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  1. #1
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    Hi all, I have to admit I'm a wee bit confused... I don't pay attention to major network goings-on, I pick merchants that fit my niche. Full stop. This isn't personal, I just need to understand a few points.

    I just wandered over to the Pepperjam website, can someone please explain, or provide thoughts on the following?

    1. Shopping Blog - this looks like an affiliate shopping comparison engine. How can a network run something that we affiliates use to generate commission? Is this an affiliate site for PPJ? If so, pls see #2.

    2. Is there a Chinese wall (a term from my old investment days)..? This simply means the company protects potential conflicts of interest between various business divisions with strict compliance regulations. Is this in place at PPJ?

    3. Upromise - why are they listed as a merchant? How do I make money if I'm (somehow) linked to uPromise? I share merchants with them - once I send them traffic that converts, I will forever lose that reader (who may continue to visit me for the content/product recommendations I provide)

    4. Me as an affiliate - I don't list my site here on purpose. Much as I love you folks, I don't share my site strategies - but based on the points listed above, I'm not sure how comfortable I feel about this network knowing who I promote & how. Or having the ability to track my stats (ie. measure my successes or failures).

    I found an interesting thread concerning the shopping comparison engine over here: http://www.comparisonengines.com/200...com-territory/

    I'm offering no criticism, just trying to understand the business model. Who is PPJ, and will it benefit me to work with them. Conversely, should I steer clear in case it costs me...

    I've read all the comments here, and have no personal view one way or the other yet. I just need to determine my course of action if any of my best merchants happen to move (and for the record, I haven't received any emails about this from other networks).

    Last but not least, this isn't a formal question TO PPJ, I know how to initiate my own communication with a network . I just want to throw out these points for general discussion. I value the opinions here, and don't know any of you personally to simply pick up the phone for a chat!

    Thanks all!

    PS. Pls feel free to move this to another PPJ thread if it doesn't fit this one

  2. #2
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Admin Note: Split off from CJ PJN feud thread

  3. #3
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    teezone,

    Thanks for your questions.

    (1) Yes. This is a Pepperjam Web site - we monetize this Web site through affiliate marketing, CPC placement, and contextual advertising. This is Pepperjam's core affiliate property and works with all the major networks, including Commission Junction, Performics, and Linkshare. The site also runs offers for Pepperjam Network.
    (2) Great question - The answer is yes - there is a chinese wall between Shogging and all Pepperjam-owned affiliate sites - Shogging is given no special treatment and is not given access to any information from other divisions of Pepperjam that would be considered a conflict of interest to Pepperjam Network advertisers or publishers.
    (3) uPromise is not a Pepperjam Network advertiser. We've worked with uPromise within the marketing services division of Pepperjam. We do not advise them and we are not involved in managing their affiliate program - My understanding is that the uPromise affiliate program is managed by Experience Advertising.
    (4) You are not required to disclose your specific strategies on Pepperjam Network. Instead, you are required to disclose your name, contact info, Web site(s), and general promotional methods to advertisers. It's critical that you disclose your promotional methods to potential advertisers so that can decide whether or not to partner with you. Requiring this is no different than you knowing exactly what the merchant sells before you partner with them.

    I just provided a response here - http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=102346 that might help to further answer some of your questions about Pepperjam Network.

  4. #4
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Thank you for asking all my exact questions and concerns, Teezone.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  5. #5
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    I appreciate the direct response.. I was just throwing questions out there for the general community!

    The strategy comment was directed at the affiliate vs. network roles pf PPJ. I realize that info isn't a requirement of affiliate networks - the root of the question was the accessibility of my info/stats. At present, my site is one of many and I can be under the radar.. if I become a super affiliate (here's hoping!), my concern would be that another affiliate (ie. PPJ-owned) would have access to my stats. While competitors can visit my site, revenue, clicks, etc. are confidential. To combine the site AND the stats.. well, that would give away the secret of my success.. and that is something that I will never share...

    Having said that, the Chinese wall addresses this issue. Not unlike investment banking.. research analysts at the bank are never privvy to M&A, or financing deals.

    uPromise is another topic then, unrelated to PPJ in this case. I didn't even realize they HAD an affiliate program (how ironic!), it appears to be a flat fee per signup. As a sidebar (my own opinion), I see points programs losing their lustre.. one of my premium merchants no longer accepts incentive programs. I'm in this for the long haul, you can't beat quality content... and occasional dumb luck with SERPS!

    As I said, my sites are niche-based, so I will monitor merchants that fit across old & new networks. Thanks for the response, and I will continue to follow company news.

  6. #6
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    teezone,

    Thanks for the questions.

    We are absolutely committed to protecting your information.

    Pepperjam Network would never disclose confidential information to your advertisers and of course we would never use your information to our benefit - that would be a complete breach of the publsiher services agreement, which publishers accept upon joining Pepperjam Network. This protection guarantees that Pepperjam Network advertisers (or Pepperjam for that matter) do not have access to any sensitive affiliate information, including SID and keyword information, referral URL's, Social Security Number, etc.

    Also, Pepperjam Network is currently working with a very well-known super affiliate (not sure if they want me to disclose their name here) on adding additional language to our publisher services agreement that adds even more teeth to our guarantee to protect publisher information.

    Protecting publisher information is critical to the success of Pepperjam Network and it is something that we take very seriously.

  7. #7
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone
    Hi all, I have to admit I'm a wee bit confused...

    1. Shopping Blog - this looks like an affiliate shopping comparison engine. How can a network run something that we affiliates use to generate commission? Is this an affiliate site for PPJ? If so, pls see #2.
    Quote Originally Posted by pepperjam
    teezone,

    Thanks for your questions.

    (1) Yes. This is a Pepperjam Web site - we monetize this Web site through affiliate marketing, CPC placement, and contextual advertising. This is Pepperjam's core affiliate property and works with all the major networks, including Commission Junction, Performics, and Linkshare. The site also runs offers for Pepperjam Network.

    (4) You are not required to disclose your specific strategies on Pepperjam Network. Instead, you are required to disclose your name, contact info, Web site(s), and general promotional methods to advertisers. It's critical that you disclose your promotional methods to potential advertisers so that can decide whether or not to partner with you. Requiring this is no different than you knowing exactly what the merchant sells before you partner with them.
    Quote Originally Posted by pepperjam
    Pepperjam Network would never disclose confidential information to your advertisers and of course we would never use your information to our benefit - that would be a complete breach of the publsiher services agreement, which publishers accept upon joining Pepperjam Network. This protection guarantees that Pepperjam Network advertisers (or Pepperjam for that matter) do not have access to any sensitive affiliate information, including SID and keyword information, referral URL's, Social Security Number, etc.
    While I am patiently waiting to see what will be the end results of this new 2008 dilemma, now I am more confuse about what I have quoted and bolded above.

    Hi pepperjam, I am confuse about what I read from your post, so I will just ask in random order.

    1 - If pepperjam is a network, how can you say that [ (or Pepperjam for that matter) do not have access to any sensitive affiliate information, including SID and keyword information, referral URL's, Social Security Number, etc. ] ?

    Isn't a network supose to have at least the affiliates referral URL's and Social Security Number in order to pay the affiliates?

    2 - You say that [ Yes. This is a Pepperjam Web site - we monetize this Web site through affiliate marketing, CPC placement, and contextual advertising. This is Pepperjam's core affiliate property and works with all the major networks, including Commission Junction, Performics, and Linkshare ], so would that mean that you (pepperjam) will be competing with your own affiliates that join any of the merchants on your network?

    Even if you weren't to get any useful ideas from any of your network-affiliates websites, do that still mean that you will be doing regular affiliate marketing from merchant x in order to monetize the pepperjam even more, even if by doing that you would be competing with all of the affiliates on your own network that want to promote the same merchant x?

    3 - You say that [ and of course we would never use your information to our benefit ], but since you are still doing affiliate marketing, and competing with your network-affiliates for merchant x money, don't you see a problem with that?

    By the way, if and when you see any of your network-affiliates making a killing in sales with merchant x, (the same merchant x that you also do affiliate marketing for on the side.) and you see that you're not doing that good with that merchant x on your affiliate-marketing site, are you saying that not even then would you at least try to use any of those affiliates ideas to improve your own side businnes?


  8. #8
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    Mr. Sal,

    First - thank you for following-up on this series of questions. I agree with you that clarification if necessary here.

    1 - If pepperjam is a network, how can you say that [ (or Pepperjam for that matter) do not have access to any sensitive affiliate information, including SID and keyword information, referral URL's, Social Security Number, etc. ] ?

    The most important question here is how does Pepperjam Network ensure (what steps do we take) that confidential and proprietary publisher information is protected.

    There are at least two primary issues here. (1) First, what publisher information do merchants have access to and what steps does Pepperjam Network take to protect sensitive information, such as keyword data (i.e., SID's), referring URL's, and financial information (i.e. Tax ID). (2) Second, what protections are in place so that publisher information is protected and not misused by Pepperjam or any of its entities?

    Let me start with details to Question (1) - what publisher information do merchants have access to and what steps does Pepperjam Network take to protect sensitive information, such as keyword data (i.e., SID's), referring URL's, and financial information (i.e. Tax ID):

    ANSWER: We realize and share the concern that publishers have with regard to nondisclosure of sensitive publisher data to merchants. As a result, Pepperjam Network DOES NOT provide merchants with access to sensitive publisher data, including keyword data, referring URL's, and tax ID.

    The only publisher information that Pepperjam Network makes available to merchants is publisher name, company name / description, company categories (i.e., Computer & Electronics, Education, etc.), validated contact information (i.e., e-mail, phone), [disclosed] promotional methods (i.e. direct link, PPC, SEO, coupon, content / blog, products feeds, etc.), and publisher Web site URL(s).

    Note that we believe disclosing the above (non-sensitive) information is critical to publishers being able build open, transparent relationships with merchants. As part of a publisher's disclosure they are given a Pepperjam Network "transparency score" - I talk in detail about PJN's transparency system on another ABW thread located here - http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=102346

    In addition to basic publisher contact info, Pepperjam Network provides advertisers with basic sales (i.e. amount) and transaction information (i.e., order ID).

    We realize that at the same time that disclosing basic publisher information is important, protecting sensitive publisher information from merchants is critical.

    Recap - Pepperjam Network does not disclose sensitive publisher data to merchants. We require publishers to disclose basic, but very important information that is shared with merchants as part of the Pepperjam Network transparency system, which is a move by Pepperjam Network to faciliate open up lines of communication between publishers and merchants and promote affiliate transparency.

    Please let me know if you need clarification to Question #1.

    Let's move on to Question #2 - What protections are in place so that publisher information is protected and not misused by Pepperjam or any of its entities?

    Pepperjam or any of its entities does not and will never use sensitive publisher information in any way that would be detrimental to the publisher. We make this guarantee in writing as part of our publisher services agreement and we have put in place multiple security measures to protect sensitive, proprietary publisher data.

    For instance, sensitive, proprietary publisher data is restricted from access by any and all Pepperjam employees that should not have access to this information. In short, the ONLY Peppejam employees with access to sensitive, proprietary publisher data include our head of IT / Network Quality and our head of Software Development - the reason these guys have access to publisher information is to maintain the quality and integrity of Pepperjam Nework and maintain the data for publisher access; however, these guys are restricted from using the information to profit from, or in any way harm Pepperjam Network publishers. In addition, these guys are not authorized to give me or any member of the Pepperjam team access to the data for any reason that would harm the publisher.

    The bottom line here is that Pepperjam realizes and acknowledges the concerns that many publishers have about protecting their confidential, proprietary data from access by merchants or by any member of the Pepperjam staff that would use that data to their personal benefit or the benefit of Pepperjam.

    We are absolutely committed to providing publishers with assurance and confidence that Pepperjam / Pepperjam Network will protect confidential, proprietary publisher data with the absolute highest regard.

    Isn't a network suppose to have at least the affiliates referral URL's and Social Security Number in order to pay the affiliates?

    [/B]Yes. I address this above. This information is protected from abuse.

    2 - You say that [ Yes. This is a Pepperjam Web site - we monetize this Web site through affiliate marketing, CPC placement, and contextual advertising. This is Pepperjam's core affiliate property and works with all the major networks, including Commission Junction, Performics, and Linkshare ], so would that mean that you (pepperjam) will be competing with your own affiliates that join any of the merchants on your network?

    ANSWER: Most or all of the other major networks own affiliate properties (i.e. Commission Junction recently purchased super affiliate Coupon Mountain, Linkshare recently purchased super affiliate Traffic Strategies).

    I'm not saying the above to negate the real concern that some publishers have about Pepperjam owning affiliate Web sites such as Shogging.com. I'm only mentioning this because it appears that there is an industry trend for major networks to be able to provide value to their advertisers on many fronts, including marketing services (i.e. SEM / SEO management, affiliate program management, online media buying, comparison shopping, etc.) and affiliate marketing.

    I realize that some affiliates see Pepperjam owning and managing affiliate properties such as Shogging as a conflict of interest. My response is that for those networks, such as Pepperjam, that own or manage affiliate properties, we must be especially careful not to breach our trust with our publisher and advertising partners. Our efforts must provide incremental value to our advertising partners and must not in any way breach our trust by publishers. Most importantly, networks such as Pepperjam Network must guarantee our publishers in writing and take action to protect sensitive publisher data from being misused.

    Even if you weren't to get any useful ideas from any of your network-affiliates websites, do that still mean that you will be doing regular affiliate marketing from merchant x in order to monetize the pepperjam even more, even if by doing that you would be competing with all of the affiliates on your own network that want to promote the same merchant x?

    I've addressed this issue above. Pepperjam Network provides protections from disclosure or misuse of publisher data.

    3 - You say that [ and of course we would never use your information to our benefit ], but since you are still doing affiliate marketing, and competing with your network-affiliates for merchant x money, don't you see a problem with that?

    I sincerely understand your concern and appreciate your question.

    As I mentioned, I realize and appreciate the apparent conflict of interest with Networks such as Commission Juncton, Linkshare, and Pepperjam Network owning affiliate properties. However, I believe that there are steps that can be taken to minimize the conflict and I believe that Pepperjam carefully set-up Pepperjam Network to avoid those conflicts. Moreover, I believe that Networks must take it a step further by providing publishers, in writing, with a guarantee that sensitive publisher information will not be used in any harmful way against the publisher.

    By the way, if and when you see any of your network-affiliates making a killing in sales with merchant x, (the same merchant x that you also do affiliate marketing for on the side.) and you see that you're not doing that good with that merchant x on your affiliate-marketing site, are you saying that not even then would you at least try to use any of those affiliates ideas to improve your own side businnes?

    As I said, Pepperjam Network has actively taken steps to protect your information. Moreover, we have gone a step further by putting in writing our promises and guarantees to protect publisher information.

  9. #9
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pepperjam
    Mr. Sal,

    First - thank you for following-up on this series of questions. I agree with you that clarification if necessary here.

    1 - If pepperjam is a network, how can you say that [ (or Pepperjam for that matter) do not have access to any sensitive affiliate information, including SID and keyword information, referral URL's, Social Security Number, etc. ] ?
    The most important question here is how does Pepperjam Network ensure (what steps do we take) that confidential and proprietary publisher information is protected.

    There are at least two primary issues here. (1) First, what publisher information do merchants have access to and what steps does Pepperjam Network take to protect sensitive information, such as keyword data (i.e., SID's), referring URL's, and financial information (i.e. Tax ID). (2) Second, what protections are in place so that publisher information is protected and not misused by Pepperjam or any of its entities?

    Let me start with details to Question (1) - what publisher information do merchants have access to and what steps does Pepperjam Network take to protect sensitive information, such as keyword data (i.e., SID's), referring URL's, and financial information (i.e. Tax ID):

    ANSWER: We realize and share the concern that publishers have with regard to nondisclosure of sensitive publisher data to merchants. As a result, Pepperjam Network DOES NOT provide merchants with access to sensitive publisher data, including keyword data, referring URL's, and tax ID.

    The only publisher information that Pepperjam Network makes available to merchants is publisher name, company name / description, company categories (i.e., Computer & Electronics, Education, etc.), validated contact information (i.e., e-mail, phone), [disclosed] promotional methods (i.e. direct link, PPC, SEO, coupon, content / blog, products feeds, etc.), and publisher Web site URL(s).

    In addition to basic publisher contact info, Pepperjam Network provides advertisers with basic sales (i.e. amount) and transaction information (i.e., order ID).

    We realize that at the same time that disclosing basic publisher information is important, protecting sensitive publisher information from merchants is critical.

    Recap - Pepperjam Network does not disclose sensitive publisher data to merchants. We require publishers to disclose basic, but very important information that is shared with merchants as part of the Pepperjam Network transparency system, which is a move by Pepperjam Network to faciliate open up lines of communication between publishers and merchants and promote affiliate transparency.

    Please let me know if you need clarification to Question #1.
    Thanks for answering my three question, but now I have a follow-up question to my question #1.

    You just have said that you don't provide our Tax ID, or SSN to merchants on the Pepperjam Network.

    Do that mean that you don't provide our Tax ID, or SSN to merchants on the Pepperjam Network that we are not affiliated with yet, or do that means that you don't provide our Tax ID, or SSN to merchants, not even to the merchants that we have joinned already and we are making money with?

    So far I see nothing wrong with the information you say you disclose to merchants like [ publisher name, company name / description, company categories (i.e., Computer & Electronics, Education, etc.), validated contact information (i.e., e-mail, phone), [disclosed] promotional methods (i.e. direct link, PPC, SEO, coupon, content / blog, products feeds, etc.), and publisher Web site URL(s). ], but...

    Correct me if I am wrong but, aren't the merchants that we join on any network supposed to have our Tax ID, or SSN in order to pay us, or pay the network, so the network can pay us?

    I always know that the network is the one that send the 1099 form, but I always have thought that any merchant we join on any network, would have our Tax ID, or SSN numbers in order to do their own IRS paperwork.

    If none of my merchants that I have joined on other networks since 1999 have my Tax ID, or SSN number on their own account, then I think... (I better not say what I think about that, on this thread. )




    Note: Text Green, Red and Bolded Above, by: me for clarification!

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    I'd be surprised if the individual merchants had that information, actually. The only entity that needs it is the one that is paying money directly to the affiliate, and that's the network. But I could be wrong.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  11. #11
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    Pepperjam Network merchants are not given access to publisher Tax ID's since Pepperjam Network handles payment to all publishers. Your Tax ID is stored within the Pepperjam Network and only used for tax reporting purposes by Pepperjam Network to the IRS.

    RE: "aren't the merchants that we join on any network supposed to have our Tax ID, or SSN in order to pay us, or pay the network, so the network can pay us?"

    ANSWER: The merchant is given Pepperjam Network's Tax ID, not the publisher. Among other things, this approach protects the affiliate from hundreds and in some cases thousands of merchants having access to your Tax ID.

    As for your other questions regarding the use of your Tax ID - you'll have to check with each network you do business with.

  12. #12
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pepperjam
    Pepperjam Network merchants are not given access to publisher Tax ID's since Pepperjam Network handles payment to all publishers. Your Tax ID is stored within the Pepperjam Network and only used for tax reporting purposes by Pepperjam Network to the IRS.

    RE: "aren't the merchants that we join on any network supposed to have our Tax ID, or SSN in order to pay us, or pay the network, so the network can pay us?"

    ANSWER: The merchant is given Pepperjam Network's Tax ID, not the publisher. Among other things, this approach protects the affiliate from hundreds and in some cases thousands of merchants having access to your Tax ID.

    As for your other questions regarding the use of your Tax ID - you'll have to check with each network you do business with.
    Thank you very much for that answer!

    I wish I knew that since 1999

    I guess is never too late to learn something new!

    Thanks again PJ.

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