotels. Since most sites do not offer the lowest available rate that may only be available on the hotel's own website, I cannot in good conscience link directly to a specific hotel through a site other than the hotel's own website so that I can earn a higher commission. Have you found a site that guarantees the lowest available rate anywhere that is not the hotel's own website? If you have, I hope you'll provide the name(s).
    The "lowest available rate" on many individual hotel sites in often a misnomer. With the growth over the last several years of the netrate or merchant-rate product, often the room blocks available through the Big Boys are lower than what the hotel can offer (or is willing to offer) directly.

    For example, when our daughter was planning her wedding last year, she had a block of rooms at a local downtown Hampton Inn committed at a "special" price nearly ten months before the event. It turned out to be a banner weekend for conventions and downtown hotels were running out of rooms. I sold some Hampton rooms for less cost than the special rate - AND some other people trying to find a room ended up paying the rack rate for some rooms. The hotel was evidently pricing by the Law of Supply and Demand that weekend. I found out later that friends of ours paid just over $800 for their two nights at a Hyatt two blocks from the church (also two blocks from the convention center). I had sold a booking to a total stranger in the same hotel for the same two nights for nearly $70 less. I had told my "friend" to book direct and possibly save a few bucks - I was wrong.

    Conversely, on weekends with less convention traffic, the reverse may hold true. Then the customer may save a bit more with the open hotel inventory.

    The "lower price" is why I had tried the "experiment" with going direct with Radisson...I thought "better rates" might help with conversions. However, that was not the case. So, today, in some situations, I show ONLY netrate hotels and in other cases I promote the net rate products "above the fold." I, too, try to provide the best possible deal for my customers; and, even though this vertical has "fickle" customers, I believe I get a lot of return bookers in a couple of my main markets.

    Individual hotel sites, today, may even offer a "lowest rate" online booking guarantee (the Rad does), but so do two of the companies that I use. I'll be happy to "share" more when I see you at Affiliate Summit (or via PM, email or phone).

    FWIW: I just checked pricing for "my" most popular Radisson for one room for tomorrow night. The rates were "to the penny" the same as at the Rad-site and with two suppliers that I use. Another supplier was three bucks higher. I also checked for one night - the Fourth of July - the one supplier that was higher for tomorrow is showing $2.13 cheaper in July. Go figure.

    AND (sorry to be rambling here) in those cases where the rate may be a bit higher, I believe I offer a better value for my readers in a couple of markets than do the hotel sites. If someone is traveling to a new destinatiion they may want to know what to do, where to go, what to see, and where to eat. I provide this type of info. For one particular resort town I have 30 chain hotels offered for booking - all on one page - but the site has hundreds of photos and over 1000 pages of local information. Gotta be worth some premium.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Snowman,

    The Radisson reservation center is just one block from my house here in Omaha. Let me know if you want me to go over there and rattle some cages if the folks at LS are not providing you with the answers you are requesting. Sometimes the direct approach gets better results.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  10. #10
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    Beachy, thanks so much for your detailed explanation. While I'm not attending the Affiliate Summit, I may take you up on your offer at another time by contacting you.

    Ron, thanks for your offer, but I seriously doubt the Radisson reservation center has anything to do wtih Linkshare tracking and reporting. My LS contact sounds sincere about LS's urgency in getting this issue resolved. After all, Radisson is out of compliance. When a merchant doesn't report sales, Linkshare doesn't get paid. My beef is the fact that Linkshare has remained silent as to notifying affiliates of this issue. That's wrong.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Very true, but if I can help, just let me know. I was thining more along the lines of alerting the Radisson folks about the problem. Someone actually taking the time to walk through their front door with a problem is probably pretty rare for this international company. Besides, I've aways wondered what it looks like in that building.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  12. #12
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    A communication should be sent out early next week.
    Well, it's now late "next week" and still no communication to affiliates, more than three weeks after this issue began.

  13. #13
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    On 2/18, I replied to the last reply from 2/6:
    I think it reflects poorly on Linkshare that this has still not been formally acknowledged to all affiliates. It's been a full month now. Radisson, et al. is clearly in violation of policies and as the manager of their affiliate program, Linkshare is complicit.
    I did not receive a reply.

    This afternoon, an email was sent from Linkshare (as they manage the program) to all affiliates of the Carlson brands (Radisson is one of five):
    Thank you for your partnership in the Carlson Hotels affiliate program, which includes Radisson, Country Inns, Park Inn, Park Plaza, and Regent!

    In recent weeks we've made some changes to our reporting technology which have affected our affiliate partners. As a result of this change, you may notice that transactional data has not been included in your LinkShare reporting from January 19th through the present. We'd like you to know that we will have a technical resolution in place by the end of this week, February 22nd.

    Please be advised that we have been tracking visitor traffic, and with this resolution in place will make the proper commission adjustments to compensate our partners for this period. We understand the optimization challenges resulting from this issue and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

    All of the five properties are under the Carlson Hotels brand and managed by the same team, so please feel free to contact us at radisson_affiliates@linkshare.com with any questions or concerns.
    I am livid as she told me "the tracking is not broken, but is delayed." So I wrote her again:
    Please clarify the tracking issue. You said here "the tracking is not broken, but is delayed." The message you sent today to all affiliates says "Please be advised that we have been tracking visitor traffic, and with this resolution in place will make the proper commission adjustments to compensate our partners for this period." As you know, tracking "traffic" is completely different than tracking sales and commissions.

    Please clearly indicate what has been tracked and what hasn't been tracked since January 19th.
    No reply again, but she just sent another email to all affiliates:
    Carlson has implemented the fix for the transaction data issue today, and all transactions should report normally effect 2/20.

    Carlson was able to track and capture LinkShare-referred data from Jan 19 – Feb 19, but Affiliate siteIDs and/or subIDs for those transactions were not captured.

    We have the LinkShare-referred transactions, as well as the click data for each affiliate during this time period. We'll use Click-to-Booking and Booking-to-Consumption data from the past 6 months (for each Affiliate), to recreate what percentage of those consumptions are attributable to each affiliate. Manual adjustments of one lump sum will then be made to each affiliate in the affiliate invoice.
    So she lied to me. Yet one more example of why the networks cannot be trusted.

  14. #14
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    Further, there is no such animal as the Carlson Hotels affiliate program. These are five totally separate merchant programs that happen to have one parent company.

  15. #15
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman
    ......So she lied to me. Yet one more example of why the networks cannot be trusted.
    Also a reason I am GLAD to have nearly all of my hotel reservations fulfilled by indie programs where I can watch data in real time. No network involved.

    But indie and private label aren't for everybody. It would be really cool to see a decent hotel program launched within SAS. Hmmm...maybe I should investigate the feasibility of...
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  16. #16
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    This is so typical of LS. I'm amazed they actually responded to some of your emails.

  17. #17
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    This same thing happened last year to the Carlson Programs (including Radisson), and all of the tracking was eventually restored (but not until March).

  18. #18
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    It looks like Radisson began tracking again on Feb 20, 2008

    No word yet on the missing tracking for Jan 20 - Feb 19

  19. #19
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    On March 7th, I sent my contact:
    What is the amount of the manual adjustment for [my site] and when will it be made?
    She responded:
    Carlson is in the process of calculating the necessary adjustments at this time.
    On March 20th, I sent my contact:
    What is the current status? This is dragging out for much too long with inadequate communication.
    No response.

  20. #20
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    On April 15th, I sent my contact at Linkshare and copied radisson_affiliates@linkshare.com (the same as I did last time):
    Please respond to my messages. This has gone on far too long.
    On April 16th, she responded:
    I’m sorry I didn’t receive that previous e-mail. I didn’t check my SPAM folder yet but assume it must have gone into there.

    All Affiliate adjustments were made in the March ’08 invoice. The adjusted amounts for [your site] are:

    Radisson: $X
    Country Inns: $X

    Thank You
    I'm disgusted to continue to be told that Linkshare employees didn't receive my email. Their spam filters are clearly adjusted too high. I sent yesterday's email from/to the exact same email addresses I did last month so why did she get yesterday's email but not the previous one??? I have changed my email for Linkshare THREE TIMES in the past just to accommodate their spam filters.

    As to the adjustments, they are both off by a few dollars based on an average of the previous 6 months commissions but I've dealt with this enough. Merchants should have to pay a penalty in the form of a bonus when their tracking doesn't work.

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