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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    Question Interesting Reason for Reversed Transaction
    I sent an email to a merchant asking why two transactions over two consecutive days had been reversed. My policy is to question every order that is not paid out.

    My letter was like this:

    Hello,

    I see two recent transactions for your company have been voided. Can you please explain why this is so?

    Transaction ID
    xxxxxx
    xxxxxx

    *my name
    They replied back with no name or even a hi as follows:

    Because the sale was not generated by you. The sale was generated by an employee of ours that visited your site and consequently had your cookie on his machine. The cookie has since been removed and hopefully this mistake will not happen again.
    thats really weird, what do you think of this and has this happened to you before?
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  2. #2
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    If they're being forthright, then I suppose it's ok.

    I had it happen once before, but I didn't realize it for a few days, so I didn't reverse the commission.
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  3. #3
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    I think that is bullcrap. I am not sure what type of site you have, but if the employee was looking for a coupon or promo code and you offer them on your site, then the sale is yours because the company apparently doesn't offer a discount to employees (at least not one that is appealing) or want them to be equal customers.

    Now if they say that the employee was reviewing sites for the program and clicked your link by accident, you can call them out as a load of crap considering you are already in the program, i.e. how the cookie was set.

    The only excuse they could use is that the employee was looking at your site to make sure it is in compliance with TOS. Even then, they need to add into their TOS (if it is not already) that if employees or family members of the company make a purchase, the sale will be voided.

    I would personally not work with that AM and drop the program and replace them with a competitor. Then again, that is just my opinion. Sounds like a crappy reason for reversals to me.
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
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  4. #4
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    glinted - thats really weird, what do you think of this and has this happened to you before?
    Many, many, many times. All the merchants are informed of that possibility if they visit an affiliate site then enter manually a sale. I think SaS even provides them with a scrpit to avoid that. But, let say mistakes happen... they have the right to void a sale (or many sales) for that kind of reason. It makes their program not appealing but there's nothing wrong or unethical about that.

  5. #5
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    Many, many, many times. All the merchants are informed of that possibility if they visit an affiliate site then enter manually a sale. I think SaS even provides them with a scrpit to avoid that. But, let say mistakes happen... they have the right to void a sale (or many sales) for that kind of reason. It makes their program not appealing but there's nothing wrong or unethical about that.

    I don't see how that would effect the sale, unless the affiliate was cookie stuffing (Just so no one misreads this, I am not saying either Glinted or Zeus do this, just a thought of a possibility on how a cookie could be set because an employee visited a site). The employee would have to click the link to set the cookie right? Also, wouldn't the merchants just take the order on the phone or enter it in their backend? Why would they go through and make the purchase through the site if it is for someone else and they are entering the purchase manually?

    Then again, if it is an employee making the purchase and the employee is not in marketing or has any relation to the affiliate program but is a loyal shopper to your site, the sale is yours because it is your customer. I still don't think it is a good reason to reverse a sale. If the company wants it's employees as customers, they should offer employee discounts which would be appealing so that the employee would not be looking for a deal online.

    Think about it, restaurants offer employee discounts just like retail shops. They do this so the employees do not go to the competition to shop and so the employees use and trust the brands they represent. If the company is not allowing them to have a discount, but you do offer one, why shouldn't you get the sale? That same employee could have found your site, except you could also show them the same or an equal product at a competitor with a discount or better pricing structure and they could have lost the sale. Maybe you should do that instead. Send traffic to the competition who may have an AM that at least sends you a response email with a proper greeting or someway for you to contact them with further questions.
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
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  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    I see it as entirely legit. As part of the AM job the AM visits some if not all of the merchant sites. And I bet not all of them remember to clear out their cookies after every single time they visit an affiliate site. If they then go back to their own site to conduct legitimate business i.e. process a phone order then this is what happens.

    I'd expect it to happen on occasion. If it happened every day or every week I'd say the AM was being lazy.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollerblader
    I think that is bullcrap. I am not sure what type of site you have, but if the employee was looking for a coupon or promo code and you offer them on your site, then the sale is yours because the company apparently doesn't offer a discount to employees (at least not one that is appealing) or want them to be equal customers.
    In this instance it is a coupon site but there was no coupon available but just one general link for the merchant listed so they must of clicked that I guess.

    I don't see how that would effect the sale, unless the affiliate was cookie stuffing
    Definitely no cookie stuffing, I haven't even figured out how it is even done and nor do I want to.

    Then again, if it is an employee making the purchase and the employee is not in marketing or has any relation to the affiliate program but is a loyal shopper to your site, the sale is yours because it is your customer.
    Personally I think they are been a bit miserable, A good merchant would apologize and then offer the commission anyway or at least a bonus etc.

    Send traffic to the competition who may have an AM that at least sends you a response email with a proper greeting or someway for you to contact them with further questions.
    exactly, I won't bother though as I have more important things to do but I know what you mean.

    And I bet not all of them remember to clear out their cookies after every single time they visit an affiliate site
    that is a good point!
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  8. #8
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    It is common for new merchants or new employees of a merchant to make that mistake.

  9. #9
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    I've always worked at companies that do not allow employee purchasing so I cannot say from experience but I do see the point that others are making. I still don't think it's right, but I do understand what everyone else is saying.
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  10. #10
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    The employee would have to click the link to set the cookie right?
    Maybe

    I'm sure in Glinted's case that's true.
    Kevin Webster
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  11. #11
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    A couple of years ago I signed up for a program that offered a bonus when you put up a couple of links. After putting up the links and notifying the AM I received my bonus. Later that day I got an almost $950 order from the merchant. I was thrilled and all I could think was "here's a merchant that converts".

    Next morning I received an e-mail from the AM explaining that a customer service rep had entered an order on the same system that he had used to check my links resulting in the large order and that a reversal would be coming.

    A major difference here was that the AM contacted me to explain the reversal before it was processed so I had no nasty surprise when I checked my stats. Needless to say I was disappointed (it was almost a $150 commission), but I didn't feel that I was entitled to a commission that was payed in error.

    -rematt
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  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Lanadili's Avatar
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    I have had this happen before, and here is what happened. I had a re-design of my site, and asked my affiliate managers their opinion on it. One of my merchants actually clicked on one of their links on my coupon page (it was an Indy merchant), and set a cookie. For the next 3-4 days, I recieved 10-20 sales a day from this merchant. Now I knew something was up, because this merchant is one of my worst converting, I usually only get a couple of sales a month from them.

    I figure what happend was this merchant was taking phone in orders, and using their computer with my cookie on it to place the sales, with all the sales being commissioned to me. The sales stopped after 3-4 days (after they realized what happened), and I was sure they were going to reverse it, but they never did, and sent me the check for all those commissions.

    I guess they figured since they messed up by clicking on their own link and not deleting my cookie, they would honor the commissions. I never did email them about it or anything, and was quite pleased when I received the check for those commissions.

    Now there was one time that I had a cancellation from a merchant, with the reason of: "Did not go thru an affiliate Sale". Needless to say this merchant was really bad at cancelling alot of my orders, or editing them out for lower amounts. When I first seen this one cancelled, I emailed to ask why (I ALWAYS email if it's not clear to me why), and they simply said the customer cancelled....Then I noticed the reason in SAS. That was the last straw for me.
    Last edited by Lanadili; March 21st, 2008 at 09:41 AM. Reason: Fixed a typo

  13. #13
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    I'm always astonished how some of the people involved in affiliate marketing DON'T UNDERSTAND the basic of affiliate marketing.
    They don't even have a clue of the effect of a click on a link.
    It's worse when these people have some kind of responsabilities like AM. It's a shame.

  14. #14
    Outsourced Program Manager GregJr-CMC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick24601
    I'd expect it to happen on occasion. If it happened every day or every week I'd say the AM was being lazy.
    I agree with Patrick24601, if it happens often then it's just lazy or uneducated. AMs have to be careful when dealing with affiliate accounts.

    Quote Originally Posted by glinted
    Personally I think they are been a bit miserable, A good merchant would apologize and then offer the commission anyway or at least a bonus etc.
    The problem was created by the company so there should be some kind of compensation. If it's a consistent problem then I would find another program.
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  15. #15
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    I get it now if the merchant was looking at the site, redesign etc,,,. Thanks for clearing that up. It does make sense, but the merchant should still be a little more tactful if they are going to fully reverse and send a nice email that is friendly etc.... to stay on the affiliates good side.
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  16. #16
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    When you reverse a transaction on SAS there is a field to explain why. There notes should show on the details page. Did the AM not submit a reason?

    As an aside, it's not always an AM blindly clicking around an affiliate site. I personally never click affiliate links, but I've been cookied. I was checking affiliate referring URLs via SAS and one of them automatically redirected me through an affiliate link. SAS doesn't really publicize that they have a URL on the merchant back end to scrub SAS cookies, so I tried deleting them manually at the time. Didn't work...
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  17. #17
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glinted


    thats really weird, what do you think of this and has this happened to you before?
    Yes it's happened to me plenty of times and I don't like it at all.
    Peace,

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